From “Billionaires’ Row” to “Billionaires’ Village”

150 Central Park West

You’ve heard of thousands of people moving to Philly from New York City as part of post-COVID market trends. Where are the uber-wealthy moving to? A lesser known migration is from Manhattan’s Billionaires’ Row to Gladwyne’s Billionaires’ Village on the Main Line.

What is Billionaires’ Row?

While many cities worldwide claim the address of Billionaires’ Row for their uber-wealthy, none are more iconic than Billionaires’ Row in Manhattan. Local New York luxury real estate expert, Alexander Glibbery described it as:

“I like to define Billionaires’ Row as New York City’s Monopoly board for uber-wealthy international and domestic titans of industry who come together here to work, play, and do lots and lots of shopping,”

Billionaires’ Row luxury auction

A rarely offered 3-story Penthouse opportunity at 150 Central Park South is currently available through the luxury auction service, Concierge Auctions. Bidding starts today. Offered for $40M with no reserve.

“With pre-approved, construction “shovel”-ready design, plans, and permits held by New York City’s most luxurious, professional, and high-end general contractor SilverLining and lauded SPAN Architecture, the design won the Interior Design Magazine award for the Best of Year residential project in the world for 2018 (on the board).”

post-covid luxury auction
Photos courtesy of Concierge Auctions

Gladwyne; “Billionaire’s Village”

At the opposite end of the spectrum, with large discrete estate homes in remote settings, the village of Gladwyne is home for many billionaires on the Main Line in the greater Philadelphia area.

While all communities on the Main Line have seen increasing values due to strong demand for luxury suburban living, Gladwyne has seen the most dramatic shift driven by post-COVID buyer demands.

Median sales prices for Gladwyne luxury homes are up 98.47% over the past 12 months, and up 31.36% over the past 24 months.

Unique Gladwyne Luxury Estate

An example of Gladwyne’s large luxury estates is Linden Hill, designed between 1928 and 1931 by Edmund B. Gilchrist for stockbroker Rodman Ellison Griscom. The property was owned for more than 50 years by the Dorrance family of Campbell’s Soup Company.

1543 Monk Rd; offered by Kurfiss Sotheby’s for $24M

Linden Hill’s very secluded grounds include fenced pastures and stone outbuildings, reminiscent of the quaintest of French villages. The magnificent manor house and cour d’honneur, are a majestic example of French Normandy-inspired design of breathtaking scale and symmetry.

Modern homes in Gladwyne

While Gladwyne is known for large historic stone homes, mid-century modern and new construction luxury homes are selling quickly to today’s buyers who want modern amenities and finishes.

Gladwyne Mid-Century Modern Luxury

From New York to Philly

Chief economist, Danielle Hale notes that the post-COVID trend towards suburban living has accelerated a shift from hard-core urbanite dwellers towards the suburbs;

“The flexibility to work remotely is accelerating this trend. When the commute’s not a daily thing, it’s easier to justify living farther away from work—especially when you get more for your housing dollar farther away.”

New research shows thousands of people of all incomes are moving to Philly from New York City. Whether it’s a large private estate, or a Pied-a-Terre, contact Susanna for a discreet consultation.

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Main Line New Construction Homes

Main Line Luxury New Construction

New construction luxury homes on the Main Line are rare in the predominantly historic communities. To meet today’s buyer demand for modern amenities, older stone homes are often renovated to combine the best of historic architecture with modern design. Homes using these transitional design elements yield high sales results.

For an overview of how luxury new construction is selling, check out this month’s new construction sales results for the Main Line:

Two homes that went under contract this week exemplify the best of what Gladwyne and Bryn Mawr have to offer. One is custom built to maximize on traditional architectural styles, while offering modern amenities. The second is modern inside and out.

1407 Waverly Road in Gladwyne

Designed by Fred Bissinger and built by Tony Ruffo, 1407 Waverly Road went under contract this week at an asking price of $3.5M.

