About that sale on Bobolink

27 Bobolink (proposed)

27 Bobolink (proposed)

There was some wonderment earlier this week when 27 Bobolink Lane, 3 acres and a tear-down, sold via bidding war for $4.5 million after being listed for $3.995. But as a reader points out, an oversized lot like #27 permits a huge – 12,000 sq. ft, house, and there aren’t many places to build to that scale in the 2 acre zone. Those that do exist sell at a good price, as I should have remembered since it was my clients who paid $4.750 million just last December for 4.9 acres at 487 North Street, also in the R-2 zone. And 2 Wooddale, corner of Lake also 4 acres, also R-2, sold in July 2011 for $4.1 million.

I’ve written many times of the savage penalty FAR exacts on undersized lots because of its inflexible application of maximum house size; that same inflexibility, however, works to the advantage of owners of large lots, especially for those properties able to accommodate mansions closer-in than the back country.

12 Comments

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12 responses to “About that sale on Bobolink

  1. Chris R.

    isn’t there some other bird they could have named that street for? sounds like something out of the urban dictionary.

  2. Anonymous

    Chris, based on this logic what do you think a 2.5 acre lot in a similar neighborhood may be worth.

    • Well FAR for 2 acres is 7,840, 2.5 acres would allow 9,801, and 3 allows 11,761. The difference between the 2 and the 3 is pretty substantial, hence the premium. Not sure you’d receive the same kind of boost for just another 2,000 sq. ft.

  3. KeepItReal

    End user paid a premium significantly above the examples you noted ($1.5M per acre vs. <$1m per acre in your examples), so indicates a bit of exuberance on the future potential of that land. Buyer seemed to put a $1.5M premium the house (that I believe he is keeping, not tearing down, and renovating which will be another chunk of bread). Seems steep vs. land and new build.

    And for comparison, Woodale premium was also for a subdivided lot (5 acres in 2 acre zone) which an end user also bought and is putting up a custom home (but seems to be keeping the second lot cleared…potential resale in future?

    Appreciate the point about premiums, but let's not be too applauding of someone who likely paid more than he should have.

    • “More than he should have” may be an objective measurement, and probably one I’m inclined to agree with, but you also have to take into consideration how difficult it is to find this size lot in this area of town. There are buyers out there who are willing to pay what it takes to get what they want (and God bless them, says I) and can afford to do it. Bidding wars can indeed generate temporary insanity, but there really is very little land in this size available, so if someone wants it and can pay to get it, he’ll go for it. Steve Cohen will never recoup what he’s spent on his compound up on Crown Lane nor, I suspect, will my email-pal Cliff Assness up in Conyers. I rather doubt either one cares – the idea is to provide the house they want for their family and I don’t think they’re looking for an “investment.” Both men seem to have done very well investing in other sectors of the economy, and need not do that when selecting and building a home.

      There are lots of purchases done by some people in Greenwich that wouldn’t necessarily be made by yokels like me: $9 bundles of split birch logs for the fire come to mind, but at some point, money becomes a secondary consideration. I’m not at that stage myself, but perhaps a few more buyers like the one taking 27 Bobolink Lane will see me at the Whole Foods firewood stand.

  4. anonymous

    No way the buyer is keeping the existing Hollywood Colonial Revival house.

  5. The New Normal

    overpaid, but oversized lots near town and schools are rare and will only get more so over time

    • anon

      he didn’t overpay because he knows that his lot is rare. His investment will only become more valuable when/if he chooses to sell. Oprah’s favorite expression is “buy land because they’ll never make any more”.

  6. Central Greenwich Long-Time Resident

    The truth is that if you plan on staying for a long time, the amount you overpaid or underpaid is not that significant, as long as you do not have to sell during a recession. After a few years of inflation, and barring another recession as bad as the last for 13 years or so, 20% more or less on the purchase price becomes a drop in the bucket for people who have income that at least keeps up with inflation. So in the end, it pays to get what one wants as long as one has the money comfortably Getting a bargain on a house that is not your ideal – you are going to have to move again at a very high cost or live with a house that is not perfect.

  7. Stlill seems like a better place to park cash than the Cyprus savings & loan.