Daily Archives: February 24, 2012

This is rich

Fresh from her vacation in Vail, the First Lady of the United States beseeched wealthy Democrat fat cats to share their wealth.  They got out their checkbooks, for sure, but only to shower Washington’s Thug in Chief with tribute, not to pass around to the wait staff serving those $10,000 lunches.

I enjoyed this part, too:

She also praised President Obama for getting rid of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy toward gays in the military.

“Never again will our young people have to lie about who they are,’’ Mrs. Obama said.

Guess she hadn’t heard about California’s new policy, dreamed up by her fellow Democrats,  forcing judges to confess  their homosexuality.

UPDATE: From the First Lady, Michelle Antoinette herself: Every day I hear about how folks [don't you love the intimate, rustic charm of this Princeton affirmative action fraud? - Ed] struggling, how they’re sacrificing and Barack Hussein and I want to join them in that sacrifice. Sure I wanted to return to Hawaii to recoup from my week at Aspen, but did I? Hell no! The girls and I got in your 747 (reserved just for our use! Did you know that? Holy shit did we hit the jackpot!) and came straight back to Washington – no second Hawaiian trip for this girl – not at least until next month, anyway,  cause ya see, I want to feel the pain of the little people”.

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Who killed who? Reuters isn’t saying

I clicked on this story by Reuters that reports  “12 killed in protests across Afghanistan” because I was curious: Muslimites killing fellow muslims? Soldiers killing Afghans? Muslim soldiers killing muslim protesters? What happened? Here’s the meat of the story – see if you can figure it out.

Armed protesters took refuge in shops in the eastern part of the city, where they killed one demonstrator, said police at the scene. In another Kabul rally, police said they were unsure who fired the shots that killed a second protester.

Seven more protesters were killed in the western province of Herat, two more in eastern Khost province and one in the relatively peaceful northern Baghlan province, health and local officials said. In Herat, around 500 men charged at the U.S. consulate.

Got that? Armed protesters killed “demonstrators” in one province, while “seven more ‘protesters’ were killed elsewhere. Killed by whom, “demonstrators”? Were the protesters who were killed the same type as the armed protesters mentioned in the first paragraph? A different sort?

Since no mention is made of U.S. or Afghani soldiers is made, I assume they weren’t involved; Reuters would never miss a juicy bit like that. And, while the police do merit a mention, they aren’t described as being involved in any killing. It sounds to me like one group of these religion of peace scumbags turned on the other. It’s the only explanation for Reuter’s silence that I can come up – just as, for Reuters, there are no enemies on the left, the “news” organization has never met a muslim terrorist it didn’t like.

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2002 prices for South of the Village?

Not quite yet. 312 Sound Beach Avenue is reported sold at $1.330 million, 6.5 % more than its 2002 price of $1.220 million. Not the same appreciation that existed back in 2000-2002, when this same house was purchased for $895,000 in 2000 and resold, untouched, for 35% more.

78 Mayo

And from the miscellaneous price cuts file, I see that 78 Mayo Avenue in Belle Haven has cut its once again and now wants $7.975 million, $775,000 lower than its previous price of $8.75 set in September of 2011 and $1.4 million less than its 2010 price of $9.375. No comment.

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So much for Yoga producing a kinder, gentler soul

"Y" "M" "C" "A" !

Nazi SS recommended yoga as a stress release for death camp prison guards.

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Holy cannoli, it may actually sell

502 Cognewaugh

502 Cognewaugh Road, discussed here not so long ago, has an accepted offer. Not at a terrible house when it was built in 2007 it was never worth anywhere close to the $6.995 its builder asked and, 1,400 days and a pothead-tenant-caretaker later, I wouldn’t think it’s worth its last price of $4.195. Sometimes, a $3 million discount from an asking price can fool a buyer into thinking he’s getting a bargain when in reality, that three milion existed only in the seller’s mind. Sometimes.

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What have I been saying about fringe areas? They’re leading the way to new lows in values.

