North Jersey January Home Sales

Preliminary January sales and inventory data for Northern New Jersey (GSMLS) is in. Please note that this data is subject to revision.

The first graph plots the unadjusted sales data (closed sales) for the counties listed. Please note the lower bound of the graph, it is set to 500, not to zero. I do this to emphasize the seasonal nature of the Northern NJ market.


(click to enlarge)

The second graph is another view at the sales data for the full year. Please note that this graph does cross at zero.


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The third graph displays only January sales, 2000 to 2009 YOY.


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The fourth graph displays an overlay of Sales and Inventory from 2003 to 2009.


(click to enlarge)

The fifth graph displays the year over year change in inventory on a month by month basis.


(click to enlarge)

The sixth graph displays the year over year change in sales on a month by month basis.


(click to enlarge)

The last graph displays the absorption rate (not seasonally adjusted), in months:


(click to enlarge)

Bonus Graphs!

January Sales By County:


(click to enlarge)

Which makes more sense in Log scale:


(click to enlarge)

This entry was posted in Economics, New Jersey Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

486 Responses to North Jersey January Home Sales

  1. grim says:

    From the AP:

    Northeast posts 22 pct January home sales drop

    ome sales in the Northeast plunged more than 22 percent in January from last year, the worst in the country, as the U.S. recession nailed the region’s economy, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

    The median sales price in the Northeast tumbled almost 15 percent to $228,200.

    “What was surprising was the numbers held up as well as they did for as long as they did,” said James Diffley, group managing director of IHS Global Insight’s regional services group. “The (real estate) downturn is finally catching up with us.”

    But no region of the country was spared, and nationally sales of existing homes fell 7.6 percent in January from a year ago, without adjusting for seasonal factors. The U.S. median sales price slid almost 15 percent to $170,300, the second-largest drop on record and the lowest they’ve been since March 2003.

    Wall Street firms have been handing out pink slips like trading slips, and that’s making potential homebuyers plenty nervous.

    Home sales in nine major Northeast cities recorded double-digit declines with four of them above 30 percent, according to the Associated Press-Re/Max Monthly Housing Report, also released Wednesday. The report analyzed sales transactions in nine Northeast metropolitan statistical areas filed by all real estate agents, regardless of company affiliation.

    Median prices in seven Northeast metro areas lost more than 10 percent of their values from a year before.

    In the suburban counties surrounding New York City — Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester counties — home sales plummeted nearly 39 percent, the worst decline in the Northeast, while the median home price fell more than 15 percent to $360,000, according to the AP-Re/Max report.

    In nearby Passaic, N.J., where many Manhattan workers live, January sales fell 23 percent, while prices dropped nearly 16 percent from a year ago to $287,000.

  2. Well, that’s ugly.

    It looks like Brooklyn is tanking hard too.

  3. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (prev. thread)-

    Good catch on the Ukraine downgrade today.

    Upfront money required on CDS is a sign of certain and imminent doom, a la Russia 10 years ago.

    Could Ukraine be the detonator?

  4. sas says:

    thanks for the graphs Grim.

    curious, does the Circling Vulture post on here at all?

    SAS

  5. Clotpoll says:

    As always, nice work, Grim!

    This info is gold. So to speak.

  6. All Hype says:

    Wow, what a drop in sales. Man, I am so glad I found this website and decided not to buy a house in the last 5 years.

  7. sas says:

    sure is quiet in here.

    I might have to watch the “biggest loser” with my wife.

    god..help me…
    SAS

  8. sas says:

    where is the money & how do you get it back? -SAS

    “The technology revolution has transformed organizations across the private sector, but not ours, not fully, not yet. We are, as they say, tangled in our anchor chain. Our financial systems are decades old. According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions. We cannot share information from floor to floor in this building because it’s stored on dozens of technological systems that are inaccessible or incompatible.”
    – Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, The Pentagon, Monday, September 10, 2001

  9. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Looking pretty ugly & we are just getting started in our area.
    Sas`don’t leave they have Idol on in the family room very scary.

  10. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Grim thanks for putting Sussex in I know I’m pretty much the Lone Ranger in that regard.

  11. JBJB says:

    Thanks Grim. If you’re buying, the trend is your friend. If you’re selling, not so much.

  12. Clotpoll says:

    sas (7)-

    Don’t go mainstream on us now.

    Resist the urge!

  13. JBJB says:

    Would it be nice if this data was available on a neighborhood basis? Looking at these charts, you can understand why the rel estate industry has fought for so long to keep this data unavailable.

  14. Mikeinwaiting says:

    JBJB if your buying in a year or two. Buy now & you lose money. I don’t profess to time the market to a tee but looking at the data for our area, still to early.IMHO

  15. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    “I might have to watch the “biggest loser” with my wife.”

    Who is it? Bi? ReInvestor?

  16. Mikeinwaiting says:

    HEHEHE Flip a coin.

  17. JBJB says:

    Mike

    Agreed. No point in even considering buying right now, unless you have to.

  18. Essex says:

    Oscar-winner Slumdog Millionaire depicts children dwelling in the utmost of impoverished hellscapes. The film used actual slum kids, but don’t worry they weren’t exploited! Cuz they’re totally getting houses now! They’ll be just fine.

    After they were sent on a whirlwind tour of Disneyland and Universal Studios on Oscar weekend, the real-life Mumbai slum kids, who, really, are the movie (sorry Dev and Freida), faced the prospect of returning to their homes, situated near open sewers or consisting of one rotten mattress shared by the whole family. But now Danny Boyle, the film’s director, along with one of the producers, has announced that the kids and their families will be moved into apartments worth about £20,000 (that’s seven hundred billion American dollars). Then the government said “fuck it, let’s give ’em houses” because they’re national heroes and, careful, white people are looking—some say it’s a political maneuver done in a lead-up to elections, but whatever. The kids will also have trusts set up in their names and be provided with guaranteed rickshaw transportation (seriously) between home and school. The hope being, of course, that they’ll get a proper education.

    So, yeah, good. I guess. It reminds us of those poor kids in The Kite Runner—that film about hope and dreams and Afghanistan and kites. They were plucked from obscurity in Kabul, then threatened with death after the film was released, partly because one of their characters was raped in the film. Then Paramount swooped in and saved the day, ferrying the children to a new life in Dubai, estranging them from their parents. There was a small outcry—they rarely get very loud when they’re about poor brown Muslims—and people demanded that since Paramount had exploited them in pursuit of really authenticity, they owed it to the children to support them in whatever way they required. That was two years ago, though, and now we don’t really hear anything about those lost people.

    And now it looks as though the Slumdog kids are getting the same worried, hand-wringing treatment. An NGO worth about £500,000 is being set up by the producers and distributors of the film to help all the children of Mumbai’s disastrous slums. And I guess there really isn’t any other answer here, other than that in the end, Danny Boyle and the rest will go home, and will have to hang up their hopes for these kids on some out-of-the-way hook. So they can keep on with their lives. Because what else can you do. As my boss said, at least Boyle and company didn’t blind the kids before putting them to work. No, they left them young and cute and opened a strange side door to a new, tenuous future.

  19. kettle1 says:

    SAS

    are you presenting tomorrow?

  20. kettle1 says:

    Clot,

    the race seems to be between ireland and Ukraine. my money is on the Ukraine.

