Well, better than last year, but that’s not saying much. Contracts for the month of February (single family homes) are:
Well, better than last year, but that’s not saying much. Contracts for the month of February (single family homes) are:
On a lark, I pulled the 9 lowest and 9 highest properties of the 50 Greenwich single family homes currently under contract (leaving 603 still for sale and more, presumably, coming on in January). It seems to me that many of the higher end houses are selling for a huge premium to their assessed value (which, I remind you, is supposed to be 70% of their 2005 market value). Either of two explanations come to mind to explain this phenomenon: either higher end homes are really holding their value better or the assessments were skewed to their advantage back in 2005. I don’t have the answer, but here are the statistics:
Address First price Last asking price Assessment (70%)
10 Lyon Ave. $695,000 $489,000 $444,000
36 Hartford $650,000 $550,000 $442,000
9 Miltiades $985,000 $695,000 $667,000
7 Mill Pond $925,000 $739,000 $705,000
11 Somerset $940,000 $895,ooo $1,008,000
4 Janet Ct $799,000 $779,000 $533,000
73 Halsey $920,000 $799,500 $570,000
1 Fairfield $1,199,000 $899,000 $668,000
14 Windy Knoll $1,239,000 $987,000 $498,000 (renovated ’08)
TOP NINE CONTRACTS
51 Mooreland $9,500,000 $5,995,000 $3,535,000
74 Lower Cross $6,995,000 $6,450,000 $4,000,000
21 Willowmere Cir $7,400,000 $6,850,000 $4,300,000
10 Cornelia $9,750,000 $6,950,000 $4,757,000
15 N. Crossway $7,195,000 $7,195,000 $3,148,000
205 Clapboard $12,500,000 $7,975,000 $6,120,000
21 Guinea $8,950,000 $8,950,000 $5,171,000
67 Harbor Drive $11,950,000 $11,950,000 $8,366,000
54 Byram Drive $23,000,000 $17,950,000 $5,644,000
40 Meyer Place in Riverside, one of those “convenient to transportation” locations, sold today for $920,000, down from its asking price of $1.095, 1.08% of its $853,000 assessment.
UPDATE: I blew this call. Back in September when this house was reported as under contract I predicted it would sell for “well below” its assessed value. Not the first time I’ve been wrong and certainly not the last.
10 Sparrow lane, a nice older house with a good yard backing up to a graveyard started out at $5.250 in February 2008 is reported “pending” today. Its last asking price was $3.8 million so depending on its actual selling price, it could come out quite a bit ahead of its $3.0 asessment. Or not – we’ll see.
Single family home contracts so far this fall:
Remaining Inventory, October 30,
Nothing earth shaking, but some substantial prices. This one on Sound Beach Avenue reflects current trends nicely: it sold new in 2003 for $3.075, sold again in 2005 for $4.160 and has now gone to contract again with an asking price of $4.250. If the owner breaks even after living there four years he’s done pretty well, I’d say.
60 Meadow Road in Riverside, that brick home across from the fountain, is again under contract after its first deal fell apart last summer. Same asking rice, $3.895.
361 N. Maple, asking price of $2.1 has found a buyer at long last as has 19 Skylark (behind the hospital), dropped from $1.2 milion to $945,500.
And that’s it so far, though the day is still young.
As a reader has noted, contracts are not sales, and houses that are reported as under contract also fall out of contract before closing – there could be a number of reasons for this, including failed building inspections but more likely these days is the lack of financing. If a buyer agrees to pay $1 million for a house, for example, and is approved for an 80% mortgage, the bank must still satisfy itself that it’s lending on a million dollar (or more) house. If the appraisal comes in at, say, $950,000, then to keep the 80/20 percentage, the price must come down or the buyer must come up with more cash. This can cause problems.
With that caveat, here are two houses reported as under contract this morning. 88 Richmond Hill (above) is a new house that was listed for $6.950 back in April 2008 and eventually lowered to $5.250 million. I liked the house: its layout, quality and the land it sits on, so I’m not surprised it’s found a buyer. What will it sell for? Probably more than its assessment of $4 million.
This Hearthstone house, on the other hand, probably will sell for less than its appraised value of $1.428 milion. Priced originally at $1.750, it dropped to $1.5. My guess? $1.3 – $1.350.
And then we have 8 Wykham Hill, back again with yet another price change – its 6th? It started a year ago at $4.995, dropped as low as $3.495 and then jumped two months ago to $3.975. That tactic didn’t work, surprisingly, so today it’s marked down to $3.550. Whatever.
Three already reported today:
23 Hettifred (yawn). Asking $1.1
549 Round Hill Road, asking $5.295. 7 acres, a 1700’s antique, okay land but close to the road and noisy; Must have been beautiful in 1776 – now, not so much. What will it have gone for? I’m guessing in the $3s, but someone may have a higher opinion of the land than I do.
