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Northampton sees most expensive house sale to date: $1.7 million

  • A walnut staircase marks the entryway of a home at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton that Delap Real Estate sold last week for $1.7 million.<br/><br/><br/>Photo courtesy of Advanced Virtual Tours

    A walnut staircase marks the entryway of a home at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton that Delap Real Estate sold last week for $1.7 million.


    Photo courtesy of Advanced Virtual Tours

  • Ellen Bartos of Delap Real Estate recently sold this house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton for $1.7 million - the highest price ever in the city - to a buyer from Washington state.<br/><br/><br/><br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Ellen Bartos of Delap Real Estate recently sold this house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton for $1.7 million - the highest price ever in the city - to a buyer from Washington state.



    KEVIN GUTTING

  • Ellen Bartos of Delap Real Estate recently sold this house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton for $1.7 million - the highest price ever in the city - to a buyer from Washington state.<br/><br/><br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Ellen Bartos of Delap Real Estate recently sold this house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton for $1.7 million - the highest price ever in the city - to a buyer from Washington state.


    KEVIN GUTTING

  • Ellen Bartos of Delap Real Estate recently sold this house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton for $1.7 million - the highest price ever in the city - to a buyer from Washington state.<br/><br/><br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Ellen Bartos of Delap Real Estate recently sold this house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton for $1.7 million - the highest price ever in the city - to a buyer from Washington state.


    KEVIN GUTTING

  • Ellen Bartos of Delap Real Estate recently sold this house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton for $1.7 million - the highest price ever in the city - to a buyer from Washington state.<br/><br/><br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    Ellen Bartos of Delap Real Estate recently sold this house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton for $1.7 million - the highest price ever in the city - to a buyer from Washington state.


    KEVIN GUTTING

  • A man-made brook runs through the side yard of this home at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton.<br/><br/><br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    A man-made brook runs through the side yard of this home at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton.


    KEVIN GUTTING

  • The house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton features a man-made brook and pond.<br/><br/><br/><br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    The house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton features a man-made brook and pond.



    KEVIN GUTTING

  • This is a rear view of a house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton that recently sold for $1.7 million. The bottom floor is a "mother-in-law" apartment.<br/><br/><br/><br/>KEVIN GUTTING

    This is a rear view of a house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton that recently sold for $1.7 million. The bottom floor is a "mother-in-law" apartment.



    KEVIN GUTTING

  • A contemporary home at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton that sold last week for $1.7 million features a stone and shingle exterior. The home was purchased by a buyer from California, according to Delap Real Estate.<br/><br/><br/>Photo courtesy of Advanced Virtual Tours

    A contemporary home at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton that sold last week for $1.7 million features a stone and shingle exterior. The home was purchased by a buyer from California, according to Delap Real Estate.


    Photo courtesy of Advanced Virtual Tours

  • A home that sold for $1.7 million last week on Round Hill Road in Northampton features a wraparound deck overlooking a landscaped pond. The home is the highest priced single-family  in the city in recent memory. <br/><br/><br/><br/>Photo courtesy of Advanced Virtual Tours.

    A home that sold for $1.7 million last week on Round Hill Road in Northampton features a wraparound deck overlooking a landscaped pond. The home is the highest priced single-family in the city in recent memory.



    Photo courtesy of Advanced Virtual Tours.

  • A walnut staircase marks the entryway of a home at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton that Delap Real Estate sold last week for $1.7 million.<br/><br/><br/>Photo courtesy of Advanced Virtual Tours
  • Ellen Bartos of Delap Real Estate recently sold this house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton for $1.7 million - the highest price ever in the city - to a buyer from Washington state.<br/><br/><br/><br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Ellen Bartos of Delap Real Estate recently sold this house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton for $1.7 million - the highest price ever in the city - to a buyer from Washington state.<br/><br/><br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Ellen Bartos of Delap Real Estate recently sold this house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton for $1.7 million - the highest price ever in the city - to a buyer from Washington state.<br/><br/><br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Ellen Bartos of Delap Real Estate recently sold this house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton for $1.7 million - the highest price ever in the city - to a buyer from Washington state.<br/><br/><br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • A man-made brook runs through the side yard of this home at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton.<br/><br/><br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • The house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton features a man-made brook and pond.<br/><br/><br/><br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • This is a rear view of a house at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton that recently sold for $1.7 million. The bottom floor is a "mother-in-law" apartment.<br/><br/><br/><br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • A contemporary home at 91 Round Hill Road in Northampton that sold last week for $1.7 million features a stone and shingle exterior. The home was purchased by a buyer from California, according to Delap Real Estate.<br/><br/><br/>Photo courtesy of Advanced Virtual Tours
  • A home that sold for $1.7 million last week on Round Hill Road in Northampton features a wraparound deck overlooking a landscaped pond. The home is the highest priced single-family  in the city in recent memory. <br/><br/><br/><br/>Photo courtesy of Advanced Virtual Tours.

