Still Have Some Millions? Want Some History?

The luxury real estate market in Washington hasn't been effected by the economic crunch. Here are high-end homes with history up for sale.

By: Mary Clare Glover

Georgetown’s Evermay estate hit the real-estate market at a bad time. Within days of its listing for $49 million, the economy and stock market were in freefall.

Nonetheless, Susie Maguire, one of the Long & Foster agents listing Evermay, remains confident that Washington’s high-end real-estate market is insulated from the money crisis. “Property above $10 million is not affected,” she says. “People who can afford it can afford it.”

Lenders say multimillion-dollar homes aren’t financed the conventional way. A larger-than-usual down payment is needed—and probably several loans. To buy Evermay as an average Joe—with 20 percent down and a 61⁄2-percent fixed interest rate over 30 years—a buyer would pay $9.8 million up front, then about $250,000 a month to cover the mortgage.

Evermay joins a handful of big-name estates listed for big money. Some have been on the market for months, even years. All are looking for buyers who are riding high through the economic storm.

$11.8 Million: Where the Shrivers Lived

R. Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy Shriver put their Potomac manse on the market in September because they wanted to spend more time with family in Hyannis Port, Los Angeles, and Miami.

On more than six acres in Potomac’s Bradley Farms neighborhood, the house has ten bedrooms, 12 baths, a tennis court, a pool, and a four-car garage. VIP neighbors include Ritz Camera CEO David Ritz, real-estate mogul Nathan Landow, and former Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter.

$49 million: Park Views, Close to Shopping

Evermay is on 31⁄2 acres in the heart of Georgetown. Overlooking Rock Creek Park, with views of the Washington Monument, the 13,000-square-foot mansion has eight bedrooms, six full baths, five half baths, a ballroom with 17-foot ceilings, and a terraced garden with six fountains.

The Federal-style estate was designed by British architect Nicholas King, who helped Pierre L’Enfant configure Washington. It has been in the Belin family since diplomat F. Lammot Belin bought it in 1923. Today it’s owned by his grandson, Harry L. Belin. Assessed value: $14.7 million.

$30 Million: River Views, Nine Bathrooms

On Prospect Street in Georgetown, Halcyon House was built in 1787 by Benjamin Stoddert, first secretary of the Navy and a friend of George Washington.

On the National Register of Historic Places, the house was once home to Albert Clemens, a nephew of Mark Twain. The current owner, sculptor John Dreyfuss, spent 17 years restoring the five-bedroom, nine-bath house. It overlooks the Potomac River and has a heated pool.

Included in the listing are an adjacent townhouse and five rental apartments.

$12.5 Million: Lots of Kennedy History

Ethel Kennedy put McLean’s Hickory Hill on the market in October 2003 for $25 million. On almost six acres, the mansion has been in the Kennedy family for more than 50 years.

In 1957 Ethel and Robert Kennedy bought the house from Robert’s brother John, then a US senator. JFK and Jackie had lived there since 1954, the year after they were married in Newport, Rhode Island.

Assessed for $9.2 million, the estate has 13 bedrooms, 11 baths, a 38-foot living room, a pool, a tennis court, and stables.

This article first appeared in the December 2008 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here.  

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