Tag Archive for: Luxury Homes

October & November Sales Continue Real Estate Momentum

Continuing the strong sales seen in Q3 2020, October and November single family home sales are set to help 2020 close as our strongest year in many. Far outweighing 2019 sales at all price points, the initially sluggish market responded well with our current concern being a lack of inventory. With many buyers still migrating from the city and more urban areas to the privacy of the suburbs, we hope to see sales continue throughout 2020 and into 2021. And while buyer demand remains strong, there simply aren’t enough homes on the market for them to purchase. Unlike previous years, where the consensus was to avoid putting a house on the market as we move into winter, in 2020 that simply isn’t the case. If you’re looking to make a move, now is the perfect time to list your house for sale.

All Indicators Are Positive
Year-to-date, a total of 495 homes have sold in 2020, outpacing 2019 by 40% and the total sales volume stands 46% higher than 2019 at $395,754,813 vs $213,039,725. In October and November specifically, we have seen 130 sales with a list-to-sale price ratio of 98.6%. Our days on market and months of inventory are also at all-time lows with homes spending a median time of 31 days on the market before selling. There is also only 2 months of inventory available, which is concerning given the number of buyers still looking to move to our area. There are currently 78 homes on the market

Prices Are Up
The average sales price was up 11 percent year over year YTD sitting at $801,123 in 2020 compared to $712,507 in 2019. The median sales price was up 10 percent $699,000 in 2020 YTD vs $628,250 in 2019. We have seen a good number of homes selling at or above their listed sale price and homes that are updated and priced properly are often in receipt of multiple bids.

Luxury Sales Are Strong
Sales are up in all price points. There was a three-fold increase in the number of homes that sold for over $1 million (101 in 2020 compared to 37 in 2019). In terms of the luxury market – defined as homes priced over $1.5 million – 37 single-family properties have sold in 2020 YTD compared to only 16 in 2019. There are also a further ten luxury homes with accepted offers set to close by year end.

Karla Murtaugh Homes Sales
Year to date, in Ridgefield alone, Karla Murtaugh Homes has represented either the buyer, seller or both on 78 closed transactions at all price points from a $345,000 condo to a $5.2 million luxury estate property. In the luxury market, we were responsible for representing 23 buyers and/or sellers of the 37 properties that sold. We currently have an additional 28 properties set to close by the end of 2020 or Q1 2021.

Thinking Of Selling?
Now is a great time to meet with us and prepare your home for sale. Take advantage of the unprecedented buyer demand and low market inventory. We offer a complimentary market analysis and would be happy to provide you with a concrete analysis of what your home is worth. For buyers, our expertise in negotiating in a strong seller’s market means you will get unparalleled representation in a competitive marketplace. Now is the time to make sure you work with an experienced realtor – this market comes with many challenges and you really need someone who can get you to the closing table. Contact us today at 203-856-5534 or karla@karlamurtaugh.com

Karla Murtaugh Brokers $5.2 Million Deal For Sugar Hill Estate

Sugar Hill is an extraordinary property, fully befitting its rare provenance. Located only an hour from Manhattan, the sale of the ivy-laced Georgian manse was brokered by Karla Murtaugh at Neumann Real Estate, an exclusive Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, and is the highest grossing sale since 2008. Murtaugh noted that there was multiple interest in the property resulting in the $5.2-million transaction.

Beautifully sited on 46.3 acres, Sugar Hill was constructed in 1939 by the esteemed firm of Noël and Miller (best known for the design of the Whitney Museum of American Art) and stands today as a symbol of a great American past meeting the hope and promise of a new generation. This classic, understated yet elegant seven-bedroom manor features an array of amenities including a grand indoor pool with full service changing rooms, an outdoor pool and cabana, a lighted tennis court, sprawling manicured lawns, and a greenhouse and potting shed for the garden enthusiast. A two-bedroom, two-bath guest house is the perfect complement to the classic manor along with a large detached garage for the car enthusiast, adding 6 additional heated garage spaces, for a total of 11 bays.

“Sugar Hill is an iconic property that exemplifies the ultimate country lifestyle” says Murtaugh. ”The exceptional Georgian architecture, perfect proportions, park-like, private setting and fabulous amenities it offers, make it the perfect full-time residence or weekend getaway from NYC.”

