Daily Archives: March 8, 2016

Rats leaving the ship


Junk bonds aboard?

Chinese officials and private business owners shoveling billions out of the country as fast as they can, according to Bloomberg.

If its own leaders don’t trust their economy to keep going, why should anyone else?


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Of course


Why would I want to go somewhere boring?

President Barack O’Bama will skip Nancy Reagan’s funereal so he can speak at an Austin Texas music festival.

The annual event features movie screenings, musical performances and conferences on interactive media and technology, and has become known as a must-attend date for those in the tech world and Silicon Valley.

Well why not? The man’s gotta line up his lucrative post-presidency gigs. Petty, vindictive self-indulgent midgets are not unheard of in politics, but I don’t think a smaller man has ever reached our country’s top office.


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Very nice, but so are 89 other houses in this price range, and few people want them

20 andrews farm aireal

20 Andrews Farm

Greenwich Time has a free advertisement for 20 Andrews Farm Road today, profiling a “House built for Leisure”: 9,744 square feet of pools, bars and movies in the cellar.  The full listing is here.

Just checking the MLS, I see 89 other houses on the market, priced from $5.5 to $9 million, that offer the same amenities, if not more, and many of them have been waiting for a buyer for a long time. Just as a for instance, 33 Meeting House Road has 12,000 square feet, is beautifully constructed, and is down to $5.850 million – it started off in 2008, at $8.995. Plenty more around, too.

I don’t see the attraction of these huge houses anymore, now that the type of families that used to buy them have changed their lifestyles. You want to relax by a pool in the summer? Buy a “cottage” on Nantucket, and summer there. Wanna golf all summer, ski in the winter? Buy something at The Yellowstone Club in Montana, and fly out once a month, or more – I have friends who do (they probably also wear $118 jeans).

My point is, the notion of staying put in Greenwich for the summer was never particularly popular among the rich in our town, and it’s less so now, so maintaining 10-15,000 square feet of amusement park that the staff can enjoy during your absence is unappealing.

Or that’s what the market is suggesting, anyway.

Here are a couple more photos of Andrews Farm

andrews foyer

Welcome home?

andrews living room

Airplane hangar or living room?



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How could anyone possibly be comfortable in these pants?


Carhartt jeans – just because poofters model them doesn’t mean they aren’t also fit for manly men

Business Insider profiles a bluejeans vendor of pants that, BI claims, are “the most comfortable mens’ jeans you’ll ever wear”. 

The friggin’ things cost $118! Knowing that I could have picked up a pair of Carhartts for twenty-five bucks would make it impossible for me to wear a pair of these; stupid makes me uncomfortable.


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Nice rehab in Cos Cob

29 Barton

29 Barton Drive

29 Barton Lane, asking $1.625 million. Max Wiesen listing. It sold for just $847,000 in 2012, but look at the pictures from that listing, and you’ll see an amazing transformation. I hope the sellers make a nice profit on this: they did a great job.




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Inventory statistics


Will serve buyer as gardeners for 2 years!

Discussion of the glut of expensive houses prompted me to look at current inventory by price range, and the number of houses in each range that sold in the past 12 months, March 8, 2015-March 8, 2016. Here are the numbers, collected from the Greenwich Multiple listing service. I didn’t bother with a “days on market” average for each range because, as I’ve pointed out here many times, as calculated by the GMLS, it’s a useless number. You can be assured, however, that many of the higher priced houses have lingered  for years, and the sales prices in that range often represent price cuts up to 50%.

$1.250 – $2.1 million, 77 Greenwich listings, 52 out of town

Sold last year: 187, Greenwich, plus 22 out of town (listing cheaper Stamford and Darien houses on our MLS clearly pays off)

$2,001 – $2.999, 86 Greenwich listings, 21 out of town

Sold last year: 119 Greenwich, 2 out of town

$3,000 – $3.500: 43, Greenwich listings, 5 out of town

Sold last year: 37, Greenwich, 3 out of town

$3.501 – $4.500: 71 Greenwich listings, 11 out of town

Sold last year: 59, Greenwich, 5 out of town

$4.500 +    188 Greenwich listings, 13 out of town

Sold last year: 69, Greenwich, 0 out of town


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Make that 317

The number of homes priced above $2.950 million was increased by seven today, from 310.

4 Lauder Way

4 Lauder Way

4 Lauder Way, a wonderful old home built in 1937 and last renovated in 1993, has been brought on the market by David Ogilvy at $12 million. Three beautiful acres, classic house close to town, but when the listing shows a picture of a flowering shrub rather than, say, the master bath, one can be forgiven for suspecting that there’s some major renovating to be done here.

The Corian counters in the kitchen suggest the same thing.

175 Stanwich Road

175 Stanwich Rd

175 Stanwich Road, $3.595 million. Seems plain vanilla from its pictures, but I haven’t seen it yet.

98 north street

98 North Street

98 North Street, $3.495. Sold for $3.950 million in 2006, it’s actually been on the market since 2013, when it started at $4.850.

110 Shore Road

110 Shore Road

110 Shore Road, Old Greenwich, $3.4 million. This sold for $3,919, 318 back in ’06, when it had just been renovated, but apparently it hasn’t aged well, or, and here’s a happy thought, the sellers want to sell it.

644 Lake

644 Lake Avenue

644 Lake Avenue, $3.350 million. It’s also listed as land, which should tell you all you need to know about the house itself, but perhaps not.

75 Dearfield Drive

75 Deerfield Drive

75 Deerfield Drive, $3.1 million. Another house that’s been kicking around forever (March, 2011), but back on the market.

93 Valley Road is one of those condo/townhouse developments, asking $3.295.


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This is probably not good news for those high-end homes

Santa Claus arrested

No more Santa Claus

Merrill Lynch announced this two weeks ago, but today’s the day: traders are being told to clear out their desks and go home.

BofA is joining firms across Wall Street in paring back staff amid one of the worst quarters for investment-banking and trading revenues. Business Insider reported on Monday that Deutsche Bank was cutting 75 staff in fixed income, while Morgan Stanley and Barclays have also recently cut staff.

Daniel Pinto, CEO of JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank, said on Tuesday that the firm’s investment-banking revenues are forecast to be down 25% in the first quarter. Markets revenues are down 20% year-on-year, Pinto said, speaking at JPMorgan’s Investor Day conference.

Love Wall Street or loathe it, Greenwich’s high prices are sustained by the health of the financial industry, and that health is weakening.


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And speaking of loiterers…

432 Field Point Road

432 Field Point Road; probably the prettiest staircase in Greenwich

432 Field Point Road, which has been on the market since 2012, has dropped its price from $5.995 million to $5.895. That may not seem like enough of a cut to finally attract a buyer, but the owner’s a real estate agent, so she must know what she’s doing.

Built in 1892, David Ogilvy tried to sell it for $8 million beginning sometime around when it was one-year-old, and finally got $4.3 for it in 2005. The present owners did a marvelous job of modernizing it and bringing light into its Victorian interior, but they can’t seem to unload it, despite that.

Maybe this will do it.


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Yes, real estate, like politics, is local, but this seems to be happening here in Greenwich, too


Hugh Hefner’s not the only one having trouble selling his mansion


Lower-priced homes sell quickly while inventory on the higher end piles up

A two-bedroom house in Los Angeles listed for $585,000 received 10 offers in the first week it hit the market, with the winner agreeing to pay $640,000.

Meanwhile, a four-bedroom house a few miles away, priced at $3 million, sat on the market for more than a month with no offers before selling for $2.75 million in January.

The divide in Los Angeles is typical of what is happening across the country. Housing has become a tale of two markets, brokers and economists said, with lower-priced homes selling quickly even as inventory of expensive ones piles up.

Nationwide, the number of homes for sale priced below $100,000 fell 8.6% in January from a year earlier, while the number of homes priced above $1 million rose 15%, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Price bands in between those levels show a similar trend: The less expensive the price, the smaller the growth in the number of homes on the market.

Economists said a number of factors are creating the divide. On the low end, after a slow recovery from the housing bust, first-time buyers are finally returning to the market, bolstered by still-cheap mortgages. But after years of little new construction, inventory is still tight.

High-end buyers, meanwhile, are more sensitive to the stock market’s struggles this year.

“In certain price points, it’s really tough for buyers right now. There’s limited inventory and lots of demand,” said Los Angeles real-estate agent Alec Traub. But for high-priced homes, Mr. Traub said, “things may be sitting on the market a little longer.”

“Sit a little longer” is Realtor-talk for “they’re screwed”. Right now in Greenwich, there are 107 listings priced at $1.375 and below, and anything even moderately acceptable is flying off the shelf. There are 310 houses priced at $2.975 and up, and they are pretty much gathering dust.


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