Buying a house is like finding someone to marry. You only need one, but the possibilities are limited to those available at the moment. And it often seems like all the good ones are taken. You could wait your entire adult life for some to become available. Others are out there again every few years. Here are current examples of each type (houses).
Update March 12, 2018: The house was on the market for four days before an offer of $1.655 million was accepted. The sale closed March 12, 2018.
Joseph and Kathleen Bryan bought a brand-new home in Irving Park in 1935, and now it’s on the market for the first time in 83 years. The 6,000 square-foot house was listed today at $1.675 million.
Bryan left the home to the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation when he died in 1995. The foundation leased it to UNCG for use as the chancellor’s residence until the university recently bought the new guy a McMansion at 15 Clubview Court near the Starmount Forest Country Club.
Have you ever said to yourself, “I’d like to buy a million-dollar mansion in Irving Park, but what would I do with 8,000 square feet?” Who has enough furniture?
Maybe the house you’re looking for is 1915 Granville Road, a 1936 Georgian that has the luxury of an Irving Park mansion wrapped up in a tidy 2,600 square feet. The price is $839,900, which works out to $321 per square foot, right up there with the neighborhood’s finest mansions.
OK, it turns out there has been one classic million-dollar mansion sold in Greensboro this year, after all. And it’s a landmark. 415 Sunset Drive was apparently unlisted before it was sold last month.
The Thornton Brooks House comprises 6,800 square feet on 1.5-plus acres in the heart of Irving Park. Six bedrooms, six bathrooms and two half baths. It was built in the mid-1930s for the son of a founder of the Brooks, Humphrey, etc., etc., law firm. Brooks and his wife owned the house for 51 years. Recently, it has fallen upon hard times. It has been listed for sale eight times since 2008 at prices ranging from $4.3 million down to $2.3 million. It finally sold for $1.5 million.
Here’s a segment of the market for classic homes in Greensboro that’s doing just about nothing this year: $1 million and up. Not a single classic home in that price range has sold (as far as my records show). Where did all the millionaires go?
At least 18 classic homes in Greensboro and Guilford County have sold for more than their asking prices this spring and summer. That’s 17 percent of the 107 sales that I’ve tracked, a nice sign of strength for the local real-estate market. In many cases, the premium was a token amount, but, still, getting anything over asking price is worth celebrating.
104 Meadowbrook Terraceis the best value on the market among $1 million classic homes (aka mansions). Priced at $1.765 million, $207/square foot, it’s listed at almost the same price as the much smaller 701 Sunset Drive ($1.785 million), but on a square-foot basis it’s 47 percent less expensive (701 Sunset is $388/square foot). For the value-conscious millionaire, 104 Meadowbrook is the best buy in Greensboro.
[Update: The house was taken off the market June 3, 2017, after 19 months]
Among the few historic district homes on the market, 214 S. Mendenhall Streetis a sweet combination of price and indoor-and-out beauty. At $359,000, $128/square foot, it’s priced almost identically to the nearby and also lovely 306 South Mendenhall Street($350,000, also $128/square foot),but has a bigger, more private lot and very nice outdoor spaces.
[Update: The house has a contract pending as of June 3, 2017]
The five vintage neighborhoods west of downtown are the busiest market for classic homes in Greensboro. There are 24 on the market, and 12 are under contract. Eleven more have been sold this spring. 2808 Springwood Driveis an unusual Lindley Park home that almost looks like a beach house. The listing’s pictures of the interior look quite nice. At $199,000, $113/square foot, it’s a steal.
In east and south Greensboro, there’s nothing else like 211 N. Dudley Street. A Mid-Century Modern classic, it has been meticulously restored by its current owners (the listing’s pictures show it off well). And at $245,000, $88/square foot, it’s an amazing bargain. Located across Dudley Street from A&T, it’s perfect for an Aggie (or anyone else) who values classic Modernist design.
In the smaller towns and rural areas of Guilford County, 7204 Whitsett Park Road in Whitsettis a standout: a 1902 farmhouse on just under 2 acres, beautifully restored inside and out. The house is 3,100 square feet, and the property has a couple of outbuildings. At $299,000, $92/square foot, it’s a remarkable bargain.
[Update: An offer was accepted June 3, 2017; it fell through and the house went back on the market June 12.]
Update: The Willis House sold for $524,095 on August 2, 2017.
There’s an open house at a classic Lowenstein home in Irving Park on Sunday (2 p.m. to 4 p.m.). The James H. and Anne B. Willis House, 707 Blair Street, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its retention of character-defining Mid-Century Modern features. Built in 1965 and designed by the Lowenstein-Atkinson firm of Greensboro, it has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and 3,000 square feet. That comes out to $194 per square foot, a relative bargain in Irving Park.
815 Woodland Drive holds the distinction as the most expensive house for sale in Irving Park this spring — 5,200 square feet overlooking the golf course, listed at $1.79 million. That comes out to a high-even-for-Irving-Park $343 per square foot, although in that category it ranks only second in the neighborhood (701 Sunset is just a bit less expensive at $1.785 million but also quite a bit smaller, coming in at $388 per square foot).
The spring home-buying season has gotten off to a fast start, particularly in Irving Park, Lindley Park and Sunset Hills. Two Irving Park homeowners have accepted very quick offers. 607 Woodland had been on the market for three days; the asking price of $999,000 works out to an impressive $312 per square foot. 1104 Sunset Drive (asking $569,000) had been on the market just four days before an offer was accepted.
In Sunset Hills, we have eight current pre-1950 listings, and six of them went under contract in March. 309 Woodbine Court ($394,900) accepted an offer in two days; 1808 Rolling Road ($400,000), seven days; 2206 W. Market ($618,000), nine days.
In Lindley Park, we have six current listings; four went under contract in March. 2611 Sherwood Street ($164,900) had been on the market two days; 803 Longview Street ($264,000), three days; and 2514 Walker Avenue ($225,000), 34 days.
The hot item in College Hill has been townhomes in the Wafco area. Four came on the market between February 22 and March 16; all four were under contract by March 27.
Listings are at premium in the historic districts. Aside from the townhouses under contract, College Hill has only two houses and a Wafco Mills condo on the market. Just four Fisher Park houses are listed, and two are under contract. An offer was accepted on 700 Magnolia Street ($195,000) after two days on the market. In the newly renamed Dunleath Historic District, only four houses are the market, all smaller homes priced $175,000 or lower.
The market for classic mansions in Sedgefieldis tight and moving at a pace as stately as the homes themselves. Only three older homes are on the market, all at least 4,000 square feet and on the market at least nine months. Prices range from $425,000 to $2.9 million.