January 16, 2011

More Haircutting While Chasing the Market Down

Last Sunday we looked at a feature from Zillow Blog: ten expensive home sales in 2010 from all around the country (but NOT the Real Bay Area).  Today we take another look at more hideously high-priced homes across the nation, only these 12 housing tumors still haven’t sold.

This Luxist article ranks the lucky nominees by price reduction in dollars (not percentages) taken along the way.  I put the listings in the correct order (the blogger had one in the wrong place), and added one more property that came out on Luxist after the list was published.

Best of all, we have a San Francisco entry this time, so we’ll take an extra good look at that offering.  Even in the RBA it’s possible to overprice something.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#1: Albermarle House Charlottesville, VA

Original Asking Price: $100 million (October 2009)

Reduced Asking Price: $48 million (February 2010)

Current Asking Price: $24 million

Haircut So Far: –76% ($76 million)

This behemoth in the Blue Ridge Mountains has 25,000 square feet, 45 rooms (including 8 bedrooms and 13 baths), but all the furniture and art has already been auctioned off, so sorry!  The 907 acre grounds include the Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyards (and that is also on the block).  Even places like this can get foreclosed on, but their loss is your gain!

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#2: Henry T. Sloan Mansion – New York, NY

Original Asking Price: $64 million (January 2008)

Current Asking Price: $39 million (November 2009)

Haircut So Far: –39% ($25 million)

6 FL, 18267 SF, 15 BR/17 BA, 11 FP, 18 E 68th @5th, TAXES $79K, MAKE OFFER, SELLER DESPERATE.

“The owners have a real need to sell in the first quarter of next year, or sooner,” said Lawrence J. Selevan of Chesterfield Faring, a financial adviser to the owners. “They need to raise the capital to take care of other issues.” – New York Observer, 11/10/09

The current FBs bought their property for $20 million in 2007, then bought out all the tenants, one by one, for another $11 million, so they could turn the apartment building back into a townhouse.  The F-word has already been used and lis pendens was filed last January.  This property has the distinction of being on the 2009 list as well.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#3. Museum Tower Penthouse – San Francisco, CA

Original Asking Price: $70 million (August 2008)

Current Asking Price: $49 million (November 2008)

Haircut so far: –30% ($21 million)

Many properties have their own website when they go up for sale, but few use a description rather than an address: Museum Tower Penthouse.  You won’t find this place on the MLS, either.  But you will find it on the map, and Third and Minna doesn’t look like the RBA part of San Francisco.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>The owner doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to sell, with the price not budging in more than a year.  But this is not only the most expensive condominium in San Francisco, it may be the most expensive apartment anywhere, and $49M is one of the highest asking prices for any property in SF.

Then again, not many of those other properties are 20,000 square feet.  That includes 2900 sf over four terraces, a 2500 sf master suite, 5 other bedrooms, 7 total full bathrooms and 4 half baths, four fireplaces, a 13-seat cinema, an office with conference room, and parking for six cars.

According the Chronicle piece linked above, the owner lives for the most part in Hillsborough, so you may want to think about getting a country house in addition to this little pied-à-terre.  Perhaps your buyers’ agent can get you some kind of buy one, get one half off discount.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#4: Porcupine Creek – Rancho Mirage, CA

Original Asking Price: $75 million (March 2010)

Current Asking Price: $55 million (August 2010)

Haircut So Far: –23% ($20 million)

This resort masquerading as a private residence sits on 249 acres, 248 of which are a golf course.  The 18,400 sf metastasized mansion with 16 bedrooms isn’t large enough for visitors, as the lot boasts eight two bedroom guest houses as well.  The Yellowstone Club is selling (or should we say liquidating) to meet their creditors’ demands, and the bankruptcy court in Montana must approve your offer.  Divorce and lawsuits seem to be the cause.  Aren’t they always?

