The decline of 1960-1970s mid-country homes

82 butternut Hollow

82 Butternut Hollow Rd

82 Butternut Hollow Road has dropped its price again and is now asking $2.050 million, down from its first price of $2.495. This is a perfectly decent house, with a good yard, decent location, and a pretty low price, to my eye, but it hasn’t sold. The owner paid $955,000 for it in 1993, which was a lot of money back then, and updated/renovated it in 1995. Those improvements look dated today, but I’ve been watching this house with curiosity, to see what houses of this era will sell for. So far, we don’t have the answer.

14 Hope Farm

14 Hope Farm Rd

Similarly, 14 Hope Farm Road, a 1977 house that was priced at $5.495 million last June, is now marked down to $3.995, and probably has further to fall. It sold for $4,125,500 in 2004, sold again in the 2009 down market for $3.550 (after starting off in 2008 at $5.4 million), sold again, after some expensive improvements, for $3.487 in 2012 and, as noted has been trying to find a buyer now. There was no one at $5.495, and there may still be no one at $4.

I’m sure both these homes will find buyers in the spring market, but I’m curious to see what that market will pay.


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37 responses to “The decline of 1960-1970s mid-country homes

  1. Cos Cobber

    Hope Farm is pretty decent on the inside. Maybe there are some cosmetic tricks you could do to the exterior and that addition to the left to enhance appeal.

  2. Re: 82 Butternut Hollow
    Was Helen Keller the color consultant on those interiors?

  3. That was the first specie influx after Town was sold to Power Broker New Yorkers.
    Lindsayers still rule.

  4. Riverside Chick

    Butternut would benefit greatly by ripping up all the hidious carpets (hopefully wood underneath) and paint the standard light grey (shades of) in all the rooms.

  5. Anonymous

    The 60s/70s houses were all crap from the start (unless you love balsa wood doors) so what do you mean by ‘decline?’

    • Anonymous

      Not if they’re updated. I’ll always trust the bones of an older home than new construction thats done these days by careless builders.

      • Cos Cobber

        ha – that situation certainly goes both ways. for instance, i had a builder chuckle about how shotty 70s era construction was….and we are talking about his own family’s work. plenty of good/bad in both old and new stuff.

      • Anonymous

        our house, a bland colonial, was built in the 60’s and is constructed like a proverbial brick s#@! house. this i know because i’ve had to tear down several rooms to the studs and re-do this & that. when you see that kind of skeleton, you’ll know if it was done right. not everything was crap.

        • It certainly wasn’t – there have always been craftsmen builders around, and they built good houses regardless of their era. Finishes might have been less expensive because prices wouldn’t support some of the over the top things buyers demand today, but if the structure is sound, the flourishes can be added.

  6. Toonces

    82 Butternut is a great house. The floor plan is classic and the room scale much better/bigger than the new builds I’ve seen of late in OG and Riverside. Good buy I think. The Hope Farm house is gorgeous – I even love all the wallpaper. Cool floor in that mud room. The back of the home is beautiful as is the landscaping.

    • I know that I personally would choose Butternut at $2 over Halock Drive, but apparently the buyer of Halock disagreed.

      • Toonces

        I would too now that I know what a cinch it is to update a house. But a lot of buyers can’t see past the old – – I couldn’t for a long time. I do love that water view from Halock however

        • Anonymous

          I completely agree with you Toonces – Butternut is asking land value in that area. You get a house for free that would be fairly cheap to update and could even easily expand if need be.

  7. Anonymous

    Riverside spec home owners get a glimpse of their future.

    • Cos Cobber

      true, while land tends to endure over longer periods, buildings by and large always depreciate. its a very rare home that truly maintains is value over the very long run. the exception, not the norm. technology (building materials) and taste change causing obsolescence.

  8. Anonamommy

    I see that Butternut has the dreaded second floor laundry room. What do people do with dirty kitchen hand towels and pot holders or the muddy clothes junior comes in wearing? Lug them all upstairs? Give me a second story laundry CHUTE and a first floor laundry room.

    • Cos Cobber

      Do you get dressed on the first floor everyday?

