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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How to sell your home in a changing market

How to sell in a changing market

When real estate markets shift, as they always do, it’s confusing to know when to sell. Timing can make or break your success. Add to that a worldwide pandemic impacting different locations in dramatically different ways. It’s easy to understand why so many homeowners are uncertain about when to sell.

Move with the market

When markets shift quickly, this advise is hard to follow. Trying to move with market changes can feel like surfing on a big wave. You want to get on the board at the right time and make sure you don’t fall off.

We are seeing rapid shifts in different neighborhoods, some dramatically positive and some hurt significantly like Center City luxury.

I heard the quote “chasing the market down can feel like catching a falling knife” which is indeed true.

A tale of two luxury homes

During my first year as a full-time realtor on Kauai, I worked with two sellers who both owned luxury Bed & Breakfast properties. The market had escalated significantly due to the mortgage crisis.

These friends both decided to take advantage of the sizzling luxury demand. One listed his property for $1,750,000 and the owner of Aina Manu Place listed his at $1,650,000 with some friendly competition.

In 2005 values were still strong, but demand started to soften, with days on market increasing. We weren’t aware of the pending ‘tsunami’ devastation of the mortgage crisis. But it was evident that prices couldn’t continue to spiral upwards.

The owner of Aina Manu Place was willing to make price adjustments and we got it under contract at $1.5M. However, zoning violations came to light and that deal canceled. We worked diligently on solving the zoning issues, and SOLD it to the same buyers for $1,250,000 one year later in 2006.

Happy retirement in Florida!

This owner was wise to move with the market, and recognize his win rather than focus on the his original asking price.

He bought a distressed oceanfront property in Florida where his family is enjoying life.

Many sellers had a mindset that they “would wait for the market to come back.” What they didn’t understand was the spike in values was a phenomena, not “the market.” The second owner did not adjust his price, the property did not sell and those values have not returned.

Main Line and Center City shifts

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted real estate communities on the Main Line and in Center City very differently, as it has across the country. Suburban home values have escalated while Center City luxury markets are softening.

Market predictions and reports from national leaders repeatedly cite that today’s market is not the mortgage crisis, drawing the conclusion we won’t face some of the same challenges with economic uncertainties.

However, what is similar is that dramatic price shifts in both are driven by external phenomena, not directly related to real estate.

COVID driven market shifts

COVID has made us all look at “home” differently, causing massive movement in all market segments across the country. That’s driven record numbers of sales in some areas, and dramatic price increases with competing offers in others.

I don’t see the COVID driven buying dynamics decreasing until our post-COVID normalcy stabilizes likely in late 2021, or into 2022.

That new normal will not strictly be a return to our pre-COVID reality. Working from home is not going away.

What that means for suburban housing as well as urban values driven by commercial space and restaurants we won’t know in advance. But we can look forward learning from the past.

High demand with low inventory on the Main Line

On the Main Line where prices and demand have skyrocketed, owners who have considered selling should act now. The increase in values is a short-term phenomena driven by the effects of COVID.

Inventory will increase in 2021 and values will adjust as we move towards a buyers market. The new post-COVID market may very well reflect a different price range than we are currently experiencing.

No one can truly call a market until it’s with hindsight. But we can analyze facts at hand, learn from the past and create a plan for success.

If you are wondering about selling your home, get your instant valuation at HomeValuesbySusanna.com then let’s chat. I’ll share with you key strategies for success, including how to sell / buy safely during COVID.

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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.

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.

How do I transition a traditional home to attract today’s luxury millennial buyers?

Millennial home buying trends have become a hot topic in luxury real estate. Millennials include anyone born between 1981 and 1996, and they’re quickly becoming a dominating force in real estate. In 2018, millennials represented the largest cohort of home buyers at 37 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2019 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report.

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.

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.

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 the “negative space” 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 are important elements of creating the kind of “sizzle” you want to drive buyers to take action!

Let’s talk! Please book a private consult on my calendar, and we’ll look at your home through FaceTime or Zoom and discuss ideas to maximize the market appeal for today’s buyers.

Virtual Real Estate

Recent COVID-19 crisis “stay at home” orders have up-ended traditional real estate activity. However, sellers still want to sell and buyers need new homes.

Virtual showings now become a primary tool for both buyers and sellers to overcome the COVID-19 challenges and accomplish their goals.

For instance, the video below is a walk through preview I did for my clients last week during a brokers open house. There’s so much detail, sense of place and flow of the design one can get from a virtual walk through that you can’t get with profession videos or even the best photos.

Working remotely with both buyers and sellers was a foundation of my business while selling luxury 2nd homes in Hawaii as most of my clients were remote. Some buyers went under contract “sight unseen” based on video walk throughs I shared with them, and then flew in for the home inspection. Of course, that was based on our strong working relationship and clarity of their vision for their new home.

Now is the time when you need a realtor with cutting-edge technology skills as well as experience and expertise. Let’s have “coffee” via Zoom video conferencing and discuss what’s going on in your local market and various strategies to accomplish your goals.

How to transform your library

How to get the highest offer in today’s market? Staging is not just furniture, it’s about telling a story that makes the right buyers fall in love.  One of the mainstays of Main Line estate homes is a gracious library. Many of today’s luxury buyers no longer view a library as desirable. They look for technology based amenities, like Control 4 smart systems. Yet a library is a very positive feature if positioned creatively.

Too many design elements – need to simplify and lighten the room

How to present the features and benefits of a library, but also appeal to modern luxury buyers? Staging can transform the area making it attractive to both traditional and modern luxury buyers.

Spare elements on shelves, staging as open living area

Staging is not just furniture. It’s about re-packaging the property in the best possible way for today’s buyers.

How can we present your home to net you the highest price in today’s market? Let’s talk – I have solutions for you!

High demand for Main Line mid-century homes

You might be surprised to find a high demand on the Main Line for mid-century modern with simple, clean lines and open floor plans.

Three recent listings designed by Robert McElroy all went under contract in less than two weeks. Take a quick preview:

Where were these?

307 Jeffrey Lane, Newtown Square – listed for $749,000. 4 bd / 3 ba, on 1 acre with swimming pool & jacuzzi, built in 1972. Sold above asking for $749,850

596 S Bryn MawrAve, Bryn Mawr – listed for $710,000. 4 bd / 2.5 ba on 1.34 acres, built in 1963. Sold above asking for $730,000.

596 S Bryn Mawr Ave SOLD above asking for $730K

305 Highview Drive, Wayne – listed for $599,900. 4 bd / 2.5 ba, on 1 acre with pool, built in 1970. Sold for $580,000.

If you’d like listing alerts for homes built by Robert McElroy, contact me and I will notify you of coming soon and just listed mid-century homes.