41 Shore Road, Old Greenwich, asking $1.8. Nice old house on a half-acre, probably destined to be replaced. Guess as to selling price? Maybe $1.35 – $1.4?
72 Laddins Rock, bought for $1.3 million in 2004, re-listed for $1.850 in 2008 (go figure) and eventually reduced to $1.275, is reported under contract today. I’m surprised that it’s found a buyer: busy road, literally no yard, no windows on the south side, ensuring total darkness all day, and not necessarily the final word on building quality, but someone obviously like it. Good for them; I hope they got a good price. Assessed value is $967,500. UPDATE: short sale, $1,050,000 (plus fees)
Francine Drive, a tear-down, is under contract somewhere below its asking price of $950,000.
48 Benjamin Street, originally listed for $2.3 million in 2007, dropped to $1.850 awhile ago and now has a contract.
So there are buyers out there – all you have to do is price your house low enough to attract them.
While I was away ten properties went to contract – giving proof, no doubt, to the deleterious effects of this blog. If these are typical, the only thing increasing in value these days is direct waterfront. Everything else is way down.
429 Taconic, way up near Banksville, started at $12 million in ’08, dropped to $9.440 in July and has gone to contract at an undisclosed price.
32 Ferncliff, in Cos Cob, really nice land and a house that I liked, sold for $1.050 in 2003, was listed again in ’08 for $1.495 and dropped to $1.165 a month or so ago. I wrote then that I thought it was a great deal and someone obviously agreed.
99 Richmond Hill was listed as new construction at $11.9 million in 2005, finally sold in ’06 for $8.4 and came back on this year for $6.995. It dropped to $6.395 and has a buyer.
The exception to this trend is, just like 99 Richmond Hill, a Joe Barieri listing – Joe is having an exceptional year, with sales ail over town, from Old Greenwich to Conyers Farm. He’s also a very nice person, which makes mean people like myself despair at succeeding at this business. But we persevere. Anyway, Joe sold this in 2002 as new construction for $3.929 million ins 2002 and relisted it for his buyers just a month or so ago for $7.195. I expressed doubt that he’d get it but within days there were rumors of bids and now it’s under contract. Lesson, besides not listening to me, is to buy waterfront.
Well, it’s known as 41 “Stonebrook” now, but we’ll always know it as Hooker – it’s in Cos Cob, need I say? In any event, it went to contract this weekend, with an asking price of $1.759, so that’s encouraging.
There’s another house in Riverside whose address I won’t mention because it’s not yet a finalized deal, but I thought it was fairly priced at $1.550 and was a steal when it was reduced to $1.350. My own clients loved it but were sensible enough to offer only what they were comfortable with – if every home buyer had acted so wisely the past five years we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in right now – and lost it to a higher bidder; in fact, there were multiple bids, according to the listing agent. I mention this because my clients and I, as well, I’m sure, as the other bidders, have looked at the entire inventory in Riverside and Old Greenwich in this general price range and this was the only house that enticed to bid so high. Yet, there are many houses out there right now priced between $1.3 and $1.6 million – if their owners could see what $1.3 delivers, perhaps they wouldn’t be so adamant about holding their own price, because they’re nowhere near this one’s quality, condition or even location.
Of course, they won’t do that – sellers have an amazing ability to deny reality and to insist, all evidence to the contrary, that their own house is better than one that just sold for several hundred thousand dollars less. There’s no arguing with them, but they might wonder why they aren’t getting offers near their asking price and the house down the street is drawing plenty. They might.
Lots of agents are busy these days and I’m pleased to say I am among them. Lots of offers fewer acceptances, but things are moving along at a pretty good rate considering that it’s July. 27 Ford Lane in Old Greenwich is reported under contract today. It’s new construction with waterviews and access to a dock that, at high tide, will get you somewhere. A very nice house on a good street but its first price of $4.550 million was stretching things a bit. Its lower price of $3.7 million was an improvement and enough to find a buyer.
25 Cedarwood, 2.5 acres and a burned down house, has also gone to contract. Started at $2.450, dropped to $1.995, I wasn’t taken by the land but somebody obviously likes it enough to put down some serious cash, just proving once again how much personal taste plays a role in real estate.
And that same difference in taste will, I hope, mean a buyer for this new listing at 25 Hettifred, asking $1.190 million for a 1966 raised ranch on an acre. I like King Merritt Acres well enough, I suppose, but I’m not at all sure I’d pay that much for this spot. Fortunately, I’m not a potential buyer.
UPDATE: Perhaps the sellers at 25 Hettifred learned a lesson from their neighbor at 27, which has just come back on the market, again, at $999,000. This poor house has been looking for a buyer since 2005, when it was listed for $1.695 million. My guess is that the days of King Merritt acres busting a million are past, for the time being. Even $999 seems steep to me these days.
