NJ 2007 job growth revised sharply downward

From the Times Trenton:

Revised job figures reveal picture isn’t so pretty in Jersey

New Jersey’s economy isn’t as healthy as state economic officials thought as recently as a few weeks ago.

Last month, 9,500 jobs were lost, and revised figures released yesterday by the state’s labor department reveal New Jersey created a mere 4,700 positions last year — well below the 29,400 new jobs originally estimated. The unemployment rate increased 0.3 percentage points in January, to 4.5 percent, still below the national jobless rate of 4.9 percent.

“The job numbers are just awful, and they reflect New Jersey’s standing in the economic world, which is not very high,” said Philip Kirschner, president of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, a statewide business advocacy group. “Jobs are not being created here, and I think part of it is the perception that this is a state that has not adopted business-friendly policies, and can’t get its own fiscal house in order.”

(Gov. Jon) Corzine’s budget speech Tuesday, which proposed slashing spending by $500 million and state payrolls by 3,000 people, “is the first step toward bringing fiscal stability to the state,” Kirschner said.

“It was shocking — we slipped from slow growth to no growth over the past year, and the decline in January was far worse than we had anticipated,” said Rutgers economist James Hughes.

From the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development:

Annual Benchmark Revision of Data Indicates Slower Job Growth in 2007

Revised employment figures for 2007 show that New Jersey’s economy produced jobs at a slower pace than originally estimated. Based on newly benchmarked data, New Jersey employers added 4,700 jobs, over the year, December 2006 to December 2007, a downward revision from the originally estimated gain.

“While the original surveys overestimated the number of jobs created in 2007, today’s report shows that employment trends over the year followed the previously-reported pattern. New Jersey’s economy added 15,300 jobs over the final eight months of 2007, after employment declined by 10,600 jobs in the first four months of the year,” said Labor Commissioner David J. Socolow. “While the overall state economy experienced moderate job growth during the latter part of last year, there were significant job losses in the construction and financial sectors, due to the national downturn in the housing market and the credit crunch stemming from failures in the mortgage industry.”

Previously released nonfarm employment estimates, including those for 2007, have been revised to new employment benchmarks required annually by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The process re-anchors monthly sample-based survey estimates to full-universe counts of employment, primarily derived from records of the unemployment insurance tax system. As a result of the benchmark process, the estimated level of nonfarm payroll employment in New Jersey was revised downward by -0.6 percent. This year’s revision was in line with those made in prior years. Benchmark revisions over the past ten years have averaged plus or minus 0.7 percent. Nationally, nonfarm employment estimates for 2007 were revised downward by -0.2 percent.

As a result of the annual adjustment process — conducted each year at this time by every state — the previously announced 29,400 seasonally adjusted job gain over the December 2006 to December 2007 period has been revised downward to 4,700. The revised gain from December 2005 to December 2006 was 29,900.

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378 Responses to NJ 2007 job growth revised sharply downward

  1. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    NJ job growth in 2007 slower than first reported

    New Jersey produced far fewer jobs last year than earlier reported because of cutbacks in manufacturing, construction and finance, according to a report released today by the state.

    The revision shows New Jersey added 4,700 jobs in 2007 instead of 29,400, said the report from the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

    State officials typically revised numbers when more complete numbers become available, but the size of the reduction is an ominous sign for the health of the economy moving forward.

    Labor Commissioner David Socolow said in a statement the revision can be blamed on the national downturn caused largely by problems in the housing market and a credit crunch.

  2. grim says:

    From Newsday:

    Revised employment figures show little 2007 N.J. job growth

    Revised employment figures show New Jersey hardly added any new jobs last year.

    The Department of Labor and Workforce Development says the private sector added only 3,700 jobs through December.

    Just last month, the department said the private sector had added 23,600 jobs last year _ more than six times as many.

    The New Jersey Business and Industry Association says the revised numbers mark the state’s worst job growth since 2003, when the last recession was ending.

  3. grim says:

    From the APP:

    Revision shows N.J.’s 2007 job growth was much lower than previously thought

    New Jersey’s economy added 4,700 jobs in 2007, the state reported today in a survey that showed the labor market last year grew much more slowly than previously thought.

    The report showed the state was hit hard by the downturn in the real estate sector. For example, the financial services sector lost 7,900 jobs. And the construction sector lost 4,100 jobs.

    “While the overall state economy experienced moderate job growth during the latter part of the last year, there were significant job losses in the construction and financial sectors, due to the national downturn in the housing market and the credit crunch stemming from failures in the mortgage industry,” Labor Commissioner David J. Socolow said.

    The report is part of an annual adjustment by the state in which analysts take a closer look at employers’ payroll records. It initially reported a job gain of 29,400, which was considered modest.

    The revision likely will renew debate over how New Jersey can create an environment that promotes more robust job growth.

  4. JIM says:

    RE 45 and 50, from previous article and thread.

    With job growth falling the effect on the NJ pension fund will be a disaster. Fund could break down before the 7 years I predicted.

    Hold on to your hats, Corzine may steal them to balance budget.

    Jim

  5. gary says:

    From previous thread, RE: Radian List

    Can someone do a search for Bergen County on the list for me, I seem to be having a problem. I know there must be hundreds from prestigous and haughty Bergen County, right? Right? Right?

  6. grim says:

    From the AP:

    Large N.J. property tax rebate cuts loom for some

    Some New Jersey homeowners and renters are heading for big cuts in their property tax rebates under Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s cost-cutting budget proposal.

    Corzine unveiled his $33 billion budget plan Tuesday and said it included $2.7 billion in cuts to revamp troubled state finances.

    But details released Wednesday by Corzine’s administration show that households earning between $100,000 and $150,000 would get a $665 rebate this year after getting $960 last year, a 44 percent drop.

    Renters would see rebates cut from as much as $350 to $80.

    Households earning between $150,000 and $250,000 would get no rebates. They got $745 last year.

  7. lostinny says:

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    e-gold is not merely wishful thinking, it is a reality available to you today.

    http://www.e-gold.com/e-gold.asp?cid=5206196

  8. grim says:

    From Fitch:

    Fitch may cut $97 bln of CDOs tied to subprime RMBS

    Fitch said it may cut the ratings on $97 billion worth of global structured finance CDOs, citing the continued deterioration in the subprime and Alt-A residential mortgage-backed securities markets.

    “This action reflects the continued credit deterioration in U.S. subprime mortgage as recently revealed in heightened loss expectations and resultant rating actions. The combination of declining home prices and high-risk mortgages are principal drivers of increased loss expectations for subprime RMBS,” Fitch said in a release.

  9. lostinny says:

    Grim
    I’m in moderation.

  10. njpatient says:

    pretorius

    Hillside is exactly 12.5 miles from Manhattan. That’s “not close to Manhattan”?

    I’m just trying to understand how narrowly you need to define your argument in order not to lose it.

  11. njpatient says:

    5 gary
    I did, and there are none. Note that, even if Bergen is all over the next list, it won’t be evidence that price drops are getting close to Manhattan because Weehawken, JC and Hoboken aren’t in Bergen.

  12. njpatient says:

    Edgewater is “not close to Manhattan”?

  13. Mitchell says:

    Job figures released Wednesday show that New Jersey lost 9,500 jobs in January, and gained only 4,700 in all of 2007 – prompting two prominent economists to say the state is on the cusp of a recession.

    The state’s unemployment rate rose in January from 4.2 percent to 4.5 percent, just below the national figure of 4.9 percent, according to the monthly job figures released by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

    Together, the figures for 2007 and January paint a significantly darker picture of the state economy than did employment estimates at the end of last year.

    The loss of 9,500 jobs was the largest monthly drop since February 2003, when the state lost 13,000 jobs as it pulled out of the last recession.

    State officials had previously said the state added 29,400 jobs in 2007, more than six times larger than a revised figure released Wednesday, and officials had depicted the employment market as showing moderate growth.

    The revision is an estimate of the annual employment figures conducted each February using payroll and other data from all businesses. It gives a more accurate picture of employment levels than the small survey sample on which monthly figures, the unrevised annual figure of 29,400, are based.

    http://www.northjersey.com/business/news/Figures_show_little_2007_NJ_job_growth.html

    There goes all of last years growth.

    But I guess they have to cut a bunch of 80K jobs to make way for those 250K ones.

    Add to that how many Corzine expects to lay off and then we come to the taxes issue of less people working and less revenue and we get back to Corzine will raise taxes again somehow.

  14. gary says:

    njpatient [10],

    I’m aware there isn’t anything on the list from Bergen County, I was being sarcastic. :) It sort of goes with what I’ve been saying, that prices in BC are still near peak. I see it in the listings I receive everyday.

    I keep hearing about all this horror but it still hasn’t happened here. I’m told it will but doesn’t that list sort of back up what I’ve been saying up until now?

  15. Mitchell says:

    So far in 2008 NJ is down 9,500 jobs and Corzine wants to cut another 5,000 = 14,500 jobs.

    The budget also proposes cutting the state work force by 5,000 through early retirements, layoffs and attrition, and eliminating the agriculture, commerce and personnel agencies.

    http://tinyurl.com/29tq5w
    http://www.philly.com/philly/wires/ap/news/state/new_jersey/20080227_ap_apnewsbreaklargenjpropertytaxrebatecutsloomforsome.html

  16. jcer says:

    Definitely no weakness JC/HOB yet!, trying to buy a home made an offer of 575k on a 625k asking price home(On the market 10 months at 725k dropped the price 100k 2 weeks ago), seller wants over 600k only paid 250-300 for the place to begin with. I guess 275k profit is not enough. The level of greed is amazing, I think at 575k I will lose 50k in the next 18 months but was willing to because I liked the home. I was contemplating raising my offer but now I am having second thoughts as mortgage requirements tighten and interest rates rise. I don’t really think it is proximity to manhattan but rather general desirability, there still is tremendous demand to live in Manhattan and places close to it but even places further out Bernards,Far Hills, Somerset that are desirable are still expensive, no big fall yet. Bad parts of JC are just the opposite supply, supply, supply, demand only at incredibly low prices, all while being less than 5 miles/30 minutes commute from Manhattan. So even with all of this bad news it is still difficult to get a good place.

  17. njpatient says:

    13 gary
    Yes – it does.
    It will, though.

    And it was a very short time ago that Hoboken was generally slummy and JC was a complete sh*thole.

    Those days will come again.

  18. stu says:

    Don’t worry Pret…Not all things go down at the same time. So what if New York is last to the party? Last to the party gets warm beer.

  19. gary says:

    njpatient [15],

    Yup, so I’ve been told. I’m driving my wife nuts, though.

    It makes you wonder why we even bother when we have this as an alternative –> http://www.realtor.com/realestate/boca+raton-fl-33498-1078290183/

  20. Al says:

    What MLS systems are for the southh jersey – South Of 287/rt1 crossing and all the way down to prineston??

    GSMLS has 1 or two listings, MLS – few…
    Is there South Jersey MLS?

  21. Sybarite says:

    #18

    Mercer County had 95 listing on GSMLS. Monmouth, 46. Middlesex, 1041.

    Which county are you looking at?

  22. Al says:

    well I guess I am lookign at GCMLS – the one I have access to, and it does not have numbers starting with 8. I am looking at middlsex and mercer county, along rt 1/Turnpk…
    If MLS and GCMLS is all we have – than I guess I was expecting a bit more listings.

  23. Rich In NNJ says:

    Rumors of layoffs at Hertz (car rental corporate offices in Park Ridge tomorrow.

  24. kettle1 says:

    this was mentioned the other day, but is thee any reason that this is not a death certificate for these banks????

    Citi has 3 trillion in derivatives and JP morgan has 7.8 trillion.

    http://tinyurl.com/2rgds5

    The following is segment of a table on page 32 of the latest quarterly derivatives report which shows the size of J.P. Morgan’s and Citibank’s outstanding notional amounts in derivatives in general – and specifically – the enormity of their exposure to Credit Derivatives, which is the root source of most of the problems that ail the financial system:

    Source: Page 32 of Q2/07 OCC Quarterly Derivatives Report

    The chart above shows at Q2/07 [or Sept. 30 07] Citibank had outstanding notional Credit Derivatives of 3 Trillion. At this point in time, remember, the sub-prime melt down was only about two months old [having been widely acknowledged in early August 07].

  25. Pat says:

    Gary 17 That house looks like Taco Bell.

  26. Rich In NNJ says:

    Pat (23,24),

    Ha! Good one!

  27. Pat says:

    Can you imagine that sucker placed right off the Parkway? People would be crashing into the garage and beeping, “Where’s the Fn order window?”

  28. bairen says:

    #22 That’s truly frightening. They can go bust just putting up margin.

    Does Hudson City have any of that stuff on its books?

  29. chicagofinance says:

    kettle1 Says:
    February 27th, 2008 at 9:39 pm
    this was mentioned the other day, but is thee any reason that this is not a death certificate for these banks????

    Citi has 3 trillion in derivatives and JP morgan has 7.8 trillion.

    ket: it’s just notional

  30. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Fannie Proposes Ban on Lenders’ In-House Appraisers

    Fannie Mae, the biggest source of financing for U.S. home loans, told lenders it will probably ban their use of appraisals by in-house employees or those arranged by brokers.

    Fannie Mae distributed the proposal, a response to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s yearlong mortgage probe, to lenders in a “talking points” memo this week, according to a person familiar with the document. The memo was published on American Banker’s Web site yesterday.

    “It would be a monumental change because it would require a shift in the way that the lending industry does business,” said Jonathan Miller, chief executive officer of Manhattan-based appraisal company Miller Samuel Inc. and a longtime proponent of creating a firewall between residential appraisers and mortgage originators. “I think it would be tremendous.”

    About three quarters of residential mortgage appraisals are arranged through brokers who only get paid if a loan closes, Miller said today in a phone interview. He called the practice “laughable” because it creates a financial incentive for mortgage brokers to push appraisers toward higher valuations. Higher appraisals also mean more homeowners qualify to refinance their homes and take cash out, he said.

  31. Hard Place says:

    Guess I lucked out on the job front. Just found out today I got an offer on a new job. I’m in the finance industry and with all these talks of layoffs, I’m glad I was able to close the deal. Still doesn’t mean I’m buying a house yet!

  32. grim says:

    Congrats

  33. Clotpoll says:

    JIM (4)-

    “Corzine may steal them to balance budget.”

    Talk about modeling solutions after the private sector…

  34. Clotpoll says:

    lost (7)-

    It’s all fun until the gubmint decides to enforce the Gold Confiscaton Act again.

    This will happen…and sooner than we think.

  35. Clotpoll says:

    Drat. Moderated.

    That damn “confisc@tion” word again.

  36. njpatient says:

    Some anecdata: I overheard my secretary telling my backup secretary “I don’t think real estate prices will ever go up again. Did you read the Wall Street Journal today.”

    The temperature is rising.

  37. Clotpoll says:

    gary (14)-

    “…doesn’t that list sort of back up what I’ve been saying up until now?”

    Only if the situation- as it stands now- represents the low point of the down cycle.

    I think most of us can agree this is not the case.

    You must wait for the rot. You cannot hasten the rot into your area.

  38. still_looking says:

    ….am I always late to the party??

    kettle- thank you for your take on for-profit insurance. It would be a god-send for it to be terminated.

    This was a key point in Sicko, Michael Moore’s movie.

    The other bane is malpractice. You cannot begin to imagine what the fear of being sued does to most physicians’ practices. It still is viewed as “winning the lottery” for many folks.

    Is it better medical practice?
    No. Just more defensible in court.

    I could go on about this stuff for hours and hours.

    Believe me when I tell you — you don’t want to hear what goes on (as verified by what I see in my ER) in real life.

    chifi: thanks – I wanted to ask the Bergabe question but didn’t have the energy to.

    See my next post — if grim will allow me —
    to give some very general and basic advice.

    sl

  39. Hard Place says:

    kettle1/chifi,

    Scaremongering at work. Look at the numbers to the right “Bought and Sold”. Subtract them and that is probably the net position.

