Daily Archives: November 17, 2008

What’s so hard about stopping pirates?

 

Is that a super tanker in your pocket or are you glad to see me?

Is that a super tanker in your pocket or are you glad to see me?

 

I’ll admit to knowing nothing about naval warfare or even defending supertankers, but how difficult can it be for crew members to fend off pirates when the ship’s deck is 60′ above the pirates in their rubber raft? But the pirates keep coming – today they seized a super tanker five times larger than an aircraft carrier – and no one seems to do anything about it. The companies and the countries involved pay hefty ransoms, just fueling the next, even better armed attack and the world’s navies, including our own, express surprise at how large the ocean is. Steven Decatur did better.

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He should worry about the disappearance of his gravy train

Pay up!
Pay up!

Jessie Jackson is concerned about Bush’s last days. For a guy whose entire adult life has been spent blackmailing corporations under the rubric of “discrimination”, he must be panicked now that a black man has been elected President. I mean, there goes his entire shtik!

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Apropos of nothing …

Here’s a pretty dismal view of GE’s prospects from a James Quinn. The article was persuasive, if a touch histrionic, but I did wonder who its author, Mr. Quinn was. He turns out to be a big cheese at Wharton. Does that mean he knows what he’s talking about. I don’t know but if he does, and he’s right, the stock market’s going to get whacked big time next year when GE slides further into oblivion. And won’t that be good news for the housing market!

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We were talking about 2004 prices …

20 Dewart Rd

20 Dewart Rd

This house sold for $3.075 million in April 2004, renovated in 2005 and came back on the market today for $2.850. That’s a pretty good buy on a very nice, 4,000+ sq. ft. house. Of course, who knows? The price may get even nicer.

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Words of Wisdom from Tucson

I’ve linked to this site before because its author obviously gets what’s happening in the current real estate market (or because he agrees with me, always a sign of genius). The article I link to is a comparison of the prices of recently sold homes vs. recently expired, unsold homes. Surprise! The latter are priced on average 21% higher than the former. The same lesson applies here, of course.

There seem to be lots of good articles on this guy’s site. Check them out at his main page, The Tucson Foothills ( I like the post entitled, “Don’t prolong the agony” – you’ll never guess what that’s about.

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Why won’t this house sell?

18 Sandy Lane is a decent enough house just off Round Hill Road. It has some Merritt noise but it also has 4 acres and a pool. The owners tried selling it for $2.995 million ($624 per sq.ft.) back in 2007 and have now dropped it to $1.825 million ($391 sq.ft.). Apparently, the market for somewhat dated homes with relatively low ceilings and a touch of highway noise is … limited. There was a time, not so long ago, when this price would reflect the land value: buy a lot, get a house free. Now, who knows?

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Price levels down to year ?

I bought this why?

I bought this why?

 

25 Dorchester Lane in Riverside was sold to its present owners for $2.150 May 3, 2004. It’s back on the market now and today, having failed to sell at $2.950 and various price points in between, it dropped to $2.290. That’s not quite back to its 2004 price (although it is if you consider commissions and taxes) but it’s close and of course, it hasn’t sold yet. Ouch.

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O Contempora! O Mores!

18 Chimney Corner Lane

18 Chimney Corner Lane

This perfectly nice contemporary sits right on the water and was built in 2000. It seems like top notch constrution and I really liked its floor plan, yet it won’t sell. It was originally offered for $18.5 million in April, 2005, perhaps a tad aggressive for a house that, despite its 6,300 sq. ft., held only 3 bedrooms. But still, that view …,

Its price dropped in increments until November, 2006, when it reached $14.9 million. That didn’t work so it was withdrawn from the market and returned in February, two months later, priced at $15.75 million – punishment for buyers too slow to have appreciated it before, I suppose. Surprisingly enough, that, too didn’t work and it’s been dropping ever since. Today it was reduced again, to $14.5 million. It doesn’t seem a far-fetched house to me, given its great waterfront location and the prices still being had for other waterfront despite our current market but the buying public obviously disagrees with my opinion and my taste. I really like contemporaries, especially this one, but I’m not in the market right now for any house, regardless of price. And those who are are balking at this one’s design, I believe.

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GM Bailout? Not!

Glenn Reynolds asks, if the big three’s total market capitalization is at most, $7 billion, why should we throw $50 billion their way? The government should buy ’em and run them itself. And wouldn’t that be fun?

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Erasing History

I just looked up a house I want to show to a client (which is why I’m not identifying it here – I think it’s a bargain and if my client agrees, then I’ll sell it, which is far better than writing about it). The price has been reduced, again, but when I checked our MLS records for its history it shows only one price reduction and shows it as having been on the market for less than a month.

That’s what the records show – my memory told me otherwise so I searched again, this time for deleted listings and low and behold, there it was a year ago at a price a full 1/3 higher than its current price.

In a way, I’m glad the Board of Realtors is playing this game because it gives me an advantage: my memory bank retains information that will be useful in negotiating a deal, should things advance that far – an owner who has been sitting on an unsold property for a year is usually in an entirely different frame of mind from one who’s only been trying for a month. But another part of my mind objects: this market is supposed to be a level playing field, or it claims to be, with information freely accessible to all. It isn’t, and I intend to take advantage of that, but still ….

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Dodd’s Sweetheart Deal from Countrywide Mortgage?

 

Any day now, any day

Any day now, any day

Nah, who cares about the great deal the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee received from Countrywide. If he originally promised, and then reneged on that promise, to release his loan documentation, is that any worse than John Kerry’s similar promise to release his military records (it’ll be 4 years on January 30 2009 since he made that promise on Meet the Press, if you’re counting).

 No the only Washington entity investigating a Countrywide mortgage given to a high official is the Postal Service, whose own leader took advantage of what was offered him. Now, I certainly want to make sure that my mail isn’t delivered by an outfit whose leader may have abused his office, but I’m even more concerned about the head of the Senate Banking Committee passing laws effecting my country’s economy when he’s been in the pocket of the banking industry. 

But sure, go after that stamp peddler first.

Update: It will be 35 years tomorrow that Nixon proclaimed, “I am not a crook”. And eleven years (on Jan. 28, 2009) since Bill Clinton averred, “I did not have sex with that woman”. It was only last July that Dodd, a month after denying he’d done anything wrong in accepting special favors from Countrywide turned his attention to two of his biggest contributers and said, “To suggest somehow that [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] are in trouble is simply not accurate.” As events turned out, Nixon was a crook and Clinton did have sex with “that woman” and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in trouble. Is it any wonder that some of us wonder about the integrity of Senator Dodd? denial?

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