Daily Archives: July 22, 2009
The WSJ asks, “are banks holding a shadow inventory of homes?” It’s an important question because of the effect a flood of new inventory priced below current inventory would have on prices. The Journal reaches no conclusion, nor do I have an answer for Greenwich but that real estate lawyer’s remark, mentioned here last week, that he was working on 133 Greenwich short sales suggests that there are a lot more homeowners in trouble here than might be obvious, so far. I also mentioned the large number of lis pendens, which signify the start of a foreclosure, filed in the Town Clerk’s office last week. I believe we are on the edge of an oncoming storm and not in its eye.
Morgan Stanley’s glomming on to 72% of revenues to pay itself bonuses. I know nothing about the company, for instance, do they even have revenues? I’m pretty sure they don’t have profits but then, neither does Hollywood and folks out there seem to do just fine. More important, are there any stockholders of the firm who aren’t employees? If they’re just diverting funds from one pocket to another, big deal, but if some granny’s waiting for her dividend check and discovers that it’s all gone to buy a Maserati for some hot-hand of a 27-year-old trader, boy, I’ll bet she’ll be pissed.
Ah, but this is Wall Street – they’ll do the right thing, right, Jake?
Ebay profits down 27%. You wait and see – the market for Lehman trinkets and used bedsheets is going to be huge and push this puppy back in the black in no time. And if the Fulds team up with Ric Bourke, Walt and Monica and Dom Devito, the sky’s the limit. Then, if we can get Georgie Lindeman to contribute his horse shockers, well, it’ll be quite a day for Greenwich, quite a day for EBay.
I post about these guys from time to time but they’re having another sale so I thought I’d do it again. Green Demolitions takes unwanted kitchens and such from houses undergoing renovations and puts them up for sale at their warehouses (there’s one here in Stamford). For the homeowner, it’s a good deal – charitable construction, bonded, insured workmen do the removal, you save on waste haulage, etc., but for remodelers, it can be a fantastic deal.
They don’t want my Home Depot cabinets or the Formica countertops Uncle Ugly and I put together and installed, darn it, but they do go after granite, Corian, etc., plus Peacock cabinets and all that stuff. And they sell it dirt cheap. Pal Nancy was thinking of replacing those fine Home Depot cabinets (how could she, when they’re only 20 years old? Has she no loving memories of our time together? Oh, boo hoo!) and was offered a top-of-the line kitchen, custom cabinets, granite countertops, the whole shebang for $10,000. That would be about $90,000 off what it would cost new and the guy at the store offered to volunteer his services helping install it (I think he was a friend of a friend so your results may vary whne it comes to the free labor bit – prices on the goods themselves wouldn’t change).
Anyway, with great carpenters looking for work and willing to work cheaply, with houses, including yours, not going anywhere soon, you might want to redo your kitchen and some baths and make your stay more comfortable. So check these folks out. They’re honest, have good stuff, and their inventory is constantly changing. Worth a look.
A friend of mine shopping for house in New Canaan says that his agent there claims all is rosy, there are 80 houses under contract and prices are higher than last year. Well … gee.
I don’t have immediate access to New Canaan contract statistics but this William Raveis link has some pretty up-to-date numbers and they make me think that my friend’s agent is either uninformed, a complete liar or more likely, both. According to Raveis, 15 single family homes in New Canaan sold in July, compared to 16 for the entire month of June, leaving 320 in inventory. If 80 of those remaining homes are under contract, I’ll eat their front doors. The sales to (last) listing price average has been dropping for the past two years and inventory is trending up. The disappointing thing about this is that the lady in question purports to be representing my friend. I do wonder what she considers she’s doing to earn her fee?
This neighborhood is still strong, especially in the under $2 range, and I doubt it will ever lose its appeal to young families. This very nice house, a tad small and on an even smaller lot, is on a good street and just a few blocks from the school, shopping and the train. Plus the neighborhood is cluttered with kids – bad for curmudgeons, great for families. The house was put up for sale at $1.795, went to contract in 28 and sold today for $1.678. That’s impressive, but doesn’t surprise me. Assessment is just $1.127 but in this case, I’d have advised a buyer to ignore that – our assessors don’t get Old Greenwich.
While absolutely nothing is happening today, I thought it would be educational to look at single family houses currently under contract. There are 40, broken into (asking) price ranges as follows, with available inventory to the right:
Under $1: 9 Inventory: 113
<$2: 6 Inventory: 193
<$3: 12 Inventory: 129
<$4: 2 Inventory: 98
<$5: 6 Inventory: 41
<$6: 1 Inventory: 42
<$7: 1 Inventory: 35
<$9: 1 Inventory: 22
<$10: 0 Inventory: 8
<$11: 1 Inventory: 7
<$13: 0 Inventory: 7
<$14: 0 Inventory: 3
<$15: 0 Inventory: 5
<$16: 0 Inventory: 0
<$17: 0 Inventory: 4
< 18: 0 Inventory: 2
Over $18: 1 Inventory: 7
Coldest July 21st ever in Gore’s hometown, breaks 1877 record. I blame polar bears.