    It will be a nasty implosion too. Its even more fun due to the major natural gas lines running though the Ukraine

  21. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (18)-

    We should move to Antigua and start an offshore betting pool on sovreign defaults.

    I’d be all-in on Ukraine, too. The upfront money on CDS is the tell. I’ve actually seen “experts” posit that Ireland may be OK (OK obviously being a very relative term), since there was never upfront money charged for their CDS and the spreads have actually come down in the past week or so.

  22. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    Ukraine for sure. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a Russian land grab as they “stabilize” the situation too.

  23. Mikeinwaiting says:

    HEHEHE 20 For sure.

  24. Cindy says:

    http://www.riskcenter.com/story.php?id=17904&PHPSESSID=51311210b21431b68a59506e9e3665c1

    Article I just read on CDS – I’d have to read it about 10 more times to understand the first paragraph.

    What is to be done with credit default swaps?

  25. grim says:

    Updated a version of the January Sales by County so that the graph is in log scale.

    Makes more sense, really. The scale on the original makes it appear that the change in Morris County was the most significant. While it may be on a total sales falloff perspective, it isn’t from a percentage sales falloff.

    http://njrereport.com/images/jan09_cntlog.gif

  26. kettle1 says:

    Cindy,

    CDS…. rule all existing swaps invalid/illegal and enact heavy regulation. then go home and have a nice chianti w/ some fava beans.

    Can be the treasury secretary now?

  27. kettle1 says:

    clot,

    lets go!

    ireland safe? hahahahaha. still i think the uk may actaully be in more trouble then ireland. BOE is about to $hit itself right now.

  28. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    “Can be the treasury secretary now?”

    Don’t know, did you cheat on your taxes?

  29. Cindy says:

    (24) Kettle – “enact heavy regulation..”

    How can it be possible that we are not hearing about regulations regarding these time bombs?

    I remember months ago discussing the merits of the old RTC, exchanges for CDS, stuff that should have happened so long ago.

    And what is up with all of the “Credit is the life blood of our economy” crap. Give me a break.

    Nobody I know wants a loan for anything. Nobody wants to buy anything. There is no demand for the products so how can there be demand for loans for the products.

  30. Cindy says:

    Oh – that was a question…?

  31. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Grim 23 even with the revised graph Sussex still looks like it is falling off a cliff. Watch out below. Having a down hill slalom race with Warren.

  32. Joe says:

    Next step convince sellers POS house is not worth asking price. Start the price at $1.00 & take the highest bidder.

    No reason to buy a house in NJ anytime soon, asking prices are way too HIGH.

  33. Essex says:

    Lots of cool compounds in Sussex tho.

  34. cobbler says:

    Ukraine unlike Iceland is pretty much self-sufficient in basic goods (except nat gas – but if they wait with default for a couple months, till it gets warmer, they should do fine) and not deeply integrated into Europe; default will very specifically hit a few Euro banks which should have been expecting this for a while, and the problem for non-Ukrainians will be rather minor. Politically, they have a serious chance of country breaking into two. If this happens, Hillary will be making some noises, but not much more here.

  35. kettle1 says:

    Cindy

    And what is up with all of the “Credit is the life blood of our economy” crap. Give me a break.

    understand that the majority of the growth that occurred globally for the last decade was entirely predicated on leverage, spending money that you didnt have in hopes of making a profit and risking implosion if you dont.

    the average joe did it, banks did it, corporations did it, and governments did it.

    The level of economic growth that has occurred since the end of WWII has become the norm. The only way that such growth was maintained is through a rapidly expanding population with easy access to cheap and abundant natural resources and energy. Such an environment began to slow during the 80’s and pretty much came to a halt in the 90’s. by that point the major natural resources had been cornered by the largest societies (US, Europe etc.).

    The only way to maintain the previous levels of growth was through rapid debt expansion. The dominant societies switched from growth through the extraction of natural resources to growth through extraction of financial resources. This extraction tool the form of debt expansion.

    The expansion of debt reached a saturation point and now the dominant world governments are desperatly searching for a new resource to extract and therefore generate economic growth.

    Credit is the current lifeblood of economic growth because that was the last major resource available that could sustain the desired level of economic expansion. We have hemorrhaged.

    there will be an eventual recovery but at a much lower rate of growth. the previous level of growth was exponential with is mathematically impossible to sustain in a closed system such as planet earth.

  36. kettle1 says:

    heheh 25,

    the answer depends on who’s reading the blog…..

  37. victorian says:

    Credit is the life blood of our economy” crap

    Cindy –

    You don’t understand. We need to give money to the bankers, so that they can loan us the money and charge interest.
    It is the life blood of the bankers’ economy. And of course, they are systemically indispensable.

  38. shawn212 says:

    JB – thanks again for the graphs. I remember when you first published them…i could always see where the trend was going, but it’s hard to believe that it’s actually there. Of course i’ve remained a renter thanks to this site – so good for me :)

    OT question for the group – Can anyone recommend in home adult care in the Livingston area? Grandma tried cooking with tupperware on the range yesterday. Time to get her some help before she burns the house down.

  39. Cindy says:

    (33) Kettle

    I understand we have reached a saturation point..but our leaders seemed “h@ll bent” on getting everyone into debt when no one wants to do anything but cut back and save.

    “There will be an eventual recovery but at a much lower rate of growth.”

    Well fine. Let’s start growing at a sustainable level now. That appears to be what the American people want.
    In that case – we don’t need the reinflated credit and a plethora of banks. I am asking, why can’t the government get that?

    Do we have to do everything at once? A clean up of the banks and some time to heal seems in order. Do we have to cure cancer – tomorrow?

  40. Shore Guy says:

    “Wouldn’t be surprised to see a Russian land grab as they “stabilize” the situation too.”

    The eastern part of Ukraine is Russian in character and outlook and the Russians see it as theirs so it may well be a flashpoint. Watch the Crimea as well. It was Russian until recently and the Russians want it back.

  41. kettle1 says:

    Cindy,

    before any orderly economic activity may continue the detritus must be removed from the system.

    The economic system must remove the malinvested capital and the nonproductive business structures before BAU continues. No government or room of full of super-geniuses can do this. the system itself must be allowed to do this.

    That only works if the government stays out of the market and allows businesses and people to fail. The longer they support failed businesses and individuals, the more additional damage they do to the system and the longer it will take to heal.

    There is already an orderly method for the problems at hand. RTC and bankruptcy.

    They fear going that route because it will crush the global finance model.

    I get your point cindy. it is a good one, and a valid one. but you have to look at it from the Big dogs point of view. western power is heavily predicated on financial dominance. If the PTB cannot restart the credit markets they will lose world dominance. Perhaps not overnight but possibly quicker then you would expect. Look at all the fingers pointing at the US already for this mess.

    TPTB are more then willing to inflict additional pain on the peons if it allows them to maintain world financial dominance.

    And dont forget the golden rule. he who has the gold makes the rules.

  42. Cindy says:

    If they cared – truly about our concerns – they would clean up the banks, regulate against systemic risk, and work on sustainable job growth.

    The meddling in the R/E markets appears to be having the opposite effect. Many here won’t even consider buying when they don’t know what the rules will be tomorrow or the next day.

  43. yikes says:

    Lost is the greatest show ever.

    That is all.

  44. yikes says:

    i’ve noticed a lot less doom and gloom on the site in the last two days.

    are you guys gloomed out?

