International impact of U.S. housing slump

From the Wall Street Journal:

Latin America Feels Pain Of U.S. Housing Slump
By JOEL MILLMAN
April 23, 2007; Page A2

The slowing U.S. housing market already has taken a bite out of the U.S. economy. Now, the fallout is spreading to Latin America.

That’s because home construction is the principal gateway industry for immigrants entering the U.S. labor market. Those immigrants contribute the lion’s share of the estimated $50 billion in cash sent annually from the U.S. to family members and others in countries south of the border. That tide of cash appears to be ebbing.

Monthly remittances from the U.S. to Mexico have dropped every month since their peak of $2.6 billion in May 2006 — shortly before new-home construction in the U.S. plunged. In February 2007, the latest month for which data are available, remittances to Mexico had slowed to $1.7 billion.

Mexico, Latin America’s remittance leader, may be a leading indicator of a trend unfolding across the continent. In a recent study of 15 Latin American economies tracked by BCP Securities of Greenwich, Conn., all but three showed better than a 90% correlation between the ebb and flow of U.S. housing starts and the swelling and shrinkage of remittances as recorded by the nations’ central banks.

Data showing what appear to be fewer illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border adds to the evidence of a housing-related plunge in remittances. Apprehensions of attempted crossers are down just over 10% during the first quarter of this year from the same period in 2006, according to federal law enforcement. The Bush administration claims the decrease is because of tighter border security. But those on the Mexican side say traffic has slowed for a simpler reason: There are fewer jobs waiting for those who make it across.

The pain of a U.S. housing slump affects people such as Donato Diaz in the tiny village of Santa Gertrudis Zimatlan, in southern Oaxaca state. He returned from the U.S. in 2000 after spending more than a decade building homes in California’s sprawling suburbs. Mr. Diaz used the money he made there to build his own construction-supply store. However, its fortunes depend heavily on cash transfers from Mexicans still working up north to family members here, who use the money to improve their homes.

Between 2000 and 2006, almost 20,000 Hispanic laborers entered the U.S. construction work force in just one occupation: cement mason. Another 72,000 became drywall hangers and 140,000 more as painters, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The vast majority of these new job holders were foreign-born and crossed the border illegally, according to the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington.

As housing starts slow, recent hires on construction sites are the first to lose their jobs — and the first to warn relatives back home not to bother with a risky border crossing until the job picture improves. How many Mexican workers have lost their jobs? Most immigrants send an average of $1,000 a month back home, and Mexico’s remittances are down by about $600 million, representing earnings from about 600,000 workers.

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149 Responses to International impact of U.S. housing slump

  1. James Bednar says:

    Somewhat related, but a stretch. I thought this piece was interesting enough to post a few paragraphs from. From the Star Ledger this morning:

    High cost of cheap labor

    Tucked behind a Hooters restaurant on Route 23 in Wayne, the Majestic Buffet is a 250-seat testament to the global appeal of Chinese food and the ever-growing American appetite.

    For $7.99, diners can fill their plates from five steam tray tables piled high with beef and broccoli, baked salmon and “chicken fow fun.” There are eight types of dumplings, six kinds of soup, as well as lobsters swimming in tanks and koi swimming in a gurgling fountain.

    But Chinese restaurant workers, labor organizers and immigration experts say there’s a secret ingredient behind the large portions and cheap prices at Majestic and thousands of Chinese restaurants across the United States: cheap, often exploited, immigrant labor.

    In February, a federal administrative law judge ordered the owners of Majestic Buffet to rehire and pay thousands in back wages to seven immigrant workers who complained to the National Labor Relations Board, claiming bosses forced them to pay kickbacks out of their tips and work 60 to 80 hours a week with no overtime.

    The Majestic Buffet case was the third such complaint filed against Chinese restaurants in northern New Jersey in the past two years. All of the cases challenged a system that workers say forces them into near indentured servitude: relying on their bosses for food and housing, and being cornered by debt and threats into accepting abusive working conditions.

  2. metroplexual says:

    I wonder how many of the Mexican immigrants bought a house.

  3. pesche22 says:

    Well , if this is the case i guess we will
    have to start sending cash gifts to the various mexican cities to supplement the lost wages.

    the guy makes it sound like its our fault

    Perhpas the NJ hospital system will benefit
    from the loss of housing workers who
    are illegal and sucking the life out of it.

  4. James Bednar says:

    Off topic, but interesting. From the Herald News:

    Sitting pretty with ‘Sopranos’

    CLIFTON — A scene in the second-to-last episode of “The Sopranos'” finale season will take place in the real-life home of Antonio and Maria Ligato at 53 Haussler Terrace.

    According to the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission, the show has poured over $60 million into the state economy through everything from location fees to dry cleaning and catering services, said David Schoner Jr., the commission’s production coordinator.

    In Clifton, the show has paid $14,300 to the city since 2000 in daily filming fees, said Al Greco, city manager — whose name appears on the thank-you list after shows filmed partly in Clifton. That fee used to be $100 a day, but was doubled to $200 a day starting this year, Greco said. In addition, Clifton police have typically charged the show for two off-duty police officers, said Detective Lt. Richard Berdnik, a police spokesman.

  5. James Bednar says:

    Jarrett is going to get himself into trouble..

    Politically connected admins, staff abound at Schools of Technology

    Some have several college degrees, while others have never stepped foot in a college classroom, but a number of administrative and support personnel employed at the Hudson County Schools of Technology share a common bond: They have graduated from the school of Hudson County politics.

    A Jersey Journal review of the 441 full-time employees at HCST reveals political ties up and down the salary rolls, from the superintendent who doubles as an elected official in North Bergen to secretaries related to people at the upper echelon of the county’s political establishment.

    The maintenance department is run by a mayor; an assistant dispatcher is the driver of the mayor of West New York; a former Jersey City acting mayor and the director of special projects is a former Jersey City council president.

    These administrators and support staff are among the highest-paid employees when compared to the employees at the state’s other 20 vocational school districts, according to state Department of Education statistics.

    However, the political connections appear to stop at the classroom door. There is nothing to suggest that these so-called patronage jobs have spilled over into the faculty, who have produced some of the best and brightest students in the state.

    Instead, critics say, local politicians have used HCST as a patronage mill, padding the payrolls with staff and administrative jobs with “nebulous” job titles like school-to-career facilitator and school coordinating chief – in order to retain a strong political base that makes them untouchable come election time.

  6. thatbigwindow says:

    sounds familiar…

  7. James Bednar says:

    From Reuters:

    Investor morale ebbs in April on gasoline prices-UBS

    Investors’ confidence in the U.S. economy fell for the third successive month in April, touching its lowest level since September 2006, weighed down by high gasoline prices, a survey showed on Monday.

    The UBS/Gallup Index of Investor Optimism fell to 74 in April from 78 in March. The April reading matched a reading of 74 last September.

    Investors were also concerned about the continued deterioration in the housing market, the survey showed.

    “Even as the equity markets reach new highs, investors are troubled by fundamental economic issues that directly impact their bottom line, energy prices and real estate,” a statement accompanying the UBS/Gallup survey said.

    “With the slowdown in real estate sales this spring, traditionally the strongest sales season, investors are particularly sensitive to these issues.”

  8. BC Bob says:

    “Even as the equity markets reach new highs, investors are troubled by fundamental economic issues that directly impact their bottom line, energy prices and real estate,”

    [7],

    Not to worry, energy and the housing bust is not calculated in the core. If you don’t have to eat nor drive, you’re fine.

  9. abamitphd says:

    JB. Take a look at the raw data from your “lowball” spreadsheet for Milburn. Average property stays on the market for six weeks and sells for ask. It looks like its still 2005.