Two contracts today that took me somewhat by surprise or will if, as I assume, they sell for close to their asking price. 25 MacArthur Drive, asking $1.490 is under contract. The owners paid $1.45 for it in 2007 but I’d given up expecting to see a sale in that range in Havemeyer for awhile. Yet, there you are.
And 8 Beechcroft, purchased for $3.6 million in 2004, is reported pending today at its latest asking price, $4. 7 million. To be honest, I didn’t see improvements worth $1.1 million in this place and expected it to sell closer to its 2004 price than this, but obviously some buyer saw value where I didn’t. Good for him.
Two more contracts from Friday reported today. 2 Pleasant Street in Cos Cob, purchased for $905,000 in August, 2005, listed for $879,000 just last month and has found a buyer.
186 Otter Rock, a 1953 house on and acre and a half, was originally listed for $5.7 million on August 14, 2007 and stayed with the same broker through the years as it slowly dropped to $4.975 million. The seller’s patience has been rewarded – an agent with the same broker has the buyer, lucky for the broker (2X the commission) but my math on how long this process took is different than that employed by the Greenwich Association of Realtors. They show an original listing price of $4.975 and only 98 days on market while I see $5.7 million and 675 days. But I’m just an old spoilsport for mentioning that. Perhaps the grievance committee will raise that issue, too because my method really screws up their rosy statistics on DOM and sales-to-ask percentage. Darn him!
Here are some fun facts to chew on while we’re waiting for anything, anything at all, to heppen in our real estate market.
Jan.- June, 2006 371 July – Dec. 251
Jan. – June, 2007 329 July – Dec. 214
Jan. – June, 2008 242 July – Dec. 112
Year to date, 2009: 100
UPDATE: at the suggestion of a reader, here’s what happened in the $3 – $5 million range.
2006 – 118
2007 – 112
2008 – 57
y.t.d. – 7
We have 160 active single family residences for sale between $3 and $5 million. 29 are spec houses.
UPDATE: David Ayers, the realtor who knows everything worth knowing, emailed me to correct my figures and said there have been 9, not seven, houses that have gone to contract this year in the $3 – $5 million range. Not that I doubted him but I checked to see where I went wrong and came up with 12 (!). David, what am I doing wrong this time?
Three so far today, all under $1,00,000 and one, Boyd Lane (off Riverside Lane, of whiffleball fame) asked just $575,000 and presumably got less than that. The highest priced one, in Cos Cob, had marked its price down to $925 before it found a buyer, and was originally priced at $1.265 in February, 2008 – that proved to be optimistic.
In addition to the Rockefeller deal at $23.9 million, 238 Byram Shore Road, asking price $9.8 million, is reported as under contract. I’m a little surprised by this one. 24o Byram, next door, four years newer, also asked for $9.8ish and took two years to fetch $7.2 million, so when this one came on shortly after that one sold, I figured it would have a hard time fetching almost $3 million more. But now, 2 1/2 years later, it has a buyer. Too soon to tell whether it was worth the wait but if they got anywhere close to that asking price, I guess it was.
A house on Stepping Stone is also reported under contract. Priced at $1.95 or close to it, this isn’t quite nosebleed territory, but hey, something’s moving. 798 houses to go and we’re out of this damn market!
Three reported already today. Two are for houses under a million but this big boy on Calhoun was listed at $5.595 million and went to contract in just 53 days, which I will assume means there was an offer somewhere close to asking.
I was told last week that this beautiful, custom-built house asking $9.250 million had an accepted offer and by gosh, it’s reported today as under contract. It’s only been on the market 78 days so I’d assume asking and getting are pretty close. Good house, good location, smart price all still seem to work. That’s nice to know.
UPDATE: thanks to reader “Lisa”, I see that this was originally listed with 8 acres for $12.75 kmillion. They carved off 4 acres or else listed it in the alternative (impossible to tell because the broker deleted the first listing) and it now shows as a 4 acre property that was always priced at $9.25. That’s an intere3sting assignment of value for a building lot, but whatever.
Like that robin, this hardly makes a spring market, but four in one day is more activity than we’ve seen recently. No big blockbusters and two that probably are selling close to what was paid for them five years ago, but that’s okay. Life.
A total of fifty units, single family, co-op and condo have gone to contract this year. Some have sold, some are still in contract so we don’t know final sales prices for all fifty, but on the reasonable assumption that not much has gone for more than its asking price since January, we can tell the following: Nothing has broken the $6.950 million barrier.
(So get this, sports fans: we have sold no – zero – houses at $6.950 or more this year. How many houses are currently for sale at that price or above? The answer is, 97).
So what has sold?
11 Co-ops and condos, ranging from really, really cheap to the astonishing price of $2.3 million on Valley Road. I wonder who wants to be one of two owners in that complex, and what his agent told him to instill such bravery? Never mind, let’s look at single families:
$6-$7 million: 3
$5-$6 million: 2
$4-$5 million: 0
$3-$4 million: 6
$2-$3 million: 5
$1-$2 million: 13
$900 -$1 million: 2