Daily Archives: May 29, 2009

Is a one-year-old new home still “new”?

That’s the question posed by the NYT’s Floyd Norris on his blog yesterday. Good question, but I wonder what Mr. Norris would think of 44 Close Road,built in 2002 and never occupied, or 21 Cornelia Drive, built in 2004 and still vacant and advertised as “new construction”. Cornelia’s builder at least has cut his price as his dreams have faded, from a preposterous $11.7 million to a still preposterous $6 million. 44 Close has defied all market signals and sticks at $10 million, perhaps hoping that we’ll get that Zimbabwe-like inflation some people (but not Paul Krugman) are worried about. Eight Copper Beech is three years old, and North Street has so many three and four-year-old houses we should start a nursing home for them. Beechcroft, Dingletown, Byfield, Baldwin Farms, Doverton, Dairy, Clapboard Ridge, Keoffram, Sound Beach Avenue and so on – aging “new” homes litter the landscape and none of them are growing more valuable – just older. Whoo boy.

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Here’s a warm-up diversion while we wait for Madoff/Noel developments

Greenwich’s own Frederic Bourke’s bribery trial starts Monday in Manhattan. His pocket book partner, Peter Dooney, isn’t expected in the court room to cheer him on – Dooney, after Bourke charged he was trying to inject him “with a harmful substance”, said he hadn’t spoken with Bourke in years. Perhaps he’ll show up for the sentencing, if there is one.

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Here’s just what we need

Another rude, obnoxious tennis player who squeals like a pig. I gave up watching girls tennis when they began grunting and over the years, it seems that grunting keeps hitting new crescendos. Simply obnoxious and unwatchable.

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Connecticut Dems to Dodd: “Drop Dead!”

Connecticut Democrats are rushing through legislation that will strip (Republican) Governor Rell of her power to appoint a replacement if ahem, a certain senator were to quit or something. What could that be about?

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You want an otter opinion?

188 Otter Rock

188 Otter Rock

This “almost entirely new’ house sold in October, 2002 for $3.459 million. After enjoying it for four years but doing nothing to it the owners put it back up for sale for the remarkable price of $6.750 million. The buying public apparently didn’t perceive the doubling of value that this listing broker did so it hasn’t sold. Today, after three price cuts, it’s down to $4.7 million. That may still not be sufficient, but a $2 million cut at least indicates a seriousness on the part of the seller that was lacking before.

I haven’t run the numbers, but I have a sense that Belle Haven may have taken even more of a hit than some other neighborhoods this past year. I’ll check that over the weekend.

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Back again

11 Quail Rd

11 Quail Rd

This is a perfectly acceptable house – it has a back lot feel going on (probably because it’s on a back lot) but that’s improved since the owner screened off the neighbors. It sold direct (and oh, how we hate when that happens) for $6.450 million in 2004 and came back on for sale in May, 2008 for $8.875 million. I rather thought at the time that we were below, not above 2004 values but the owner didn’t ask me and there the house sat. It eventually, and gradually, dropped to $6.875 in January but still didn’t sell. Yet, the listing was renewed today at … $6.875! I still think we’re below 2004 and I’m befuddled at what these sellers think may have improved since January but there you have it. It’s still a nice house and at some price, I’m sure it will sell. At some price.

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Death by a thousand cuts

69058_101_12This house on Silver Beech was badly in need of modernization back in 2005 when it was listed for $695,000. Naturally a bidding war erupted and the current owners ‘won” with a bid of $727,778. They proceeded to do a very nice renovation and in 2008 they put it back on the market at $845,000. Not an unreasonable price but the market was gone by then and the house sat. In response, the sellers sliced the price repeatedly by tiny, incremental amounts until they finally reached $750,000 in March and, today, it went to contract, probably for just about what they first paid for it. I don’t blame a homeowner for trying to preserve his capital and this poor guy certainly will lose money n the sale, but that was inevitable, really, when he first listed it for sale. A hefty price cut then would have spared him all the agony of keeping his house on the market for over a year, subject to inspections by strangers every day of the week.

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Forget the 1929 Book of Common Prayer, we’ve got new JuJu!

AlbinoAfricans_WitchDoctorAfter introducing the Bridgeport Diocese’s new weather consultant, Father Winstead Alphonse Snead set him loose to do his stuff. The skies have cleared, the fair is on and those crafty new Episcopalians rejoiced. And good for them!

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From for sale to for rent

Lots of high priced homes have been heading off the market to rental oblivion, which makes sense when you can’t sell the darn thing. Some that were reported today include 192 Bible Street (which was not listed for sale) rentig at $10,000, 181 Clapboard Ridge, for sale at $6.995, renting for $7,650 (after asking $15,000), 12 Intervale, for sale at $5.995 million, for rent at $25,000, renting for $15,500, and 28 Edgewood, asking $3.675, for rent at $16,000 and getting $11,500.

