Knock me over with a feather

24 Verona Drive

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this Riverside location, down near the foot of Lockwood Road,  and the house that sold there last week looks beautiful, but had you told me a year ago that Verona would support a price of $3.825, I’d have doubted you. Which is why you have to keep up with the market (and ignore me). I’d say that we are, at least temporarily, back at 2008 pricing in Riverside. Will we stay there? Stay tuned.


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33 responses to “Knock me over with a feather

  1. Duff

    whats up with the “under contract” since jan 2010?

  2. Chris

    You are going about it all wrong, this is how they sell real estate downunder…


  3. Bronx Bomber

    Chris, Verona is a great street. Quiet culdesac with nice houses. This house is beautiful on inside and out and has views of Binney Park. There is very, very little new construction supply in OG and Riverside. I think Riverside market is definitely on the upswing and is futher amplified by lack of supply at the moment. If I were a potential Riverside seller, I would get off of the sideline and into the game!

    • I don’t disagree with you, Bomber, especially about the virtues of the street itself. But when I was growing up, it was more like, say, Dialstone or Winthrop – neighborhoods of modest homes. I was surprised, seeing it yesterday, to see the changes. It’s still a quiet, dead end street, but there have been some impressive houses built on it in recent years.

  4. Cos Cobber

    Stunning. I hope we see a trickle down over here, across the harbor.

  5. Anonymous

    There is an ass for every seat!

  6. Bronx Bomber

    Chris, good point. Verona has soon a lot of tear downs and remodels over the last decade or so. The result is a street with a lot of newer/renovated/expanded homes; most modest homes on this street that were put up in the 50s are now gone. There is another new house going up right next to the one that just sold. I believe 21 Verona is also for sale or rent (which is a nice house with a great backyard). I looked at a number of these houses over the last several years, but never quite pulled the trigger.

  7. Jimbo

    I think the lesson is that newcomers still love McMansions and are willing to over pay for them. (How many inches between that house and one to the right?)

    If I were a builder, I wouldn’t bother with expensive architectural details or high-performance building materials. The yuppies don’t know the difference. They’re interested only in square-footage. They can see and measure square-footage, and so can their fan clubs.

    • I do believe that’s true Jimbo. Big and brand new sells, old and classic is a drag on the market. But as I mentioned to another reader, sellers who fix up/modernize classics, like 35 Wesskum Wood, should do fine, so long as Franklin Bloomer lets them. I think Wesskum Wood is going to sell quickly, and at a premium, but that’s at least partly because the owners put a lot of money and, more important, time into their project. A lot of buyers would rather write a check. Me, I love the building process, but I can certainly understand how two busy parents, perhaps each employed in NYC, don’t have the time to come back to Riverside to supervise the installation of a toilet. So the checkbook comes out.

  8. Perhaps it’s the angle of the photo, but it looks like you can reach out the window of #24 and touch the house to the right. Are they that close?

  9. Real Torme

    Reader Jimbo must be a big fan of Ted Murphy’s body of work. “Murphy Houses” ruled Riverside 40-50 years ago with maximum square footage and minimal taste for the junior exec with lots of kids.

    • Oh my God, you remember “Murphy Houses” too? They became a generic term, as he ate up every large lot and crammed his awful houses onto them. Still, they sold for something like $27.000 back then, and one of his (stolen) for sale signs made a wonderful bed for my VW Microbus and introduced me to the free-love hippy revolution, so who’s complaining?

  10. So why then, if old and classic is a drag on the market, I can’t find one to buy????? I’m happy to leave the big new builds for those yuppies Jimbo was so right about.

  11. cos cobber

    Can you clue me in: what street has murphy houses? How about florence in nopo riveride?

    I couldn’t disagree more with several of jimbo’s points (nothing new there) but I don’t have the will to elaborate this evening.

  12. TraderVic

    I believe home buyers are being rational, and not just lazy, in wanting newly built homes. We own two identical townhouses in Stratton, Vermont. 5 years ago (height of the market) we renovated one from top to bottom. This month I asked for a price quote to renovate the other one….The construction cost is HIGHER.

    This is because materials prices have risen and the labor price has stayed the same. I realize I am not a builder, I am just some schmuck who pays the retail price for construction. But my point is that Existing Home Prices are down 30%, but Construction Prices have held firm. Therefore, it is a far better deal for home buyers to buy NEW.