1407 Waverly Road new construction sale in Gladwyne
Photo courtesy of BHHS Fox & Roach
517 S Roberts Road in Bryn Mawr

Sold pre-construction, 517 S Roberts went under contract this week at an asking price of $1.8M with less than two weeks on the market.

517 S Roberts Road luxury new construction in Bryn Mawr
Rendering courtesy of COMPASS RE

Main Line transitional architecture

To better understand transitional architecture, architect Fred Bissinger shares his design approach on his own custom home at 252 River Road in Gladwyne. On the market for less than 3 weeks, it sold last month for $1,575,000 to a cash buyer. Using artisan revival design, he combined historic elements with modern amenities. As Fred describes, living on River Road now is Malibu Beach on the Schuylkill River.

252 River Road Transitional Architecture
Photo courtesy of BHHS Fox & Roach

How can you create transitional design in an older home?

Award winning designer Christina Henck shares how transitional design honors historic architecture yet finds that balance of appealing to today’s millennial buyers.

How to sell successfully in today’s market

It can be hard to understand why some homes sell in a matter of days, and others linger on the market for months. To start, check out my 7 tips for sellers to sell for less money and in more time:

For additional insights on how to sell in today’s Main Line real estate market, let’s chat! Book your 15 minute free consultation here.

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Main Line Mid-Century Luxury

Mid-Century Modern Luxury

If you’re a fan of mid-century modern, you’ll enjoy this week’s featured new listings. Main Line luxury is usually associated with large historic homes such as the Montgomery estate that inspired Philadelphia Story. Most Main Line mid-century homes in Gladwyne and Villanova are more modest in size and location. You’ll love the expansiveness and privacy of this week’s featured homes.

670 Dodds Lane in Gladwyne

Built in 1966, 670 Dodds Lane‘s mid-century design has been completely renovated with current luxury amenities and finishes.

Main Line Modern
Photos courtesy of Rich Goldberg, EXP Realty

Enjoy an open floor plan of 9,532 sf of living space on a private 2.15 acre lot offers 5 bedrooms, 8 full baths and 2 powder rooms. Amenities include a home theatre and private in-ground pool perfectly situated for entertaining. Asking price of $4.3M.

1552 Mt Pleasant Road in Villanova

Just listed in Villanova, 1552 Mount Pleasant Road offers another flavor of mid-century modern living on the Main Line.

Built in 1976 and beautifully updated, this spacious home is situated on a private 2+ ac lot surrounded by trees and offers 5 beds, 4 full baths plus powder room in 5,503 sf of living space.

Photos courtesy of BHHS Fox & Roach

The long private driveway and stone entry reflect popular elements of Main Line estate homes, yet mid-century design welcomes you. Featuring an open floor plan and vaulted ceilings that we come to love with mid-century homes.

An open floor plan area flows freely with access to your private deck and hot tub for indoor-outdoor living. Amenities include a home gym and private in-ground pool.

Perfect for your winter staycation with your own hot tub! Offered at $2M in the Lower Merion School District.

To see either of these homes or other current offerings, contact me for a virtual or in-person private showing.

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From New York to the Suburbs of Philly

Moving from New York

Have you heard about the exodus from dense urban centers like Manhattan to the suburbs?

There’s been a lot of press covering home buyer demand moving from dense urban areas to more open suburban lifestyles across the country, from San Francisco to New York.

Gary Vee recently posted about how changing work from home trends are going to dramatically impact real estate, now and into the future:

Yes we can contribute this rush to the suburbs as a post-COVID market impact. However, the effect of COVID-19 on the housing market is complex. Much like the ocean, there are trends that appear like a big wave – but there’s also cross-currents and potential undertows.