    Less scary now, but we don’t know if they are paired positions.

  40. Clotpoll says:

    jcer (15)-

    “I guess 275k profit is not enough.”

    Perhaps you’d prefer a home in an area where values have never risen? That way, you can have the satisfaction of knowing the seller won’t make anything on your purchase.

    I’m not saying your offer is good or bad. However, the amount of money a seller stands to make is NO indicator of present market value.

    Thanks for the chuckle. Always amusing to encounter buyers who seem to magically understand what is an appropriate level of profit for sellers.

  41. Clotpoll says:

    Pat (25)-

    Post of the day. Yo quiero Taco Bell!

  42. still_looking says:

    If you don’t have medical insurance: Google “Liz Pulliam Weston” guide to uninsured. Good solid advice.

    If you have any more than 2 first degree relatives with colon/br3ast/pr0state cancer you must get checked earlier. See above for low, no cost places to get testing done.

    If you are 50 or older you must get a screening colonoscopy.

    If you have b00bs and/or a cervix you must not delay Pap smears or mammograms — especially as above (strong fam hx.)

    Of the top cancers in men: lung, pr0state and colon- the last two are detectable early and curable. Lung? All bets are off.

    Women: lung, br3ast, colon. Ditto.

    If you have severe chest pain, back pain, headache or abdominal pain. Please. Do NOT attempt to diagnose yourself on WebMD. Just get checked.

    Cheap meds: WalMart $4 generics, Ditto Target.

    Cheap dental care: any university dental school. You won’t be alone….. trust me.

    I could go on but I am F-n a$$ draggin’ tired and I got another 12 hrs in the pit tomorrow and Fri.

    Oh… and please…for godssake, Wear sunblock as much as you can tolerate.

    sl

  43. flowerboy says:

    The one thing holding India back is women not working. Women may be educated and work a little until they marry. As soon as that first kid comes they quit. The man can work long hours etc. The wife takes care of the in laws, the kids, the home. Home cooked food is deliverd to your job. Very little property tax so no incentive to sell property once you own it. Live with your parents until they die or save and pay cash for a house for your son before he gets married.

  44. Hard Place says:

    Thanks. JB.

    Interviewed for another job today. This is the big prize and if I land it should be a better offer than the one that I just got, which was about 20% better comp. Even if I did land this much better job, I’m still not buying a place this year!

  45. njpatient says:

    Good on you, Hard Place.

  46. Hard Place says:

    It’s a relief to finally get into a decent company again. I left Wall St, took some time off, went to work for family and hated it. I would have really despised family gatherings if I had to stay with them much longer. Looked around for a couple months and finally locked in on a position after about a month of them dragging their feet. In this job environment, I’ll take what I can get.

  47. grim says:

    From Reuters:

    Countrywide Sued Over ‘Excessive’ Fees on Defaults

    Countrywide Financial Corp charged thousands of borrowers facing foreclosure “excessive, unreasonable” fees and expenses, according to a proposed class action filed in Delaware Chancery Court.

    The lawsuit, filed on Monday, accuses the embattled number-one U.S. mortgage lender of unjustly profiting from inflated fees charged to homeowners whose loans were delinquent or in foreclosure to compensate for huge subprime loan losses.

    In a statement, Countrywide said on Wednesday it “does not believe this case has merit and expects to present a vigorous defense.”

    The suit, by New Jersey plaintiff Gregory O’Gara, comes amid scrutiny by federal and state law enforcement agencies, including the Office of the U.S. Trustee and the Florida attorney general, of Countrywide’s loan servicing practices.

    Countrywide also faces numerous lawsuits by investors contending the company issued false and misleading statements to inflate its share price, and at least one other action by homeowners claiming it conducted false appraisals to artificially drive up faltering home prices.

  48. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Auctions market mess hits borrowers

    Even as state officials move billions of dollars in debt out of a market that has saddled them with double-digit interest rates, costs for other options are rising sharply, a consultant told members of the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority yesterday.

    A dramatic rise in traditional fixed-rate interest costs for public borrowers, for example, adds a complication to efforts to help bor rowers escape the collapse of the market for auction-rate securities.

    That makes life more complicated — and more expensive — for the colleges, hospitals and state agencies who are paying millions more in interest each week than they owed when the market was stable. Officials throughout the state are trying to refinance auction-rate holdings that exceed $5 billion.

    Among the most prominent op tion is to shift that debt to more traditional bonds that pay fixed interest rates. But now that market is experiencing its own turmoil.

    “What we have seen is a lot of demand,” said Noreen White, the EFA’s financial advisor. “Consequently, fixed rates have spiked dramatically in the last several days.”

    That’s bad news for the colleges and other public borrowers, who are searching for alternatives to an auction-rate market White characterized as being in “meltdown mode.”

  49. grim says:

    Who was it here that said NY metro area nightlife exudes style, culture, and grace?

    Staten Island bar cancels plans for dwarf bowling

    Staten Island’s Big Nose Kate’s Saloon in the Richmond Valley section canceled its plans for Saturday night dwarf bowling after its owners discovered it was illegal, according to a report in the Staten Island Advance.

    The report said he club found out that dwarf-bowling has been illegal in bars in New York state since 1990. Saloon manager Rich Makson told the newspaper “when we found out it wasn’t legal, we canceled.”

  50. grim says:

    From the Record:

    N.J. flirts with recession

    New Jersey lost 9,500 jobs in January and gained only 4,700 in all of 2007, according to figures released Wednesday, leading two prominent economists to say the state is on the cusp of a recession.

    The state’s unemployment rate rose in January from 4.2 percent to 4.5 percent, below the national figure of 4.9 percent, according to the monthly job figures released by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

    Together, the figures for 2007 and January paint a significantly darker picture of the state economy than did employment estimates at the end of last year.

    Joseph Seneca, a Rutgers University economics professor and the chairman of the New Jersey Council of Economic Advisors, called the latest figures “a worst-case scenario.”

    “There is no way to portray this other than very bad news,” he said.

    “This is an economy that is stalled, and on the cusp of recession.”

  51. Frank says:

    #50,
    How expensive can it get, right now the rates are at 2%? Will they go up to 3%? Big deal. I would love.

  52. Clotpoll says:

    grim (51)-

    Classic. What other state would actually have statutes that make dwarf bowling illegal?

    Oh, I forgot…NJ.

    Thes are the laws that get written when your gubmint can’t do anything of real value.

  53. njrebear says:

    The House approved $18 billion in new taxes on the largest oil companies Wednesday as Democrats cited record oil prices and rising gasoline costs in a time of economic troubles.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080228/ap_on_bi_ge/energy_taxes

  54. Confused In NJ says:

    Garfield Schools are closed today due to a Teacher Sick Out. But it’s O.K., it’s for the children.

  55. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Bankrate: avg conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate 6.41%

    Bankrate: average 15-year fixed mortgage rate 5.87%

  56. grim says:

    From the Boston Herald:

    City aims to tax owners of abandoned homes

    City officials are lining up an arsenal of new tax penalties and stronger regulations to help rid the Hub of the abandoned and foreclosed properties that are blighting neighborhoods as a result of the national mortgage crisis.

    “It is a real scam and it’s happening in so many cities throughout America,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who was updated yesterday on efforts to revive the foreclosure-ravaged Hendry Street area in Dorchester during a revved-up meeting with 20 city officials in a new “war room” at City Hall. “All the predictions are that the worse is yet to come.”

    Menino yesterday filed a home-rule petition with the state Legislature that would slap a new levy on homeowners, mortgage lenders and mortgage servicers who leave properties vacant and abandoned for more than one year. The so-called “non-utilization” tax would be set at 10 percent of the property’s assessed value, said corporation counsel William F. Sinnott.

  57. BC Bob says:

    Clot,

    Did you see Gartman on Squawk this morning. If yes, how about an overview.

  58. BC Bob says:

    JB [58],

    Beantown? Along the corridor of wealth and higher education?

  59. grim says:

    Classic. What other state would actually have statutes that make dwarf bowling illegal?

    Delaware nightlife doesn’t look too dull either.

    Delaware Police Raid Home-Based Casino Dealing in Nudity, Illegal Gambling

    Police in Middletown, Del., have arrested three residents accused of hosting illegal gambling at a home in The Legends community.

    Middletown police say the arrests followed a stakeout and a raid at the home on Little Circle. The surveillance operation began after police received complaints from area residents about parking violations.

    Police learned that illegal poker games and sports betting were being held at the house. According to police, on some occasions, the gambling featured topless dealers and barmaids serving players alcohol.

  60. grim says:

    Hey, you do what you gotta do to pay that mortgage.

  61. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Freddie Mac 4th Quarter Loss Widens To $2.45B On Mark-To-Market Losses

    Freddie Mac’s fourth-quarter loss widened to $2.45 billion, or $3.97 a share, from a year-earlier loss of $401 million, or 73 cents a share, due to mark-to-market losses of about $3.1 billion and continued weakness in the U.S. housing market. Results from the latest quarter included mark-to-market losses of $800 million on the value of the company’s creidt guarantee asset and about $2.3 billion on the value of Freddie Mac’s derivatives portfolio on declining long-term interest rates.

  62. BC Bob says:

    Can Bergabe alert Weber that inflation is not a problem and it will be moderating in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Damn stubborn Germans.

    “Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) — European Central Bank council member Axel Weber said investors betting on interest-rate cuts in Europe are underestimating inflation, which will not slow as much as previously forecast.”

    “The consensus expectation for interest rates on the market at the moment clearly underestimates, in my opinion, the inflation risks,” Weber, who also heads Germany’s Bundesbank, said in a speech in Bonn today. “In 2009, inflation will not slow as markedly as supposed.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=aRBnfB1hNf5M

  63. Shore Guy says:

    # 6

    Anytime government is either in debt or running a deficit, tax rebates are a sham. The cost of administering the rebates is just an extra cost to the taxpayers as part of a feel-good enterprise. If the government is consistently bringing in too much revenue, cut the tax rates, or create a greater personal exemption on the income tax form (make it refundable for those who owe no income taxes). The existing property tax rebate process is now and always has been a flawed hoax.

  64. BC Bob says:

    “Amid Wall Street’s recession panic, the latest official inflation news has received less attention than usual. The “headline” consumer price index (CPI) for the year ending in January was up 4.3%, the third consecutive monthly reading above 4%. This has been easy to attribute to rising energy costs, for which the blame is often misplaced on foreigners and oil companies. But as I’ve argued on this page in the past, the real problem is the sick dollar.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120407506089695263.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

  65. njrebear says:

    PRESIDENT BUSH TO HOLD 10 A.M. EASTERN PRESS CONFERENCE TO DISCUSS HOUSING

  66. Stu says:

    PRESIDENT BUSH TO HOLD 10 A.M. EASTERN PRESS CONFERENCE TO DISCUSS HOUSING

    Wow!!!!

  67. lostinny says:

    51
    Now what am I supposed to do Saturday night?!

  68. njrebear says:

    Yearly change in hourly earnings for non-managers in services and blue-collar factory workers (80% of the workforce) (Jan 07 – Jan 08)

    http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/webfeatures_snapshots_20080220se

  69. Shore Guy says:

    # 41 “the amount of money a seller stands to make is NO indicator of present market value.”

    This is exactly right. The same also holds true for sellers in a declining market; the amount the seller paid has no bearing on the current market value. The people who bought at or near peak and who now need to sell will benefit themselves by recognizing it is better to take a small hit now instead of a bigger one tomorrow. This is tough psychologically. With every Tom, Dick, and Harriet seeming to make a killing in RE over the past decade – even without any particular skills – the ones who now will not make money, and may even lose it, have to get over the feeling that it reflects on their own financial acumen and self-worth. This may take awhile.

  70. Al says:

    Staten Island bar cancels plans for dwarf bowling

    MAAAN – thats it I am leaving this area…..
    With Dwarf Bowling being illegal whats next??
    “Massage” parlors and cr@ck will be illegal too??

  71. lisoosh says:

    My boy Bloomberg has decided not to run.

    Smart enough to know that he doesn’t want to inherit the current mess would be my guess.

  72. Shore Guy says:

    # 61

    The problem is they did not invite the Chief over and let him win.

  73. Shore Guy says:

    # 67

    If he shows up with cardboard, plastic sheeting, and duct tape we know it is NOT good news.

  74. Shore Guy says:

    # 73 Regardless of who wins, they lose. The next president will be faced with a host of problems for which there are no good answers. FDR had more options available than the next WH occupant will have.

    Mikey can hang out for 4 years and then have a clear shot next time. I have little faith that the winner this year will have any prayer of winning a second term. Even more, I suspect that whichever party wins this presidential race will be trounced in the midterm races in ’10, and will lose the WH in ’12 and perhaps an election or 2-3 beyond then.

  75. Shore Guy says:

    Can one have topless dwarfs serve at “friendly” poker games and even bowl for entertainment purposes?

  76. BC Bob says:

    “The people who bought at or near peak and who now need to sell will benefit themselves by recognizing it is better to take a small hit now instead of a bigger one tomorrow.”

    shore [71],

    I could never comprehend this. Why does anyone sit and hold a losing position. Some of my best trades ever, were losses. Take the hit and move on. There are are world of opportunities, why sit with a losing, decaying, gut wrenching position?

  77. Stu says:

    Press of Atlantic City:

    Credit crisis stalls Pinnacle’s plans for Atlantic City casino

    http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/186/story/92237.html

    “If the credit markets stay exactly where they are today for the next two or three years, we’re not going to borrow the money to build in Atlantic City,” Lee said. “It’s not going to make sense. We need the stars to align. We think the stars will align, so we continue to work toward that goal.”

  78. Stu says:

    Grim,

    78 in mod. Can’t figure out why!

  79. Clotpoll says:

    BC (59)-

    Yep. In bullets:

    1. He says we’re in a bear market. Disagree. Too many things- other than financials- are working. The money is still moving from value to growth, and that capital shift isn’t gonna end tomorrow. All the bets aren’t placed yet.

    2. He’s covering his shorts in financials. That’s just smart. The easy money’s been made. However, it’s still a long way from a point where I’d want to get long the sector. We’ve still got a bank run and 100 bank failures left in this cycle. Doesn’t make me want to rush to get long C.

    3. Like his idea of starting to nibble at companies like CIM, who are looking around for distressed/mispriced RE assets. Vultures are good. Gartman calls CIM a financial, but in a way, companies like that are really anti-financials, as they are looking to exploit anomalies rather than depend on a trend (or the Fed) to float their boats.

  80. BC Bob says:

    “Banks are likely to report more write-downs worth billions of dollars from exposure to leveraged loans and commercial-mortgage securities when they report first-quarter results, analysts at Citigroup said Wednesday.”

    “Bank of America Corp. (BAC 42.88, +0.16, +0.4%) could unveil $2.15 billion of write-downs, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM 44.41, +0.69, +1.6%) may report a $1.44 billion hit. Wachovia Corp. (WB:Wachovia Corp WB 34.10, -0.06, -0.2%) could see a $590 million impact, the Citi analysts estimated.”

    http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/banks-unveil-billions-more-write-downs/story.aspx?guid=%7B9F55012C%2D571C%2D4C65%2DB9C3%2D5CF32E10B2E8%7D

  81. Shore Guy says:

    #77 Because they allow it to become personal; it becomes a reflection on them as a savvy, or not so savvy, investor. They feel like they will be seen as a chump. In this area, appearances seem to take precedence over reality.

    Investing can be like dating. If one is dating and gets engaged is it better to back out of the wedding and recognize that going through with the wedding is a bad idea or is it better not to “suffer the shame” of breaking an engagement and just stick it out and hope things improve? Just like the smart move can be to walk away at the alter to avoid a bad marriage, one can save money (and missed opportunities to use the salvaged funds) by walking away from a bad investment. I think of the people who bought Enron shortly before the crash. The smart ones walked away with small or moderate losses.

  82. BC Bob says:

    Clot [79],

    Thanks.

