These guys should be in Washington and probably will be.
Posted by Greg Michaels, Jul 21, 2009, 2:54pm
Only in the state that brought you La La Land would the fiscal math that was likely used to put California into a budget crisis be credited with solving it. When a $26 billion problem is solved with $15 billion in cuts and $11 billion in fuzzy math and aggressive rounding error, there are likely to be some problems down the road. If this is the standard for successful fiscal management in the Golden State, the next series of IOUs cannot be far behind.
I hear from clients that some other agents are telling them that the market’s come roaring back. Not from what I see. For instance, we saw six sales reported today, one for $7 million and six for under (well under) $1 million. Fifteen new listings came on, and one house, a decrepit multi-family in Glenville listed at $550,000, went to contract.
Top quality houses will sell, at the right price, and really cheap knockdowns like the $400,000 shack on Boyd Lane will go to people who just want a toehold in Greenwich. The vast majority of houses are over-priced, medicore and dated. In the past, these dumps sold because of rising prices: buy now or pay more later, and buyers bought. But no such threat is available now to spice up a crummy listing so they sit, and I think they’ll continue to sit. I know few buyers who are in any particular hurry.
This lovely old house on North Street, right across from St. Michael, cycles through the market periodically. My brother Gideon sold it for $4.7 in 1997, it was listed again (by Ogilvy) in 2003 for $12.5 and sold for $8.650 in 2004, then returned to the market, again by Mr. Ogilvy, in 2008 for $11.9 million, a concession, obviously, to the decline of market prices since those optimistic times in 2003. It has yet to sell so it’s back today marked down to $9.995. I don’t know – this is a wonderful house, but the estate grounds surrounding it have long since been sold off and now it’s got North Street traffic, a smallish (for a house this size) yard and a convenient location. Assessed value is $6.9 million.
Long ago and far away, Byram Shore Road waterfront held the record for the most expensive sale in Greenwich – $23 million, I think. That sale pushed prices skyward and as today’s sale of 238 for $7 million demonstrates, the street still commands hefty prices. But I checked just now and there are 11 properties for sale from $34 million to $16.3, $9.5, $7.9, $7.4, $6.88, $6.8, $3.95, $3.65, $2.45 and $1.995 (a scrap of land on the heavily polluted Byram River, if you like that sort of thing). Assessed value on all of these is about 1/2 asking price.
One property sold on the street in 2007, another in 2009. That makes for a lot of inventory for one little street, even if it does have nice views. The picture is not of that view, by the way: it’s Bodega Bay, posted for Hitchcock fans.
238 Byram Shore Rd, a David Ogilvy listing on the market since January, 2007 at $9.8 million, finally sold to a David Ogilvy client yesterday for $7 million. Funny thing about this listing is that it was next door to and quite similar to 240 Byram Shore Road, which had started at $9.499 in 2005 and sold in January, 2007 for $7.250. So a week later, when I visited the Ogilvy listing, I thought that something in the $7s would be appropriate instead of a price higher that its neighbor had failed to achieve. But that just shows how little I know. Mr. Ogilvy kept this firmly at $9.8 all these years and then found his own buyer for $7. My guess is that the seller didn’t really want to move and enjoyed meeting new visitors on weekends and during suppertime, so all’s well that ends well.
51 Glen Avon, new waterfront construction that appeared briefly on the market with an $18.6 million price tag, has been deleted. I don’t know when; I wasn’t watching, but I assume the sellers figured out that the timing is not right for this price. Will it ever be right? Not unless we get hyper-inflation, is my guess.
Sold for $700,000 today, down from its first price of $875, but at 988 sq. feet of 1953 construction, that’s still $708 per square foot. Try that, Tucson Foothills! Seems steep to me, but ….
- Your genial sale hosts, Dick and Cathy
Lehman and Dick Fuld are hosting a giant tag sale of memorabelia on EBay. “We have everything you need to recreate those boisterous days,” Fuld said in a press conference this morning. “Elephant-foot umbrella stands, private label champagne from Harry O’s, key rings and tee shirts. But wait, there’s more! All of Cathy’s bed linens are offered, plus towels, washcloths and guest toothbrushes. There’s no shame at the Fuld household. We did nothing wrong and are proud to say so. Come on down!”
