Daily Archives: October 12, 2010

The end of all housing financing?

This is getting worse, not better.

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Back from the P&Z

I left early because it was so dispiriting. I’ll write about it tomorrow, but know this: if you have stairs leading down to your basement for access, say, for loading garden tools or bringing in a new furnace or water heater, or a garage located under your house, your entire basement now will count against the allowable FAR. That makes both my mother’s house and Pal Nancy’s non – conforming, even though they are, or were, considered grossly undersized just a week ago. So no additions, and very little value.

This will affect hundreds of existing houses in Greenwich, and no one knows it – they will only discover their plight when they go for a building permit and are denied, or try to sell their house and discover it’s practically worthless. Or, got an older house that’s 3.5′ off the ground with steps leading up? You’re f..kd too.

I think the answer lies in “bullet voting”, which I’ll explain tomorrow, and throw everyone currently sitting on the P&Z out of the RTM. Oh, and Franklin Bloomer too. For tonight, all you need to know is that many of you have just been thoroughly screwed, for no reason whatsoever. Our government at work.

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Our newest American citizen

El Salvator teen tosses newborn son two floors down into alley. She visited him later in the hospital and named him “Angel”. Isn’t that sweet?

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Amazing what facing defeat will do for rethinking your principles

From Best of The Web:

Two Presidents in One!

  • “You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas . . . on the taxpayers’ dime. There’s got to be some accountability and some responsibility.”–Barack Obama, Feb. 10, 2009
  • “Make a donation and be automatically registered for a chance to meet the President at a rally in Las Vegas on October 22nd.”–BarackObama.com, Oct. 11, 2010

 

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Doesn’t this sum up every single government program?

Readers with long memories may remember LBJ’s “War on Poverty”. How’s that worked out, 45 years and trillions of dollars later?

From InstaPundit:

ON THE UPSIDE, THEY PRODUCED VASTLY MORE INTRUSION INTO FAMILIES: Child Abuse Investigations Didn’t Reduce Risk, a Study Finds. “Child Protective Services investigated more than three million cases of suspected child abuse in 2007, but a new study suggests that the investigations did little or nothing to improve the lives of those children.” Also, this employed lots of people in “helping” professions, who tend to vote Democratic. So you’ve got to score this as a win, even if children weren’t any better off. And the study authors suggest that since what we’re doing doesn’t work, we should redouble our efforts! See above. . . .

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P&Z hearing tonight on screwing up your property rights

It starts at 7, but I don’t know when they’ll be proposing their latest attempt to screw the homeowners of Greenwich. Should be fun. Bring popcorn and, if you like, the weapon of your choice. Just kidding, Frankie. Sort of.

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Getting real on Milbank

137 Milbank (no picture) a land sale, pretty much, with a 1903 house on it, was first listed in 2008 asking $2.2 million. It sold today for $1.1 175. Assessment, $820,000.

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This is why I don’t like Bible Street or Baliwick

 

136 Bible Street

 

This Bible Street home sold new in 2007 for $4.050. It was relisted five months later for $4.55, slowly dropped to $3.295, and has finally found a buyer, final price to be revealed after closing. Assessment is $2.713.

 

27 Baliwick

 

This Baliwick house (off of Riversville) asked $2.999 back in 2005. It didn’t sell, was removed from the market and reintroduced in 2009 at $2.425. That dropped to $1.995 and sold yesterday for $1.740. That’s a premium to its assessment of just $1.18 million, but that whole neighborhood hasn’t been holding its value for years now – it seems, without checking all the stats, that owners are selling at a loss. Ouch.

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This should do it

80 Porchuck Road hasn’t sold since coming on in April priced at $1.995 million, so today the seller raised his price to $2 million. Assessment is $1.3.

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Two nice houses, but completely different

The open house tour today yielded two nice surprises.

331 Round Hill Road

The original parts of this house go back to 1758 and I love it. Wide floorboards, quirky rooms, four acres nice pool. A little noisy due to Round Hill Road, but whatcha gonna do? I’d buy it in a heartbeat but I. alas, am not the market – in fact, the more I like a house, the longer it seems to stay on the market. But if you like old houses (and this one has been renovated over the years, have no fear), you should see this one. $4.1 million asking.

16 Lauder Lane

This house on Lauder (off Zaccheus Mead) is just as nice in its own way. I don’t want to insult the owner, but its decorating reflects the year it was built: 1991, and I think you’d want to redo it. But it’s dropped from $6.650 to $5.975, close to its assessment of $5.647, so you can afford to redecorate it. Besides, who doesn’t want to do that with any house? Good location, nice street, and a great looking house. I liked it.

