Weekend Open Discussion – Part II

Now Open, Part II!

Prior weekend thread closed due to comment overflow

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122 Responses to Weekend Open Discussion – Part II

  1. grim says:

    From the Daily Record:

    Residential tax appeals spike 77% in Morris

    Homebuilders seeking relief as the housing market continues to slide have filed tax appeals on stalled projects across Morris County, helping drive up the number of 2008 filings by 77 percent over last year.

    The Morris County Tax Board said it has received 2,011 residential tax appeals this year, up 875 from the 1,136 filed in 2007.

    The number of tax appeals this year equals 1.09 percent of Morris’ 184,501 residential units.

    Three factors are fueling the increase:

    • Developers of large projects are seeking reductions in the assessed value of unsold housing units and undeveloped lots because of declining market values.

    • Owners or developers of homes assessed at around $1 million and higher are seeking to avoid the state’s so-called “mansion tax,” a real estate transaction fee equal to 1 percent of the home’s value, which must be paid by any buyer of the home.

    • Homeowners in towns where revaluations were conducted often disagree with their new property assessments. It is typical for town-wide revaluations to trigger a high number of appeals.

  2. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    New Jersey economy bruised, but not broken

    If New Jersey were a stock, it would look a lot like Microsoft — a mature company past its prime, whose fast growth, high-flying days are well behind it.

    At least that’s the view of some economists who suggest New Jersey, which once embodied the very notion of growth, is not as nimble and light-footed and may not rebound as quickly when the rest of country emerges from the current economic funk.

    “The state isn’t falling apart by any means,” said Joel Naroff, president and chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pa. “But where is the state going to get its growth, going forward? I think that is the question we have to ask.”

    New Jersey is still one of the wealthiest states in the country. It has a highly educated, well-paid work force. It is home to more scientists and engineers per square mile than anywhere else in the world.

    But economists suggest New Jersey is starting to look a lot like that middle-aged, dweebish PC guy in those Mac commercials that the hip folks at Apple like to poke fun at.

  3. grim says:

    From the Courier Post:

    Officials pick up pieces of doomed redevelopment projects

    Massive redevelopment projects have collapsed in several South Jersey towns, doomed by a toxic mix of legal problems, economic woes and grassroots resistance.

    Now, local officials are picking up the pieces — and, in some cases, vowing to re-assemble them in a less controversial manner.

    “There’s going to be a different approach,” said Camden Councilman Curtis Jenkins, who wrote a city ordinance — unanimously approved last month — that gives residents a voice in redevelopment projects. That measure — and a new focus on the city’s Lanning Square neighborhood — are among several significant shifts in the city’s approach to redevelopment, officials say.

    Changes also are forecast in Merchantville and Westville, where controversial projects have foundered due to the weak real estate market.

  4. grim says:

    From the NY Times:

    Help for Struggling Homeowners

    LENDERS are increasingly willing to change their loan terms for struggling borrowers, mortgage industry executives say, but the increased flexibility has not been enough to help many homeowners who wait too long before seeking help.

    Industry analysts and mortgage counselors agree. “Hope Now is having a material impact, but it is being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Economy.com. “Moreover, the problem has shifted away from ARM resets, which it was designed to address,” alluding to changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, “and toward negative homeowners’ equity and rising unemployment.”

    Mr. Zandi said that this year and next, about 3.9 million homeowners would fall behind on their mortgages. He projected that about 2.5 million would lose their homes.

    In New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, the number of cases that lenders have modified loans for struggling borrowers has more than tripled in the past year, according to Hope Now.

    Absolute numbers, however, remain modest. Only about 3,300 mortgages were modified by servicers in the first three months of this year in New York State, for example; 2,100 in New Jersey; and about 1,200 in Connecticut.

  5. grim says:

    From the SF Chronicle:

    Economist challenges government data

    Oakland economist John Williams doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to pick fights with the government.

    He’s slow moving and soft spoken, conservative in politics and personal habits, a pale and portly 59-year-old who favors Oxford shirts, Rep ties and sensible shoes. Williams is the sort who pays his taxes on time, waits when the signal says “Don’t Walk” and snaps to attention when the national anthem is played.

    But don’t be fooled. The New Jersey native is leading a one-man crusade to expose official economic data as grossly misleading at best and, at worst, a pack of lies.

    His Shadow Government Statistics Web site (shadowstats.com) has become a magnet for those convinced that official data put a happy-talk gloss on the nation’s economy. The growing popularity of the site, which costs subscribers $175 a year, is testimony to the deep suspicion many Americans harbor about government information as the economy falls into a swoon.

    “There’s something wrong with the numbers,” said ShadowStats subscriber Harry Seitz, a retiree in Davie, Fla. “Over the years, (Williams) has essentially been proven correct.”

  6. grim says:

    We’ve got competition!

    http://www.fhamortgagecenter.com/contest/view.php?id=73

    Hudson County Rules apply, vote early, vote often!

  7. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Paying dearly for 2003 grants

    When a budget crunch left New Jersey unable to provide $302million in grants promised to businesses five years ago, state officials turned to a tried and true Trenton solution: They borrowed the money.

    Today the loans that propped up the state’s Business Employment Incentive Program — which rewards companies that promise to bring jobs to New Jersey — have unraveled in many ways, hitting taxpayers for millions of dollars and drawing scorn from Democrats and Republicans.
    Interest, professional fees and penalties involved in delivering the $302 million in BEIP grants will wind up costing the state about $94 million.