Okay, you can tell I lived by the ocean for a very long time! I still take my shoes off when I come home 😎🏄🏼‍♂️

Fleeing Manhattan to the suburbs

One of the big waves that got a lot of press is the huge uptick in demand for suburban living from Manhattan. The NY Times reported in August New Yorkers are fleeing to the suburbs; the demand is insane’ :

“Moving companies have said they cannot keep up with the demand. Metropolis Moving in Brooklyn said the number of quotes for out-of-state moves jumped by more than 200 percent in May and in June.”

Moving from Manhattan to Suburbs

Most of the press highlighted an increase in demand for suburban areas close to Manhattan like Northern New Jersey. However, here in the “6th borough” of Philadelphia, we’ve welcomed a lot of New Yorkers as new neighbors on the Main Line and in Center City.

Main Line suburban living

While a large Main Line 6,000+ sf estate home on 3-5 acres sounds ideal after quarantine with multiple generations all working / schooling from home, the reality of remote large estate living isn’t for everyone.

What sounds good at first can settle into a different set of frustrations, such as upkeep and maintenance. Reminds me of my clients on Kauai who visualized a 5 acre home, only to realize in Hawaii 5 acres is like managing a farm! The lifestyle they desired was in reality better met with a home on a 1/2 acre parcel.

Family fun in Center City

Many people moving from dense urban areas crave more space but still long for a cosmopolitan lifestyle that can be comfortable and safe for the entire family.

The Main Line is comprised of townships which started as villages, and they retain quaint character along with rich history. However, in the heart of Center City there’s a village that offers the best of both worlds.

Queen Village – cosmopolitan, historic and friendly

Philadelphia’s first neighborhood and rich in history, today Queen Village simmers with modern energy, making it an ideal neighborhood if you love fashion, food and fun but want a low-key local village lifestyle.

Hear first hand insights from my Queen Village clients who love the charming, safe, friendly, village lifestyle with cosmopolitan amenities:

Two “suburban” features that are the hardest to find in Center City are a large, fenced yard and 2-car garage.

You’ll find both at 814 S Swanson, the perfect Queen Village luxury home that offers a large fenced yard, 3 outdoor decks, 2-car garage, elevator, home office and in-law suite:

Time will tell if our new friends from New York settle into the large homes on the Main Line for good, or perhaps desire a more cosmopolitan lifestyle and shift towards a different kind of quiet village community with cosmopolitan, funky vibes such as Queen Village.

Please be sure to subscribe for future updates and comment below with your thoughts and insights.

Main Line mid-century modern elegance

I had to ask myself why I love Main Line mid-century modern so much, then I started laughing because I realized I am mid-century modern! 😆

This week’s #FeatureFriday spotlight shines on a renovated mid-century gem located in Gladwyne at 1639 Monk Road designed by Kjell Ingebrigtsen and on the market for the first time after a major renovation. Tell me you don’t love this! 💕

Mid-Century elegance offered for the first time after renovation – 1639 Monk Road

I actually grew up in Victorian gems with wrap around porches, hardwood floors, back stairs to the kitchen and all kinds of fun nooks and cranny’s to play hide and seek. Homes like 227 Lansdowne Ave in the heart of South Wayne Historic District steal my heart too! 🥰

Renovated Victorian on the Main Line in the heart of South Wayne Historic District
Just Listed in the heart of South Wayne Historic District. Click for details

Many times my buyers have conflicting loves as well. One likes historic, the other adores modern.

A great solution for both is a renovated home with modern amenities but historic architectural features like my clients’ recent purchase of their “forever home” at 356 Meadow Lane in Merion Station:

To learn more about Main Line mid-century design, Main Line School Night is offering Inspiring Architecture: Mid-Century Modern online in October, taught by William Gustafson FAIA, Senior Principal Ballinger Architects & Engineers.

For easy access to all the best homes on the Main Line;

What your favorite architectural style? Comment below and share!

COVID-19 ignites Gladwyne luxury real estate market

Gladwyne luxury homes

What effect has COVID-19 had on Main Line real estate values? Today’s current market uptick can be easily attributed to pent-up demand combined with very little inventory and low interest rates.

