Daily Archives: September 27, 2012

I blame Bush

India/Australia plate tearing apart, should be fully torn asunder in a couple million years or so. Al Gore: “And there are still some people who don’t believe in global warming!” (H/T, NEWF)

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Feds arrest California man for blaspheming Mohammed

“Probation violation” – the arrest comes two days after Democrat Barry Hussein Obama decreed punishment for all who slander “The Prophet of Islam”. Waiting for liberal outrage over this development? Don’t bother. Muslims, after all, hate America almost as much as they do, and an enemy of my enemy is my friend.

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Taking the fun out of Democrat’s upcoming Caviar Festival

 

Greenwich Democrat Designated Intellectual Dollar Bill is sorely surprised

Alcohol enemas dangerous, experts warn.

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What’s more organic than baby rat?

Of course at Fairway, you have to kill it before using, but I believe that’s part of their plan to encourage “eat local” food sourcing – no imported Chinese rats for Fairway!

UPDATE: Okay, viewing the video, that’s clearly a mouse, and maybe even a full-grown one, and mice are not “baby rats”. Still a good story, though.

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Okay, no mortgage payments, but these people will sell their vote for a free ObamaPhone

If I were a Democrat and educated – okay, we’re talking fantasy here, but bear with me – I’d be embarrassed to be a member of the same party as this more typical representative of the party, but so far as I can tell, there’s just no embarrassing these people. God help our nation.

 

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Fall market? What fall market?

Try, try again

I’m busy tossing bids around and I know other agents are too, so there will be some activity to report soon I have no doubt, but not enough to offset the lethargic pace of this past month. Once again, there is nothing of note to comment on today. One house that’s back, 44 Brookridge, is perhaps of interest, if only because it demonstrates the resilience of hope. Built in 2008 and priced at $7.499 it never sold despite being dropped a whopping $600,000, to $6.9 million, later that year. It was rented out sometime after that and now it’s been returned to the market at $5.995.

Samuel Johnson described a second marriage as “the triumph of hope over experience”. He would have enjoyed observing the Greenwich real estate market.

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Sad news – John Silber dead at 86

Story here.

Dr. Silber was drummed out of the University of Texas for being too liberal and came to Boston as head of Boston University, where he was excoriated for being to the right of Attila the Hun. I was in Boston at the time, up the road at BC, and watched in awe as he forced BU into becoming a legitimate institution, with real grades and accountability from its students and faculty. After graduating BC and still eager to delay entry into the real world a few more months I persuaded my father to pay for me to travel to Athens and study Plato under Dr. Silber (he held a doctorate in philosophy and was an expert on Kant, as I recall). Silber beat the hell out of the eight students who didn’t flee after the first day, then was available for long discussions into the night that covered everything from Ayn Rand to classical music to the Boston Red Sox. It was the best summer of my life and the B+ he gave me as a final grade – he awarded no A’s -was the one I am most proud of among all my (limited) academic achievements.

Truly a great man.

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Changing demographics

A question from a reader about the “typical Greenwich buyer” made me realize that we no longer have lawyers or doctors in the buying pool. In the early – mid ’80s when I dabbled in residential real estate as part of my law practice I represented a fair number of those professionals buying their first house. Since 2003, I don’t think I’ve had even one.

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Look for Romney’s dog stories to resurface

 

Don’t you want to discuss unemployment?

GDP “grew” at 1.3% last month (historical average is 3.2%), durable goods orders fell 13%. The bright news for Obama?  New unemployment claims were just 360,000 instead of the 375,000 predicted by economists. War on Women, Mitt doesn’t like dogs and Rush Limbaugh doesn’t believe a 30-year-old law student is entitled to free, $10-a-month birth control pills: these are all stories we can expect the media to focus on this week – anything but ask its hero about his dismal performance in office.

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Has Peter Tesei heard about this unique approach to municipal funding?

First Selectman Tim Herbst: Off to Washington to explain loaves and fishes

Trumbull cancels Michael Bolton (who?) concert but that’s a boost to revenue and not the $75,000 loss petty critics are claiming.

Sagging ticket sales for [Bolton’s] scheduled concert at Indian Ledge Park last Saturday led to the show being cancelled two weeks ago.

That angered many in town. But it’s not because they wanted to see him perform. It’s because, they say, the cancellation is costing the town money it can’t afford.

Jerome Goldstein, resident and local attorney, is one of them. “A lot of people are up in arms over what happened,” he said. “The money is just gone and there are so many other ways it could have been better spent.”

But wait a minute, said First Selectman Tim Herbst.

Yes, it’s costing the town $75,000 in cancellation fees, but that amount would have more than doubled if the show went on as planned Saturday night.

“It could have cost us anywhere from $150,000 to $170,000 with production, staging, lighting and other costs included,” he said.

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Market musings

I’ve been pretty busy this past month showing houses, negotiating and even selling them, and while we’ll have to wait for September’s statistics to come out before there’s hard data, my general impression is – surprise! – there’s still a long way to go before our inventory adjusts downward to prices where they’ll sell.

Houses are selling – no doubt about that, but at roughly 2003 prices, where they’ve been stuck for years. Some houses bought in 2010 and 2011 are getting close to what their sellers paid for them then, but 2010 prices were so hammered off historic highs that their sale now doesn’t demonstrate an improvement. People who bought in 2006 and 2007 are the worst off, but there is so much out there priced as though the market crash never happened that, I think, we’re going to continue to see a bloated, overpriced inventory for a long time still.

What I am seeing, and I suspect the median sales price statistics will bear this out, is the gradual erosion of prices: houses that once asked $3.5 million will still sell, but only after they’ve been marked down to $2.5, and this is true in all price ranges. What that means is that I can now show clients houses at $2.5 that are equivalent to or even better than houses asking $1 million more – guess which ones we’re bidding on?

Sellers, for the most part, seem to be those bitter clingers our President complains about, insisting that they can still get 2007 prices for their homes and refusing to budge from the religion that says Greenwich is special and immune from economic reality and competition. Again, my vague impressions are no substitute for hard data, but that’s certainly what I’m seeing – there’s a large pile of dross out there, and it takes real effort to sort through it and find the few houses offering value. That’s exactly what my clients, and surely everyone else’s, are doing: sorting. And if they can’t find value in their price range, they’re not holding their noses and paying more than they think a house is worth, they’re retiring to the sidelines and waiting.

Sellers seem to think they can wait buyers out – my money, and that of my clients’, is on the other side of that bet.

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