The Wall Street Journal reports that, as the result of the economic disaster, plus a shove or two from Bernie Madoff, the rich are trying to unload their mansions. It isn’t going so well.
“Some Bear Stearns stuff hit the market” in the fall, says Meredyth Hull Smith, of Sotheby’s, referring to the collapsed investment bank. London brokers say they’re also beginning to see financiers selling in the desirable Chelsea and Kensington areas.
It’s a stark reversal of fortune, particularly for financiers whose appetite for amenities like 24-hour concierge service and gated estates drove prices to dizzying heights. Now, many find themselves needing to downsize in an increasingly glutted high-end market, which is falling so rapidly brokers say it’s difficult to discern how listings should be priced. [emphasis added]
Of course, not every finance chief is selling a home because of the crisis. But all sellers are pitching their homes in a changed world. “It’s a terrible time to list right now,” says Wilbur Gonzalez, of Brown Harris Stevens.
Even in Greenwich, you can’t necesarily unload your stone and timber Neo-Georgian-Shingle-style-Victorian, or not at the price you’d like, anyway.
In early November, Scott Freidheim, former chief administrative officer at Lehman Brothers, put his just-purchased Greenwich, Conn., mansion up for sale for $13.75 million, according to Greenwich listing records. He and his wife bought it a year earlier for $12.4 million. The house is also for rent. The sale is tied to Mr. Freidheim’s relocation to Chicago, where he is now executive vice president of operating and support businesses at Sears Holdings Corp., says his real-estate agent, Joe Barbieri, of Sotheby’s International Realty.