Daily Archives: May 15, 2012
The run is on at Greek banks. Who’s next?
Greek depositors withdrew €700 million ($898 million) from local banks Monday, the country’s president said, as he warned that the situation facing Greece’s lenders was very difficult.
The amazing thing is that there are any deposits left in Greek banks; rather than waiting for your money to be converted into soon-to-be worthless drachmas by some midnight decree from a desperate government, put your money in some nice safe German or Dutch bank and wait out the storm.
Of course a bank run will hasten the insolvency of the banks and force an earlier Greek exit from the euro: that is all the more reason to panic fast. When there’s a fire in a crowded theater, you want to be among the first at the door.
105 Dingletown Road, a 1915 Georgian, according to its listing and still hanging on to two of its original acres, sat at $7.750 million from May, 2008 until February 2010, 638 days, and never budged from its price. The market place wouldn’t budge either so the house was pulled, sat for a while and has been returned today at $5.5 million. That may still not do the trick, but it may serve as an object lesson.
Or not – most sellers still don’t get it.
So far as actual real activity, 8 Meadow Drive (the Rock Ridge Meadow Drive), 2 acres, old house asking $4.2 million, has an accepted offer just 43 days after being listed so I assume the offer is close to that asking price. Great location and nice land but the house is going to cost a fortune to update and rearrange its rooms to accommodate a lifestyle that no longer has servants and cooks crowded into cramped service quarters. I hope the house stays, but one never knows.
And we got one! 21 Grove Lane, having sat on the market for 487 days since December 11, 2009 at $11.999 million without success, has now dropped to the more alluring price of $11.9 million. Great house, beautifully renovated in 2009, really convenient location and more than three acres right in town (almost), but if no one would pay $11.999 for it in all this time, I doubt they were waiting for a $99,000 price cut.
John Blankley will run as Democratic candidate for State Senate. If the name draws a blank, you’re not alone, but this guy once ran for the job of Greenwich First Selectman, gaining just sixteen votes (his mother from Chicago voted four times, increasing the count) to Tesei’s 112.
We all know that our Demmerkrats are the “green” party, but must they recycle their candidates as well as toilet paper and plastic bags? Fudrucker, Krummeich and now Blankley are the Democrat equivalent of whack-a-moles, popping up every election from different holes. It’s clear the voters just don’t want ’em, so why not bring in the clown, why isn’t it time for Dollar Bill?
We could all use a laugh.
For a nation of whiners, therapists try tough love. They will no longer listen and suggest instead that their patients “just shut up”. Works for me.
19 Angus Lane, new construction that I thought was quite nice, came on just two weeks ago at $5.295 and today cut its price $400,000, to $4.895 (we try to do the math for you here at FWIW). Clearly, the sellers want to sell, rather than just show, their house and are reacting quickly to the market’s signal that their first price was too high. Smart move, because we’re at the end of a very bad spring market and if you don’t unload your home in the next few weeks you might just as well order the pool opened and settle in for the summer – you ain’t going nowhere.
A reader writes to tell me that
the tall soldier one of the soldiers? * in the iconic picture I used earlier this week, Eisenhower speaking to the troops just before they invaded Normandy was Griff Harris, our former First Selectman and big (literally) man about town. Our golf course is named after him, in tribute.
I only met Mr. Harris a couple of times but at least one of his kids, my friend and fellow real estate agent Vickie, is still very much around. Mike Harris, Town Clerk forever was, I believe, his brother (cousin?). Mike I knew quite well, as did everyone who was a regular visitor to Town Hall and his kids also live here: Rick Harris, of the eponymous electrician firm being just one.
Small bit of Greenwich history.
* UPDATE: Ah, but maybe not. Wikipedia identifies the tall soldier as someone else. 101st, though.