    2349908 Millburn Twp.* (1612) $1,250,000 $1,250,000 $1,250,000 4/2/2007 25 0.0% $0
    2364159 Millburn Twp.* (1612) $1,299,000 $1,299,000 $1,400,000 4/15/2007 10 -7.8% ($101,000)
    2298516 Millburn Twp. (1612) $549,900 $505,000 $485,000 4/5/2007 125 11.8% $64,900
    2336196 Millburn Twp. (1612) $245,000 $235,000 $217,500 3/30/2007 121 11.2% $27,500
    2274320 Millburn Twp. (1612) $695,000 $695,000 $635,000 4/5/2007 54 8.6% $60,000
    2351415 Millburn Twp. (1612) $2,795,000 $2,795,000 $2,795,000 4/5/2007 33 0.0% $0
    2366888 Millburn Twp. (1612) $899,000 $899,000 $900,000 4/4/2007 18 -0.1% ($1,000)
    2359047 Millburn Twp. (1612) $1,100,000 $1,100,000 $1,105,000 4/4/2007 7 -0.5% ($5,000)
    2367287 Millburn Twp. (1612) $859,000 $859,000 $875,000 4/3/2007 10 -1.9% ($16,000)
    2369310 Millburn Twp. (1612) $799,000 $799,000 $903,000 4/3/2007 17 -13.0% ($104,000)

  10. lisoosh says:

    Looks like a crashing house market and slowing economy will control illegal immigration rates better than any legislation could.

  11. James Bednar says:

    abamitphd,

    The story changes even more when you pull out the two high DOM outliers and re-run the numbers. I did, and compared it to the existing inventory, and what it tells me is that when a house is priced right in comparison to existing inventory, it’s going to sell quick.

    Here is the existing Millburn inventory, it’s in text format. Let me know if you don’t understand something

    http://www.njrereport.com/files/millburn.txt

    jb

  12. James Bednar says:

    One last note, that applies to most every town in NJ, don’t think Millburn is alone in that respect.

    jb

  13. njrebear says:

    In Case You Missed It: Charts Show Bond Rally Is Over

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aUOfQwjDOoi8&refer=home

    The biggest bull market in U.S. Treasury bonds is over, according to the analysts who rely on historical price patterns to make their assumptions.

    The Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation, the price index for personal consumption expenditures excluding food and energy, has been 2 percent or higher since April 2004. In the previous eight years, it topped that level during only six months. Core inflation was as high as 4.7 percent in 1984 when 30-year bond yields rose to 13.9 percent.

  14. lowball says:

    Who’s the real victim in the subprime mortgage debacle?
    By Michael Lewis
    BLOOMBERG NEWS
    04/22/2007

    The moral of the story is also clear: No matter how much the government might try to help the poor, the rich people who run financial markets will find a way to shaft them.

    Moving is never pleasant or cheap, but that is the main cost to the subprime defaulter: He hands back the house, whose value has presumably plummeted, to the people who lent the money to buy it, and walks away. He rents. (Shrewdly!) In effect he bought a very cheap call option on the U.S. housing market. While he waited to see if his call option made him richer, he lived in a much nicer house than he could otherwise afford and probably wondered why rich people had become so recklessly open-handed. His behavior was irresponsible, but the markets let him do it and so it’s hard to blame him.

    Am I the only one who wonders how a person who borrows money he can’t repay, buys a house he can’t afford, and then stiffs his creditors, is allowed to play the victim?

  15. James Bednar says:

    From the AP:

    Ahead of the Bell: IndyMac

    Banc of America Securities on Monday said IndyMac Bancorp has not been very convincing in its repeated efforts to convince the market the mortgage lender has minimal exposure to borrowers with bad credit.

    For the third time since investors began fleeing from mortgage debt backed by bad credit earlier this year, the second-biggest independent mortgage bank on Friday released statistics intended to show the credit problems plaguing some other mortgage banks do not threaten IndyMac.

    Banc of America Securities analyst Robert Lacoursiere wrote in a client note he’s not convinced. In fact, the release suggests increased exposure, he said, because of more loans that didn’t require much documentation, or loans that aren’t backed by enough collateral.

    Another factor that caught Lacoursiere’s attention was IndyMac’s disclosure that it would issue far fewer loans if it took certain steps to tighten its underwriting. If the Pasadena, Calif.-based lender has so little exposure to bad credit, he said, then adopting underwriting standards ferreting out bad credit shouldn’t eliminate so many loans.

  16. James Bednar says:

    From the San Francisco Chronicle:

    Why we shouldn’t be bailing out subprime lenders or borrowers

    Dumb: Buying a house you can’t afford with no down payment and a loan whose monthly payments will explode in a few years.

    Dumber: Lending money to people who can’t afford a traditional mortgage, especially when they have lousy credit ratings and don’t substantiate their income.

    Dumbest: Bailing out dumb and dumber, especially with taxpayer money.

  17. Kim says:

    I’m surprised this has not been posted, unless I missed it.

    From today’s Daily Record:
    Seller beware: Morris home prices slip 3.5%
    Average sale price falls to $578,214; decrease is county’s first since 1991

    http://www.dailyrecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070423/COMMUNITIES/704230326

  18. Marito says:

    I have had the same impression that JB in regards with what abamitph was saying. In the town that I’ve been following, Fair Lawn, the mix of houses sold shows houses that come to the market in early 07, with prices clearly reduced from comps in 05′ or early 06, and sell quicky if they’re atractive. They sell tipically for 2-3% below. Then there are the houses that have been languishing for a year and finally capitulate. Those sell for 10% below their 06 or 05 OLPs.

  19. Marito says:

    can anybody help with these NJMLS numbers:
    2711381
    2710447
    2706085
    2713646

    Thanks!!

  20. Joey Joe-Joe Junior Shabadoo says:

    I’m upset. I went to 3 open houses this weekend and there were brownies at none of them.

    One realtor asked us to sign in to “prove to the seller that people showed up.”

  21. UnRealtor says:

    From the San Francisco Chronicle …

    Dumbest: Bailing out dumb and dumber, especially with taxpayer money.

    There’s a new show on one of the home channels calles “My First House” which follows around first-time home buyers on their quest to buy a home.

    In one episode, they had a young couple in San Francisco who were a teacher ($50K income) and an engineer ($70K income), and “bought” a $750,000 house using an interest only loan.

    They ooohed and ahhhed at the granite counter tops, and “bought” the place.

    The next day, they went to Ethan Allen (expensive) and dropped a few grand on furnishing their new granite-appointed crackerbox.

    For the parting scene of the show, they were both sitting on their new $2K Ethan Allen couch, grinning ear to ear about “all our new stuff.”

  22. James Bednar says:

    I’m surprised this has not been posted, unless I missed it.

    I missed it.

    jb

  23. Lincoln78 says:

    Totally off topic, I trust the LOD in the computer area:

    I’m looking to buy a used laptop for basic travelling work purposes (Word, Excel, Internet, Watch DVDs on the plane). I’ve been looking on eBay but don’t know if I should be looking out for any “red flags”.

    Also, is there anyplace besides eBay I should be looking?

    – Lincoln

  24. RentinginNJ says:

    I wonder what this means for New Jersey population. The only source of population growth in NJ is international immigration, primarily from South America. On a net-net basis, U.S. citizens from NJ are leaving the state in droves. How long before we see outright population declines?

  25. chaoticchild says:

    Lincoln,

    craigslist is always good for used computer. Since it is local, you probably can pick up and don’t pay shipping.

    CC

  26. rhymingrealtor says:

    Jim,

    Maybe a little off topic, but related to fees in clifton, I have gone to many a town to arrange CO inspections, paid the fee ( on behalf of owner) and made the appt. Clifton has a very strict schedule ( ahem) Every wednesday only in the designated area, so I just missed my week and was closing in 4 – so they offered me the other (ahem ) schedule, any thursday night 4-8 pm but it is 75.00 xtra in cash only. The Co is 125.00!!! ( way more than other towns) then +75.00 cash only. Yes I paid (ponyied up) it was a condo – 2 minutes in and out! Funniest part condo resold less than 6 months later ( not for more) and they told her her carbon was in the wrong spot,and failed her Stupid agent should have paid the Cash.
    KL

  27. James Bednar says:

    Also, is there anyplace besides eBay I should be looking?