This home was originally ranked #2 on the list.  Why the author thought $20 million was more than $25 million is left as an exercise to the reader.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#5. Rocky Oaks Estate – Malibu, CA

Original Asking Price: $65 million (October 2009)

Current Asking Price: $49 million (November 2010)

Haircut so far: –25% ($16 million)

This 5 BR/5 BA hilltop lookout encompasses 37 acres, with not one foot of beachfront.  Kind of defeats having that Malibu address, doesn’t it?  As a consolation prize, you get a vineyard.  HUGE PRICE REDUCTION!  Only on market 459 days!  HURRY, THIS ONE WON’T LAST.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#6. Val Kilmer’s Pecos River Ranch  – 30 miles east of Santa Fe, NM

Original Asking Price: $33 million (early 2009)

Reduced Asking Price: $23 million (October 2010)

Current Asking Price: $18.5 million CASH (January, 2011)

Haircut so far: –46% ($14.5 million)

Even the website heading has Val Kilmer as part of the title.  And what a ranch, 5200 acres plus an additional 640 acres of grazing rights, right in the middle of the homicide capital of the Southwest.  The sales conditions are spelled right out here: you get all furnishings and appliances not owned by employees or reserved by seller.  That could mean none of them.  You get all the mineral rights not previous reserved – oops, same loophole.  In addition to the land you also get a 5500 sf main house with 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, 2 living rooms, and, get this: 2 kitchens.  You also get 2 guest houses, a manager’s house, and the usual equestrian facilities.

Just for grins, the IRS has a half a million dollar lien on the property.  And for another knee-slapper, Kilmer put the property up last October on Craigslist.  Final indignity: In 2006, Kilmer attempted to sell an 1800 acre parcel of the ranch, or a bit less than a third of it, for… $18 million.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#7. Michael Jackson’s Rented House – Holmby Hills (Los Angeles), CA

Original Asking Price: $38 million (April 2008)

Reduced Asking Price: $28,995,000(August 2010)

Current Asking Price: $23.5 million (October 2010)

Haircut so far: –46% ($14.5 million)

Yes, MJ was the tenant here, not the owner.  It’s just your basic 17,100 square foot 7 BR/13 BA French Chateau designed by Richard Landry off Sunset Boulevard.  Has the usual guest house and private cinema.  Ho hum.  Last sold for $18.5 million in 2004, and may very well sell for something a lot closer to that.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#8. The Razor – La Jolla, CA

Original Asking Price: $39 million (May 2008)

Reduced Asking Prices: $32 million(August 2010), $28.5 million (June 2009)

Current Asking Price: $25 million (February 2010)

Haircut so far: –36% ($14 million)

Perhaps the only home on the list with any architectural interest, The Razor was designed by Wallace E. Cunningham, with floor-to-ceiling windows set to take in the ocean views.  It’s 11,000 square feet, with 4 bedrooms, 5 baths, an 8 car garage and the obligatory guest house, set on 3/4 of an acre.  It also has a private entrance to Black’s Beach.

This is the extra house discovered Tuesday, after Luxist already published their 11 price cuts piece.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#9. Sea Lane Drive – Malibu, CA

Original Asking Price: $55 million (July 2010)

Current Asking Price: $45 million (December 2010)

Haircut so far: –18% ($10 million)

Never mind the 11,000 sf house with 7 bedrooms, 8.5 baths, guest house, theater.  Yawn.  Forget that it’s on 6.2 acres.  Meh.  No, this insane price is for the 339 feet of Malibu beachfront.

Do you know who this house belonged to?  Max Palevsky.  He died in May, so the house is for sale.  He founded some snack company that made chips.  They even have an office in Santa Clara!

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#10. The Webb Project – Montecito, CA

Original Asking Price: $42.5 million (August 2010)

Current Asking Price: $32.5 million

Haircut so far: –24% ($10 million)

Yet another 6 BR/8.5 BA house with theater, guest house, and two three-car garages on five acres. Enough, already. Enough.

Its address seems to be 000 East Mountain Dr.  Can any of you sleuths find the date the price got reduced?  I’m having no luck with Redfin, which I like for its price history section. This is the only listing where I couldn’t get dates from either Redfin or real estate blogs.  It was still $42.5 million this October, from my one hit on a Montecito site.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#11. Flying Dog Ranch – Woody Creek, CO

Original Asking Price: $56 million (July 2009)

Current Asking Price: $46.2 million (October 2010)

Haircut so far: –18% ($9.8 million)

245 acres, next to National Forest, and close to Aspen.  Other than 11,000 sf, 9 bedrooms, 7 baths, there’s next to no details about the house. The value really is in the land, and the seller assumes the interest is only in the land, too.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#12. Villa Colina – Knoxville, TN

Original Asking Price: $21 million (June 2010)

Reduced Asking Price: $19 million (September 2010)

Current Asking Price: $12.5 million (November 2010)

Haircut so far: –40% ($8.5 million)

You get so much more for your money once you leave the coastal nexus of CA-NY-DC-FL.  You lose so much less when you can’t sell it, too.  Percentage-wise, though, you may take a pounding.

