Category Archives: Cos Cob

Abandoned Ridgeview Ave. house finds buyer and (unrelated), the Synagogue expands its Cos Cob footprint


9 Ridgeview Avenue

9 Ridgeview Avenue

9 Ridgeview Avenue, placed on the market by its bank-owner at $2.999, reports a contract. The failed developer paid $2.355 for the land in 2008 and took out a $4.7 million mortgage to build this shell. I assume all of that sum hadn’t been advanced before the project went south, but it’s a fair bet that there was a serious write-off here.

I personally would be wary of a house that has sat empty for so long, but I assume an inspector has signed off on the structural integrity.

88 Orchard Street

88 Orchard Street

In Cos Cob, an Irish realtor, Francis X. Fudrucker, has sold a Scotsman’s house on 88 Orchard Street to a Jewish synagogue; are we a multi-cultural town, or what? 88 looked for $2.355 million in 2011 and dropped as low as $1.795 before its listing expired on Halloween, 2011. The treat finally arrived last Friday, when they sold for $1.6 million.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Cos Cob, Foreclosure, Mid Country, Neighborhoods, spec houses

Slow day for real estate

Three small items to note.

241 Valley Rd

241 Valley Rd

241 Valley Road, asking $895,000, reports a contingent contract. This is a 1924 shack on 0.08 of an acre overlooking, but far uphill from, the Mianus River. But a beautiful view, and no neighbors to the east, at least. I’m sure you can do something interesting here. To keep score, this sold in basically the same condition in 2000 for $515,000.

44 Hunting Ridge

44 Hunting Ridge

44 Hunting Ridge Road has taken another price cut and now asks $5.495 million, which is better than the $7.925 it wanted back when it was first built in 2006.

414 Stanwich

414 Stanwich

And back again, 414 Stanwich is now priced at $1.525. It sold for $2.1 million in 2003, so the owners can (almost) be excused for first pricing this at $2.695 in 2006, but buyers weren’t buying it. A number of rentals, a handful of brokers, and many price cuts and years later, it’s down to this level. I like this house; it’s always been the price that put me off. Perhaps this will do it, but if I were advising my own clients here, I’d suggest that they negotiate, hard.


Filed under Back Country, Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Contracts, Cos Cob, Mid Country, Neighborhoods, spec houses

Back from open houses

What looked like a promising day: 68 listings to see, was pretty disappointing. After weeding out the rentals, retreads and hopelessly overpriced, there were just a handful of houses worth driving to.

More on those later; while I was out, two contracts were reported, both in the low range.

11 Mill Pond Court

11 Mill Pond Court

11 Mill Pond Court, $1.345, has a fully executed contract after just 14 days, which would indicate that a buyer stepped up within just a few days of the property appearing on the market (there’s a time lag between an accepted offer and formal execution of a contract). The owners paid $725,000 for this in 2007 and did a “total renovation”; judging from the mortgage they took out to pay for that renovation, it looks like they really did redo the place. In this market, a house that needs no additional work is a valuable commodity, and the speed with which this one sold isn’t surprising. Besides, Mill Pond is a nifty little street. 0.15 acre, for those interested in saving on lawn care.

29 Riverside Lane

29 Riverside Lane

29 Riverside Lane, on the other hand, is not on one of our finer streets in town: it’s busy, but it has also found a buyer after 29 days. Asking $829,000; building lots here were selling for $750,000 just a short time ago. This was improved in 2004, so the buyer may intend to live in it, which would justify paying more than land value.  Just about the same size lot as Mill Pond, 0.2 vs. 0.15. Your kids can still use the yard for play, so long as they play on a pogo stick.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Contracts, Cos Cob, Neighborhoods, Riverside

Often, the more I like a house, the longer it takes to find a buyer. Here’s an example

335 Valley Road

335 Valley Road

335 Valley Road has finally reported an executed contract. (link now fixed)

I loved this house when I saw it four months ago and predicted it would sell within two weeks. Off by 127 days (well technically, subtract 14 days from that number) and it had to take a price cut, from $2.375 million to $2.250.

Oh well. I’m delighted that it has found a buyer in any event, and I hope the new owners will like it as much as I do. And I still think, given what’s out there in this price range, it’s one of the best. Obviously, a number of other buyers disagreed, but that’s why houses come in different styles. How boring it would be to live in one of those modern, built-on-a-cornfield developments you find in northern Virginia, for instance, where the only variation, house after house, row after row, is which side of the house the garage is on.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Cos Cob, Neighborhoods

♫ Back in the saddle, again

326 Cognewaugh326 Cognewaugh, $1.275 ask, was reported as having an accepted offer last week but is back on active status today. Deals go wrong for lots of reasons so I won’t speculate, but this is never good news for home owners.

1 Comment

Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Contracts, Cos Cob

We’re back!

First, some market activity that was reported while I was out enriching the Saudis.

