Daily Archives: July 15, 2009
Location: Cos Cob. Lot size: 0.3. Renovated: 2001. Assessment: $747,000. Sq. ft: 2,154. Asking price: $1.295. Price per sq. ft.: $600
This is a nice new house on Glenville Road but it has to contend with a so-so location, right on the road, and an odd yard set up (shared, sort of, with the house on the same driveway). It came on at $3.6 million, hasn’t sold, and was dropped today to $2.995. That may still be too high, all things considered, but a 17% cut at least demonstrates that the builder doesn’t have his head in the sand.
One of the mortgage foreclosure lis pendens discovered in Town Hall today was against property just leased by this firm to a tenant which, of course jeopardizes their covenant of quiet enjoyment – banks like to toss tenants out of houses they’re foreclosing on. A call to the listing agent disclosed that she knew of the pending action while negotiating the lease and in fact knew that the action had commenced before the lease was executed. Can you say, “non-disclosure of a material fact”? Can you say, “bogus idiot collecting money for no service at all”? I certainly can.
That’s the word I have from someone who spoke to the guys hauling the staging furniture away yesterday. Another triumph for staging! This house first came on in September, 2005 at $11,750,000 and sat right there for all this time. It’s a decent house, but the land next to it is a vacant pile of dirt and Cornelia itself is a neighborhood of (very) modest homes – nothing like driving past bungalows to reach your $12 million mansion, I guess, especially if you pretend that those are serfs’ hovels and you are the Lord of the Manor.
In the event, no one wanted to pay that much for make believe, so the price has been dropping, dropping dropping. Last price as of May was $6.250, an improvement from the first price but still well above the assessed value of $4.2 million. But someone has struck a deal, so we’ll find out what kind of bargain he got, if he got one at all.
UPDATE: Confirmed – contract just reported on the MLS. Days on market: 1,388, which I think sets a record. Any bets on selling price? We’ve got two here in the office, $4.9 and $4.375. Free drink on Walt at the Round Hill Club to the reader who comes closest.
A client sent me this Craig’s List ad, placed by a local agent, for a unit at the Commons on the Post Road. For out of town readers, the condominium project looks like any cheap project and not at all like this picture the agent supplied to illustrate the ad:
There were at least 14 lis pendens announcing commencement of foreclosure proceedings filed yesterday – I say at least 14, because I was only looking for properties that clients of mine might find of interest. I won’t say which those are – I take care of my clients first – but 29 Byfield Road, that huge spec project, seems to be under the gun before it’s even finished. There are a couple on Sunshine that aren’t doing well and we can probably guess why that poor bastard on Stanwich committed suicide a few weeks ago, too. Sad times.
One note to the owners of Druid Lane: if you want to delay things, have your lawyer check the notice of lis pendens. It recites that the property is “in the County of New London”. Probably not fatal, since they did manage to record it in the right place, but it’s probably worth a month of delay while your lawyer asserts the claim of improper service and loses.
So while Marty Noble of Patriot is trying to sell mortgages his bank doesn’t own, it turns out he’s busy assigning those he does hold to something called PinPat Acquisition Corp. I haven’t tracked down ownership of that entity yet (obviously the “Pat” refers to someone we know) but it’s curious that Marty was busy cutting deals with PinPat on June 17, when he was also negotiating in good faith with buyers for those same mortgages. I’m beginning to think Marty isn’t as nice a guy as he first appeared.
I was in Town Hall just now, checking on new mortgage foreclosures (whoo boy, are they coming fast and furious) and noticed that Worth Construction has liened the YMCA for $4, 148,779. That’s in addition to a sub’s lien (Suntech) for $362,000 and those two are just the new ones showing up in the day book. So how’s that fund raising going?
But one sale, the rear lot at 14 West End Avenue in Old Greenwich, for $490,000. Assessed value is $713,020, so someone’s got a good tax appeal coming up. Don’t cry for the seller, he bought two lots here for less than he sold this one for and sold off the front one for $810,000 back in ’07.
This spec house sold to the tenants who lived in it for $6.5 million yesterday, which is a hefty price even if a bit less than its last asking price of $7.595. Lots of crazy Patriot games going on here, but I’m glad for the builder that he’s out of it whole. Beautiful house, by the way.
