The Real Deal New York

The priciest listings in the ’burbs

A roundup of the most expensive properties for sale in the tony enclaves around NYC
By Julie Strickland | January 08, 2014 01:20PM

The priciest properties on the market in New York City’s toniest suburbs—Nassau, Bergen, Fairfield and Westchester counties—may not break Manhattan records, but their luxury cachet may be enough to draw even the most determined city dweller. Here’s a breakdown of what’s happening in each area.

With new foreign buyers, Nassau’s luxury sales boom

Foreign investors are a growing presence in Nassau County’s luxury residential market. And the properties those buyers are choosing from are all about the bling—indoor basketball courts, home movie theaters and the like.

Nassau’s most expensive listings clock in north of $15 million.

Many buyers eyeing high-end properties with price tags of $10 million or more are Chinese customers purchasing homes that can also serve as corporate retreats or entertainment venues for overseas guests, sources say.

Nassau’s Gold Coast—which includes Sands Point, Old Westbury, Muttontown, Centre Island, the Brookvilles and Mill Neck—is drawing most of the high-end buyers, said Shawn Elliott, founder and CEO of Shawn Elliott Luxury Homes and Estates, who has the county’s priciest listing.

Also on Elliott’s list is 103 Centre Island Road in Centre Island. It is owned by the world’s foremost porcelain collector, Richard Cohen, and modeled after Versailles’ Le Petit Trianon. The roughly 21,000-square-foot home bears a $14.98 million price tag and features the Napoleon room, decorated in the general’s favorite colors (purple and green) and accented with his crest.

Best school districts draw Bergen’s high-end sales

While the luxury market in Bergen County is strong—with the most expensive listing at nearly $30 million—brokers say there is no Manhattan-like madness there.

The New Jersey market is municipality-sensitive, meaning that buyers are willing to pay top dollar for the area’s excellent school districts, such as Alpine, according to Dennis McCormack, a broker with Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, who currently has two of the county’s five most expensive listings.

“Alpine is very strong because the school system is excellent, and prices are higher than they’ve been in past years,” said McCormack. Towns with higher taxes and lesser-ranked schools have sat out the market’s uptick, he said.

Cresskill and Englewood fall into that category, he said, despite the fact that the latter is home to the county’s priciest listing—the $29.9 million Gloria Crest estate, once home to actress Gloria Swanson. Kennedy family patriarch Joseph Kennedy—who owned the property and for years maintained a public affair with Swanson—sold it before his death in 1969. Current owner Edward Turen paid $4.6 million for the estate in 2000, according to New Jersey’s Multiple Listings Service.

Fairfield County’s astronomical prices top the suburban heap

Fairfield County tops the New York area’s suburban luxury market. Overall sales are booming and luxury market prices are stratospheric, sources say.

Indeed, the Connecticut county’s priciest listing was at one point the most expensive listing in the country. The 50-acre Copper Beech estate (499 Indian Field Road) was first listed for $190 million in May; it’s since been chopped to $140 million.

Among the other priciest properties for sale in the county is 207 Byram Shore Road in Greenwich, listed for $32 million.

The 1916 mansion, owned by the Weinstein Company’s Bob Weinstein, measures nearly 13,000 square feet and is located on a street dotted with grand “summer cottages” that served as vacation homes for last century’s wealthy industrialists.

Should the home, listed by Coldwell Banker’s Tamar Lurie, fetch its full asking price, Weinstein would land a hefty profit: He paid $16 million in 2000.

Westchester draws priced-out New Yorkers

The real estate market in Westchester County is a “tale of two cities,” according to Houlihan Lawrence’s Anthony Cutugno.

In lower Westchester’s towns close to New York City, like Bronxville, Rye, Scarsdale and Mamaroneck, sales in the $2 million to $4 million range account for 70 percent of Houlihan Lawrence’s luxury business. Most buyers are people who sold their place in Manhattan—but couldn’t find the space they needed to stay in the city amid the frenzied market there, said Cutugno, director of the firm’s Luxury Country Properties division.

The county’s priciest properties are in upper Westchester. Currently topping the market is 17 Cowdray Park Drive in Armonk, which was listed in October for $24.9 million.

One of the other most interesting high-end properties is 58 Cat Ridge Road in North Salem, which was listed at $18.5 million in March 2012.

The 9,000-square-foot home was designed by architect Mott Schmidt for Woolworth heir Richard Woolworth in 1934.

It’s been dubbed “the last of the Georgians” in reference to the signature American Georgian Classic style Schmidt employed in designing early 19th–century homes for the likes of the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers. The home sits on 26 acres, has indoor and outdoor pools and a horse stable.