Daily Archives: September 8, 2009

Greenwich falls, David Ogilvy, Tamar Lurie and Joe Barbieri move to New Jersey

According to Forbes, Greenwich zip 06830 has dropped to 78 on the 100 most expensive zip codes in America. 78th! Alpine New Jersey is four times more expensive and sits astride the ant heap of housing prices. Greenwich’ top realtors were defensive even as they packed their BMWs and prepared to move. “I’ve always priced my listings at Alpine’s level,” Lurie sniffed. “I can’t help it if rubes like your customers insist on paying less.”

“Hey, I’ve done my part, and for years,” Ogilvy insisted. “Every year, year in, year out, I increased prices a minimum of 6.7% and agents like you profited. Now you have this silly blog and have singlehandedly brought ruination to the Greenwich housing market. Get lost.”

Joe Barbieri, perhaps because he’s on track to be the most successful agent this year and has been selling up a storm, was more sanguine. “Hey, s’long as I can get an Italian wedge in this Alpine, what do I care? Write if you find work, or if you quit this blogging and it’s safe to come back.”

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Auto loans – the next bummer?

Probably. Of the $1.6 trillion Americans owe in revolving debt, $1 trillion is auto loans. Worse, loans now comprise 101% of a car’s value (people borrow to cover the amount they’re underwater on their old loan) and are 63 months long on average, much longer than the old average of 48. Conditions are ripe for bad things to happen, and the article I link to blames Wall Street’s passion for securitizing these loans. Perhaps he’s right, but it’s no new  phenomenon. I knew a girl from Skidmore, so long ago I don’t remember her name (she grew up on Long Island, as I recall) who was written up in the Times years ago for being the financial wizard who figured out how to securitize car loans. And that happened decades ago. She graduated in 1975 or 76, worked for Kidder Peabody I belive, but I’m pretty sure she’d moved on from there when she had her brainstorm. Regardless, we’re talking 1980, or early 1990s, not 2007. Wall Streeters have always been quick to figure out how to make a buck and, sometimes, their interests coincide with the general good. Sometimes.

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In-town condos continue their slide

1 NorthfieldThis two (?) unit condo development started off brand new asking $1.19 million last year. One sold yesterday, for $775,000. That seems about right, but it must be a disappointment to its builder.

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Sometimes, odd pricing strategies don’t work

187 Stanwich, a lovely old house that must have enjoyed a quieter setting when it was built in 1800, sold for $2.615 million in August ’07. When the owners decided to resell it in October ’08 they priced it at $2.750, then dropped it $10,000 every two weeks for months on end, until they hit $2.680 million and, frustrated, raised it to $2.685. That still didn’t work, so the price reductions resumed in more aggressively sized chunks and today it’s at $2.395. Assessed value is $1.258 million – uh oh.

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Road trip cancelled? Darn!

Reader Shoeless just sent me this story from Bloomberg. FGG and Walter Noel appear to have settled with the Massachusetts Secretary of State. I called that office this morning to confirm that tomorrow’s hearing was still on but now I’ll have to call again. Looks like I’ll miss my chance to blog live from Boston.

Fairfield Greenwich to Pay Fine, Repay Massachusetts Investors
2009-09-08 18:50:44.288 GMT
By Sree Vidya Bhaktavatsalam
    Sept. 8 (Bloomberg) — Fairfield Greenwich Advisors LLC,
whose feeder fund placed money with Ponzi-scheme operator
Bernard Madoff, was fined and ordered to return principal
invested by Massachusetts residents, the state’s top securities
regulator said today.
    Fairfield Greenwich placed “almost all” of its Sentry
Fund assets, totaling $7.2 billion, with Madoff, according to a
statement today from Secretary of the Commonwealth William
Galvin.

–Editor: Rob Williams

UPDATE: Yup – settled (no news of terms yet) and hearing is cancelled. Thanks, Shoeless, for saving me a six hour drive, but I was geared up for this. Drat and double drat.

UPDATE II: Chicken scratch: $8 million. In fairness, Sec. of State Galvin only claimed $6 million is losses for Massachusetts residents, but still, Walt can cover this by just stiffing his cabana boy.

BOSTON (Reuters) – Massachusetts’ top securities regulator said on Tuesday his office has settled for $8 million with financial swindler Bernard Madoff‘s feeder fund Fairfield Greenwich Group, becoming the first state regulator to reach such a agreement.

“This Fairfield settlement, which provides restitution and interest for Massachusetts investors, represents the first investor relief ordered by a regulator in the Madoff scandal and I hope that it will become a template for other resolutions,” William Galvin, the Massachusetts secretary of State said in a telephone interview.

The announcement comes one day before Galvin’s office had scheduled extensive hearings with Fairfield Greenwich executives to examine details about the firm’s relationship with Madoff.

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Another sale contract

48 Byfield lane

48 Byfield lane

Yet another Ogilvy listed/sold project, this one near the Merritt Parkway. Listed 834 days ago for $7.5 million, eventually dropped to $5.95 million, contract on August 28th but reported today. Final sales price not disclosed yet but obviously, less than ask.

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In Belle Haven

186 Otter Rock, listed (by David Ogilvy) in 2007 for $5.7 million sold, 735 days later (by David Ogilvy) $4 million (our MLS records show 90 days on market, by the way, so you know what to do with that figure). Nice when that works out though; it’s the same as getting half a listing for an $8 million house.

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