Daily Archives: February 14, 2013

Affirmative action?

Cos Cob’s Himes appointed to intelligence panel.


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No real estate news to report or I’d have reported it

Dull day. One  accepted offer, two contracts and no new listings or even price cuts of note. The one accepted offer is mine, but I feel more comfortable discussing these when contracts are final. Check back next week.


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It just keeps getting (a teensy bit) better

This makes me sad

This makes me sad

Repubs chuck Chuck, Harry, Barry outraged.

UPDATE: A reader suggests that it’s all just a Republican farce, designed so they can look tough to the few remaining Republicans who look to them for leadership, and predicts that they’ll whoop him through next week. This report from the Wall Street Journal makes it clear that he’s right.

As John Cleese said in another context, “It’s not the despair, Laura. I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand.”


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New Jersey’s second-most corrupt senator calls it a day


I did?

I did?

89-year-old Frank Lautenberg retires.


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Gun Control advocates: No one’s talking about confiscation – except our pet Democrats

Girl from the "show me" state

Girl from the show me state. .

Missouri (Missouri!) Democrats introduce gun confiscation legislation: 90 days to surrender once-legal, now-outlawed weapons. Reached for comment, Greenwich Democrat spokescreature Dollar Bill indignantly denied that the democrats were doing any such thing:

“The only ones talking about gun confiscation are the paranoid, ball-sucking, queer-puff Tea Bagger types,” said Bill, “certainly not us Democrats. We’re firm believers in the Second Amendment and would never, ever try to disarm our fellow citizens. We’re only here to help – trust us.”


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So much for open houses

Nothing to write home about – retreads and an overpriced home or two and that was that. It happens, especially during weeks when schools are out and anyone with a life has left town. But, and not to suggest that they don’t have a life, I did chat with two of the best agents in this town and we all have the same complaint: no inventory.

We have buyers, we’re all getting emails and phone calls from them expressing pretty much the same thing: they’re ready to buy, they want to go out and look at more houses, what’s come on that’s good? And we’re all giving the same answer which is, nothing, and anything new that does show up is overpriced – the only thing to do now is to wait.

All of which is frustrating, of course. According to the Greenwich Multiple Listing Service (GMLS) there are 420 active listings for single family homes right now, in all price ranges, so you’d think that between a flood of able, willing and ready buyers and all those properties some matches could be made and, of course some are. But for the most part those houses have been shown and for whatever reason they aren’t selling. As always, I’d look first, perhaps exclusively to price because in Greenwich, nothing can be so wrong with a house that the right price can’t cure.

If I were a home seller whose house hasn’t sold I think this would be a good time to sit down with my agent and have a serious discussion about price. Right now there’s a large pool of eager buyers who can’t find anything to buy – if they’ve looked at your house and passed, and they have, it’s because they don’t think it offers the right value. In a month or two more houses will come up for sale and will be competing for those same buyers. It’s certainly possible that the fresh inventory’s prices will be so high that your own house will suddenly look attractive; in fact, that often happens, but if you want to be sure of selling your house and want to end the process now, talk to your agent and figure out what price will make your house stand out, rather than continue its bland existence as just another one of the overpriced choices currently going nowhere.

As an aside, I noticed just now that Shore & Country has stopped providing its excellent market statistics, which is too bad. But Raveis still does and the data is still readily available. Check it out here.

UPDATE: Shore & County does still provide the data:

Hey Chris – Russell Pruner here – we still have our most accurate Greenwich Market Stats you just couldn’t find them at our new website – ShoreandCountryProperties CountryProperties.com. Here is the link if you need it –http://shoreandcountryproperties.com/greenwich_market_data.html




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And 12-year-olds everywhere rejoice

Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor

Panetta announces new military medal for video gamers.


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Off to burn Canadian tar sands

Oh CanadaIt’s Thursday broker open house day, so time to prowl around and see what’s out there. The limited list doesn’t appear to hold much promise but I depart with a song in my heart and an open, or at least vacant, mind. Back later.

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Coming our way


Paul Krugman, NYT:"In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We've all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false."

Paul Krugman, NYT:
“In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false.”

Woman lies in her own filth for two months as her government-supplied “carer” sweeps up around her.

A pensioner was left to lie in her own filth for weeks while a council-appointed carer cleaned around her.

