Daily Archives: February 17, 2015

Maggy Gordon strikes again

Apparently Greenwich Time has decided to put a real reporter to work on real estate news in this town – it’s astonishing that it hasn’t before, given that it’s real estate advertising that’s been keeping the paper alive, and that writer, Maggy Gordon, reports that a Belle Haven property has sold for $26 million.

Brother Gideon reports (rumors, and we all know what those are worth) that seller was Sykes, buyers are Edward and Brook Garden, property’s at 79 Harbor Drive:  2 acres, (overlooking) waterfront, last sold in 1998 for $14 million.  Ogilvy deal.

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Well, there’s always someone

29 Byfield Lane

29 Byfield Lane

29 Byfield Lane, $3.595 million, has a contract. This was one of that Chinese artist-housing developer General Tsoi’s projects, which was listed at various prices, starting at  $4.9, million, rising to $9.5, and then dropping again to the $4s. Long ago, I presented an offer from clients to the foreclosing bank for $3.1 million, and got no response. Three years on, they dropped their price, and have found a buyer – wonder how much it cost them to hold it all that time?

Typical Tsoi sauce construction: bad location (the Merritt runs in back), same cheap granite bought by the truckload down in China Town at 3:00 AM, but, in a departure from his usual work, a decent layout. And the house itself is well made, even if it’s sat empty since 2007.

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There’s always a fool in the “bigger fool” theory of trading, and it’s usually the chump who thinks he’s not it.

Loser: Marc Kerrest, a trader in San Francisco, checks natural-gas prices as he prepares to watch the Super Bowl with family on Feb. 1. PHOTO: LAURA MORTON FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Loser:
Marc Kerrest, a trader in San Francisco, checks natural-gas prices as he prepares to watch the Super Bowl with family on Feb. 1. PHOTO: LAURA MORTON FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Says in the WSJ that natural gas traders are ruining their lives watching market swings, 24-hours a day. I have no particular sympathy for the traders: they’re addicted to gambling, and will pursue that rush at the expense of their family and anything else worthwhile, regardless of results, but this bit in the article caught my eye.

Screen watching becomes so intense in part because weather updates can lead to quick, dramatic changes in prices. Many traders have started looking at extended forecasts even though, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, attempts to predict weather more than seven days in advance are useless. Investors track such forecasts in the winter even if they don’t trust them, believing they signal the path of the herd…

Marc Kerrest, a trader in San Francisco, says he works many Sunday afternoons; he even checked natural-gas prices and weather reports shortly before the Super Bowl.

Mr. Kerrest manages $1 million in his own gas-focused fund, Cornice Trading, which won big from last year’s volatility—it saw a 40% return in 2014, driven by profits made during the winter. This winter’s volatility hasn’t proved so lucrative—the fund has posted small losses so far. But Mr. Kerrest says he hopes the volatility leads to big wins in February that help make it all up.

“The winters are more fun for me than anything,” he says.

These traders are the herd they so despise, so they’re all in for a tough time, each convinced that they’re smarter than their peers, just as 75% of drivers polled claim they’re better drivers than the average idiot on the road. As for Mr. Kerrest, I’d suggest that he get a life, but that would be pointless: this is his life.

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Somehow, jobs and a solid social welfare net isn’t working (but don’t tell Marie Harf)

The new face of Sweden

The new face of Sweden

 Scandinavians must prepare for more Muslim attacks.

 Scandinavia will need to examine its exposure to radicalization as the region faces more terrorist attacks from homegrown assailants, Norway’s defense minister said.

“No matter what kind of scenario you look at, for the coming years you will most likely have some kind of terrorism situation to consider,” Ine Eriksen Soereide said Monday in an interview at her office in Oslo. “This is the new normal, it’s something that we have to get used to now.”

Copenhagen erupted in gunfire over the weekend when a man shot and killed two people and wounded five police officers in attacks that targeted a free-speech debate and a synagogue. The suspected killer, a 22-year-old who was born in Denmark, died in a shootout with police after an overnight manhunt.

According to Danish media, the killer was Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein. His parents are from Palestine, TV2 reported.

