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The Real Deal / A guide to Westport condominiums

Published 7:18 pm, Thursday, June 20, 2013
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The condominium market in Westport is alive and well.

In the past year, sale prices ranged from $280,000 for a one-bedroom, 671-square-foot unit over retail space on Main Street to $1,125,000 for a three-bedroom, luxuriously renovated 4,000-plus-square-foot unit at Regent's Park.

Like the market in general, Westport condos took a hit during the 2009 to 2012 decline. For the 365 day period ending June 10, the average condominium sale price was $606,615. That is nearly 25 percent less than the pre-downturn average of just under $800,000.

There is a hierarchy of Westport condominiums based on price, condition and amenities.

TOP OF THE SCALE

At the top of the scale is Terra Nova -- a gated community at the Norwalk border. Terra Nova offers luxury, size (up to 4,000 square feet), and two-car attached garages. Some models have first-floor master suites and upgrades, including hardwood floors, granite counters -- even an elevator. The complex also has a pool.

There have been no sales at Terra Nova in the past 12 months. The most recent two-bedroom sales have been in the $800,000s and three-bedroom units have sold for about $1 million.

ONE NOTCH BELOW

Just under Terra Nova are Harvest Commons, Lansdowne and Regents Park, all built during the 1980s, All with entrances off the Post Road in the eastern half of town, and all with garages, manned gatehouses, pools, tennis facilities and clubhouses.

All have two- and three-bedroom units. Buyers like the full basements at Harvest Commons and Regents Park. Only a few units at these complexes have first-floor master suites. Lansdowne units do not have basements, but most have master suites on the first floor -- making it a popular destination for older adults.

Two-bedroom units in original condition have been selling in the $600,000s and usually undergo major renovation by the new owners.

An updated two-bedroom unit at Lansdowne recently sold for $915,000. A nicely renovated three-bedroom unit at Regent's Park just brought $962,500.

No pool or tennis

The newer Bradley Commons and Riverside Green condos are next in line. Unlike the previous complexes, these do not offer pool or tennis facilities. What they do offer is upscale newer construction and location -- the latter overlooking the river, and both super convenient to the train.

Bradley Commons offers three-level living with two bedrooms and one-car garages, but with the downside of I-95 views and noise. This complex was a tough sell when it was new in 2009 until prices adjusted into the $600,000s, where they remain today.

Riverside Green has both townhouse and single-level units, one- and two-bedroom options, some with garages, some not. The complex sold out quickly in its 2006 offering, with prices ranging from the low $500,000s to the mid-$800,000s.Resales since then have been in the same range.

OLDER TOWNHOUSES

The next tier of Westport condominiums includes Edgewater Commons, Old Hill (corner of Ludlow Road and the Post Road West), and Indian River Green (on Saugatuck Avenue just south of the train station).

These are older, smaller, townhouse-style complexes, most with one- or two-car garages but no pools, tennis, etc. Some have basements. Recent sales in these complexes have been in the $400,000s and $500,000s.

MORE AFFORDABLE

Then there's Playhouse Square -- mostly townhouse-style two-bedroom units which have beautiful rear views of Winslow Park. This complex has underground parking, elevator access, and outdoor hallways rather than private entrances for each unit. Expect to pay between $300,000 and $400,000 for one of these.

Also in this price range is Riverside Walk, a 10-unit complex on Cross Street built in 2002. The one-bedroom units, no bigger than hotel suites, sold in the $300,000s when the complex was new; the two-bedrooms sold in the $400,000s. There have been few recent sales. The most recent, a one-bedroom unit in 2011, traded for $265,000.

AGE 62-PLUS

Whitney Glen is Westport's age-62-plus community. It is a collection of townhouse and single-level units with one or two bedrooms, plus a pool. Interestingly, the configuration of this complex is inconsistent with the population it serves. Few units have garages, and the second-floor units have more outdoor steps than the average 62-year old is looking to climb. Most Whitney Glen units need significant updating. Recent sales have been plus/minus $300,000 for the one bedrooms, to higher in the $300,000s for two-bedroom units.

Those in my business agree that additional condominium inventory in Westport would be very well received. There have been long-standing rumors about a plan to convert the low buildings on Riverside Avenue (between the two larger ones that once housed Marketing Corporation of America) into an upscale waterside condo complex.We'll have to wait and see if that happens.

Evi Coghlan's "The Real Deal" appears every other Friday. She is a licensed real estate agent with the Riverside Avenue office of Coldwell Banker and a former marketing consultant to Fortune 100 companies. Evi may be reached at 203-247-6691, by emailing her at evi@evicoghlan.com, or visiting www.evicoghlan.com.