Real Realty: Witch’s Hat Gets New Head

Real Estate News

Witch’s Hat Gets New Head

Noted decorator Richard Keith Langham sold his ultra-cool Water Mill getaway to fashionista Pamela Bell, according to published reports. Langham has worked with clients from the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to actor John Goodman.

The Queen Anne-style home, known as Witch’s Hat, a reference to the house’s steep, pointed turret, is a beauty. Though refurbished, it bears its heritage proudly, including the third-floor widow’s walk. A tall hedge line shields a gorgeous pool area and substantial lawn. The price was right, too: a very doable $1.8 million.

Bell is a founder of socially minded fashion brand Prinkshop, and an original partner at Kate Spade. Brian Hagadorn of Douglas Elliman brought the buyer to this Compass listing, represented by Ginger Thornier.

Whose Fault?

The Independent’s erudite editorial cartoonist Karen Fredericks, in a recent effort, posed a student telling his teacher, “Trump ate my homework!”

And although the President’s supporters rue the increasing practice of blaming everything that goes wrong on the current administration, the Wall Street Journal has a suspect to blame when discussing the downturn in local real estate sales: yes, Agent Orange himself, The Donald.

First, the facts. Sales are down for three straight quarters — 13 percent in the last — and the number of luxury listings, defined as those in the top 10 percent price range, are accumulating like Jerry Seinfeld’s Porsches. The difference is, Seinfeld doesn’t want to sell his collection.

In a November 29 WSJ article by Candace Taylor, the top reason for the malaise is pegged on changes in cap deductions for state and local taxes, which have proven to be a boom in some states, but a bust in New York. Meanwhile, rising interest rates have had an effect on low-end sales.

But it is a complex animal. One broker opined the success of rental sites like Airbnb has lowered sales, because would-be buyers who intend to use the new house as a summer home opt for a rental instead and sit on their cash. There has also been an overabundance of spec houses built; the resulting glut lowers selling prices and feeds inertia. Stay tuned.

rmurphy@indyeastend.com