    Entry/Midrange laptop prices have come down so much that it almost doesn’t pay to buy a used laptop anymore. I’ve seen comparable new laptops selling for the same prices as on eBay.

    I’d suggest browsing some of the online “Deal” sites for a good deal on a new laptop.

    http://www.anticost.com is a good place to start. (Please note that I am affiliated with that website.)

    My “little” laptop (I have more than one) came from Costco believe it or not. It’s a small Compaq Presario that was a steal of a deal.

    A long long time ago, you could find good deals from out-of-state vendors, so you eliminated sales tax. Unfortunately the best deals today are either going to be directly from the manufacturers (Dell, HP, etc) or from a store that has nexus in NJ.

    jb

  28. njrebear says:

    over the weekend, i bought a router from buy.com
    I wish i had seen these coupons :(

    http://www.anticost.com/c/buy-com-coupons.asp

  29. chicagofinance says:

    I made this call last week……….

    [from the article]

    The Bush administration claims the decrease is because of tighter border security. But those on the Mexican side say traffic has slowed for a simpler reason: There are fewer jobs waiting for those who make it across.

  30. dreamtheaterr says:

    #1, three of us went to that Hooters on Rte 23 for a few beers Friday before last after work. We were struck by the size of the Chinese buffet place and we discussed it briefly in the parking lot, i.e. it is no secret that these places employ illegal, underpaid folks. Go to the big Chinese supermarkets and the story is the same.

    #24, biggest red-flag: you don;t know how much a laptop is carried around and bumped around (a lot most probably), unlike a desktop that sits on a desk. If all you need it is for basic computing needs, you could get a new entry-level laptop for sub $500 in the major retail stores.

  31. “get a $200,000 loan for $667/mo”… “Bad credit OK”

    Web lenders woo subprime borrowers despite crisis By Julie Haviv and Emily Kaiser
    39 minutes ago

    NEW YORK/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Get a “$200,000 mortgage for $667 a month!” a banner advertisement on a lending Web site proclaims. “Bad credit OK!”

    Even after months of nonstop news coverage about the subprime mortgage mess and the steep rise in defaults and foreclosures, pop-up Internet advertisements and banners permeate cyberspace pitching low-monthly-payment loans.

    READ: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070423/wr_nm/usa_subprime_advertising_dc;_ylt=AtLwC.NVvoO3_HGlP4kOIi8jtBAF

  32. Rich In NNJ says:

    Marito,

    2711381
    ACT 69 POMONA AVE $359,900 12/12/2006
    PCH 69 POMONA AVE $349,900 1/6/2007
    EXP 69 POMONA AVE $349,900 3/12/2007

    ACT 69 POMONA AVE $349,900 3/24/2007 (Same agent & broker)
    ACT* 69 POMONA AVE $349,900 4/4/2007
    U/C 69 POMONA AVE $349,900 4/17/2007
    Est Cls Dt: 6/28/2007

    2710447
    SLD 24-05 RAPHAEL ST $184,000 6/30/1998

    SLD 24-05 RAPHAEL ST $270,000 7/16/2002

    ACT 24-05 RAPHAEL ST $389,000 3/18/2007
    ACT* 24-05 RAPHAEL ST $389,000 3/23/2007
    U/C 24-05 RAPHAEL ST $389,000 4/12/2007
    Est Cls Dt: 5/30/2007

    2706085
    ACT 10-09 1ST ST $389,900 2/13/2007
    ACT* 10-09 1ST ST $389,900 3/7/2007
    U/C 10-09 1ST ST $389,900 4/11/2007
    Est Cls Dt: 6/30/2007

    2713646
    SLD 12-18 ORCHARD ST $300,000 2/20/2004

    ACT 12-18 ORCHARD ST $399,900 4/9/2007
    ACT* 12-18 ORCHARD ST $399,900 4/18/2007
    U/C 12-18 ORCHARD ST $399,900 4/19/2007
    Est Cls Dt: 6/28/2007

  33. fanshawe says:

    Lincoln78:

    What price range are you looking for? You can get a new Dell Inspiron 1501 for $549. It’s a new deal that showed up this morning.

    http://slickdeals.net/?permadeal=9349#direct_deal_9349

  34. James Bednar says:

    Keep in mind that many of these web, email, or fax mortgage offers are nothing more than attempts to gather prospects by mortgage lead generation firms. Many times, the carrot they dangle is nothing more than a ploy to get you to provide your contact information. That information is than provided to numerous third parties, or to a mortgage firm affiliated with the lead generator for a fee, of course.

  35. chaoticchild says:

    To JB or anyone with MLS access.

    Please provide more information on
    MLS 2398435

    It is currently list for rental at $3400/month.

    It was listed for sale from late fall to early winter. The OLP was 789k, it went to 739k. It was eventually listed as SOLD at the realtor’s website.

    My questions,
    Was it really sold?
    How much? And what is the property tax?

    Thx,

    CC

  36. Rich In NNJ says:

    2398435: Must be a GSMLS number

  37. abamitphd says:

    #11

    JB

    Keep treating outliers like that and you might end up with a job as an economist somewhere.

    Thanks for the info on Milburn. Looking quickly over your spreadsheet, it just seems to be an outlier with so many closing prices above ask. I didn’t see that in too many other towns (i.e. Chatham and Madison)

  38. James Bednar says:

    My questions,
    Was it really sold?
    How much? And what is the property tax?

    It was not sold, it was withdrawn on 3/2/2007. Current owner (verified via tax records as well as the owner name on the rental listing) has owned it since 1988. Taxes are approx $7,500.

    jb

  39. Hard Place says:

    Hi all. I haven’t posted on here in a while. Just moved to a larger rental apt that was a deal too good to pass up. It now makes it easier for me to rent for several more years instead of buying. I also get to stay in NYC for now. Sure my rent costs increased, but it still costs less than buying. Also instead of wasting time looking at still overpriced homes, I’ve been enjoying the weather. Spent time at the park and played a little softball this weekend. Debt free and happy!

  40. chaoticchild says:

    Rich and JB.

    Thank you for quick responses.

    The realtor is so misleading. I thought it was sold.

    Thx again.

    CC

  41. nwbergen says:

    post 22

    I saw that episode!

    I had to break out the calculator and run the numbers during the show. They put down 20% with a 6.5% interest only loan. Let’s not forget the $350/ month condo fees, which were waived for a year. I just don’t get it, the husband is a post doc working at Stanford University, goes to show no common sense.

  42. James Bednar says:

    Keep treating outliers like that…

    Sample sizes are just too small when you are looking at the data at a town level. Impossible unless you start to aggregate upwards to get a meaningful set of data. The problem is the aggregation. I use county because it’s available and clearly defined, unfortunately it’s not the best measure either.

    However, with small sample sizes, it isn’t much more difficult to run the comps on each sale. In fact, it’s a much more meaningful exercise.

    jb

  43. MJ says:

    its best to buy a new laptop. I recently bought a dell on craigslist with 1.8 Pentium M and 1 GB RAM, all for 375. However, I wouldnt do it again. Lot of red flgs to watchout for on ebay and craigslist. craigslist is worse because there is no feedback system.

  44. UnRealtor says:

    “I just don’t get it, the husband is a post doc working at Stanford University, goes to show no common sense.”

    Indeed — all that education, and no income or brains to show for it.

  45. chicagofinance says:

    Is anyone looking in Mountainside? I have a friend who is a realtor out of Westfield, and he is running one this coming weekend. I am clueless about comps and pricing, all I see is $1.019M for what looks like a 4BR/3.5 Bath – .27 acre….I am more curious about what people think than anything else

  46. Lincoln78 says:

    Thanks for all the used / laptop info.