    This includes the consequences of a series of ill-fated side deals meant to lock in low interest rates on bonds, forcing more than $3.2 million in cancellation fees. And the state paid an additional $4.5 million in fees and extra interest this year because one set of bonds had been sold in the market for auction-rate securities, which recently collapsed.

    “This is like building an igloo in Florida and compounding the craziness by taking out a huge mortgage to do it,” said Jon Shure, president of the liberal Trenton think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective and a frequent critic of the business incentive program. “The debt outlasts the benefits to the point where this belongs in the hall of fame of bad state fiscal deals.”

  8. Rich In NNJ says:

    From The Record

    City OKs apartments for north of Route 4

    HACKENSACK — Mid- and high-rise apartment buildings could soon pop up in a commercial area north of Route 4 because of a change in zoning rules authorized by the City Council.

    Officials want to create a residential area where people can access jobs, transportation and shopping, according to the ordinance approved Tuesday. Housing will create the added benefit of redeveloping vacant properties, the ordinance states.

    The “housing overlay” district does not change the area’s basic zoning, which permits retail and commercial uses, but allows for construction of apartment buildings on lots of at least 130,000 square feet.


    The area is bounded by Route 4 on the south, the Hackensack River on northeast and east and River Edge on the northwest and west.

    Much of the area is already developed, with shopping malls on the eastern side of Hackensack Avenue and office towers on the western side. However, many of the properties on Commerce Way are unoccupied and large.

  9. grim says:

    From the Record:

    Blue laws revisited

    Blue laws in their current form have been a fact of life in Bergen County since the 1950s. Passaic, Morris and Hudson counties do not have blue laws, and therefore shopping centers in those areas benefit greatly on Sundays. In Bergen County, the laws forbid the sale of clothing, building supplies and furniture, among a number of other items.

    The sale of food, prescription medication and gasoline is permitted.

    So, Home Depot customers can buy a hammer but not wood. ShopRite patrons can buy chicken, but not utensils. And those browsing through CVS can pick up aspirin, but not socks.

    The blue laws are state laws that the counties can opt to observe. Only Bergen follows them.

    Because the laws are only observed in one county, there are differing opinions on where critics can seek recourse. County officials have said that any change would have to take place on the county level through the executive and freeholders. But some critics believe it should be addressed at the state level.

  10. Rich In NNJ says:

    From The Record

    Slow economy leaves many shore rentals open

    Looking to spend a week at the Jersey Shore this summer? You still have plenty of choices among rental houses and condos on the 127-mile strip.

    As this Memorial Day weekend unofficially kicks off the summer tourism season, a number of properties still have weeks available for rent – making this more of a buyers’ market than in years past, according to some landlords and real estate agents. The pace of rentals is an early indicator of how the vacation season will go at the Shore, which provides about two-thirds of the estimated $38 billion in tourism revenues New Jersey enjoys each year.


    But the weak economy and the day-to-day burden of gas prices mean many middle-class families may forgo vacations this year.

    “There are places available, and guess what? People are negotiating, because if it doesn’t rent, they’ve got nothing,” said Donn O’Brien of Ager Realty on Long Beach Island. “It’s a good time to be looking.”

    Debbie Beer, for example, has cut the weekly asking rents by as much as $500 on the five houses she owns near the beach in Point Pleasant. She still has about two-thirds of the weeks open at the properties.

    Much more at the link above, Rich

  11. grim says:

    From the Philly Inquirer:

    Why truth on housing is difficult to figure

    When Christopher J. Artur was president of the Realtors Association of Greater Philadelphia during the housing-market downturn of the mid-1990s, many of his colleagues urged him not to publicize sales and price data.
    “I argued successfully that, if we didn’t give out that information in bad times, how would anyone believe us in good times?” Artur said.

    Today, even though such data are available from numerous sources, the truth about the state of the housing market is an elusive quarry.

    For example, two major collectors of housing statistics – the National Association of Realtors and Standard & Poor’s – acknowledged recently that the data they have gathered might be overstating price declines.

    The data issues come as no surprise to many observers of the real estate market.

    “This is not news to most housing economists who work with these price indices,” said Kevin Gillen, a research fellow at Wharton and vice president of Econsult, a Philadelphia economic-forecasting service. “What I find ironic is that the NAR does not point out that if these indices overestimate the downside, then they are also prone to overestimating the upside.

    “During the boom, I heard no such criticism from the NAR that overestimation of house-price appreciation was leading people to be excessively bullish about the housing market,” Gillen said. “The stats can also make things look rosier than they are.”

    Commerce Bancorp Inc. chief economist Joel Naroff asked: “Do we really know that there has been a greater impact from the jumbo [loan] problems than from the complete withdrawal from the subprime market, which has tended to be for lower-priced homes?

    “There is always an issue when using medians or means when the structure of the data, in this case the housing market, changes,” Naroff said. “But it is also important to understand what bias the change creates, and I am not as certain it fosters a greater price decline right now.”

    A median price is the middle value: Half the houses sold for more, half for less.

    Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Economy. com, said that using median prices was “OK, but can be very volatile due to a changing mix of sales, particularly quarter-to-quarter.”

    Zandi puts more faith in the quarterly Case-Shiller national index, which tracks all sales in 100-plus metro markets around the country, including Philadelphia, than in the quarterly report produced by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.

    “The key reason is that OFHEO covers homes with conforming mortgage loans, and there aren’t many in places like California,” Zandi said.

