Oshrat, I hardly know ye

21 Hurlingham Drive - kockey rink or not, it still wouldn't sell at $12.4

21 Hurlingham Drive - kockey rink or not, it still wouldn't sell at $12.4

But still, you didn't call, you didn't write .... Oshrat Carmiel has an article out in Bloomberg reporting that, astonishingly, as prices have dropped, Greenwich homes are selling again. Which is true, as far as it goes, but I do wish New York reporters, even good ones like Oshrat, would occasionally call me (and you have my number, Oshrat) to discuss the spin that's put on some of the sales data. For instance, the article cites this report of the sale of former Blackstone Group's James Mossman home at 21 Hurlingham Drive, in Conyers Farm:

On Hurlingham Drive, a seven-bedroom home on 13 acres (5.3 hectares) [Oshrat, you know I love you, but most of us aren't Israelis, and don't know a hectare from a vector, and couldn't care less - see? You should have called me; I'd have saved you the calculation] with a 3,000-bottle wine cellar, a tennis court that converts to a hockey rink and a globe-shaped observatory with retractable roof, sold for $8 million. It was previously listed at $8.95 million and $8.495 million.

And that's accurate enough, but it's one of the sales cited by Carmiel's sources to support their claim that homes are selling for 92% of their initial price, and spending an average of "just" 292 days on the market. In fact, 21 Hurlingham started at $12.4 million in 2014, and lingered for 949 days before finding a taker; and that's entirely typical of what's going on in the high end of the market. The firms spinning this stuff take the last asking price, and the last spell on the market, and calculate their numbers from there - that's a fine thing for their selling customers, but does it really serve their buyers? Assuming they also represent buyers, of course, and perhaps they don't, really.

All that said, Oshrat's grasped the basic principle of what's going on out here: lower prices, more sales. 

UPDATE: Oshrat reads this column and just called to advise me that the article's been updated to include the original starting price of 21 Hurlingham. In fact, that just makes her point stronger: Greenwich high-end homes are selling at large discounts. Or they aren't selling at all. 

RELATED THOUGHT: One phenomenon that's gone unremarked upon, here and elsewhere, is the huge number of properties being sold in the $1.1 - $2.5 range in Old greenwich and, especially Riverside, to end users who are building new custom homes worth, today, maybe $4 - $.5 million. Touring Riverside over Easter weekend, I suddenly realized (it's been a gradual process) that even the older, modest areas have been converted to luxury housing. That's what's driving the low-end market in the eastern part of Greenwich; even more than builders doing spec houses, I thin. It will be interesting to see what happens to these construction projects when they're put up for sale in 5-10 years, as used houses Will they hold their value? Stay tuned..