Down on her luck stock broker needs a new career. Bess Levin, the funniest blogger out there (Dealbreaker.com) reports on the poor girl’s plight:
Specifically Robin Katz would like to “become a stockbroker at Oppenheimer or Carrington Fox,” but is willing to be flexible. Previous job experience includes working as a financial planner at JPMorgan Chase. As for references, those are going to be slightly difficult to procure, as Katz is kind of in a bad spot with her former employer, on account of creating an extra ATM card in one of her client’s names, and helping herself to like $100,000 or so, starting in 2008 (so over the course of a year, really not that much and the guy only noticed a month ago, prompting Big K to hightail it back to her family’s house for a medical emergency in California). Hobbies, as you can see, seemingly include baking, as well as “shopping and going out.” The Post, I think, I’m not sure, but I think is trying to suggest to us that Katz is something of a harlot (“…on her my space page, her interests include: “Politics: F– Bush. Sex: F– Me.” Several photos show her skydiving, playing in a zero-gravity simulator and posing alluringly in a tight, low-cut top with her hands behind her head.”) but that’s all hearsay and speculation. Anyway, if anyone’s interested, a signing bonus or advance could really be useful at this time, as Rob is currently held on $50,000 bail at Rikers Island.
- Grand entrance to the Himes Mansion
In a scoop exclusive to For What It’s Worth and our ace reporter Edgar Martins we can now report that Jim Himes will retire from Congress and ascend to the vacant office of Greenwich Tax Collector. Reached at a Trustee meeting at the prestigious Lawrenceville Academy near Princeton, Himes was eager to explain his decision.
“The pay’s about the same,” Himes told Martins,” except Greenwich has better health benefits, and here’s the deal: I’m getting killed on property taxes. I mean yeah, fifty acres in Cos Cob’s gotta be worth something, especially with the decorating job I did on the house, but come on, it’s still Cos Cob! When I’m in office I’ll whack my assessment and the saving alone will make up for my foregone trips to the Galapagos Islands. Hell, I’ll be able to buy my own private jet to take me there.”
Reached for comment, Riverside resident Scott Frantz again denied any interest in running for Himes’ seat: “Not gonna do it, no way. But he really said that, huh, huh? I gotta go.”
51 Glen Road
Originally listed for $1.450 in 2007, sold today for $950,000. Assessed value: $931,000.
26 Riversville, a 1900 multi-family, started at $950,000, dropped to $550,000 and is now under contract.
I just received the following email from “AO”, the son of BackCountry Gal. I am so sorry.
“Our mother, your reader BackCountryGal, succumbed to her long bout with cancer but not before telling us how much she loved defending her Greenwich corner of the world on your blog. How many times she’d call us and say “Read Chris’s entry and see how I took on IBer or Cos Cobber.” She longed for a cocktail party in her BackCountry home to put faces to some of her favorite sparring partners – Helsa, Retired IBer, Old School Grump, Wally, Stanwich, Cos Cobber, Jane, and others I am sure I have forgotten to mention. Her life was her family and friends, all of whom adored her great sense of humor and her passion for community. She always gave anonymously, never looking for or wanting attention for her good deeds and in that vain, being anonymous on your blog allowed her to roar that much louder about the Greenwich she knew and raised us in – not the Greenwich that has become synonymous with greed and excess. Mr. Fountain, she adored your writing (she was one of the three people who own your books!) and more that you dared to take on the status quo. I’m certain she would love nothing more than this email to be published on your blog as a small tribute to one of your biggest fans.
Son of BackCountryGal”
Since I don’t know the identity of BackCountry I thought I’d post a picture of a woman I admired so greatly and let her stand in as tribute. We’ll all miss your mother, AO, and Cos Cobber, IB’r, Hellsa and the whole crowd of regulars as much as I. God bless your family.
This GPS unit for golfers looks cute and is said to work well, but at $99, I wouldn’t expect it to survive long. I just paid $2.99 for a GPS program for my iPhone that’s really nifty. Unlike this unit, it doesn’t have 12,000 golf courses loaded in but I imagine someone will be providing that soon and when they do that and add a virtual cigar lighter*, no golfer will need anything but his iPhone to negotiate a course.
*Bill Clinton will always have a Monica to light his cigar – this would be for the rest of us.
We spoke Saturday. Exceptional situation in Riverside. Call.
I know this sounds like a personal ad and should have a p.o. box response addres, but what are you going to do when you speak to a reader and her husband and don’t get their name?