Archives for the month of: December, 2010

Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) Facts:

  • Approximately 51 of the 75 million owner-occupied homes in the U.S. in 2009 had a mortgage
  • $470 billion was deducted for mortgage interest in 2008
  • Total tax savings from MID in the U.S. was $117 billion
Real Estate Tax Deduction Facts:
  • A total of $172 billion was deducted for real estate taxes in 2008
  • Average tax payer claimed $4090 from taxable income in 2008
  • Total savings from real estate tax deduction in the U.S. was $43 billion
Danielle Hale, Research Economist

If the mortgage interest and real estate tax deductions were eliminated, the loss would not be a one-year event; homeowners lose out on these potential savings each and every year. The present value3 of these lost savings could total $3.2 trillion. The value of all owner-occupied real estate in the United States in 2009 was $19.3 trillion4 . If the lost tax savings are fully capitalized into the price of houses, the average decline in value in the United States would be 17 percent. From the individual perspective, the median priced home in the United States in the third quarter 2010 was $177,800. A decline in value of 17 percent, as projected, would mean a loss in home value of $29,500 for the typical home owner.
3Present value calculation assumes 5 percent discount rate and 1000 year time horizon.
4As measured by the American Community Survey. The Federal Reserve Flow of Funds for 2009 estimated the market value of household real estate to be $17 trillion which would raise the estimate of the decline in value to 19 percent.

458 Thunderbowl Lane – Aspen Highlands, CO

  • 5 br, 5 ba, 3-½ ba
  • 9310 sq. ft.
  • Built in: 2010
Visiting family in Aspen during the Christmas/New Year holidays, and while enjoying a cup of coffee – a fellow (the listing broker) knocks on the door. Invitation in hand, he hands it over, and with a smile extends the invite, and warns that there will be cars along the street on Thursday December 30th. Throw a party – expose your listing.

It surely seems as though this is where we are heading with the real estate market:

Here’s the brief version:

  • Home prices in major metropolitan areas fell 1.3% from September to October
  • Many economists believe that the gains from Spring 2009 will be wiped out by declines in 2010
  • Unemployment rose to 9.8% last month
  • Demand is non-existent
  • Supply is still growing
  • Mortgage rates are increasing slightly
  • NAR claims that 30% of sales have come from distressed situations
  • Given the supply, Wells Fargo projects that prices will drop by 8% in 2011
  • The simple truth is that people feel poorer when their home value declines
  • “The Conference Board, a business research group, said Tuesday that its confidence index fell to 52.5 from 54.3 in November, as consumers’ views about job availability worsened” – reported the WSJ

I just had to re-blog this pathetic attitude that seems to be pervasive in our country. Everyone is entitled to believe in their personal choices, but when someone like NPR’s Nina Totenberg, to the Washington Insider, blasts off with an apology for using the term Christmas Party, we should all speak up about it. How relevant was it to even mention Christmas when the purpose of her blather was to address the failed spending bill in Congress.
“We just passed this huge tax cut in part because business said, you know, we have to plan, we have to know what kind of tax cuts we have. Well, these agencies, including the Defense Department, don’t know how much money they’ve got and for what. And I was at – forgive the expression – a Christmas party at the Department of Justice and people actually were really worried about this. These are law enforcement people don’t know exactly what kind of money they can spend for what.”

The Huffington Post December 20


I am fortunate to be visiting family in Aspen this Christmas, where the tradition of various shrines  on Ajax mountain has been allowed to live for as many years as I can remember (you will never find these in a travel guide to Aspen – the are hidden treasures)….there is the Gerry Garcia shrine, the underwear shrine, and several others (7 I believe) – where everyone who can actually locate these shrines, may contribute their personal messages – through photos and other memorabilia….so I love this version of a shrine in NYC….enjoy

A secret Christmas tree in NYC


(Aunt Christine Pellicano photos)
A person has to be The Grinch to not feel the magic that happens in NYC at Christmas.
Deep in Central Park, at the start of every December, elves return to decorate a secret tree with images and mementos from park goers who want to remember their now gone pets.
While Central Park does not officially decorate any trees, an exception is made for this lovely little tree, which location will remain a secret to avoid too much publicity, ruining this lovely tradition for loyal Central Park visitors.
Each year, the elves remove the ornaments — mainly photographs in plastic and tied on with ribbon or string. And each year they magically reappear on the tree. Several of my own cats and dogs have returned to this tree for a number of years.
In December, while walking the client-dogs in the park, I visit the tree daily. Sometimes I cry, seeing the face of my dear little Chynna Doll or my first keeper cat Sissy, the little clown Lefty. I think about the ones I have yet to add and those I lost recently.
It also makes me feel warm and fuzzy to remember my little ones at Christmas, in a somewhat private but also public way. It is a sweet memorial and a lovely tradition we hope continues for years and years. wonderful story has been originally published inThe Examiner.

November, 2010 William Raveis Real Estate
Address Bedrooms List Price Sale Price Market Time (Days)
215 BYRAM SHORE RD 5 16,750,000 16,310,000 29
51 CARRIGLEA DR 3 4,950,000 4,300,000 43
37 SKYRIDGE RD 8 4,350,000 4,250,000 24
20 DINGLETOWN RD 5 3,650,000 3,600,000 156
29 CRESCENT RD 6 3,790,000 3,375,000 61
8 WYCKHAM HILL LN 6 2,999,999 2,926,000 71
328 LAKE AV 6 2,649,500 2,485,000 502
37 IRVINE RD 5 1,995,000 1,900,000 152
52 FAIRFIELD RD 5 1,995,000 1,825,000 32
63 INDIAN FIELD RD 4 1,750,000 1,750,000 85
200 OVERLOOK DR 3 1,950,000 1,700,000 201
26 DEEPWOODS LN 5 1,533,000 1,425,000 107
54 HIGHVIEW AVE 4 1,450,000 1,375,000 35
30 LOCKWOOD DR 4 1,495,000 1,340,000 222
58 LOCKWOOD RD 5 1,350,000 1,250,000 94
6 CHERRY LN 3 1,100,000 1,000,000 28
44 MIDBROOK LN 3 1,049,000 947,500 65
85 COGNEWAUGH RD 4 829,000 795,000 76
33 GREGORY RD 4 759,500 720,000 134
62 ORCHARD ST 3 750,000 700,000 146
10 VALLEYWOOD RD 3 719,000 695,000 65
12 COMLY AV 3 710,000 680,000 166
2 MILL POND CT 3 660,000 652,500 121
4 SCHUBERT LN 4 1/2 2 645,000 600,000 22
16 THORNHILL RD 3 525,000 500,000 106
November Averages 4 2,416,160 2,284,040 110

Versailles is one of Greenwich’s treasured restaurants….but it’s more than that – It’s a bakery, It’s a pastry shop, It’s a superb breakfast spot, It’s a fantastic lunch place, and the new owners have expanded the menu to include dinner and wine.
When you start to feel nostalgic about your last trip to Paris, and rue du Bac seems an eternity away, just step into this lovely little reflection of Paris and be greeted by all of those delicious treats that one would normally find on rue du Bac; pastries, baguettes, cheeses, quiches, soupes, salades – classics with a twist.
339 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich, CT 06830
Charmingly, the news owners kept the front of the restaurant looking virtually the same as it did (only fresher) and have kept the delicious pastries, breads,  breakfast and lunch. The bonus is that they are now serving dinner and offering wholesale patisseries.
What a lovely way to say thank you to your hostess, or to your favorite clients?
Autumn Chocolate Cake
Fruit Tarts

Playing nice doesn’t always happen (and hardly ever in the real estate business – where everyone is guarded, stays to themselves) but when there is synergy, things happen, the moment when one of the parties decides not to cooperate – everything comes to a stop. We can learn life lessons from our furry friends. Can you teach an old cat new tricks?


Budweiser Clydesale Ponies in a Snowball fight

MERRY CHRISTMAS so juicy – rich guy steals steak from Whole Foods…read on

Greenwich Police Blotter Reported:

Jeffrey Richard Stewart, 104 Round Hill Rd. was arrested and charged Sunday with shoplifting a $34.55 steak from Whole Foods Market on east Putnam Avenue. He posted $250 cash bond and is scheduled to appear in state Superior Court in Stamford on December 20.

  • There is no 104 Round Hill Rd. according to Greenwich tax records
  • There is no record in the Greenwich MLS for this address (not that this is conclusive since the records do not data back that far.
  • There is not a home owner with the same exact name, and I am not going to incriminate anyone else – some that come close
  • OK – so may be this supposed Jeffrey Richard Stewart doesn’t own a home, or it is in someone else’s name – possible but it still does not answer the address question.
  • When you check the satellite view of 104 Round Hill Rd – it appears that it would be opposite and slightly south of Pecksland Rd. but there is no house anywhere close to what would be 104 Round Hill Rd.
So he either slipped a different address, or someone got this wrong..