This place near the end of Steamboat Road is a 1905 cottage with direct waterfront and a dock on 0.3 of an acre. It was listed a year ago for $6.4 million and found no takers so this year the owner fired his first broker and hired another one to list it for …$6.4 million. Sure – it was the first broker’s fault this didn’t sell, not the price.Why, with the proper advertising – maybe to one of those mythical “International buyers” who show up with dollars in their pockets and think they’re spending drachmas – this place will go in a flash.
Massive quake moves New Zealand closer to Australia. I seem to recall that the U.S. is moving closer to Great Britain by something like a full 3″ a year. I learned that in 1976 and I have yet to see airline fares reflect it. I blame Cheney. And corporate greed, of course.
UPDATE: Oops! We are actually growing apart from Europe, due to the Mid-Atlantic rift. My bad. And my apologies to Mr. Cheny and greedy corporate airline chiefs everywhere.
Back in 2003 an odd parcel of land in the westernmost reaches of town was put up for sale at $1.2 million. I saw it and wondered who the hell would pay that much for such a clearly unmarketable location and site. Well of course, some fool immediately appeared, paid full price, and set about building a huge house there, then put it up for sale in 2007 for almost $6 million. No one wanted it.
Until, miraculously, a buyer appeared – my own client! I advised against it, I showed him alternatives that were far better buys, far better values, but he insisted on this one. So heck, we presented a very generous offer. It was rejected. I again advised my client to move on but he raised his offer by a sum that should have bought a Round Hill mansion – Walt’s place, perhaps. And the response? “I’m sticking to my price, f- you.”
Now we’ve moved on and aren’t coming back. The seller, who is facing foreclosure, will almost certainly not find another buyer who shares his taste for this location and most especially, this kind of style (no, we’re not speaking of 1038 Lake Avenue here, but it’s as though someone came and loved what that owner had done to his house and had his offer rejected – lunacy!). So when I see this house hit the Commercial Record’s foreclosure judgment list, I’ll feel a twinge for the man’s wife and children, but I won’t feel the least bit of sympathy for the deluded fool himself. Some people just aren’t intended to have money.
Madoff trustee Picard in settlement talks with Fairfield Greenwich Group. As noted earlier today, Noel’s Fairfield Sentry Fund was dissolved yesterdayin the British Virgin Island, Attorney Boies is just one of dozens of lawyers clawing their way up the road to Walter’s house and, all in all, things look bleak for Walter and the Fabulous Five. Will they discover that “tomorrow is another day”? Will they have to leave Tara? Tune in, as the world turns.
Man arrested in Harlem for brutal murder, claims victim paid him to help commit suicide. Reached for comment by staff reporter Edgar Martins, Greenwich Police Chief David Ridberg was sympathetic. “Oh Jeeze, that poor guy,” he said. “But that’s what happens when you have an untrained police force like New York City’s. They see seven stab wounds in the back – just like Kissle on Dairy Road, you’ll remember – and they jump to he obvious conclusion: murder. It takes a sophisticated mind” – he tapped his temple for emphasis – “to go beyond that, all the way to suicide.” The Chief took a long pull on his sippy-cup and then continued, “I guarantee you, if the cop who made that bust had spent just one week with me nabbing seatbelt violators and red light runners, he’d never have made that mistake. Sophisticated training: it’s what sets the Greenwich Police Department apart and makes it the best in the world.”
CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY: Pelosi’s Door Revolves for Top Lobbyist. “The revolving door is wide open in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office just two years after she promised to crack down on the practice of congressional aides moving into lobbying shops and then back into government. Pelosi announced Monday that she is hiring one of Washington’s top lobbyists, Richard Meltzer, to be her policy director. It is a position in which Meltzer, a longtime Pelosi friend, is certain to have tremendous input into the shape of legislation affecting the more than 200 clients he represented according to federal lobbying disclosure records.”
When she talked about “draining the swamp,” I didn’t realize she meant, “and refilling it with my friends.”
This 1930 carriage house has been kicking around the market for years, sometimes selling, sometimes not. It sold for $825,000 in 1996 and was relisted, unchanged, for $3.150 in 2004. That didn’t work so well but in 2007, after dropping to $2.875 it actually generated a bidding was and it sold that January for $2.975. The winner had second thoughts and relisted it in October ’07 for $3.495 and it’s been on the market ever since. Today it dropped to $2.745. Assessed value is $1.627.
In July, 2007, 59 new single family homes were listed. That number was 78 in July, 2008 and, so far this month, as of July 21, we’ve seen 58 come on. Just if you were wondering.