The home’s pedigree is beyond compare. The original owner, Wadsworth R. Lewis, was the son of Frederic E. Lewis a railroad tycoon and president of the Adams Express Company. The Lewis Fund continues to enrich the community through local Ridgefield charities such as the local library, the Boys and Girls Club, and Meals on Wheels.

From 1946-1966, the residence was home to Henry Luce an American magazine magnate and publisher of the Time, Inc. magazine empire, including titles such as Life, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune, and his wife, Clare Boothe Luce, Connecticut’s first elected Congresswoman and the first woman to be appointed to an ambassadorship by the then President Dwight David Eisenhower. Adding to her success, Clare, the playwright, proved a pioneer of the new feminist movement with her successful 1936’s smash satire, The Women.

The Sugar Hill estate was purchased in 1966 by Austrian-born Hans P. Kraus, the most celebrated book dealer & collector of this century. Among his vast collection at Sugar Hill was a Gutenberg Bible, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, and a first printing of the U.S. Constitution. He was a major contributor to the U.S. Library of Congress including the historic Kraus Collection of Sir Francis Drake.

In 1993, Basha Szymanska, a successful Wilhelmina fashion model and clothing designer discovered Sugar Hill while traveling through Ridgefield with her then husband and investment banker Perry J. Lewis.  Basha started her fashion career in New York City where she was originally spotted by Oscar de la Renta at age 19. After 3o years in New York City, the transition to Sugar Hill was an easy one for Basha.  Having immigrated from Poland in 1950, Basha never lost her love of country living and discovered living in Ridgefield one of her greatest joys. Over the years, Basha acquired adjoining properties, eventually expanding the estate to over 63 acres and always working to preserve the historic legacy of this great manor.

Today, natural light floods this decades-old residence through a multitude of French doors accenting the grand 12-foot walls, moldings, and wide hardwood floors. The newly renovated professional kitchen blends the old with the new and boasts modern appliances and a large teakwood prep area for full-scale entertaining. The spacious dining room adjoins a lush conservatory that is the perfect setting for mid-season dining or overflow seating, and the grand living room, with spectacular views of the property, accommodates a grand piano with ample room for relaxing or entertaining guests. The great library, adjoins a small study with a fireplace for quiet evenings and conversation. There are 10 fireplaces throughout the estate, several located in the bedrooms including one in the master bedroom with its oversized deck and views of the western sunset.  Completing the second floor is a media room, and employee /staff wing with plenty of accommodation including a second laundry and a complete caretaker’s apartment.

Murtaugh also commented on the special nature of the town of Ridgefield with its cultural icons such as the Prospector Movie Theater, Ridgefield Playhouse and ACT of CT, impressive restaurants, boutique shopping and philanthropic activism. It also ranks the safest small town in America and is voted the number one town in Connecticut year after year by CT Magazine.

Ridgefield Posts Record Sales In Q3 2020

Q3 2020 Rises Beyond Expectations

After Covid-19 took the wind out of our sails in March and April, the Ridgefield real estate market has rebounded with enthusiasm posting record sales that far outweigh 2019. Year-to-date, a total of 358 homes have sold so far this year, outpacing 2019 by 39% and the total sales volume stands 55% higher than 2019 at $280,255,426 vs $180,307,075.

In Q3 specifically, we have seen 201 sales vs 108 in Q3 2019. Additionally, our total sales volume in Q3 2020 posted a 108% gain over the same timeframe in 2019 registering $160,858,383 in sales. Sales in Q3 reflect deposits taken from May to August in most cases.

Our days on market and months of inventory are also lower than in 2019, which is concerning given the number of buyers still looking to move to our area. There are currently only 117 homes on the market, which corresponds to 3 months of available inventory.

Luxury Sales Are Strong

Sales are up in all price points with strong gains in the over $1 million category.  In 2019, there were 37 homes that sold for over $1-million by this time, while there have been 79 year-to-date in 2020. The trend continues when looking at Luxury Homes sales in particular (over $1.5-million) where there have been 25 recorded sales as opposed to only 12 in 2019. There are also 13 additional luxury properties currently under agreement and set to close in Q4 2020.