  12. Rich In NNJ says:

    From The Record

    Real Estate Sales

    The most up-to-date, free site for home-sale prices in Bergen and Passaic counties, as well as 2007/2008 property taxes.

  13. grim says:

    From the Allentown Morning Call:

    McMansions no more

    For nearly a decade, tax-weary people from New Jersey and New York poured into the Lehigh Valley in search of a bigger home on a bigger lot, and developers couldn’t build so-called McMansions fast enough to meet demand. But as a credit crisis sweeps the nation, forcing a record number of homeowners into foreclosure, home building — especially construction of large homes — in the Lehigh Valley has slowed to a crawl.

    A housing downturn that has made credit more difficult to get, combined with rising energy costs, is pushing the market away from the McMansions built in the Valley the past decade, and toward a more affordable version of the American Dream.

  14. Rich In NNJ says:

    OT: …kind of

    From The Record

    New grads find rents limit their dreams

    It’s college graduation season, and twentysomethings are on the move.

    ——-

    (Picture at link) You name your son Shay Shaked… he’s gonna lay around watching cartoons until his hair falls out.
    If you’re going to do that, why not name him Shasta Shaked?
    Or Shaw Shaked (Redemption)?
    Geez-a-loo, put just a little more effort in it.

  15. SG says:


    A Property Tax Disaster

    Every legislator claims to favor property tax relief, but by their actions shall you know them. The present majority gave us the fraudulent “millionaires’ tax”, rebates with borrowed money, etc. But none of these rookie efforts compares with the threat posed by A-500.

    Therein, Speaker Roberts and a cadre of urban legislators draw a bead on suburban taxpayers. Should this proposal pass – and be coupled with even more coercive COAH regulations – it could mean property tax increases in the hundreds of millions, of billions, of dollars.

    ==
    Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. We can address the housing problem by addressing the school funding problem: give each child an equal, state funded voucher.

    If each kid came with a voucher, municipal opposition to housing construction would abate, because they’d be assets, not liabilities. A fair number of them would attend private schools, making their parents’ property tax payments pure municipal profit. And those who attend public schools would, now, pay their own way. The need for tens of billions of new construction spending on Abbott district schools would vanish. The incentive – and the ability – for Newark or Keansburg to lavish excessive salaries or reward employees with sweetheart deals would evaporate.

    In short, kids, their parents, and the property taxpayers would benefit massively. Only those with a financial stake in the present, hugely expensive and horribly unfair system would suffer.

    Good article.

  16. HEHEHE says:

    Kettle,

    See what you’ve spawned!

    Energy fears looming, new survivalists prepare

    http://green.yahoo.com/news/ap/20080524/ap_on_re_us/environmental_survivalists.html

  17. bairen says:

    #295 spam from pevious thread

    Wind farms are really cool to look at. Kind of like functional art. Have you seen the Atlantic county wind farm? Beautiful in a minimalist way.

  18. HEHEHE says:

    Celebrities only care about the environment and conservation when it doesn’t impact their vacation spots

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/08/12/tech/main567925.shtml

  19. Bill says:

    #107, 3b,
    (from Fri.)
    Here’s a link to our place in Pine Knoll Shores, NC.
    Most of this season has been rented already, but there may still be a week to interest you this year or in the future.
    All my wife has written and the comments from former renters are absolutly true.
    It is quite a ride (Approx. 10 hrs.) but well worth it. I compare it to LBI in the 60’s, before the big build up.
    http://www.vrbo.com/23693

    Bill

  20. Bill says:

    #107, 3b,
    (from Fri.)
    Here’s a link to our place in Pine Knoll Shores, NC.
    Most of this season has been rented already, but there may still be a week to interest you this year or in the future.
    All my wife has written and the comments from former renters are absolutly true.
    It is quite a ride (Approx. 10 hrs.) but well worth it. I compare it to LBI in the 60’s, before the big build up.
    http://www.vrbo.com/23693

    Bill

  21. Bill says:

    Sorry about the double post.
    Computer responded so slowly that I didn’t think it had gone through.

  22. njrebear says:

    Boeing 747 [cargo] ‘splits in two’ on take off

    Energy fears looming, new survivalists prepare

    China quake: 69 dams near collapse
    >>
    freakn mess!

  23. Clotpoll says:

    bear (22)-

    Keep posting stuff like this, and 3/4 of the people on this board will be heading for Idaho, cars packed to the max with guns, ammo and MREs.

  24. kettle1 says:

    clott

    or dominica…. :)

  25. kettle1 says:

    HEHE 16

    just trying to do my part

  26. kettle1 says:

    regrading jamils comment about switching to coal…

    we currently use about 1.1 million short tons of coal/year.

    we use about 7.5 billion barrels oil per year.

    a rough calculation shows that we would need to produce an additional 20 million tons of coal to replace the energy we use from petrolium.

    we would need to increase our coal production by 20X to replace all of our oil consumption and by 10X to replace half of it

    and that is in best case scenario. in reality you would need even more coal as coverting coal to liquid and coal to gas for various uses would entail losses and reduction in overall efficency.

  27. kettle1 says:

    at current consumption rates we have an estimated 300 years of coal left. if we switches to primarily coal….

    300/10 = 30

    we would have about 30 years worth of coal left

  28. kettle1 says:

    oh and it would take approximately 15+ years to bring any large scale nuke power generation online

  29. skep-tic says:

    #16

    amazing–in all of the cataloguing of what the survivalists are growing, the reporter forgot to mention the weed

  30. SG says:

    Energy Survivalists are in full gear!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QovBLFZhQME

  31. Rich In NNJ says:

    Calculated Risk put up some interesting data concerning miles driven compared to gas prices.