    I’m really in the market for a portable DVD player and figured, for an extra $100-$150, I can get a “regular” computer – will allow me to check up on the goings on here as well ;-)

  47. James Bednar says:

    I am more curious about what people think than anything else

    A one car garage in that price range is a problem. I took a look at the listing, and it looks very nice. The house looks very well staged and is very attractive. I agree with the listing agent remarks about the home being an easy show, it certainly does seem that way.

    The original list price of $1.19M was a real stretch given the competition at higher price points (was that a typo?). Even at $1.019M those new construction homes on Robbie Road seem to offer more “bang-for-your-buck”. Much more flashy, not to mention they are 6br/5.1ba and have 3 car garages. I’m not familiar with the location of the new development, anyone more familiar with Mountainside know the area?

    The other issue is that there are similar sized homes available at lower price points that could be just as attractive if updated. There are a number of similar sized homes in the $700-800k range. It would not require $200k to update those homes to the same (or better) levels.

    Those looking for a larger lot might find the home on Park Slope more attractive. Right in the middle of Watchung Reservation on ~1.1 acres. It is also a 4br/3.1ba at $949. Note that it’s got a 4 car (?) garage.

    The other issue is competition from Westfield (dare I say it). There are some very nice homes available in a similar price range.

    jb

  48. newbie says:

    Hi all,
    This is kind of off topic, but just wondering how much it would cost to build a duplex house like this one on the link. After months and months of waiting for the market correction, i’ve decided to look into other options, maybe buy a dump, knock it down, and build duplex and sell one side of it (provided i get the mortgage). Anyone familiar with building a new house and cost and etc? Thanks in advance.

    Dave

    http://www.njmls.com/cf/details.cfm?mls_number=2714958&id=999999

  49. Al says:

    Lincoln78 Says:
    April 23rd, 2007 at 12:39 pm
    Thanks for all the used / laptop info.

    I’m really in the market for a portable DVD player and figured, for an extra $100-$150, I can get a “regular” computer – will allow me to check up on the goings on here as well ;-)

    If you are looking at playing movies – buy a portable DVD player. ON the laptop you will never have enough battery life, to play a movie. Spare batteries are expensive. And lagging around all extra weight is not very convinient. Portable DVD players can be bought for 100$. Laptops which can play DVDs cost at least 300$ – even used ones.

  50. James Bednar says:

    From Reuters:

    Subprime mortgage losses may reach 6-8 pct-Moody’s

    Losses on risky subprime loans originated in 2006 may climb to 6 percent to 8 percent of the loan principal, higher than previous forecasts, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

    Moody’s previously forecast losses of 5.5 percent to 6 percent, the rating company said in a statement released late on Friday.

    “Given the increase in delinquencies and defaults, Moody’s believes there will likely be an increase in the use of loan modifications, as an alternative to foreclosure sale,” Moody’s analyst Debash Chatterjee wrote in a statement.

    “Delinquencies and early defaults for mortgage loans originated in 2006 continue to trend higher than in previous years,” the rating company said.

    “In an environment where refinancing opportunities are limited, the servicers’ ability to work with the borrower to lower defaults and losses will be an important determinant of ultimate cumulative losses,” Moody’s said.

  51. James Bednar says:

    Dave,

    Just some thoughts…

    This is kind of off topic, but just wondering how much it would cost to build a duplex house like this one on the link.

    That all depends on fit, finish, and construction quality. The range is very wide, from as low as under $100 a square foot, to as high as.. well.. as high as you can imagine. Fancy fixtures, tile, flooring, kitchens can add significant cost. Especially if you have a builder who is intent on gouging you. A rough estimate is $125 a square, but your milage will vary. The fact that you are asking that question here leads me to believe you don’t have friends in the trades. Finding a builder you can trust isn’t an easy feat.

    i’ve decided to look into other options, maybe buy a dump, knock it down, and build duplex and sell one side of it (provided i get the mortgage).

    Be careful about zoning and what potential variances you are going to need. Don’t assume you can simply knock down a tiny cape and put up a monster duplex. Setbacks, sideyards, lot coverage, etc etc.

    New construction is more complicated than a massive remodel. There is a good reason why folks choose to use the existing foundation or even first floor framing, etc. It’s not just about saving money.

    Financing new construction isnt’ easy, in fact, it’s damn expensive. Expect to see a construction loan with double digit rates and a 1 year term. Also, they’ll want to inspect at each stage in the build. Unfortunately, this is going to be a drag on construction timeframes. It’s easier if you are coming in with cash (beg, borrow?) and get a mortgage upon C/O.

    It’s easier for builders to do this. A big builder with spare guys on his crew could probably put up a duplex like that for less than $100 a square (I’m talking construction costs only).

    jb

  52. hobokenite says:

    JB,

    re:indymac

    You’d think that analyst read this on CR or something…..

    http://calculatedrisk.blogspot.com/2007/04/indymac-tightens-standards.html

  53. newbie says:

    JB,

    Right. I don’t know anyone in this contract/construction business. That’s why I turn to this blog any time I have questions regarding RE. I gotta put some serious thoughts into this, run some numbers and do cost/benefit analysis sort of things.
    I appreciate your input always.

    Dave

  54. Richard says:

    >>Just moved to a larger rental apt that was a deal too good to pass up. It now makes it easier for me to rent for several more years instead of buying.

    watching a show on wealth building the other day and how to become a millionaire. it said the #1 way to do it is buy real estate, even if just your own personal residence. never pay someone else’s mortgage once you have a down payment and can afford your own mortgage. it said even if you buy during an up cycle over your lifetime you’ll make out far better than if you didn’t buy. hard to argue with that.

  55. James Bednar says:

    I’d suggest, just as an exercise, that you talk to some builders and get a feel for costs. Identify some candidate lots and talk to the town construction department to get a feel for what you’ll have to go through to get variances and permits.

    jb

  56. Marito says:

    Rich,

    Thanks a lot for the MLS info!

  57. skep-tic says:

    “it said even if you buy during an up cycle over your lifetime you’ll make out far better than if you didn’t buy. hard to argue with that.”

    no one’s talking about renting for a lifetime (I don’t think).

    Rent until prices mean revert. Then buy.

    For example, I just signed a 2 yr lease on a house that would cost me double per month if I bought it. Does it still make sense to buy?

  58. Richard says:

    house inventory is starting to build up in my neighborhood. good stuff still moving but prices in my opinion are set too high on the whole to attract much interest. i figured non-inflation adjusted flat to slightly down prices compared to last year. they aren’t there yet but some look like they’re starting to drop. interesting to watch.

  59. James Bednar says:

    watching a show on wealth building the other day and how to become a millionaire. it said the #1 way to do it is buy real estate, even if just your own personal residence.

    I heard Dolph De Roos on Bloomberg the other morning tell me that I too could be a real estate millionaire, all with no money down. I would just need to send him a small payment for sharing his secrets.

    jb

  60. James Bednar says:

    Here is my guaranteed four step method for becoming a millionaire. Feel free to give it away for free, no late-night infomercial required.

    1) Live well below your means.
    2) Delay gratification.
    3) Save prodigiously.
    4) Invest wisely.

    jb

  61. scribe says:

    Grim,

    I asked this question yesterday, but didn’t see a response.

    If we see houses in the MLS that have been reduced substantially, do you want us to send them to you as potential candidates for lowball? …wasn’t there also something – “price reduced”?

    That house in the estates section of Colonia that I posted for ATT – reduced to $625K from $739K … and now the asking price is down another notch, to $599K.

    I can think of another one, reduced twice, from $449K to $429K, now $399K.