Prices Are Up

The average sales price was up 12 percent year over year and in Q3 2020.  Year-to-date it sits at $782,836, and in Q3 it was $800,290.  The median sales price was up 11 percent in Q3 sitting at $720,000 compared to $650,000 and 6 percent in the year-to-date with 2019 registering a median value of $635,000 and 2020 $673,750. We have seen a good number of homes selling at or above their listed sale price in a short amount of time. Homes that are updated and priced properly are often in receipt of multiple bids.

Fairfield County Snapshot  

We are experiencing increases in sales and property values throughout Fairfield County with the number of sales increasing 17 percent, median sales price up 12 percent, and total dollar volume up a record 40 percent since 2019. Darien, Greenwich and Westport saw the largest gains in the number of sales and values.

Looking Ahead

We wish we had a crystal ball to have a clearer vision for the market going forward, but with the election, Covid-19 and job security all looming as issues in Q4 and beyond, we are somewhat uncertain what the future holds. Interest rates are holding at historic lows, and we are also seeing more cash transactions in the upper segment of $1-million purchases. One thing we can say is that inventory is low and there are many buyers looking to purchase. If we can continue to list homes, the market will continue to grow. So, if you have been reevaluating your lifestyle and think that making a move would be good for you, now is the time! We offer a complimentary market analysis and would be happy to provide you with a concrete analysis of what your home is worth.  For buyers, our expertise in negotiating in a strong seller’s market means you will get unparalleled representation in a competitive marketplace. Contact us today at 203-856-5534 or karla@karlamurtaugh.com


Ridgefield’s 2019 Year In Review Market Report

Ridgefield Market Snapshot
2019 was an interesting year in Ridgefield Real Estate as we didn’t see the typical buying cycle emerge as in previous years. Summer – which is usually fairly busy – slowed slightly, while the fall and winter months have seen increased activity. Across the board sales of Single Family Homes in Ridgefield have been flat with the number of Closed Sales remaining steady at 327 versus 329 in 2018, and the Overall Sales Volume ending the year only $3-million less than 2018 at $233,379,725.

Median Sales Price also remained relatively constant at $628,250 – a difference of 2 percent compared to $641,260 last year. Average Sales Price is down half a percentage point over 2018 to $713,699. As in previous years, homes continue to sell at approximately 96.5% of ask, while the Days On Market rose slightly to 167 from 142. Moving into 2020, there are already double the number of homes under contract as compared to the same time in 2019.

The Luxury Market
18 luxury homes sold this past year, compared to 9 in 2018. Six of these sales were over $2-million. Proper pricing is critical to achieve maximum results in a reasonable time period. Sellers are advised to make sure their home is move-in ready and incorporate the additional features buyers are looking for such as mudrooms, Smart Home connectivity, generators, and updated kitchens and baths.

Condo Sales
Ridgefield continues to offer a wide selection of price points and availability to those looking for an alternative to a single-family home. This year, sales ranged from a one bedroom, one bath condo in Fox Hill for $150,000 to a $1.4 million, three bedroom, three bath luxury townhome in The Elms on Main Street. Overall, condo sales slowed with 55 units selling as compared to 70 last year. The Median Sales Price remained steady at $227,500 but the Average Sales Price decreased ending the year at $298,907


Contact Us to explore how we can partner with you to meet and exceed your Real Estate goals.

Ridgefield’s Tower Cottage Featured In Christie’s ‘Luxury Defined’

In a blog and newsletter circulated to over 10,000 high net worth subscribers, Ridgefield’s own history-filled ‘Tower Cottage’ at 48 East Ridge Road took top honors representing beautiful Victorian Revival architecture.

Joining noteworthy properties from around the world, Tower Cottage is currently listed for sale by Karla Murtaugh at Neumann Real Estate for $2,395,000 and pays homage to a time gone by, while maintaining relevance to a modern world through exquisite renovations and updates.

Click here to see the full Christie’s International Real Estate article about Tower Cottage and it’s fellow Victorian Revivals. To learn more, or to see a video or peruse photographs of Tower Cottage itself, visit the feature page or call us at 203-856-5534 for an exclusive showing.

