Thursday, July 9, 2009
Grin and Bair it
So FDIC Chair Sheila Bair she may be the “second most powerful woman in the world” and might even make the ‘top ten’ for most famous person to live in the People’s Republic of Amherst, but that still does not garner her an over 50% profit when selling her humble Amherst abode.
Purchased for $355, 000 in 2002 and renovated to the tune of another $89,500 the Victorian house went on the market this spring for $795,000 then quickly dropped to $695,000 to almost exactly its assessed value ($692,800) then, puff, came off the market to await better times.
The (currently rented) house is directly across the street from Amherst’s by far most famous resident, Miss Emily’s brick family home, owned by Amherst College. You would think (since the Dickinson Homestead will never be torn down to make room for a Wal-Mart) that would increase the value any property within spitting distance.
Oh well. I’m sure Ms. Bair’s salary and benefits, as FDIC Chair will allow her to carry the property for a year or two. And even if she gets the higher price, it probably will not be enough buy her a comparable sized home in Washington, DC.
Thus highlighting one of the problems in bucolic Amherst. Whiz kids come to our illustrious flagship Umass simply to use that position as a stepping-stone to BIGGER-and-BETTER things, and then want to flip their property for 50% over what they paid a few years earlier.
Thus the town Assessor considers those sales and, like a rising tide, increases the evaluations of every home in the neighborhood. Where some folks have lived all their lives (and their parents and grandparents before them) and simply can’t afford to pay those outrageous town property taxes.
Gentrification—of the snobby kind.