  62. thatbigwindow says:

    I used to save money, now it seems that we spend most of it ever since we bought a house. There is always something in nature that eats your house and subsequently, your money. This week we will be hiring an exterminator to get rid of the squirells living in my gutters slowly eating away at our new roof. Oh, and apparently there are large bees that will eat your house as well. Also, don’t forget about grub treatment for the lawn (so you can actually have a lawn)

    See what you are missing???

  63. scribe says:

    tbw,

    There’s something called a “gutter guard,” to keep birds and squirrels from nesting and clogging the rain gutters. Not cheap. I think my mother paid $3500.

  64. James Bednar says:

    If we see houses in the MLS that have been reduced substantially, do you want us to send them to you as potential candidates for lowball? …wasn’t there also something – “price reduced”?

    Scribe,

    Just post them in the comments to share with everyone. I haven’t done a “Price Reduced” in a while, it seems that they would most certainly belong in that list.

    jb

  65. Al says:

    James Bednar Says:
    April 23rd, 2007 at 2:04 pm
    Here is my guaranteed four step method for becoming a millionaire. Feel free to give it away for free, no late-night infomercial required.

    1) Live well below your means.
    2) Delay gratification.
    3) Save prodigiously.
    4) Invest wisely.

    jb

    The first 3 points are fairly straight forward…

    #4 – anybody got spare WORKING Crystall Ball ??

    Invest Wisely….

  66. Al says:

    About buying real estate – just wait – with pension funds failing it is not long untill we will see average property tax bill/month is higher than Mortgage payments……

  67. Richard says:

    >>For example, I just signed a 2 yr lease on a house that would cost me double per month if I bought it. Does it still make sense to buy?

    don’t buy a similar house. buy something more within your means and build some equity. remember you have to start sometime in paying off equity. in the latter years of a 30-year loan is when you really start taking chunks out of the principal. point is you have to get started to get to the latter years.

  68. hobokenite says:

    Even if one puts down 20%, and the market goes down 25% over the next 3-5 years, how does that equal building equity? After 5 years, you would still have zero (0) equity.

  69. dreamtheaterr says:

    1) Live well below your means.
    2) Delay gratification.
    3) Save prodigiously.
    4) Invest wisely.

    Succinct and true.

    5) As you get ahead financially, carry umbrella insurance so that you’re not wiped out. We live in a very litigious society.

  70. commanderbobnj says:

    RentinginNJ Says:

    April 23rd, 2007 at 10:51 am
    “…I wonder what this means for New Jersey population. The only source of population growth in NJ is international immigration, primarily from South America. On a net-net basis, U.S. citizens from NJ are leaving the state in droves. How long before we see outright population declines?…)
    __________________________________________________These Central and South American Immigrants (both legal and illegal)
    usually have large families with more than three children and often five or more….This translates to higher public school costs -meaning much, much higher school taxes than “usual”; Included in this, you have the language problem with English-as-a-second-language costs and the costs of hiring teacher-aides-(-to ‘help’ keep “them” in their seats so they don’t always scream, throw ‘stuff’ and run around the classroom..{oh, boy!!}–)–then “necessary” school expansion and hiring of additional administrative and support staff and ALSO the ‘Parent/teacher organizations DEMANDING smaller class size, etc, etc !!!

    As I have said in past postings, New Jersey is FAST becoming unaffordable for the middle-class average single, married with no children or married with one or two children not to mention the retired people!

    On another note: Two years ago, I was contracted to do a small job in one of the Paterson public schools. What I witnessed was total out-of-control mob mentality (to ‘put-it’ mildly). I believe that the city has 30,000 students (WOW !). Trenton, Jersey City, Camden, Newark (IMHO) can’t really be much different:—- Very-small window buildings,(newer buildings) prison-like construction, BIG FAT burly ‘guards’ at the entrance(s), Crap and garbage all over the streets, etc…Billion and Billions of NJ tax dollars-(every year)-thrown-in that ‘PIT’ of a mess—-So much of a MESS that the ‘STATE’ had to ‘take-over’ most of those city school systems !!—-Since the ‘citizens’ of these school districts could never afford to fund their schools, ALL of the rest of us are forced to fund them with OUR tax dollars—about 75-85 percent of their budgets —and it will be Never ending-
    “THANKS” to those nj ‘supreme’ court orders through the years to throw more money into the ‘PIT’—-surburban districts budgets matched to the city school budgets (equal funding) !

    ‘sorry’ to be so discriptive; But I have always ‘called-it’ as I see it (and always will !)………Must be the growing up in the South Bronx of my youth that ‘made’ me this way (HA, HA)

    Oh, To ‘answer’ RentinginNJ’s question about “… how long we will see population declines…?”-NO,”We” won’t see large population declines !—-BUT,We will ‘see’ as others before me have said: The productive members of society (And the well-paying private sector jobs that ‘go’ with them) will either die, move out or not even come in to New Jersey. The above “students” will grow up and become the future citizens (“educated”-or-not) and the public government jobs will grow with it—-That’s (part of) the future as I see it…….

  71. James Bednar says:

    6) Eat well and exercise, your health is priceless.

    jb

  72. njrebear says:

    Trustees extend Social Security, Medicare hospital trust fund exhaustion dates by one year,

    http://money.cnn.com/

  73. James Bednar says:

    From Reuters:

    Spending boosted by home equity loans: Greenspan

    U.S. spending may have been lifted by close to 3 percent a year in recent years as owners tapped the enhanced values of their homes for cash, according to a paper coauthored by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

    The findings could have big implications as the country’s housing market cools. Some economists say the Fed should cut interest rates because the housing downturn will brake consumer spending and tip the economy into recession.

    Greenspan, who departed the helm of the U.S. central bank on January 31, 2006, wrote the paper with Fed economist James Kennedy to study how the booming practice of home equity extraction — raising cash by borrowing against surging house prices — might effect the U.S. economy.

  74. njrebear says:

    http://money.cnn.com/2007/04/23/pf/ssmc_trustees_report/index.htm?postversion=2007042315

    Consequently, the trustees now estimate that Social Security will need to tap its surplus of payroll taxes beginning in 2017 (the same as forecast last year) and that that surplus will be exhausted by 2041 (vs. 2040 a year ago). The federal government, which has already spent the surplus, will pay the system back using special-issue Treasury bonds. But given the federal deficit, paying back the money with interest may requiring the government to borrow more money, raise taxes, cut spending or reduce benefits.

    >>

    At this pace of ‘improvement’, i’ll get at least 3 years of benefits after having paid 40 years of payroll tax. At the same time i’ll be paying more tax to fund those who retire between 2017 – 2041.

  75. James Bednar says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Senators urge Fed to protect subprime borrowers

    Senators including presidential hopeful Christopher Dodd urged the Federal Reserve on Monday to protect borrowers in the subprime mortgage market by toughening rules on lenders and restricting some loans.

    Joined by nine other Senate Banking Committee Democrats, Dodd, D-Conn., said that the Fed should require all mortgage originators to evaluate a borrower’s ability to repay a loan before making a mortgage loan.

    Dodd and the other members also wrote to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke that the central bank should use existing authority to restrict the use of low- and no-documentation loans and should designate the failure to escrow taxes and insurance as “unfair and deceptive.”

    “Quick action on these items by the Federal Reserve Board under its [legal] authority would be extremely helpful in extending important consumer protections to homeowners and buyers,” wrote Dodd and the other senators.

    The letter was signed by Sens. Dodd, Charles Schumer of New York, Thomas Carper of Delaware, Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jon Tester of Montana.

  76. Clotpoll says:

    Grim (63)-

    Now these guys are “thinking”. I’m also gonna guess that GS, Bear and Morgan Stanley (all big Senatorial campaign contributors) have gotten the message thru to Messrs Dodd and his crew that if they indirectly prop up subprime lenders via a borrower bailout, there won’t be a gang of vulnerable lenders there for all the I-banks to swoop down on and scoop up for pennies on the dollar.

    They who make the sausage get to grind the “parts”.

  77. James Bednar says:

    Joined by nine other Senate Banking Committee Democrats, Dodd, D-Conn., said that the Fed should require all mortgage originators to evaluate a borrower’s ability to repay a loan before making a mortgage loan.

    Bombshell?

  78. BC Bob says:

    “Joined by nine other Senate Banking Committee Democrats, Dodd, D-Conn., said that the Fed should require all mortgage originators to evaluate a borrower’s ability to repay a loan before making a mortgage loan.”

    From # 80,

    Hey Chris, please nothing revolutionary. Let’s start with A.

  79. Clotpoll says:

    Chris Dodd’s top ten contributors:

    http://opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.asp?CID=N00000581&cycle=2006

    Looks like Bear is getting good value.

  80. Discouraged in NJ says:

    Ok, I have been trolling on this board long enough and it is now time to jump in.
    I desperately need advice. My wife and I both work in non-profit pulling in around $80-85,000/year combined. We have been looking in NNJ on and off for about two years now and utterly discouraged. We currently have no kids but want to start a family so we are looking for 3br/1&.5bth at least. Am I crazy to think that I am going to find this here without becoming totally house poor? Or do we dive in knowing that we will most likely be here for a while? I am paralyzed with fear that I am going to pay too much for so little…

  81. James Bednar says:

    The next two days should be rather exciting.

    Tuesday 10am EST – March Existing Home Sales
    Wednesday 10am EST – March New Home Sales

    jb

  82. Richard says:

    >>Even if one puts down 20%, and the market goes down 25% over the next 3-5 years, how does that equal building equity? After 5 years, you would still have zero (0) equity.

    um, i didn’t realize -25% over the next 3-5 years was a foregone conclusion. also tell me what the major indices will be so i can make some money.

  83. Richard says:

    >>I am paralyzed with fear that I am going to pay too much for so little…

    a common feeling for anyone buying their first house, especially around here!

  84. MJ says:

    March Existing home sales : down 10%?
    New Home sales up, but down YOY.

  85. bergebbubbleburst says:

    #87 Richard: Far better chance of it going that way (-25%), then your all will be fine scenario.

    Based on what I do not know, as you never seem to state what your reasons are.

    Regardless of where prices go, I will tell you this I GURANTEE you that property taxes will be 25% higher in the next few years. There simply is no other way.

  86. Clotpoll says:

    Discouraged (85)-

    Be discouraged. Even if prices dive another 10-15% across-the-board, you’ll basically be getting a barely-passable piece of junk vs. an utterly unredeemable piece of crap.

    To find better value, head toward South Jersey- or at least Central/Western NJ. To search NNJ for a value that may never again be available is akin to hitting yourself in the head with a ballpeen hammer.

    And- as always- there’s no way of knowing you’ve paid too much until you attempt to sell your home. If your ownership horizon is long-term, you will be fine. However, no matter how this market plays out, “NNJ” and “value” are mutually-exclusive terms.

  87. UnRealtor says:

    Is # 56 really Richard, or that realtor Sally character?

  88. UnRealtor says:

    Scribe #66, for $3,500 I’d go for copper gutters instead.

  89. Jersey4Life says:

    #85 Discouraged:

    Don’t know what your childcare situation is going to be like when you do have a kid(s), but it is worth thinking about. I have two boys, one age 2 and the other age 6. Between a full time person watching the little one, and an after care program to watch the older one, it comes out to a whopping $1,300 a month!!! That I know of, that is AVERAGE in NNJ.

  90. UnRealtor says:

    7) Be nice to old ladies.

  91. dreamtheaterr says:

    “Richard Says:
    April 23rd, 2007 at 4:20 pm
    >>I am paralyzed with fear that I am going to pay too much for so little…

    a common feeling for anyone buying their first house, especially around here!”

    LSD, tell that to all the IO and ARM first-time buyers. No fear whatsoever.

  92. Marito says:

    Discouraged, I think your perspective will depend on where you’re coming from. For example, if you are renting in NYC you’ll find NJ a lot less expensive and with good or at least passable public schools throughout (those schools will look good compared with the city schools, but bad compared with what one should want) Again, if you’re coming from NYC, what is called a POS cape in this blog will actually look roomy for you, although maybe in disrepair. We’re more or less in the same boat. My wife and I have been looking for a while, we have a 2 year old, and we don’t make a lot of money. Your choices depend a lot on your commute, I think. If you accept apartment living you can buy a 3 bedroom (probably around 1000 sq. ft.) in Fort Lee for 300K.

  93. Marito says:

    JB,

    I personally find a price reduced more interesting than a lowball because, since the house is still listed, you get a chance to see it, whereas with lowball you don’t know what was bought for the price.

    Just my $0.02

  94. BC Bob says:

    bbb, [90],

    I like to go to the archives, let’s go to the videotape.

    In the history of markets, once a major bull market[especially a bubble] ends, the force of the correction is equal and opposite to the trend that precedes it. The future pain is directly proportional to the nonsensical, superficial deception before it.

  95. pricesstillskyhigh says:

    Discouraged, we are also looking in NNJ and so far found nothing decent. Looking in Randolph and East Hanover area. Prices are outrageous there.

    Can anybody give some information about bridgewater/bedminster area.

  96. Discouraged in NJ says:

    Some more info: We are currently renting in Bergen County with a pretty decent down payment for when the time comes. I work on Morris County, my wife in Essex. I desperately want out of Bergen, the commute home is soul crushing.

  97. BC Bob says:

    “Can anybody give some information about bridgewater/bedminster area.”

    Is that guy Clot still involved in RE or is he now in the hedge fund business?

  98. chicagofinance says:

    Richard Says:
    April 23rd, 2007 at 1:42 pm
    watching a show on wealth building the other day and how to become a millionaire. it said the #1 way to do it is buy real estate, even if just your own personal residence. never pay someone else’s mortgage once you have a down payment and can afford your own mortgage. it said even if you buy during an up cycle over your lifetime you’ll make out far better than if you didn’t buy. hard to argue with that.

    Reech: definitely hard to argue with someone who provides absolutely no details

    are trying to Troll us again?

  99. ac says:

    Discouraged,

    Since you and your wife are not working out of Manhattan, you really should explore moving somewhere further west (even if you decide to continue renting). You can get pretty decent townhouses out in Morris/Union/Essex counties given the soft real estate market. If you don’t have to be close the mid town direct train lines, it takes a little of the rental or sale price too.

  100. chicagofinance says:

    Discouraged in NJ Says:
    April 23rd, 2007 at 5:01 pm
    Some more info: We are currently renting in Bergen County with a pretty decent down payment for when the time comes. I work on Morris County, my wife in Essex. I desperately want out of Bergen, the commute home is soul crushing.

    DINJ: before you jump, make sure that you know exactly what the commute will be……drive the roads during your exact commuting hours….central jersey has a sneaky way of kicking you in the posterior….also, since neither of you is working in NYC, you would do well to avoid any town that is close to NYC commuting options….you can probably shave 15% off the price right there….

  101. D says:

    7. Never stop learning & asking questions!

  102. Discouraged in NJ says:

    Clot– (91) Be discouraged. Even if prices dive another 10-15% across-the-board, you’ll basically be getting a barely-passable piece of junk vs. an utterly unredeemable piece of crap.

    So how does this all play out? Is NJ really becoming a “wealthy only” state? How is this sustained?
    I grew up here..I would like to stay here if I can, but I cannot in good conscious bankrupt myself to live in a shack…
    Everyone is telling me to wait..I feel I should wait but will I be waiting forever?

    Rant over…

  103. bergebbubbleburst says:

    #107 Discinnj: You can have wealthy only areas, but entire states? I do not think so. Much of this wealth at least in the areas that were non- “wealthy”, and now appear to be wealthy, are just that appearances, fueled by wealth.

    For instance Ridgewood always a wealthy town, Fairlawn no, even if it appears to be (not picking on Fairlawn, just using as an example, youc an substitute Paramus, River Edge or New Milford)

    I wish you could see how much of this same type of talk went on the last time, one of my favorities being “a whole generation of people will be shut out of homeownership”.

    Well guess what it did not happen then, and it wont happen this time.

    You have to be patient, we all do, but we will be rewarded.

  104. still_looking says:

    8) or maybe 9?)

    Get a good general medical physical exam to start: in your 20’s: baseline physical routine labs —
    in your 30’s: routine physical – include baseline chest xray, electrocardiogram (EKG), for men with family history of prostate or colon cancer: digital r*ctal exam and stool testing for blood.

    All women: yearly Pap smears then every 2-3 yr if 2 consecutive normal tests. Monthly bre*st exams and a “professional” one at your annual GYN exam. If *any* history of bre*st cancer in your family –baseline screening mammogram at 35. (Don’t wait- even if they tell you that you don’t need it til your 40 — I waited and I’m sorry now :-[ )

    Screening colonoscopy at 50 unless you have *any* family history of colon cancer — start at 40.

    Parents: Vaccinate all preteen girls with Gardisil to help prevent cervical cancer from HPV — human papilloma virus.

    For christsakes: don’t tan in tanning booths and wear sunblock daily to prevent skin cancer -especially lightskinned blue eyed blonde folks. I have seen so many advanced cases lately…. let me tell you — it’s ugly-bad.

    Better yet? Get a professional dermatologic “mapping” to track skin changes, moles etc.

    GET CHECKED: ANY persistent cough, skin change, unexpected weight loss, “bloating sensation” constipation-diarrhea, bruising that you can’t account for — GET CHECKED. PLEASE.

    (Just my selfish public service announcement because I am so F-ing sick of diagnosing cancers in my emergency department…) PLEASE FOLKS. You’re killing me!

    Look up the cancer guidelines on American Cancer Society web site.

    Do it. Just do it.

    Please do it.

    sl

  105. D says:

    SL,
    Can you recommend a decent professional dermatologic “mapping?” I haven’t had any luck finding a dermatologist that I felt wasn’t trying to sell me something.
    Blonde haired, blue eyed, skin cancer in family, D

  106. lisoosh says:

    “Can anybody give some information about bridgewater/bedminster area.”

    Prices are outrageous there. Very pretty, but over priced.

  107. gary says:

    Mrs. Gary has a question: If the people moving in to NJ are from Central/South America and the native New Jersians are moving out, who is going to afford to buy these houses?

  108. syncmaster says:

    Who the heck buys a home at a “72 hour sale”?

    I just got an email from Pulte. They are doing a 72 hour sale for a new development in the Lehigh Valley. I don’t see myself ever rushing in to buy a home for a 72 hour sale. Pulte ain’t Best Buy! Do people actually buy at such short notice?

    http://www.pulte.com/homefinder/promotion_popup.asp?promoid=18329&dispType=2&acctcode=2975&hc1=Lehigh+Valley+|+Coldwater+Crossing+Singles+-+72+Hour+Sale+-+04/23/2007+-+04/30/2007

  109. still_looking says:

    D,

    I have no affiliation with any one single dermatologist but can offer suggestions —

    – you can inquire with your primary care physician
    – find a center local to you by calling — there are many that will answer questions for you about cost and detail of mapping — ie pictures of skin lesions, biopsying as needed, etc.
    – (just as an aside because I see a lot of uninsured folks too, who say, “I’ll get checked as soon as my insurance is in effect in 3, 6 whatever number of months.” Nearly every medical school has a Derm clinic that can schedule you to be seen.)
    – usually if you tell the dermatologist you are looking for a baseline skin mapping they will do it. You *don’t* have to buy into any of the other stuff they might be hawking.

    email me via jb if you have other questions — I don’t know where you are located which also makes it difficult.

    Bottom line is that if you need to have it done — blue eyed, blonde hair, fair skin and especially if any severe sunburns as a child are clear indications — you just call up, schedule it and get it done.

    you can reach me through jb if needed.

    sl

  110. UnRealtor says:

    BC Bob #99 writes:

    “The future pain is directly proportional to the nonsensical, superficial deception before it.”
     

    Lots more pain ahead.

  111. UnRealtor says:

    RE: Bridgewater

    * Convenient access to Route 287 and Route 78

    * Decent homes available for about $400K

    * Not ideal for NY City commute (tough to park)

    * Good school system

    * Good shopping and restaurants nearby

    * Safe area

  112. dreamtheaterr says:

    Bridgewater: Convenient access to 287 with a big caveat: Into/out of Exit 17 (Rte 202/206) is a royal pain during rush hour.

  113. bergebbubbleburst says:

    #108 Sorry I should have said appearances fueled by debt.

  114. chicagofinance says:

    Unreal: sorry man, but Bridgewater is a compromise for anyone at best…..its landlocked and on the highway to hell…..it has all the benefits you mention, but bear in mind that its on the wrong side of the Watchung mountains and that means every “system” is a STORM and every “snow” is a blizzard. It has all the highways you will ever need and all the traffic to go with it. You can everwhere you need to easily in all directions, but at the wrong time, you will get nowhere, no time, no fast – capisce? 30 years ago, this was the Garden State, now Bridgewater is more the Mall at Chip’s Hills.

  115. Clotpoll says:

    skyhigh (100)-

    Bridgewater/Bedminster? Keep driving west. When you get into Western Hunterdon/Warren, take an exit. Any exit numbered higher than 12? Keep driving.

  116. Kim says:

    Discouraged – Lake Parsippany, Lake Hiawatha and Denville has some cute starter homes in the mid-$300K range. Denville is the nicest area of the three, but Parsippany and Lake Hiawatha are more conveniently located.

  117. chicagofinance says:

    Denville is nice, but it is the Italian New Jersey version of the Stepford Wives.

  118. Clotpoll says:

    And…it is a good idea to stay away from any Gladstone line train, as mentioned earlier in the thread. That will save you big buckos.

    Also, if you can do a townhome, you can get off 78 at North Branch, Oldwick or Annandale exits. There are some good 3 BR/finished basement townhome values to be had now for well-under 400K…all the way from Branchburg out to Clinton.

  119. Clotpoll says:

    Discouraged (107)-

    “Rich only?” No…it’s pretty good if you’re just piss poor, too.

    Yes, I do think we’re headed toward being a colony of the rich, just like Manhattan. And who says an entire state can’t go this way? Manhattan has a larger population than 23 states, and they are def. a colony of the rich that subsidizes a permanent underclass.

  120. Clotpoll says:

    Hey sl (114),

    Should I quit dyeing my chest hair?

  121. Clotpoll says:

    ChiFi (119)-

    Not MY Hills, GGP’s. No oil or gold in them hills, either.

  122. Clotpoll says:

    Bauer’s due to open up another can of whoop tonight.

  123. Clotpoll says:

    BC (102)-

    Hedge fund? Hardy har.

    In fact, I am…no indexing, program trading, or money parked in cash or bonds. All f’in in, baby! An aggressive stock-picking paradigm, overweight in anything that can be ripped out of the ground…especially if it’s fossil-fuel intensive and/or leaves behind sludge lakes full of toxic heavy metals.

    All disclaimers.

  124. Kim says:

    ChiFi #122 – really? What part of Denville? My friends who live there are blue-collar middle class. And I know a few gay couples that live there too.

  125. D says:

    SL, thank you! I’ll recheck my pcp & plan first, but now I know what to ask for.

    Chi, I never noticed #122 about Denville & I spend quite a bit of time there.

    24 is awesome, Clot, but how can you watch it before bedtime? Too much adrenaline!

  126. BC Bob says:

    SL [109],

    Great post. I need to get mapped again. Too much basketball, glory days, in the sun with no shirt. Thanks for the info.