Luxury Defined is celebrating the eclectic Victorian Revival movement by featuring six homes inspired by the reign of Queen Victoria, sovereign of Great Britain, Empress of India from 1837 to 1876. Caught in the tension between the old and the new, the Victorian architect reworked classical antecedents with “contemporary” upgrades and a multiplicity of new styles emerged: the medieval and Roman elements of Gothic Revival and Richardson Romanesque; the mansard roofs of Second Empire; the turrets and gables of Queen Anne; and, the Craftsman precursors of Stick-Eastlake style. New engineering technology embraced structural steel as well as the luxury of indoor plumbing. The Victorians reveled in ornamentation, classical proportions, craftsmanship and materials, yet their designs anticipated modernism. Their 19th-century cottages, grand country estates, and elegant townhouses brought in a new age of light, air, warmth, and comfort for homes which are still vibrant, exciting living spaces for the 21st century.

Tower Cottage itself is beautifully sited on a ridge and sits just a stone’s throw to all Ridgefield has to offer. It includes an impressive wrap-around porch, exquisite new gourmet kitchen, fabulous mudroom, 6 bedrooms & 3 floors of turreted rooms – a library, master suite & office. A gunite pool joins beautiful gardens & sweeping lawns creating an exceptional retreat.



Karla Murtaugh Named To Christie’s ‘Masters Circle’

I was honored to be named to the inaugural Christie’s International Real Estate Masters Circle at last week’s 2019 Christie’s International Real Estate Luxury Agent Conference in Houston, Texas. The Masters Circle is a group of top-performing agents within the Christie’s International Real Estate global invitation-only network.

Masters Circle members are chosen based on their success and expertise at the high end of the market, as well as their specialization in different property types. The agent’s ability to deliver the highest level of service to sophisticated clients around the world sets them apart in the industry and makes them a perfect fit for the specialist universe that is unique to Christie’s. Together, the membership represents over 4,700 combined luxury home listings with areas of market expertise ranging from waterfront, equestrian, mountain, and ski, to vineyards, development, urban, suburban, and private islands among others.

“We are incredibly proud of Karla on her recognition as a Masters Circle member,” said Russ Neumann, broker/partner at Neumann Real Estate. “Karla exemplifies top-notch customer service, an incredible networking ability, and an unsurpassed knowledge of the local market. To have her be recognized internationally for these attributes is truly an honor she deserves. ”

Dan Conn, Christie’s International Real Estate Chief Operating Officer, said: “We are excited to have established this group of luxury real estate specialists operating at the top level in their respective regions. Members gain access to an invaluable network to discuss industry trends and establish leadership in their particular areas of specialty, and promote their listings to other Masters Circle luxury real estate specialists. This elite group will further enhance the ability for the Christie’s International Real Estate network to serve buyers and sellers of fine properties worldwide.”

Making A Splash In The Wall Street Journal

In case you missed it, a few weeks ago we were fortunate enough to be interviewed and featured in an article in the Wall Street Journal discussing real estate in Fairfield County. As the WSJ points out, for such a small area, Fairfield County provides an exceptional range of options. Homebuyers can have their pick of good-sized cities, mid-sized towns, quaint little villages or country life — all within a few minutes’ drive of each other.

In general, today’s market conditions favor the buyer. Prices seem to have compressed a bit from their high of 2015, and more product is available. New construction is limited, but many of Fairfield County’s older homes have been updated in the past decade or so — and others offer opportunities for the buyer who wants to invest some “sweat equity” to make the property truly theirs.

In terms of our contribution, we really wanted to talk about Ridgefield’s accessibility to New York City and our diversity. As reported, “Karla Murtaugh of Ridgefield-based Karla Murtaugh Homes at Neumann Real Estate says public transport is handy, just over the border in Westchester County, and the local schools are a huge draw.

“Our sales are up 2% on the transaction side, 4% on the value side, year to date,” she reports.

“The diversity of our housing market is what makes Ridgefield popular. You can find anything from an entry-level condo to magnificent estate properties.”

“We’re fortunate, this year in particular, to have some fantastic living options in Downtown Ridgefield and nearby — the best sprinkling of inventory we’ve had in a while…(and) Ridgefield also offers a shuttle from downtown to the Katonah, New York, train station, which gets commuters into New York City in just under an hour.”

We also paired the article with a fabulous advertisement of our luxury properties offering tri-state readers a glimpse into some of Ridgefield’s most luxuriant properties. Click here to read the full article and see the ad.

