NEWPORT – At the end of last month, the historic Miramar Estate on Bellevue Avenue sold for $ 27 million, the latest in a string of multi-million dollar mansion sales this year in Newport.
The 30,982 square foot estate consists of three properties – the mansion, a shed, and a separate, vacant 1 acre beachfront lot – on 7.2 acres of land. It was built by architect Horace Trumbauer on behalf of tram magnate George Dunton Widener in the early 1900s.
On September 2, the former home of Claus and “Sunny” von Bulow sold for $ 30 million. The house was built in 1904 and designed by Horace Trumbauer. His inspiration for Clarendon Court was the John Hedworth House built in 117 in County Durham, England, by architect Colen Campbell.
Part of the Seward estate was also sold in September for $ 16 million, but did not include the entire 45-acre site originally listed. The sale includes lots B and 38 at 339 Ocean Avenue. Full ownership was initially listed for $ 33 million before being reduced to $ 29.99 million.
It’s all part of the cycle
Real estate agent Paul Leys, of Gustave White Sotheby’s International Real Estate, said the real estate market has been unprecedented lately, but real estate in general is cyclical, so the fact that many of these luxury homes have been put on the market and sold does not surprise him.
Currently, he said, there is a lot of demand for homes, but not a lot of supply, and buyers continue to compete for homes that are on the market.
“In order to get the house they want, then they have to step up to the plate and in some cases pay more than what is required,” he said.
Leys agency has now helped sell Miramar and Clarenden Court twice.
“I sold Clarenden Court in 2012, then we sold Miramar 10 years before that. It kind of goes in cycles, like even regular neighborhoods. You will see neighborhoods where nothing sells for two, three, or four , or five years, and then that goes through a slew of 10 things that sell in five months. So I think there’s a natural cycle for real estate, whether it’s a multi-million mansion dollars or a subdivision in Middletown, ”he said.
The National Association of Realtors said the national average of people staying in their homes is seven years. Leys said it was a bit longer than that for these mansions and what could happen now with these houses is a generational reversal.
There could be other reasons too, he said. For example, the former owner of Clarenden Court bought the house 10 years ago, renovated it and decided it was time to move out, so he sold it.
“There’s death, there’s birth, there’s divorces. People move, there’s relocation. I don’t think the multi-million dollar market is any different as to why places are selling, ”he said.
The very first year
Lila Delman Real estate agent Eric Kirton, who has been a real estate agent for 16 years, said he believes the current market is focused on buyers.
“I don’t think Newport got the credit that maybe the Hamptons, or Martha’s Vineyard, or Nantucket. I think a lot of very wealthy second home buyers are starting to see Newport again as a destination they want to be and are willing to pay. The numbers (are) a bit similar to what these other communities have ordered in the past, ”he said.
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Also, part of Newport County’s appeal is that it’s easier to access from Boston, New York and Connecticut, Kirton said.
“It’s not just Newport. It’s the whole island,” he said.
Nonetheless, Kirton said the number of high-end deals recently was extraordinary. A few of them were real estate sales, and one had been on the market for a long time. No one, he said, really sells these high-end luxury homes with such frequency.
“This is the first year that there have been several transactions at this level. Every year, or every two years, there is usually something of this magnitude, but this is the first year that there have been several transactions at very high prices, “he said.
Kirton said he believes these high-end sales will continue throughout the year.
“There are still a lot of buyers around, who if there is a good quality product that he will definitely sell. I don’t see that slowing down from a value perspective,” he said.
Who buys these houses? Leys said much of the clientele he sees are from Boston, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, but he has also seen an increase in the number of people moving from California to Newport.
“I had a conversation for six months with two California buyers. They both said pretty much the same thing. ‘We’re really sick of California. We’re sick of the taxes, we’re sick of the taxes. politics, we’re fed up with wildfires, and we’re just looking east. They told me we’re not looking at Newport per se, we’re just looking east, “Leys said.
People are also moving to New England from other Western states, and Leys said this is unusual.
There has also been a change in the purchase of these homes.
“Primarily, a lot of private equity funds, hedge funds, Wall Street-type financials seem to be where a lot of high net worth individuals come from. In 2000, that would have been technology. It would have been dot -com. . It was a real market boom for a short while, and personally I call it the dot.com market. Young guys in their twenties, who just sold their business for $ 30 million coming into town and buying stuff. I don’t see it this time around, “he said.
A look at the past five years
So far in 2021, there have been 222 luxury home sales in Newport County with a median price of $ 1,505,000. At the end of 2020, there were 166 sales with a median price of $ 1,500,000.
In 2019, the median price of homes in Newport County was $ 1,361,200, of which 121 were sold, a slight increase from homes sold the year before of 115, but a decrease in price median of $ 1,485,000. In 2017, 108 homes were sold for a median price of $ 1,380,000.
The following are the June-August sales of state buyers of $ 1 million plus Newport County homes over the past five years.
- 2017 12 of the 26 total sales were from overseas buyers.
- 2018 9 of the 29 total sales were from overseas buyers.
- In 2019, 12 of the total 17 sales were from overseas buyers.
- 2020 29 of the 57 total sales were from overseas buyers.
- 2021 44 of the 80 sales made so far this year have come from foreign buyers.
Bethany Brunelle can be reached at [email protected] 907-575-8528 or @bethanyfreuden1 on Twitter, Insta: bethanyfreudenthal, TikTok: thehijabicrimereporter, Muckrack: https://muckrack.com/bethany-freudenthal