    U.S. Vehicle Miles vs. Real Gasoline Price

  32. jamil says:

    26 kettle1: I never said switching to coal from oil in transport needs. I merely said that non-transport energy needs is not a problem as there are plenty of alternatives, such as coal, nuclear, wind, solar, ocean tides etc. The problem is transport (in which oil is difficult to replace).

    “and it would take approximately 15+ years to bring any large scale nuke power generation online”

    In many areas, including Europe, this is being done in less than 5 years. Anyway, this is the same bogus argument dems have been using against ANWR (Clinton vetoed it 10+ years ago and it would be operational now). Sometimes, you just have to make long-term decisions (such as opening ANWR, offshore) and building wind farms.

  33. SG says:

    U.S. Vehicle Miles:

    Kind of brings my old memories back. In 1995, I used work at Michigan Department of Transportation and we used to do all this analysis on Vehicle miles. Very cool stuff. We used to project things like memorial day miles driven etc…

    Coming to think of it, states like Michigan have double whammy. Manufacturing job losses and high prices of gas. In that state there is no alternative to driving, and culturally I think they were leaders in SUV mania. I remember in 1995, seeing so many SUVs compared to other states. But housing is cheap though.

  34. kettle1 says:

    jamil,

    soryy if i misrepresented your comment. the stats remain valid though.

    per EIA 69% of US oil consumption is for transportation

    Also, I am actually in favor of nuclear power, but it is important to understand the limitations of various technologies and how long it will take to come online

  35. kettle1 says:

    Jamil there are numerous barriers to large scale nukes being built in a short time span. one major point is that there are only 3 companies in the world that make reactor vessels and they have a 10yr waiting list to date……

  36. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    Bill :19

    I know that area of the Outer Banks quite well. I’m hoping to buy something down there when the dust settles.

    Have the values held up well in that area over the past few years?? How’s the Flood Insurance premiums??

    I’m buying Dinner at Amos Mosquito’s tonight!

  37. kettle1 says:

    Samurai-Sword Maker’s Reactor Monopoly May Cool Nuclear Revival

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&refer=home&sid=aaVMzCTMz3ms

  38. kettle1 says:

    rich,

    notice the predicted drop in fuel prices? i wonder what justification they used?

  39. kettle1 says:

    SG,

    that was just odd!

  40. Rich In NNJ says:

    Kettle,

    I noticed that at the EIA site as well. They have Crude, Heating Oil and Diesel dropping too.
    I wonder if it’s projected for seasonality (if that’s a word)?

  41. jamil says:

    kettle: “time span. one major point is that there are only 3 companies in the world that”

    Which three? There are more than 3.
    Yes, it takes time but the new third generation reactor models (e.g. pressurized water reactors what Areva is building) are very efficient and building new is getting faster with the knowledge gained from the first versions. I used to work in nuclear and coal plants in the early 1990’s (summer jobs).

  42. 3b says:

    #2 grim: Severe shortage of land (according to the article), and yet we have housing developments going bust left and right?

    And of course all the resale houses sitting, and a slow to no growth job market.

    So where does the land shortage bit come in,it makes no sense to me. I have to stop thinking when I read these articles.

  43. Clotpoll says:

    jamil (42)-

    “I used to work in nuclear and coal plants in the early 1990’s…”

    Jamil, are you Homer Simpson?

  44. jamil says:

    clot: I was reporting to a safety inspector at coal plant..maybe he was the inspiration for homer. Last I heard, he was being prosecuted for safety violation in which somebody had died. Nuclear plant was much more fun, safer and salary was great.

  45. Joeycasz says:

    Curious if anyone has any extra info on
    MLS# 2466723

    I’ve seen pics and looks very promising. Says someting about “no further showings for now” but it’s still listed and active. Any ideas?

  46. lisoosh says:

    #14 – Rich, it’s a Hebrew name, better spelled Shai and the last name pronounced Shak-ed (short a short e).

  47. Bill says:

    #37 Fiddy,

    The prices at the coast have suffered but it doesn’t seem quite as bad as other areas of the coast. The problem there, just like many other locations, is that the local governments are still trying to assess at 05 prices. Almost everyone is in the appeal process. Taxes are cheap in NC, but I hate to feel I’m being taken advantage of with assessments that don’t reflect current conditions. At the height 3BR units, with Ocean views along with this type of close proximity to the beach were bring $525K+. Now a realistic number is probably in the mid to lower 4’s. Things are very slow, but appear to sell when priced correctly.

    Flood Insurance is part of my annual Condo POA payments, so I can’t give you an actual # it’s costing me as an individual. All I know is that, naturally, it has gone up quite a bit in the 12 or so years I’ve owned this place.

    By the way make sure to try out Beaufort Grocery for lunch or Finz in Morehead for a nice outside dinner with marina views.

    I’m sure you’re having a great time.

    Bill

  48. RentinginNJ says:

    The drop could be due to seasonality. No. 2 oil and natty gas typically drop over the summer.

    However, I spoke with an energy anaylst at Platts. He said that the marginal cost of crude production in about $75 per bbl, so crude should be in the 80’s.

