Daily Archives: January 27, 2012

To the rescue

Brokovich, center, and Green Peace expert investigators

Famous fraudster and eminent medical authority Erin Brokovich is shuffling off to Buffalo to find the cause of Tourette Syndrome afflicting teen-aged girls.

The Associated Press reported that two doctors concluded that 10 of the girls were suffering from a condition called conversion disorder — one that causes symptoms but has no physical cause.

That’s no reason not to make a movie out of it.

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I wouldn’t dream of commenting

Doug Stevens named GAR Realtor of the Year.

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Sale price reported

213 Riverside Avenue, an 1810 house that was completely renovated and restored recently, has sold for $2.250 million ($2.450, ask). Sellers paid $1.5 for it in 2001 but there was a lot of money put into this since then. Very nice house that sold quickly (already had an accepted offer when I tried to get my own clients into it).

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Say, you don’t think this is the future of the Middle East, do ya?

Off to the safety of Libya!

Egypt runs out of foreign capital as Islamists take over.

After months of refusing to bargain with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Egypt’s government has begun negotiations for a $3.2 billion loan, or less than the amount of capital flight in December alone. The involvement of the IMF evidently did little to reassure the Egyptian investors who sat out Sunday’s Treasury auction.

It seems unlikely that Egypt’s central bank will be able to prevent a banana-republic devaluation of the Egyptian pound, and a sharp rise in prices for a population of whom half barely consumes enough to prevent starvation. The difference between Egypt and a banana republic, though, is the bananas: unlike the bankrupt Latin Americans, who exported food, Egypt imports half its caloric consumption…

Nearly half of Egyptians are functionally illiterate. Nine-tenths of adult women have suffered genital mutilation. Almost a third of Egyptians marry first or second cousins, the fail-safe indicator of a clan-based society. Half of Egyptians live on less than $2 a day, and must spend half of that on food.

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The science is no longer settled. Of course, it never was, for those who thought for themselves

I made MY money, sucker

Sixteen scientists say global warming is a crock. The disdain and contempt heaped on “deniers” by the entire establishment press won’t stop, of course; the CO2 scare will just be allowed to fade away while the centrists dream up another bogeyman with which to scare the populace and grab more power.

Although the number of publicly dissenting scientists is growing, many young scientists furtively say that while they also have serious doubts about the global-warming message, they are afraid to speak up for fear of not being promoted—or worse. They have good reason to worry. In 2003, Dr. Chris de Freitas, the editor of the journal Climate Research, dared to publish a peer-reviewed article with the politically incorrect (but factually correct) conclusion that the recent warming is not unusual in the context of climate changes over the past thousand years. The international warming establishment quickly mounted a determined campaign to have Dr. de Freitas removed from his editorial job and fired from his university position. Fortunately, Dr. de Freitas was able to keep his university job.

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I blame Sam Romeo

The Moron of NOPO, Sam Romeo (artist's likeness)

The NOPO Pol led a bunch of Mianus types in a suit against the town over excessive sewer line costs, and he had a point, maybe: too much police overtime, bad construction, whathaveyou. But now, after four years of litigation, a settlement has been reached whereby each plaintiff will receive $2,400 off their sewer bill, spread out over twenty years. So that’s $120 per year. I’d guess that these people spent far more than that on legal fees and for sure the town did. Waste of money.

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Government property: you

Interesting statistics on how the Food Stamp president is doing so far after just three years in power.

Food Stamp recipients: + 44%

Direct Payments to Individuals: +32%. According to Obama’s last budget direct payments will account for 2/3 of all federal spending by 2016

Federal benefits (Soc. Sec., federal unemployment benefits, etc.) received by 49% of all house holds, up from 39% in 1983 and a 44% increase from when he took office.

Hope for a change.

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Bank sale

Thirty Crescent Road, which we’ve discussed here before, has an accepted offer. Sold for $1.760 million in 2004, owed a mortgage, now foreclosed, of $1.4 million, asking price of the bank was $1.299. This was once a very nice 1946 house although the Thruway cutting through its back yard in 1958 (?) didn’t improve it. No word on its present condition, which usually deteriorates during a foreclosure, nor what the final sales price will be. I’d guess close to the asking.

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Go tell your stock broker that you “need” to get $90 per for your GE shares

But I want it!

I’m not saying that home sellers also confuse their needs with market reality, just that their carefully thought out pricing decisions oddly mirror that process.

10 Glen Court, for instance, has failed to sell for $1.295 since July 2010.  Pulled from the market last November it’s back again , but with the same price. This time it will be different.

And over in the east 8 Arnold Street, which sold for $871,50 in 2006, did not sell for $969,000 or even $949,000 so the owner has fired his broker and has relisted it with a new one at a new price, $929,000. I don’t think that’s enough but, given his mortgage situation, he certainly “needs” to get what he’s asking. I hope he does, but I doubt he will.

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Why not just shut the F**k up and stand aside?

Stupid is as stupid does

Following in the footsteps of the hated Bush, Obumpski has now come up with yet another way to subsidize an alternative to oil: natural gas for vehicles.

President Bush was an enthusiastic supporter of fuel cells, until he was an enthusiastic supporter of ethanol made from switchgrass. President Obama has come out strong for biofuels and electric cars, but he didn’t mention those in his State of the Union address this week. Now he wants researchers to invent new ways to use natural gas to power vehicles.

The hope is to create a market for natural gas, which is pouring from the ground in record amounts in the United States, and in turn driving down natural gas prices to levels not seen for 10 years.

It’s easy to use natural gas in internal combustion engines, but it’s hard to store much of it on board a car, so natural gas vehicles typically have a much shorter range than gasoline powered ones. The White House announced today that the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) will announce a research competition for either improving natural gas powered vehicles, or developing a cheaper way to turn the gas into an energy dense liquid fuel. (The announcement referred to ARPA-E’s previous funding rounds as “competitions,” so it’s likely this will just be another funding round, not something like the DARPA challenge competition to develop autonomous vehicles.)

