01/26/12 12:57pm

Good news for those of you saddened by the disappearance of Ken and Linda Lay’s gargantuan 33rd-floor Upper Kirby condo from the MLS rolls at the end of last month: Your opportunity to watch the asking price on the castle-in-the-sky penthouse float down to earth is back! Where had it gone? “It appears the Huntingdon high-rise condo at 2121 Kirby was removed from the multiple listing service for a few days so it could be relisted without showing that the price was reduced . . . again,” reports the HBJ‘s Jennifer Dawson. “That seems to be a common trick of the trade with Realtors.”


11/28/11 11:01am

It’s been on the market for 2 and a half years, its price tag receiving regular trimmings during that time. And here’s the latest: The carefully choreographed 1988 River Oaks estate belonging to former mayor Bob Lanier and his wife, port commissioner Elyse Lanier, dropped a million more earlier this month. The 13,386-sq.-ft. pad is now available for just a smidge under $7 million, $5 million less than the original asking price.


09/29/11 10:23am

That thump you heard? The sound of this 33rd-floor Huntingdon penthouse once owned by Ken and Linda Lay dropping another million dollars. Over the weekend the asking price for the 12,827-sq.-ft. castle in the air fell to $6.99 million. Enron founder Ken Lay died in 2006, shortly after being convicted of 10 counts of securities fraud and related charges. His widow first put this little pied-à-terre at 2121 Kirby Dr. on the market in the fall of 2009, for $12.8 million. By the beginning of this year, it had floated down to $8,875,000.


08/03/11 8:22am

When last we left this little number in Pine Hollow — the longtime home of Preston Bolton, the Houston architect who did tall ceilings before tall ceilings were cool — it was 2008, and the place was listed for just south of $2 million. But it didn’t sell at that price, or a few other ones tried later. Last week it went back on the market at a new low: $1,450,000. Anything in this 1970 structure been, well, updated in the 3 intervening years? Well, the photos at least:


03/14/11 6:26pm

It was the star of a Houston Mod open house last November, announced as available in a private sale. But it doesn’t look like anybody bit at the reported $1.9 million asking price, or at a later price closer to $1.8 million. Then last week, this River Oaks time capsule made its debut on MLS with a few spiffier photos and a $1,675,000 price tag. The home was designed by architect M. Arthur Kotch in 1960 for the founders of Cain Chemical. When the Cains moved to New York City 5 years later, it was sold to the family of a co-worker. That family has owned it ever since. Here’s 3,371 sq. ft. of Midcentury, straight up:


11/23/10 3:34pm

How many stories are hidden within the walls — or better, are covering the walls — of this 60-year-old home on Tupelo Ave. in Pasadena, about a mile south of the city’s namesake freeway? There are so many sides to it. Including, inside, what looks like a theatrical one:


08/24/10 8:15am

A few neighbors actually picketed this home on the corner of Decatur and Silver streets for months after it was built. In 2001 Cite magazine labeled it “probably the most scrutinized — and criticized — private home in recent Houston history.” What was all the fuss about? It was a brand-new home built on a long-vacant lot around the turn of this century in a recently designated historic district: the Old Sixth Ward.

The protest signs have been down for years, but a for-sale sign went up in the yard last fall. After a failed closing, the house came back on the market this summer. Then a second buyer couldn’t come up with financing. The sellers cut the asking price $20K, to $539,999, just last week.

The 3 bedroom, 2 full- and 2 half-bath house was designed and constructed by Houston’s MC² Architects. A picketer-free photo tour is below:


08/10/10 8:30am

When Swamplot featured her Pearland home back in June, Bloggess Jenny Lawson was crafty enough to couch within her verbal guarantee that the place harbored NO ZOMBIES the hint that she just might be able to score some — if, y’know, you were into that sort of thing. And now, almost 2 months later? Score! Quietly last week, someone slashed the asking price on the sallow, undead 3-bedroom suburban special by another $10K. Lawson and family since escaped to friendlier digs, but the old and now empty home in Southern Trails limps on at $199,000, $20K down from its original price. Can’t someone stop the bleeding!!!?