    Short term he sees a bubble in crude, which will burst. However, he does see real supply problems in the future (10 yrs out or so) and sustained higher prices

  49. jafo says:

    On coal gasification and shale, even the most pestimistic estimates on reserves, production capacity, and EROERI would let us remove some of pressure on traditional oil. Likewise while it might take decades to fully nuclearize (or solarize/windize) electricy, capacity would begin coming on line earlier and free coal resources.

    These are just the physical impacts. Concrete plans for mid term alternatives, should also push out speculators and motivate to producers. At least it would test claims the price is driven by speculation, and that there is spare capacity.

  50. Aardvark says:

    Can someone please post some comp killers – that is my favorite part of this blog and that is why I voted for it in the competition…. PLEASE

  51. Everything's Hobroken says:

    Just back from Lake George. Traffic average speed was way down from what I have seen north of the border before. I am not sure whether it is too early yet, but there seemed to be very few people there and lots of vacancies.

  52. Pat says:

    Back from AC. The boards were mobbed. Casinos were semi-busy. There were lines of cars coming off the Expwy 6 pm for the evening.

  53. Rich In NNJ says:

    Pat,

    But how did YOU do?
    Up, down, even or you went to see Tom Jones?

  54. Rich In NNJ says:

    Aardvark,

    I practically do on a daily basis for Bergen County.

  55. Pat says:

    Rich, we went to hang with my brother from VA for the day and have a custard…never planned to gamble, even.

    HOWEVER, I did manage to find a Wild Cherry comp machine…up and down forever on twenty bucks.

    But my car got towed. So I ended up out $130.

  56. Pat says:

    Oh, my bro and wife saw Kenny Rogers on Friday and had a ball.

  57. Pat says:

    I saw Tom Jones in 1996 – I think it was at Taj- and got hit in the head with a pair of thong underwear.

    Never again.

  58. still_looking says:

    OT: went to a wedding at Tavern on the Green….

    Sooooooo Awful. DINER food is better. The bathrooms stink to high heaven. Just an atrocity.

    sl

  59. Pat says:

    I did learn that the REO discount in Molassas, VA ;) is now ~$100k on $300-$400k houses. These are houses appraised for nearly $500k at peak.

    So same street, MLS for $300 or bank-owned for $199. Hmmmmm, which would YOU choose?
    My kid can go to Burlington County Community College, or my kid can go to PRINCETON.
    BCC…Princeton. BCC…Princeton. Tough choice.

    There are many folks ready to retire there who are holding out for the market recovery.

    If REO is selling at that kind of discount, is there any reason to buy right now? Doesn’t this clearly show the extent of inventory to be cleared?

  60. kettle1 says:

    was at the mall today ( yuck!) and overheard clerks in 2 different stores talking about how they couldn’t afford to live in NJ between rent and gas. I dont really have a point besides the natives may be getting restless

  61. SG says:


    American housing – Map of misery

    By most measures, prices are still above the levels implied by the fundamentals. Using a model that ties house prices to disposable incomes and long-term interest rates, analysts at Goldman Sachs reckon that the correction in national house prices is only halfway through. They expect an 18-20% correction overall, or another 11-13% decline from today’s levels. But their models suggest that six states—Arizona, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, California and New Jersey, could see further price declines of 25% or more.

    A recent analysis by Morris Davis of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Andreas Lehnert and Robert Martin of the Fed, shows that the rent/price yield in America ranged between 5% and 5.5% from 1960 to 1995, but fell rapidly thereafter to reach a historic low of 3.5% at the height of the boom. Given the typical pace of rental growth, Mr Feroli reckons house prices (as measured by the Case-Shiller index) need to fall by 10-15% over the next year and a half for the rent/price yield to return to its historical average. Again, that suggests the national housing bust is only halfway through. And, given the scale of excess supply, house prices—particularly in hard hit areas—are likely to overshoot. All told, Mr Bernanke’s maps are going to get a lot redder—and the pressure on policymakers to help struggling homeowners is bound to increase.

  62. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    UBS Falls After Bank Says More Losses From Mortgages Possible

    UBS AG, the European bank hardest hit by the U.S. subprime contagion, fell as much as 3.7 percent in Swiss trading after saying it may face more losses from mortgage securities.

  63. cooper says:

    #58 Pat, I didn’t know Tom Jones wore a thong… thought only Sir Elton did

  64. crossroads says:

    #61
    Kettle,
    I overheard people @ the hardware store talking about oil/gas price
    I guess this will be topic of conversation at the BBQ’s today. close to the top like tech and housing you won’t be able to go anywhere without talking about oil/gas prices

  65. chicagofinance says:

    Pat Says:
    May 25th, 2008 at 10:39 pm
    Hmmmmm, which would YOU choose?
    My kid can go to Burlington County Community College, or my kid can go to PRINCETON.
    BCC…Princeton. BCC…Princeton. Tough choice.

    Pat: Bad analogy. My brother went to Princeton and it emotionally scarred him for life.

  66. Laurie says:

    Richin NNJ…RE:#12…
    That link to sales data is awesome. I’ve been there all morning…just get up to fill the mug with Java….79 pages of pure bliss…even my house was there..finally somewhere where it appears the data is correct.

  67. Pat says:

    CF, my oldest bro also went to Princeton, but nothing could penetrate his ego back then. No scarring.

    He didn’t appreciate what he was getting.

  68. sas says:

    keep your eyes on Citi..

    calling an all out collapse w/in the next 2 years. Board members have no idea who much they have lost. They are in CYA mode right now.

