Daily Archives: September 9, 2008

Because I think higher taxes will hurt the Greenwich real estate market
I’m reposting this from James Taranto’s “Best of the Web column.

He’ll Wreck the Economy Later

“Democrat Barack Obama says he would delay rescinding President Bush’s tax cuts on wealthy Americans if he becomes the next president and the economy is in a recession, suggesting such an increase would further hurt the economy,” the Associated Press reports:

So he’s saying he wants to wait for any recession to pass, and then he’ll hurt the economy?

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Signs of life?
Not really – we’re still woefully short on properties going to contract. yet there are some good buys out there. I’ve mentioned 26 Summit Road, at $2.195, and, now that it’s come down $1.1 million (to $3.3), 74 Zaccheus Mead Lane is very attractive. One property that did go to contract today was 18 Orchard Hill Lane, for what I assume (because it went so quickly) was close to or at its asking price of $1.895. This was no doubt a land sale, with 2.75 acres in a 2 acre zone with a good location off Mayfair Lane, but it’s nice to see any builder still active. Most are huddling on the sidelines, waiting to see what happens. Tomorrow, I’ll try to post on more bargains. They really do exist and two years from now, you’ll thank me for pointing them out.

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Fraud at Fannie Mae – who’d a thunk it?
Try this for a good discussion of what’s going on at our newly acquired lending institution. It all reminds me of the Savings and Loan collapse. A friend of mine was hired by the government to examine the loan files of several failed banks. He found literally file cabinets full of fraudulent loans but was basically told, “forget it – prosecuting these guys is so yesterday”. Our regulators just wanted to close things up and move on and that’s what they did. The rotten bankers probably moved on to Fannie Mae.

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39 Boulder Brook
What’s a house worth?
You can’t tell from this listing.It was priced at $8.595 million when first listed in April 2008 and today was reduced to $5.298. This kind of thing does not instill confidence in buyers, in either Realtors’ acumen or the stability of the market.
As an aside, some other new construction on the same street, #33, was priced at $6.875 when it came on this past February and still sits unsold today at $6.575. At least someone’s sticking to his guns but 33’s failure to sell kind of hints at what I and the marketplace think of #39’s original price.

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So I was in a lovely house today and in one of the boy’s bedrooms I saw this:

and this

and this:

I’m hardly the model for perfect parenthood but I’ll bet that if this kid’s parents had dumped the TV from his room and placed some books in that bookcase his SAT preparations would be easier. Just a suggestion.

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Google Maps
How cool is this? I searched for ‘adding Google maps to my blog” and got this:

Can I embed Google Maps into my website or blog?

Absolutely. You can embed a simple map, a set of driving directions, a local search, or maps created by other users. Here’s how:

1. Ensure that the map you’d like to embed appears in the current map display.
2. Click “Link to this page” in the top-right corner of the map.
3. In the box that pops up, copy the HTML under “Paste HTML to embed in website,” and paste it into the source code of your website or blog.

If you’d like to adjust the size of the map before you embed it, just click “Customize and preview embedded map,” select your preferred size, and take a look at the preview map. Once you’re happy with what you see, copy the HTML that appears in the box at the bottom of the window.

Once I figure out what “the source code of your blog” means, I’ll try it.
[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=44+Locust+greenwich+ct&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=46.36116,89.648438&ie=UTF8&ll=41.098435,-73.709593&spn=0.010835,0.021887&z=14&iwloc=addr&output=embed&s=AARTsJr75nYsLeUzwnyqOgY5nk39v6PyrA”>
View Larger Map

Well it works, sort of, except I lost the marker indicating 44 Locust Road and the size has to be smaller. Still, progress is being made.
Here’s Grahampton/Meadowcroft. Let’s see if this works.

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Sell your house
17 Mark’s Road in Riverside was bought for $2.495 million in July ’06. The new owner attempted to resell it this year and, I think wisely, kept the price right around where he’d come in and in fact had reduced it below that point, to $2.45 million when the listing expired at the end of August. Now it’s back, asking $2.495, exactly where he bought it. My guess is that he is going to discover that the market has dropped. It’s a very nice, somewhat quirky house on the same tidal creek I live on so naturally, I like the place. And as a neighbor, I naturally hope he’ll get everything he’s asking, and more. But …

173 Stanwich has also seen some price reduction, dropping in the past 18 months from $3.595 all the way to $2.495 today. The mistake here, if I may be so bold as to offer my opinion, is that the owner tarted the place up with all sorts of high-tech wizardry and thought that would justify a wacky price. It obviously didn’t.

And finally, there’s 48 Locust, way up in our Northwest corner (a reader has suggested I link to Google maps, which is an excellent idea – I’ll see what I can do right after posting this). The seller bought it for $2.398 back in October 2005 and re-listed it for $2.950 in March 2007. No improvements that I’m aware of. He dropped the price to $2.750 a month later and has stuck at that price ever since. If he really wants to sell it, I think the market has a message for him. Just saying ….

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440 Round Hill
Marc Weill’s house finally sold yesterday for $11 million. That’s a big chunk of change but quite a comedown from its original asking price (5 years ago)of $21.5 million. I don’t interpret this sale as evidence that the market is collapsing; the original price was just dumb.

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1 Meadowcroft
Got the grand tour on 37 Grahampton/ 1 Meadowcroft today. Understand that I’m not a fan of houses this size so my comments are not purely objective. It’s certainly big, and there’s a huge cellar filled with all the wine racks, media rooms and toys that today’s adults seem to want. Large kitchen with some kind of granite thing going on – it’s too high to be a food preparation surface, and too wide to reach even to its middle, so I’m uncertain what purpose it serves. I asked the agent, “what’s this?” and was told, “granite”. That I already knew.
Lots of big bedrooms, thick doors, big baths, everything you’d expect, I suppose. Mariani builds a nice house and this one is no exception. I would quibble with its approach, however. You can’t tell from the artist’s rendering posted here but it’s a very short jog from the street to the house; turn off Meadowcroft and bang! There’s the house. If I had an ego large enough to accommodate buying this house I’d want a long winding drive so that my visitors would think, “wow, this guy’s made it!”. You’ll have to find other ways to impress them. Nice flat back yard, if anyone still uses them. And a pool.
Are there buyers out there for this size house? We’ll see.

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Put on your tinfoil hats!
Okay, they’re tired of dumb f***s like us who don’t believe in global warming so now they’re going to
use more persuasive methods.

Armed with new research into what makes some people environmentally conscious and others less so, the 148,000-member American Psychological Association is stepping up efforts to foster a broader sense of eco-sensitivity that the group believes will translate into more public action to protect the planet.

“We know how to change behavior and attitudes. That is what we do,” says Yale University psychologist Alan Kazdin, association president. “We know what messages will work and what will not.”

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