Daily Archives: November 6, 2008

What the heck?

I realize that no one at the soon-to-be-defunct Greenwich Post reads this blog but I’d hope someone who does and who knows someone at that paper would point out to them that they keep running a chart that purports to show the number of houses sales in Greenwich this past September. I think they’ve confused the entire year for September, or maybe it’s the past decade, who knows. Either way, if we’d sold half that amount in September of this year I’d be writing this post from St. Bart’s and Greenwich homeowners would be dancing down the Avenue. Haven’t seen that happening, yet.

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62 Ridge Street Open House
So they opened this place up to brokers’ inspections today and, after commenting yesterday on the curious logic that prompted its builder to increase its price to $7.5 million, I thought I’d go see what he was selling. Hmmm.

If this place were to have replaced my father’s old Brownstone on 233 West 11th Street, I’ll bet he would have been delighted at the exchange. It’s a very nice city house and in the city, views and proximity to neighbors are pretty much irrelevant (or at least I think so – I was ripped from the bosom of Greenwich Village and transported to the rural wastelands of Greenwich when I was just a few months old, so my memory of the view from that Brownstone is dim). But this is not a city house, and the view of the Honda dealership and the old warehouse where I used to grind up horsemeat after school is certainly interesting, but not necessarily what someone expects when he moves to Greenwich.

Or I wouldn’t think so, anyway. The house itself is grand, although I wish Greenwich’s spec builders would stop outfitting their creations with the same Viennese crystal chandeliers that some supplier obviously got a deal on – I’ve seen the identical fixture scattered around three houses now (this one has three of them!)and while the builders obviously love them, they bring to mind General Patton’s comment when someone mistook the ivory grips on his Colt .45 with pearl: “Only a pimp in a New Orleans whorehouse or a tin-horn gambler would carry a pearl-handled pistol”; I think he’d feel the same way about these bits of glass. Price isn’t everything, guys.

So is there a buyer for a $7.5 million house in this part of our “downtown”? I’d have advised any client of mine against gambling that there was but I wasn’t asked. And considering those chandeliers – well, it was Patton who used the phrase, “tin-horn gambler”, not I.

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63 Sound Beach Ave. ext.

Here’s another (almost)20% price reduction, from $785,000 to $640,000. That’s probably where it should have started, in my opinion, but now it at least looks realistic. Of course, the seller may have done himself a disservice by starting off where he did but ….

There’s a “new” listing way up Taconic Road today asking $3.5 million. It’s actually an old listing for a house on 4 acres that didn’t sell at $4.0 million and, while $500,000 may seem like a lot to whack off the price, sellers should remember that the place didn’t sell at the original price, so the price reduction doesn’t really represent an actual out-of-pocket “loss” of 12.5%. It’s a bit of a slice off the dream, perhaps, but dreams have no monetary value. I think this property is still in dreamland.

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A favor that will help me and your fellow readers
I get a fair number of requests for the names of good builders, contractors, painters, etc. I’ve posted some of that over on the right side of this column but I know that there are lots of good people out there I don’t know about. If you have the name and contact information for a tradesman (or craftsman or whatever) whom you’re pleased with or, for that matter, wouldn’t wish on that lousy neighbor down the street, the one who ran over your cat and never apologized, would you pass them along? I’ll compile a directory and, once I figure out how to do so, post it all online as a down-loadable pdf.
Thanks!

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I don’t know what all this means but it doesn’t sound good.

Yesterday the DTCC (that would be the Depositors Trust Clearing Corporation) issued a report that, for the first time, established an estimate for the total pool of credit default swaps at loose in the world: $33.6 trillion, which seems to this writer to be a lot of money. Today, however, Bloomberg reports that some “expert” thinks that the DTCC missed 40% of what’s actually out there. How much is that, then, $60 trillion? A whole bunch,no matter my math, so that’s a pretty large liability floating around, no?

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Are these guys all Greenwich home owners?
Poll: 67% of wall Streeters expect bonuses this year And one in 10 said they expect this year’s bonus will be at least 33 percent higher than last year’s – those are definitely the ones pricing houses here in town.

Sadly for them (and for those of us who like to sell houses) there’s this from today’s paper:

Wall Street pay expected to plummet And those bonuses they do receive will be stock shares, not cash. Big whoop. Here’s a sobering thought:

In previous lean years, Wall Street banks justified large payouts by arguing that top employees would flee for higher-paying jobs. But with tens of thousands of Wall Street jobs disappearing, that argument may no longer hold. “Where are people going to go?” one senior banking executive asked.

A friend tells me that he had dinner with a Wall Street head hunter last night who told him that her CEO and his next in command were let go last week. According to her, we haven’t even begun to see the carnage that’s coming. Whether she’s right or not, it’s beliefs like hers that have frozen this market.

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