Daily Archives: March 29, 2007

Spring Market Conditions
Not so bad. I recently ran the numbers for the first two and a half weeks of March and saw that 64 houses had gone to contract, compared to 57 during the same period last year and 74 in 2005. So we seem to be doing okay; certainly not collapsing like some of the boom and bust areas like Florida. My advice would be to sell if you want to but not because you’re panicked.

Two Small Houses in Riverside
By coincidence, the childhood homes of my two best friends went on the market last week, both on Summit Road and just three doors apart. It was fun to revisit these houses for the first time since – I don’t know – 1967? Especially because, while they’ve been updated, they remain pretty much the same. Nancy Healy has listed 28 Summit for $1,259,00 which I think is the buy of the week. The house is a smallish contemporary (smallish by today’s standards – the Kramer family, three kids, two adults and, if memory serves, a dog, all fit in comfortably back then) with a good back yard. I know of no other property in its condition in that part of town at anything close to that price. Just up the street at number 36 Ann Simpson’s listed my friend Chase Carey’s house for a bit more, $1,525,000. It’s shy a bathroom, which could be remedied, but boasts a new kitchen and a lot of nice, new touches. Chase, by the way, grew up to become the CEO of DirecTV and recently contributed $2,000,000 to Colgate University, proving that growing up in a small house doesn’t permanently prevent a child from succeeding in life. Or it didn’t used to, anyway.

And over in Glenville
Barbara Suthergreen has 1 Strawbridge Lane (off Weaver Street) for sale at $1,579,00. It’s a good example of how much more your dollar buys in the western side of town because this house is almost 3,000 sq.ft., sits on a great, full acre of land, has been completely renovated, etc. etc. I really liked it and I think it’s an excellent buy.

Price it, sell it
We’re seeing bidding wars again, as I’ve previously reported, but many houses are still priced to high to attract interest. I see that one Riverside home finally sold for almost a million dollars less than the original price. For a house under $4,000,000, that’s a pretty large over-estimate of value. Of course, that error pales in comparison to another house, in another part of town, that originally came on the market in 2002 asking almost $10,000,000 and is still available five years later at just over $6,000,000. I hope for the owners’ sake that they’ve long since vacated; I can’t imagine keeping a house in showing condition for all that time.

Religious Fanaticism?
My father, who single-handedly kept the fifteen-watt light bulb industry alive, taught all of his children to eschew waste and save money. So I think it’s a good thing to conserve fuel, use energy efficient furnaces, insulate our houses, leave the Suburbans to celebrities, and so forth. But this global warming stuff has, in my opinion, zoomed way past the science that may support it and wandered into the realm of religious zealotry. Case in point: the news release last week that the average American woman weighs 164 pounds, which is up some 30 pounds from a generation ago (this study clearly was not conducted in our fair town, where three Lycra-clad Starbucks women together weigh less than that). The study’s authors weren’t content to point out that we’ve gotten fatter – they proceeded to calculate the extra gasoline expended and carbon emitted from transporting that extra poundage around and came up with a suspiciously-precise sounding sum. I don’t remember the figure but it was obviously enough to melt the polar ice caps and drown those cute bears. Forget gluttony; the new sin is being too large for the planet. Interesting (to me) is that the study failed to mention the patron saint of this new religion, Al Gore, who weighs 300 pounds and seems to travel with a driver (200 lbs?) a bodyguard (another 200?) and a publicist (93lbs). Everyone in a Suburban. But he pays John Edwards to install fluorescent light bulbs in John’s 28,000 sq. ft. home so all is well, I suppose.

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