  45. Pat wistfully says:

    Gave it up for Lent.

  46. kettle1 says:

    Re russian land grab.

    The ukraine is the bread basket of russia. They will not allow the west to be the dominant influence in that nation.

    You can already see the divide in the politicians. the lines are clear and are already well formed.

  47. kettle1 says:

    yikes,

    making to much money shorting everyone to be gloomy!

  48. bklynhwk says:

    Grim-
    Great work as always. Thank you for everything you’ve done over the last three plus years.

    On a very small anecdotal basis, starting to see some movement down with prices and options with inventory in the town I’ve been looking in and probably know better than most residents now.

  49. Ben says:

    Rutgers is financing a massive spending spree through issuance of 500 million dollars worth of bonds. Moody’s upgraded their rating. They’ll be paying off those bonds with funny money once inflation hits. The question is, who are these suckers that are buying up those Rutgers bonds?

  50. PGC says:

    My biggest takeaway from this is the Inventory explosion from 2005 on. While actives have not come down to 2005 levels, it tells me that a lot of properties went on the market and didn’t sell, so at the height of the bubble, how many properties actually changed hands. What percentage of inventory was that? It leads me to believe that the biggest issue that NNJ faces is more to do with HELOC abuse and job loss.

  51. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [48] Ben,

    What a coincidence. UMDNJ is also floating over 400 million in bonds.

    A billion in new debt for NJ higher education. I suppose that the way to make NJ colleges prestigious is to make them ridiculously expensive because they have bondholders to pay.

  52. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [31] essex,

    Sussex??? Nope, still NJ. I want to be safely across the Delaware where Ann Milgram can’t get my guns and ammo.

    Going to NEPA this weekend, for the first time with Jersey plates. Will have to drive slower since folks over there don’t care for yellow (license plate) fever.

  53. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    I worked on this deal years ago. Now I get to see it come undone.

    “Citigroup is closing in on an agreement to boost the U.S. government’s stake in it to as much as 40 percent, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website, citing people familiar with the situation.

    A deal could be announced as soon as Thursday, it said.

    But a greater U.S. stake will bring a slew of new complications for executives of the New York company, the report said.

    Mexican law bars any institution more than 10 percent-owned by a foreign government from running a bank in that country. Some Citigroup executives are worried that an increased U.S. stake might subject the bank to pressure to relinquish some or all of its ownership of Grupo Financiero Banamex, the No. 2 bank in Mexico by assets, the Journal said.”

  54. bklynhwk says:

    37-
    It’s not that close to Livingston, but have heard good things (from a current resident and son of a different resident) about Fritz Reuter house in North Bergen.

  55. chicagofinance says:

    Cindy says:
    February 25, 2009 at 9:24 pm
    Nobody I know wants a loan for anything. Nobody wants to buy anything. There is no demand for the products so how can there be demand for loans for the products.

    Cindy: My guess is John Cusack in Say Anything…

  56. kettle1 says:

    Bank of America fights to hide bonus payouts

    Bank of America will launch a legal battle to keep secret the details of $3.6billion (£2.5billion) in bonus payments after John Thain, the former chief executive of BoA’s newly acquired Merrill Lynch business, was questioned for a second time by the New York attorney-general’s office. It is the latest chapter in a tit-for-tat fight between Mr Thain and BoA over the bonuses, which were rushed through by Merrill Lynch in December, weeks before Merrill’s disclosure of a $15.3billion fourth-quarter loss.

    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/banking_and_finance/article5799050.ece

  57. kettle1 says:

    clot

    EU Officials Concerned About Risks of Pound Drop

    European Union officials are concerned that the pound’s slide to a record low against the euro could destabilize the British economy, according to a document prepared last month by European Commission and EU finance ministry officials. The pound’s “very rapid” drop “raises questions about the financial stability of the British economy,” said the document, which was prepared ahead of the Feb. 14 Group of Seven meeting in Rome and obtained by Bloomberg News. The currency’s weakness “is a source of concern for the euro area.” The report contradicts Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s argument on Feb. 13 that a weaker currency helps rather than hinders the economy. With the pound down 18 percent against the euro in the past year, it also underscores investors’ concern about Britain’s fiscal health as the government racks up debt to fund bank bailouts.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=aRteM6QaDSpY&refer=europe

  58. kettle1 says:

    Poland Can’t Delay Asset Sales, Treasury’s Grad Says

    Poland plans to accelerate asset sales to help state companies raise funds and prop up public finances as the country faces its worst economic slowdown in almost a decade, Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad said. The government seeks to raise 12 billion zloty ($3.4 billion) from asset sales this year, the most since 2000, even after Warsaw’s stock indexes fell to five-year lows last week and the zloty dropped to a near record against the euro. “One could always wait for better times, but the market is what it is, and companies need funds for investment now,” Grad, 46, said in an interview in his Warsaw office late yesterday. “Some companies may lose value in two years if they stop investments or fail to acquire a private investor.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601095&sid=a04zfr.CwkUM&refer=east_europe

  59. kettle1 says:

    Standard & Poor’s rates Latvia’s bonds as junk

    Eastern Europe’s recent economic troubles intensified yesterday when the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s cut the quality of its appraisal on one Baltic state and said it may cut the others, while Serbia applied for an extra $2bn (£1.4bn) loan from the International Monetary Fund in an attempt to offset its economic spiral. S&P cut the Baltic republic of Latvia to a junk credit rating – rare for a sovereign state – and said it may reduce its creditworthiness ranking for sister republics Lithuania and Estonia. It also said it may further cut Latvia’s credit rating later this year or in 2010.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/credit-agency-rates-baltic-states-bonds-as-junk-1631377.html

  60. kettle1 says:

    this one is for you stu

    China Fears Tremors as Jobs Vanish From Coast

    Although the government has not released updated information about rural unrest, officials have been strategizing about how best to keep large protests and riots from spreading, should the dispossessed grow unruly. This week, more than 3,000 public security directors from across the country are gathering in the capital to learn how to neutralize rallies and strikes before they blossom into so-called mass incidents. At a meeting of the Chinese cabinet last month, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao told government leaders they should prepare for rough times ahead. “The country’s employment situation is extremely grim,” he said.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/world/asia/23migrants.html?_r=1&th=&emc=th&pagewanted=all

  61. kettle1 says:

    Food crisis hits developing world farms

    Farmers in developing countries are struggling despite recent rises in the price of commodities they produce, the Fairtrade Foundation says in a new report. The report, which interviewed farmers’ groups in Uganda, Malawi, Nicaragua, India, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean, reveals that many families are spending up to 80% of their entire household budget on basic food items. The rocketing cost of food, fuel and fertiliser prices have had a devastating effect on their livelihoods. In some cases, families have been forced to cut out meals, take children out of school and reduce the amount of land they plant, the report says. Some farmers have even sold their land because they can no longer afford to farm it or buy fertilisers to keep up production. But the report says that fair trade schemes could help ease their plight, with demand for Fairtrade products remaining strong despite the economic downturn.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7905312.stm

  62. kettle1 says:

    Mexico is in free fall

    With cartels taking over cities and killing all anti-drug officials, the country is crying out for help – but is unlikely to get it from the US

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/25/mexico-drugs-trade

  63. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Kettle any good news tonight I’ll take a little girl finds her lost kitten!

