Daily Archives: September 28, 2009

Patriot Bank director retires 9/23 effective immediately for health reasons. Significant? I have no idea.

(updated) Brian Fitzgerald resigns for “health reasons”, “to spend more time with his family”, or “to pursue other opportunities”. Take your pick, but I’m betting on health: he got a good look at their books and fell deathly ill.

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Park Avenue in Old Greenwich

This is a nice street, popular despite the many small children lost to the occasional but regular flooding afflicting it. So it’s understandable that the owners of a five-year-old house at 68 Park might be tempted to ask $2.795 million for their house, and perhaps they’ll get it. A pre-fab sold for $3 million in a bidding war in 2005 and sold again for just $100,000 less in 2008. If the market still holds, $2.8 isn’t crazy at all.

But $2.8 is the highwater mark (a cruel phrase to use, in view of those drowned children) for this street, and I suspect we won’t see that price again for awhile. I’ll watch this with interest.

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Why Democrats can sleep easy

Republicans continue to tear themselves apart over the abortion issue (while Democrats just do that to fetuses). Up in Watertown, New York, my Pal Nancy’s old flame, Congressman John McHugh was promoted by Obama to be Secretary of the Army, thus removing a popular Republican and opening up a congressional seat (the President’s move was genius – Pal Nancy’s choice in boyfriends was not as smart, alas). The place is still conservative and a republican could be expected to win that election except that they now have an official candidate and a Conservative party candidate each vying for the same votes. Fred Thompson has endorsed the Conservative candidate, because the Republican is deemed soft on abortion.

Fine. So while the Republicans squabble over this issue, the Democrat will waltz into office. I would gladly wish a pox on both houses but to my mind Democrats are a shade worse than Republicans, so I think it’s a pity that the alternative to Nancy Pelosi’s party is making things easier for her to rule.

Third parties have never gone anywhere in this country but perhaps their time is coming.

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This could have an interesting affect on London’s housing market

Britain vows to bar bankers’ bonuses. It’s unlikely that Britain will really do this and drive its financial industry to Switzerland or Zimbabwe; unlikely, but not entirely impossible. Our own Barney Frank dreams of doing this to all U.S. corporations, not just banks, and surely England has at least a few Barney Franks hiding in its bawdy houses. It’s that kind of place, after all.

So will our former cousins across the Atlantic really commit economic suicide? Why not? It seems that we’re willing to do so in the name of socialist “fairness” – why not them, too?

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We all live in a yellow submarine

yellowOr some of us do. On a day when there have been but two contracts reported and no sales (it is, of course, Yom Kippur) comes a new listing at 121 Valley Drive asking $2.750,000. It last sold in 2004 for $2.4 million, after staying on the market for a full year at $2.780 million. Now, judging from its listing description, the only change is that it’s five years older. I guess the seller has taken what he paid for it and added a predetermined appreciation premium to that sum but, at least in the town I live in, we’re going in quite the opposite direction.

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Renting spec houses

This year thirty-two houses built since 2006 were rented instead of sold. Glancing down their ranks I’d estimate that almost all of them were all also listed for sale and most of them were built as spec houses but couldn’t sell.

That leaves us with 113 single family houses built since 2006 still actively for sale and again, almost all of them have never been occupied. Forty-four of those spec houses are asking $6 million and up which, unless sales activity increases dramatically, represents about a 15 year inventory.

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Cause and effect?

Having finished off polar bears, global warming turns on mooses.

And, from the Norwich Millionaire, there’s this:

moosesLL Bean to exhibit dead mooses locked in combat. You can see what happens when moose don’t keep their cool.

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CIA, NIE – Enemies of our state or just Bush?

Back in 2006 the CIA leaked a report to the New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh claiming that there was no evidence that Iran was working on developing nuclear arms.

In December, 2007, our National Intelligence Experts leaked yet another report, stating that Iran had mothballed its weapons program years before.

ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, Jonathan Karl, Luis Martinez, Kirit Radia and Jennifer Duck Report: In a stunning reversal of Bush administration conventional wisdom, a new assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies concludes Iran shelved its nuclear weapons program over four years ago.