28 Edgewood is owned by a Kip Konigsberg who is not, it seems, the same Konigsberg who lives at 19 Pinecroft (for sale asking something in the 2s) who has the misfortne to be named ina lawsuit arising from the Madoff shenanigans. Everything the latter Mr. Konigsberg lives in, whether Greenwich or Palm Beach, is held under his wife Judith’s name. In view of recent events, that may prove wise.

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How much is a water view worth?

But you can't see the mud at high tide!

But you can't see the mud at high tide!

21 Willowmere Circle is listed for sale today at $7.450 million. The land is very nice – right up the creek from my own house so naturally, I wish the sellers the very best of luck, but I don’t remember the house as being remarkable (no, that’s not it to the left, I’m just being funny). The seller’s agent must agree, because we have eight pictures on the on-line listing and just two (?) of those are of the house. Hmm. So, for the sake of argument, it’s a building lot with a great pool and wonderful waterviews half the day and fascinating mudflats the rest. How much is that worth? We’ll see. Willowmere Circle is a great neighborhood, so that adds a lot of value too. Again, as a creek neighbor, I’ll watch this one with as much interest as front Row Phil is eying the progress of 2 Nimitz Place in Havemeyer. I was going to post one of those great views, by the way, but the format isn’t supported by this blog template. I don’t know what’s up with that.

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He’s got my nomination for a Nobel

49 Shore Road

49 Shore Road

Okay, so you pay $1.3 million for the land this sits on in 2004, ditz around awhile and finally get your spec house built and on the market in April 2008 for $4.2 million. No one buys it. Do you: (a) lower the price or (b) fire three brokers but insist on keeping the price where it is? If you said “b”, congratulations – you and this builder will probably be painting your roofs white just in time for winter.

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Justice Department overrules its own lawyers, drops case against bat-wielding goons who threatened black voters

It’s a new day in the Justice Department, where neither politics nor favor determines who is brought under the weight of law. If this had happened under Bush, would the New York Times remain silent? I think not, yet it was black voters who were threatened and intimidated at the polls. Of course, the free pass granted the Obama Justice Department isn’t entirely due to the Obama factor – in this case, it was Black Panthers terrorizing other blacks and that, of course, is only to be expected. It’s just like those lovable Palestinians bombing school girls – “those kind of people” do that sort of thing because they just don’t know better. Oh, the white man’s burden!

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Raining on the Episcopal Fair

It’s a lousy forecast for Riverside’s St. Paul Church’s fair, opening this afternoon. I seem to remember that when I was a kid we always had good weather for the fair, a phenomenon I deduced was proof that God was not only good but that he took the Episcopal side of things in all matters theological. I can only assume that today’s new. modern version of the church has tickedhim off.

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Century 21 Realtors promise to help you browbeat your stupid husband into buying a house you can’t afford

Well that was the promise made in 2006, at any rate. I suspect they’re not running this ad today.

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Another Nobel Genius heard from

Paul Krugman says, why worry about printing money? It’s all good. These Stockholm bright lights keep showing up. I expect that another winner, James Earl Carter, will be back on the scene soon telling us how to soleve the problem of North Korea. What a relief that will be!

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Real estate news

72118_101_12Yes, we’re light on real estate news this morning because there isno real estate news. Which is a story in itself, I suppose. One contract reported for this house on Valley Road. Built in 2008 on land purchased for $850,000 in 2005, it was originally priced at $1.995 million (!) in July 2008 and, after a change in brokers, dropped, eventually, to $1.495. Anything’s possible, but I doubt that the purchaser has agreed to even that price, so the builder will probably not be spending the winter in Las Vegas on the proceeds from this sale. Even at full price,  after deducting commissions and taxes, the fellow had about $525,000 to build the house, carry it for 3-4 years and pay overhead etc. I smell a loss.

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I blame Bush

Taxper’s debt soars.

Taxpayers are on the hook for an extra $55,000 a household to cover rising federal commitments made just in the past year for retirement benefits, the national debt and other government promises, a USA TODAY analysis shows.The 12% rise in red ink in 2008 stems from an explosion of federal borrowing during the recession, plus an aging population driving up the costs of Medicare and Social Security.

 That’s the biggest leap in the long-term burden on taxpayers since a Medicare prescription drug benefit was added in 2003.

 The latest increase raises federal obligations to a record $546,668 per household in 2008, according to the USA TODAY analysis. That’s quadruple what the average U.S. household owes for all mortgages, car loans, credit cards and other debt combined.

 “We have a huge implicit mortgage on every household in America — except, unlike a real mortgage, it’s not backed up by a house,” says David Walker, former U.S. comptroller general, the government’s top auditor.

In fact, this is certainly something that can be blamed on Bush, at least in part, which is why I don’t vote for Republicans, either. Politicians of both parties have about a one – year window and enact this stuff knowing full well that it will help them win their next election and that they’ll be long gone from the scene when the bills come due.

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