Daily Archives: July 15, 2008

Will this global warming stop at nothing? Sheer idiocy, and it increases daily.

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The Marvelous Chuck Schumer

The Wall Street Journal a has a great editorial on how this dreadful man single-handedly brought down a bank. I assume most of my readers also read the WSJ but just in case you missed it ….

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One Off, One Still On

18 Sherwood Farm Lane, a very nice house built in 2001 on the Rockefeller land in Glenville, has gone to contract just two weeks or so after being listed. What impresses me is that (a) it wasn’t brand new construction and (b) any sign of market activity in this price range $5,400,000 is always welcome.

53 Park Avenue South, on the other hand, has been reduced again and is now asking $2,295,000, a steep drop from its January listing price of $2,777,000. I liked this house and said so when it was first listed, but its failure to sell serves as a cautionary lesson: don’t over-customize a house to your idiosyncratic tastes (this one was built as a modern Victorian, with garish or authentic, you take your pick-colors), don’t build a three-bedroom house in Old Greenwich, where buyers expect a minimum of four, and add a family room. This house is ideal for a couple; most buyers in Old Greenwich have a passel of kids.

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Grammar Police
A reader has taken it upon himself to monitor my spelling and grammar in this blog, which I appreciate. I no longer have a copy editor and, while I sometimes had amusing arguments with them (for instance, convincing an earnest young lady from Kansas that, yes, I knew that “au pair” wasn’t really an anagram for “over-priced french baby sitter”)as I claimed in The New Millionaire’s Handbook , I did enjoy having them save me from my worst mistakes. So if somebody (or is it someone-I’ll await a decision from my reader) wants to take on that task, for free, it’s just fine with me.

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Waiting for the other shoe to drop
Nothing coming out of the banking industry is good news recently, so buyers are understandably nervous and reluctant to buy. I can’t give you advice on whether your job at UBS is threatened (well, according to some people I know, I can – don’t plan any expensive vacations soon) but I did learn an interesting tidbit from Mark Hawkins, my colleague at William Raveis’s mortgage banking division. According to Mark, a house’s price must drop 10% to make up the difference of a 1% increase on a 30 year fixed rate. Interest rates are definitely going up, so waiting to commit on a house may end up costing, rather than saving you money.

On the other hand, do you have enough cash to buy a new house? The days of 20% (or, better yet, 10%) down are gone, at least for mortgages exceeding $2,000,000, which, in Greenwich, is a lot of the market. $2M mortgages require 30% down and it only gets worse from there. Greenwich real estate has performed no worse than the Dow (down about 14%) but certainly no better. Which will fare worse in the next year? Your guess is as good (probably better) than mine, but my guess says, as Wall Street goes, so goes the Greenwich market. Ya pays your money, ya take your chances. If you need a house now, though, and you’ve got some stocks you want to dump or a large pile of cash doing nothing, you can probably take advantage of a seller who is as nervous as you.

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