1100 Lake Avenue

1100 Lake Avenue has sold for $1.420 million, 425 days after being listed in September, 2010 for $1.850. That’s pretty stupid, hanging onto an unrealistic price so long, but the owners paid $1.487 million for it in 1999 and probably figured that it had to be worth more now. Wrong. But really, they should have known – they bought it then after some poor yokel had had it on the market for 906 days, starting at $2.250 in September, 1996 and only getting rid of it on these guys three years later. Not much has changed, except prices, in the 13 years these sellers have owned the place so what was unpopular and a hard sell then remains, surprise! – hard to sell today.

And this is “fringe” in so many ways. Way up yonder in Indian Country, two acres in the four-acre zone, mid-1980′s architecture, it’s a triple whammy and the selling price reflects that. All that said, for the money, someone’s getting two acres, a house to live in, sort-of-decent land and a pool. See what you get in, say,  Havemeyer for $1.4 million and maybe a long commute will seem worthwhile.

1 Farwell

In other news, 1 Farwell Lane, also way up there near our northern border, is back on the market at a new, improved price of $7.5 million, significantly higher than the $5.195 million that proved fruitless in 2011, expiring just this last October, and even higher than the $6.495 million that failed to attract a buyer before the listing expired in December, 2008. This house has been offered for sale since June, 2005 (with that hiatus from ’08 til 2011), starting at $12.650 million back then and going down, now up, since. The land remains the same size, 12 acres, and the house has had nothing done to it worth noting on its listing since it was built in 1995 so the new price baffles me. Unless, of course, the owner has been listening to NAR propaganda.

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False hope: poll shows Americans favor austerity over increased taxes

Oh Bullshit. This poll has been discussed all over the Internet the past two days and used as a sign that Americans aren’t buying Obummer’s spiel. But before getting excited, see what those polled are really saying: tax the millionaires and spare the rest of us by “eliminating fraud and waste”.

This is the same garbage politicians have been peddling for the past sixty years, promising to tax the undeserving while ensuring “the rest of us” an efficiently run government that’s been cleaned of wasteful spending. They not only have never delivered on that promise, they can’t – you can’t spend trillions of dollars every year and pay for it by catching the Medicaid crook who’s filling phone prescriptions.

We are now on course this year for our debt to exceed our GDP – 101% is the figure I’ve seen, with a budget from Obama that will guarantee its continued upward path. Greece is supposed to try to get its ratio to 120% and analysts all agree that even that will leave them bankrupt. We’ll be another Greece in just a few years.

But politicians of both parties will do nothing about this and instead distract voters with ridiculous bread and circus shows involving abortion and contraception. Why? Because there’s not a single vote to be gained in saving the country from disaster fifteen years down the road and voters get downright nasty when you even mention cutting their benefits.

So we continue down.

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California forces gay judges to out themselves

A new low in civil liberties but it’s all for the greater moral good of diversity, don’t you know. You don’t? You must be a homophobe.

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The two most expensive houses with accepted offers

A reader asked about these. 62 Brookridge, (scroll on the link to get to listings for both houses discussed here) asking $4.7 million, down from its original June, 2011 price of $5.5 million. Very nice quality, good yard, my own clients didn’t like its location at Brookfield and Fairfield. I thought it was just fine but then, I was showing, not buying.

519 Steamboat Rd

519 Steamboat Road, an 1876 waterfront house asking $3.495. It came on just over a six weeks ago so I’m guessing it will sell for close to its asking price. The seller won’t be doing as well as the buyer, because she paid $3.750 million for it in 2005 and in 2010 added on and renovated it, all at her expense and to the benefit of the buyer. But you do what you have to do, if you want to move on.

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Hall of Shame?

Andrew Carnegie arrested for stealing cooking oil.

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Don’t ask, don’t tell

But a reader asked, so I’ll tell. “How’s the market activity?” Not so swift. The past two weeks saw 25 accepted offers, 2 of which were for houses asking more than $2 million ($4.70 million and $3.495, respectively). The rest were under $2 million and 11 of those were under $1 million. Ouch.

Happy, happy, joy, joy!

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Now it can be told

I mentioned 420 North Street earlier this week as an example of how to price and sell a house in our depressed market, but didn’t disclose the location because its listing agent, Ellen Mosher, hadn’t officially reported it as having an accepted offer. Now she has. The owners (and Ellen, probably) decided to ask $80,000 less than they paid for it in 2003, so the price was $2.795. Good move, because it sold almost instantly.