Janet Norton, 72, lay immobilised on her sofa for two months with a back injury, yet the carer appears to have ignored her desperate condition.

Her shocked daughter Sharon Matthews discovered her mother at her south London home in December 2012 and alerted paramedics.

‘I had not seen mum and dad for three months and after a while I became suspicious because mum would never come to the phone.

‘When I discovered what happened I was shocked and disgusted. The smell was unbelievable and there were flies everywhere.

‘I called the ambulance and it took them two-and-half hours to get her out because she was in so much pain. They had to cut her clothes off because they were drenched in urine and faeces.’

The carer – who was given five days training before starting work with Care UK – has been suspended after an investigation was launched.

Both Care UK and Merton Council have apologised for a ‘service failure’.


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This’ll buy a lot of bunny suits for Kerry

It's your secret ingredient that did the trick, Lance

It’s your secret ingredients that did the trick, Lance

Warren Buffet will buy Heinz for $23 billion.


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Foreclosures are down and things are rosy again in California

Highland Clearance

Highland Clearance

RealtyTrac’s out with its January foreclosure numbers and there are sure to be some happy bulls out there cheering the results. Cal me Eeyore – my family does – but I see little to cheer about.

IRVINE, Calif. – Feb. 14, 2013 — RealtyTrac® (www.realtytrac.com), the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties and real estate data, today released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for January 2013, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 150,864 U.S. properties in January, a decrease of 7 percent from the previous month and down 28 percent from January 2012. The report also shows one in every 869 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month

“The U.S. foreclosure landscape in January was profoundly altered by the effects of new legislation that took effect in California on the first of the year,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. …. As a result, the downward foreclosure trend in California accelerated into hyper speed in January, decisively shifting the balance of power when it comes to the nation’s foreclosure activity.

“For the first time since January 2007 California did not have the most properties with foreclosure filings of any state. Instead that dubious distinction went to Florida, where January foreclosure activity increased on an annual basis for the 11th time in the last 13 months.”

  • Some of the biggest year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts came in non-judicial foreclosure states where legislation or court rulings stalled foreclosure actions last year: Arkansas (539 percent increase), Washington (179 percent increase), and Nevada (87 percent increase). 

California has put a stick in the spokes of the foreclosure bicycle and that will certainly work, for now, but long term it merely postpones the inevitable. Or at least I hope that’s all it will do. Here in Connecticut our legislature and courts have combined to push foreclosures to an infinite horizon and defaulting homeowners have noticed. Just yesterday I inquired of another agent whether he knew anything about a house that had popped up as a pending foreclosure ($1.8 million mortgage) and was told that, approached with a short sale deal three years ago the owner declined because he preferred, I was told, the “stay and don’t pay” plan. Three years on, that looks like a pretty smart move on his part and I don’t fault him, but long term, if it’s impossible to foreclose on a defaulting loan in Connecticut, I’d think that mortgage interest rates will have to go higher to reflect the increased risk.

Or not – I keep waiting for Obama to issue an Ollie Ollie in come free call and reset all consumer debt to zero. You can do that sort of thing when you own a printing press.

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Playing to the NEA

A failure for all ages

A failure for all ages

Jut as with all government programs, Obummer vowed Tuesday to expand nursery school/Head Start classes despite their well documented, unbroken history of failure to accomplish anything but provide employment for adults.

HEADSTART: ANOTHER GOVERNMENT PROGRAM THAT DOESN’T WORK? “The evaluation, which was mandated by Congress during the 1998 reauthorization of the program, found little impact on student well-being. After collecting data on more than 5,000 three and four-year-old children randomly assigned to either a Head Start or a non Head Start control group, the Department of Health and Human Services found ‘few sustained benefits’.”

Posted by Glenn Reynolds

Going back years, but mentioned here back in 2009, and again last year, when an Obama administration’s study was released, anyone who’s analyzed the data has known that the Head Start program is merely a jobs program for inner city adults with no skills. Even the NYT conceded as much although, being liberal, insisted that the way to cure any government program involving social welfare was to spend more money while “holding people accountable”. Uh huh. If we in our wisdom want to spend $22,600 per year per Head Start pupil – that number was calculated by the government at a time when private nursery schools averaged $9,0000 – well, it’s China’s money, so why not? But pleeeease, stop calling it “an investment” – it’s just more welfare for grownups.


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