      I have no problem with a laundry basket in the pantry which is brought to the second floor once a week.

      • Anonamommy

        My kids play ice hockey and soccer. When they come home from practice with stinky uniforms and putrid socks, I put their gear straight into the washing machine DOWNSTAIRS off the back entry. I can’t imagine letting it all fester in a basket in the pantry until I carry it upstairs. I realize I’m in the minority.

        • Anonymous

          I’m with you. And its not just winter sports – the endless sandy towels, wet pool stuff in the summer. Ugh I can’t imagine lying them all through the house. And yes, I know we are def in the minority. Maybe we’re the only ones without full time help?

          • Toonces

            me too anonamommy and Anonymi. Get dressed upstairs – dirty stuff goes down the chute. Kid’s stuff goes straight into laundry off mud room. I am more often downstairs than up so transferring from washer to dryer and folding is easier from down stairs too.

        • Anonymous

          lying/lugging whatever Not doing it

  9. Cos Cobber

    We just find ourselves in the reverse position…not wanting to bring laundry up/down from 1st floor basement. We would rather bring up/down the laundry oddities then the baskets of regular clothing.

  10. Anonymous

    In 1993 the dow was 3754 and has grown over 4 times. So 82 butternut should be selling for $4m if it kept with inflation…you can’t with Greenwich real estate.

    • Guest

      My house was purchased in the second half of the 1970s and has grown in value more than 10 times when you add in renovations. Since we used the house, there is a cost that we naturally paid, so buying this house was not a terrible financial deal for our family.

      How you make out in real estate depends on when and where you buy. Some years are good years to buy in this area and some not. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was runaway inflation, which made Greenwich real estate a good investment.

      Anyway, the CPI has only about doubled since 1986, so the analysis of Anonymous about the house being worth $4 million if it had appreciated with inflation is incorrect. They will probably break even with inflation counting in their renovations.

      The Dow has the same risks, If you put money in at the wrong time, you may get a very poor return.

  11. Guest

    $25,000 of staging would go a long way, as would ripping out carpets and painting everything a neutral color. Some of the furniture can stay, but much needs to go. Same with the curtains. They are not a positive here.

    The kitchen looks okay, maybe with new back splashes such as subway tile to modernize it. It also needs new appliances and a built in fridge for the level of house it wants to be. I would definitely do the kitchen work before the sale, if the seller can afford it, because it is not that expensive and is likely to make a beautiful kitchen look much newer.

    Also drawing up a plan for a two story entry and maybe getting rid of the offending bathroom upstairs in the way of the two story entry in that floor plan would help the sale.

    Pictures of bathroom renovations, especially the master, would also help a buyer visualize what the house could be.

    It is a pretty house from the outside, and the lots on Butternut Hollow there are beautiful.

    If they had put $50,000 into the sale process, the price would not be so darn low. Maybe they would get $2.25 or more. This is an example of a penny wise, pound foolish sale because the house is worth much more than $2 million.

  12. Guest

    The lesson here is that if you have a house that is older, and it is not clearly a tear down, you should do what needs to be done to sell at a reasonable price. That includes high end appliances, refinished gleaming floors and fresh neutral paint. It also includes moving much of your stuff to storage if it looks that that. These sellers are paying through the nose for cosmetic defects.

    Not that the house is bad inside. It just is not decorated so as to appeal to today’s buyers, which makes for a huge discount in price.

  13. Anonymous

    I am surprised to see that no one commented on two obvious issues with Hope Farm: only 4 bedrooms (I think most people looking at 8,000 square foot houses are looking for 5-6) and the dreaded flag lot.

    • Toonces

      I think the lot is bordered by conservation land on two sides – which in my mind makes the flag lot a real plus.

  14. Anonymous

    interesting that 82 BH still has a 50s era antenna on the roof. Did they never go cable?

  15. Anonny

    Butternut may get less, there was a newer house on that road that sold around $1.4-1.5.

  16. Anonny

    point well taken. I have previously seen this house listed and I think they did do a facelift – painting the kitchen cabinets, new furniture, etc. The green rug must go!