06/18/10 8:01am

PRICE DROPS ARE UP! Been noticing more local home sellers slashing prices? It’s not just that HAR listings now highlight them: Real estate website Trulia notes that one-quarter of all homes it tracks in the Houston market (mostly through MLS) dropped their asking prices over the last year. That’s 32 percent more price cuts than for the previous year-long period, and qualifies Houston as one of the top 5 cities Trulia follows where asking-price reductions have been on the upswing. The average price cut here: 9 percent. [Trulia, via Houston Business Journal]

05/24/10 11:20am

How’d that foreclosure auction go for the humongous early-eighties brick house on Harold St. in Montrose used in recent years as a party pad and chainsaw test site?

Let’s just say that the auction listing is gone, the property is back on MLS — and the price has been cut another $45K. But unlike the sudden, swift, and unexplained felling of the mature street trees surrounding this property, the chopping of the list price has resulted from a series of 6 hacks, from $644,900 last October to $469,900 just last week.


05/18/10 12:36pm

“How much further will it fall?” Swamplot asked back in January, not long after the list price for Ken and Linda Lay’s 33rd-floor penthouse in the Huntingdon on Kirby Dr. was marked down the last time. And now we have a partial answer: All the way to $10.25 million — for now, at least. That’s almost a 14 percent cut from the last price, but just under 20 percent off the initial $12.8 million ya-gotta-try pricing Linda Lay started with.

And really, you want to be coming down in regular increments. What numbers come next?


05/12/10 1:59pm

A couple of readers have expressed — how best to put this? — concern for the financial well-being of the developers behind the Bammel Park Homes featured on Swamplot early last year. Writes one recent visitor to the complex:

The development was originally intended to have 12 homes. There are only three complete and it doesn’t look as if any more will be built. . . . The front gate is rusted, the driveways haven’t been paved, the fountain is clogged, there isn’t any landscaping and loose wires are hanging here and there.

Didn’t Black Diamond Development claim the park-like setting would in fact be “enchanted”? Meanwhile, the asking prices for the hefty properties at 3204, 3244, and 3248 Bammel Ln. have been cut in three hacks each from $2.239 million to $1.798 million. Just look at all the bricks that includes:


05/11/10 4:55pm

Selling this home a block north of Westheimer in Royden Oaks has been a long slog — and it’s not over yet! Longtime Swamplot readers will recognize the hulking 4,303 sq. ft. stucco mansion, sitting patiently like a lion with garage-apartment paws, from its Neighborhood Guessing Game appearance last June. (Well, at least the reader who won a steak dinner off of it will.) By that time, the property had been on the market for 4 months, and wasn’t budging from its 1,495,000 asking price.

But it’s done some budging since. By January of this year, the 3-bedroom, 4-1/2 bath 1987 property was up with a new listing — for $1,449,000. And just last weekend, there was a bigger price cut:


05/10/10 2:02pm

Whatever happened to that little Swamplot Price Adjuster feature — you know, the one where readers report on a property for sale that appears to need some pricing correction, and suggest a better price for it? It’s still waiting for your smart submissions! In the meantime, here’s some evidence that it actually works:

Last November, when a reader nominated the 1920 house perched on an 8,200-sq.-ft. lot at the corner of 10th St. and Cortlandt in the Heights, a bunch of you wrote in to suggest that the list price was a bit steep. The nominator gave a target:

Asking $600,000 for this is a joke and I think it should be at the most $350,000.

By December, the price had been lowered to $450K. And then, by late March, the house was gone from MLS. What’s happened to it since?

You guessed it: A brand new listing appeared at the end of April, with a new set of photos and — what? Is it listed at $350,000 now?


05/06/10 1:33pm

The daintily decorated Bayou Woods mansion owned by a Vincent Cabella — put up for sale last year for $4 million but reduced to $3.45 million by the time Swamplot featured it in March — has been discounted again. Now come up with just $2.45 million and the cozy little 5-6 bedroom, 5 1/2-bath retreat is yours!

How could you refuse an offer like this?

Of course, this isn’t just your run-of-the-mill elephant-statues-by-the-front-yard-fountain Memorial Dr. show-off-piece. According to the New York Daily News, it’s actually the hideaway mobster Vincent Palermo — aka Vinny Ocean — retired to after he testified against some of his former underlings in New Jersey’s DeCavalcante crime family and joined the federal witness protection program. (Cabella, crime reporter Greg B. Smith explained, was the former Mafia boss’s new Houston name.)

But he’s led an active retirement: