Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Donald vs. Bank of America. I'm betting on Trump.

From The Wall Street Journal:
In the history of rapid wealth loss, Patricia Kluge stands apart. Once married to one of America's richest men, she won a divorce settlement in 1990 worth more than $100 million and proceeded to spend it on her lifestyle and business ventures. She was forced to sell off her Cartier diamonds, Givenchy gowns and silk drapes before declaring personal bankruptcy in June.

Yet the Fall of the House of Kluge has been a windfall for one man: Donald Trump.

As Ms. Kluge's empire collapsed, Mr. Trump bought. Over the past six months, he swooped in and picked up many of the pieces of her palatial Virginia estate and winery. He bought the 1,000-acre vineyard and winery for a fraction of their original value. He bought 200 acres nearby for less than $500,000, with help from Ms. Kluge and her son.

Now, the pompadoured billionaire and reality-TV star may have outplayed a much bigger rival in a bid for Ms. Kluge's crown jewel: her mansion. Bank of America owns the house after foreclosing and is trying to sell it for $16 million. The 24,000-square-foot neo-Georgian palace has 45 rooms, a spa, home theater, 3,500-bottle wine cellar and 2,000-square-foot sitting room.

One thing the house doesn't have, however, is a front yard. Mr. Trump owns that, having purchased it with his 200 acres. He also owns most of the driveway and the backyard, making a sale to any other buyer difficult. Mr. Trump said he would buy it from Bank of America for $3.6 million.

To make his point, he has erected signs on the front lawn of the mansion that read, "No Trespassing. This Land is Owned by Trump Virginia Acquisitions LLC," aimed at warding off possible buyers. He has also let the lawn go to seed.

"Maybe someone is stupid enough to buy the house," Mr. Trump said. "I wish them luck."

The broker for the house, Joseph Marchetti III, responded: "We believe the house is a salable asset as it is."

Saturday, July 2, 2011

What happens if the debt ceiling doesn't get raised?

Posted by Mike Flynn - Albany Realty Company - (229) 883-6100

This is a very interesting analysis of what might happen if the federal debt ceiling is not raised before July 22. It oulines some tough choices, but the World does not end and the US could be forced to live on a cash in cash out basis... or on a balanced budget.

Sorry but you will have to cut and paste the link.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Good news on the residential front.

By Mike Flynn - Albany Realty Company - 229-883-6100

The GAR is reporting some good news about housing inventory. We are not out of the storm yet, but the clouds are beginning to break!


Monthly Indicators: Pending Sales Up, Inventory Down
29 Jun 2011 -

Homeownership is about painting a room fluorescent fuchsia without asking anyone's permission. The recent market challenges have forced some homeowners to become begrudging renters or unintentional landlords. For the nation as a whole, the National Association of REALTORS® reports that the homeownership rate has shifted from 69.0 percent in 2005 to 66.5 percent so far in 2011. While that's not a tectonic shift, let's see what other indicators reveal since that first fateful month after the 2010 tax credit.

New Listings in the state of Georgia decreased 4.5 percent to 13,638. Pending Sales were up 63.4 percent to 8,581. Inventory levels shrank 12.3 percent to 66,893 units, but there are still plenty of great choices out there.

Prices couldn't match year-ago levels. The Median Sales Price declined 15.7 percent to $107,000. Days on Market increased 4.9 percent to 93 days. Consumers were absorbing homes more quickly as Months Supply of Inventory was down 0.5 percent to 11.1 months. Affordability also improved.

Nationally, the interest rate dropped to 4.88 percent on a 30-year fixed conventional while the unemployment rate snuck up to 9.1 percent in May. The economy added 54,000 jobs, which was far less than April and insufficient to curb unemployment. As recovery goes, so goes positive trends. Some metrics should continue to show favorable movement, but stronger job growth is needed to fuel housing demand and reinforce consumer confidence.