4 Cat Rock

4 Cat Rock

4 Cat Rock Road closed, for $1.750 million after 302 days on market. Nice old (1908a house and nicely renovated, it’s real problem was that it sold for $1.880 in 2005, was improved, yet sold for $1.860 in May, 2011, and when this was put back on a year later at $1.995, buyers balked, probably because they saw the price decline and speculated that it would continue down. If that’s what they guessed, they were right.

1361 King Street

1361 King Street

1361 King Street sold, $2.125 million ($2.495, ask), proving only that you can get a lot of house for $2 million if you’re willing to live under the flight path a long way from town. Some people are.

5 Butler Street

5 Butler Street

5 Butler Street, Cos Cob, on the other hand, didn’t linger. It was priced at $835,000 and went via bidding war for $842,100. As an aside, it’s often smart to throw in an odd number in one of these things. Win or lose, you don’t want to tie, which will only set off another round of bidding.

15 Upper Cross

15 Upper Cross

And waay, way up in nose bleed territory, 15 Upper Cross whacked a cool million from its price today so that what would have cost you $9.1 million yesterday can be yours today for $8. That’s an improvement over its 2011 price of $11.995 but, at least to my taste, this is about the land this old pile of stone sits on and not the house itself. So, what’s five acres near the Banksville border worth? Not $8.1 million, certainly, so we can anticipate more price reductions in the years to come. Of course, that’s just my opinion of the house; someone else may come along who falls in love with the place and will pay for the privilege of restoring it. Maybe.


Filed under Back Country, Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Cos Cob, Mid Country, Neighborhoods, pricing

Cos Cob sale reported


74 Valleywood Road

74 Valleywood Road

74 Valleywood Road, $1.1 million. It sold for $1.140 in 2005, when it had been newly renovated.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Cos Cob

The death of suburbs?

What will the Back Country smell like in 2019? Depends.

What will the Back Country smell like in 2019? Depends.

As boomers age, suburbs lose their appeal.

While much of this smacks of the usual liberal, “force people back into the cities where we want them to live”,  some of the author’s points do reflect what we’re witnessing here in Greenwich, as demand for the Back Country wanes and compact (or “congested”, your choice) neighborhoods like Riverside are increasingly popular.

And then there’s this whole set of demographic changes that we’re going through: an oversupply of large, single-family houses in conventional suburbia and an undersupply of what the next generation and aging baby boomers are going to want, which is more walkable communities.

What does “the end of the suburbs” mean for boomers who own homes there now?

It’s funny. The boomers even more than the Millennials are the big question mark. Everybody in the housing industry is dying to know where the boomers are going to live as they get older.

Many of them want to age in place, whether that’s because of the financial crisis or because they’ve built strong ties to their community. That’s all well and good until they ultimately vacate their home. With so many boomers, there’s not going to be as big a market of people interested in buying their houses.

In a blog post I wrote about how boomer home sellers can hook Millennial buyers, I quoted a housing analyst who warned that “the great senior sell-off” later this decade could cause the next housing crisis. Should suburban boomer homeowners be scared that the end of the suburbs is coming?

It depends on the kind of suburb they’re in. What people are looking for in single-family homes in the suburbs is changing, and if your house doesn’t meet the desires of future buyers, it might be a tougher sell.

Let’s talk about different types of suburbs. You draw a distinction between outer-ring suburbs and inner-ring suburbs. What’s the difference, and why does it matter?

Inner-ring suburbs tend to be a little bit older, with smaller lots that are closer together and where people walk more. Plus there’s some place to walk to.

But valuations in those types of communities are coming back up now. And many people think that’s where the Millennials are going to want to be, rather than outer-ring suburbs, because they’re closer to downtown, houses are a little smaller, you can walk around more, and it’s a little livelier.

So are you saying the further out someone lives in the suburbs, the more financial risk they’ll be taking when they want to sell?


Are suburban boomers who’ll want to sell their homes going have to accept bargain-basement prices due to a lack of buyers?

Look, the housing market’s coming back. But I think if you own a home in the suburbs, selling sooner rather than later is probably better. The prospects for selling to Millennials in the future aren’t good, unless you’re living in a place with a really, really good school district.

Won’t Millennials move to all types of suburbs once they have kids?

Everybody says wait till they have children; then they’ll do what their parents did and just go right back to suburbia. But there are going to be plenty of other options for them. And a lot of Millennials don’t like to drive — they’re not getting their drivers licenses as frequently as in the past.

What will the end of the suburbs mean for boomers who want to move for retirement?

It depends. If they want to go to a Sunbelt place, there are lots of bargains to be had there now.

But if not, what they’ll want is a community that offers some pedestrian activities and some sense of liveliness without a heavy reliance on a car.

That’s what you say Millennials want, too.

Right. And if you jumble those two groups up, that produces something that sociologists and urban planners say is really good.