  127. still_looking says:

    clot (125) — I am *scrubbing!* my corneas and ‘gray matter’ with Ajax to obliterate the image of you removing *your* ‘grey matter!’ ( .)(. )
    C
    [—–O—-]

    D (130), no problem at all.

    BC (131) also no problem, happy to help.

    sl

  128. still_looking says:

    darn line breaks….last attempt…

    ( .)(. )
    c
    [—-o—]

  129. UnRealtor says:

    I used to drive through Bridgewater all the time in the morning, and traffic moved along. Once you get to Route 78 it’s smooth sailing.

    Bridgewater is a 45 minute commute to NY City, if you can find somewhere to park.

    I’m not familiar with the weather issues, as I’ve never lived there, though, but know people who live there and like it.

  130. UnRealtor says:

    New home show on TLC right now…

  131. chicagofinance says:

    UnRealtor Says:
    April 23rd, 2007 at 10:25 pm
    Bridgewater is a 45 minute commute to NY City, if you can find somewhere to park.

    Unreal: no way….it’s at least 45 minutes to Hoboken with mild traffic – the tunnel is a pure crapshoot

  132. dreamtheaterr says:

    I would say it’s atleast an hr and 10 minutes from Bridgewater to the tunnel. Into the city from the tunnel could be another 5 mins or 35 minutes….you can never ‘time’ when you want to be in office. So if you have a 9 AM meeting, aim to be in at 8:30 AM…… and suddenly your commute got a whole lot longer.

  133. UnRealtor says:

    Yeah, best to park in JC and take the path across the river.

    I’d rather go to the dentist than traverse the tunnels in a car, and driving in NYC is a nightmare.

  134. pricesstillskyhigh says:

    Thanks for all the input. The only problem with looking in western NJ as clot suggested is that its too far from work. DH works near Rt 10 in morris county. Central NJ might be good but want to avoid Rt.1. Have taken it few times and its awfully slow even on weekends.

  135. Discouraged in NJ says:

    We have been looking in Denville, Parsippany & Hiawatha. Anybody seen any price declines in these mentioned?

  136. Discouraged in NJ says:

    chicagofinance Says:

    Denville is nice, but it is the Italian New Jersey version of the Stepford Wives.

    This is OK I’m Italian…

  137. XJ says:

    Discouraged (#85),

    I can tell you a lot about Bridgewater. I live here and am looking to find another house here and stay. Bridgewater covers a lot of area. If you work in Morris County and your wife in Essex, I suggest to look for something as far North as you can, along Washington Valley Rd., to get onto 287 easily and your wife on 78. I commute to Bergen County. Traffic to Morris County is bearable but 78 eastbound won’t be fun. A 3-bedroom with some land will run about $450K and up in a decent neighborhood. The Bradley Gardens section (southwest part) is a bit more affordable but will add another 20 minutes to your commute.

    I agree with UnRealtor (#116) on all points except for the parking point. Bridgewater train station, next to Patriots Stadium, has plenty of free parking. The school system is good (all the realtors say “blue ribbon”). My son is in kindergarden and I will have two more that will matriculate through the public school system. The community is friendly and safe.

    While Rte 202/206 is “a royal pain during rush hour,” (dreamtheaterr #117), its better than Rte 18 in East Brunswick, Rte 1 anywhere along the Northeast corridor, Rte 22 in Union, Rte 17, I-80, Rte 46, Rte 3, Rte 208, GSP, etc. That’s why I recommend to look as far north as you can for easy access to 287 and 78. Also, Newark/Liberty Airport isn’t too far away.

    I’ll disagree with chicagofinance (#119) about the weather. We didn’t get any more snow here this winter than any of the other surrounding areas. In the storms we did get, Bergen County and South Jersey got more snow. And while I do hate spending time in any mall, he one here is nearby and convenient when I do need it.

    Also, Somerville, the county seat, is nearby. It’s downtown is definitely not like Maplewood, Westfield or Summit’s, but I can usually find parking. I recommend checking out Martino’s if you like Cuban food. The Tour of Somerville, coming up next month, is always fun.

    Just my opinion…

  138. Clotpoll says:

    discouraged (139)-

    You’d be amazed how many people in Western Hunterdon/Warren commute daily to the Rt 10 corridor. Back in the day, I’d go from Frenchtown to Morris Plains 2-3 times a week. The drive ain’t that bad…and places like Frenchtown, Holland Twp, Lopatcong, etc are where you’re gonna find decent houses in your $$$ range. Sitting around waiting for things to take a big dive in places like Denville is a losing bet.

    If you want to be in a “close-in”, top town…expect not much house for lots of $$$. Or, live further from work and get more bang for your buck. It’s one or the other; no matter how much things tank, that’ll always be the NJ trade-off.

  139. James Bednar says:

    I wouldn’t overlook Hackettstown.

    jb

  140. Al says:

    Discouraged in NJ Says:
    April 23rd, 2007 at 4:17 pm
    Ok, I have been trolling on this board long enough and it is now time to jump in.
    I desperately need advice. My wife and I both work in non-profit pulling in around $80-85,000/year combined. We have been looking in NNJ on and off for about two years now and utterly discouraged. We currently have no kids but want to start a family so we are looking for 3br/1&.5bth at least. Am I crazy to think that I am going to find this here without becoming totally house poor?

    This is very low income as I as told….

    Any other place in the country – you’d be just fine. In NJ you are poor. Move avay from NJ. Buy a huge house for 1/2 of cape cod mortgage. DO not deal with NJ traffic/costs of living.

  141. Al says:

    the previous message should state – this is very low income for NJ as I was told before

    Everyone making 100k+/person…. even watresses at the restaurants and illegal immigrants washing dishes are making 50K/year and not paying any taxes.

  142. Clotpoll says:

    XJ (142)-

    Martino’s Cuban Sandwiches rule.

  143. Kim says:

    Discouraged #140 – We looked in those areas back in ’03 for a starter home… upper $200K (which you could get at the time). I have looked recently at those listings and the prices shot up but now comparable houses are now in the low $300s… definitely coming down.

    We would consider any of those places, except that our son is in first grade now and we are in love with our current town and school district so we are saving up to buy a POS cape here.

  144. chicagofinance says:

    XJ Says:
    April 24th, 2007 at 12:01 am
    I’ll disagree with chicagofinance (#119) about the weather. We didn’t get any more snow here this winter than any of the other surrounding areas. Just my opinion…

    XJ: You live in town, so your opinion trumps mine. However, I used to work in both Basking Ridge and Bedminster, and commuted from Hoboken. As a result, I had an opportunity to see weather conditions across several different areas for the same weather system.

    There appears to be several weather “zones” for lack of a better term that crossed this commute. There is a coastal zone (essentially Hudson County) which tended to be warmer, more moderate, and generally missed the worst of many storms, a zone that covered most of eastern Essex County/Union County around Newark, which always seemed to be a bit hotter and was prone to violent thurderstorms – a pain in the —for the Airport, going west on 78, you crossed a “snowline” as you passed into Summit going up the hill past the 24 split, and finally crossing the Watchung Mountains and dumping you into Bedminster would leave you in an area that was consistently several degrees colder than Summit and wetter/more precip.

    There were several occasions where I left Hoboken on an overcast winter day and 35 degrees, and arrive at work with 1-3 inches on the ground and 25 degrees. Do you remember the storm track of Floyd? That was no matter of chance, it is a consistent and repeated weather patterns as systems cross over the different sets of hills that split north and central Jersey and dump all the water on the west side as they cross over.

    Even now I see the different weather in Middlesex and Monmouth Countries. Word to the wise, if you really get bent out of shape by winter weather, Monmouth County really manages to dodge a lot of the worst of it in this area. The only tradeoff is sometimes you get an icestorm instead of snow.

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