However, a very different dynamic in Gladwyne luxury real estate has caused a significant increase in median sales price, and decrease in days on market.

The effects of COVID-19 luxury buyer demands for large, flexible homes with privacy and pools has literally flipped the Gladwyne luxury market.

Local news and statistical reports haven’t really told the story of what’s happening in Gladwyne luxury real estate. As always with statistics, results vary depending on what you’re looking at and how you’re analyzing data.

Gladwyne real estate market statitics

Maybe it’s the times, but conflicting reports on the coronavirus, the election, the economy and also real estate can be a bit much!

Quantum physics of market data

Reviewing statistics reminds me of the metaphysical, quantum physics concept that reality changes when observed. Or that one’s observation can change reality.

Especially in the luxury real estate market where one or two large sales in a small community skew results.

However, recent trends in Gladwyne are consistent and dramatic. Enough esoteric wanderings, let’s get to some understandable facts!

Gladwyne Luxury Real Estate

There are really 3 different market segments within any local area that includes luxury real estate; under $1M, $1M to $2.5M and above $2.5M. For this report, we are looking specifically at the $1M+ residential market.

Looking at the $1M+ and especially the $2.5M+ market in Gladwyne, a dramatic shift has happened.

As recently as 6 months ago, walkable locations on the Main Line, such as Wayne, Lower Merion, and Bryn Mawr were preferred by luxury buyers over large Gladwyne estate homes. Maintenance of pools, large 6+ bedroom homes with acreage that require ongoing maintenance were often deal killers. Buyers wanted easy access to transportation and shopping.

Gladwyne has become a desired location for newly mobile executives. The impact of migration from Manhattan to the Main Line along with demand from other areas such as Washington, DC has ignited Gladwyne luxury market values.

Buyers want expansive, flexible space, pools and tennis courts on a gracious private lot. A home that can function for the entire family, work from home and offers resort-style amenities.

Now the qualities that were seen as negative are competitive “must haves” for today’s buyers.

Let’s review the numbers. There’s clearly a dramatic increase in market values as detailed in this month’s Gladwyne Luxury Report:

As noted above, depending on how you analyze statistics, you might miss this story!

If you look at “absorption rates” the Gladwyne luxury inventory has been running at a 5-6 months which normally indicates a balanced market. That doesn’t reflect the hot luxury buyer activity going on right now, or the clear increase in median sales prices.

Greater Philadelphia Area Statistics

No one analyzes local data better than Drexel University economist Kevin Gillan. However as an example of how confusing statistics can be, a recent Philadelphia Inquirer article sourced Gillan :

“While home prices rose in Philadelphia in the second quarter of the year, prices of homes in the suburbs dipped.”

The “suburbs” includes several counties, and many communities. Again, it depends on what data you’re analyzing. Statistics really are only meaningful when looking at micro-market trends – what’s exactly happening in your local market.

The Bryn Mawr market snapshot below shows an example of the upward trends in Montgomery County:

Bryn Mawr Market Stats
Montgomery County median sales price $900K, up 33% over past 24 months

Contrary to Gillan’s analysis, Rittenhouse Square results from the exact same set of data shows a decline in median sales prices:

Rittenhouse Square median sales price dropped to $400K, down 27% over past 24 months

For insights into market trends in your area, contact Susanna for a private confidential consultation.

Dive deep into data detailed below, and please share your insights in the comments. Be sure to subscribe to receive future blog posts.

Detailed Market Reports

Gladwyne Luxury Market Report

Bryn Mawr Market Report

Villanova Market Report

Rittenhouse Square Market Report

Montgomery County Industry Watch Q2

Delaware County Industry Watch Q2

All data used by Gillan and in the reports above come from the same source, our local Bright MLS.

Open House signs antique? like typewriters?

After returning to an “open” business environment after three months, the future of Open Houses seems to be bordering extinct. Or more accurately obsolete, like the typewriter.

