Richmond’s mansion market was well-stocked this year, and high demand kept the listings rolling.
There was at least one million-dollar closing almost every month in 2014, and many of the high-end homes sold within just a few weeks of hitting the market. May was the only exception, with its top-selling house barely missing the million-dollar mark at $995,000.
Laura Lafayette, CEO of the Richmond Association of Realtors, couldn’t point to a single reason for the influx of high-end homes on the market but said 2014 was a good year.
“It was probably the best year we’ve had – certainly since the recession – in terms of that kind of inventory,” Lafayette said. “There was good inventory in that price range, and they seemed to move pretty well.”
It was also a big year for mansions with notable Richmond names attached to them. Well-known developer Hank Wilton, former chairman of the Wilton Cos., sold his family’s estate in the second-highest priced sale of the year for $3.45 million in March.
And convicted developer Billy Jefferson’s Monument Avenue mansion sold for $1.7 million in November.
Prominent names showed up on the buyer’s side, as well. In January, Robert S. Ukrop Jr. of the Ukrop’s grocery family bought a $1.68 million house in Goochland County.
And two big names were responsible for both ends of the sale that topped all others this year: Clear View, the River Road mansion built by philanthropists Lora and Claiborne Robins sold for $3.62 million in September. The buyer was Richard Meier, CFO of Mechanicsville-based Owens & Minor.
Some months proved hotter than others for $1 million-plus closings, particularly during the summer. In September, five homes sold for more than a $1 million around the region. August had half a dozen, and there were seven in April. June topped them all, however, with 10 closings of more than $1 million.
Many high-end homes sold swiftly after hitting the market. Both June and July’s highest-priced homes sold within a week of being listed.
Historical homes played well this year, too. An 1816 home, the Bellona Arsenal, sold for $1.39 million in October. February’s top-priced home was built in 1908 by a member of the Binswanger family, known for its successful glass business, and sold for $1.4 million.
Because several special circumstances seemed to come together to result in so much activity at the high end of the market, Lafayette said it is hard to predict what this year’s performance means for 2015.
“I think you’ll continue to see demand,” she said. “During the recession, there was a lot of money parked on the side, waiting to see how things turned out. It speaks well for the region that we are seeing this kind of supply and demand.”