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More on Ferdinand Styer and Mountain Works

I have praised Ferdinand’s work before, and several readers of this site have written to thank me for introducing them to him. Here’s another. Ferd’s contact info is (203) 216 – 3329. Or Ferdinand@mountainworks.biz. You can’t possibly go wrong. That’s Mountain Works.

Dear Chris,

I just wanted to write a note to thank you for posting a recommendation for Ferdinand Steyer of Mountain Works. We wanted to gut our half-finished basement and create a usable space. After gathering a number of estimates, we chose Mr. Steyer, who was neither the least nor the most expensive. Mr. Steyer was in control of the entire project, from obtaining permits, finding the right subcontractor for the wine cellar (he presented us with a few choices) on through the finished product. We now have a beautiful, brand-new bright finished basement that turned out better than we had ever imagined. Since then, Mr. Steyer has worked on a host of different projects in my house, from the complex to the simple. Mr. Steyer has also become the go-to guy for the rest of my family who live in town and has done major (and minor!) projects for them as well.

Feel free to forward my name and number to anyone who might be looking for a builder’s recommendation. I’d be very happy to vouch for Mountain Works.

I have the writer’s contact information, if you’d like to speak with her, but I think the letter speaks for itself. If you’re curious, Ferdinand is a close friend whom I’ve known since 1994, but that’s it: we have a friendship, not a business relationship. He’s just someone I admire very much.

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A clear explanation of the mortgage foreclosure mess

It’s lengthy, but well worth reading for a clear understanding of what’s involved in buying a house and losing it to foreclosure. The author says that for the type of errors now being exposed, there had to be massive, systematic fraud on the part of the lenders. I agree with him. The question is, now what do we do?

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New York Times reporters: oh so smart!

I rolled my eyes when I read this last week but didn’t feel it worthy of comment because everyone (except fans of the NYT) knows that their reporters are deliberately ignorant, but the Professor has some fitting observations.

OBSCURANTISM:

 

Kate Zernike of the New York Times describes how tea-party activists explore “dusty bookshelves for long-dormant ideas” and study “once-obscure texts” by “long-dead authors.” She is of course referring to Friedrich Hayek, whose book The Road to Serfdom was excerpted inReader’s Digest and never has been out of print, whose Nobel Prize for economics in 1972 celebrated the importance and mainstream acceptance of his thinking, and whose death in 1992 isn’t exactly ancient history.

 

If they didn’t learn it in college, it’s “obscure.” Which, alas, merely highlights the inadequacy of their educations. (I, on the other hand, took a semester-long seminar on Hayek in college.) At any rate, the “obscure” Road to Serfdom is currently #56 on Amazon.

Related: Stuart Schneiderman: Who’s Smarter Now?

UPDATE: Reader Michael Costello writes: “How long has Karl Marx been dead? And Friedrich Hayek outlived Saul Alinsky by 20 years.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: OUCH:

 

If I had said a day ago that your typical New York Times reporter doesn’t have the vaguest sense of what the rule of law means, I would have heard from all sorts of earnest liberal readers — and probably some conservative ones too – about how I was setting up a straw man. But now we know it’s true. It’s not just that she doesn’t know what it is, it’s that even after (presumably) looking it up, she still couldn’t describe it and none of her editors raised an eyebrow when she buttered it.

The claims of superior intellect on the part of the legacy media seem unfounded.

 

I was reading Von Hayek in high school, back in the $5,000 per student days, purely from intellectual curiosity. That’s something the Times reporters seem to lack.

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Spending like there’s no tomorrow

The RTM Finance Committee has calculated that, in inflation adjusted dollars, Greenwich is spending twice as much as it did in 1970, despite the population remaining the same.

Some of the increases can be figured out The number of firemen doubled, for instance, but in 1970 we had a large number of volunteers. Those guys have gradually dropped out and paid firemen replaced them.

But, again in inflation adjusted dollars, we were spending $5,000 per student in 1970 and $18,000 today. I was one of those $5,000 bargain students and my kids enjoyed the $18,000. So far as I can tell, I received a better education. So what’s that about?

Etc. Obviously, pension and health care expenses are way up over the past 40 years, but I’d bet there’s some room in our budget to cut some items. The new high school auditorium comes to mind.

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It’s Open House Tuesday!

Not much of interest, but I’m off to see. We do have a couple of contracts, however.

37 Byfield Lane

37 Byfield sold for $1.850 back in 2000, was put back up for sale at $2.7, dropped to $2.250 and is now under contract, probably close to its assessed value of $1.925.

52 Fairfield

52 Fairfield is “pending”. Bought for $2.4 in 2006, renovated and expanded, it originally asked $2.895 in 2008 and eventually dropped to $1.995. Assessment is $1.902.

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Stamford man busted for illegal use of a hand-held

Nasty boy.

(h/t. Pulled Up)

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