The sky is lowering, not falling
There are a lot of buyers out there who think that, if they only wait long enough, Greenwich housing prices will fall to affordable levels. So far as I know, these people have been waiting since, oh, maybe 1935. But it is true that waiting for a particular house to drop can be an effective strategy. One Ashton Drive came on the market 1/23/04 for $7.5 million and sold last week 3 ½ years later, for $5.125. One Indian Spring, the great old Rockefeller estate, was listed for $26,000,000 on 5/17/05 and also sold last week (via Barbara Zaccagnini) for $13,410,000. Now that’s a price reduction. I don’t mean to embarrass the sellers of these two houses but write this to make the point that, if you and your agent both think a house is over-priced, other agents may, too, and the house will linger, offering you plenty of time to work down the price. But beware: I’ve known buyers who rejected their agent’s opinion that a house was priced fairly and then lost the house they wanted to someone else. So listen to your agent; if you don’t trust her advice, get another agent – there are tons of us out here.

“Yacht” Club leases
Certain RTM members have complained that Greenwich leases waterfront property to four non-profit clubs, including the Old Greenwich Yacht Club and the Mianus River Boat Club. I think they’re wrong to complain. As I understand the situation, these are not private clubs: any town resident can join. Dues are paid, the buildings are maintained at no cost to the town and any “earnings” (a term mistakenly employed by Budget Overview Committee head Don Conway) are plowed back into operations. No one’s getting rich here, and the town itself collects all the revenue from slip and boat rack rentals. Even Mr. Conway admits the value of these clubs saying, “it’d great for kids who folks can’t afford to join private clubs” but he misses the point: there are a lot of residents who, while passionate about boating, wouldn’t join a private club at gunpoint. These four organizations provide a terrific, low-cost opportunity for Greenwich boaters to enjoy the water without enduring ten year waiting lists and the annual Commodore’s Ball. Leave ‘em alone, says I. As an aside, if the RTM wants to look at boat fees, perhaps it should eliminate the charge on windsurfers which are brought to the beach and depart the same day with their sailors. What services are provided by Greenwich that justify charging any fee at all?

Energy for Connecticut
Connecticut Attorney General and Greenwich resident Richard Blumenthal exulted over last week’s judicial ruling stopping, at least for now, a cross-sound natural gas pipeline, “thus preventing an ecological disaster”. Turns out, some clams were going to be temporarily displaced. I like clams, especially fried, but I also like having enough energy in this region to keep the economy going. I recently heard Blumenthal defend his opposition to the liquefied natural gas plant, which would sit six miles offshore, by claiming that there were other, safer ways to import energy, “like pipelines”. But if he and his environmental friends won’t permit pipelines to be built, or LNG complexes, or high voltage power lines, or nuclear reactors or conventional power plants – and they won’t – how do they expect to supply the region with our future energy needs? The best I can determine, this advocacy group’s solution is low energy lightbulbs and enforced use of scooters for commuting. If it weren’t so serious, the lunacy of these people, including Mr. Blumenthal, would be pretty funny.

Save this Date
The Women’s Club of Greenwich is sponsoring a cruise around the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor on Thursday, September 20. Hors d’oeuvres, buffet dinner, taxes and gratuities included, all for $95, regardless of club membership. Why am I mentioning this in a real estate column? Well, the head of the Club is my adored former Third Grade teacher, Maria Krumeich and she asked me to. I would never deny a (great) former teacher anything. Besides, thanks to the generosity of Riverside’s own Tom Peterson, I did something similar once on Malcolm Forbe’s Highlander and it was a blast. Questions? Call Carla at the Women’s Club @ 869-2046.

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