Home Sale Price Doubles In 13 Years

Thomas Breen photoA three-family East Rock house sold for more than twice what it cost in 2005, while a nonprofit dropped a decaying Newhallville single-family home that it couldn’t find enough money to rebuild.

A house in the Annex, meanwhile, flipped for double its original value in just five months.

Those are three of 25 residential property transactions that took place in the Elm City over the past two weeks.

According to city land records, the three-family house at 260 Humphrey St. was sold by Scott Hunt to Ninghui Liang and Wensheng Zhang on Sept. 28. Liang and Zhang, who also own a two-family property around the corner at 39 Clark St., paid Hunt $568,888 for the two-and-a-half-story building at the corner of Humphrey and State.

That’s $303,888 more than the $265,000 that Hunt paid to buy the property in 2005, marking a sales price increase of nearly 115 percent compared to 13 years ago.

Over in Newhallville, Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) sold a single-family home at 118 Bassett St. to Mohamed Aboutalib for $63,000. It paid $37,500 to buy the derelict property in a foreclosure sale in 2014.

Jim Paley is the founder and executive director of the local affordable housing nonprofit, which has spent the past four decades buying, gutting, and rehabilitating derelict properties and selling them to low-income, first-time homeowners. He said that his organization had to drop the one-and-three-quarter-story home across from Lincoln Bassett School because it couldn’t secure enough state and local funding to properly rehab the building.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have any other houses in the immediate vicinity,” he told the Independent. “It was a sort of a stand-alone. I would have very much like to have done that house. We were coming under criticism for having houses for landbanking.”

Paley said that NHS had applied for a recent round of state Department of Housing (DOH) Affordable Homeownereship subsidies to fund at rehab at 118 Bassett, but failed to secure the grant. NHS does not plan to sell off any other vacant homes that it currently owns in the neighborhood, even though it’s still waiting on promised funding from a 2015 state DOH grant to come through, Paley said

In Newhallville alone, he said, NHS has gut-rehabbed five hours on Lilac Street and is currently working on a sixth at 19 Lilac. It has completed work at 436 Huntington St. and 753 Winchester Ave., both of which are out on deposit but not yet sold, and they’re planning to rehab homes at 662 Winchester, 609 Winchester, 278 Newhall St., 161 Ivy St., 436 Huntington St., and 389 Huntington St., assuming that the 2015 DOH grant money comes in soon.

“We’re not having the same kind of luck in obtaining subsidies,” Paley said about recent struggles to get state and city money to fund some of NHS’s rehab projects.

Other Transactions

Land records show that in the past two weeks three Downtown and East Rock condominium units sold for well over $300,000 each.

On Oct. 1, Richard Hanley sold his three-bedroom condo at Armory Court at 869 Orange St., Unit 10E to Gregory Greenberg and Cressida Lui. The new owners paid $395,000 for the condo, which is $205,100 more than the $189,900 Hanley paid for the unit in 1999.

At 40 Temple Ct., Christopher and Elizabeth Duryea sold their two-bedroom condo at Unit E2 to David and Elizabeth Beckman for $552,500 on Sept. 27. The Beckman’s bought the property for $480,000 back in 2006.

And at 95 Audubon St., Ronald Eyerman sold his two-bedroom condo at Unit #28 to Yifeng Liu on Sept. 28 for $345,000. Eyerman bought the unit in 2004 for $315,000.

In the Dwight neighborhood, Joshua Erlanger sold his two-story, two-family home at 215 Dwight St. to Elise Blackmer, Pilar Stewart, and Edwin Stewart for $485,000 on Sept. 25. That’s $240,000 more than Erlanger paid for the property at the corner of Dwight and Edgewood Avenue just five years ago when he bought it for $245,000.

At 14 Massachusetts Ave. in the Annex, TC Time LLC, a holding company owned by Tim Cantrell, sold a single-family ranch house to Mynor Torres-Villagran for $257,000. TC Time LLC picked up the home in April 2018 for just $125,000.

In Morris Cove, David Cipollini sold a three-family home at 455 Townsend Ave. to Sean Morston and Booker McJunkin on Sept. 26 for $220,000. Cipolli bought the property right across from Nathan Hale School in 2015 for $150,000.

In Fair Haven, Brett Tiberio sold his single-family, board-and-batten home to Ronaando Jaime and Wanea Monique Taitt on Sept. 26 for $235,000, which is the exact amount that he paid to purchase the home back in 2012.

And in Newhallville, Baruch LLC, a holding company owned by Shmuel Levitin, bought a six-bedroom, multi-family apartment building at 38-40 Sheffield Ave. from Herman and Dwayne Carson for $298,000 on Sept. 26. That’s nearly $30,000 less than the Carsons paid for the property when they bought it in 2007.

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posted by: LookOut on October 9, 2018  8:02am

This is really sad to see.  Even the properties that look like they have done really well are mostly just average.  Take the property in East Rock - arguably one of the hottest markets in town.  The gain from $265K to $568K in 13 years is an average of about 6% per year compounded.  If the same amount was invested in an S&P 500 index fund, the end value would have been $695 (and this included the loss in the great recession).  Investing in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Charlston, or any other hot area would have brought even greater returns.  Doing this analysis on most of the other properties in New Haven yields even worse results.  Most do not even grow at the rate of inflation. 

Not sure of the cause (crazy high taxes?) but it is sad that New Haven lags so far behind.

posted by: westville man on October 9, 2018  9:07am

The sales need to distinguish between rehabbed properties versus homeowners/sellers of properties that were merely held.

Lookout,  I disagree with your oversimplified analysis. First of all, you get the benefit of living in your own home which isn’t easy to put a value on. Secondly, deductions for interest, taxes and/or depreciation can save thousands of dollars each year. So it’s not easy to determine what the actual return is without doing the math on a particular property as opposed to investing in the market.

posted by: wendy1 on October 9, 2018  9:14am

Did you ever see that movie, The Money Pit.  Owning a house or a condo is just that.  So people choose to rent ...or live in their cars.  Millions now live in the streets, parks, waste dumps, and prisons as another option.
The big downside is what’s called a mortgage, a popular scam making bankers and lawyers rich.  It also amazes me that people buy living quarters before even a cursory check of the “neighbors” who may turn out to be cavemen, nazi’s, or characters from a Stephen King novel.  Then there is the possibility of crime done while you are not home, not to mention hurricanes, tornadoes, storm surges.
I own a little condo but it is in jeopardy like everything else.

posted by: cunningham on October 9, 2018  9:22am

Not sure why an asset (one that you can live in, no less) doubling in value is “sad to see” for anyone other than buyers?

posted by: robn on October 9, 2018  9:50am

I think this story was supposed to be about the disparity of values between various NHV neighborhoods (something I think we all already intuitively understand). I agree with LOOKOUT that the article failed to track this against national data (which indicates poor NHV performance even under the best of circumstances) and would add that there’s no indication form the NHI that the examples aren’t just randomly chosen. This story needed a big dataset with visuals (probably a heat map) to make a clear point.

posted by: robn on October 9, 2018  9:54am

Robert Schiller is tight down the street. I’m sure he’d be happy to donate to the NHI, a bit of access to his companies vast real estate database.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on October 9, 2018  10:11am

In 2005, 260 Humphrey Street was converted from a two family into a three family and central air was added along with updated electrical and plumbing. That explains at least some of the value increase for that property.

posted by: Rep. Pat Dillon on October 9, 2018  11:27am

There’s a lot here. I asked this morning for an explanation of this:
“it’s still waiting on promised funding from a 2015 state DOH grant to come through, Paley said.”
This does not bode well given budget constraints next year, but it’s important to ask.
Thank you for your detailed reporting.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on October 9, 2018  1:33pm

LookOut, in terms of appreciation (the subject of this story), East Rock is not “one of the hottest markets in town”. It was predominantly a middle income market when my wife and I bought our home here 27 years ago. It has not changed all that much since then, which is reflected in home values. In measuring appreciation, you also have to take tax effects into account, as westville man notes. And while the psychological benefits of ownership are hard to monetize, calculating imputed rent (what it would cost to rent a unit comparable unit) is not, and it also needs to be figured into appreciation.

One thing that struck me in looking at the table is that the 2018 sales prices are generally well above the 2016 appraised values use to calculate property taxes. For example, 215 Dwight Street had a 2016 appraised value of $165,400, compared to a 2018 sales price of $488,000. 260 Humphrey had an appraised value of $490,200 compared to a sales price of $568,900 (I don’t know whether the improvements Jonathan Hopkins notes took place in the interval). Even 38 Sheffield had a sales price of $298,000 compared to an appraised value of $236,100. In contrast, the consumer price index went up 4.3% from 2016 to 2018.

Finally, Robn is correct that a heat map would be very useful.

posted by: BetweenTwoRocks on October 9, 2018  1:48pm

wendy1 dropping some real knowledge here. I had no idea that by renting, you could avoid having Nazis for neighbors. That’s a huge relief for people, I’m sure. I disagree with her characterization of Cavemen, though. For too long, we have been looking down our noses at Cavemen Americans and I, for one, will no longer stand for it.

posted by: LookOut on October 9, 2018  3:13pm

@Kevin M - I would be interested to hear what neighborhoods are hotter than East Rock for appreciation….having lived in New Haven for 17 years, my assumption was the East Rock values property values have been increasing more rapidly than most other places in the city

Your point about actual values vs assessed values is telling.  For quite a while now, the city has punished some neighborhoods relative to others in valuation.  Having lived through (and fought) the process a few times, it is clear that the relationship between market values and assessed values in New Haven is very weak.

And yes, you are right that I ignored tax expenses in my analysis.  Using Humphrey street again, the average annual gain in that property over the past 13 years was $23K.  Taxes on the property this year are $16K (likely increasing again next year) if I add in insurance, utilities, and maintenance, the property is very close to break even.  (and yes, I realize that I have ignored non cash issues such as depreciation (positive) and inflation (negative).

The point remains that most other places in the country and in the world are seeing much higher rates of growth.  New Haven needs to think bigger than comparing itself to Waterbury and feeling smug.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on October 12, 2018  9:47pm

Lookout, in the last (2016) revaluation, Fair Haven, Newhallville, and the Hill saw saw greater appreciation than East Rock in percentage terms. Part of this was a statistical artifact - in the prior revaluation East Rock suffered far fewer foreclosures, which bring down the value of nearby properties, than the other neighborhoods.  I don’t have any data for the last couple of years, but I think appreciation in Dwight has been greater than in East Rock.  (Which is another way of saying Dwight is undergoing gentrification.) Same thing with the area around Mansfield Street. BTW, you misunderstood my point about tax effects. Even with the elimination of the state and local tax deduction, it makes sense for many homeowners to itemize their deductions. For these homeowners, the cost of homeownership is reduced by their mortgage interest payments multiplied by their marginal income tax rate, to the extent that the total itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction.

posted by: robn on October 12, 2018  9:51pm


You wrote, “appreciation in Dwight has been greater than in East Rock. (Which is another way of saying Dwight is undergoing
The correct term is “appreciation” not gentrification.  The former is factual, the latter hyperbolic.