  83. Clotpoll says:

    lost (69)-

    Just cruise around the nice parts of Morristown for a couple of hours. You’ll find what you’re looking for.

  84. Shore Guy says:

    # 78 in moderation

    t0ple$$ dwarves must have done it.

  85. Clotpoll says:

    BC (77)-

    Human nature, pure and simple.

  86. Clotpoll says:

    Shore (84)-

    That’ll do it every time.

    Not even 9 AM, and we’ve already devolved into marking time here today.

  87. Rich In NNJ says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Initial jobless claims rise 19,000 to 373,000

    Continuing claims highest since October 2005

    First-time claims for state unemployment benefits rose 19,000 last week, reaching the highest level since late January, the government reported Thursday.

    The number of initial claims in the week ended Feb. 23 gained 19,000 to 373,000, according to the Labor Department.

    The four-week average of initial claims fell 1,250 to 360,500.


    Initial claims ranging from about 300,000 to 325,000 are consistent with healthy a rate of U.S. employment growth, economists say. Readings consistently higher than 350,000 would signal significant weakening in the labor market.

    The four-week moving average is considered a better indicator because it smoothes out one-time events like strikes or weather.

  88. Shore Guy says:

    Speaking of dwarves,

    I saw something in Baltimore recently: a basketball game between a team of dwarves and a team of regular-height police officers. As Dave Barry used to say, I am NOT making this up.

  89. Stu says:

    “I could never comprehend this. Why does anyone sit and hold a losing position. Some of my best trades ever, were losses. Take the hit and move on. There are are world of opportunities, why sit with a losing, decaying, gut wrenching position?”

    Nobody wants to admit they made a mistake. This is a major contributor to why homes aren’t selling!

  90. Clotpoll says:

    McCulley, of PIMCO, on Squawk, saying we’re currently experiencing “modern-day stagflation”.

    His definition? Rate of growth less than rate of inflation.

    So simple.

  91. Rich In NNJ says:

    From MarketWatch:

    GDP unrevised at 0.6% growth in fourth quarter

    In revision, better trade figures offset weaker spending, investment

    The U.S. economy slowed sharply in the fourth quarter, growing at a 0.6% annual rate, unrevised from last month’s estimate, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

    For all of 2007, the economy grew at the weakest pace in five years, rising at an inflation-adjusted 2.2% after a 2.9% gain in 2006.

    Many — but not all — economists believe a recession has now begun, based on data showing declining employment, incomes and industrial production. For the current quarter, economists are predicting no growth.

    Gross domestic purchases – the total value of goods and services bought by U.S. residents – fell 0.3% in the fourth quarter, the first decline since the last recession quarter in 2001.
    The revision to fourth-quarter gross domestic product was a tick lower than the 0.7% expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch.

    More details at the link above, Rich

  92. Clotpoll says:

    In my college days, I attended an all-dwarf tractor pull.

  93. njrebear says:

    Sprint Posts $29.5 Billion Loss on Nextel Writedown

  94. Shore Guy says:

    # 94 It sounds like a Seinfeld episode.

  95. John says:

    I don’t get this about India having stay at home wives, didn’t the greatest generation turn this country into a powerhouse back in the stay at home wife days? Also it was not till the 1970’s when women entered the work force in masses did home prices start to jump through the roof as mortgages and bank loans and house prices now assumed two incomes. Now I know tons of women who don’t want to work but have to work since their mortgage is so high. I think it is fantastic that women have great careers and I would rather have a women than a man anyday of the week at work. But the reality is every women is not in a lipstick jungle or sex in the city, they toil at horrible Walmart type jobs they dispise to get the second income to pay the mortgage.

  96. Clotpoll says:

    What rabbit will the PPT pull out of their hat today?

  97. Stu says:

    “I don’t get this about India having stay at home wives, didn’t the greatest generation turn this country into a powerhouse back in the stay at home wife days?”

    Of my companies 300 person team in Chennai, over half are women and nearly all are married. I’m not sure how many have kids, but I would have to assume that most of them do. I know the division head does!

    Disclaimer: None of these positions are in a call center or IT-related field.

  98. John says:

    Even better, when they hold a losing position in a stock that pays no dividends. Only time I hold a losing position is if it is a cyclical dividiend paying stock, like when I had chase stock in 2002 and reinvested the dividend and I believed it was coming back and I was buying more cheap or when I owned a corporate bond outright like xerox which dipped to 50 cents on the dollar and I believed it will not go out of business and held it to maturity. BUT, I once bought a dog like Bearing Point at 18 and very happily sold at 8, great trade as it is now 3. That stock was headed down and paid no diviidend. Would not be suprised if they went bankrupt. Sad considering it started life as KPMG consulting. I had an idiot friend who bought CISCO at the peek in 2000 and is still holding on. No dividend to reinvest and he has to get back to March 2000 price just to break even and even then their were 7% bonds back in 2000 and he lost out on eight years of interest payments. I just don’t get that.

    Stu Says:
    February 28th, 2008 at 9:00 am
    “I could never comprehend this. Why does anyone sit and hold a losing position. Some of my best trades ever, were losses. Take the hit and move on. There are are world of opportunities, why sit with a losing, decaying, gut wrenching position?”

    Nobody wants to admit they made a mistake. This is a major contributor to why homes aren’t selling!

  99. BC Bob says:

    “Human nature, pure and simple.”

    Clot [85],

    Humans are f*cked up.

  100. Rich In NNJ says:

    From MarketWatch:

    SUBPRIME TODAY

    Thornburg got margin calls on troubled mortgage debt
    Digging out from under debt mountain
    Housing downturn leads to Freddie Mac losses
    Cazenove pretax profit drops 11% as corporate financial activity stalls
    RBS profit up 18%; bank reports fresh write-downs
    U.S. GDP unrevised at 0.6% growth in fourth quarter
    Another debt market for governments loses buyers, and rates rise
    Citigroup installs new risk managers
    JPMorgan Earnings Estimate Cut by Goldman, Merrill
    CIBC swings to loss on C$3.38 billion in charges
    IPOs worth $21bn pulled from market

    Story details at link above, Rich

  101. Stu says:

    AP:
    Thornburg Mortgage Faces Margin Calls

    Thursday February 28, 8:38 am ET

    Thornburg Mortgage Pays Out $300 Million in Margin Calls As Value of Alt-A Securities Plummets

    http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080228/thornburg_mortgage_mortgages.html?.v=1

    “Shares of Thornburg fell $3.09, or 26.8 percent, to $8.45 in premarket trading. Shares have traded between $7.49 and $28.40 during the past year.

    Thornburg said in a regulatory filing it is facing margin calls because the value of the alt-A mortgage-backed securities has plummeted between 10 percent and 15 percent since the end of January. The margin calls come amid “a sudden adverse change in mortgage market conditions in general” that began on Feb. 14, Thornburg said in the filing.”

  102. BC Bob says:

    John [98],

    One of my best trades. Bought Refco at $29, sold at $22, lost 14K. Present value of the stock, 0.

  103. John says:

    TMA mainly did jumbos for wealthy people in affluent areas. Plus it had a hold the paper approach. For them to be in trouble means people with good jobs and good credit are exercising their call options on their million dollar homes and are walking away. Scary. They have to file their annual report very soon. Should be good reading.

  104. HEHEHE says:

    “Clotpoll Says:
    February 28th, 2008 at 9:09 am
    What rabbit will the PPT pull out of their hat today?”

    Given the economic news and the timing of the press conference it sounds like they’ll get Bush to tap dance naked if it means the market doesn’t break S&P 1320 or Dow 12000.

  105. Stu says:

    What rabbit will the PPT pull out of their hat today?”

    Going forward, the CPI will only include fast food prices!

    With the dollar menu firmly in place, inflation numbers will always look good.

  106. Shore Guy says:

    # 97 “I would rather have a women than a man anyday of the week at work. ”

    John,

    Same here but we were never allowed to have them at work and had to go to a hotel at lunch or after quitting time.

  107. Stu says:

    From my companies intranet: john Doe to retire from widgetco:
    After having spent 30 years of developing marketing materials primarily for the Real Estate industry, Fred Thomas has decided to retire, leaving his position as President of widgetco’s former Realty Service Group.

  108. John says:

    S&P DOWNGRADES OPINION ON
    SHARES OF THORNBURG
    MORTGAGE TO HOLD FROM BUY
    Recent Price : $11.54
    Recommendation:
    TMA has received and met more than $300M in margin calls on $2.9B of credit-enhanced AAA-rated mortgage securities since February 14. The company has not realized any losses on these securities; however, market valuations have declined 10%-15% since January 31. While we view price fluctuations
    for these securities as not reflective of long-term credit fundamentals, we expect market uncertainty and poor demand will limit the liquidity of mortgage securities, driving volatility and risk. Lower in premarket,we reduce our target price by $4 to $10 on higher risk and uncertainty.
    JWilley
    02/28/2008 09:00:42

  109. Stu says:

    I love the analyst downgrades that occur after the bad news goes public.

  110. rhymingrealtor says:

    ** Off Topic**

    I have a question for the any teachers here. Re: NJ Ask 4th grade.

    Two weeks from now we are having NJask testing. I have parent friends working themselves into a tizzy, having their kids studying for it everynight, worrying the kids are not prepared.
    I have not given it a second thought. My 4th grade son is a smart kid who normally tests well ( as opposed to my other son who tests horribly but that’s another story) my question is, what are the results for? we do not have advance placement for 5th grade, why are they sweating? Do these results effect the teacher more than the child?

    TIA
    KL

  111. Ann says:

    41 & 16

    Buyers shouldn’t think that sellers have a right to only X amount of profit, but many sellers out there right now are just being greedy and delusional.

    I know there is all this talk of foreclosures and all that, but every overpriced house I saw was bought at least ten years ago, if not thirty years ago and now probably completely paid off.

    In that case, while the seller doesn’t have to sell of course, it’s true that a seller could be stupid for not taking a reasonable offer because it’s 50,000 less than the imaginary price they pulled out of the air. It’s like they take the original asking price and any dollar underneath that is a dollar that they are “losing” or “giving away.”

  112. Ann says:

    112

    I’m not a teacher, but unless they use the ASK for some sort of placement like you said, the ASK tests are a measure of the district’s performance (against other schools in their District Factor Group) not a measure an individual child’s performance.

    Although I do see books to prep for it in the bookstores now. Sigh. Although I don’t think it would hurt to prep a little bit for it, even just to ease your kid’s day that day when he recognizes the layout of the questions, etc.

  113. kettle1 says:

    can anyone give me the current status of

    gsmls 2464104

  114. G$ says:

    I’ve been looking for houses in a small borough in central NJ. Lately I’ve noticed three homes that appear to sell (ie show as “Attorney Review” or “Under Contract”), disappear from the MLS and then show up on Zillow.com as for sale. Two of the three postings on Zillow were made by the same agent who listed the houses before, and in both of those cases the price increased from the last listing price from $14k to $50k. I can provide examples.

    I was wondering if anyone on the blog could provide any insight or if anyone has seen this before. Thanks.

  115. Clotpoll says:

    kl (112)-

    The test is used to further the sheeplization of both parents and kids. He who wields the test, has the power. Fight the power, don’t fear the power!

    What bullshit.

  116. njpatient says:

    “Banks are likely to report more write-downs worth billions of dollars from exposure to leveraged loans and commercial-mortgage securities when they report first-quarter results, analysts at Citigroup said Wednesday.”

    That CAN’t be true! bi said there would be no more writedowns!

  117. kettle1 says:

    GS,

    i have noticed similar activity myself, cant explain it though

  118. Jill says:

    I say we bite the bullet, have the pain and get the budget straightened out. No rebates, no pay-to-play, state-mandated transparency of local governments to prevent towns like mine from being cronyism mills. We have 27 full-time cops in a town of 2700 people that isn’t on a major highway.

    There’s no nipping around the edges here. It’s going to hurt and hurt BADLY no matter what. So let’s just do it and get it over with.

    Those of you who know the banking industry: Is HSBC one of the banks in danger of failure? I have one of their online savings accounts and I’m wondering if I should pull it out and take a Hudson City CD.

  119. Jill says:

    #120: That should be 7500 people.

  120. Clotpoll says:

    In the school that my daughter attended in 4th grade, the teacher gave out the answers to NJASK in advance to the below-average kids.

    This probably happens in lots of places. When the power creates a game, people game the game.

  121. Stu says:

    Maybe it’s time to invest in Hudson City?

  122. Willow says:

    #112

    NJ Ask

    The results are more to see if the school meets “No Child Left Behind.” My school district uses the results as one part of the requirements for advanced math in 7th grade and advanced language in 8th grade. Otherwise it doesn’t really matter.

  123. Shore Guy says:

    # 120 Jill,

    So, obviously, you are against public safety. How else can your town fathers prevent al Qaeda from setting up shop on our shores.

    (tongue planted firmly in cheek)

  124. syncmaster says:

    The movers are at 14 Chelsea Dr in Pis cat away, GSMLS # was 2460687.

    Can anyone tell me what it sold for?

    Thanks.

  125. syncmaster says:

    I have HSBC direct (online savings) too?

    Rate is down to 3.55. Is HSBC in danger of failing? Should I bail? Opinions welcomed.

  126. Clotpoll says:

    Stu (123)-

    HCBK’s loan loss provision in Q4-07?

    Less than 2 mil.

  127. Jill says:

    Shore guy #125: It’s more like where will the sons of the friends of the mayor and council find jobs otherwise. :)

    And where will the Dunkin’ Donuts get their business? *snerk*

  128. Sean says:

    Bush called his press conference because of the terrorist surveillance bill, he could give a crap about the economy.

    When he leaves office next year, I am going to send him a dozen black roses.

  129. kettle1 says:

    incase anyone here isnt sure that greed was a key factor in the housing mess….

    i just came across a foeclosure where the original purchase in apr 05 was for $1 from a family member (looks like mother to son) and the house was foreclosed and bank owned by june 07. I hope the spending spree was worth the house?!?!?

  130. njpatient says:

    120 Jill
    See 123 Stu.

  131. skep-tic says:

    #31

    “Fannie Mae, the biggest source of financing for U.S. home loans, told lenders it will probably ban their use of appraisals by in-house employees or those arranged by brokers.”

    seems like this will prevent a ton of homeowners from refinancing into fixed mortgages. all of the dominoes are falling

  132. Stu says:

    A lower interest rate actually signifies a healthier bank. The one’s willing to pay more need your savings to stay solvent.

    Clot (128)- I think if one major bank fails, they will all fail. Once the bank run begins, everyone will ignore the fiscal soundness of their own banks and they’ll all fold under the pressure. At that point, the government will step in to close the banks to stem the panic.

    By that point the markets will have crashed.

  133. Spelunker says:

    my god. he is such a bad speaker. it’s embarassing.

  134. grim says:

    Sync,

    Still UC.

  135. kettle1 says:

    someone but u[p a list of bank foreclosure websites a couple of months ago, anyone remember who or when so i dont have to spend an hour on google?

  136. syncmaster says:

    grim #136, thanks…is there a projected close date?

  137. 3b says:

    #135 Yeah but you can have a beer with him.

  138. MJ says:

    is there a way for individuals to buy an IPO, or its only for institutions.

  139. Clotpoll says:

    Stu (134)-

    I don’t think regional bank or thrift failure would trigger a larger run. A national bank? Possibly.

    That’s why you don’t want your gold in a safety deposit box. If the Gold Confisc@tion Act is enforced, safety deposit boxes must be opened in the presence of an IRS agent and the gold-related contents removed (gold certificates are also subject to seizure). Of course, the gubmint promises to pay you “market value” for your bullion and certificates…

  140. Shore Guy says:

    # 131 Yikes!

  141. Stu says:

    Posted the link to the foreclosure sites Grim, but it’s in mod.

    Sorry :(

  142. Sean says:

    Re: Run on the banks.