“We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program,” reads a declassified version of the National Intelligence Estimate key findings.

“We judge with moderate confidence that the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) for a weapon is late 2009.”

The entire NIE report will remain classified, however the office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified version of the key findings that can be read HERE.

The new intelligence report could create an embarrassing situation for the United States as it pushes for a third United Nations resolution against Iran for its nuclear activities.

[snip]

Calling the new intelligence “complicated” National Security Advisor Steven Hadley explained the intelligence community has known for a few months there was “new information” with Iran’s nuclear weapons program. 

President Bush was told in August or September that “new information” with Iran’s nuclear program could be coming out but the president was only informed last Wednesday that the nuclear weapons program in Iran was halted in 2003.  Vice President Cheney knew a week before the President was informed because he sat in on preliminary meetings, according to Hadley.

Assuming that even the CIA can’t be as incompetent as their leaked conclusion suggests, the only question I have is whether this was all part of a “get Bush” program, designed to discredit him and sap his demand for stricter sanctions against Iran or do we have enemy agents actively working in our government to advance Iranian interests?

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Half-way home?

521 Round Hill Road

521 Round Hill Road

The listing broker for Leona’s place, not content with already holding the all-time record for a price cut in Greenwich real estate (or the world, probably) has cut it again, and now offers the land for a mere $60 million. That’s a total of $65 million off, so if I ever list your property and miss its price a little bit, I’d like you to remember this.

What will it eventually sell for? Well, assuming no one wants the house, and figuring eight building lots at, say, $3 million each, that’s $24 million. Add a premium for being the home of Trouble and the Princess of Mean and maybe you’re at $27.5 million. Maybe.

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What could possibly go wrong?

Obama plans $35 billion for more no-money-down housing for poor folks. Don’t worry – this time, they’re going to be really, really careful.

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Dodd: Call me Rosemary

I'll take care of it, Senator!

I'll take care of it, Senator!

Dodd Countrywide VIP mortgage tapes are disappeared. Darn, isn’t that a shame?

No further word on the Senator’s Irish cottage fraud, either. I guess we’ve “moved on”.

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Madoff boys’ Greenwich property coming up for sale?

Maybe, although each Greenwich home, Andy’s at 57 Tomac, Mark’s at 21 Cherry Valley Road (or vice versa – does it matter?) is attached to the tune of $2.5 million already so probably can’t move readily. In any event, Irving Picard, Trustee of Papa Madoff’s bankruptcy, is going to sue the boys and their uncle and their cousin for $200 million. Picard sounded positively gleeful that his suit might drive the Madoffs into bankruptcy and, interestingly, also opined that there are “millions” stashed away just waiting to be discovered. I’ll volunteer to go to Mustiqe and look there, assuming Irv will front my expenses.

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Weekend contracts

88 Richmond Hill

88 Richmond Hill

As a reader has noted, contracts are not sales, and houses that are reported as under contract also fall out of contract before closing – there could be a number of reasons for this, including failed building inspections but more likely these days is the lack of financing. If a buyer agrees to pay $1 million for a house, for example, and is approved for an 80% mortgage, the bank must still satisfy itself that it’s lending on a million dollar (or more) house. If the appraisal comes in at, say, $950,000, then to keep the 80/20 percentage, the price must come down or the buyer must come up with more cash. This can cause problems.

With that caveat, here are two houses reported as under contract this morning. 88 Richmond Hill (above) is a new house that was listed for $6.950 back in April 2008 and eventually lowered to $5.250 million. I liked the house: its layout, quality and the land it sits on, so I’m not surprised it’s found a buyer. What will it sell for? Probably more than its assessment of $4 million.

39 Hearthstone

39 Hearthstone

This Hearthstone house, on the other hand, probably will sell for less than its appraised value of $1.428 milion. Priced originally at $1.750, it dropped to $1.5. My guess? $1.3 – $1.350.

 

 

And then we have 8 Wykham Hill, back again with yet another price change – its 6th? It started a year ago at $4.995, dropped as low as $3.495 and then jumped two months ago to $3.975. That tactic didn’t work, surprisingly, so today it’s marked down to $3.550. Whatever.

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