Million-dollar home sales soar in Fairfield County
The mortgage secured by the Trump Parc Stamford luxury high-rise was acquired last month by The Blackstone Group L.P. in an auction from Lloyds Banking Group PLC.
The sale marks yet another turn for the condominium development where about half of the units remain unsold.
The 34-story, $160 million Trump Parc Stamford, developed by F.D. Rich Co. of Stamford, Cappelli Enterprises Inc. of Valhalla, N.Y., and The Trump Organization of New York City, opened in 2009 in the midst of the Great Recession, spurred in part by a collapse of the U.S. housing market.
The Blackstone Group, a New York City-based global investment and advisory firm with more than $54 billion in real estate assets under management, paid an undisclosed price for the Trump Parc Stamford loan, which has a remaining balance of about $90 million, according to published reports.
While sources suggested to the Business Journal that the loan may have been in default at the time it was purchased by Blackstone, Thomas Rich, president of principal developer F.D. Rich Co., refuted those statements, and said the Trump Parc loan is not and has never been in default.
Prior to the opening of the Trump Parc Stamford, units were listed for prices ranging from $670,000 for a one-bedroom condo to more than $3 million for a duplex penthouse.
While the complex has not enjoyed the success predicted by developers prior to the recession, numerous indicators suggest the environment for luxury home sales in Fairfield County improved significantly from 2011 to 2012.
Joseph Valvano, managing broker for the Greenwich and Old Greenwich offices of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, said 55 sales of $1 million-plus homes closed in Greenwich in December alone.
“The interesting thing is that a number of the properties just couldn’t close for whatever reason — the deals were made late in the month and everyone was pushing to have them close — so we’ve got a number of properties that will close in January that we thought would close in December,” Valvano said. “The activity hasn’t stopped. We’ve had a very strong pool of buyers looking in the November and December time frame. … Our agents are very busy.”
In Fairfield County, 988 properties sold for between $1 million and $5 million in 2012, compared to 939 such sales in 2011. Those data don’t include portions of Greenwich that are not covered by the Connecticut Multiple Listing Service (MLS), Valvano said.
In Greenwich, the increase was even more marked, with 294 properties sold for between $1 million and $3 million in 2012 compared with 281 such sales in 2011.
Greenwich featured 76 sales of homes ranging from $3 million to $5 million, down from 85 such sales in 2011.
However, in Greenwich, sales of homes ranging from $5 million to $7.5 million rose by two to 38, while sales of homes for $7.5 million and up more than doubled, with 28 such properties sold this year compared to 12 in 2011.
In both the Greenwich market and the Fairfield County market for homes priced above $1 million, the average days on the market held steady or decreased from 2011 to 2012, depending on the location and the price range.
Valvano attributed the improved sale environment for million-dollar properties to factors including strong financial markets, certainty that was delivered by way of President Obama’s electoral victory, fears over what would become of the Bush tax cuts, and an elevated interest among international clients in buying properties in Fairfield County.
“We’ve had multiple bids in every price range, so that’s a good thing,” Valvano said. “I think sellers who want to sell and have an objective really take a look at the facts and understand that real estate is a commodity. Every commodity will sell if it’s priced right.”
[Editor’s note: This article was updated Jan. 16 to reflect statements made by Thomas Rich, president of F.D. Rich Co., principal developer of Trump Parc Stamford.]