So you thought Boston home prices are high? Well, think again, according to WSJ, on Friday, a waterfront estate in Greenwich, Conn., was put up for sale. With a price tag of $190 million, it's believed to be the most expensive home now listed on the market in the U.S. The 50½-acre property includes a 12-bedroom Victorian, French-renaissance mansion, 4,000 feet of water frontage on Long Island Sound and two offshore islands.The listing marks the latest test of the ultra-high-end property market, which has seen several record-setting sales in recent years. Pricing in this stratosphere is an imprecise science, however, and it can be difficult for sellers to predict whether a nine-figure listing will lead to a nine-figure sale.
A number of U.S. properties that marketed themselves with price tags of $100 million or more have wound up selling for less—or not selling at all. While record price tags can drum up attention for the property—"a vanity price is a great way to get your 15 minutes of fame," notes New York real-estate agent Donna Olshan—they can also lead to multiple and very public price reductions.
Last year, hedge-fund executive John Paulson bought a 90-acre ranch in Aspen, Colo., for $41 million from Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan. The home originally was listed for $135 million in 2006. "At the time it was a very strong market," says Aspen broker Joshua Saslove, of his client's original listing price. "But it didn't sell at that price…so obviously it was the wrong price."
In 2009, Candy Spelling put her Los Angeles 123-room mansion on the market for $150 million, garnering keen attention. British socialite Petra Ecclestone bought it for $85 million, or 57% of the asking price, in July 2011. The Beverly Hills, Calif., compound of William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies was listed for $165 million in July 2007. It's still on the market, now for $115 million, with less land and fewer structures.
Greenwich, a town filled with old-money estates, is no stranger to grand listings. In April 2008, hotel mogul Leona Helmsley's mansion hit the market for $125 million. It sold for $35 million, at a 72% discount, in October 2010. Less than a year later, the estate went back on the market for $42.9 million and has since been withdrawn. The most expensive sale in Greenwich in the past five years was a 20,777-square-foot waterfront mansion that sold in less than a year for $39.5 million, or 93% of the $42.5 million list price.
Pricing a home far above its neighbors can be a risky bet. In July 2012, Steven Klar, owner of a residential-real-estate development firm, put his 8,000-square-foot penthouse on the 73rd to 75th floors in Manhattan's CitySpire building on the market for $100 million. Though nothing in the building has sold for more than $3.4 million in the past five years, Mr. Klar says his property shouldn't be judged by the value of lower floors. He also says he spoke with various brokers who told him they could see a list price of $75 million, $80 million or $90 million.
"I said, 'If we go to $90 million, why not go to $100 [million]?' " says Mr. Klar, who adds that he put the penthouse on the market because he felt the terraces posed a potential danger to his 5½-year-old son. "We need the impact." In January, Mr. Klar let the listing expire, but he is still shopping it around through his firm.
(source wsj.com) Click to continue to full article