INSIDE STORIES BEHIND AREA REAL ESTATE DEALS
A green East Hampton show house that played host to environment-friendly charities last summer is now on the market, listed with Matthew Hoffmaster and Bryan Midlam at Prudential Douglas Elliman for $1.2 million. "Project Greenhouse" was an experiment for architect and owner Edvin Karl Stromsten. "Some of it is not difficult—southern orientation and glass...that's not new technology, and neither is earth sheltering, an idea that goes back to the caveman," he says. Since the living room is 18 feet under ground, it helps keep a constant temperature. With technology like photovoltaic electrical generation, Stromsten says the house is capable of producing more energy than it requires. "There is no single thing you can do to make an energy efficient house," Stromsten adds. "It's a matter of balancing all the opportunities." —A.D.
IN SEARCH OF AN ABSOLUTE BOTTOM...
To buy or not to buy? That's the number one question these days. Prices are down. But most buyers, whether in the Hamptons, Palm Beach or Kitty Corners, Iowa, think the wisest move is to wait for the absolute bottom. But what does the bottom look like? A financial maelstrom where there are no survivors, only victims sucked into every declivitous fold that spells disaster?
Let's be real. Dealing with cycles is not a totality. Assets are bought and sold at various levels. Some so-called smart money gurus may be able to time it right, buying at the very bottom and selling at the very top. But in the interim, for the rest of us mere mortals, there is opportunity.
The fact is, we appear to have reached a segment of the bottom. Perhaps prices will go lower for some properties while others will hold fairly steady. For the most part, low-end properties—those under $1 million—are the most vulnerable and where the most pricing flexibility exists. Such sellers might be holding bad mortgages or gotten under the financial gun, straining to live within accelerating inflation.
East Hampton and Southampton townships have a diverse housing stock. On some streets there isn't a house worth less than $15 million. On other streets, they're straining to command $2.5 million.