    I bet the banks are more concerned with perhaps people showing up with bricks in their hands.

    http://www.kirotv.com/news/15367749/detail.html?rss=sea&psp=southsoundnews#

  143. Stu says:

    “I don’t think regional bank or thrift failure would trigger a larger run.”

    When I said major bank, I should have written national bank ;)

    My bad.

  144. pretorius says:

    Njpatient,

    When I stated “NJ areas close to Manhattan,” the best you could do was measure the distance between Linden and Staten Island. That’s moving the goalposts.

    On December 31, 2007, Bednar asked people to give their 2008 forecasts for New Jersey home prices. He included some ground rules, including the indices to which forecasts could be attached.

    On January 8, 2008, I gave my forecast. The numbers are 4th quarter 2008 numbers for New Jersey. Here it is:

    OFHEO – 575
    NAR median price of existing single family homes – $355,000

    These figures are consistent with my expectation for stagnant New Jersey home prices this year. I would’ve liked to provide ranges instead of point estimates, but last I time I used a range, Bednar went berserk. And I did 2 separate indices so people couldn’t respond to an accurate forecast by labeling it a lucky guess. The nature of this forecast makes it impossible for me to move the goalposts later on.

    It is one thing to lay back and criticize others’ positions. It takes a little more to go on record with a prediction that can be measured. I didn’t notice your 2008 predictions. Would you mind sharing them?

  145. Sybarite says:

    Kettle, RE: 2464104

    OLP: $245,000
    LP: $229,900

    REMARKS: Sold “as is” buyer is responsible for c.o & all inspections, possible mold, freeze damage, total renovation needed, NO CONTINGENCIES EXCEPT MORTGAGE & OIL TANK!! HIGHEST & BEST OFFERS 02/25/2008 !!!! Seller requires Wells Fargo Pre-Qual call Jonathan @ 973-981-3403, email me for Highest & Best Form

    Note: Well water + septic

  146. Rich In NNJ says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Bush urges Congress to reject Senate mortgage bill

    President Bush urged Congress to reject a Senate bill that would change bankruptcy laws by allowing judges to modify the terms of a mortgage as part of the restructuring of a debt. Instead, Bush said at a White House press conference, lawmakers should approve reforms to mortgage-buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration. He said the economy has slowed but he doesn’t see a recession.

  147. Sean says:

    In protest of what is going on in the economy we should all take our stimulus checks and buy precious metals.

  148. kettle1 says:

    thank you syb!

    sybarite, you have a real estate license? or just access to MLS?

  149. jcer says:

    #41 clot in a down market 90% return for a property owned 9 years that needs work is damn good. Past sales are a good indicator of present value because we can estimate normalize appreciation from the last sale. In any event I was just trying to indicate that sellers are still stubborn and greedy, the property has been on the market a year is there any coincidence.

    If I was in a position to make 90-100% return on an asset that was only going to fall in value, yes it will fall, I would be ready to sign up. I cannot tell a seller what his profit should be but I know what is appropriate given historical trends.

    The other thing is that Hudson county realtors have severe ethical problems, lie, manipulate and play with the market more than any other realtors I have dealt with.

    Listen I am not a nutter, I acknowledge prices increase but given the market situation and where the seller started he is being greedy. If I bought this property today for 575k or even the 610k he wants and could sell it for a 1m in 8 years I’d be thrilled, but I think that this is unrealistic.

  150. kettle1 says:

    Sean,

    last i read, there is only about 12 billion worth of silver in the market today, including national reserves. So in theory, someone like buffet or gates could buy the entire world supply of silver

  151. 3b says:

    #149 Rich but he doesn’t see a recession.

    He can see? He cannot speak, let alone see.

  152. kettle1 says:

    intersting article from TIME.

    The World’s Growing Food-Price Crisis
    One factor driving up the cost of food is the rocketing price of oil, which raises agricultural costs of everything from fertilizer to transport and shipping. Like the oil price, the cost of food is responding, in part, to the burgeoning demand in China and India, where rising incomes allow people to eat bigger meals, and to buy meat far more frequently. That, in turn, has helped to squeeze the world’s supply of grain, since it takes about six pounds of animal feed to produce a pound of meat.

    http://tinyurl.com/2xkdx4

  153. 3b says:

    #148 pret: Stagnate? Prices are already down. I do not see how you can equate that fact with the word stagnate.

  154. Rich In NNJ says:

    Pre (148),

    …Bednar went berserk…

    Was he wearing a hat?
    Ya see, he’s got this thing about this hat.
    Apprently when he’s wearing it, different guy.
    I betting he was wearing the hat.

  155. Clotpoll says:

    Pret (148)-

    How can you extrapolate a call for “stagnant” NJ housing prices from a call on the Q4/08 OFHEO number and NAR’s SFH median?

    No provision for YOY caluclations blows your whole call out of the water. A substantial portion of NJ will be blown out by Q4/08, so of course, the stagnancy implied by that flatness will skew your number.

    Of course, there’s also every chance median prices could remain flat & even rise, as affordability in the low-end becomes even more elusive for first-time buyers who see their take-home pay eroded by inflation.

  156. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (154)-

    See “brothers, Hunt”.

  157. pretorius says:

    3b,

    “Prices are already down.”

    I completely agree that prices are down a lot in many parts of New Jersey.

    But on a statewide basis, prices were down 0.3% in 4Q07 compared to 4Q06, according to OFHEO.

    The NAR statewide data isn’t available yet for 4Q07.

    We can argue about definitions, but I consider a 0.3% change to fit with the definition of stagnant.

  158. kettle1 says:

    160 clott,

    i am familiar with them. But it would be interesting if a private party actually bought enough of the silver supply so that the government/s could not stop them simply buy dumping silver on the market ( yes i know the gov would then use force). Next time i have a spare 10 billion i might give it a shot. but dont worry, i will tell you first clott

  159. Make Money says:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=ajxCNoS2DEzE

    NJ townships are next. There will be many small cities accross the country that will go belly up. One by one they will fall like dominoes.

    I want to know who is going to be hung for TREASON.

    Most world empires lasted for centuries, US will rise and fall in 75-80 yrs. Corrupt SOB’s.

  160. pretorius says:

    Clotpoll,

    “How can you extrapolate a call for ‘stagnant’ NJ housing prices from a call on the Q4/08 OFHEO number and NAR’s SFH median?”

    Simply compare the Q408 result to the Q407 result and calculate the change.

  161. Mitchell says:

    0% credit cards are on the chopping block. No more revolving poor spending to 0% cards soon.

  162. pretorius says:

    “there’s also every chance median prices could remain flat & even rise, as affordability in the low-end becomes even more elusive for first-time buyers who see their take-home pay eroded by inflation.”

    Mix shift is one of the pegs on which bad forecasters hang their climbdowns.

    The NAR # could be affected by this. That is one reason I predicted 2 indices. The OFHEO # reflects a matched sample of homes, so isn’t affected by mix shift.

  163. Clotpoll says:

    3b (157)-

    Graphic representation of Pret’s NJ housing call:

    http://tinyurl.com/ytguyq

  164. Clotpoll says:

    Pret (164)-

    Excuse me for a minute while I gouge out my eyes with a grapefruit spoon…

  165. Stu says:

    Damn.

    I’ve had $10,000 on various 0% cards for over 5 years now. By paying the minimum monthly nut, I’ve gotten the balance down to $5,000. I guess I’ll just have to pay it off. Bummer.

    I hate when the credit card companies stop paying me to use them!

  166. 3b says:

    #159 clot: What possible scenario do you think would make meidan prices possibly rise in your opinion?

    On another topic. We approached a homeowner who had theri house on the market for around 18 months, and finally gave up late last summer.

    They said they would not be relisting as “the market is just so bad”.

    We asked them to contact us if they change theri mind.

    This is an older retired couple 70+ in age, who have lived in the house for years, who want to wait until “the market gets better”.

    Makes no sense to me, but hey we will just move on to the next one.

  167. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    U.S. mortgage rates rise

    Mortgage rates rose again this week, bringing the 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages to levels last seen in November, Freddie Mac’s chief economist said on Thursday.

    The upward rate movements are a reversal of what was seen in January, when rates had dropped significantly enough to inspire a surge in refinancing.

    According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.24% for the week ending Feb. 28, up from 6.04% last week. The mortgage is now higher than it was a year ago; the 30-year averaged 6.18% at this time last year.

    Just three weeks ago the benchmark loan averaged 5.67%, meaning it has jumped more than half a percentage point since then, a significant move given that mortgage rates have not been volatile in the last few years and that the Federal Reserve has been cutting interest rates aggressively.

  168. 3b says:

    #167 Clot: That says it all.

  169. pretorius says:

    Clotpoll,

    Instead of looking at cartoons, you should spend more time looking at charts of New Jersey home price indices.

    When this blog began, people appreciated it because of the focus on local home price data.

    Now that the data reveals that home prices, on a statewide basis, are stagnant, nobody wants to address the data anymore.

  170. Clotpoll says:

    3b (170)-

    Median prices could rise if low-end properties sell at an even lower rate than at present. That’s a distinct possibility, as:

    1. Prices in the low end have not come down enough.
    2. Interest rates are rising.
    3. Financing and qualification for legitimate loans are even more difficult in this price range.
    4. Inflation has the most deleterious effect on affordability for low-end purchasers.

  171. Sean says:

    Kettle1, I see your point on silver and revise my statement.

    We should all take our Stimulus checks(if you qualify) and buy precious metals and perhaps a barrel of Oil each. If there is anything left over drive across the border and buy a few quarts of cheap Canadian Liquor.

    Screw the big banks.

  172. Clotpoll says:

    3b (170)-

    They’ll be dead or institutionalized before the market gets better.

    Go back and ask them for the name and contacts of the person who’ll be administrating their estate. That might get their attention.

    …yes, I have actually looked someone in the eye and asked this question.

  173. BC Bob says:

    “We can argue about definitions, but I consider a 0.3% change to fit with the definition of stagnant.”

    pret,

    Actually it’s putrid. What is the “real” #? Close to an 8% decline. With money supply increasing at approx 10-13% you’re happy with stagnant? In conjunction with this, this asset is priced in US dollars. If priced in a real currency or hard asset it has actually crashed.

    Captial tied up in a decaying, depreciating asset. In addition to this, taxes and maintenance is coughed to be down 8% in real terms. Brilliant!

  174. Clotpoll says:

    Pret (173)-

    “…you should spend more time looking at charts of New Jersey home price indices.”

    Why? I have you to give me guidance. :)

    Besides, I’m not too good at figgerin’.

  175. Clotpoll says:

    pret (173)-

    “Now that the data reveals that home prices, on a statewide basis, are stagnant, nobody wants to address the data anymore.”

    So, what you’re telling me is that the last 2 years of my life have been a bad dream, and I’m about to wake up?

    Damn, I knew I shouldn’t have taken that Ambien.

  176. Jamey says:

    We have now officially come full circle: Bush is Baghdad Bob.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080228/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush

    (And for anyone out there who voted for Bush: Nice work.)

  177. Jamey says:

    179:

    So Bobby Ewing is still alive? Fascinating.

  178. Stu says:

    Can we just drop this silly stagnant vs. inflationary depreciation debate?

    Pret,
    Your point is well taken. In 6 more months, we’ll have a better idea of what is happening.

    Mitchell,
    Your point is well taken too. North Carolina is a better deal than NJ in a lot of ways. In some other ways, it is not. I am truly glad it worked for you.

    All,
    Can we show a little patience? Damn we need instant gratification!

  179. grim says:

    Now that the data reveals that home prices, on a statewide basis, are stagnant, nobody wants to address the data anymore.

    S&P Case Shiller shows the NY Metro area nominal prices off by 6.5% from the peak set in June of 2006.

    A nominal drop of 6.5% isn’t stagnant.

    Not only that, but the MOM rate of change has increased significantly over the last two months.

    Jan 07 -0.472%
    Feb 07 -0.122%
    Mar 07 -0.061%
    Apr 07 -0.377%
    May 07 -0.539%
    Jun 07 -0.523%
    Jul 07 -0.564%
    Aug 07 -0.572%
    Sep 07 -0.309%
    Oct 07 -0.339%
    Nov 07 -0.603%
    Dec 07 -1.272%

    Even more surprising is the change in the YOY rate of change.

    Jan 07 -0.337%
    Feb 07 -0.909%
    Mar 07 -0.905%
    Apr 07 -1.572%
    May 07 -2.375%
    Jun 07 -3.002%
    Jul 07 -3.289%
    Aug 07 -3.434%
    Sep 07 -3.615%
    Oct 07 -4.032%
    Nov 07 -4.589%
    Dec 07 -5.608%

  180. Make Money says:

    In a sign of the government’s seriousness, a new glass-and-marble home for a ruble-denominated commodity exchange is rising this spring in a prestigious district in St. Petersburg.

    The exchange will occupy three floors of the 16-story tower on Vasilevsky Island, one of the islands that make up the historic city center.

    Viktor Nikolayev, the director of the St. Petersburg exchange, said during an interview that the intention was to move slowly and gain market acceptance. The government will not strong-arm sellers or buyers onto the exchange, even in an industry dominated by the state, he said.

    Web-based trading for refined products like gasoline or diesel is being rolled out in three phases for domestic customers, beginning with government buyers like the Russian navy or municipal bus companies. Government agencies have been ordered to buy 15 percent of petroleum products on the exchange by the end of the year.

    Private brokers will be allowed to trade in March; futures contracts will be introduced in April.

    Nikolayev said no timeline had been established for trading for export on the exchange, which also handles grain, sugar, mineral fertilizer, cement and esoteric financial products like Russian government quotas for beef and pork imports – all in rubles.

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/02/25/business/place.php

    The Russians see blood and they are going for the kill. Bergabe and Bush want to have a personal relationships with these guys. Pathetic.

  181. Clotpoll says:

    Great. Stu goes Rodney King on us.

  182. Stu says:

    “I know there’s a lot of, here in Washington people are trying to — stimulus package two — and all that stuff. Why don’t we let stimulus package one, which seemed like a good idea at the time, have a chance to kick in?”

    He is less articulate than me.

    Remind me how he became president again?

  183. Clotpoll says:

    grim (183)-

    Stop making sense.

  184. skep-tic says:

    pretorios– how is the data on your side on this one? Transactions are down on YoY basis close to 30%. Inventory continues to climb. Doesn’t this indicate some disparity between the bid and the ask? Your point is that massive price drops haven’t yet shown up in the data, which is fair, but it does not mean that prices are stable.

  185. Clotpoll says:

    make (184)-

    “The Russians see blood and they are going for the kill. Bergabe and Bush want to have a personal relationships with these guys. Pathetic.”

    But Obama is a wuss, because he’d talk directly to Syria and Iran?

  186. Stu says:

    Can’t we all just get along :P

  187. Clotpoll says:

    (186)-

    Tampering with two elections?

  188. Jamey says:

    54:

    If dwarf bowling is illegal, what hope have we for miniature golfing? Or Bonsai kickboxing?

  189. Clotpoll says:

    skep (188)-

    See “over canyon, Wil E Coyote”.

  190. BC Bob says:

    Why would anybody follow OFHEO?

  191. kettle1 says:

    BC Bob 177

    stop being so optimistic,

    M3 ( money supply) is between 15% and 16%.

  192. pretorius says:

    Grim,

    Case-Shiller is a good index for the New York metro area, but better indices exist for the subject of this blog, New Jersey real estate.

    The Case-Shiller New York index covers parts of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It ignores the southern half of New Jersey.

    The best way to dig deeper into this is to look at NAR’s metro area data, which includes data for divisions within large metro areas like New York (link attached below).

    Clearly, the New Jersey parts of the New York metro are outperforming the New York and Connecticut parts.

    In addition, the parts of the New Jersey ignored by Case-Shiller, like the Atlantic City area, are doing better than anywhere in the New York metro.