Can you write with a typewriter? Yes, but why would you? Can you have an Open House? Yes, but with all the restrictions necessary and appointments required, why would you want to go?

Open House Pivot

Pivot is a word often used to express the dramatic and rapid changes impacting the real estate market due to COVID19. Some changes were underway but became accelerated, like virtual selling.

Others, like Open Houses, have completely “pivoted” to something other than what they were.

The non-committal and casual nature of Open Houses was a way to explore local real estate without an agent, or appointment.

Virtual Open Houses were a work around during our COVID19 shut down, using video previously taken or with the owner’s cooperation via Zoom video conference.

The new standard is to present a virtual Open House on Zoom with the agent guiding a tour of previously recorded video or navigating the Matterport 3D layout. Appointments are required, and if you “stop in” late you miss the video tour.

While it’s better than nothing, and a way to get a “peak” at the interior of the home, it’s not the casual easy way to explore real estate that we have enjoyed for so long.

Virtual Selling – the new standard of practice

In today’s market, virtual selling should be a standard of practice. I’ve sold homes virtually using video since 2008. It doesn’t make sense to book an appointment for a video tour that I already have access to, or should.

Every listing should provide a video tour. For my sellers I do a marketing video, think of it like a movie trailer;

Then I do the actual walk through video which takes you through the home as if you are there.

The home buying process has “pivoted.” Home buyers used to wait to interview and hire an agent until they were ready to buy. Now it’s best practice to do that at the beginning of your search.

Likewise, your pre-approval is needed early in the process as it’s required along with a COVID19 form to book showings.

Open House Standards Due to COVID19

Now that physical Open Houses are allowed, understandably there are awkward restrictions. As an example, here are highlights of a current brokerage’s Open House guideline for agents;

1. Sales associates and all open house visitors must wear a mask.
2. Social distancing rules should be maintained.
3. Disinfect all high-touch areas prior to and between each group of visitors; provide hand sanitizer if possible.
4. Sales associates should limit open house attendance to one group at a time to maintain appropriate distancing and accompany them through their tour to minimize unintended touching of surfaces. Additional groups can be asked to wait outside and to maintain social distancing while doing so.
5. Maintain a record of everyone entering the property, including name and E-mail address or cell phone number.

COVID19 is “here to stay” – we must adapt

The Economist recently published – COVID 19 is here to stay. People will have to adapt :

“The worst is to come. Based on research in 84 countries, a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reckons that…without a medical breakthrough, the total number of cases will climb to 200m-600m by spring 2021.”

We cannot just return to “business as usual” as the battle against this pandemic is far from over.

Protecting buyers and sellers from unnecessary public exposure and utilizing current technology to present a virtual buying experience is now a necessary standard of practice – not just an option.

While our local market is now pushed to pivot in this direction, it’s long overdue in terms of providing the highest level of service to our clients.

Home buying is a journey – not a transaction

I provide information, support, advise and guidance from early exploration of the market through negotiations and closing as my personal standard of practice. Sometimes the answer is to not buy, which is perfectly fine. It’s all about what’s best for you!

The rush to provide virtual Open Houses has been a push to generate “leads” or meet prospective buyers. Open Houses have always been more of a networking opportunity for the agent than a true selling tool for the home owner. Virtual Open Houses provide marketing exposure for the agent but present an awkward experience for buyers.

Virtual Home Buying Service

Using virtual selling expertise, I create video walk throughs of properties throughout the home buying process to narrow down selections and fine tune the home search for my clients. That way, the showings we book in person are in reality 2nd showings. This saves time, protects home buyers and sellers from unnecessary exposure and streamlines the home buying process.

Open House Signs – an antique?

When I sold luxury real estate on Kauai, my open house signs were often stolen and used for fighting rooster sheds, an illegal but popular local sport.

One way of repurposing them but not a big demand on the Main Line!

While I haven’t thrown my Open House signs away, they are in the back closet for now! My ‘go bag’ is full of video equipment instead.

