When it comes to real estate, this region remains red hot.
by Bill Cary
As a longtime real estate writer and reporter, and like so many post-pandemic work-from-home weekenders, my two residences have flipped. The run-down former chicken and rabbit farm that my husband and I bought on eight acres in Stone Ridge 25 years ago is now our primary, and our Hell’s Kitchen co-op is mostly a pied-à-terre.
Those of us who’ve been in the Hudson Valley for a couple of decades watched with fascination—and no shortage of trepidation—as wave after wave of New Yorkers discovered our piece of paradise during the height of the global pandemic. Could that poky $315,000 raised ranch with serious highway noise really be drawing a dozen offers, most well over asking?
Now that we’ve all gotten used to this huge real estate boom, our next big question is, will all of these new homeowners stick around, or will they sell and retreat back to the City? Surely the newfound tribulations of four-season home ownership will send them skittering back to the Upper West Side and Williamsburg.
So far, our new neighbors aren’t going anywhere. “In the last three years, my team has had close to 150 transactions, and maybe two of those were people who have decided to sell,” says Raj Kumar, an agent with Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty who’s based in Hudson. “It’s an exaggeration to say that people are flocking back to New York City.”
Yes, many people are going back to work in Manhattan, but they’re still keeping their country houses, he says. “It’s a very minor percentage, from my personal experience.”
Kathryn Clair, an agent with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Litchfield County, agrees. “People are moving back into the City, of course, but they’re keeping their houses as weekend homes.”
The ideal home that Litchfield buyers are looking for is “anything in good shape, ready to move in, something with character and under $2 million,” she says. “People are looking for the consummate Connecticut home.”
In the Hudson Valley, luxury buyers are big on “central and southern Columbia County—the city of Hudson along with Germantown and Chatham,” Kumar says. The Ulster County hamlet of Stone Ridge is “very hot now,” along with Rhinebeck and Red Hook in Dutchess County. “Millbrook has always been desirable.”
Interestingly, he says that he’s seeing a big influx of buyers from the West Coast. And in a sure sign that the luxury market is still going strong, Kumar reports having a recent client who made an offer of $2.5 million on a $1.9 million listing in an unnamed “west of the river” community (it hasn’t closed yet). “That’s $600,000 over the asking price and we were actually third in line,” he says.
• The NevelHaus custom home development on 44 wooded acres just off the Main Street Historic District in Stone Ridge is moving along nicely, with multiple three-bedroom homes now going up. Construction on the houses, which are priced from $1.295 million, only begins once a buyer goes into contract and closes on the home. That usually takes up to ten months.
• Suzy Welch, General Electric CEO Jack Welch’s widow, didn’t get her asking price of $25 million, but the $18.5 million closed price on her 10-bedroom 1851 mansion on 290 riverfront acres in Red Hook and Rhinebeck breaks Dutchess County records (by a hair) for single-family homes. The previous high was the $18.375 million sale of a Millbrook estate in 2011. Welch’s property, which is known as Steen Valetje and has ties to Delanos, Roosevelts and Astors, includes a 16,600-square-foot main house that just got a Bunny Williams makeover, two four-bedroom guesthouses, a carriage house with four apartments, a pool house with changing rooms and showers, a two-bedroom gatehouse and extensive equestrian facilities. Candy Anderson of Millbrook and her son and fellow Compass agent Byron Anderson had both sides of the deal, which closed in September. The identity of the buyer couldn’t be determined.
• One of only two remaining buildings attributed to British-American architect Calvert Vaux (Frederic Church’s Olana estate just outside of Hudson and Manhattan’s Central Park) still standing in Ulster County has come on the market for the first time in 45 years. The five-bedroom shingle-style home at 194 West Chestnut Street in Kingston that overlooks the Hudson River and Kingston’s Rondout neighborhood is listed with Hayes Clement and Harris Safier of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hudson Valley Properties for $1.5 million. Original architectural details in the restored 1893 house on 2.6 acres include side-by-side river-view parlors with marble fireplaces, two formal dining rooms and elaborate mahogany paneling and spindle work. Modern touches include a gunite pool with a cabana, a grand screened porch and a two-story, three-car carriage house/garage.
suzy doozy (featured image at top) With a purchase price of $18.5 million, Suzy Welch’s 1851 mansion on 290 riverfront acres in Red Hook and Rhinebeck broke Dutchess County records for a single-family home.
Photo: Bailey Roubos with Dronehub Media