    Why do insist on ignoring the New Jersey indices while favoring an index having only a small part of its footprint in this state?

    http://www.realtor.org/Research.nsf/files/MSAPRICESF.pdf/$FILE/MSAPRICESF.pdf

  193. kettle1 says:

    oh my goodness, i hope dwarf tossing is still legal!!! that was one of the best bachelor party activities i have ever experienced!

    what a night, strippers beer and dwarf tossing!

  194. kettle1 says:

    dont worry about the US energy policy our government has already solved the problem and invested heabvily in said solution

    Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) said “that war is a fairly probable consequence” of peaking and declining world oil supplies. Bartlett spoke to Energy Policy TV about oil supplies as a guest on the EPTV News Roundtable series. Video of the full interview is available at no cost: Bartlett EPTV News Roundtable.

    http://tinyurl.com/36snte

  195. pretorius says:

    Skep-tic,

    “Transactions are down on YoY basis close to 30%.”

    I agree transaction volume has slowed during the last 12 months, but 30% seems way too high. What is your source?

    I track statewide transaction volume. Using a seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR), volume was 128,000 in 4Q07, down only 9% from the previous year.

    On an SAAR basis, transaction volume was down 37% from the 2004 peak.

  196. Make Money says:

    But Obama is a wuss, because he’d talk directly to Syria and Iran?

    We loose the petrodollars and you can say goodbuy to this country as we know it.

    We need a Reagan type, Cold War?
    We win they loose. End of story.

    I said this last year when Central Bankers from around the world don’t have the need to hold dollars(they will love to stick it to us)they will flood the market with them and they will all come home to roost. That my friend is Hyper Inflation and 2 Million dollar POS and 25K in the refrigirator. We will print the $10,000 dollar bill and after a decade or so US will peg it’s currency to the Rubble or the Juan.

    the Irony will be that Communism beat us with Capitalism and they will have won the Cold War.

    I sooo hope I’m wrong.

  197. 3b says:

    #194 BC Bob: Why does Linus have a blanket?

  198. BC Bob says:

    Kettle [195],

    You are spot on.

  199. scribe says:

    3b, #170

    You said:

    This is an older retired couple 70+ in age, who have lived in the house for years, who want to wait until “the market gets better”.

    There’s a house next door to my aunt. The owner is elderly and in a nursing home. The family was going to put it on the market last spring because the nursing home costs about $5,000 a month, but they didn’t list it – still haven’t – because, my aunt said, “the market is bad right now.”

    Instead, they’re renting it to a young relative so at least the house is occupied.

  200. pretorius says:

    “BC Bob Says:
    February 28th, 2008 at 11:23 am
    Why would anybody follow OFHEO?”

    Do you have a better index that tracks US home prices over the past couple of decades?

    If we dismiss data that does not conform to our thesis, then our conclusions will be biased, and potentially dangerously wrong.

    It seems like this is happening with excessive skepticism being applied to the OFEHO #s, although nobody complained that these figures were wrong during the boom years.

  201. skep-tic says:

    #196

    “Clearly, the New Jersey parts of the New York metro are outperforming the New York and Connecticut parts.”

    referencing the link you provided, looks like Northern NJ is doing the worst in the NYC metro area:

    bridgeport/stamford/norwalk CT 3.3%

    new york / northern NJ / long island -1.1%

    new york / wayne / white plains 3.6%

  202. 3b says:

    #174 clot:Makes sense. On my other post (176), I like your idea, I like it a lot.

    My better half on the other hand would be horrified if I did that, and so alas I cannot.

  203. pretorius says:

    Skep-tic,

    Good point – I missed Bridgeport et al.

    However, the NY-NNJ-LI number is for the entire metro, not one of the divisions.

    The rest of the data fits with my point that New Jersey is stronger than other parts of the NY metro. Bridgeport et al is the only exception.

  204. HEHEHE says:

    I was actually impressed Bush showed half a backbone.

  205. skep-tic says:

    #199

    The Otteau Report, Jan. 25, 2008

    The pace of home sales in New Jersey declined further in December providing compelling evidence that the housing market recession has not yet reached bottom. In December, Contract-Sales activity declined 24% below the November pace and was 31% less than in December 2006. When considered against the backdrop of high Unsold Inventory levels and a looming economic recession, it appears certain that existing-home prices will continue their decline into 2008.

    http://www.branchblog.com/archives/2008/01/

  206. pretorius says:

    Skep-tic, thanks for providing the source.

  207. skep-tic says:

    pret– just want to be clear that I think you are doing a good job by attempting to provide a counterpoint to the prevailing view here. I am a bit confused though as to what exactly this point is. do you really think the market in the tri-state area is stable, or do you just think it is less bad than most here?

  208. kettle1 says:

    I second Skeptic’s comment.

    While we may rag on you Pre, it is good to have a counter point. And what ever happened to Bi? Did his loan hark call in his builders stocks margin?

  209. RentininNJ says:

    Now that the data reveals that home prices, on a statewide basis, are stagnant, nobody wants to address the data anymore

    If home prices are merely stagnant, why are we seeing so many foreclosures & short sales? Sellers who bought at the peak may get burned on transaction costs, but should otherwise be able to sell or refinance their way out of trouble.

  210. Ann says:

    203 scribe

    Exactly. Even the old people who are already in nursing homes are waiting until the market gets better. What are they waiting for? My theory is they can’t deal with the fact that the clown across the street got whatever amount more (50, 100K) a few years ago. They would literally rather die first than drop their price.

  211. pretorius says:

    My position has been consistent and simple. New Jersey home prices won’t crash. Supporting this thesis is that the areas closest to Manhattan will do better than the suburbs. The most objective way to evaluate this call is to measure the New Jersey home price indices. So far, my predictions are correct.

    Transaction volumes in New Jersey are crashing – I know that. In many parts of the country and in some New Jersey submarkets, prices are crashing – I know that. But so far, New Jersey home prices on a statewide basis haven’t crashed.

    Unlike most posters here, I’ve put myself on record by forecasting where 2 statewide home prices indices will be at the end of the year. Time will tell if I’m right.

  212. lisoosh says:

    How much are dwarves paid for being tossed anyway?

  213. pretorius says:

    “If home prices are merely stagnant, why are we seeing so many foreclosures & short sales?”

    Because some people bought at the high water mark in submarkets where prices are declining, and they used stupid financing to pay for it.

  214. Stu says:

    Pret:

    Why won’t home prices situated near New York crash?

    Portland held on longer than everyone expected, but they are finally dropping just like everyone else.

    Why is Manhattan and surrounding areas immune?

  215. skep-tic says:

    #215

    fair enough. but how will the inventory overhang be cleared without price drops?

  216. kettle1 says:

    lisoosh,

    i believe it was a couple hundred for the night. he tagged along everywhere we went. The guy was hilarious (the dwarf)and was worth the money. and yes we really did have a dwarf for tossing at the party, i am not kidding

  217. kettle1 says:

    hey clott,

    do they have dwarves at the vault???

  218. Make Money says:

    Because some people bought at the high water mark in submarkets where prices are declining, and they used stupid financing to pay for it.

    It wasn’t stupid. It was devious and predatory loans and they will have to pay for it on top of the writedowns with regulation. This will make Sabranes-Oxley look like a walk in the park.

    These were bad products that were designed to fail. The mania created the demand and greed and recklesness of the lenders was created by the fed. One thing fed into the other and it created consumption so fed was not about to pull the trigger.

    It’s the fed stupid. The lenders will be severely regulated and pass on the cost to the consumer slowly.

    If you still think that prices are stagnant make an other of $850K for a million dollar house and see how fast the seller will accept.

  219. Clotpoll says:

    3b (206)-

    “My better half on the other hand would be horrified if I did that…”

    It’s a market, not an ice cream social.

  220. BC Bob says:

    pret,

    I don’t pay attention to OFHEO in a boom or bust market.How does OFHEO measure buyer/seller psychology, sentiment, oversold/overbought indicators, etc..

    You can also point out that stock returns avg approv 10% from 1926-2001. However, it’s an insignificant indicator if your time horizon is 5, 10 or 15 years. How about the market is crashing and your margin clerk blows you out? Why can’t you utilize, as your defense, the long term % returns?

    There are various reasons for selling a property; job loss, death, divorce, job relocation, etc.. Unfortunately, all that is pertinent, at that point in time, is market conditions. There is absolutely nobody data mining. Buyers/sellers motivation can not be plugged into a spreadsheet. It is not science. Water will boil at 212 degrees F. Turn the heat up on an owner, looking to sell in a declining market, watch then eventually wilt. How does OFHEO measure psychology?

  221. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (221)-

    In a joint like that, everybody’s a dwarf (except for the ladies in PVC who wield the whips).

  222. Clotpoll says:

    pret (207)-

    Keep pushing. You’ve just about jammed that elephant thru the eye of the needle…

  223. Jamey says:

    214, 203:

    Last May I was faced with a similar dilemma: I had to sell my ma’s condo after she went into assisted living. I figured the monthly carrying costs, held my nose, and priced the place roughly comparable to what similar units sold for in 2004. Result: I sold it inside the condo assoc’s 30-day right-of-refusal window to a friend of a fellow condo owner — no Realtor involved. I was straight upfront with the putative buyer: not much wiggle room on the price, since I already was pricing it “below market.” We settled on a price a couple of t thousand below what I had asked, but with the added proviso that they would purchase it as-is.

    So, for taking a (probable) 10% haircut, I saved 4-6% realtor vig, plus the cost of utilities, insurance, assoc dues, etc, that likely would have accrued had I priced it higher. Meanwhile, two other condos in the same community came on the market within six weeks of ma’s. They’re still on the market. One’s unoccupied; the owner’s recent college grad daughter is living in the other.

    The market is what buyers will pay. Asking too much isn’t a negotiating ploy.

  224. Jamey says:

    pret (215)

    Define “crash,” please.

  225. skep-tic says:

    I did read an article about a week ago which suggested that one support for suburban RE is the fact that a lot of long term commercial leases in NYC are coming to term soon and rather than face big rent increases, these business may look to move out to the suburbs. Not sure how much truth there is to this, but it sounds plausible. I know satellite cities such as Stamford and White Plains have vastly improved in the past 10 yrs and are now seen as viable alternatives whereas before they may not have been

  226. Ann says:

    This is funny

    From the blog, Stuff White People Like: Gentrification

    “In general, white people love situations where they can’t lose. While this does account for the majority of their situations, perhaps the safest bet a white person can make is to buy a house in an up-and-coming neighborhood.

    White people like to live in these neighborhoods because they get credibility and respect from other white people for living in a more “authentic” neighborhood where they are exposed to “true culture” every day. So whenever their friends mention their home in the suburbs or richer urban area, these people can say “oh, it’s so boring out there, so fake. In our neighborhood, things are just more real.” This superiority is important as white people jockey for position in their circle of friends.

    They are like a modern day Lewis and Clark, except instead of searching for the ocean, they are searching for old properties to renovate.

    In a few years, if more white people start moving in, these initial trailblazers will sell their property for triple what they paid and move into an ultramodern home.

    Credibility or money, they can’t lose!

    When one of these white people tell you where they live, you should say “whoa, it’s pretty rough down there. I don’t think I could live there.” This will make them feel even better about their credibility and status as neighborhood pioneers.”

    http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.wordpress.com/2008/02/22/73-gentrification/

  227. pretorius says:

    Jamey,

    I like the FDIC definition – “decline in nominal home prices of at least 15% over 5 years.”

    The nominal versus real debate is valid. However, since mortgage debt is paid in nominal terms, using nominal figures makes sense.

    How do you define a crash?

  228. kettle1 says:

    could i get an address plz :)

    gsmls 2485921

  229. kettle1 says:

    Bernanke just stated that if oil were traded in any other currency that it would have some “symbolic” value but that would be all. hmmm what sort of degrees does this man have?

    listening to him yesterday and today, i came to the conclusion that if i was a senator in the hearing i would end up getting thrown out, as i would throw something him after he failed to answer a question directly for the 500th time!

  230. kettle1 says:

    is this where we are having the NYC GTG since it seems to so well known amongst this group???

    http://tinyurl.com/3d53xf

  231. Bloodbath in Winter 2007 says:

    Anyone else think this Glenn Beck guy is a fool?

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/02/28/beck.commentary/index.html?iref=topnews

    Glenn Beck: Don’t follow herd on the economy

    NEW YORK (CNN) — “The people who survived the Great Depression were the ones who had money to buy when everybody else was selling.” — My grandfather

  232. Stu says:

    I heard it too Kettle1.

    Unreal.

  233. Rich In NNJ says:

    From Reuters via Yahoo:

    Stocks extend losses on Bernanke bank comment

    Stocks extended losses, sending the Dow and the S&P 500 down more than 1 percent, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said there probably will be bank failures as the housing slump takes its toll.

  234. Rich In NNJ says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Goldman cuts Morgan target on home equity woe

    Is home equity the new subprime? Goldman Sachs may think so — the brokerage lowered its 2008 earnings estimate for JP Morgan Chase & Co. to $3.30 from $3.44 Thursday amid warnings that problems in the bank’s home equity loan portfolio could cost it $450 million, more than twice previous estimates.

    ….
    “Home equity losses will be [JP Morgan]’s most significant headwind,” the Goldman analysts said, citing plummeting housing prices and skyrocketing negative equity as major concerns for the bank in coming months.

    MUCH more at the link above, Rich

  235. RayC says:

    From Ben’s statement

    “As house prices fall, people will become more reluctant to buy a house because they’re afraid that house prices will keep falling, so they rent instead,” Bernanke said. “That puts pressure on rents and actually could drive up rents.”

    So….it must be a good time to buy, eh Ben? When did he drink the Kool Aid. All those houses that aren’t selling, some of them are up for rent Ben (I know, I’m in one), that increases rental supply. What does THAT do to rent prices?

  236. Stu says:

    Benny? Get outta there! Come about! Let it- let it carry you out of there! What the hell are you doing? Benny! For Christ sake! You’re steaming into a bomb! Turn around for Christ sake! Benny, can ya hear me? You’re headed right for the middle of the monster! Benny?…

  237. Confused In NJ says:

    Rules for Dwarf Throwing

    If a dwarf is thrown through a glass window or glass door, he must wear gloves and a suitable mask.

    If a dwarf is thrown through a burning hoop, extinguishers must be provided.

    If a dwarf is thrown down a well, the organizers must ensure that the bottom of the well is dry, and is covered by leaves to a depth of three inches..

    If a dwarf is to be thrown across the path of an oncoming train, the thrower must previously satisfy the organizers that he bears no personal malice against the throwee.

    If a dwarf is thrown into a pond or river, he must wear a wetsuit and need not be tightly bound.

    If dwarfs are thrown at night, they may be painted with phosphorescent paint, so that the point of impact may be clearly seen.

    If a dwarf refuses to be bound in the usual way before throwing, he may be put in a straitjacket of the requisite size.

    If a dwarf utters any sound whatsoever, either in flight or at the moment of impact, the throw will be disqualified.

    If a jockey impersonates a dwarf and wins a competition because his light weight allows him to be thrown farthest, he will be liable to a fine of £1000 or three years imprisonment.

    It is strictly forbidden in dwarf-throwing literature and publicity, to refer to dwarfs as ‘persons of restricted growth’ or ‘small people’.

  238. Pat says:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aaKT9Z_X9okg&refer=home

    “Dellacamera says he and an investor in his fund he declined to identify have put $102 million into New York-based National Asset Direct since it opened in October 2006.”

    Guesses on the investor?

  239. lisoosh says:

    Ann – That blog is hysterical. I’ll peruse more when I have the time.
    Loved this quote:

    “In most situations, white people are very comforted by seeing their own kind. However, when they are eating at a new ethnic restaurant or traveling to a foreign nation, nothing spoils their fun more than seeing another white person.

    Many white people will look into the window of an ethnic restaurant to see if there are other white people in there. It is determined to be an acceptable restaurant if the white people in there are accompanied by ethnic friends. But if there is a table occupied entirely by white people, it is deemed unacceptable.

    The arrival of the “other white people” to either restaurants or vacation spots instantly means that lines will grow, authenticity will be lost, and the euphoria of being a cultural pioneer will be over.”