Today’s NYT has a nifty picture spread (all artfully manipulated by ace photographer Edgar Martins, no doubt) of homes for sale priced at $89,000. One in Springfield, Mass looks ripe for bargaining but there’s a cottage in the Black Hills that I would love to have. Taxes $120 a year, flyfishing nearby and somewhere up the road in Montana (South Dakato’s about the size of Rhode Island, right?) is the Little Bighorn and Custer’s massacree. How cool.
Of course, you might just stick around here – the $89,000 threshold may be coming soon.
So what’s the word on local clubs – feeling the pinch or feeling robust? A completely unreliable, unverifiable poll says most are hurting. I’ve mentioned that the Riverside Yacht Club has adopted a two-year rule whereby unemployed members can drop out and look for work without permanently losing their membership and I hear that Greenwich Country Club now has the same provision. Stanwich Club’s $100,000 initiation fee that used to be payable upon admittance is now on a “pay us when you can” basis. Waiting lists of 7 years have been whittled to one and Tamarack, with it’s big spanking new clubhouse is considering bake sales and car washes to pay it off.
Some members see opportunity here. At Riverside, I hear that pressure is again building to tear down the old clubhouse and erect a new one, the hope being, I suspect, that a huge assessment will finally chase out the last remnants of the middle class and elevate membership to its proper orbit. Innis Arden also has a middle class component to its membership but I don’t golf so I don’t know if there is a similar snob element at work over there.
The good news to all this is if you wanted to move to town but didn’t want to wait ten years to play golf or sail, now’s your opportunity. Just like house prices, there’s an opening here.
John Carney has a good discussion dissing Obama’s latest plan to turn mortgage holders into landlords. What scares me is not so much that this plan is totally unworkable and unconstitutional, but the president of the United States actually put this forth as a serious proposal. Does he run these brainstorms past any adults in the White House before issuing his decrees? And I don’t mean Joe Biden.
J.R.R. Tolkien sold the rights to “Lord of the Rings” long ago in exchange for 7.5% of any film proceeds. The first three films have been rumored to have done pretty well but so far, Tolkien heirs haven’t seen a penny due to Hollywood accounting which never, ever produces a profit. A trial on the matter starts this fall. I hope they cream the studio but from what I’ve read in the past, these guys have the art of hiding profits honed to a fine science.
French celebrate Bastille Day in Greenwich. “It’s a brilliant choice,” French Ambassador Pepe Le Pieu said yesterday, “we feel so at home here. Who but Greenwich uses the image of a fat generale fleeing for his life from enemy soldiers? Try some of this cheese.”
The developer blames a redesign of the building but it sounds more like a fear of current conditions in the hospitality industry. Whatever the reason, it’s too bad – Riverside could use a moderately priced hotel and the Blue Smoke restaurant sounded enticing. I hope it gets back on track.
Obama’s plan to soak the rich is already having its desired effect: After scaring off corporations from visiting Las Vegas, waiters, linecooks and lower-payed workers are out on the street. That’ll teach ’em. Boat yard workers, airplane assemblers and other blue collar types are also sacrificing their jobs willingly in order to punish the evil but they fear not: those are “bad” jobs and Obama will retrain them to be teachers and windmill technicians which are, of course, good jobs. I do so love a planned economy – no more waste!
Wyckham Hill is a dead-end development carved from the Babcock Property when that land was given (sold?) to the town for park use. It has the advantage of being close to town, the disadvantage of abutting the Merritt. Houses constructed there were pretty much builders’ specials meaning big but of middling quality. Prices climbed over the years to reflect the general rise in prices around town but now it seems you can’t give the place away; there are three houses for sale now, none of which is going anywhere.
This one at 8 Wyckham is a good example. It sold for $2,000,000 back in 1996 and $3.3 million in January ’07 (Dec. 28 ’06, actually, but let’s consider it a 2007 sale). The owner completely renovated it, adding a new kitchen, new roof, etc. and came up with a very nice, modernized house. She listed it awhile ago for $4.995 which, compared to other houses in its price range, wasn’t bad, but buyers have balked at the Merritt I presume and no one’s stepped forward. The seller has been aggressive about takig price reductions and today there’s been another one, bringing it down to $3.495. Assuming even a modest bit of negotiating, the place is back where it started and all those renovations are being written off. It now offers a whole lot of house for $3.3 (ish) but I still don’t think it’s hit its price. If I’m right, that’s bad news for the unrenovated house up the street which is asking in the $2s while the owner cools his heels awaiting trial for manslaughter. I bet that one goes for under $1 million. Which might be a good buy, actually – maybe you should make a bid.