Notice anything funny about both these morons’ plans, other than the billions of dollars they’ve wasted on them? (and the humor in that depends on whether you’re rich as Warren Buffet’s secretary or a regular working slob). Everything they propose involves the government (erroneously) picking a new technology winner and then flooding that choice with tax payer’s money. And when one idea goes bust they don’t pause to reflect on whether there might be something wrong with the federal government attempting to guess what might work, but instead just move onto another boondoggle.

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Low end stands firm

Front

44 Sound Beach Avenue Extension (NOPO) has an accepted offer after just 52 days on market, asking $775,000. That seems like a lot to me but I haven’t been keeping a close eye on this end of the market. A 1958 ranch that has had no improvements worth mentioning on its listing on a 10,000 square foot lot (it does have a full basement that looks to be bone dry). I had a listing on this street back in maybe 2005 or 2006 and we had a hard time selling it at $745,000. But here is this one, apparently selling for more than that. Good for the owner. I’ve long speculated what happens when the high end falls to the middle and squeezes the middle into the low. I’d guess that that would exert downward pressure on the bottom level, but perhaps there’s a floor.

Back

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Good bye to all that

Shall I super-size that drink for you?

Hillary is quitting. I won’t miss her.

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Price cuts swamping accepted offers

Le deluge. No sales activity to speak of but lots of price cuts, finally – 11 just this morning, but many of those are for condos or rentals. Two that aren’t:

21 North Street

21 North Street, very nice construction by Kali-Nagy that took two years to sell after being built in 2005 but did move in 2007 for $5.650 million. It’s been on for a while now and today dropped to $4.845.

9 Rockwood Spur. Sold for $4.150 million in 2004, tried to sell again in 2007 for $5.650 (too late!) and has today dropped to $3.495 from $3.795.

This keeps up, we might see a trend, eh?

As an aside, some of us were astonished to see houses like 21 North Street sell for as much as they did back in that time. While I take no pleasure in seeing another man’s loss (nor mine, come to think of it), it’s reassuring to see some sense of reason beginning to appear in the Greenwich real estate market. Except Riverside’s, but that day may come too.

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Finally, a stirring

154 North Street has an accepted offer after 1,158 Days on Market and after slashing its price in half (and if it sells, as I’m guessing it will, at its assessed value of $1.567, that would be 43% of the original 2007 price of $3.5). On a back lot of 24,000 square feet (excluding the access strip) but close to town, there was probably nothing wrong with this property that a proper price at the beginning wouldn’t have solved. As it was, the sellers lost out on the last days of the boom market and had to sell in these dour days. Bummer, and unnecessary.

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Now we need yet another law – will it never end?

On the short bus

Deer enters school, knocks down 8th Grader. Oh, the (non) humanity!

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Greenery for thee, not for me

caravan pace car

Obummer and entourage scream out of “green energy” photo-op in 22-car caravan of fossil-fueled gas guzzlers. Presumably to catch a flight in his six-plane airforce.

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A Riverside bubble?

Riverside, circa 2013

Heck I don’t know, not after 247 Riverside Avenue (our busiest street) sold for $5.3 million last year (!). And at least two different builders are selling three different bits of new construction and asking $4 million apiece. Those haven’t sold yet but at least one of the builders is already on the prowl for new land so there’s a confidence there that surprises me – but since I remain astounded by that Riverside Avenue sale I’ll admit that I no longer understand the Riverside market.

All of which leads us to a listing that came on today, new construction at 42 Riverside Avenue (not Riverside Lane, as I just learned from the broker) priced at $1.750 million. This will be a house cheek-by-jowl to I-95, constructed with aluminum siding and an asphalt roof, on the aforesaid busiest street in Riverside and is assigned to the Cos Cob and Middle School district, thereby negating the possibility of the children walking to Riverside and Eastern (if kids still walk to school). One million, seven-hundred-fifty thousand dollars for that? Holy cow.

UPDATE: there seems to be some confusion, expressed in the comments below, whether this spec house is in fact located on Riverside Avenue. Some poor lost soul actually insists that he lives at 42 Riverside Avenue and it’s not only not for sale but it isn’t even under construction. I have assured him that he’s just plain wrong and probably is living somewhere else but he and other readers persist. Such delusions!

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Maybe any Republican has a chance, even Newt

I blame Bush

GDP numbers are out: 1.7% increase over 2% in 2010, when GDP was an anemic 3. Hope and change, Baby.

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More cheerful news: California is going to eliminate cars by 2025

Fun while it lasted

And American car makes are too afraid of the government to protest it. In California alone, the mandate is for 1.4 million electric cars on the roads compared to 10,000 today. Coupled with Congress’s new CAFE standards and using the government’s “economists’ ” figures (others predict those numbers will be actually double) the cost of a new car will increase at least $6,000 ($4,000 for fed fuel standards, $2,000 for California’s). Pricing consumers out of the car market is in fact the least of the difficulties facing automakers; the real problem is that there is no market for electric cars,so how do you force 1.4 million people to buy one? And what will be the effect on travel, entertainment and business when no one can drive more than 40 miles from their home. If you detect the odor of new federal mandates in the air, your senses are working just fine.

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Cheerful news to start your morning

2011 new home sales the worst in history. Just half of what economists say is required for a healthy economy. I suspect we need a new source of energy to drive our economy because between declining birth rates, student loan debts that wipe out the ability of young people to accumulate a down payment, land use regulations, stagnant and even shrinking wages and all the other stuff pessimists like me bemoan, housing can no longer power much at all,  it and I doubt it ever will again.

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