  240. Sybarite says:

    Kettle,

    153 W MOUNTAIN RD
    Sparta, NJ

  241. Frank says:

    Merrill to shut down subprime lending unit-CNBC

    http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUKWEN420020080228?rpc=44

    What a bunch of dummies.

  242. pretorius says:

    Ann & Lisoosh,

    That is a funny blog. I’m one of the people they describe.

    So, what New Jersey neighborhoods do you think will be the next to gentrify?

    I made a black box model that tries to identify which urban neighborhoods are beginning to gentrify and therefor will enjoy better home price performance than other neighborhoods. I followed the recommendations in my model and bought a place in one of the neighborhoods that the model said was up-and-coming.

    By the way, the two key inputs into my model are change in homeownership rate and change in % of college residents with college degrees.

  243. John says:

    But to get upstairs we need boy girl boy girl. AKA Daisy Chain.

    kettle1 Says:
    February 28th, 2008 at 12:49 pm
    is this where we are having the NYC GTG since it seems to so well known amongst this group???

    http://tinyurl.com/3d53xf

  244. RentininNJ says:

    Pret,

    It’s true. Prices in Northern NJ have not crashed. You could fairly describe the market as “stagnant”, but this does not mean the same thing as “stable”.

    Right now you could drive a truck through the bid/ask spread on houses. Prices aren’t dropping because homes aren’t transacting. The market lacks price discovery. Falling housing markets tend to get illiquid before prices correct.

    So, now we have out classic Mexican standoff between buyers and sellers. True, I think many people thought sellers would have caved by now, but many are still holding their ground.

    However, when you look at the fundamentals thought, there isn’t much supporting the bullish case.
    – Inventory is at record highs
    – Credit is tightening
    – Interest rates are rising again
    – Buyer psychology has shifted from “get in while you still can” to “wait and see”.
    – Property taxes out of control
    – Heading into a recession
    – No job or population growth in NJ
    – Wall Street shaky – at best, not creating jobs – at worst, laying-off
    – Increased foreclosures/sales under pressure
    – ARMS resetting

    I just don’t see a situation where sellers win the standoff; where buyers suddenly swoop in and absorb all of this inventory at current prices.

  245. BC Bob says:

    I wish Bergabe would speak every day.

  246. Clotpoll says:

    pret (246)-

    “I made a black box model…”

    BC, care to fill in the blank here?

  247. Jamey says:

    Does anybody know whether Yahoo.com is down today?

  248. Clotpoll says:

    BC-

    Set up any USD crosses yet?

  249. Clotpoll says:

    Bergabe closes mouth.

    Market begins to recover.

  250. BC Bob says:

    “I made a black box model…”

    Clot [250],

    I just slid under my desk.

  251. BC Bob says:

    “Set up any USD crosses yet?”

    Clot,

    5 years ago.

  252. pretorius says:

    My model has proved right. Told me to avoid Lehigh Valley and buy in Hudson.

  253. Rich In NNJ says:

    Pre (256),

    You don’t need a black box model to tell you that. Ya just need at least one good eye and a modicum of brains.

  254. Rich In NNJ says:

    Jamey,

    Yahoo is fine, reset your router, cable modem, etc.

  255. BC Bob says:

    “Told me to avoid Lehigh Valley and buy in Hudson.”

    pret [256],

    My grandmother, God rest her soul, told me the same thing.

  256. Jamey says:

    231:

    I have no standard definition, which is why I asked.

    Three percent decline annually to nominal prices over five years?

    That’s kind of an bloodless bloodletting. Hell, with the rate of inflation what it is, one loses more money (as a percentage) in a savings account.

    I thought it would be something along the lines of double-digit deflation annually over a span of years. But then I have a very operatic imagination.

  257. jill says:

    It is one thing to lay back and criticize others’ positions. It takes a little more to go on record with a prediction that can be measured.

    pretorious,
    while I disagree with your position, at least you attempt to back up your statements with data and are willing to go on record.
    njpatient’s absence since your statement above is all too predictable.

  258. Jamey says:

    258:

    Thanks. I’ll pass along that advice to my corporate IT dept.

    ;)

  259. Rich In NNJ says:

    262:

    Good, tell them to reset ALL their servers too.
    And take down the damn firewall… pesky thing.

    But why does your job want to to get on the Yahoo site while you’re at work?

  260. BubbleYum says:

    BC Bob Says:
    February 28th, 2008 at 2:09 pm
    “Told me to avoid Lehigh Valley and buy in Hudson.”

    pret [256],

    My grandmother, God rest her soul, told me the same thing.
    ________________________________________________

    Did she base it on a black box model?

  261. jill says:

    I’m just trying to understand how narrowly you need to define your argument in order not to lose it.
    njpatient –
    I’m just trying to understand if you’re just going to keep breaking down other people’s arguments while failing to present one of your own in order not to lose.

  262. pretorius says:

    Rich in NNJ,

    Lots of investments look obvious retrospect. But lots of smart people decided to short Hudson years ago.

    One of this blogs most prolific posters – who possesses several prestigious degrees – decided to sell out of Hoboken way back in 2002.

    I lived in Hoboken in 2002, when the first of many housing bubble articles began to appear. My roommate was PhD economist. The Economist magazine had an article back then in which several experts predicted an imminent home price crash in the US and UK. My roommate never bought because he too expected prices to fall.

    It is 2008. These guys weren’t early. They were wrong.

  263. Jamey says:

    263:

    Why? So I’ll spend less time on this site., I suppose.

  264. Stu says:

    My grandmother’s black box is hot!

    I now return to normal.

  265. ADA says:

    Clot,
    Are you referring to a jumbo or a conforming loan?
    I currently have a fixed 30year jumbo mtg(500K)/6.375/put 20%down. High fico, high salary. Do you think I’ll be able to refi into something better under the new jumbo fannie/freddie limits.

    Clotpoll Says:
    February 27th, 2008 at 2:19 pm
    gary (191)-

    Yep. Unless the mtg. broker cuts you a break, you have ridiculous FICO (750+) and 20% DP. Then, maybe you get a tick below 6.25%.

  266. HEHEHE says:

    Pretard,

    You are right, when it comes to housing we missed your bus:

    http://thesunnah.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/bus.jpg

    Now ride that tard cart into the sunset please.

  267. BC Bob says:

    “I lived in Hoboken in 2002, when the first of many housing bubble articles began to appear.”

    pret,

    Who the hell was writing about a housing bubble in 2002? I was still buying in 2004.

  268. Rich In NNJ says:

    Pre (267),

    It’s not the Hudson County buy (or hold) I was reffering to but the Lehigh Valley “not buy” (can’t think of the term… long day).
    It’s a no brainer to us older folk who have seen people move West (PA) due to affordability only to watch the market contract from the West back towards the city.

  269. Mike NJ says:

    ADA,

    I am in exactly the same boat, same mtg amount, same FICO and salary. I locked in late 2006 at 6.125%. I am hoping the new conforming limits will allow me to get something closer to 5.5%. Only time will tell though and rates are definitely moving in the wrong direction right now.

  270. pretorius says:

    Rich in NNJ,

    At first glance, I thought Lehigh Valley looked too cheap. Economic growth there isn’t great, but it is stronger than anywhere else in Pennsylvania.

    So I included it in my analysis which revealed college graduates were fleeing the urban centers (Bethlehem & Allentown) and homeownership was falling as people who owned the homes in those cities moved away and rented them to poor people.

    Turns out the place is super cheap for a reason.

  271. kettle1 says:

    somewhat OT

    Anns blog is indeed amusing. But what kills me is if you where to writ the equivalent blog about a black/mexican/middle eastern person it would be considered racist/discriminatory.

    Ok back to the fun white stereotypes :)

  272. Ann says:

    246 pret

    Next up and coming?

    People keep saying Trenton, but I don’t see it. What’s up with Rutherford these days? I hear lots of buzz about that town.

  273. scribe says:

    Ann, #214

    That’s not quite it.

    If you’re going to sell, you don’t want to go through a long and torturous process where the house is hanging there in the MLS for months.

    You want to put it on the market and be done with it.

    In particular, you don’t want it hanging there in the MLS, which draws attention, if the house is vacant.

    The attitude is more – why bother with all of that, if no one is buying right now?

    A lot of the old-timers don’t care much about prices coming down. It’s still more than they ever dreamed of.

  274. scribe says:

    I missed a beat, due to that silly thing called “work.”

    Why is everyone referring to Bernake as Bergabe?

    OK, gang, what’s the joke?

  275. kettle1 says:

    i know a few people who are buying rental properties in bethlehem PA based on the casino coming in

  276. ADA says:

    Why is everyone referring to Bernake as Bergabe?

    I think this a play on Mugabe/zimbabwe runaway inflation problem.

  277. pretorius says:

    Bergabe = Bernanke + Mugabe.

    Mugabe is Zimbabwe president currently presiding over six digit inflation rate.

  278. BC Bob says:

    “Next up and coming?”

    Harrison, the Hooligan’s are coming.

  279. Ann says:

    276

    Just an FYI

    “Stuff White People Like”

    Not MY Blog!!!! Yikes!

    I do still think it’s pretty funny though, as a white person.

    I would imagine that all groups can make fun of themselves though, it just depends who is telling the jokes.

  280. Make Money says:

    Next up and coming?

    no such thing.

  281. Clotpoll says:

    ada (270)-

    Doubt it.

  282. Ann says:

    278 scribe

    Why bother listing or why bother lowering the price?

    I think there are plenty of people still listing and hanging on to dreams of what their neighbor got in 2005.

  283. kettle1 says:

    scribe,

    bernanke was called bergabe in reference to the african head of state mugabe (zimbabwae) who has taken his nation from being one of the strongest african economies to a point where a burger now costs 20K and the print 10 million $ bills with inflation at about 2000%

  284. Clotpoll says:

    Rich (273)-

    Please present pret with macro-statistical evidence that backs up your assertion.:)

  285. kettle1 says:

    Ann,

    i wasnt attacking or criticizing you or anyone else, just tossing out a pet peeve that i have to deal with somewhat often due to some people i know.

    I found it amusing myself :)

  286. kettle1 says:

    I agree with make money. The next up and coming location in NJ is at least 10 years out possibly more. no place is up and coming until the state gets there financial house in order.

  287. kettle1 says:

    does anyone wants to place a gentlemens bet that we see $4 regular gasoline before the end of the year?

  288. Jamey says:

    “Mmmmmmm. RRRrraaarrrr. Braaiiiiiinnnsssss! Braaaiiiinnns.”

    http://www.yahoo.com/s/820078

    The return of zombie debt.

  289. Rich In NNJ says:

    (289)

    I is old.

    (270 / 274)

    IMO, Rates for what was condidered Jumbo won’t go anywhere near 5.5% even though they are within conforming limits. If anything this will raise the rates for those who previously were considered conforming. I think the rate you have now is going to look good.

  290. SG says:

    Pret and all: I have some hot new charts off the press.

    The geek in me could not stay behind when a challange was seen. Anyway, I wanted to verify the claim that RE Bust move from outward to inward, and on the same token from RE bubble happens from inward to outward. Pret has black box which does not think NYC will go down at all.

    See the 2 charts at following link,

    http://www.geocities.com/skgala/hpi/

    I tried to compare late 1980s downturn in RE to current one, with OFHEO HPI data plotted for NYC and surrounding areas in NJ, CT and PA. Very interesting observations,

    During 1980s downturn,
    1. The Boom order was Connecticut, NYC, Boston. Out lying areas (Allentown, AC, Philly, Camden) had lesser boom.
    2. On the Bust, Out lying areas had actually not much bust at all. All the bust was in NYC, Boston and CT.

    During Current downturn,
    1. We are following very similar pattern. Boston is again leading the pack. Somehow, Atlantic City experience boom this time and is leading bust now.
    2. NYC is holding for now, but one can gurantee prolonged downturn is just beginning.
    3. Somehow CT did not have boom compared to earlier time.
    4. Out lying areas (Allentown, Philly, Camden) seem to follow similar pattern as in 1990-1991.

    Unfortunately, this data is at MSA level. Ideal would have been County level data. I hope this helps dispel some misconceptions about invincibility of NYC MSA Area.

  291. Doyle says:

    Ann,

    Rutherford as up and coming? It’s been the same town for the last 30 years as far as I can tell. What would make it up and coming?

    I love the town, just don’t see how it’s up and coming…

  292. Ann says:

    kettle

    I hear you. I do think a black/mexican/middle eastern person could do comedy about their own group though, and their own group could laugh at it.

    I get your point though. As a Catholic, I find that making fun of Catholics and Catholic-bashing in general is perfectly acceptable but if the same things were said about other religions, all hell would break loose.

  293. pretorius says:

    SG,

    Great data. You’re one of the few guys putting some interesting stuff together. I remember you had some other nice charts about a year ago too.

    “NYC is holding for now, but one can gurantee prolonged downturn is just beginning.”

    How do you get to this conclusion?

    By the way, he black box I referred to doesn’t predict the direction of prices. It identifies urban neighborhoods that are beginning to gentrify, where prices should outperform surrounding areas.

  294. Confused In NJ says:

    Corzine’s Plan;

    Leaders of the public employees’ unions said they felt betrayed and unfairly facing layoffs after making concessions in contract negotiations last year.

    “It unnecessarily makes scapegoats out of the public workers and doesn’t do anything to solve the state’s budget problem, “ said Carla Katz, president of Communications Workers of America Local 1034, which represents 10,000 of the approximately 80,000 state employees. “They’ll save $134 million this year, but have to pay $300 million in added pension and retiree health benefits.”

    Tom Vincz, a spokesman for the state treasurer, acknowledged that a plan to offer early-retirement incentives would be costly, but said the administration considered them the “most humane” way to trim.

    So, Corzine thinks that Early Retirement which saves $134M, at a cost of $300M, is good Goldman Business logic. Who voted for this Turkey?

  295. SG says:

    “NYC is holding for now, but one can gurantee prolonged downturn is just beginning.”

    If you look at period of 1990, Boston and CT had started downturn, while NYC was holding up. But after about a year, NYC joined the party.

    The downturn has just started in 2008, by this token NYC will join the party in 2009.

  296. Stu says:

    SG,

    Those are some ugly charts ;)

  297. Ann says:

    297

    I don’t know either. That’s just what I heard about Rutherford. Time will tell!

  298. SG says:

    Pret: One more thing, all these indices have huge lag in them. Don’t see percent drops by indice drops. As Clot & BC Bob mentioned, you need to see local market, and you will see huge price drops already happening. The trouble is due to lack of volume, the indices lag even further behind.

  299. 3b says:

    #215 pret: Your belief is that NJ home prices will not crash becasue we are close to NYC, and somehow that provides bubble protection.

    Well we have gone round and round on this, but pries crashed before; I lived it as I have said so many times.

    And if we are in, or are going into a recession,than any reasonable person will entertain the notion, that prices will continue to fall. Its pretty simple. You only seem to belive that prices can rise to the stratosphere, and then just stagnate

    I just do not take you seriously with your belief, that somehow in the NYC metro area, we have ALL of the wealthiest best, the brighest, the smartest, and as such, the insane run up in prices was just simply warranted because of that.

    You appear to be a pretty inteligent guy,and so your obstinance on this topic is perplexing.

    I am also amazed that with all that has unfolded, and will continue to unfold, you still refuse to believe that there will be any serious fallout in this area. Just mere stagnant as you say.

    One final point, using terms like a sea of wealth between here and Boston, or something along those lines, is silly. Who talks like that?

  300. 3b says:

    #217 pret: Is Bergen Co a sub-market? Because we have lots of foreclosures here too.

  301. pretorius says:

    SG,

    The metro area in your chart that closely corresponds to the NYC exurbs is Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton PA-NJ.

    During the last slowdown, this area began to fall AFTER New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ.

    In other words, the price declines seemed to move outward, not inward.