Now you may or may not like this house or its location. I did – tolerable road noise because of where it sits on the property and a great layout inside – but regardless of my personal taste, I know the inventory in the $2.5 – $3.25 price range and 420 North was clearly one of the best. At least two buyers agree with me because there is both an accepted offer and a back-up one. If by chance you have a house for sale in this price category and it hasn’t sold, you may want to meet again with your agent and discuss your competition because obviously, at least two buyers preferred this instead of yours.

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Ever see a bluefish frenzy?

Get a job, dummy

It’s quite a sight: the bluefish round up huge schools of bunker and rip into them, slashing, biting and leaping out of the water in their enthusiasm for the chase. Well something like that happens in the real estate world of Greenwich beginning next week and continuing for a couple of more. Yes, it’s that time of year when private school admissions are announced and unleash a wave of parents into town.

Has precious been rejected by that famous NYC institution,  Miss Smarties’ Nursery Skool for Children of the Rich and Undeserving? Time to leave the city and head for the Greenwich private school system, assuming, you careless parent you, that you have also applied to them and made generous and frequent contributions to their building fund. No? You, my friend, are SOL.

Bunkie has been deemed unfit for admission to the best NYC schools and by Brunswick, Country Day and Greenwich Academy? Well, you are a failure and you’d better start looking in another town with more “flexible” standards. I understand that Green Hills Farms, up in Westport, has the occasional spot for heretofore unspotted geniuses. But can you live in Greenwich and withstand the contempt of your neighbors when the Greens Farms bus pulls up outside your mansion? Probably not so it’s Westport for you, sucker (you can probably get away with the ignominy equally well in New Canaan and Darien because they don’t have any schools of note).

Okay, it may not be quite as bad as I describe it, but private school admissions do influence the decisions of many parents about whether to move to Greenwich, and, depending on what arrives in the mail next week, we should see a flurry of new buyers. Or that’s been the pattern in the past; we’re counting on it again.

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Do these guys remind you of the NAR, or what?

Germany balks at committing another $91 billion (91 billion Euros, actually, but I can’t find that symbol on my keyboard) to the Greek bailout over and on top of the first $211 billion.

The European banks and private creditors have swallowed a 70% slashing of their loans (but don’t call that a “default” by Greece or all sorts of nasty things will come into play) and everything is dependent on Germany coughing up a third –  again as much cash as it initially promised. This makes at least the fifth time the debt talks have snagged, the whole Eurosphere teeters on the precipice yet watching from afar (that would be me, out of the market and out here in Riverside) Wall Street and other “experts” crow about the pending solution and keep pouring money into  Greek debt and, like many Realtors I know, insist that the bottom has been touched and we’re going up from here.

Realtors feel they have to lie about a recovery because how can they sell houses now when they’ll be cheaper later? As for Wall Street,  I’d guess that the optimistic lenders and traders gain their cheery outlook from the fact that they’re using money from the Fed (U.S. taxpayers) and they see no risk. Other’s who perhaps don’t have access to the free Kool-Aid being passed out by Washington, are as sanguine:

The EU’s own experts doubt that it will be enough to put Greece’s debt on a sustainable path, while market analysts are scathing. “We forecast a further prolonged economic depression that would leave the debt to GDP ratio at about 160pc to 170pc in 2020,” said Citigroup.

Mark Weisbrot, from Washington’s Centre for Economic and Policy Research, said Greece should default and leave the EMU. “Is the euro worth this kind of punishment?” he said.

The Merkel government is in a delicate situation. It assured the Bundestag in September that Germany’s exposure to EU rescues were capped at €211bn. A major boost to the ESM would push the figure above €300bn, requiring the trauma of a fresh vote. Moreover, Germany’s constitutional court has warned any rescue commitment exceeding one-year’s budget – €306bn in 2012 – threatens stability and may violate Basic Law.

Graeme Leach, the Institute of Directors’ chief economist, said Berlin’s “fiscal compact” to police the budgets of EU deficit states is in no sense a fiscal union. “Germany has not agreed to eurobonds or North-South fiscal transfers. Europe can’t find a solution because there isn’t one.

“There is zero chance that the eurozone will survive in current form this year, and Greece will be out by the summer, just in time for cheap holidays,” he said.

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