Manhattan to the Main Line

From Manhattan to Philly

While the migration of New Yorkers to Philadelphia is not new, post COVID-19 we are seeing some interesting shifts in demographics. The New York Times recently reported on Where New Yorkers Moved to Escape the Coronavirus.

Why Philly?

In 2018 The New York Times article, Leaving New York to find the American Dream in Philadelphia, highlights a migration of artisans, chefs, immigrants and business owners to Philly from New York. All with a dream in mind.

Passive Certified Stables
Settlement Day at The Stables – 2013

As an example, learn first hand “Why Philly” from my clients who purchased the first PASSIVE-Certified luxury home at THE STABLES in Northern Liberties in 2014.

They were originally looking at traditional offerings in Society Hill, but were fascinated with this more creative, cutting edge option.

Seven years ago, my clients moved from Manhattan to Northern Liberties where they purchased the first PASSIVE-Certified luxury townhomes in Philly

Center City Luxury

Prior to COVID-19, the largest demand in Philly from Manhattan luxury buyers was for Center City with easy access to Amtrak’s 30th St Station.

Now it’s the Main Line

Remote luxury homes on the Main Line in areas like Gladwyne and Bryn Mawr are seeing a huge uptick in demand from Manhattan buyers.

While once the top criteria for Main Line buyers was “walkability” to train stations and shopping, post COVID-19 buyers want privacy, acreage, and flexible living space. For more details check out “Top 5 new features to sell your home post COVID-19.”

As an example, I had the honor of helping my Manhattan clients purchase this luxury Merion Station home during the COVID-19 shut down.

Another successful Manhattan to Main Line relocation

“Susanna is a total gem. We started looking for homes in early 2020. We had not yet found an agent, but struck up a conversation with her at an open house.

My husband and I immediately noticed how real she was: she was truthful and did not try to “sell’ us, either on the home or on her as an agent. As a result, we asked her to represent us.

Throughout the process, she was incredible: she educated us about the different neighborhoods, prepared fact books for each weekend that we looked for homes, and made sure she never wasted our time showing us homes that were not a fit.

At the end of the process, we found the perfect place. I can honestly say, it was all because of her. I cannot express how amazing she is and how rare as an agent: kind, thoughtful, realistic, honest, easy to work with.

I would work with her in a second if we ever needed to again, and so cannot recommend her more highly.”

If you’re looking for a luxury home or weekend retreat on the Main Line, contact me for off-market options. It’s my pleasure to help.

What do luxury millennial buyers want?

Millennial buyers are a driving force in today’s luxury real estate market.

Millennial Home Buyers

Who are Millennial Home Buyers?

Millennials include anyone born between 1981 and 1996, and they’re quickly becoming a dominating force in real estate.

This group now outnumbers baby boomers, and what they’re looking for in a home is drastically different than what their parents wanted when they entered the market.

Main Line Luxury Living

“Time is the new luxury”

Now more than ever, luxury buyers are viewing time as a luxury. How does that translate?

Homes need to be move-in ready. It’s not just about the money. The time it takes to renovate is too “expensive” in terms of what it takes away from quality of life.

How to transition traditional to modern

So how do you transition a traditional home with stately architecture to attract a modern millennial buyer? My LIVE broadcast guest, Christina Henck, owner of award winning Henck Design shared some valuable tips and insights:

When we talk about “less is more” it relates to a key design element we artists called “negative space” – that’s the “blank” or “empty” space on a canvas surrounding an image, or the space between and around elements of a sculpture. The negative space is as important in design as the “positive” space (image, element – or in this case furniture).

Check out the clean design and flow created in this luxury home.

The “negative space” creates a visual flow as well as a physical flow for walk through traffic on home buyer tours as well as videos.

Both visual and physical design flow are important elements of creating the kind of “sizzle” you want to drive buyers demand.

Let’s talk! Please book a private consult on my calendar, and we’ll discuss ideas to maximize your home’s appeal for today’s millennial buyers.