As of four o’clock this afternoon we have one contract reported and one sale. The contract is for a co-op unit at Putnam Hill, under $400,000, and the sale is for a cottage on Pleasant Street in Cos Cob for $680,000 (the seller paid $666,000 for it in 2004, so he probably made out better than many homeowners these days). Of the eighteen new listings, almost all have been put up for sale by delusional owners, agents or both. $1,000 sq.ft. for a used, old house on Druid? $1,000 sq.ft. (if calculated by the space above ground) for new construction on Stanwich? $6 million for a house that has failed for two years to fetch that price? This latter seller is saddled with an IRS lien and various other troubles but by God, no one’s going to steal his house! Good for him, but no one’s going to buy it, either – he’s surrounded by new construction going down, either via foreclosure or fire sales and even if he were lucky enough to find a sucker willing to meet his price, it will never pass muster with a bank appraiser. And, trust me on this, anyone who is a $6 million cash buyer has a choice of better buys in this market.
One seller who seems to have gotten religion, perhaps because he’s in jail awaiting trial for manslaughter, is the wayward chiropractor at 12 Wyckham Hill Road. This guy has been trying to sell his house for $3.375 million since may, 2005. Today he (or his lawyer) dumped the original agent and price and brought it on for $2.195. Wyckham Hill has never been my favorite street, but this house might be approaching bargain status.
So perhaps that’s the answer to our real estate woes: arrest our owners for criminal stupidity and see if the sound of jail bars clanging shut doesn’t force them to face reality. Harsh, perhaps, but if it does the job ….