Daily Archives: April 22, 2009

I’ve heard of pet rocks but this is just stupid

lemon_helmetHartford Legislature passes pet lemon law. Don’t they have enough to worry about with the budget? Who keeps lemons as pets, anyway?

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Who knew there was bowling in Mustique?

 

Watch this, Monica: nothing but gutter!

Watch this, Monica: nothing but gutter!

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Will consumers pay more for “green” products?

This commentator thinks not. I’ve made the same observation many times about buyers not paying more for green houses, and my friend and fellow realtor in Tucson, John Schneider reports the same thing out there, where a/c costs should make energy efficient homes more marketable. The reluctance to ay now in order to save later is regrettable, but a fact. Which, of course, is why Obama and the tree huggers want laws passed to force consumers to do what the smart, Ivy-educated people know is good for them.

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The magic of a good price

74-gregory-roadJim Foote of Raveis listed this house on Gregory Road in Cos Cob April 6 for $969,000. Eleven days later, Nancy Healy (Shore & Country) had a buyer. That’s how this process is supposed to work. What happens more often is that the seller lists it at, say, $1.075 million, waits 320 days and sells it at $925,000. This way’s less painful and far more productive.

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Riverside still breathes

I wasn’t awfully impressed with 12 Hendrie Avenue, with its back-lot location and price tag of $1.945 million, but it went to contract recently and sold today for $1.550. The fact that it sold brings to mind Dr. Johnson’s observation that ” A woman preaching, sir, is like a dog walking on its hind legs. It’s not that it’s done well; the surprising thing is that it’s done at all.”

Woof.

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This can’t be good news

Inevitable, but still: GM defaults on its debts, headed for bankruptcy, Chrysler to be liquidated. Shocking, somehow, at least to someone of my generation, no matter how long we’ve seen it coming.

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Don’t drink and build

sideways422 North Maple Avenue, new spec construction, has been listed today for $6.495 million. Funny, I meant to comment on this before and was going to say that I hoped it was not a spec house because I suspected that most buyers wouldn’t want a house built sideways to the street – people like grand entrances and all that, don’t you know. Still, it’s done now, and I assume that the lot didn’t permit a more conventional placement, so we’ll see how it turns out. I could be all wet on this, I’m just expressing what to me seems like common sense and is probably just wrong conjecture.

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Love the one you rent

But don’t buy it, is the lesson here, perhaps. 26 Stag Lane is a very good house built by a reputable builder but had trouble finding a buyer in 2005 when it was priced at $4.495. It eventually dropped to $3.950 and then was rented for a year in August, 2006. The renter bought the place for $4.250 after his lease ended – a curious price, given that no one else wanted it at $3.950 the year before, but whatever, he clearly liked the house after living in it so it must have made sense to him. It was placed back up for sale in March, 2008 for $4.795 which must have seemed an excessive markup to buyers because it’s still for sale a year later and today its price has dropped to $3.950. I don’t know; I believe improvements were added since the last time it didn’t fetch that price, but I haven’t seen any market developments that would make me positive that this seller will fare better than the first.

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A contract, and it’s not even noon

8 Baliwick has a contract and it will be interesting to see where it sells. In 2002 someone paid $1.9 for the house, and resold it for just about the same price ($2.075) five years later in 2007. That buyer dumped a ton of money into renovating and modernizing it and returned it to the market in March, 2008 at $3.250. Someone misread the demand for Baliwick property and its price eventually dropped to $2.495. If they got that price, I suppose they’ll just about break even but I suspect they have cut their losses and run. We’ll see.

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All my excess lives in Texas?

Reader FF correctly pointed out, during our first discussion of creating a new country out of Texas and seceding from the union of concerned taxers, that the state could actually be divided into four new entities. Here’s a cogent argument that none of those new states would be under any obligation to submit itself to the jusidiction of the United States.  I have always felt a sympathetic response to General Sheridan’s remark that if he owned Texas and Hell, he’d rent out Texas and live in Hell, but I’m beginning to wonder whether air conditioning might make that observation irrelevant 150 years on. In any event, I’m organizing my gun collection and looking for my sunblock and floppy hat, just in case Texas does the right thing.

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Market stats

Just peeked at our numbers. We have 704 single family houses listed for sale today, and we’ve seen 48 houses go to contract this year. The month is still young, sort of, but that’s about a five year inventory, which isn’t encouraging.

Forty-eight contracts since January represents an 80% drop from the same period in 2007 (241) and a 65% drop-off from 2008 (139), when the market had started into its tailspin.

Just saying ….

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Good Lord, next we’ll learn she was Bernie’s mistress!

Muriel Siebert, first female to own a seat on the NYSE, voice of all those calm, confident radio ads, perennial guest on that old fraud Louis Rukeyser’s show, is under investigation for stock manipulation. To think I wasted my time lawyering when the natural proclivities that make lawyers successful could have enriched me down on Wall Street. Sheesh.

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Bad news for Madoff clients

The Madoff Trustee is demanding that all withdrawals made from Madoff funds in the past six years (presumably, from December 12, 2008, when he was arrested) be returned. I imagine that Andy Madoff’s place at 57 Tomac and Mark’s at 21 Cherry Valley are going to be heading for the block anyway, but what about Mark’s ex-wife in Old Greenwich, who pulled out her money at some point? I think their divorce occurred in 2000 and so perhaps she cashed out then and is safe from this demand, but her new house was built in 2006. If she waited until then to retrieve her money, the Trustee will want a word with her. And how about Marc Fisher up on Dewart (?) I’d think, given the size of his reported losses with Bernie, there would have been some sizable withdrawals,too. The Trustee’s position, as yet unchallenged by victims’ lawyers, is that the money must come back, regardless of net gains or losses. Ow.

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