NORTHAMPTON — A single-family home on Round Hill Road made local real estate history when it sold last week for $1.7 million — the highest price in recent memory, according to the city assessor’s office. The buyers paid cash.

The contemporary home at 91 Round Hill Road, which was sold July 5 to buyers from Kirkland, Wash. also came off the market in record time: 73 days, far below the statewide average of 118. The house was assessed this year at $1.31 million.

Other high-end home sales in the city in recent years include a house on Ward Avenue that sold for $1.3 million in 2006 and a home on North Farms Road that sold for $1.2 million in 2011. Those were believed to be the highest prices paid for single-family homes in Northampton until now, according to City Assessor Joan Sarafin.

Ellen Bartos, part owner of Delap Real Estate, which handled the Round Hill Road home sale, was as surprised as anyone by the transaction.

“The market is moving more quickly but not for something at that price,” she said. “I honestly never thought it would sell.”

The five-bedroom house on Round Hill Road is located in a leafy neighborhood perched near Smith College just above downtown, which is part of its value. In addition, Bartos said, the home has customized features such as granite fireplaces, elegant crown moldings, and two professional-grade kitchens that justified the list price.

“The materials are all top-of-the-line and every detail is just perfect,” Bartos said. “I’m not sure there’s another house like this in Northampton.”

Built in 2008 by the sellers, Kathryn and Dana Carpenter, the home was purchased by Theresa Mason and Amit Mehta, trustees of Edgecliff Trust in Kirkland, Wash., according to Sarafin.

Mehta is listed as a vice president of J.I. Properties Inc. in Kirkland, Sarafin said. An online search identified him as vice president of Eagle River, an investment firm based in Kirkland and a former treasurer at Nextel Partners Inc. before it was sold to Sprint Nextel.

Bartos said the purchasers called about two months ago to say they’d seen pictures of the Round Hill Road home online and were flying in from the West Coast for a tour. It was the third time she had shown the 4,873 square-foot house since the property was listed earlier this spring.

Bartos declined to reveal other details about the buyers — or sellers — of the Round Hill Road home. Neither the Carpenters nor Mehta returned phone calls from the Gazette requesting an interview. There was no phone number available for Mason.

Other local real estate agents were encouraged by news of the $1.7 million home sale in Northampton.

“It’s great,” said Rick Sawicki of Sawicki Real Estate in Amherst. “It means that people think it’s safe enough to buy in the Valley.”

Sawicki, a board member of the Real Estate Association of the Pioneer Valley, said he was impressed by the short length of time the Northampton home was on the market, noting that 73 days “is fantastic,” and one for the record books. “Every once in a while, lightning does strike,” said Sawicki.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors reports that the statewide average for the number of days a single-family home stays on the market until sale is 118 this year, down from 129 days in 2012.

The association also reports that single-family home sales in Massachusetts rose 8.5 percent in May over the same period last year, the latest figures available. The statewide median sale price of $325,000 for a single-family home was also up by 8.7 percent over $299,000 in May of 2012.

On the upper end of the real estate scale, Sawicki said he had a house listed for $1.6 million in Amherst two years ago, but the seller withdrew before the deal was finalized. He said the most expensive property he has sold since then went for $700,000.

Northampton real estate agent Julie Held noted that one sale does not indicate a trend. Still, she believes the $1.7 million house sale should have a positive impact on the market.

“I think it speaks of confidence in our area,” said Held, a former Delap agent who recently opened Maple and Main Realty in Florence with some other former Delap employees.

“For the past three years things have been sluggish, but we are seeing the higher end start to move,” Held said.

Patrick Goggins, president of Goggins Real Estate, predicts no ripple effects from the sale.

“I see this as an aberration,” said Goggins, who has been in the area real estate field since 1973. “The circumstances would be hard to find again in the marketplace.

“We have not yet become a $1 million community,” Goggins added. “We have some upper-end homes that are approaching those numbers, but not on a regular basis.”

Meantime, what does a nearly $2 million home in Northampton look like?

Hint: it definitely has a kitchen island (make that two) and granite counter tops.

An informal tour of the Round Hill Road house that Bartos gave a reporter earlier this week offered a glimpse of numerous other special features. Among them were the Goshen stone walkway in the front, floor-to-ceiling oak built-in bookcases in the library, artfully designed “waterfall” faucets in the lower level bathrooms and a dog shower in a corner of the two-car garage.

Bartos said the house has a handicapped accessible apartment on the basement level that has its own gas fireplace equipped bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen (hence the second island). A wraparound deck on the house overlooks a patio and a landscaped pond on the 0.35 acre lot.

Bartos arranged for professional photographs to be posted with the house listing to help showcase the property’s distinctive elements for potential buyers.

She’s still getting used to the idea that the house actually sold.

