You might think that being mentioned in the WSJ's House of the Week feature would almost guarantee lots of interest and a probable sale. But it doesn't. Of the 46 houses highlighted for the year ended last September, only 14 have sold - and at prices that average 16 percent less than the original asking price. Locally, a 2.5-acre property that singer Tom Jones bought for his parents in 1980 (four bedrooms, pool, views of Stone Canyon), sold for $3.95 million - $1 million off the asking price. The property had been on the market for 18 months and there were several price cuts. In Carpinteria, a 3,500-square-foot home sold for $27 million, 77 percent of its $35 million asking price. From the WSJ:
The value in the 1.7-acre property lay primarily in its seaside location -- with 150 feet of beachfront -- rather than the house itself -- a four-bedroom home built in 1980 (which [the owner] says needed work). Listing agent Kathleen St. James of Sotheby's International Realty moved into the house while the owners were away in Costa Rica and cleaned it up, a project that included pressure-washing and oiling its redwood exterior. The May 5 "House of the Week" sold in 60 days. The buyer, local venture capitalist Brian Kelly, saw the property in its first week on the market, before Ms. St. James's cleaning job, and submitted the only serious bid. "You don't have that many people calling you up to spend that kind of money," Ms. St. James says. "Sometimes you get lucky."