Daily Archives: February 2, 2012

Obama’s energy policy has great benefits – for China

China’s moving into Canada and buying into their shale oil fields. This would be the same oil that Obummer won’t let Americans buy because extracting it is too dirty and annoys his green base. The Chinese will do it instead and ship it home but that’s exactly how the Dollar Bills like it: ecological disaster is fine, just so long as we neither see it nor benefit from it (unless of course, it’s rare earth mining – that we can benefit from because it powers our Priuses and a handful of Volts).

UPDATE: Just thought of a joke – well, I wish it were a joke – this morning: How many eco-nuts does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None – you’ll all just have to sit there in the dark.

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Obama finds God, country suffers

The Rev Wright knows wrong when he sees it, and embraces it

I became a commie for Christ! Obummer is never seen in church, see, because he’s “down on my knees in prayer every night”. How very reassuring.

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Newt’s campaign receives new life

The Donald endorses Romney

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Geeze, now Jimbo’s even got Dollar Bill confused

Hmmm

DB received the latest from our representative in Washington, Jim Himes, a fawning review of his Golfer in Chief’s SOTU infomercial, and can’t quite figure it out (okay, maybe this email I received wasn’t actually from DB – the writer used another name but I figure it’s just DB being coy).

Jimbo: “I was pleased by two things the President said tonight and one thing he did. First, he reminded us of the absolute importance of educating every one of our children, every one of our people, so that they can be competitive and help lead our shared effort to rebuild a nation that provides opportunity for everyone.  … Second, he called on us to make sure that we lead, not follow, on a clean energy future. Finally, the President struck an important—and needed—tone of optimism. At this moment when many Americans are discouraged and doubtful, he reminded us that our nation can accomplish anything if we work together.”

Reader, who might or might not be Dollar Bill (pictured above): Gee, we’re glad that the Democrats put optimism is on the menu.  Otherwise, those who observe reality would notice that the State of the Union includes these Democrat “achievements”:

·         Four years of $1 trillion deficits

·         $15 trillion national debt and first-ever debt rating downgrade

·         13 million unemployed, additional millions withdrawn from the labor force

·         Gasoline price doubled since Obama’s inauguration

·         Entitlements headed for a fiscal catastrophe that neither Obama nor Himes mentioned.

Is our Congressman awake?

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Medical cost containment

THAT much for steroids? Hmm, let me think about this

I stopped by the most hateful store in my life, CVS, to pick up four prescriptions. Two of them were priced (and I have insurance, these are co-pays, at $200.00 and $189.00 respectively. I handed them back and said I’d get half well.

Will I die if I don’t take (some of) my heart medicine? The drug companies obviously think so and have priced accordingly. The hell with that, and them. I have nothing against drug companies – to the contrary, I feel lucky to live in an age where astonishing new drugs are still invented. But that doesn’t mean I have to take advantage of those drugs and I won’t if I am to pay their asking price.

So there: I just reduced demand for two drugs, albeit a tiny bit. If every consumer of medical care balked at paying exorbitant fees and prescription bills, I think we’d see more of a cost reduction than any plan the government has suggested, which mainly seem to rely on forcing others to pay our bills. Under that system, those paying have no control over use or price and those consuming have no incentive to control costs. That, to quote Obama, is “a lose-lose situation” and if he hasn’t said that, he should.

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So where’s all this headed?

I saw 23 Pierce Road in Riverside today (I wrote about it yesterday) and it’s as nice as I remember it from four-years-back – nicer, actually, because the new owners have added on a bit and spruced things up. But yeah, that’s the Thruway over there and those really are trucks you see flashing by on the bridge. Harsh bud, Dude, and welcome to the neighborhood.

Or not – you’re the one who’d be living there, not the real estate agent who sells it to you so make up your own mind. But I was impressed by how many of us were setting up appointments to show it today, tomorrow and over the weekend – I myself am showing it tomorrow. Why so much interest for a house that, last time it was for sale in 2007-2208, took 286 days to sell? Because there’s almost nothing out there in this price range (asking $2.3 million) with any charm or appeal. You can move into NoPo and pick up a builder’s special, brand new, for the same money or even a little less but you’d be north of the Post Road, on a busy street, with a design that will be dated and unattractive within a few years, unless Home Depot continues to sell the same product line.

There’s a house on Summit that lacks I-95 as part of its surround-sound set up but it does have the train tracks behind it. Same price, zero charm.

And that’s about it in Riverside – oh, I forgot: across the street from the new listing on Summit is a beautifully renovated Tudor, also priced around this one – $1.99, I believe. That is a very nice house but too small for the two different clients I showed it to. I liked it a but that still leaves just a couple of decent houses in the $2 million range in Riverside, and a lot of buyers.

What I’m wondering about is what this pent up demand will do to the market. I know of Wall Street types who, having seen what their bonuses (won’t) be this year, are shifting gears and downshifting from houses in the $3’s to houses in the $2’s. That brings more buyers into the lower range and presumably, they’ll have greater resources than those buyers who were stretching to get there, so do the $2 houses get bid up? What happens to the $3’s if they lose a number of potential buyers? I’d think their prices will fall. But a $2.1 house can never meet a $3.1 house in the middle because the difference in quality, location, etc. is too great.