  64. kettle1 says:

    mike,

    this will have to do….

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/02/24/HODM1618TH.DTL

    Earless cat changes Texas mom, daughter’s lives

  65. KareninCA says:

    Comrade nom de plume:
    here are a few very nice girls’ names:
    Pearl (my favorite; a family name)
    Violet
    Anna (not Ann! not Anne! they are nice enough, but Anna is more evocative)
    I suppose they’re a little old fashioned. I’ve also always liked Jenny (as in Jenny Lind)

  66. cooper says:

    I know it’s early but it took me a few minutes to realize that the gigantic asterisk is the january start… that is the single most disturbing chart i’ve seen since, since, since a very long time. great stuff grim thx. going to pick up my jaw…

  67. KareninCA says:

    yes, 2008 also started with a lonely little asterisk in the bottom left. I remember being startled by it. but the 2009 asterisk is even lower and lonelier.

  68. cooper says:

    Karen i know i’m up early in ny but your in cali… what time do you get up? work nights?

  69. still_looking says:

    NJ real estate, stroller, gun, wine, dentist and night owl report ;)

    sl

  70. kettle1 says:

    hi sl!

    hows goes the wonderful world of human misery?

  71. BklynHawk says:

    Ok, prediction time. I say June ’09 sales will be in the 1200-1400 range for these counties.

  72. still_looking says:

    ket 69

    just peachy…I just can’t wait for soci.alized medicine, though…I’ll probably be selling suntan lotion from a shack by then – cash only, of course!

    /sarcasm.

    sl

  73. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Euro-zone Feb. economic sentiment indicator hits new low

    A gauge of economic sentiment across the euro zone fell to a new record low in February, the European Commission reported Thursday. The economic sentiment indicator for the single-currency region declined from 67.2 in January to 65.4 this month, the lowest reading since the indicator was launched in January 1985. The drop reflects a fall in most of the indicator’s component indexes, with the exception of a slight rise in the retail trade index, which rose 1 point to -19. The euro-zone consumer confidence indicator fell to -33 from -31 in January, while the industrial sentiment indicator fell to -36 from -33 in January, and the services index dropped one point to -23. The construction index fell two points to -32.

  74. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Wall Street Banks Vacate Towers Pushing Empty Space to Record

    New York’s biggest banks and securities firms may relinquish 8 million square feet of office space this year, deepening the worst commercial property slump in more than a decade as they abandon a record amount of property.

    JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and industry rivals have vacated 4.6 million feet, a figure that may climb by another 4 million as businesses leave or sublet space they no longer need, according CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., the largest commercial property broker.

    Banks, brokers and insurers have fired more than 177,000 employees in the Americas as the recession and credit crisis battered balance sheets. Financial services firms occupy about a quarter of Manhattan’s 362 million square feet of office space and account for almost 40 percent now available for sublease, CB Richard Ellis data show.

    “Entire segments of the industry are gone,” said Marisa Di Natale, a senior economist at Moody’s Economy.com in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “We’re talking about the end of 2012 before things actually start to turn up again for the New York office market.”

    The amount of available space may reach 15.6 percent by the end of the year, the most since 1996, according to Los Angeles- based CB Richard Ellis. Vacancies are already the highest since 2004 and rents are down 5 percent, the biggest drop in at least two decades.

  75. grim says:

    From Philly.com:

    Philadelphia-area home sales down 31.4%

    Philadelphia-area existing-home sales fell 31.4 percent in January compared with the same month in 2008, continuing the market downturn.

    There were 990 fewer existing houses sold – 2,160 in January compared with 3,150 in January 2008.

    Median prices also declined – 6.4 percent year-over-year in the eight-county region, said the Prudential Fox & Roach HomExpert Report, using data from Trend Multiple Listing Service.

  76. Clotpoll says:

    Mikey (31)-

    Dueling banjos, as it were.

    This info should really stoke the Kl@n up in your neck of the woods.

    “…even with the revised graph Sussex still looks like it is falling off a cliff. Watch out below. Having a down hill slalom race with Warren.”

  77. Clotpoll says:

    sx (33)-

    Compounds? As in, Branch Davidians?

  78. Clotpoll says:

    (34)-

    I’ve figured it out: cobbler is Jean-Claude Trichet, that tough-talking soci@list.

  79. still_looking says:

    LONDON (AP) — The Royal Bank of Scotland posted an annual loss of 24.14 billion pounds ($34.4 billion) — the biggest in British corporate history — and unveiled a massive restructuring plan on Thursday that will offload many of its international businesses.

    RBS Chairman Philip Hampton blamed the massive 2008 loss, which compared with a 7.3 billion pound profit in 2007, on the “unprecedented turbulence” in financial markets and deteriorating conditions around the world. =snip=

    …see? ain’t just us.

    sl

  80. Clotpoll says:

    Sean (38)-

    Kinda cool, huh?:

    “The point, though, is that potential exists for someone to cause their own meltdown in the underlying stocks when the volume of the ETF can account for such a large percentage of the volume of the underlying. In the above example, the volume accounted for by SKF actually exceeds the volume in TRV.”

  81. Clotpoll says:

    Cindy (40)-

    You probably don’t want to get into it with Candide…er, cobbler…on this one.

    Don’t you know all outcomes can be managed in this best of all possible worlds?

    “Well fine. Let’s start growing at a sustainable level now. That appears to be what the American people want.
    In that case – we don’t need the reinflated credit and a plethora of banks. I am asking, why can’t the government get that?

    Do we have to do everything at once? A clean up of the banks and some time to heal seems in order. Do we have to cure cancer – tomorrow?”

  82. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (42)-

    That is the best short rationale I’ve seen yet for an overthrow of the US gubmint.

  83. Clotpoll says:

    Ben (50)-

    I’d bet they jammed a lot of that paper in Nov & Dec. Imagine a market full of Johns, sucking up this garbage like microwavable instant onions the minute it was issued. There wasn’t an issue out there that those bond daddies didn’t like.

  84. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Clot Just off the hot sheet 4 Bi-levels under 200 k in Vernon mind you I bought for 130 in 98 (and I ain’t talking 199 lower). Another Started 5/08 at 325 now 220.
    http://emailrpt.gsmls.com/public/show_public_report_rpt.do?report=clientfull&Id=40878519_4006
    2 are in good neighborhoods of the 4 in 2 years most houses of this type will be back where they were 98. Bi levels are the majority of housing stock so they are the ones to watch.

  85. Clotpoll says:

    plume (53)-

    Squeal like a pig.

  86. freedy says:

    how is it possible to allow Rutgers to spend billions when the state is broke?

  87. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (60)-

    Let’s start an offshore sovereign junk bond fund. And sell CDS against them. And manipulate all of it so we get really rich.

  88. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Sorry no one playing banjos in the pictures. This is still Jersey you know.
    Did go to look at a short sale yesterday 4 Bd ranch posted here a few days ago 169k. Well here you go Clot no less than 8 cars all over next door neighbors property in various states of decay plus some things even I couldn’t figure out. Go one block nice well kept homes. Music playing in background.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tqxzWdKKu8
    Please use link for proper affect.

  89. Essex says:

    Oh Yeah………….Don’t mistake my appreciation for a good speech with any expectation that the government will be able to achieve anything of substance. They cannot and will not.

    Just look at the simple task of maintaining roads…..our shared and possibly most valuable asset ..they are a disgrace.