    As for oil, if things stay status quo (i.e. no war with Iran, major hurricans), I think oil might go up to $140-150, for the summer, after summer, dip down to $100, maybe even back to 90. But come this time next summer $200/barrel.

    Unless of course too, Iran (maybe even Cuba?) decides to flood the market with oil and nosedive the price & demand euros. If that happens, yikes…

    Like usual we will be keeping a watchful eye.

    ;)
    SAS

  69. sas says:

    as for housing,

    we have along way to go.

    we haven’t even started to unravel the housing mess. Subprime all underwater. So called “prime” is next. lookout below.

    Buffet was right: “deep & long”

    LIke I’ve been saying for awhile now, hope you like Oatmeal.

    ok, now to check out fleet week ;)

    SAS

  70. njrebear says:

    UBS on Monday warned that that it may have to record losses on non-U.S. real estate as it seeks nearly $16 billion from shareholders to repair a dented balance sheet.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/ubs-warns-losses-international-real/story.aspx?guid=%7B3746A41B%2DB914%2D4810%2DAA67%2D77B3B563A709%7D&dist=hplatest

    Who the could have known?

  71. spam spam bacon spam says:

    I must just be a retard in street clothes…

    So I’ve been doing some “research” on industrial/commercial/retail properties…

    It’s all kind of clumped together, but I’m looking at numbers for sales of retail buildings (like Walgreen’s and Home Depot), Commercial (like the building your accountant’s office is in) and Industrial (the kind of building you could manufacture an home air conditioner in or warehouse chinese-made toys until they are delivered to the store…)

    Anyway, everywhere I go on the internet, it seems office is reportedly in the toilet. (flushhhhhhhhhhhhh).

    Retail is crappy, too.

    Industrial, down, but not drastically. Kind of like an “also ran”, it seems industrial properties never made huge price gains when things were great, so the declines in value are mild…

    Overall, this type of real estate “follows” residential…it “lags”, so when residential prices drop, commercial (I’m clumping all here for brevity) drops, also experiences various problems, but a year(ish) later… maybe unfinished mini-malls, empty warehouses, lowered asking rents for offices, etc…

    So why am I retarded?

    I keep reading things like this:

    “First half of 2008 is down, but for no apparent reason and without any justification whatsoever, we declare prices will rebound and will be all kittens and butterflies by the second half of ’08”

    For Central New Jersey:

    Yr Type Vacancy RentPriceMomentum
    2008 PostGrowth 9.5% None
    2009 Growth (really?why?) 10.4% None
    2010 Growth 10.1% Increase (aspermagicwand)
    2011 Growth 9.2% (betterthaneva!) Increase
    2012 Growth 8.8% (recordbreakingwoohooo) Increase+ (can’t forget the “+”)

    (DeutscheBank)
    http://www.irei.com/uploads/marketresearch/113/marketResearchFile/PropertyCycleMonitor4-08.pdf

  72. Joeycasz says:

    Curious if anyone has any extra info on
    MLS# 2466723

    I’ve seen pics and looks very promising. Says someting about “no further showings for now” but it’s still listed and active. Any ideas?

    Thanks!

  73. SG says:

    Barron’s article,


    Where the Financial Crisis Is Headed Next

    What’s your premise?

    After first ignoring subprime, people now are too focused on it and they’re missing the broader storm coming — that’s the head fake. While the bursting of the housing bubble produced all sorts of headline-making losses for some, it is just starting to drag down the rest of the economy. Separate from subprime, you are seeing diminished ability for consumers to spend their home equity. The securitization market, which banks and finance companies use to get funding, has slowed. So we see consumer and business spending slowing; the economy will falter.

  74. SG says:

    Some reality check in NJ. I think state has completely failed to create policies and environment for middle class families in NJ. When more than half of your population can’t afford decent housing, you have a problem.


    Affordable-housing plan

    Today, middle-income residents also are being priced out of the housing market.

    Currently, half of all jobs in New Jersey pay under $33,000 a year. Using the standard recommendation of one-third of a person’s salary for housing costs, those workers can afford a home that sells for around $100,000.

    But one-third of New Jersey homes now cost more than $500,000.

    Factoring in the state’s property taxes, New Jersey’s median monthly housing costs are 52 percent higher than the rest of the nation.

  75. SG says:


    Business Is Booming for Contractors of Foreclosed Homes

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The house on East 24th Street was the worst of the six that David Law and Trey McCallister worked on the other day here. The front door had been kicked in so many times that the dead bolt was exposed and bent. Trash littered the front and back yards. A copper pipe was gone.

    In Florida, the crisis can seem overwhelming at times. It can take months, even years, for some homes to wind through foreclosure in the backlogged local courts. The longer a home sits vacant, the more vulnerable it becomes. After a few months, the Florida weather starts to takes a toll. Mold and mildew creep. Algae chokes forsaken swimming pools. Sometimes vandals strike. And sometimes wiring or plumbing just give out.

    While business may be good for firms like hers, Ms. Lang said it was difficult not to be disenchanted when you looked at the housing bust from the street level as many of her contractors do.

    “Somewhere along the lines someone wrote that property off,” she said about the house on 24th Street. “There were birthdays celebrated there and anniversaries, and there were lives that were lived there. And now the door is bolted shut.”