Nothing of note on the broker open house schedule today; not even the offer of free lunches can persuade me to drive to the far north terminus of Round Hill Road to view a collection of over-priced houses that aren’t going anywhere soon. With gas at $4+ a gallon, there really is no free lunch any more.
There is one accepted offer reported, 993 Lake Avenue, way up by Whitby School and last asking price of $2.395 million. 4,800 square feet or 5,600, depending on whether you believe the town or the broker – I know who I’d trust, but you may be more gullible.
Interesting sales history on this one. A Chimblo paid $2.780 million for it in 1998, lost it via foreclosure to the Bank of New York in February 2002 and in June of that year a different set of Chimblos bought it back for $1.4 million – neat trick.
The new Chimblos sold it in 2004 to the current owner for $2.180 . She, again according to the listing, “renovated” it in 2007 and listed it a year ago April for $2.695, dropping that price this year to $2.375. I’ll be curious to see its actual selling price.
Four years after being recorded at a fund raiser dismissing red state citizens as “bitter people clinging to their guns and religion” our Golfer in Chief has learned his lesson and now confiscates all cellphones before speaking to his millionaire disciples. This will allow him to speak more freely in front of people who “get it” and won’t be upset by his merely repeating what they in their hearts know to be true.
Greenwich’s long term debt will be $190 million next year and certain Democrats think this is just fine and in fact we should spend more.
In an attempt to placate skittish ratings agencies about the town’s creditworthiness, the Board of Estimate and Taxation established a $210 million cap last year on borrowing, a practice that has long been taboo in pay-as-you-go Greenwich.
The policy also limits the amount of money the town can apply toward debt service and interest payments to 70 percent of the capital tax levy, the amount of tax revenue dedicated to infrastructure projects and equipment upgrades.
The debt ceiling measure is subject to review every two years, which can’t come soon enough for some office holders, including Selectman Drew Marzullo, a Democrat in his second term.
“It is an artificial number that does not take into account the long-term needs of the town,” Marzullo said. “No one has demonstrated whatsoever the positive or negative impact this might have.”
“Either we’re going to have to increase the debt ceiling, talk about longer-term borrowing or don’t do projects that need to be done,” Marzullo said. “The other option no one wants to talk about is to increase the mill rate. I can hear the guillotine being sharpened now.”
And Marzullo isn’t alone in this philosophy of spending what we don’t have. here’s this from a FWIW reader:
C’mon Chris. I know you consider yourself a contrarian but resorting to hysterics about what the town can and can not afford is beneath even you. Yes, things are bad in Europe and the macroeconomic picture in this country is not good either. Though, in the grand scheme of things MISA is not going to bankrupt us and is a decent attempt at giving this Town’s infrastructure a nice shot in the arm. When is the last time this Town really spent some money on a luxury item….schools, fire stations, police stations do not count. You are a broker…you can’t keep selling this Town as NYC North with exorbitant real estate prices without sprinkling in a few high end amenities once in awhile. This ain’t Mayberry anymore….let’s stop pretending.
Dig in, grip your wallet and fight, fight fight. People like that Marzullo and the reader think that Greenwich will be more attractive if it has a new municipal pool, an expensive high school auditorium and God knows what other “luxuries”, these people can dream up. A low property tax and a well-maintained infrastructure is our draw, not new pools.
No, not on the part of the town, which voted overwhelmingly last night to fund the Performing Arts Palace we don’t need and can’t afford, but the residents of Cobb “Island”, that small development of expensive homes on the water and just off Exit 4, who want a noise barrier installed at their own expense!
These people all bought their homes with full knowledge that the highway was nearby, so had they been looking to use other people’s money to mitigate the traffic roar (like everyone else up and down the Thruway) I wouldn’t be sympathetic, but no, all they want is P&Z approval for the residents to do it themselves (the State will erect the barrier and bill Cobb Island). That’s putting your money where your ears are and I’m impressed. I can’t imagine why the P&Z wouldn’t approve this, quickly, but you never know with the P&Z.