    I have zero faith in the government. I hated the Bush years as they spent countless billions on a misdirected war one huge crime against humanity and out collective pocketbook.

    No sir….I do not…I repeat…do not believe that we will come out of this without pain and suffering…which in some cases is simply the market and the results of people buying more than they can afford.

    This country has very little in the way of safety nets. Our infrastructure is third world. Our corporations are our only safe havens and if you are fortunate enough to be able to play that game you survive.

    Our government is a complete and total failure on both sides of the aisle.

  90. Clotpoll says:

    freedy (87)-

    Football.

  91. Cindy says:

    (82) Clot –

    “Don’t you know all outcomes can be managed in this best of all possible worlds.”

    When he threw in the “seek a cure for cancer in our lifetime…” I knew I was listening to a speech I’d heard before.

  92. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    GM Posts $9.6 Billion 4th-Quarter Loss as Wagoner Seeks New Aid

    General Motors Corp., surviving on $13.4 billion in U.S. aid, reported a $9.6 billion fourth- quarter loss as Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner prepared to ask the Treasury for more cash to get through the year.

    The deficit was $15.71 a share, wider than the year-earlier net loss of $1.5 billion, or $2.70, the biggest U.S. automaker said today in a statement. GM posted an annual loss of $30.9 billion, the second largest in its 100-year history.

    “The size of the loss matters not only because it impacts what it will cost to restructure the company, but also the kind of bill for which the taxpayer is on the hook,” said John Casesa, a managing partner at consultant Casesa Shapiro Group in New York. “Conditions in this quarter could not have been worse.”

  93. kettle1 says:

    Clot, 88

    I thought that was the entire intention of the Antigua operation.

    if we set it up right and cut the right people in we can probably get some tarp funding as well!

  94. Secondary Market says:

    i wish that philly.com article went into subsets or neighborhoods further. vacant lots and properties i have been eying waiting for price drops are still actually selling. it baffles my mind because the fundamentals are still not here to support the sales prices.
    i’ve been saying this for about a year but my summation is center city philly is about 6 months behind most national and regional trends. at least lets hope so. between layoffs, modest incomes and the city’s r.e. transfer tax deficit –
    i can’t imagine them able to continue to sweep reality under the rug.

  95. skep-tic says:

    Is Mr. O trying to drive down tri state housing prices? (from the WSJ)

    *****************

    “The tax increases would raise an estimated $318 billion over 10 years by reducing the value of such longstanding deductions as mortgage interest and charitable contributions for people in the highest tax brackets. Households paying income taxes at the 33% and 35% rates can currently claim deductions at those rates. Under the Obama proposal, they could deduct only 28% of the value of those payments.

    The changes would be phased in gradually over the next few years. For the 2009 tax year, the 33% tax bracket starts with couples with taxable earnings of $208,850, when adjusted for personal exemptions and various deductible expenses. A taxpayer in the top bracket paying $1,000 of mortgage interest, for example, would see a tax break worth $350 reduced to $280.

    During his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama promised not to raise taxes on families earning under $250,000 a year, and the administration said that this plan would roughly line up with that limit.”

  96. skep-tic says:

    hey, I heard him say just the other night that your taxes wouldn’t got up unless you make $250k.

  97. kettle1 says:

    a good description of the state of the union address from another blog

    If he (Obama) tries to lie to the people about the real state of affairs of the nation, the people may believe him, but investors will not. If he would speak the truth to the power of the markets, he might restore confidence there, but the people would bring down his approval ratings to levels not seen for a president in, let’s see now … 6 weeks

  98. Stu says:

    “A taxpayer in the top bracket paying $1,000 of mortgage interest, for example, would see a tax break worth $350 reduced to $280”

    Lowell, pack the Benz, we’re out of this country!

  99. skep-tic says:

    One point on credit. it is not just about leverage. it is also necessary to smooth out cash flow. different businesses get paid at different times. without credit, a huge amount of commerce would seize up because everyone would be waiting for everyone else to get paid before doing the next transaction.

  100. Clotpoll says:

    skep (97)-

    O’s now making a serious bid to be a one-term president.

  101. skep-tic says:

    “Lowell, pack the Benz, we’re out of this country!”

    yes, no one feels sorry for these people, but you have to admit that this change in the tax code will figure into higher end house prices

  102. skep-tic says:

    #67

    ” know it’s early but it took me a few minutes to realize that the gigantic asterisk is the january start”

    agreed, that is crazy. transactions at 1/3 of peak

  103. kettle1 says:

    Skep 100

    it is also necessary to smooth out cash flow.

    agreed, but it morphed into primarily a leverage mechanism as opposed to the original intent as cash flow buffer.

    Also consider that many companies wouldn’t have needed anywhere near the level of credit they were using if they had held onto their cash. Wallstreet was punishing companies for hold cash and helped to encourage the increase in corporate leverage.

  104. safeashouses says:

    #96 skep

    O’s not raising taxes, he’s cutting deductions. Same results, it’s all semantics.

  105. skep-tic says:

    “many companies wouldn’t have needed anywhere near the level of credit they were using if they had held onto their cash. Wallstreet was punishing companies for hold cash and helped to encourage the increase in corporate leverage.”

    totally agree. I just wanted to make the point that access to credit isn’t always about fueling growth through debt. And while it seems that most businesses want to strengthen their reserves, they do not have them yet and thus to lose credit at this point is a disaster

  106. ruggles says:

    great charts but no Hunterdon? I feel left out.

  107. skep-tic says:

    that is why it is “the lifeblood” of the economy right now

  108. kettle1 says:

    Hurray for another bank bailout program.. Say hello to CAP!

    The purpose of the CAP is to restore confidence throughout the financial system that the nation’s largest banking institutions have a sufficient capital cushion against larger than expected future losses, should they occur due to a more severe economic environment, and to support lending to creditworthy borrowers.

    Terms

    * Capital provided under the CAP will be in the form of a preferred security that is convertible into common equity at a 10 percent discount to the price prevailing prior to February 9th.
    * CAP securities will carry a 9 percent dividend yield and would be convertible at the issuer’s option (subject to the approval of their regulator).
    * After 7 years, the security would automatically convert into common equity if not redeemed or converted before that date.
    * The instrument is designed to give banks the incentive to replace USG-provided capital with private capital or to redeem the USG capital when conditions permit.
    * With supervisory approval, banks will be able to request capital under the CAP in addition to their existing CPP preferred stock.
    * With supervisory approval, banks will also be allowed to apply to exchange the existing CPP preferred stock for the new CAP instrument.

    http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/tg40.htm

  109. Clotpoll says:

    ruggles (107)-

    Hunterdon sales in January may not have broken 10.

    I think statisticians call that “noise”.

  110. Clotpoll says:

    677K jobless. Continuing claims over 5mm.

    Numbers probably still baked. When I hear them, I mentally double them.

  111. ricky_nu says:

    skep #106

    The same holds true for the psyche of the homeowner, who has a $150k mortgage, and had the cash to pay it off.

    All too often I heard recommendations to not pay off your mortgage, invest in something that had a higher expected return than your mortgage rate. I presume that many did this, and instead of going into something truly risk free (which yielded more than their mortgage rate), invested in higher risk/lower credit. They are now paying the price.

    Leverage is great when it works.