Which leaves us with a ceiling on the $2’s at, say, $1.9 and, maybe, a floor for the $3’s at, what? $2.7? Unless the $3’s fall further and jus wipes out the $2’s, sending them down to $1.5 and below. Bummer, eh?  The hell if I  know what’s going to happen, but 2012 should be an interesting year for real estate.

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You can’t say that!

Lady Realtoress of the Year

I was accosted by another agent the other day who called me rude and therefore, in her logic, unethical. I deny the latter and try not to be the former so I dismissed her assault – honestly, I rather admired her for saying to my face what so many agents don’t dare to. But doing the great tour today I was struck at how many agents were saying to each other what I’ve been saying publicly: the market is cluttered with old, tired repeats that were overpriced when they first came up for sale and remain so today.

So why don’t these agents tell their clients that? They obviously aren’t doing it, and when I tell them for them, they resent it. Bah.

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Price drop

4 Interlaken, the last street off Taconic before the Merritt, has dropped from an original price of $2.5 million in ’08 to $1.795 today. The owners paid $2.225 million for it in 2005, just 18 months (and no improvements) after someone else paid $1.775. So this might be approaching a decent value; perhaps a notch below that 2004 price to get to 2003 pricing. But, while this is a good looking house, on Interlaken, there’s always a noise issue. This is probably not the market where you’ll easily find buyers willing to overlook that issue. Unless there’s a price concession, which in the right amount will cure all flaws.

Tax card says there’s a $1.780 mortgage on the house, so that makes things interesting.

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Paradox: Connecticut home sales at all time low yet prices aren’t dropping. How can that be?

That's interesting

Connecticut sales of single family homes are just about nowhere and the Hartford Courant reporter is puzzled. “The number of incarcerated prisoners is at an all time high yet crime is down – why is that?”

Oh, sorry, that’s the New York Times. The Courant reporter, who doubtless was fed pulped New York Times in his baby bottle, has this observation: “Despite the sales decline in 2011, the median sale price in Connecticut dipped just 2.8 percent, to $243,000 from $250,000 in 2010.”

Oh, dear, what could the matter be?

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Open house touring

There are a number of new listings I want to see, so I’ll report back later. One I’ll probably pass on is 27 Byfield Lane, advertised as a land listing with teardown, asking $1.495 million. That’s a tough one, I think, because the completely renovated, very nice house across the street, 38 Byfield Lane, is finding no buyers at $1.999. I suppose I could use 27 as a stalking horse but why bother?

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Location is everything

5 Le Grande Avenue is reduced to $2 million. Looks like a very nice house but it’s right next door to the Wilbur Peck public housing complex which is not quite the same as living next to the Round Hill Club. Better neighbors, probably, but still …..

Speaking of neighbors, when she lived around the corner on Locust Street as a young, single career woman, Pal Nancy used to dread driving by Wilbur Peck because the fun-loving youngsters there delighted in pelting her car with rocks. I’ll bet she wouldn’t be interested in living here, even in such a modestly priced, two million dollar home.

Back in the day, I used to sign notes to Nancy, “George Le Grande”. I was kidding. Not sure this home owner is.

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Down the rat hole

Tax dollars aweigh!

GM sold 600 Volts in January, its worst sales ever and a bad start for its prediction that this year it would sell 45,000 copies of the car nobody wants. Good thing Obama is running for Prez again because only he has the authority to force government agencies to buy this boondoggle. And no doubt he will.

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Cos Cob

Sleeps eight!

5 School Street is for sale at $849,000. Improvements are mentioned but I see that the place sold for $825,000 in 2005 in just 12 days, the result of a bidding war that started at $795,000. Probably won’t happen this time.

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Get ’em when they’re young and naive

Brain drain

Skipping their remedial reading classes, Greenwich High School students are spending their time collecting empty plastic bottles to see how big is big. “Big is really big”, one surprised student ejaculated. “I mean, like, wow, man.” Tapping a Ranger Rick badge prominently displayed on his chest the student proudly proclaimed, “we’re just like the big kids at college now”.

Asked if using plastic water bottles contributed in any significant way to the billions of tons of garbage generated by human beings, GHS waste management coordinator Joseph Hazelwood confessed that they did not. “They’re a  tiny part of the waste stream but they make a great visual and that’s what we specialize in here: the visual. Training – well, ‘shaping’ is more accurate -young minds is the NEA’s goal – training those minds to think for themselves? Not gonna happen on our watch.”

After bagging all those icky bottles the students left the building, walking past the so-uncool-water fountains available to all zealots, and past the Loser Cruisers – buses provided for their free use that they might save our world from emission pollution and clambered into their SUV’s, headed for their 200 sq.ft. homes they’ve all moved into so as to save resources for the truly poor. Great kids, and they’re headed our way.

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