Daily Archives: September 19, 2010

People are still building in Greenwich, and building big

P&Z Commison’s latest actions:

• A final site plan to construct a new home, pool, pool patio and new driveway at 23 Palmer Lane was approved.

• The commissioners approved a plan to construct a 13,038 square foot home at 228 Round Hill Road.

• A new 18,058 square foot home at 471 Lake Ave., received the commission’s blessing.

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Gee, you think this guy has troubles?

Randy Quaid arrested, again, this time for squatting in a house he sold ten years ago. Sad – the guy had a real acting career. I always liked his younger brother Dennis better, though. If you missed “Frequency” (2000) I recommend it as an excellent NetFlix choice. I haven’t seen it in years so I can’t say how it’s stood the test of time but my then 17-year-old son John and I really enjoyed it.

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He can keep the change, if he’ll leave my folding money alone

Obama: “Guard the change!”

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Ten good reasons to buy a home

According to the Wall Street Journal. The author repeats what was said here last week: now that Time Magazine has come out with a cover story saying you shouldn’t buy a home, the market’s just about hit bottom. Time, after all, ran a cover story urging homeownership in 205, just when the market was topping.

Apparently there are a lot of buyers who agree that it’s time to buy. Fudrucker and I were just discussing this morning that it’s time (past due, actually) to invest in a customer tracking system. And, charming and talented as we are, surely not every would-be buyer is choosing us.

From the Journal:

But it’s not enough just to be contrarian. So here are 10 reasons why it’s good to buy a home.

1. You can get a good deal. Especially if you play hardball. This is a buyer’s market. Most of the other buyers have now vanished, as the tax credits on purchases have just expired. We’re four to five years into the biggest housing bust in modern history. And prices have come down a long way– about 30% from their peak, according to Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Index, which tracks home prices in 20 big cities. Yes, it’s mixed. New York is only down 20%. Arizona has halved. Will prices fall further? Sure, they could. You’ll never catch the bottom. It doesn’t really matter so much in the long haul.

Where is fair value? Fund manager Jeremy Grantham at GMO, who predicted the bust with remarkable accuracy, said two years ago that home prices needed to fall another 17% to reach fair value in relation to household incomes. Case-Shiller since then: Down 18%.

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Mortgage mediation – not such a good deal

NYT’s Gretchen Morgenson reports on Nevada’s attempt at a mortgage mediation program and it sounds as unsuccessful as Connecticut’s (Morgenson erroneously says that Nevada’s is unique in the country). The basic problem seems to be that the banks just aren’t interested.

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New bail-out for homeowners?

That’s what BusinessInsider is saying, based on an op-ed column in the NYT. The idea is for the Feds to buy up all high-interest bonds covering homes whose owners are underwater and replacing them with 4% loans. The principal would not be reduced, so the homeowner would still be underwater but with a lower rate, he could keep paying rather than walk away.

Hmm – a homeowner who accepted this deal with be stuck in his house for life or until the market rose high enough to pop his head back out of the water, whichever comes first, because he could never afford to sell. If he owes $250,000 in principle and his house is currently worth $165,000, he’d have to come up with $85,000 cash at the closing table. How’s that gonna happen? Being stuck in one’s hose means, for instance, that you sell out and move from Detroit, with no jobs, to a more promising area. So more federal spending, decreased population mobility, and the feds running roughshod over lenders. Sounds like it should be popular in D.C.

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