  112. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    U.S. weekly initial jobless claims rise 36,000 to 667,000

    U.S. 4-week average claims up 19,000 to 639,000

    U.S. continuing jobless claims rise 114,000 to 5.11 million

    U.S. 4-week avg continuing claims up 89,250 to 4.93 million

  113. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    U.S. Dec. durable-goods orders revised to -4.6% vs. -3.0%

    U.S. Jan. durable-goods inventories fall 0.8%

    U.S. durable goods orders down 6 months in a row

    U.S. Jan. durable-good shipments fall 3.7%

    U.S. Jan. core capital equipment orders fall 5.4%

    U.S. Jan. durable-goods orders ex-transportation fall 2.5%

    U.S. Jan. durable-goods orders fall 5.2% vs.-3.0% expected

  114. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Moody’s Places Subprime-Mortgage Debt on Review for Downgrades

    Moody’s Investors Service said it’s reviewing all 2005, 2006 and 2007 subprime-mortgage bonds for downgrades, covering debt with $680 billion in original balances.

    The review reflects an increase in Moody’s expected losses on the underlying loan pools, the New York-based company said in a statement today. Losses for such mortgages backing 2006 securities will probably reach 28 percent to 32 percent, up from a previous projection of 22 percent, Moody’s said.

  115. kettle1 says:

    Skep,

    i think it best we just agree to disagree on the relative matter. we clearly have different opinions on the matter

  116. yikes says:

    michael jordan and his new model girlfriend

    http://tinyurl.com/dl54gy

    paid 281k for a 5500 sq ft house in miami. just heard on radio.

    will look for link.

  117. PGC says:

    #67

    At least this year grim gave us an Asterisk. Last year all we got was a small dot. It took me ages to finally find it. It was like looking at one of those Magic Eye pictures. I know there is something here and after a few seconds it suddenly pops out and the graph morphs into a picture of the last moments of the Titanic.

  118. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (117)-

    He’s an enabler. No different than scoring smack for a junkie.

  119. Cindy says:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123552068199964531.html

    Obama needs a “Not To Do” list”
    opinion piece – WSJ

    “Like a subprime borrower who hasn’t gotten the news yet, now is not the time to go deeper into debt to build a third Jacuzzi. Our politicians need to address an accumulation of past excesses before sponsoring new ones.

    “…his presidency will get really interesting in a year or two, or six months – whenever he finally realizes that everything he thought he wanted to do is irrelevant…”

    Skeptic (106)

    No doubt credit needs to be available to the credit-worthy. But don’t you get the feeling that everyone is being encouraged to buy again? Let’s get those loans out there because everyone needs a car, student loan etc.

    Instead of standing still for two minutes to assess the damage and cure what really ails us, there are all of these new programs, tax hikes etc.

  120. Stu says:

    Economic numbers look atrocious. Futures rally.

    GM loses 10 billion, asks you for 2 billion more to get them through next month.
    You are gonna own Citi this week.
    2 trillion predicted budget deficit.
    Sears earnings falls 55 percent.
    RBS posts record loss.
    European and US consumer confidence at record low.
    UBS hires CEO from CSFB
    Grim’s grim charts (awesome BTW)
    Durable goods way below consensus.

    Time to close the shorts!

  121. Clotpoll says:

    stu (123)-

    Time to go shorter, on margin. :)

  122. Stu says:

    Futures calming down. Phew, I almost felt the need to skip lunch today ;)

    Not really. Gator made me a stir fry for my lunch today that made the whole house smell like Big Wong’s last night.

  123. Eastern Europe under stress, promises potential for big fun. It could also be a bit of scare mongering on the part of the media, hard to tell from the U.S.

  124. kettle1 says:

    clot,

    if i was single and had no one else dependent on me i would leverage to the hilt and go all in short, and on margin. Come out wealthy living in my own little Caribbean compound or living under a bridge

  125. grim says:

    NJ makes the list this week with 2,093 layoffs.

    http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ui/current.htm

    STATES WITH AN INCREASE OF MORE THAN 1,000

    State Change State Supplied Comment

    NJ +2,093 Layoffs in the trade, service, transportation, warehousing, and manufacturing industries.

  126. kettle1 says:

    Tosh,

    Eastern Europe under stress,

    NOOOOOOOO, I never would have guessed. I heard they were well capitalized!

  127. Rich In NNJ says:

    What recession?

    If you thought January was bad, take a look at how February is shaping up. Even though there are only two days left in the month, these are extremely preliminary numbers.

    NJMLS Data for February
    Year Med$ #Sold #U/C

    1995 $187,000 413 681
    1996 $190,000 381 782
    1997 $187,000 454 799
    1998 $200,000 456 889
    1999 $220,000 576 802
    2000 $235,000 509 741
    2001 $259,500 449 718
    2002 $300,000 584 849
    2003 $345,500 489 698
    2004 $379,000 531 776
    2005 $424,000 553 783
    2006 $477,250 498 715
    2007 $454,250 513 762
    2008 $458,000 331 553
    2009 $400,000 182 392

  128. SG says:

    Was talking to one seller today. He was pissed that other units were being put asking less than his one. He said, it is the Realtor’s fault. They are suggesting other owners to lower asking prices.

    If only there was realtor union and they made sure no one lists below 2005 prices, the housing would rebound.

  129. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (131)-

    If the Hungarians can get that agitated in cold weather, just think what warm weather will bring.

  130. grim says:

    If only there was realtor union and they made sure no one lists below 2005 prices, the housing would rebound.

    In case you didn’t realize, organized price collusion (price fixing) is illegal.

  131. 3b says:

    #96 skeptic: More ammo when making a bid.

  132. Clotpoll says:

    grim (135)-

    Unless you don’t get caught. Then, it’s OK.

    “In case you didn’t realize, organized price collusion is illegal.”

  133. Sears earnings falls 55 percent.

    Does anyone have a clear idea of how this company is still afloat? It has been slowly going out of business for the entire course of my adult life. Every few years flirting with bankruptcy but never actually going all the way.
    Its core retail, at this point, has to have been severely hammered by encroachment from Target and Walmart.
    I know the arguement about its real estate holdings being valuable, blah blah blah.
    Am I missing something here?

  134. Clotpoll says:

    tosh (138)-

    Eddie Lampert = Wizard of Oz

  135. grim says:

    Unless you don’t get caught. Then, it’s OK.

    If you’ve got money and lawyers, it doesn’t matter if you get caught.

  136. 3b says:

    #101 clot: I would think that the overwhelming majortiy of Americans would not have a problem with his mtg deduction revisions.

  137. #130 – Thanks ket, I didn’t even notice that.

  138. Stu says:

    Maybe Sears is a ponzi scheme?

  139. grim says:

    I know the arguement about its real estate holdings being valuable, blah blah blah.

    I hear those mall leases are like gold.

  140. 3b says:

    #111 clot: And yet the government expects the unemployment rate to peak at just under 9% by year end!!!

    I think we could easily see 10% by year end, we are only just about in March at this point.

  141. Frank says:

    What recession?
    You mean homes are still selling for more than 2005 prices in Bergen County??? That’s great news.
    Just wait for the 0bama tax plan.

  142. Cindy says:

    http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/

    Someone here suggested this site a week or two ago – Whoa….

    “Doomed by the Myth of Free Trade
    How the Economy Was Lost.”

