Daily Archives: September 28, 2008

Stay or leave?
Interesting article from The Chicago Tribune on the pros and cons of staying in your house until it sells or clearing out. The reporter finds “experts” on both sides (that’s what real reporters, rather than this opinionated blogger are supposed to do) so read it and make up your own mind. My personal preference? It’s easier to sell an empty house but, then, I also think that staging is a waste of money and plenty of my peers disagree with me on that, too. Especially the ones who have a staging business on the side.

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It’s not just houses
According to the Wall Street Journal’s Robert Frank, Gulf Steam GIV jets are a drag on the market, with the used inventory up 3X from last year. Just like Greenwich spec houses until a few months ago, prices remain high in the face of declining demand but Frank quotes one dealer who predicts a 30% price drop in the coming year. Doesn’t builder Mark Mariani claim to own such a jet? I wonder if he still does.

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Hurricane headed for Maine

Now, I understand that Maine doesn’t have all that many people living on its easternmost edge, and I understand that a Category I hurricane doesn’t pack the punch of a Category III, but if more of this country’s citizens approached difficulty with this lobsterman’s equanimity, I think we’d be better off:

Many lobstermen moved their boats to sheltered coves to ride out the storm, said Dwight Carver, a lobsterman on Beals Island. Some also moved lobster traps from shallow water, but most were caught off-guard by the storm’s short notice.

”I’m sure we’ll have a lot of snarls, a lot of mess, to take care of when it’s done,” Carver said. ”It’ll take us a few days to straighten things out.”

The man must have missed the memo advising him to wait for FEMA’s help to arrive.

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Slappy the Happy Clown says …

It’s a quiet Sunday morning so I thought I’d look up some statistics (usually, I reserve this kind of scintillating behavior for soporific purposes, but ….)
There are 121 active listings for “new” – built 2005 and later – houses. Most of these, but not all, are spec homes waiting for their first buyer but, as they all compete with others in their price range, I’m lumping them together.
19 Houses are priced from $8 million to the top of new construction, $25 million.
12 between $7-8
14 between $6-7
14 between $5-6
15 between $4-5
14 between $3-4
17 between $2-3
16 between $1-2.
0 below $1.0

How are we doing getting rid of this inventory of houses? Not so well, I think. In the period of June 1,2008 through this past Friday, 18 new house went to contract. By my math, that’s a touch over one a week, which, barring any more new spec houses joining the party, would clear things out in oh, say 2 1/4 years.

One little fly in this otherwise-cheerful ointment: From August 1 to date, we’ve only moved 5 new houses. If that keeps up, figure 4 1/2, 5 years before some builders get their money. I can barely spell foreclosure, but I can smell it. But, as my fellow Realtors and Slappy the Clown like to say, “don’t worry, be happy!” No doubt something will turn up, eh? Until then, if you need your car washed, you’ll probably see some real estate agents (and builders) competing for your dollar with the GHS kids. Be kind. And generous.

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