Daily Archives: June 5, 2013

More sales

Two more reported.

19 Weston - roofline by FAR

19 Weston – roofline by FAR

19 Weston Hill Road, Riverside, new construction, asked $3.995, got $3.995. Kali-Naagy, eat your heart out.

36 Highview Ave

36 Highview Ave

36 Highview, Old Greenwich, $2.225 million. Asked $2.595 originally but quickly dropped down to $2.395 and found a buyer quickly.

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On the other hand, maybe I don’t need to get married after all

 

Dollar Bill finds his true calling

Dollar Bill finds his true calling

“Homeless beggar” pockets €50,000 per year, lives in a €300,000 council flat.

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I’m in love with a Millinocket maid

Never too late for a May-December romance

Never too late for a May-December romance

84-year-old widow from Millinocket, Maine, wins $590 million Powerball.

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Riverside sale

76 Meadow76 Meadow Road, $5.6 million. I don’t care that this started $900,000 higher, that’s still a lot of money. I thought the house was quite nice but like many, wondered about the swamp around it and the three-house Laura Siefert Memorial subdivision going up next door. Obviously, none of that bothered this buyer.

584 Riversville

584 Riversville

And there’s a contract reported way up north, 584 Riversville Road, $1.525 million. Maybe as a building lot but even then, there seemed to be a lot of swamp wetlands in the back yard.

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I’ll have to ask my liberal Jewish friends (again) why they so love Obama

Obama appoints Samantha Power to post of UN Ambassador. Yes, this would be the same woman who urged military intervention in Israel; no she wasn’t intending to protect the Israelis from the Palestinians but rather quite the other way around. Next time the UN comes up with one of its “anti-Zionism” schemes, guess which side we’ll now be on?

Here’s the relevant tape (starts 1:50 min. in)

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Two sales reported

90 Buckfield, $1.225 million, 9 Bolling Place, $937,500.

90 Buckfield

90 Buckfield

Buckfield started out at $1.995 million a year ago, which was obviously a mistake, but it seems like a pretty good deal at its sales price, proximity to Banksville notwithstanding.

9 Bolling Place

9 Bolling Place

9 Bolling Place sold for what seems like a lot of money, but for those who insist on being in town, I suppose that’s the price they’ll pay. I’d make the long commute up to Buckfield, myself.

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What could possibly go wrong?

Wall Street money moves into the distressed housing market.

The last time the housing market was this hot in Phoenix and Las Vegas, the buyers pushing up prices were mostly small time. Nowadays, they are big time — Wall Street big.

Large investment firms have spent billions of dollars over the last year buying homes in some of the nation’s most depressed markets. The influx has been so great, and the resulting price gains so big, that ordinary buyers are feeling squeezed out. Some are already wondering if prices will slump anew if the big money stops flowing.

“The growth is being propelled by institutional money,” said Suzanne Mistretta, an analyst atFitch Ratings. “The question is how much the change in prices really reflects market demand, rather than one-off market shifts that may not be around in a couple years.”

Wall Street played a central role in the last housing boom by supplying easy — and, in retrospect, risky — mortgage financing. Now, investment companies like the Blackstone Group have swooped in, buying thousands of houses in the same areas where the financial crisis hit hardest.

Somehow I think we’ve seen this story before, and there’s never a happy ending. The smart money comes in, makes a killing and is exiting just as the dumb money rushes in. Our “housing price rise” touted by the media is all due to this boomlet, and a boomlet it is. Hang on to your wallet.

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669 Lake Avenue sells

 

669 Lake Avenue

669 Lake Avenue

$2.725 million, which is exactly what I suggested to a client she should be able to buy it for last fall. It’s a very good house, albeit a bit dated and in need of some reconfiguration of rooms, on an excellent site close to town. The problem, from a would-be buyer’s perspective, is that this property started off at $4.495 million in 2010 and so the owners naturally felt that they’d already taken a huge discount by they time they marked it down to its final asking price of $3.250 million a year ago June. So they stuck to that price – until they didn’t.

I understand the psychology involved, but if a house is worth $2.725 in 2013 it was certainly worth no more than that in 2010, and probably less. So the $1,770,000 “price cut” was really no cut at all: $4.495 was a mere Fig Newton of the imagination.

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You won’t find this in Greenwich Time

A critical look at our state’s new budget, from Chris Powell of the Journal Inquirer . You should read the whole thing, but here are snippets:

When Jodi Rell was said to be governor, her proposal to have the gambling commission start a keno game to fill a big gap in the state budget became a joke, a symbol of her administration’s laziness and intellectual bankruptcy.

Under Rell, a Republican, keno never went anywhere. The Democrats who ran the General Assembly noted that nobody knew exactly how the game would work and that its revenue estimates were only wild guesses. Keno was just a last-minute placeholder in the budget that meant: “We have no idea.”

[As of yesterday, we’re now counting on  Keno to “balance” our budget]]*

The new budget may be the most inelegant yet. It raises spending 6 percent in the first year, 4.6 percent in the second. It relies on non-recurring revenue, “one-shots,” spending the $220 million in the current budget’s supposed surplus (a terrible misnomer in light of state government’s billions in unfunded liabilities) and diverting various supposedly dedicated funds to the General Fund.

The [constitutionally mandated spending] cap isn’t being dismantled to help the poor but to liberate spending generally.

A good example of this is the budget’s treatment of the University of Connecticut. UConn’s appropriation will increase $27 million in the name of expanding instruction in science and technology, where the jobs of the future are expected to be. That expansion will not be financed by reducing instruction in sociology, women’s studies, and such, whose graduates are not likely to do any better in their careers than they would do without any college at all.

The great virtue claimed for the budget is that it maintains state financial grants to towns. But this only relieves towns from economizing with their biggest expense, employee compensation.

[Remember this sessions’ demand for tolls on highways to provide the revenue to maintain our bridges and roads, despite the state diverting the gasoline taxes which are supposed to fund that infrastructure?]

[The budget] implements a big gas tax increase, 3.8 cents per gallon, and diverts this money too, away from transportation into general purposes.

… The governor calls all this “generally accepted accounting principles.” “Generally accepted,” for sure. But the only principle is to keep feeding the machine of government.

* Ohio, which passed its own keno game to balance its budget in 2008, predicted $73 million in new revenue. As of 2011, the gambling game was producing less than half of that, $30 million.

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