    Jesse’s Cafe American – by Paul Craig Roberts

    “The demise of America’s productive economy left the US economy dependent on finance, in which the US remained dominant.”

    Well and look where that got us…

  143. 3b says:

    #138 toshiro: I know the arguement about its real estate holdings being valuable, blah blah blah.

    I never understood that arguement.

  144. Frank says:

    I love 0bama, he’s my favorite.

    But he should propose 100% tax rate for everyone making more than $15,000.

    “Under the 0bama proposal, they could deduct only 28% of the value of those payments.”

  145. skep-tic says:

    #121

    “He’s an enabler. No different than scoring smack for a junkie.”

    I think you guys blow our disagreements out of proportion. I actually agree with most of what you post on the substance, I am mainly concerned with the TRANSITION from an economy that is largely dependent on debt for liquidity to one that uses savings for that purpose instead. However much we might posit that the latter is better, we are not in that position yet, and to completely pull the plug on credit before enough reserves are built up would be an unnecessary disaster. Yes, there will be (and is) pain, but there is no need to do the amputation without anesthesia

  146. I hear those mall leases are like gold.

    Thank you. This is pretty much what I thought. With only one or two exceptions every Sears I’ve seen has been a mall anchor store. Maybe it’s not in the mid-west and the south.
    Kmart is different, that might be where the commercial RE value is, IDK.

  147. 3b says:

    $146 Frank:Just wait for the 0bama tax plan.

    And??? Seems to me at least one portion of his tax plan is negative as it relates to mtg interest deduction for higher income earners.

  148. kettle1 says:

    grim

    If you’ve got money and lawyers, it doesn’t matter if you get caught.

    you forgot an item in that list…..

    ______, Money, Lawyers

  149. Eddie Lampert = Wizard of Oz

    Is that it? Per his wikipedia entry he was a member of Skull and Bones….

    /fashioning a tin-foil bowler

  150. shawn212 says:

    thanks for the info bklynhwk.

  151. scribe says:

    OT

    I saw something on another blog about a plan in Congress to tax the miles you drive, and it seemed “out there” but here’s a story from the WSJ on new proposals to tax motorists:

    Commission Urges Taxing Drivers More

    By CHRISTOPHER CONKEY

    WASHINGTON — The government should make it a lot more expensive for Americans to drive and should install devices in cars that levy a fee for every mile traveled, according to a report being released Thursday by a congressionally chartered commission.

    The report lands in the middle of debate over how to pay for roads and other transportation projects and recommends an array of potentially controversial increases in the cost of driving.

    Among the proposals: raising the 18.4 cents-a-gallon federal gasoline tax by 10 cents, or 54%, and then indexing future increases to inflation. The study estimates that would cost American households about $9 more a month. The plan also calls for adding 15 cents a gallon to the 24.4 cents-a-gallon tax on diesel fuel.

    Longer term, the study calls for shifting away by 2020 from a fuel-tax system to a technology-enabled system that levies taxes based on how many miles people drive.

    The Obama administration has expressed opposition to increasing gasoline taxes and to the idea of taxing motorists per mile driven.

    The recently passed stimulus bill devotes more than $45 billion to transportation projects, but officials say significant cuts in other transportation funding are in store. Last year, Congress temporarily patched an $8 billion shortfall caused by a slump in fuel-tax revenue after Americans cut back on driving as the economy slowed and fuel prices surged.

    The Obama administration has said the current gas-tax structure is becoming obsolete but it hasn’t put forward any fix, saying it will consult with Congress this year before taking action.

    [snip]

    The bipartisan National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission began studying the transportation-funding problem two years ago at the behest of Congressional leaders. Congress often uses such commissions to generate ideas for solving politically touchy problems.

    The commission’s report says if current policies aren’t changed, the gas tax and other federal revenue streams will generate about $32 billion annually in the years ahead, far below the $100 billion required to address the nation’s transportation needs.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123562023540279271.html

  152. comrade nom deplume says:

    I wondered about the slow pace of bank closings. While the article is certainly true, I would also posit that one reason for kicking the can down the road is a risk of complete systemic collapse. I think that there is MUCH more counterparty risk than there was in the S&L crisis, so the feds are letting the chips fall slowly so it doesn’t crash the system.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/29372982

    Why More US Banks Aren’t Being Allowed to Fail

    With all the doom and gloom surrounding the banking industry from the toxic assets to the nasty recession, you’d think banks would be failing at a furious pace.

    Think again. Since the recession began in January 2008, the FDIC has closed just 39 banks—25 in 2008 and 14 thus far in 2009.

    By contrast, more than 1000 institutions were closed during 1988 and 1989 when the savings and loan crisis was at its peak. Another 850-plus failed in the ensuing three years when the S&L crisis intersected with the fairly mild recession of 1990-1991.

    In 1933, the government closed all 17,000 of the nation’s banks for a long, bank holiday weekend and some 5,000 never reopened.

    If all this doesn’t hold up to logic, then try politics.

    “It’s worse than the statistics indicate,” says veteran bank analyst Bert Ely. “One of the problems is how slowly regulators move in dealing with this problem.”

    Sure, there are more banks now than in the 1930s and 20 years ago — roughly 8,400 today — but analysts say that still doesn’t explain the huge difference.

    “The regulators are behind the curve,” adds Gerald O’Driscoll, a former Federal Reserve official and Citigroup VP, now with the Cato Institute. “The regulators are kind of where they were in the late 1980s. Regulators procrastinated, then acted. Regulators become tough when the politicians decide to bite the bullet.”

    Banking experts say there are striking similarities between the current period and that of the late 1980s and early 1990s when the federal government went from insufficient stopgap solutions to the savings and loan crisis to a radical overhaul.

    “It took a new administration to say we’re not responsible, to say we have a bunch of insolvent savings and loans,” says Lawrence White, a saving and loan regulator and former White House economist. “It made it easy for the regulators.”

    White points out that it also took a new law, called Firrea, which created sweeping regulatory reform as well as a government entity — a bad bank, the Resolution Trust Corporation — to assume control of the institution’s assets and then sell them back into the private sector.

    “In those days we weren’t as lenient,” says George Kaufman, a professor of banking and banking regulation at Loyola University, who consults for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, “I think banks have been well under-capitalized.”

    There are some other things I think are in play but not discussed. First, banks have been a lot tougher at regulatory arbitrage, and in the case of OTS, have held a gun to its head (give us what we want or we’ll convert to state charters or a national bank) to get preferential treatment.

    Also, the article also mentions FIRREA, but fails to mention the potential (and ongoing) bath that the feds took when Congress changed the rules on the banks and regulators in midstream. The Winstar cases will cost the Treasury billions, and that is still being litigated. It is possible (probable?) that the feds don’t want to pick up another check for closing down half the nation’s banks.

  153. skep-tic says:

    Let’s say there are 3 businesses in a chain.

    X is a parts supplier, Y is a manufacturer, and Z and a company whose business depends on the sort of parts that Y makes.

    Y is having a tough time right now. Maybe because of poor planning, or maybe just because the economy sucks.

    X decides that it cannot continue to ship parts to Y unless X delivers a letter of credit from a bank (in which the bank promises to pay X if Y does not).

    This is a tough call for X, because Y is one of its largest customers. However, if X were to make a large shipment to Y and not get paid, they would go under.