Norway, like Denmark, is a nation accustomed to freedoms that aren’t possible in many other parts of the world. Mothers are used to leaving their babies in strollers outside cafes and passers by have easy access to the nation’s parliament. Even after the 2011 hate killings by Anders Behring Breivik, which left 77 people dead and destroyed part of the prime minister’s office, security remains more relaxed than in many other parts of the world.

The attacks in Copenhagen, which were the deadliest in Scandinavia since the Breivik murders, hit close to home for Norwegians, Soereide said.

“Young radicalized people who go to Syria or Iraq and come back with the intent and capacity to undertake terrorist acts on Norwegian or European soil, they are to a large extent people who have grown up in our countries,” she said.

Though it’s unclear whether the Danish gunman acted alone or as part of a group, there are signs he has a number of sympathizers in Denmark. Broadcaster TV2 showed pictures of youths placing flowers at the site where El-Hussein was shot by police. According to Berlingske, a 26-year-old man from the city of Aarhus has expressed sympathy with the suspected killer, declaring “Je suis Omar” on Facebook.

Scandinavia enjoyed a wonderful post-war period of prosperity, which worked because it had a homogeneous population of well educated, hard working people who bought into the concept of everyone helping their neighbor while also creating wealth. That paradise began to erode when the countries began admitting gypsies and other welfare spongers across their borders, and today, the cities have the same ghettos and “n0-go” zones Scandinavians used to excoriate the United States for creating.

And now Muslim terrorists. The fact that state officials, like our own Obama, still refer to these monsters as “radicalized young people” indicates that they have no grasp of what is happening. This will all end badly.

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State Department will stop ISIS by fighting a new war on poverty

ISIS is running a recruiting campaign that features the slow sawing-off of heads and the burning of prisoners in cages. Thousands of young Muslims are responding to those scenes by rushing to join the fun alongside their brethren. Our government thinks that the same young man who finds videoed butchery compelling will give up that dream if he can be an account, instead?  Clueless.

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New listing, Cos Cob

22 Pond Place

22 Pond Place

22 Pond Place, $995,000. I had a chance to be considered for this listing (travel to Maine, death of mother, etc. all combined to leave the owners the impression I wasn’t interested, alas – my fault) and I liked it very much. The owners have done a lot of improvements since they bought it, including removing a wall to open up the kitchen, and it feels like a very nice home. My own price estimate wasn’t too far off where this agent has listed it, so naturally, I think it could be a good deal. Good street, too.

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Pending sale

26 Meadow Road

26 Meadow Road

26 Meadow Road, asking $1.950 million. Ann Simpson’s seller, Chris Fountain’s buyers. Does this mean I can now buy that Tesla pickup? No, it does not.

Buyers are a young couple returning to town (one grew up around the corner), who appreciate the charm of older homes, so this was a pretty simple deal; they were already sold on location and this style house.

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Serial squatters

Zaccheus Mead next?

Zaccheus Mead next?

California couple moves from one luxury house to another, never paying rent.

A married couple accused of squatting in a string of multimillion-dollar homes has holed up and refused to pay rent in a luxury home on California’s coast.

Two months after Gina and Paul Schwendel signed a lease and moved into a $4.4million home in Del Sur, their landlord, Dennis Simpson, says he has yet to receive any money in rent.

Instead, he tells KGTV, the couple complained that the five-bedroom, seven-bathroom home with waterfront views is uninhabitable.

‘This is what I would call a professional tenant,’ said eviction attorney Steven Silverstein, who had the Schwendels tossed from another multimillion-dollar home in Newport Beach.

‘They come in with a lot of money, a lot of flash, a lot of glitz,’ says Silverstein.

The approach has landed the Schwendels in a 10,000-square-foot pad in upscale Orange County and a fourth luxury home in Laguna Beach, all of which they were evicted from, according to KGTV.

Greenwich has seen a fair number of people like this over the years. Once they’re in you house, it’s nearly impossible to evict them in any reasonable length of time, thanks to our landlord/tenant laws. Beware.

 

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Perhaps we can persuade the Democrats to move to Rome

Golf sum , ergo sum

Golf sum , ergo sum

Archeologists: Best thing Romans did for Britain was to leave. Without taxes, people could afford more food, and life expectancies rose two years.

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