One of the things about the suburbs people complain about is that they’re so homogenous — not racially (although they are), but in terms of age and life purpose. Everyone is in their 30s to 50s raising young children.

In the old days, what made a vibrant neighborhood was having young people and old people, rich people and poor people living together in different shapes and sizes of houses and from different walks of life. Maybe the walkable community of the future will combine the old and young.


Filed under Back Country, Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Cos Cob, Mid Country, Old Greenwich, Riverside

Here’s another one

2 Old Stone Bridge, which we’ve written about before, sold Monday for $1.775 million, 68% of its original $2.595 asking price. It was last sold in 2000 for $1.150 million but the new owners did a ton of work modernizing it so I’d guess that they, or the relocation company that handled the sale, broke even, at best. Nice house, too.

Comments Off on Here’s another one

Filed under Cos Cob, Neighborhoods

Condos on Valley Road

340 Valley Road is a project of 10 units built in 2007. They’re nice enough, but they aren’t doing so well. One, unit 3, sold for $2.3 million back in July – the buyer must be feeling lonely by now because with the exception of Unit 8 which has been rented, he has no neighbors. I can only sympathise with that buyer – it is no doubt a crummy feeling to look around and realize that, probably unwittingly, you’ve become a pioneer. I hope his contract had a price protection clause because otherwise, unless this developer is remarkably well financed, I’d expect some dramatic price drops in the coming months. Nothing’s happened yet but then again, “nothing” is a broad term – these condos don’t seem to be going anywhere.

UPDATE:  The same builder put up what I thought a teriffic house on 83 Howard Road but it, too never sold. I blame that on trying to sell a house in Northeastern Greenwich, always a tough sell, on 0.5 acres in a 4 acre zone. Not even room for a pool and this was a weekend house, in my opinion. You come out to the country for the weekend, you want a pool. The asking price of $4.2 million didn’t help matters an, either. Too bad – nice house.



Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Cos Cob, current market conditions, pricing, spec houses

A Buyer’s Mindset

Although I’m not involved with the deal, I happen to know both the buyer and seller of 2 Old Stone Bridge, reported as under contract yesterday. The seller’s convinced the buyer “stole it” – the buyer’s convinced that the market’s still got a long way to fall but he needed a house, held his nose and went ahead with the deal. I think the buyer will eventually do well with the place (I can report the selling price Monday, when it closes) but regardless, his comments illustrate what’s happening out there which is, unless a buyer really truly needs to buy, now, he won’t, and even then, he insists on paying a price that the seller feels borders on the criminal.

So if you’re a seller, I suggest that you not sell now unless you really truly have to and if you do, prepare to be unhappy with the price you get. Of course, if you, like my buyer/friend, are convinced that the market will continue to plumet, you may want to sell now to avoid the debacle. Your choice.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Cos Cob, current market conditions


2-old-stone-bridge 2 Old Stone Bridge Road has finally found a buyer. Owned (or handled, anyway) by a relocation company, it was originally listed in March for $2.595 and has seen a succession of price cuts since before eventually landing at $1,995,950 – a number that suggests a grudging employee at the relo who resented every cut. I liked the house – it sits up on a hill, was nicely renovated by its current owners and had a very nice in-law or teenager suite above the garage. Unlike some houses I’ve seen that are just wildly over-priced, I think this one’s difficulties selling had more to do with the market than anything else.

Comments Off on Contract

Filed under Contracts, Cos Cob, current market conditions, Neighborhoods

What are these builders going to do?

I was showing some properties to a buyer and neither of us liked what we saw, at least at the price the builder was asking – $1.5ish. Two decent houses, side-by-side, one a renovated older home the other brand new but both overlooked the Cos Cob Foot  Food Mart parking lot which is not nearly as attractive as, say, a view of the ocean. These houses are by far the most expensive on the street and that sends a cautionary note as well.

The builder, if memory serves, paid $1.3 for the two lots, so he’s got $650 into each one. A sale for much less than $1.4 million is almost certain to cause him to lose money and that’s assuming he built the houses for $680,000 or less – I doubt he did.

But I don’t think he will get $1.4 million for these. If I’m right, he’s going to be losing money sooner or later; the question is, when will he acknowledge that?

Maybe I’m wrong, and perhaps there are buyers out there willing and able to pay the asking price. My point is, even if these two work out, there are a lot of houses currently for sale that aren’t going to. Their builders paid too much for marginal building lots back in the land rush, spent too much on building and now are going to have to take a bath. I’m seeing a lot of price cuts but, so far, few deep enough to move undesired houses. I think that’s going to change soon but, for now, it’s keeping a lot of buyers on the ssidelines, waiting. It occurs to me that the builder who cuts his losses now and gets out from under a failed project will be far ahead of his competitors when their building loans come due in February.


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Cos Cob, current market conditions, pricing, spec houses