Monday, October 31, 2005

The Party's Over ...

The Growler got another of those postcards from Realtor Martine Irmer listing recent Parker-Gray real estate sales. Does she comprehend the real message the data is sending?

Her postcards used to be clever little come-ons that demonstrated how hot Parker-Gray is by showing sales prices that were well above the original list prices.

But the message of blissfully spiraling real estate values ain't coming through on the latest screed. It just confirms what everyone is talking about, which is that the overheated real estate market -- including Parker-Gray -- is cooling.

One omission from the list. Mrs. Irmer included 1219 Oronoco Street, which sold in July for $1.9 million. But that's a fanciful entry designed to impress idiots who don't know the neighborhood. The structure is an 11-unit multi-family apartment building that is a notorious boarded-up dump, not some granite-countertop, Sub-Zero equipped, refinished heart-pine floors Victorian or Colonial Revival with 5 bedrooms and 3 baths.

Anyway, here's the list sans 1219 Oronoco:

332 N. Columbus Street -- List $875,000, sold $875,000 (July 15)
531 N. Columbus Street -- List $599, 000 sold $615,000 (July 25)
514 N. Payne Street -- List $550,000 sold $550,000 (August 3)
1124 Princess Street - List $414,500 sold $418,000 (August 4)
325 N. West Street -- List $555,00 sold $555,000 (August 19)
1008 Oronoco Street -- List $545,000 sold $499,000 (September 22)
132 N. Payne Street -- List $649,00 sold $635,000 (September 27)

Note that in July and early August most of the houses were sold at or near list price. By September sellers were accepting offers 3-9% lower than list price.

The Growler is also aware that one notorious neighborhood flipper who hoped to make some quick easy bucks this summer on a couple of houses he picked up in the spring has had to rent out his bungalows and postpone selling until next year.

Is the party over in Parker-Gray? And will this cooling of the real estate market crimp the fortunes of the nouveau riche gang who are trying to control the neighborhood, especially if they are highly leveraged and interest rates continue their upward crawl?

The Growler can't wait to hear the sounds of lead albatrosses hitting the pavement.