“I’m still pinching myself,” Bartos said. “Real estate is often a matter of luck and timing. The right person has to come along at the right time.”

Bartos, while she’s convinced the regional real estate market is improving, said she remains conservative about the future.

“We have to bank this,” Bartos said. “We might never get another sale like this one.”

You don't think Smith faculty can afford to live here? Especially if there is a 2 income professional household? What about these figures for 2012 from the AAUP. Smith #10 - $130,100. You can buy a nice house on Dryads Green with that salary. And there are over 250 employees of Northampton who cost the city over $100,000/year in salary and benefits. They can afford it too. Top 10 Liberal Arts Colleges in Salaries for Full Professors College Average Salary 1. Wellesley College $149,000 2. Claremont McKenna College $143,000 3. Barnard College $142,300 4. Amherst College $138,900 5. Harvey Mudd College $135,600 6. Williams College $135,100 7. Pomona College $134,600 8. Swarthmore College $131,400 9. Colgate University $130,700 10. Smith College $130,100 Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/04/09/aaup-releases-faculty-salary-data#ixzz2YtUbJsBT Inside Higher Ed

“We have not yet become a $1 million community,” Goggins added. But that is what Northampton *will* become, if City government has its way. The rest of us will not be able to afford to live here. gary2066 - is the mayor's house REALLY assessed at $90,000.00?? What does he live in, a shack?

No -the mayor's house is assessed $90,000 less than its estimated value according to Trulia.com (a real estate website). My total tax rate is over 50% of what I earn. Basically I am a slave of the government. Thats why we are tired of being told we don't contribute our fair share by mostly people who work for the government I might add and who only take and give little in return.

Everything is not a conspiracy against you. There are legal requirements the Assessor's office is held to about how often it needs to update assessments. The market has risen in the past year alone, which may account for any and all Trulia (an estimate) vs. assessed value numbers you find. Put your energy into something useful: contact your state representatives for proper and fair funding of cities/towns, education, roads, etc., instead of bloviating here.

The progressive Marxists only see more taxes and more taxes as the solution. Proper and fair 'funding' is just code for higher taxes on the rest of us. What I'm saying is look at the discrepancies in what a house is really worth and what the assessed value is. Are you saying that house has increased 30% in value since it was last assessed? So have all the other houses in N'ton gone up 30% too? Please. Houses on the high end are never assessed properly for what ever reason. This isn't somehting new. You can go back years and see this. When the next assessment is done so the data is more recent we can see. The problem as I see it is that the rich people in Nton - the Smith crowd and Round Hill Rd if you will - don't pay their fair share of taxes but they are the biggest supports of the override. Maybe we need a graduated city income tax - would the rich left establisment in Nton be for that if it meant paying alot more? As an aside I see last week Warren Buffet - darling monopolist of the left - just put 23 million shares of Berkshire (Geico, Dairy Queen, Burlinton Northern, Lubrizol, Fruit of the Loom, Benjamin Moore - the list goes on and on) into Bill Gates tax exempt trust - another one on the left shirking their tax liability.

Wait, what is the "Smith crowd"? The College, an endowed institution, or the employees and faculty, none of whom can afford to buy real estate in Northampton anymore?

Gary, those numbers that you cut and paste here are misleading. "Full Professor" is the most senior rank of faculty, and represents a small proportion of the overall faculty body. Most people working at Smith in that rank who live in Northampton bought MANY years ago when it was a different price scale. Junior and associate faculty make much, much less, and account for a significant majority of the faculty. And this is to say nothing of the temporary lecturers and many staff members who the college employes and make even less. What I'm saying is that you need to pick a better straw man for your fake populist rant. I've lived in parts of California that have felt the brunt of REAL gentrification, and that looks very different. People here have every right to fight for more equitable taxation, and to be concerned about vulnerable people being priced out of real estate. But the tone of a lot of these complaints just smacks too much of Tea-party tinged white entitlement. But I guess saying this makes me one of the out-of-towners that people who make those complaints aren't too fond of.

Thank you for calling me a racist. Where were you when I was growing up? I could have used your help putting me on the straight and narrow path. Its probably too late for me know.

It's spelled "now," Gary.

Here is exactly what I'm talking about. This house was worth 1.7 million but the owner because its assessed at 1.3 million was paying taxes on $400,000 less than what they should have paid. Thats almost 30% of what they should have paid. Maybe house prices have bounced up in the past year but not 30%. Round Hill Rd, and the Smith area were undoubably the biggest override supporters since it was after all about the childrens education. The ruling elite in N'ton does not pay, they stick it to the workers like they did with the override. Is it possible to do a citizens petition to ask that all town councilors have their houses reassessed to reflect the actual value? Lets start there - and the mayors house is number one on the list for not paying the correct taxes. His house is $90,000 underassessed according to Trulia estimates.

If they're sticking it to the workers, by definition, they're probably not Marxists (like you said above). (I get your point, though.)

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