Monthly Archives: August 2008

They’re back!

Okay, they may not be as welcome as the swallows of Capistrano (when I Googled that term to check spelling I was asked, “did you mean swallows of cappuccino?” – er, no)) but buyers are finally stirring, poking around after the storm to see what’s still here. Before you sellers get your hopes up, you might want to know that the buyers I’ve been talking to are ready to buy and have cash but they’re not planning on paying full asking price – quite the contrary. Their general consensus, if I can extrapolate from a small sample, is that the market is flattening out and probably will start recovering in the Spring, so perhaps now’s a good time to buy. I won’t disagree.

I’m also hearing rumors of a couple of very large pending deals that, if they come to fruition, should cheer up spec builders considerably. So don’t despair but do be prepared to hear offers well below what you’ve been counting on. As of today there are 37 single family homes actively listed since at least August 2007 (and that’s not counting listings that have expired and withdrawn with the intention of returning to the market in a few weeks). So if you won’t listen to a low offer, there’s probably somebody else out there who will.

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Tiny Bubbles

Busted ones, anyway. Today’s NY Times has a good article on the housing bust in California. We’re not anything close to that bad here (in the area the Times writes about, 85% of the houses bought within the past three years are worth less than is owed on them) but there are lessons to be learned, especially the folly of blind optimism that assumes a never ending supply of young millionaires capable and willing to spend $5 million and more for a new house.

And if you missed yesterday’s paper, check out Joe Nocera’s column, also in the Times, on how Fannie Mae went off course, while enriching its officers. Nothing in here that the WSJ wasn’t warning about a decade ago but it provides an ugly view of what happens when politicians and (other) crooks collude.

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33 Crescent Road, Riverside

This new construction (my listing, so take comments with a grain of salt) sold last week for $3.175 million (asking price, $3.195). That should make the neighbors on Crescent happy because the builder, Greenwich Construction, has now sold two new houses on the street for more than $3 million – the other, 29 Crescent, was a bit larger and sold for around $3.4 million.

These both replaced older, much smaller homes and it’s tempting to mourn the loss but, as listing agent for both, I can report that there was no – zero, nada-interest in either of the existing properties by end users. The market demands new, and bigger houses. We can complain but, when you go to sell your own house, perhaps you should feel grateful that there are still builders around willing to risk their money on speculative projects. If you don’t feel that warm appreciation, don’t worry – there are fewer spec builders every day so you may well have a chance to pass along your house to a deserving, if impoverished young family who will cherish your home as you did. And pay what you did, too.

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$7.2 Million?
I recently gave a price opinion for some property in central Greenwich. My advice was rejected, which is fine, but the figure I gave was considered too low, I suspect because there’s another new house nearby asking $7.2 million. Now, asking is not getting, but I’m pretty sure the seller of the house I advised on hasn’t quite grasped this concept.

So here’s a picture of what’s available on Ridge Avenue for $7.2 million. I’ll be curious to see how it does. If it sells for somewhere near that price then I’ll be proved wrong, again. But I might be looking pretty smart a year or so from now.

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Here’s what MADD should be mad about
drunk, high, naked driver crashes into parked car while masturbating.

Instead, they have their knickers in a knot over the proposal by a group of college presidents and drinking experts (how does one apply for the latter job?) to lower the drinking age back to 18.

Drunk driving is a menace and should be vigorusly attacked. Turning 3/4 of the college kids in this country into criminals is not the way to do that. But, as others have pointed out, MADD has turned away from combatting drunk driving and into a rabid temperance movement. I don’t drink so I don’t particularly care what the angry mothers are up to but I do have three kids, all over 21 now, who, I suspect, imbibed a beer or two at school, just as most college kids have done for, say, the past 150 years. If educators think banning such behavior is a bad idea, maybe we should at least discuss it, rather than leave the decision to MADD.

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Don’t tell my peers here in Greenwich
But things are bad all over, even in Bulgaria

And Martha’s Vineyard

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Copy Editor!
The Greenwich Time, fresh from laying off half its editorial staff, announces today that Cops Relish in Golder Verdict. It seems to me that one may relish a verdict but, unless you’re a hot dog, can you relish in anything? And if that’s the intended meaning, shouldn’t the headline have referred to the Goulden’s verdict?

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