Daily Archives: December 7, 2012

If you’re looking for trends in Greenwich real estate, check the police blotter

Deals on Wheels

Deals on Wheels

Police report that a Mini-Cooper parked at Putnam Hill had its wheels stolen after being jacked up and left on paint cans. At least until recently, the average age of owners at Putnam Hill was 87.65 years, a demographic that would rule out Mini drivers, whose average age is 14. So unless someone’s great-great granddaughter was visiting overnight, and they don’t, the presence of a car such as this at our town’s oldest geriatric community may signal the arrival of young whippersnappers. Stay tuned – unless your radio’s already been boosted.


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End of week sales, contracts

16 Mortimer, Old Greenwich, a quarter-acre building lot asked $1 million and sold for $1,020,000 – I never even noticed this come on last week but then, I’m not presently working with anyone looking to spend a million south of the Village to build a house. If I were, I might have.

2 Arnold

2 Arnold

2 Arnold Street, Havemeyer, asked $780,000, eventually got $677,500, which I suppose seems about right, assuming you intend to live in the existing house.

And way up where the savage Banksville natives roam, 14 Dwight Lane has an executed contract. It started at $4.295 million 578 days ago and never dropped below $3.695 but I imagine its final selling price will be close to a million less than that first wishful price. Land this far north doesn’t have much appeal to many buyers these days, which explains why you can get this much house and land for a Bramble Lane price. And of course, if they can find their wallet in their breechcloth, one of those Banksville types could escape the witch doctor tax collectors of his land and come what to him would be south, to a warmer, more hospitable climate.

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Three sales reported


Moving day at Conyers Farm

Moving day at Conyers Farm

22 Watchtower, Havmeyer, $1.435, 44 Upper Cross Road, 22 years on market, $8 million, and  7 Zygmont, Banksville border, $999,750 [why? – Ed]. That’s it so far.


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Forget insider trading, they should execute this guy for his execrable taste

Nothing shouts "I've arrived" in Boca Raton (Rat's Mouth) louder than plastic wood and greasy curtains

Nothing shouts “I’ve arrived” in Boca Raton (Rat’s Mouth) louder than styrofoam moldings and Taiwanese curtains

Former SAC trader Mathew Martomas was recently arrested at his Boca Raton mini-mansion for insider trading and is expected to tell tales, truthful or otherwise, about his former boss Steve Cohen. Nothing of particular novelty there, nor is his house in Boca Raton exceptional for one of his sort. Still, the pictures are just ghastly. For $1.96 million he could have bought new in Havemeyer and wouldn’t have been forced to wear a blindfold when he entered the house.

Makes Steven Braverman look like a home decorating genius.


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High end rentals

One Butternut Hollow, Greenwich (photo may have been enhanced - Ed)

One Butternut Hollow, Greenwich (photo may have been enhanced – Ed)

A reader asked about high end rentals recently and I found nine that are either active or have been rented in the past two years. My search parameters were, to the extent I remember, Central/North Street School district, south of the Parkway, built since 2001 (I limited the search thus because that’s what the reader was looking for).

Those that rented did so at prices ranging from $15 – $19,000 and most, rented and unrented, start at about $25,000. Just in case you’re wondering.

Here’s one that hasn’t rented since it came on in August, 2011 at $17,000, 1 Butternut Hollow Road. It’s back as a new listing today asking $19,000 which may or may not improve its chances of finding a tenant, but I’m somewhat surprised it hasn’t gone yet. I showed it to a client last winter and we both liked it: 2006 construction, nice quality, good location and good house. My client opted to save a ton of money and look farther west in town (we found a comparable house for $11,000) but One Butternut was in the running until the end.

Not so sure that the little pond next to it really affords  “a spectacular view of a shimmering lake”, but forgive the realtorese and check out the house, if you’re looking for this kind of rental. You might want to dicker over its price, however because sooner or later, the owner’s going to do the math and discover how much it’s costing her to have it sit empty while waiting for her number.


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Cause and effect?

73% of new jobs “created” in past five months are in government.

Detroit prepares to declare bankruptcy.


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Build in Greenwich? If only

Working to alleviate suffering in Greenwich, Ct

Working to alleviate suffering in Greenwich, Ct

There is just about a complete dearth of new construction in mid country priced in the $3-$3.5 range and that’s too bad, because demand for an acre or two and a new house south of the Merritt is huge and unslaked. You’d think that if builders can pay $1.4 for lots on Hearthstone and Bramble in Riverside and build new homes there that sell for $3.4, that same thing could be accomplished in mid-country, but it’s not happening – why not?

Basically, because there’s little good land available at a price that would make such a house profitable to build and sell. I ran the inventory right now from $975-$2,500,000 and of 26 properties, there were six that might have potential, by which I mean an existing home that hasn’t been expensively redone by the owners, who will expect someone to pay for those improvements, a good lot and a good address. And even those six aren’t sure-fire home runs, to mix metaphors.

An end user who didn’t need to realize a profit might go up to $2, even $2.5 million for land and could probably find something but for now, there’s not much out there. Which is too bad, because if there’s an average mid-country buyer it’s a young couple, two kids and planning a third, looking for 1-2 acres, newish construction, south of Merritt, Greenwich address, Central Middle School district and a yard with at least room for a pool, all for $3 million. They aren’t going to find much of that – I believe I just sold the last one, but $3.5 can find them “newish”, not new. A builder who can provide new at $3.5 will sell before he’s even done.

If I were a spec builder I suppose I’d be willing to come to the market with a product as described above at $4.5 million, tops, but I’d sleep better at night if I could get out with a profit at $3.5 – there are so many more buyers in that lower price range. Above $4.5 and you’ll want a patient lender with pockets deep enough to hold on for a while.

So for now, mid country buyers should focus on homes that can swallow $500,000 in improvements and yield an almost-new house. And builders should be knocking on doors of older homes, wearing a persuasive smile and toting a checkbook. There’s business to be had.

Or that’s how I see it, anyway.


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