  76. Rich In NNJ says:

    Washington Township
    2411409 Sold
    SLD 11 CHIMNEY RIDGE CT $535,000 6/17/2004

    2529310 Withdrawn
    ACT 11 CHIMNEY RIDGE CT $749,000 9/10/2005
    PCH 11 CHIMNEY RIDGE CT $699,900 9/20/2005
    PCH 11 CHIMNEY RIDGE CT $619,000 10/6/2005
    W-C 11 CHIMNEY RIDGE CT $619,000 1/18/2006
    2621229 Withdrawn
    ACT 11 CHIMNEY RIDGE CT $649,000 5/30/2006
    W-C 11 CHIMNEY RIDGE CT $649,000 11/9/2006
    2714935 Withdrawn
    ACT 11 CHIMNEY RIDGE CT $619,900 4/16/2007
    PCH 11 CHIMNEY RIDGE CT $599,900 6/8/2007
    W-C 11 CHIMNEY RIDGE CT $599,900 10/12/2007
    2821324 Active
    ACT 11 CHIMNEY RIDGE CT $577,000 5/26/2008

  77. rhymingrealtor says:

    Joey,

    No further shows, and the fact that it is subject to bank approval indicates they have recieved more than one offer of which one or both are in the approval process, it is not in attorney review because they have not been approved by the bank/investors, They generally work with one offer at time.
    That’s my guess.

    KL

  78. Joeycasz says:

    #80

    Thanks for answering. It’s in a great area in Springfield. I know it’s listed for $289,900 and has been listed for 5 months. Just didn’t know why the price is so low and why it hasn’t moved.

    I was lead to believe that subject to bank approval meant the seller is in trouble or the bank owns it.

  79. bi says:

    “Every legislator claims to favor property tax relief, but by their actions shall you know them. The present majority gave us the fraudulent “millionaires’ tax”, rebates with borrowed money, etc. But none of these rookie efforts compares with the threat posed by A-500.”

    http://www.politickernj.com/mcarroll/20060/property-tax-disaster

  80. kettle1 says:

    bi,

    assuming that the claims the author states are true ( havent had time to check) then it sounds like njj is well on its way in committing seppuku

  81. Shore Guy says:

    ZILLOW

    A few days ago, someone asked what people thought of Zillow’s “Zestimates.” Here is my very recent experience.

    A home that we had some cursory interest in at Bradley Beach has a current “Zestimate” of $536,500. The house is currently listed at $439,900. That is one heck of a percentage difference. That “Zest” must involve some 150 proof spirits, or some speed.

    From my discussions with the RE agent, it would not surprise me to see the house go for $350,000. At the current price, the owners are taking a $100,000 haircut. Can you say “bent over a straight-backed chair”?

  82. Clotpoll says:

    Shore (84)-

    Zillow?

    Better to take a roulette wheel, put prices on each of the slots, and give it a spin. Their algorithms break down in all but the most homogeneous and static markets.

  83. Shore Guy says:

    Clot,

    I never had much confidence in their numbers based on what they had to say about my neighborhood. But those were not for sale. In this instance, the home has been for sale for quite some time and for the past year at less than the Zestimate. Now it is being offered for even less than it was. It is hard to see how anyone can have any faith at all inthe numbers. Perhaps they should be called “Seller-wishes-timate”

  84. Essex says:

    Christina Aguilera selling Hollywood Hills home

    Ann Brenoff, Los Angeles Times
    Christina Aguilera bought the Beverly Hills home of Ozzy …

    (05-25) 04:00 PDT Los Angeles — There’s nothing like new motherhood to get you thinking about the nest, which may explain why singer-songwriter Christina Aguilera, whose son was born in January, has listed her Hollywood Hills home for $7,995,000.

    Or maybe it’s just time to change houses, the way she changes her siren looks.

    The architectural example of midcentury chic sure sounds like an adult’s toy box: It has a gym, a pool and a 12-person spa with a fireplace. There’s also a professional screening room that seats 18. At 1,200 square feet, the master bedroom is bigger than many Manhattan apartments. The house is set high enough in the hills to enjoy jetliner views. There are five bedrooms and seven bathrooms in 6,500 square feet, and it all sits at the end of a cul-de-sac.

    Is it baby-friendly? Uh, not really. But do not fear that the Latin goddess of song will be homeless. Last summer, the multi-Grammy-winning Aguilera and her husband, music marketer Jordan Bratman, bought Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne’s former house in Beverly Hills for $11.5 million. It has six bedrooms and 10 bathrooms in 11,500 square feet.

    Aguilera, 27, has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide.

    Does the fact that “Brokeback Mountain” star Jake Gyllenhaal, 27, may be a boomerang kid who sometimes stays with his parents make you love him any less? Me neither.

    Between trips to New York and Cabo with Reese Witherspoon, the Oscar-nominated actor just may be stumbling around in his jammies at the Hollywood Hills home owned by his parents, Stephen Gyllenhaal and Naomi Foner.

    Our “I saw evidence of Jake” spotter toured the five-bedroom, three-bathroom, 3,000-square-foot home that is listed for sale. The asking price has dropped from $4.2 million to $3,795,000 – sounds like they’re getting serious after three months on the market.

    The listing agent says Jake doesn’t live there – part time or otherwise – and points instead to the “modern light-filled design with an expansive fully equipped cook’s kitchen” as a selling point. (Note to agent: Saying “come take a look and you might see Jake” is a bigger lure.) Anyway, the outdoor area was designed by landscape-designer-to-the-stars Jay Griffith. The property is almost an acre; the house sits way down a long driveway and juts out on a promontory from which there are magnificent city views.