If you can figure out why someone built an Italian Villa in Knoxville, Tennessee, then you’ll can figure out how to sell it to the next victim, too.  This effronterous edifice is 37,000 square feet.  That’s right, it’s almost an acre of house, with 8 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms.  The garage has room for 5 cars.  Just like those Southern California ego trips, it boasts a guest house and a cinema.

And speaking of Things One Really Doesn’t Need In Tennessee, this house comes with… a doorman?  The buyer should send him to property #2 where he’ll feel more at home.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

6 Responses to “More Haircutting While Chasing the Market Down”

  1. Rex Says:

    - And speaking of Things One Really Doesn’t Need In Tennessee, this house comes with… a doorman?

    Looks like the lovely people of Tennessee didn’t get the word that we don’t buy or sell people anymore.

  2. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    Those who keep track of such things have noted that there are more slaves in the world than EVER and they’re also cheaper than ever. Yes there are people being held in slavery in the US, in fact it’s done by nice suburban people all the time. They hire an illegal immigrant maid etc and tell them, Work for us for room and board only or we report you to La Migra. There are slaves held in sweatshops in Los Angeles, slaves in the fields of the Central Valley, etc.

    This may in fact be why employment for legal residents is still so high, because now there are really not any jobs “Americans’ won’t do.

  3. A. Lewis Says:

    Epic posting, madhaus, I love it.

    I’m having trouble picking my favorite house. I think I gotta go #4. I’m normally a sucker for beachfront, but with #4, you can seriously start your own private existence. Invite like 300 of your closest friends to live with you forever. All that housing set up! And golf course beats winery any day – much more income potential if I wanted – though I don’t intend to share it. I hate waiting for a good tee time, or having people ask me to play through – screw you if I’m on my 11th shot!

    #8 and #9 look like nice homes, and they’ve got beach, but so little land for so many millions! I want options. Like the option to privately train a private militia. Or set up large scale manufacturing of…something I need.

    When the apocalypse comes, I want room to build my own machine shop, armory, wind and solar farms, etc. – you gotta be self-sufficient.

    Lastly, those price cuts are impressive! But can you calculate biggest haircuts from a previous sale price, not just a wishing price? That’s the true cost of the housing bubble.

  4. madhaus Says:

    Thanks, #3! (Can I still call you #3?)

    I actually really like #8, I don’t know if I’d want to live there but I love looking AT it. #2 would be a lot better if it had a private garage next door or something. I don’t understand why the owners didn’t simply buy the neighboring building and convert it for that purpose.

    #4 would be a lot more awesome if it wasn’t in such a horrid school district. At least the doormen for the St. Regis can get your kids in a taxi every morning, because there is no way they’re going to school in this neighborhood.

    (Fun fact — according to SF School District website, virtually all children in Pacific Heights go to private school.)

  5. Tuno Says:

    yes, GilroyAlex, I keep coming across articles re current day slavery in the good old South, too. farmers round up alcoholics and drive them to a farm to work picking sweet potatoes. of course these people (who are invariably black) have no car or any way to get back to where they live. they’re given just enough food to live on, and some alcohol, of course.

    Back in the 60s (70s?), John McPhee described blueberry picking in northern New England. the growers would round up people in the urban areas (a lot of blacks, but in those days plenty of whites, too) and drive them out to pick. at the end of the day, they’d pay them, but then they would sell the pickers alcohol on the bus ride back. So most of the pickers would spend all of what they’d earned by the time they got home. very clever.

    that is an epic post, madhaus. tumor houses – how apt. they are like revolting growths on the landscape. and when the mega dollars drain away into the worldwide debt sewer, who’s going to maintain these things??? bleagh.

  6. Tuno Says:

    this is one of my favorite houses at the moment, because it is a perfect Serf House: http://www.redfin.com/CA/Redwood-City/367-Alameda-De-Las-Pulgas-94062/home/1742245

    if you go to street view and look at it (you may have to scroll up the road a little), it looks like an ordinary very modest little house. then turn around and see what is across the street. Presto – you can be the live-out serf!!!

    the house across the street may not be as magnificant as your examples, madhaus, but *they* don’t include serf huts.


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