Just to start the new year off on a cheerful note, I looked up some statistics for new, unsold construction that’s languishing on the Greenwich Multiple Listing service. There are, as of today, 54 houses built since 2005 for sale at prices ranging from $4.995 million up to $25 million (and many more below that but just for fun, we’re going for the top here). In all of 2008, 17 houses with those criteria sold, and of those 17, only 7 sold in the last six months. And of those 7, only 3 sold in the past 90 days. Which three were those? The lovely and oft mentioned 480 North, which sold for half its original $9 million price, 16 Beechcroft which sold for 75% of its original $8 million price and 205 Clapboard Ridge which is still under contract so no final price is yet known. But it started at $12.250 million waaaay back in 2004 and its last asking price was $7.975. One can speculate that its ultimate selling price will not be making its builder happy. I’m guessing 60% of ask.
So fifty-four spec houses which are certainly not going to sell for what is being asked, even though many of them have already slashed their prices dramatically. If the past three months proves a good predictor for the coming year, we’re going to see some builders and their lenders in serious trouble. And maybe some bargains, too.
UPDATE: What if the market comes roaring back and regains the torrid pace of the all-time sales year, 2006? I just looked that up – 27 houses built between 2003 and 2006 with a minimum asking price of $4.995 sold in the entire year. So we’re looking at at least a two -year inventory here and that’s if we recover fully. I don’t think we will. Not this year.