Daily Archives: August 24, 2008

Tiny Bubbles

Busted ones, anyway. Today’s NY Times has a good article on the housing bust in California. We’re not anything close to that bad here (in the area the Times writes about, 85% of the houses bought within the past three years are worth less than is owed on them) but there are lessons to be learned, especially the folly of blind optimism that assumes a never ending supply of young millionaires capable and willing to spend $5 million and more for a new house.

And if you missed yesterday’s paper, check out Joe Nocera’s column, also in the Times, on how Fannie Mae went off course, while enriching its officers. Nothing in here that the WSJ wasn’t warning about a decade ago but it provides an ugly view of what happens when politicians and (other) crooks collude.

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33 Crescent Road, Riverside

This new construction (my listing, so take comments with a grain of salt) sold last week for $3.175 million (asking price, $3.195). That should make the neighbors on Crescent happy because the builder, Greenwich Construction, has now sold two new houses on the street for more than $3 million – the other, 29 Crescent, was a bit larger and sold for around $3.4 million.

These both replaced older, much smaller homes and it’s tempting to mourn the loss but, as listing agent for both, I can report that there was no – zero, nada-interest in either of the existing properties by end users. The market demands new, and bigger houses. We can complain but, when you go to sell your own house, perhaps you should feel grateful that there are still builders around willing to risk their money on speculative projects. If you don’t feel that warm appreciation, don’t worry – there are fewer spec builders every day so you may well have a chance to pass along your house to a deserving, if impoverished young family who will cherish your home as you did. And pay what you did, too.

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$7.2 Million?
I recently gave a price opinion for some property in central Greenwich. My advice was rejected, which is fine, but the figure I gave was considered too low, I suspect because there’s another new house nearby asking $7.2 million. Now, asking is not getting, but I’m pretty sure the seller of the house I advised on hasn’t quite grasped this concept.

So here’s a picture of what’s available on Ridge Avenue for $7.2 million. I’ll be curious to see how it does. If it sells for somewhere near that price then I’ll be proved wrong, again. But I might be looking pretty smart a year or so from now.

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