    Stephen Gyllenhaal is a poet and film and TV director. He directed the film version of the Pete Dexter novel “Paris Trout,” which was nominated for five Emmy awards. His wife, Foner, has written the screenplays for several feature films, including “Running on Empty” – for which she received an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay and won a Golden Globe in the same category. She also wrote “Losing Isaiah” and, most recently, “Bee Season.”

    Then there are their two famous offspring: Jake – can anyone’s eyes really be that blue? – and Maggie Gyllenhaal, whose credits include “World Trade Center” (2006).

    Don’t you just love aging rockers? Especially when they are good to their mothers?

    Rocker Eddie Van Halen and his brother, drummer Alex, sold a house for $1.5 million that they had bought for their mother in the Summit area of Beverly Hills, according to public records. They paid $688,000 for it in 1987; their mother, Eugenia, died in 2005 at age 89. It had been listed at $2.2 million.

    In other Van Halen real estate news, Kelly Van Halen, Alex’s second ex-wife, is selling her home in L.A.’s Encino neighborhood for $4,495,000.

    The French Country estate has 6,900 square feet, which includes five bedrooms, seven bathrooms and a wisteria-covered gated entrance. The two-story entry has a sweeping staircase and screams “old-world charm.”

    The chef’s kitchen has Carrera marble countertops and a center island, Viking professional stainless-steel appliances and a separate breakfast room.

  85. rhymingrealtor says:

    Joey,

    Subject to third party or bank approval does mean it is being listed for less than owed, or close to what is owed and with closing costs the bank will not being getting all it is owed on the property. I had’nt noted the sales price I can check but may not find what is owed on it.

    BRB

    KL

  86. rhymingrealtor says:

    Whoa Joey,

    That property shows a history of being sold 2/2007 for $450,000.w/ a mortgage of $315,000 but it had a mortgage of 351,000 when it was sold for 450,000 somebody wins somebody loses.

    KL

  87. still_looking says:

    I need some advice from the group… (it’s not for me it’s for my SIL who works for UBS)

    She works in a training/education division and works from home.

    She and a bunch of other folks at UBS were told that they could opt for a seemingly generous buyout package. 64 weeks pay with health insurance.

    The catch is that they can turn you down (opt to retain you) even if you want the buyout package.

    My SIL has the idea that she wants to try for the buyout figuring that if they “turn her down” that her job is pretty secure.

    It sounds shady to me.

    My worries are that they might “buyout” folks that it’s affordable to and later on downsize the other folks (esp the higher salaried ones.)

    Or maybe I’m just jaded and UBS is a good bunch of guys just looking out for the welfare of its workers….yada yada yada.

    Please? Any ideas on what the “real” story is with this?

    sl

  88. Pat says:

    What does she have to lose by accepting the package and then possibly being retained instead?

    How would her position be compromised? She would be no better/no worse off than before.

  89. PGC says:

    #90 SL

    Take the package. There are a few things to consider here.
    The first is a lesson from the Lucent implosion. “The first packages are usually the most generous” If they can weather the stom with one or two rounds of layoffs, they want to show that they looked after their ex-employees. If they have to go deep into muscle cuts, then all bets are off and the may need to pay the minimum.
    Next is that soft skills and non essenial expenditure are the first to go. We are still waiting for our training department to be reinstated after the 2002 layoffs. Unless SIL is part of the HR team doing the layoffs and general HR work, she is probably toast.
    The company is probably not looking to reduce cost, but more likely are looking to reduce head count. Her job many not go away, they may want to cover it with a contractor or outsource it.

    Best advice, take the package. Use the time to retrain into a new career or update her skillset. Have her set up a company, or sort out a third party agency so that if she does get canned she can offer herself straight back as a contractor either to continue her role or help with the transition.

    Just my personal observations and thoughts. All disclaimers.

  90. still_looking says:

    Thanks for the advice Pat and PGC.

    They are offering 3 mos of career counseling or money in lieu of.

    Pat, I am trying to understand why they want the ability to refuse people.

    Are they that valuable? Are they too expensive to send off with 64 wks pay, health ins etc? Is is cheaper to downsize some of them out instead.

    PGC,
    I know NOTHING about this stuff – but I know she already feels worry about them replacing her job with a software program so she seems to think it’s time to pack up anyway.

    She and her husband are in a good financial position – house paid off, 2 yr old’s college fund funded, low overhead (they live in AZ.) I don’t know their retirement picture. They do have a Prius :-)

    Her husband is diabetic so keeping health ins is key. He is in school but his earning potential is 1/3 of hers when employed. They are very frugal though.

    I appreciate your advice(s) and thank you guys for being great sounding boards on all topics. I hope it works out okay for them -she is putting in her severance request today (Tues.)

    sl

  91. Pat says:

    sl, large employers have layered human resource policies and cultures of risk avoidance. In the beginning of cuts, they want packages that will have high acceptance rates- the more folks who sign the waiver, the lower the lawsuit risk.

    The next set of cuts will be geographic and involuntary.

    I would not read too much into the company’s option to retain.

  92. RentinginNJ says:

    Pat, I am trying to understand why they want the ability to refuse people.

    CYA and it leaves their options open.

    They have a number in mind for how many people will take the package. What often happens in these cases is that too many people go for the package, leaving an unacceptably large hole in the organization. This gives them power to rescind offers in that event.

  93. Joeycasz says:

    #89

    Thanks again Rhyme. That’s an amazing bit of history. $450,000 you say? Thats crazy!

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