Daily Archives: December 1, 2008

It may be legal but it can’t be good for future business

Highbridge Asia hedge fund is restricting investors’ withdrawals. 

The fund’s investments are in the toilet so, just like John Paul Tudor Jones, they’re “restructuring”.

Here’s the bit I like:

“The Asia Opportunities Fund is run by Carl Huttenlocher, previously the head trader at Long-Term Capital Management LP, the hedge fund that imploded 10 years ago after a debt default by Russia.”

Was there anyone down on Wall Street who knew what he was doing?

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Filed under Right wing nut rantings

Commodities traders next on the block

Goldman Sachs and hedge funds are reportedly cutting their commodities traders’ compensation by as much as 75%. That still leaves salaries at $1 to $1.5 million so don’t lose sleep over the traders’ plight but these guys were making as much as $8 million and buying houses to match those incomes. Welcome to Havemeyer,ladies and gentlemen.

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Filed under Right wing nut rantings

Where is the ACLU?

The NSA is tracking the cellphone calls of the terrorists who tortured and slaughtered innocents in India. A spokesman for the agency says that they’re retrieving “a treasure trove” of calls made to and from Pakistan and one SIM card seems to have come from the United States. It is precisely this kind of violation of the rights of terrorists that was so soundly condemned by the Demmerkrats and the ACLU, so why are they silent now?

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Filed under Uncategorized

Maybe that preacher fellow is right

A bad way to end the day

A bad way to end the day

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate

29 Calhoun Drive

A reader asks,

“Backcountry Ventures bought a 1950s brick ranch in the Calhoun Association last summer. They brought in a large construction trailer, had the utilities marked, and probably stripped the house interior, anticipating knocking it down.

No action at the site for several months now. The Association is wondering if we’ll still be looking at that eyesore of a trailer a few years from now–with weeds growing up around it, perhaps?”

Brace yourself. BCV bought the place for $2.375 in July and changed its mind about proceeding in October, when it returned it to the market for $2.450 (my guess is you could get it cheaper – want me to ask?). It’s not selling and they’re not building, so I hope your weed-whacker is ready to go.

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This guy says the stock market’s hit its bottom

Well why not? everybody’s gotta have an opinion and here’s his. Buy a house now, before it’s too late! Too late, because the world’s going to end, as predicted by my first expert below or because the world isn’t going to end, Wall Street will once again enrich itself and everyone will want to buy a house in Greenwich. Or, you could wait a bit and see.

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Filed under Right wing nut rantings

More pricing decisions

38 Langhorne Lane,a four-acre building lot (2 acres, with wetlands etc. making up the balance) has been reduced again by its owner, Back Country Ventures (Jordan Saper), and is now at $2.650 million, down from an original asking price of $4.150. Saper paid just $1.250 for the land back in January ’07 but I understand that he dumped a pile of money into a septic and drainage system before losing heart and deciding to offer it to someone else. So far, no one has accepted his invitation.

53 Park Avenue South, that “Victorian” in Old Greenwich, has dropped down to $1.925 million from an original price of $2.777 million. Last time I mentioned this house readers suggested that it would have to go into the $1.8s before it sold. We’ll see.

4 Wahneta Road, also in Old Greenwich, is a new listing that just came on today. It looks like a nice-enough renovation but at 3,000 sq. ft. and an asking price of $3,000,000, it seems steep: $1,000 per sq.ft? We all like Old Greenwich, but how much do we like Old Greenwich?

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, pricing

A plane! A plane!

Well a contract, anyway, for 25 Bayside Terrace in Riverside, last asking price $1.498. I’ll bet the sellers are glad to see this almost over with – they’ve had it up for sale since February, 2005 and started at $1.595. They must not have been that eager to sell if they held their price for so long. I hope it was worth the wait.

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John Paul Tudor Jones stops withdrawals

In the Shadow of Jones

In the Shadow of Jones

You can’t get your money out of Mr. Jones’ hedge fund, at least not now, while he “restructures”. Jones was one of the first hedge funders to settle in Greenwich, building that huge mansion that looms over the Belle Haven Club. Will he be the first to leave?

Fun link: Wall Street Journal blog on troubles of the rich.

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This is the kind of thing that really brings a fella down

Ow!

Ow!

And over in England, a hedge fund is betting on deflation and buying WW I bonds which, surprisingly, are still paying 3.5% interest 90 years after the Armistice. Britain’s inflation rate is currently 4.5% so these aren’t of much value unless, as this sharpie figures, we’re in for a bout of deflation.

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Filed under Right wing nut rantings

More price reductions

108 Park Avenue , a really nice house that was originally listed for $5.695 million is now asking $4.350, a 24% drop.

6 Guinea Road, listed at $3.6 million back in March 2007, down today to $2.475, or 29% lower.

Someone’s getting religion but as that preacher in an earlier post warns, it may be too late!

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May I have the envelope, please?

My friend John Cooke (Pru-CT) has supplied me with the November inventory numbers. I always have trouble posting his stuff from this Windows machine but when I get home to my Mac I’ll put them up. Until then, here are some highlights:

Overall, single family units are up 17% from a year earlier, 509 then, 597 now.

$6-7 million, from 23 to 36 + 67%  57%

$3-4 million, from 55 to 80 + 57%  45%

$8 million +, from 60 to 68 + 13%

The lower end looks encouraging at first glance, with the $800K-$900K inventory down 26% but I suspect that’s because prices have fallen out of that category and into even lower ones: $700-$800K is up 17% and $600-$700 has increased 30%.

I’m guessing that we will not see much moving from inventory until (sometime) after the New Year. Should be a dull December.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, current market conditions, Inventory

Real estate appraisers

A commentator asks about my experience with crooked appraisers and I confess, I never met one. The appraisers I’ve dealt with, whether I represented the buyer or the seller, were all highly professional people who took great care coming up with defensible comparables. Not one ever asked me what the price “had” to come in at and I never caught so much as a hint that they were willing to bend rules.

Looking around now at a number of failed building projects I realize I was naive to think there was nothing untoward going on. At least, I can’t imagine how some of these projects received the funding they did without the help of an appraiser who departed from common sense and history. The news is filled now with stories of appraisers and real estate agents going off to jail for collaborating in mortgage fraud schemes but I never saw that in Greenwich and I never heard, for instance, of an appraiser “one can call” if the first appraisal came in low. But, obviously, there were such people and someone knew how to contact them. Silly me.

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Well here’s a Gloomy Gus!

You asked for it!

You asked for it!

The end is (very) near, according to this guy. The stock market collapse will be followed by a world-wide depression, world war and Armageddon. I don’t think the author believes that this is a good time to buy real estate. You can download the book now  , but I really admirer the author’s confidence as revealed here:
“This book will also be available for order periodically throughout early 2009.”
After that, presumably, you’re too late.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate

“The market will continue to fluctuate”

23 Stanwich Road
23 Stanwich Road

What was true of the stock market in J.P. Morgan’s time applies equally to Greenwich real estate. Here’s a house that was purchased for $1.275 million in October 2003, “renovated” in 2004 and put back up for sale in January, 2005 for $1.995. It sold in six days via a bidding war for $2.275.

In April of this year the new owners listed it for $2.395 million, which was probably a mistake: it never sold and now, four price cuts later, it’s asking $1.895, 20% less than the owners wanted in April. And it’s still for sale.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, current market conditions, pricing