    This assumes our experience in Stratton is the same as it would be here in Greenwich, but I think it is. Comments from the builders out there?

  13. jdh

    so EOS what sort of house are you in fact looking for, aside from old and classic?

  14. mta

    TraderVic – Yes, material costs are up, but you are still able to get better pricing on labor (this is changing). One GC that I work with has 3 sub-contractor’s price each project that he is bidding. He breaks the scope of work down into a dozen or so line items (ie. 3 electricians and the scope of work is broken down into rough electrical, fixtures, low-voltage wiring, electric mat heating, etc). He then combines the lowest prices of all the line items across the three subs and presents that in his bid–knowing that when it comes time to buy out the contract he will be able to negotiate an even lower price. According to him, the initial bid is just what the subs WANT to make. . . My guess is that, overall, construction prices are somewhere between the 30% number you quote and “firm”.

  15. KeithN

    I was recently looking at 21 Verona as a rental and came away with a slightly different perspective on the street. To begin with, 21 Verona was a very nice house which has turned into a renter special due to lack of maintenance and a chain link fence (not a staple within the Riverside community) which encloses the back yard. 24 Verona does indeed look beautiful, however; there is a dirt lot on the left of it which looks like a parking lot for heavy construction equipment and the house on the right is where the Riverside hillbillies live (as evidenced by the woodpile, garbage cans and recycle bins in the drive way, not to mention the burnout marks on the street in front of the house).

    Verona needs a little more time / developement to complete the transition away from its humble 50s beginning.

  16. Anonymous

    The two houses are in excess of 20 feet apart (R12 u know). they look closer than they are in the photo. verona is a great family street with easy access to the village and binney but am surprised at the price as well. the same builders are now trying to get in excess of $4.2 for the house “to be built” next to this one. they’ve been sitting on the empty lot for 2 years but have now decided to get started.

  17. Sump Pump

    Really, Chris?!? I can understand that your taste may not be the Verona house. Lots of people prefer a freshly renovated charming old home to brand-new all-the-amenities construction. Still do you really believe that Verona is “worth” less per square foot than Weskum Wood? Because that is what you are saying: Assuming the land (and address) values are a push (a generous concession to Weskum Wood, if you ask me), Verona’s selling price works out to $479/sq. ft. and Weskum Wood’s ask works out $686/sq. ft (including the dirt for both).

    Put another way, even the most avid VW fan would not pay over Mercedes prices for a VW. The VW price should be part of its allure…

  18. TraderVic

    Thanks mta, great granular detail. I’ll try it.

  19. Riverside

    Best examples of Murphy Houses are the houses at the end of Lockwood Lane, crammed in on the old Lockwood estate owned now for many years by – Murphy!!

    Lots of space and every house identical. Riverside’s version of Levittown.

  20. Real Torme

    You are referring to the Lockwood Lane Historic District?

  21. doug

    mornin’ keith,
    been called many things in my 4o something years but hillbilly is a new one.

  22. Cos Cobber

    thanks Riversider.

    look at that, FWIW is making neighborhood connections; Keith meet Doug, Doug meet Keith. Play nice.

  23. jdh: only my Realtor knows for sure and my Realtor is reading this right now. You DO know, don’t you Realtor O’Mine?

    I am learning that old and classic means fixer-upper which I didn’t think I was up for again (been there done that thrice) but not able to afford the big bucks it takes to get old and classic AND redone, it looks like I may be ordering a dumpster and asking my brother-in-law the architect for yet another favor!

  24. doug

    hey keith,
    are there any hillbillys in your ‘hood?

  25. Anonymous

    ah doug,
    don’t you realize that “keithn” is your neighbor cleverly trying to shame you into not putting your trash out on trash day and trying to get the other neighbor to replace the chain link fence that’s been a thorn in his side? keith – stop by for some squirrel stew anytime!

  26. Anonymous

    gazpacho or gumbo

  27. doug

    garbage cans are out, game on…………..

  28. Anonymous

    I’m sorry to have missed this comment thread in “real time”. It made me laugh out loud several times and I have tears in my eyes over the last comment.

    Brutal. 🙂