    This explains why many posters here are reluctant to search for evidence that contradicts their beliefs. Thank you, SG, for exposing the data that torpedos the oft-cited claim that price declines historically move inward.

  302. SG says:

    #215 pret: Your belief is that NJ home prices will not crash becasue we are close to NYC, and somehow that provides bubble protection.

    In fact, the past experience proves other way. If I want bubble protection, I would move to Philly.

  303. 3b says:

    #223 Clot: Oh I know, but she is just not built that way.

  304. 3b says:

    #227 jamey:The market is what buyers will pay. Asking too much isn’t a negotiating ploy.

    And I would add, the market is also what people are approved to borrow.

  305. pretorius says:

    3b,

    I don’t believe there is zero percent chance of a crash here. My oft-expressed base case is stagnant prices. To illustrate this forecast, I made point estimates of 2 separate NJ home price indices for the 4th quarter of 2008.

    “your belief, that somehow in the NYC metro area, we have ALL of the wealthiest best, the brighest”

    No, I believe San Francisco metro is similar to New York on these things.

  306. Stu says:

    I would like one slice of pepperoni with a sea of wealth on the side.

  307. 3b says:

    #246 So, what New Jersey neighborhoods do you think will be the next to gentrify?

    That is assuming of course another NJ neighborhood will gentrify in the near future, or at all for matter.

    I would think we need to get a handle on a dismal job creation in the state. Unless of course being close to NYC, and round and round we will go.

  308. BC Bob says:

    If prices stagnate, this will be the first time in history that an asset bubble did not result in a bust. I’ll place my bet with history.

  309. John says:

    I thought since everyone makes well over 250K on this site that we would all be putting at least 5K a month into our downpayment fund. Therefore if the bottom is two to three years away and 25% off why should we care about mortgages, aren’t we all buying a house at the bottom for cash.

    In the future please be PC and do not make reference to a black box.

  310. 3b says:

    #277 Ann: There has been buzz about Rutherford for quite some time.

    I have friends from northern Bergen Co who sold (kids grown) and moved there.

    If you work in NYC (like my friends do), only 2 stops to Hoboken, also very convenient to all the major highways, if you work in NJ.

    Nice little down town,and some real nice old Victorians. Schools are decent.

  311. Stu says:

    AP:
    Housing Slump Now Going Commercial

    http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080228/commercial_real_estate_outlook.html?.v=1

    “Nobody has trust in the banking system,” said Jeffrey Schwartz, chairman and chief executive of industrial real estate investment trust ProLogis told the Senate Finance Committee. “There’s no trust in (commercial mortgage-backed securities) markets.”

  312. 3b says:

    #311 pret:No, I believe San Francisco metro is similar to New York on these things.

    Yes I am sure you do, and San Fran dropped before too. And round and round we go.

  313. 3b says:

    #312 stu: Well with the sea of wealth on the side, you can go for 2 slices, and a drink.

  314. 3b says:

    #314 BC Bob: Me too.

  315. Mitchell says:

    If I read the article correctly I get the impression the NAR is trying to blame the banks for the problems?

    The banks should and need to make loans incredibly risk free making it extremely hard to get a loan without near DNA testing and let the NAR come kissing its back end. The banks stand to lose everything and the NAR just its commissions on assets they don’t own.

  316. scribe says:

    kettle,

    Thanks for the explanation.

  317. pretorius says:

    3b,

    What is your specific forecast for NJ home prices in 2008? In other words, where will your favorite index end the year?

  318. John says:

    Why should banks make loans to deadbeats. I bought my first place in December 1991 at the bottom of the last cycle and at the height of the last defaults. Banks such as Dime Savings etc. were being slaughtered by defaults and S&Ls were failing left and right. Independence Savings was the only bank left that was giving good rates and for good reasons. The required you to have an Independence Account, put 25% down and have their inspector appraise the property and have their lawyer do the closing, no mortgage brokers, then they held the mortgage. They later sold my mortgage around 5 years later when there was a market for it. Why should Independence put itself out of business by giving loans to deadbeats in a down market. They kept loaning and standards were tight. Indpendence even made me drop the application off at the branch myself in person and the loan officer verified the information was correct and verified my identity. The great news with less buyers who could qualify and demand down people like me go the house for less money, plus with being forced to scrap up 25% I had significant equity from day one. If banks did that now every young couple or single person buying their first house would be better off in the long run. Every baby boomer looking to cash out to some buyer using other peoples money to invest at inflated prices would be out some coin, but really long term who should we protect, couples starting out and the banks themselves or baby boomers who had 600K profit who now have 400K profit from the sale of a home.

  319. 3b says:

    #323 pret: House prices in my area (BC) will be down by 10% or more by end of the summmer.

    Those that truly have to sell are going to do it, IMHO. That in turn will put pressure on other sellers, and prices will continue to decline.

    No index, no black box, just I have seen this all before;only its uglier this time.

  320. lisoosh says:

    kettle/Ann – I’ll agree with Ann on this one. Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle get away with saying things no white person ever could. Same with internal Jewish humor, Irish humor, Catholic, Italian – you name it. Insiders get to push the buttons.

  321. BC Bob says:

    The b#lls of him. Create the mess and then advise to dump dollars?

    “Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the US central bank, or Fed, has said that inflation rates in Gulf states, which are reaching near record levels, would fall “significantly” if oil producers dropped their US dollar pegs.”

    http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/FC515689-75CC-4121-BD37-2A84E5BF0C60.htm

  322. lisoosh says:

    on Up & Coming.

    Said it before, I’m the wrong kind of person for up and coming. To me, that term is the death knell, from that time on, the area will fill with pretentious plonkers willing to overpay for anything and everything. Good place for a business, or rental props. Not somewhere for a main residence unless you are young and foolish and think you can live forever.

  323. JIM says:

    RE: 300

    Confused–in answer to your question”who voted for this guy{CORZINE}”

    Answer: Every single union person, and why not their pension will remain intact..while your 401K continues to lose value.

    JIM

    JIM

  324. Hehehe says:

    “BC Bob Says:
    February 28th, 2008 at 3:38 pm
    If prices stagnate, this will be the first time in history that an asset bubble did not result in a bust. I’ll place my bet with history.’

    Does history have a blackbox?

  325. Hehehe says:

    “Nevermind that the GLD gold ETF continues to inhale physical metal at current prices, which is obviously investment demand. The spec long position, however, is also investment demand, and not merely “trading demand.” And investment demand is what drives big bull markets in gold.”

    http://www.minyanville.com/articles/GLD/index/a/16092

  326. BC Bob says:

    kettle1 Says:
    February 28th, 2008 at 2:53 pm
    does anyone wants to place a gentlemens bet that we see $4 regular gasoline before the end of the year?

    kettle,

    You want to double up and say by the end of the summer?

  327. BC Bob says:

    “Does history have a blackbox?”

    hehe[330],

    Yes, in a different version. The Aldrich Plan.

  328. Sean says:

    re: 327 Bob,

    Greenspan is now working full time for John Paulson at Paulson & Company, which has assets of $28 billion, they made a bundle betting against subprime.

    Greenspan is there personal Nostradamus — they’re the only hedge fund he will advise on the direction of the economy.

    I though Greenspan took the job just so he could use the compnay jet and not have to fly commercial with the rest of us peons.

    What is GreenSpan doing now? He if flying arond the world trying to sink the economy by telling everyone to dump dollars.

    Bush better wake up, and authorize a rendition on him to gitmo. He is a financial terrorist who needs to be put away.

  329. BC Bob says:

    Sean [334],

    How do you think Paulson, John, is positioned? We know AG owns the currencies, he has acknowledged this. Nothing like speaking from where you sit.

  330. Confused In NJ says:

    334. What is GreenSpan doing now? He if flying arond the world trying to sink the economy by telling everyone to dump dollars.

    Bush better wake up, and authorize a rendition on him to gitmo. He is a financial terrorist who needs to be put away.

    Greenspan, like most in Government, is not an American, he is a Globalist. People still think America is a Democracy. It isn’t. It’s leaders are Corporate Globalists, who keep the Sheeple in line with pretend elections, which only offer other Globalists. America is a Globalarchy, run by the Few, for the benefit of the Few. “Sixteen Tons and what do you get, another day older and deeper in debt, St Peter don’t you call me cause I can’t go, I owe my soul to the company sto”.

  331. SG says:

    The coming Reset Wave

    Enjoy !!! Good time to Buy – 2012.

  332. Jamey says:

    333

    I’ll sell you both a gallon of gas today for $4.

    What do I win?

  333. BC Bob says:

    “Ben Bernanke is shooting blanks in his battle with inflation, leaving him powerless to protect the greenback from getting clobbered.”

    “Bernanke assured the panel that the Fed is prepared to start lowering interest rates back to historic lows, despite inflation.”

    “He said the Fed “will act in a timely manner as needed to support growth and to provide adequate insurance against downside risks.”

    “A key inflation measure shows factories hiking prices on wholesale goods by an annualized rate of 12 percent, based on government data earlier this week showing a 1 percent hike in January alone.”

    “He said it might be “worthwhile” for the federal government to buy distressed mortgages to help ease the housing recession.”

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/02282008/business/defensive_ben_99663.htm

  334. Sean says:

    re [355]

    Paulson and Greenspan both have been over in Bahrain courting the sheiks. His Credit Opportunities fund probably is still going strong in credit defaut swaps, and he and Greenspan are raising lots of money for a knock out blow on our economy and perhaps China as well.

  335. lostinny says:

    I miss all the fun when I’m busy.
    What I learned today:
    Jersey’s f’ed.
    The US is f’ed.
    Bernake is an idiot and Greenspan is a won’t take responsibility for what he’s done.
    Making fun of your own is cool. Making fun of others is dangerous.
    Kettle wants to see what some of us look like in latex.

  336. Jamey says:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080228/ap_on_bi_ge/paulson_housing

    At last the kidnapped Henry Paulson is allowed by his captors on The Bizzaro Planet to speak:

    “I’m not interested in bailing out investors, lenders and speculators,” he said. “I’m focused on solutions targeted at struggling homeowners who want to keep their homes.”

  337. spam spam bacon spam says:

    Where’s Mitchell?

    The south will rise again? Is this what they mean…?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Ford-F-150-F150-FORD-MONSTER-TRUCK-MUD-BIG-FOOT-4X4-LIFTED-F350-F250_W0QQitemZ180217308956QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item180217308956

    Check out the rebel (yeehaw!) flag in background and beer bottle in tire rim.

  338. lostinny says:

    Sorry for the typo. Please delete is a from above. And add an n in Bernanke’s name.

  339. grim says:

    AIG ouch..

  340. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    American Int’l Group Q4 net loss $5.3B vs $3.4B profit

    AIG reports $7.23B in unrealized capital losses in Q4

    AIG expects housing market to remain weak in 2008

    AIG expects credit market uncertainty to persist this year

    AIG seen to report more unrealized valuation losses, charges

  341. Outofstater says:

    #344 This vehicle is used for a sport known as “muddin’.” As I understand it, one acquires a “big a$$ truck” such as this one and then goes off road on muddy hills and kicks up as much mud as possible. Beer seems to be a requirement; first cousin spouses, rebel flags and gun racks are optional. Note that this vehicle is in Florida. Travel does broaden one’s horizons, doesn’t it?

  342. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Alt-A Mortgage Securities Tumble, Signaling Losses

    Securities backed by Alt-A mortgages and other home loans to borrowers with better-than-subprime credit tumbled this month, causing investment funds to unwind or meet margin calls and signaling larger losses for Wall Street.

    London-based Peloton Partners LLP, which owns debt tied to home loans considered safer as well as bets against subprime, is liquidating a $1.8 billion hedge fund. UBS AG and Merrill Lynch & Co., which reported some of the largest of the more than $160 billion of mortgage losses at the world’s biggest banks, also hold the securities, according to company statements.

    Valuations for AAA rated securities backed by Alt-A loans, deemed between prime and subprime in terms of expected defaults, slumped 10 percent to 15 percent this month, partly because it’s so difficult to trade or find prices for them, Thornburg Mortgage Inc., the Santa Fe, New Mexico-based lender and investor, said in a securities filing today.

    “There really hasn’t been an orderly two-sided market in 2008,” Arthur Frank, a mortgage-bond analyst in New York at Deutsche Bank AG, said today in a telephone interview.

    Alt-A securities began tumbling on Feb. 14, when UBS disclosed its holdings and speculation began spreading that the Zurich-based company would sell a large amount, Thornburg President Larry Goldstone said in a Bloomberg Radio interview today. Mortgage debt would generally sell for less today than in August, when Thornburg sold $20.5 billion of mostly AAA bonds backed by prime “jumbo” adjustable-rate mortgages at a loss of about $930 million to meet margin calls, he said.

  343. chicagofinance says:

    pretorius Says:
    February 28th, 2008 at 2:17 pm
    One of this blogs most prolific posters – who possesses several prestigious degrees – decided to sell out of Hoboken way back in 2002.

    pret: are trying to pick a fight? your comment is at best misleading, albeit literally correct

    Based on what I disclosed several weeks ago, it should be obvious why I made my decision. As a result, you have clearly demonstrated that you are more committed to being an #%$ than showing due respect. In fact, as opposed to most other posters here, I have shown you a heck of a lot more consideration. Thanks for the pointless cheap shot.

  344. Wag says:

    Chi(349)
    He was building a black box and obviously was not thinking clearly.

  345. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    AIG Posts First Loss Since 2002, Misses Analysts’ Estimates

    American International Group Inc., the world’s largest insurer by assets, posted its first loss in five years as it wrote down guarantees sold to protect fixed- income investors.

    AIG has declined 21 percent in New York trading since Chief Executive Officer Martin Sullivan replaced Maurice “Hank” Greenberg in March 2005. Investors are concerned that the company, with units that originate, insure and invest in subprime mortgages, will have further losses tied to the worst U.S. housing slump in a quarter century.

    AIG guaranteed $62.4 billion in collateralized debt obligations that included subprime mortgages as of Nov. 25, securities that led to fourth-quarter losses for MBIA Inc. and Ambac Financial Group Inc., the largest bond insurers.

  346. pretorius says:

    Chicagofinance,

    I wasn’t trying to start a fight. I apologize if it came across as a cheap shot.

    Hopefully it is clear by now that I’m not one of the posters here who gets a kick out of disrespecting others, although I’m taunted and mocked. I can’t remember a single instance in which I responded with the namecalling that detracts so much from this blog.

    Again I apologize.

  347. Jamey says:

    Sorry if this has been posted hereabouts, but:

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23286149-2703,00.html

    It’s a bit cursory, but bang-on in its contentions. (Plus it makes Bush’s voters look like gullible putzes. Which is a bonus.)

    Stiglitz:

    The former World Bank vice-president yesterday said the war had, so far, cost the US something like $US3trillion ($3.3 trillion) compared with the $US50-$US60-billion predicted in 2003.

    Professor Stiglitz told the Chatham House think tank in London that the Bush White House was currently estimating the cost of the war at about $US500 billion, but that figure massively understated things such as the medical and welfare costs of US military servicemen.

    The war was now the second-most expensive in US history after World War II and the second-longest after Vietnam, he said.

    The spending on Iraq was a hidden cause of the current credit crunch because the US central bank responded to the massive financial drain of the war by flooding the American economy with cheap credit.

    “The regulators were looking the other way and money was being lent to anybody this side of a life-support system,” he said.

  348. Jamey says:

    345: That truck’s from Florida. It likely comes outfitted with on of these:

    http://sparklepony.blogspot.com/2008/02/stay-klassy-florida.html

  349. rhymingrealtor says:

    So many posts, so little time.

    Thanks to all that answered my off topic regarding NJ Ask.

    KL

  350. Bloodbath in Winter 2007 says:

    Still playing catchup, but this caught my eye:

    pretorius Says:
    February 28th, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    My position has been consistent and simple. New Jersey home prices won’t crash. Supporting this thesis is that the areas closest to Manhattan will do better than the suburbs. The most objective way to evaluate this call is to measure the New Jersey home price indices. So far, my predictions are correct.

