(Gideon writing for (the returning tomorrow? Yippee!) Christopher Fountain)
Reader “”G’wich Transplant” asks,
“Have Greenwich land prices fallen more than house prices?” I say yes because the bulk of the buyers, that is, builders, have temporarily gone away. I’ll cite an example of a recent land-sale for what I consider to be a 1990 price, in my next post. Meanwhile, here is an example of why there is, in Greenwich at least, a floor beneath which prices won’t drop: 50 Carriglea Drive has just rented for $23,333/month, tenant provided by Prudential’s Ann Simpson. (Nice rent, but only twice the $11,700/mo. it got before it was torn down and replaced!)
Back in 1999, I sold 50 Carriglea Drive, a tired and dated 1960’s contemporary, for $2,500,000 (asking price was $2,175,000) and my clients did some updating and then lived in it for the next few years. In 2008, my client, after getting her broker’s license, (hate when that happens), sold it to builder Peter Mark for $5,500,000.
Builder Mark proceeded to erect a really impressive house that even curmudgeon-fuss-budget Christopher Fountain admired. It has stunning views across a tidal inlet to the Riverside Yacht Club, the setting sun, and down to Manhattan. Great layout, quality construction, state-of-the-art solar system that supplies something like 30% (!) of the house’s power needs; just a good job all-around. Gideon’s Rule, however, can’t be evaded. “There is no house so beautiful, so perfect, that it can’t be over-priced and left to languish on the market.”
So “the market” (those people with the checkbooks) voted thumbs-down on the asking price of $11,950,000, despite the best efforts of Sotheby’s Amy Rabenhorst and Peter Joyce. Reducing to $10,950,000 didn’t do the trick, either. I heard rumors of offers “in the 8’s, maybe 9’s” but at those prices I would guess the whole thing would be profit-free for the builder. So, does $23,333/month pay the carrying costs? Probably not. But it surely takes the “sting” off, don’t you think?
The lesson is, if you really wanted this place, you had to ante up. To what price? Who knows, but it is a clear example of this: Not every seller has to sell. In cases like this, my advice to clients who love a place but are deathly afraid of “over-paying”? Pay up or move on.