50 Carriglea Drive, waterfront, rents (instead of sells)

50 Carriglea Drive..."B" waterfront? You decide.

(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.


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24 responses to “50 Carriglea Drive, waterfront, rents (instead of sells)

  1. foobar

    this is a 6,000 sq ft house. Builder did not spend more than 3MM to build. His biggest mistake was paying 5.5MM for a teardown at the top of the market.

    But knowing what I know, he rally probably spent under 2MM so a sale at say 8.5 would be a nice enough profit I would think, so he is being very greedy if he is turning that sort of action away. But that is what has been going on around here, so whatever

  2. Anonymous

    Perhaps wise to carefully due diligence creditworthiness of any landlord, especially with any rents that may not even cover carrying costs of specific house

    In debt bubble, many superficially “conservative” real estate investors accumulated some fancy leverage structures on various assets which they may or may not understand themselves

    • christopherfountain

      (Gideon responding for the soon-to-be-returning Chris….hallelujah!)
      Good point. Tenants would certainly be within their rights, as they are handing over their credit report, to demand the same thing from the landlord! What odd times we live in…

  3. az

    That rent implies a value of less than $5 million (200 gross rent multiplier x 23.3k). If you want the place immediately your choice may be to pay up or move on, but that doesn’t mean you would be paying a reasonable price. If you love a place so much that no price is too high then paying up is a reasonable approach.

    • christopherfountain

      (Gideon responding for the soon-to-be-retuning Chris…..yeah baby!)

      Uh oh. You know how I feel about formulas being applied to real estate. Too many variables, son, just too many. Two identical houses, both brand-new and un-decorated, could rent for substantially different amounts simply because one has a better view…

  4. ANON

    each to their own but to me theres not much in the pictures of this listing (apart from the view) which looks special at all. kind of bland all round. Energy efficiency is a nice touch though

    • christopherfountain

      (Gideon responding for the soon-to-be-returning Chris…you heard me right, bunky!)

      You can’t tell from the picture (of 50 Carriglea) how nice it is. If you got in and looked around, I think you would get it.

  5. H2O Front

    Great house and “A” views, but land is definitely not “A” waterfront. Lots of mud at low tide and poor water access/ no dock opportunity. It’s a “B”, but if the siting height/ view wasn’t so great it would actually be a “C”.

    • christopherfountain

      (Gideon responding for the soon-to-be-retuning…old what’s his name)

      H2O Front:
      Very good analysis, Mr. Amateur! Really! The only reason I don’t give you an “A” is because you said “no dock opportunity” when, in fact, the builder installed a wonderful dock. But your points about limited water access (due to extreme tidal exposure) and the fact that, without it’s height-enhanced views, this would very likely be C-waterfront, are excellent. I think you’re ready to join this rotten profession!

  6. Greenwich Gal

    Gideon – while we have enjoyed your tenure, you really are way too professional. What we like, mixed in with our real estate news, of course, is CF’s borderline inappropriate, arrested male development, (aka 13 yr. old boy humor), type posts. These should be enhanced with some very ugly images – God knows where he finds them. So give it your best shot before you go.

    • christopherfountain

      (Gideon responding for soon-to-be-returning Chris….yes! yes! yes!)

      Green Gal:
      Well, of course, you are right, and that is the difference between the two brothers (and you should meet the other brothers and the sister!) But I will not copy Chris’s style because, well, heck, I value my career too much! But the King will be back tomorrow, or didn’t you know?

  7. H2O Front

    BTW, nice touch with the picture on the side in lieu of the dog or whatever Chris had.

  8. whatever

    have you seen this house from the water? awful!!!

    • christopherfountain

      (Gideon responding for…oh..you know)

      Oh, come now! Surely there’s something to like about the view from the water…

  9. You did an excellent job as watch captain on this blog while Admiral Chris meditated at his “retreat.”

    But, don’t give up your day job.

  10. anon

    imho, Gideon’s condescending attitude make his posts pretentious and unbearable. Nobody would read this if it remained his blog.

    • christopherfountain

      (Gideon, etc., etc.)

      Can’t argue with you there, pal, and the good news is, tomorrow? Chrissy Fountain’s back, yippee!

  11. happy in riverside

    “anon” responding from home……..I can tell from looking through the window when it was on the market!….its didnt seem high end at all….dubious layout…ugly deck / balcony…looks over yacht club….c+ at best….if the rumoured offers of “8-9s” in the original piece are anything to go by the developer should have traded already and got out for flat….on the flip side anyone that lives on a decent street in Riverside should take heart that their primary residence is more valuable than they may have thought in this environment.

    • christopherfountain

      (Gideon talking)

      happy in riverside:
      You know, I think you’re on to something there. Riverside has indeed fared much better during this downturn than other parts of town.

  12. duff

    Tried the #s, could not make them work.

    Best of luck to Peter though, The real deal.

  13. Anonymous

    the usual calculations really dont apply here — given that the builder’s daddy is a billionaire…..just a rounding error at best no matter what the final selling price.

  14. nosey neighbor

    This house is an embarassment… Yes it has wonderful views but that about sums it up on the positive side. Totally disjointed, vertical, nooooo character whatsoever and whats up with that ridiculous little walkup to the penthouse view… Sure hope you have good insurance cause someone’s gonna tumble down those stairs…

  15. az

    Gid said: “Uh oh. You know how I feel about formulas being applied to real estate. Too many variables, son, just too many. Two identical houses, both brand-new and un-decorated, could rent for substantially different amounts simply because one has a better view…”

    Pops, I agree. Two identical houses can sell for widely different prices because of location. Don’t you think it’s reasonable that the rent (as with the sales price) would also be widely different?