Daily Archives: April 18, 2013

“But who would we date? Even our sheep are cousins!”

Hot time Saturday night

Hot time Saturday night

Especially the sheep. West Virginia’s Governor dismisses news that Icelanders have invented an iPhone app to prevent accidental incest.

A new smartphone app is on hand to help Icelanders avoid accidental incest. The app lets users “bump” phones, and emits a warning alarm if they are closely related. “Bump the app before you bump in bed,” says the catchy slogan.

Some are hailing it as a welcome solution to a very Icelandic form of social embarrassment.

“Everyone has heard the story of going to a family event and running into a girl you hooked up with some time ago,” said Einar Magnusson, a graphic designer in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik.

“It’s not a good feeling when you realize that girl is a second cousin. People may think it’s funny, but (the app) is a necessity.”

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Not much real estate news to report so …

 

W. Lyon Farm, Greenwich (representative)

W. Lyon Farm, Greenwich (representative)

Here’s a condo deal at 202 W. Lyon Farm.  Lasted only three days at $1.295, so that’s great. However, it’s been on and off the market since 2008, when it started at $1.875 million. This listing says that this year (2013), it was painted, recarpeted, new appliances installed, a new master bath created as well as a wet bar, etc. etc. So if it needed all that work, I ask, what the heck were they thinking when they listed it at $1.895? Different broker this time around, which probably explains it.

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Ha!

Walt sends along this link: Senate passes law forbidding the publishing of maps showing registered gun owners’ home addresses. So apparently we can fight back, even if only in a small way.

And just to show I have no hard feelings toward the Journal News, here’s a map they can use showing all the unregistered gun owners in our president’s favorite city.

map_of_chicago

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Quick bread

A slew (5) of houses just flew off the market.

230 Valley Rd

230 Valley Rd

The exception is 230 Valley Road which lasted 302 days, but priced at $629,000, even as land, it’s not surprising that, in this market, a buyer turned up.

15 Irvine

15 Irvine

15 Irvine, $3.295 million, 10 days – it sold for $3.150 in 2008.

 

21 Harold

21 Harold

21 Harold Street, Cos Cob, $525,000. 16 days.

14 Bonwit, mentioned yesterday, $745,000, 9 days.

Indian Harbor drive

Indian Harbor drive

71 Indian Harbor Drive, $1.275, 28 days.

22 Nimitz22 Nimitz, also mentioned yesterday, has a full contract. $869,000, 9 days.

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Open house tour report

Saw some reasonably priced homes that I thought were good values, and after ensuring that my own clients don’t want them, I’ll write about them here.

One house I did not think was well priced was in, if not quite a fringe area, certainly not one of our local hot spots. I won’t embarrass the owner, or hurt his chance to sell to another sucker buyer, but here’s my advice: if you can’t afford or want to repair some glaring defects in your home, don’t overprice it and then have your agent explain that a credit will be given to fix those items. Buyers will pay  a premium for houses in move-in condition, but many (most?) are unwilling to engage in extensive repair work. So if they’re interested in the property at all, they’ll demand a deep discount to compensate for the inconvenience and bother.

Whatever you do, don’t overprice to begin with and then expect to get that price, minus the costs of repair. You won’t get low offers, you’ll get no offers.

And that’s no fun.

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What can’t continue, won’t

Student debt slowing home sales to the young

Similarly, young people with a history of student debt are less likely to have a car loan than those who didn’t have student loans, the report said.

This marks a significant turnabout from recent history. For most of the past decade, student borrowers were much more likely to own a home or car, relative to those without student loans, because they typically were college graduates with higher incomes.

But now, student debt could be among the factors holding them back, at least temporarily, the Fed report suggests. The report shows that credit scores for student borrowers have fallen sharply since the recession, likely due to higher average student-debt levels and a rise in delinquencies. Tarnished credit histories make it harder for consumers to qualify for mortgages and auto loans.

“While highly skilled young workers have traditionally provided a vital influx of new, affluent consumers to U.S. housing and auto markets, unprecedented student debt may dampen their influence in today’s marketplace,” the report states.

Total outstanding student debt stood at $966 billion as of the end of 2012, up nearly 74% since the end of 2006, the last full year before the recession, after adjusting for inflation, New York Fed data show.

Homeownership fell across all age groups—and among student borrowers and non-borrowers alike—after the housing bubble burst. But the decline was particularly steep for Americans with a history of student debt near age 30, the median age for first-time homebuyers—the point at which half are older and half are younger.

Many factors are at play.

Lenders have tightened credit standards generally since the financial crisis and unemployment has climbed.

The sluggish economic recovery also has caused many young people to go back to school or stay in school longer, boosting their student debt while postponing major life decisions such as getting married or buying a home.

And high monthly student-debt payments are making it hard for many young Americans to save for a down payment on a home or car.

 

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Wall Street: Okay, we did the muffin gig, now what other POS can we sell?

As endorsed by Henry Blodget!

As endorsed by Henry Blodget!

Fairways IPO opens at $13 (same price as Crumb’s, now trading at a buck, opened at in 2011) and climbs to $17.35  in opening day trading. Supermarkets haven’t exactly been a boom industry the past few decades but as long as Wall Street can sell the shares to suckers, what does it care? Groupon, anybody?

Revenue at stores open at least a year also fell 8 percent, as new stores cannibalized sales from established locations.

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The political/financial world’s version of “Crumbs”, writ large

Carbon Tax market falls to earth and is still falling .

EUROPE’S flagship environmental policy has just been holed below the water line. On April 16th the European Parliament voted by 334 to 315 to reject proposals which (its supporters claimed) were needed to save the emissions-trading system (ETS) from collapse. Carbon prices promptly fell 40% (see chart). Some environmentalists fear that the whole edifice of European climate policy could start to crumble.

The ETS has long been troubled. The scheme is the world’s biggest carbon market, trading allowances to produce carbon which cover about half the European Union’s total carbon emissions. Partly because of weak industrial demand and partly because the EU gave away too many allowances to pollute in the first place, there is massive oversupply in the carbon-emissions market. Prices fell from €20 a tonne in 2011 to just €5 a tonne in February 2013. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, therefore hatched a plan to take about 900m tonnes of carbon allowances off the market now and reintroduce them in about five years time when, it was hoped, demand would be stronger (“backloading” in the jargon). This was the proposal the European Parliament turned down.

The rejection was a surprise. The parliament’s environment committee had looked at the plan in February and approved it by a surprisingly wide margin of 38 votes to 25.

Against that, the ETS is the only EU-wide environmental instrument and sets a carbon price that affects companies across the board. Large European companies, in particular energy-intensive ones such as chemicals makers, mounted a fierce lobbying campaign against the ETS, and some of them would also like to see a reduction in European subsidies for renewables. National renewable-energy subsidies are under pressure anyway, for budgetary reasons. And as several observers of the parliamentary debate argue, the ETS vote sends a political signal that Europeans do not care much about their flagship environmental policy—a signal that might influence national policies, too.

In fact, this whole collapse reminds me more of the gun control vote than mere pastries. A “sensible plan”, shrilly advocated by the cosseted left and backed by an overwhelming media push, meets popular opinion. And the left is shocked.

They’ll be back, chastened, but determined: people like Al Gore have too much money at stake to let this go so easily, and too many dupes at their beck and call to have to.

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