    Define “correct”? I’m sure you see the lowballs that JB posts every week or whatever. Right? Well on those, you have a small sampling of a “crash”. While you may not define homes selling in 2008 at 2004/2005 prices, others do.

    You get enough of those statewide, and you have something. Are prices EVERYWHERE in NJ going to crash? of course not. Not everyone needs to sell, and thus, not everyone will lower their price.

    But what you fail to miss in all your date is the common-sense approach – millions of people in NJ bought more house than they could afford, often on liar loans. They are either selling at a loss, or simply walking away. This is going to continue for the year. At least.

    This will be brutal on those who MUST sell because a) tighter loan restrictions, b) the fact that Americans don’t save, and c) the recent rise in interest rate.

    I still maintain that houses on the market right now are dropping by an average of $4-5,000 per month. In some cases more, in some cases less. Are they overpriced to begin with? Again, depends on your example.

  351. Bloodbath in Winter 2007 says:

    Pre – Wow, you outdid yourself today.

    February 28th, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Rich in NNJ,

    At first glance, I thought Lehigh Valley looked too cheap. Economic growth there isn’t great, but it is stronger than anywhere else in Pennsylvania.

    So I included it in my analysis which revealed college graduates were fleeing the urban centers (Bethlehem & Allentown) and homeownership was falling as people who owned the homes in those cities moved away and rented them to poor people.

    Did you go door to door asking what college grads were doing? I’m curious where you got this information, or whether you are talking out of your ass. If you don’t want to give away your ‘analysis’ that’s fine, i understand.

  352. Ann says:

    317 3b re Rutherford

    “There has been buzz about Rutherford for quite some time.”

    Darn, I thought I had some insider RE scoop there. : )

  353. njpatient says:

    Jill – don’t be upset – I promise to respond to pretorius later. Too much work this week.

  354. dreamtheaterr says:

    #353 AIG, ouch!

    I thought they mentioned in a previous quarter that they were sidestepping the subprime sludge quite a bit. Seems like insurers, even with their relatively conservative mandates are starting to take it on the chin.

    Waldo showed up late, albeit later. Who’s next?

  355. test-123. says:

    North NJ prices are crashing !! YES

    My friend got his offer accepted in Cambridge heights , Nutley. This is supposed to be a ‘prestegious’ community.

    LP 479,000. Offer accepted 399,000.

  356. test-123. says:

    North NJ prices are crashing !! YES

    My friend got his offer accepted in Cambridge heights , Nutley. This is supposed to be a ‘prestigious’ community.

    LP 479,000. Offer accepted 399,000.

  357. grim says:

    Back to business.

    MONSTER REO in Randolph.

    6 Orchard Drive, Randolph NJ

    Purchased: 6/27/2003
    Purchase Price: $700,000

    MLS# 2491585
    4br/3ba
    Current Asking: $469,000
    DOM: 14
    As-is

    Current asking is 33% under the 2003 purchase price.

    Here are some recent sales on the street

    4 Orchard
    Sold 09/29/06 @ 745,000

    9 Orchard
    Sold 08/16/07 @ 685,000

  358. test-123. says:

    How to Profit from the Coming Real Estate Bust: Interview with Author John Rubino

    Today we are going to have an interview with Mr. John Rubino, author of How to Profit from the Coming Real Estate Bust: Money-Making Strategies for the End of the Housing Bubble and owner of the website Dollar Collapse. I’ve been in touch with Mr. Rubino for well over a year on a weekly basis. You may think that a title such as the above is almost stating the obvious in today’s market but you will be surprised that John published his book in 2003. During this time, finding a contrarian viewpoint was limited especially one that warned about the issues facing the dollar, housing, and the credit markets. Three for three isn’t bad in my book. Even four years ago, I was examining issues regarding the new debt markets and how housing was suddenly disconnecting from economic and fundamental indicators. John’s book was an excellent read and provided a clear picture of where we would be heading. Amazingly, you’ll find that with certain REOs prices are going back to 2003 price levels. We are happy to have Mr. Rubino on the site today to provide insight into the current economy.

    Welcome officially to Dr. Housing Bubble John. In your book, you talk about the housing market having a global impact. What implications does a global housing market have on our nation’s economy?

    Thanks for having me on, Doctor. Love your site.

    Today everything is connected. For the past decade American consumers have been borrowing against their homes to buy foreign cars and TVs and clothes and toys. So China and India have boomed, while we’ve gone ever deeper into debt. In other words, the rest of the world’s prosperity has been a direct result of Americans’ living beyond our means.

    Now we can’t borrow against our homes any more because, after a long stretch of unrealistic price increases (as readers of your “Real Homes of Genius” series are aware), prices are falling off a cliff. U.S. banks are stuck with hundreds of billions in debt that will never be repaid and have pulled way back on their lending. American consumers are maxing out their credit cards to pay their mortgages, and as this source of funds runs out they’re defaulting on their mortgages and/or declaring bankruptcy.

    This affects the global economy in two ways. First, American consumers will buy far less stuff from overseas, so we’ll see the massive trade surpluses of China and Japan melt away, along with many jobs and much tax revenue.

    Second, because our trading partners have accumulated trillions of U.S. dollars—which is what we give them in return for all the nice stuff they sell us—they lose when the dollar falls. They understand this and are desperately trying to swap those dollars for stronger currencies and real assets, which is pushing the dollar down even further. This process is gathering steam and will culminate in a “death spiral” for the dollar and most other paper currencies. It’s going to get very very ugly on a global scale.

    You published your book in 2003, during the height of the housing boom. Why did you decide to publish the book during this time?

    Like so much of life, the book happened through a series of coincidences. My agent was having lunch with someone from a major publishing house who mentioned that he wished he had a book in the pipeline on how to profit from the ongoing real estate boom. My agent asked me if I’d be interested in doing such a book and I replied that the other side of the story—the coming bust—was a lot more interesting. To her credit, she got it right away and we put together a proposal that the far-seeing folks at Rodale bought, on the condition that I get them a manuscript right away, since they feared that the bubble could burst at any time. So I banged out the book in three months and they brought it out a few months later. As it turned out we were waaayyy early. The bubble kept expanding for two more years, and home prices and consumer debt have reached surreal levels. Which is why the bust now under way will be so huge and long-lived.

    Early this year in May, the Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke stated that the subprime collapse would be contained and spillover was highly unlikely. Clearly this isn’t the case. Why do you think the Fed got it wrong and what are the long-term implications of a housing market with little or no subprime?

    At history’s big turning points the people in charge are always clueless. Generally they’re just too close to the trees to see the forest—and of course their paychecks depend on the status quo, which colors their perception just a bit.

    This time around, the financial mainstream bought into some amazingly wrongheaded ideas, like “debt doesn’t matter,” “the government can be trusted to maintain the value of the dollar,” and “in any event, the value of the dollar really isn’t important.” Ben Bernanke still seems to believe that last one, based on his recent Congressional testimony when he answered one of Ron Paul’s brilliant questions with the opinion that if someone lives in the U.S. and buys domestically produced goods with dollars, a falling dollar shouldn’t matter much. It looks like we’ll have to replace this whole generation of public officials and bank executives before rationality returns to the markets.

    As for a market with no subprime, one of the drivers of this bubble was banks’ willingness—with government encouragement—to lend to anyone with a pulse. This created a lot of new demand for low-end houses, which allowed existing homeowners to sell for a good price and move up to mid-range houses, which allowed those owners to step up to McMansions, etc. Take away subprime demand and the whole thing grinds to a halt. People can’t buy because they can’t sell.

    Many of the things you talk about in your book have come true; the housing decline, the issues in the credit markets, and a declining dollar. One of your chapters focuses on the two pink gargantuan elephants in the room that no one seems to be talking about, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. In light of what is happening, what impact will the current housing market have on these two giants?

    Good timing. Just last week Fannie Mae announced a huge loss due to the declining value of it mortgage portfolio. Fannie and Freddie never should have existed in the first place, since the government has no business in the housing market. Now we’re seeing the inevitable result: They’ve issued guarantees on literally trillions of dollars of mortgage-backed bonds, and they don’t have the capital to make good on those claims. One or both will be bankrupt within a couple of years. And because they’ve historically been the main buyer of mortgages that banks originated—which gave the banks cash to make more loans—banks will pull back even further on their mortgage lending. The result: Home prices in yesterday’s hottest markets will keep falling for years. Yesterday’s million dollar Orange County bungalow will go for $200,000 or so in 2010.

    What do you say to those that say that talking about the housing market in a negative light creates a self-fulfilling prophecy?

    It’s flattering to think that you and I have the power to affect a $20 trillion industry. But the reality is that prices got too high, debt burdens got to heavy, and lending standards got too loose. By 2004 a crash had become unavoidable, and now there’s nothing the press can do about it one way or the other.

    It has always been the case that bulls make money, bears make money, and hogs get slaughtered. Many readers on this site are concerned about preserving their wealth. What recommendations would you have for someone looking to prosper through this market downturn?

    First, sell your house for whatever you can get. It’s going a lot lower, especially if you live in one of yesterday’s hot markets. Use the proceeds to pay off variable rate debt. Avoid any investment that depends on a stable dollar. Long term bonds, because they pay you the same number of dollars each year, will decline in value as the dollar falls. Bank and brokerage houses, because they’re owed massive amounts of dollars, will get creamed. They’re nowhere near their bottoms, despite the last few weeks’ carnage. If you’re financially experienced, consider shorting the market by buying put options on the big stock indexes like the SPY or QQQQ. And of course buy gold and silver. As forms of money that can’t be printed in infinite quantities by desperate governments, they’ll rise in value as the dollar tanks.

    Foreign stocks and bonds are the real question mark. Since they’re denominated in currencies that are going up against the dollar at the moment, they’ve been doing well in dollar terms. But I’m worried that 1) when the U.S. stock market tanks, it will pull down the world’s other markets, and 2) foreign countries can’t tolerate the impact a rising currency will have on their economies, so they’ll start pushing down the value of their currencies. This is called “competitive devaluation” and it will devastate the value of most paper currencies. So…foreign stock and bond funds are, at best, short-term trading plays rather than long term investments.

    What’s your take on the tens of thousands of Real Homes of Genius in high priced metro areas?

    Down 80% by 2010.

    You also talk about the dollar’s decline and it is clear that in the past few years, the dollar has depreciated compared to other major currencies. How can a worker paid in US dollars, protect their purchasing power throughout the next few years?

    A currency crisis makes everything uncertain, including most jobs. So besides investing to avoid dollar exposure as I discuss above, Americans should be paying off debt and building up their families’ balance sheets. Live smaller now, prepare for hard times, and if they don’t happen you’ll at least have the peace of mind that comes from not owing anyone anything.

    There has been an argument that we are now entering a gold, oil, and commodities bubble. With gold over $800 an ounce, oil near $100 a barrel and the price of other commodities soaring it seems like another bubble. Is this argument valid or is there an economically fundamental reason for these record high prices?

    Bubbles are more than just rising prices. They’re also characterized by:

    1) Time-tested business practices being replaced with “innovations” that look like scams to reasonable eyes. In the housing bubble, for instance, zero-down, adjustable rate mortgages replaced the old 20% down 30-year fixed.

    2) Regular people making fortunes doing things that experts normally find difficult. Daytraders in the 1990s and condo flippers in 2005, for instance.

    In gold and oil we see neither of those things. In fact, most people still have no idea what gold is or why it’s going up, and their understanding of oil ends at the gas pump. When the person cutting your hair starts telling you about the emerging oil Brazilian oil company or Tanzanian gold miner you’ve got to buy, then it’s a bubble.

    In the short run though, we could easily see a nasty correction in commodities. If the U.S. banking system implodes, which it might when Fannie, Citi, Merrill and all the rest finally come clean about their derivatives losses, we could see fear of inflation replaced by fear of a 1930s style deflationary crash. That would be bad for gold and oil. But then the world’s governments will panic and shift their printing presses into high gear, and the tidal wave of paper will cause chaos, which might be good for commodities. Welcome to the 21st century, Doctor!

  359. Ann says:

    365 Orchard, Randolph

    Wow, I feel sorry for that street. That must really suck, especially for the people who bought the other two houses you wrote.

    Now, does that mean that 400-thousand-something will be the new comp for that street, or just that one person will get lucky and the rest of the street will go back to whatever price.

  360. kettle1 says:

    BCBOB 333

    I would take that bet and double down on $4 by Sep 1

  361. kettle1 says:

    BC 333

    are you taking the other side of that bet?

  362. kettle1 says:

    you always hear how higher gas prices are good for getting people to drive less. well what they forget to consider is that in most of the US people do not have a choice in the matter. I have seen recent stats that show most people only have 10-20% discretionary driving ( not to work or other required locations). and the old moantra of moving closer to work is BS. the average person changes jobs about every 5 years. are you supposed to move every 5 years???

  363. Ann says:

    370 kettle

    That’s why when gas prices go up, what suffers is the consumer spending on everything that isn’t a necessity.

    Although aren’t sales of SUVs down bigtime now? That’s a good side effect for the environment of higher gas prices I guess.

    Gas prices will never hit $4 this year before the election.

  364. Clotpoll says:

    grim (365)-

    Sort of a daily double: REO and comp-killer, rolled into one.

  365. kettle1 says:

    Lost, 343

    Not latex, PVC. there is a difference. i will be nice and not add a link here. ;)

  366. Confused In NJ says:

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world and for the first time in the nation’s history, more than one in every 100 American adults is confined in a prison or jail, according to a report released on Thursday.

    The report by the Pew Center on the States said the American penal system held more than 2.3 million adults at the start of the year.

    The far more populous nation of China ranked second with 1.5 million behind bars, with Russia a distant third with 890,000 inmates.

    “Beyond the sheer number of inmates, America also is the global leader in the rate at which it incarcerates its citizenry, outpacing nations like South Africa and Iran,” according to the report.

    Tough sentencing laws, record numbers of drug offenders and high crime rates have contributed to the United States having the largest prison population and the highest rate of incarceration in the world, criminal justice experts say.

    The latest report tracked similar findings on the U.S. prison population by the Justice Department and various private groups. A report in November by a criminal justice research group found the number of people in U.S. prison had risen eight-fold since 1970.

    The new report said that the national prison population has nearly tripled between 1987 and 2007.

    “The number of people behind bars in the United States continued to climb in 2007, saddling cash-strapped states with soaring costs they can ill afford and failing to have a clear impact either on recidivism or overall crime,” it said.

    States last year spent more than $44 billion on corrections, the report said, compared with $10.6 billion in 1987, the report said, adding that the rate of increase for prison costs was six times greater than for higher education spending.

  367. kettle1 says:

    Ann

    without going to far astray… there are several factors in place to drive gas prices up regardless of what the politicians may want. there are strong external influences such as a refusal to increase output by opec, increased global demand for product etc.
    On the other side of the coin, you could be entirely correct. There are other factors in play right now that could allow us to easily maintain the current gas prices. Some of the factors should develop over the next month or so and clarify the likely direction of prices later in the year.
    This is why i said “bet”, i feel strongly about my position but acknowledge potential weakness in my stance.

  368. lostinny says:

    Kettle
    What makes you think I don’t know the difference? Maybe I prefer it. :)

  369. chicagofinance says:

    kettle1 Says:
    February 28th, 2008 at 8:29 pm
    you always hear how higher gas prices are good for getting people to drive less. well what they forget to consider is that in most of the US people do not have a choice in the matter. I have seen recent stats that show most people only have 10-20% discretionary driving ( not to work or other required locations). and the old moantra of moving closer to work is BS. the average person changes jobs about every 5 years. are you supposed to move every 5 years???

    ket: I moved closer to work. My commute dropped from 95 miles a day round trip to under 10. In addition to time, wear & tear and about $6 a day in tolls, I also don’t have to fill up every third day….

  370. Ann says:

    375
    I thought Bush and Cheney just called their oil buddies when needed.

Comments are closed.