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November 2007


REAL ESTATE

Deeds & Don'ts

(Page 4 of 7)

Bargains at the Beach

Want to be one of those sages who can boast about having picked up property for a song, only to see its value soar within a few short years? We asked brokers to name coastal enclaves that, for one reason or another, have never been considered hot markets. The Black Rock neighborhood in Bridgeport, for instance, is poised to boom thanks to the Fairfield Metro Center, which is being built just across the town border in Fairfield. The "smart growth" development will include a train station and a million square feet of office, hotel and retail space. Per John Kleps, a longtime real estate broker in the area, Black Rock home prices currently start at less than $300,000: he has a tidy three-bedroom cape on modest Black Rock street on the market for $299,000. Kleps' priciest listing is a $5.5 million, 22-room Georgian estate in St. Mary's by the Sea, Black Rock's nicest section. Here, three additional undervalued coastal communities.

Village Creek, Norwalk
$1.2 million

Most of Norwalk's coastal real estate costs less than that of its nearest neighbors, Westport and Darien. But the price of admission still starts at a couple million bucks on Wilson Point, Canfield Island and in Rowayton, Norwalk's three main beach enclaves. So we were thrilled to discover Village Creek, a private waterfront community developed in the 1950s with its own natural-sand beach and deepwater marina, with one slip assigned to each house.

Another point of difference from those pricier neighboring hamlets is Village Creek's funky, midcentury aesthetic--the beach, as brought to you by the West Elm catalog. Reminiscent of Sausalito in the 1970s or parts of present-day Sarasota, the cluster of low-slung modern homes sit on half-acre lots with painterly views onto a marsh and out to the Sound. (The fine print: Many of the homes also look onto a not-so-painterly power plant built in the 1960s, a facility that Norwalk might have avoided entirely if the city had been willing to pony up about $15,000 to buy the land.)

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