As a real estate agent friend noted in a mass email, historic properties are still selling in Savannah. The fundamentals are certainly pretty lousy — too many listings and too few buyers, too many vacant condo conversion attempts — but a recent $1.495 million sale on Monterey Square might be reason for optimism, unless you’re the person who bought a property like that during the big run-up in prices after the turn of the century.
When I saw the recent sale, I took a look at the property record card for that grand home. The property last sold for $1.65 million back in 2003 after having been listed for sale for almost $2 million in 2001.
Crazily, the Chatham County Board of Assessors — whose numbers I’ve disputed for years — valued the property at $2.46 million in 2008. For 2011, the value was still $1.86 million — about $360,000 higher than its eventual sale price.
But let’s be serious: a sale price of $1.5 million is still a ton of money. The home is over 6,000 square feet, but that still works out to about $240 per square foot. That makes it one of the priciest downtown Savannah sales that I know of. (Anyone know of freestanding homes that have sold recently for more? A couple of the News Place condos topped out at $275 per square foot I think.)
The 40% decline from the maximum fair market value as determined by the county to this recent sale price might sound extreme. But the downtown luxury market needs to move more properties, and it needs to find a few logical benchmarks.I can’t say that I’m optimistic about any of this — not given the simple problem of supply and demand — but it’s good to see the large inventory of $1 million plus properties get whittled down.