A modest Cape Elizabeth house had no kitchen and a collapsed sewer when it was sold in 2021.
Since then, it has been bought by a famous chef, sold again and rebuilt. Now it is on the market for almost $1.2 million, more than double what the developer paid for it.
“When we bought this house, it was unlivable,” said Jay Hibbard, the owner at CJ Ventures Real Estate, an architecture and design firm in Portland. “We turned it into a nice family home.”
The single-family house on Avon Road reflects the depth of real estate speculation in southern Maine, where once-affordable family homes continue to be bought for over asking price in areas close to Portland and the ocean, sometimes after major renovations or rebuilds like this one.
Cape Elizabeth is among the centers of the real estate boom in southern Maine. Average home values there reached a peak in November, more than doubling over eight years to $838,000, according to a Zillow index. That was well more than double the Maine average.
Homes there have been in such demand that one real estate agent went knocking door to door last year to find a $2 million home in the neighborhood where her client wanted to live.
Hibbard is selling the 2,500-square-foot home on exclusive Trundy Point, a quiet neighborhood with undeveloped rocky habitat and views of five lighthouses. The home has deeded access to an oceanfront trail.
He said the home was derelict, and had briefly been owned by Tracy Lee Griffith, a sushi chef, cookbook author and the younger half-sister of actress Melanie Griffith. Tracy Lee Griffith, who reportedly had planned to rehab it, bought it for $430,000 in July 2021 and sold it to Hibbard for $462,500 three months later.
Built in 1935, the Cape Cod-style home originally had two bedrooms and one bathroom. Hibbard said the attached garage was rotting into the soil and had to be removed. His company has turned it into a four-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom home with a modern kitchen and new electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems.
The home went on the market in October for $1.29 million, and has since seen two $50,000 price decreases. Hibbard said he is following realtor Sotheby’s recommendations on pricing, and interest among potential buyers has been high.
“After nearly a year of construction, with a large scale and scope and in this environment, there is very little margin on a project like this,” Hibbard said. “But we are happy with how it turned out and will be happy for someone to make it their own.”