I'll stand by my advice to rent, not buy an expensive house in Greenwich for the next few years, but this one's tempting

Northern lights in Greenwich? How special!

Northern lights in Greenwich? How special!

42 Mooreland Road, off Rogues’ Hill, is now bank-owned and offered for $6.599 million, a considerable discount from its 20012 price of $26.080 (the agent who set that original price, Tamar Lurie, is a wonderful person who sold houses at wildly improbable prices for decades, but I don’t think she heard the music stop back in 2008).

Mooreland was an ego project of Joey Beninati, co-partner in the now crashed and burned Antares Boyz, real estate wunderkind-idiots who looked like geniuses until the scheisse hit the fan ten years ago. A New Yorker writer did a fine profile of the arrogant fool back in 2008, and it’s still fun reading. Beninati divorced, fled to New York, where he got embroiled in a number of law suits brought by investors who thought he’d defrauded them, and who knows where he is now? In any event, we know where his dream castle is: 42 Mooreland Road, and the bank has it.

Is it worth, say, $6 million? In better times, I’d say yes, but do you want to sink that much money into an illiquid asset in Connecticut? My father had a friend who lived in the same NYC residence from 1935 to 1955 and furnished it entirely in fold-up camp furniture so that he’d be ready to go when the city failed. Turned out, he did well on his real estate when he finally cleared out, and the same thing could happen here, but I’d keep expensive decorating to a minimum.

The fellow who last September paid $8.4 million for 37 Mooreland, one of the two side-by-side spec houses just up the street from this one, may be feeling a bit disconcerted by 42’s new low price. He did pay a discount from 37’s original price of $11.950 million, and 42 is older and a different style, but a similarly-sized, 12,000 sq. ft. house selling in the $5s isn’t going to boost his own property’s value.

As an aside, I think this listing illustrates what I’ve been predicting for years: the collapse of our high end market will put downward pressure on lesser priced homes. There are currently 77 active listings above $6.5 million. Two are shown as pending. Though this house may eventually sell in the mid-$5s — if the bank’s lucky — it’s sitting in that $6.5+ bracket now, offering silent reproof to similar houses priced at millions more. Similarly, the Selden Lane Property discussed below has fallen from $7.5 million to $2. If more of our over priced white elephant inventory drops down to meet competitors’ prices, won’t that make houses now priced at, say, $5 million, look wildly overpriced? So what happens, then, to the $4 million class? And so on.