Ridgefield’s 2019 Mid-Year Market Report

Ridgefield Market Snapshot
Ridgefield single family home sales are on par when compared to the same time last year. 150 homes sold during the first six months of the year, as compared to 147 in 2018. The median sales price stayed exactly the same at $625,000, while the total sales volume made modest gains ending the mid-year 4.5% higher than 2018 at $104,368,182. Even going back to 2017, we have seen the number of sales and the median sales price remain essentially flat, while the overall sales volume has fluctuated from a high in 2017 of $125,473,815 to a low in 2018 of $99,906,250.

While the median sales price remained the same year over year, we saw gains in the average sales price, which bodes well for the market as it indicates a general increase in what buyers are willing to pay. Year-to-date the average sales price was $695,788 – a 3.8% increase over the 2018 price of $670,512. This may sound modest, but considering 2017 had a high of $704,797, it indicates we are trending in the right direction. The months of inventory was slightly lower fluctuating between 8 and 15 months, while the list to closed price ratio was up over previous years at 96.7%.

The Luxury Market
Luxury market sales in Ridgefield – defined as homes selling for $1.5 million and above – have seen a huge uptick since this time last year, and in fact, are the strongest we’ve seen since 2016. There have been seven sales to date, compared to only one in 2018, two in 2017, and nine in 2016, while other Fairfield County towns, generally known for their luxury market, have flattened and reported less than stellar results so far this year. Traditionally, demand for these properties is strongest towards the end of the year so we hope to see this segment of the market continue to do well. There are currently an additional three homes under deposit set to close in the next few months and we’ve noticed that in the higher price points it is the motivated seller who is seeing the best results in the least amount of time.

Fairfield County Snapshot
The results are truly mixed for Fairfield County as a whole in the first half of 2019. Overall, median sales price was down throughout the county, as was total sales volume, but the number of unit sales increased in many towns. Traditionally strong commuter towns such as Darien and Greenwich had opposite results with Darien showing an increase in unit sales but the greatest decrease in median sales price in the county, and Greenwich showing an in increase in price but a decrease in the number of sales. Westchester County has also seen a decrease overall in the number of unit sales with median and average sales values down across the board. Looking ahead, we hope to see a more balanced market with supply and demand bringing prices back into alignment.

Looking Ahead
The spring market never seemed to materialize but we are seeing an increase in activity in the early summer months. Buyers continue to be in the driver’s seat in 2019 and sellers would be wise to make sure that their home is show ready before listing it for sale. Now, more than ever, it is important that these properties check off as many of the buyers’ boxes as possible. We continue to see in-town properties and those sporting the latest design trends garner top dollar. Inventory for small to medium-sized homes that are in turn key condition continues to be a challenge as baby boomers looking to downsize, and millennials looking to buy their first home, often overlap in what they desire. We are cautiously optimistic that Ridgefield Real Estate will remain steady. We are seeing 63% of sales coming from the purchase of homes under $700,000 indicating middle-class earners continue to find Ridgefield a desirable place to live with its access to great schools, major urban centers and exposure to a vibrant arts and leisure community.


Celebrating Tower Cottage with ‘Bubble & Brew’

We recently hosted a fun Broker’s Open House event at one of our premiere in-town properties at 48 East Ridge Road with the ‘Bubble & Brew’ food truck! Realtors from the local area toured the home and enjoyed gourmet scones, croissants, tea, coffee and more on a beautiful, sunny Tuesday morning.

An iconic presence since it was a summer home for Jackie Bouvier Kennedy’s aunt, the beautifully updated Tower Cottage is a stone’s throw to all the Village has to offer including shops, restaurants, theaters, art galleries, spas, fitness studios and more!

Offered for sale at $2,475,000, the architectural treasure features original detailing & charm, yet is also perfectly suited for a modern lifestyle. Built in 1880 by renowned architect Charles B. Northrup, the impressive wrap-around porch leads into a spacious front hall with well-proportioned rooms, fabulous flow, 10-foot ceilings, 4 fireplaces & classic architectural details that cannot be reproduced today. The new kitchen features white custom cabinetry, Carrera marble countertops, a Bertazzoni stove, two wall ovens, separate full-size SubZero refrigerator & freezer units, & the original coal stove. Other rooms include a formal dining room, living room, breakfast room, butler’s pantry, 6 bedrooms, library & an office. Expansive views of the lawn, gardens, or gunite pool can be enjoyed from every window, but are most impressive from the three-story turret. Truly the definition of a Signature Property.

Click here to see more, or contact me to set up a showing.