Daily Archives: February 9, 2012

Laura Siefert has her way with the P&Z

Fleeing town in disguise

Wins approval for three houses in Riverside. If she’s entitled to do it then there’s nothing theoretically wrong with this result but as noted here before, Siefert spent years on the P&Z herself, making life miserable for all applicants and it’s a shame she was waved on through by her former colleagues. Eats, shoots and leaves, as they say. Bitch.

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Accepted offers

23 Meadow Road

There is a market after all and three new accepted offers reported today prove it. 44 Parsonage Road, asking $2.795 (it sold for $2.877 in 2003) has a buyer, as does 246 Riverside Avenue, asking $1.595 (sold for $1.775 in 2008) and, my favorite, 23 Meadow Road, also in Riverside, naturally, a 1910 home on 0.7 acres asking $3.695 and sold in just 9 days. I told a couple of my clients that this was a good deal but they didn’t agree – someone else obviously did.

Click on the 44 Parsonage Rd link, by the way, and you’ll see the listings for all three of these houses.

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Beats the hell out of me

(Clouds, trees and house all fake, but you get the idea)

Riverside is either in the biggest bubble of its history or the demand for new construction is huge and almost-unquenchable (which doesn’t rule out bubble-bursting in the future, of course). Latest example, reported today, is 11 Pinecrest Road, our not-at-all-lamented former FAR Czar Franklin Bloomer’s place, priced at $5.350 million and under contract before it’s even finished. Holy cow.

If this keeps up, and anything that can’t keep up, won’t, the disconnect between existing houses and new should result in every house in Riverside built before 2005 being torn down and replaced. Certainly the profit incentive is here: the builder of this one, Kaali-Nagy, paid just $1.5 for this 0.46 acre of land. Add maybe $15,000 to raze Bloomer’s house (and for all I know, his disgruntled constituents may have volunteered to do that for free), spend what, $1,800,000 to build and sell for $5.4?  My heavens.

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Looks like much ado about nothing

He SAID he'd pay my mortgage and he will. Just that his check bounced, is all

Five big banks and various state and federal agencies have reached a settlement of sorts on the mortgage fiasco. A search of the net failed to turn up much on the way of specifics so I can’t tell what real relief this will offer but it doesn’t sound like much. (Some) people who have already gone through foreclosure will receive checks of $1,500 – that should solve their financial problems permanently. It sounds like, of the 11 million homes currently worth less than they were bought for, a million owners will have the opportunity to pay a lower interest rate and, “in some cases” [undefined] have their principle reduced.

Nice for the million homeowners, of course, but that leaves ten million still unable to sell their houses unless they can somehow bring cash to the closing table.

Any impact on the economy will depend, I suppose, on how many of those underwater million have been paying their mortgage. Here in Greenwich, most are not, so they actually have far more free cash now than they will if they resume paying. Not good for consumer spending, if non-payment is a national phenomenon.

So you have ten million unsellable homes, occupied by people who see their neighbors getting a handout – an incentive to keep paying their own mortgage? I think not. And what about the millions of homeowners who still have equity in their homes? If they can do the math, and figure out that their equity is less than two or three years of non-payment on the mortgage, I’d expect many of them to move over to the moocher side.

And finally, to the extent that this plan actually works to keep house prices high – an unlikely outcome, but one never knows – buyers will be kept out of  the market. How that will help home sales eludes me.

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It must be the spring market, but you wouldn’t know it

Just about nothing on the open house list today. I suppose I’ll go see 420 North Street, which sold for $2,862,500 via direct sale in 2003 and is now back on, asking $2.795 – by buying direct, these happy owners saved a 5% commission and didn’t have to listen to a realtor prattle on about comparative values – good move.

But 21 North Street was bought with the assistance of an agent and these owners still paid $5.650 for it in 2004. Today it can be yours for $4.845 and, dare I say it, probably less.

And that’s it, unless I want to prowl some tired old retreads, which I don’t. So I’ll be back soon – I actually have work to do for a couple of active buyers and right now, it’s increasingly difficult and time consuming to sort through the chaff to find even a handful of houses worth considering.

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Hmm – Belle Haven now dropped below 2003 pricing?

Going down?

That’ a deceptive headline (I specialize in them) because 471 Field Point Road came up for sale in December, 2010 at $6.8 million, which was already below the $7.2 million paid for it in 2003. The owners did try that bizarre trick of raising it to $6.9 million last spring, without result, but today it’s been dropped to $6.550. We’ve been seeing what appeared to be a bottom at the 2003 level but if Belle Haven, hardly a fringe area, is now south of that well, where exactly is that bottom?

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Predators, Gitmo, now Super Pacs are beloved when just last week they were a symbol of Republican corruption

I'm loving it!

That was then, this is now, and the D.C. mobsters of all persuasion are ecstatic.

A little secret about Washington: Everyone loves this decision. Democrats  get more money, strategists and pollsters and ad-makers get bigger checks;  Republicans will use this to call Obama a hypocrite and to scare donors into  giving them more money, which in turns means more money for their strategists,  pollsters and ad-makers; and the media make more money as all of this is  funneled into TV and Web ads. Incestuous, isn’t it?

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We (no longer) blame Bush!

Oh my goodness, is that a plastic water bottle she's holding?

Predator drones, Gitmo, they’re all cool, now that the Messiah is running things. Majority of self-described “liberal Democrats” support keeping Gitmo open, whopping 77% of the same love, just love predator drones.

No mention of how the Code Pink ladies are feeling.

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