    Similarly, if Z cannot get the parts from Y, it might take many months for another manufacturer to ramp up to meet Z’s needs. During that time period, Z might be hurt so bad that they would go under.

    One might argue that Z should guarantee Y’s purchase of parts from X. But Z has its own credit facility (as most businesses do), the terms of which prevent it from giving large guarantees (as most credit agreements do).

    So now we are faced with a decision where if a bank is not willing to step into the picture to guarantee payment, 3 separate businesses might go down, leaving tens of thousands of people without jobs and wiping out huge amounts of going concern value.

    this is how credit functions in real life.

  154. kettle1 says:

    UHoh

    USAA Online banking is down and the 800 # is flooded and kicks you off, telling you to go online, when you call them……..

    anyone looked at their capitaization lately?

  155. comrade nom deplume says:

    [157] redux,

    FWIW, Bert Ely is pretty well known in bank circles, and is a bit of a gadfly. Also, he has a penchant for getting his name in the papers.

    That said, if he says the problem is worse than appears, then that is a cause for concern if you are in banking.

  156. Secondary Market says:

    kettle,
    my usaa site is working fine. as far as i know they are one of the “safest” banks in the country. but who knows what safe means anymore.

  157. comrade nom deplume says:

    [159] kettle

    I wouldn’t worry. Bi said there wouldn’t be any more writedowns.

    [snarkasm off]

  158. scribe says:

    I’m waiting for all of you young kids to launch a rebellion against the intrusions by government and violations of personal privacy.

    Putting a device into your car to record the miles you drive (???!!!)

    If they can do that, they can also monitor where you go, and when.

  159. kettle1 says:

    skeptic 158,

    I cant speak for anyone else, but i am very clear on where we disagree.

    I say let X Y and Z all fall its thats the case.

    what you are leaving out of your example are the assumptions. If all 3 are healthy businesses and just need the buffer, then they will be able to get loans from someone.

    if their product is over produced or the demand has crashed then they did not plan well enough and should be allowed to fail.

  160. comrade nom deplume says:

    I love big government—it always gives us a laugh.

    “WASHINGTON (CNN) — A federal anti-terror law that requires longshoremen, truckers and others to submit to criminal background checks has ensnared another class of transportation worker — mule drivers.

    Mule skinners must abide by federal law and apply for Transportation Worker Identification Credentials, TSA says.

    Yes, so-called mule skinners — in this case, seasonal workers who dress in colonial garb at a historical park in Easton, Pa. — must apply for biometric Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWIC), according to the Transportation Security Administration, which says it is bound by federal law.

    The requirement has officials of the Hugh Moore Historical Park perplexed.

    “We have one boat. It’s pulled by two mules. On a good day they might go 2 miles per hour,” said Sarah B. Hays, the park’s director of operations.

    The park’s two-mile canal does not pass any military bases, nuclear power plants or other sensitive facilities. And, park officials say, the mules could be considered weapons of mass destruction only if they were aimed at something resembling food”

  161. skep-tic says:

    #164

    “what you are leaving out of your example are the assumptions. If all 3 are healthy businesses and just need the buffer, then they will be able to get loans from someone.”

    kettle– if all of the banks that issue this type of credit are f’d, where will these businesses go?

  162. kettle1 says:

    scribe,

    there will 100 ways to circumvent that system. No electronic system is 100 % secure and it would be very quickly hacked no matter what.

    The lowest tech method is to paint a piece of aluminum foil the same color as your can and tape/glue the foil over the GPS antenna. No GPS signal, no tracking….. remove the foil when you want to “officially” travel.

    just 1 of 1000 ways to win the game

  163. Dink says:

    Scribe # 163,

    Can’t that already be done with cell phones?

  164. kettle1 says:

    Skep, 166

    with all do respect i prefer not to rehash our previous debates. i dont think either of us have any new points to add.

    i respectfully agree to disagree.

  165. C Dawg says:

    Just anecdotal evidence here, but one of the houses we were looking at back in December in Mt. Olive that was listed at $429 asking is now down to $389. Honestly, I think it’s worth about $340-50 now, but I’m sure it will be down to around $300 by the end of the slump. If most other potential buyers are like me, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to buy right now in NNJ absent a very compelling reason (we have twins on the way and we’re still waiting this out–time to move furniture to make more space).

  166. skep-tic says:

    my point is that there is cascading collateral damage when credit gets pulled. it is like an ecosystem where if one part fails, the entire thing could collapse (even the entities that otherwise seem strong)

  167. skep-tic says:

    “with all do respect i prefer not to rehash our previous debates. i dont think either of us have any new points to add.

    i respectfully agree to disagree.”

    fair enough. no disrespect.

  168. DoughBoy says:

    Ok, its been forever and I’m sick of being ignorant. Can someone explain those graphs and the various labels and what they actually mean and represent?

    For example. Absorption rates… what does that mean? What is it representing? How do you calculate it?

  169. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Nom 165 Our gov at work. No common sense at all.

  170. kettle1 says:

    The Kettle1 Nompound Security advisory of the Day: (for Dink)

    yes cell phones can be tracked and are by a database that the cellphone companies keep for other purposes but can also be used for tracking. as long as your phone is powered off you are not being tracked. For the more paranoid, remove the battery from the phone.

    For the super paranoid (or secret agents), buy a disposable phone. power on only when you want to use it and never near your normal haunts. drop it down the gutter when done.

  171. Sal says:

    I just don’t want to be a s*cker at this point since we waited more than 5 years to buy a house. However, we are renting a 3bd, 2bth house for $2,250/m. Coming renewal on June, I am sure my greedy land load will bring the price up. Knowing that there is not much of rent houses out there that is any better deal than this one, we are in decision point for purchasing. We are going to see a house in Morris county this weekend. The asking price is $350k. “IF” we like it, then we might offer %30 off asking price since NYC metro area MIGHT fall around 30%. Of course, it will be a low ball and seller might not even respond. Anyhow, people here say if we buy now, loose money, what do you think about our situation? Any comments or advices? I want to justify renting(moving, Realtor fee) or purchasing.

  172. Shore Guy says:

    As they said in Monty Python’s Flying Circus: And nof for something completely different. Or as the Wicked Withc of the West said, while melting into the ground: Oh what a world, what a world.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,500688,00.html

  173. Mikeinwaiting says:
  174. Shore Guy says:

    “i’ve noticed a lot less doom and gloom on the site in the last two days.

    are you guys gloomed out?”

    Perhaps it is this: There is no need to point out the disaster to befall us when the evidence is now all around us and everyone now sees clearly the problems — if not yet the solutions.

  175. grim says:

    For example. Absorption rates… what does that mean? What is it representing? How do you calculate it?

    Given the current pace of sales, the absorption rate is the number of months it will take to sell the current inventory.

    Current Inventory / Current Month Sales = Absorption Rate

    If there are 1000 homes for sale, and we sold 100 homes this month, it will take us 10 months for all homes to be sold.

    This concept is similar to inventory turnover if you have a business background.

    This measure helps us understand the impact of rising or falling inventory levels on the market. Falling inventory might make for a tighter market, but if sales are falling at a faster rate, the drop in inventory really isn’t making an impact.

    The line is “wavy” because this isn’t a seasonally adjusted number. There is a “normal” seasonal pattern in the absorption rates, it typically falls (down on the graph) in the spring months, and rises in the fall months (up on the graph). This is also the reason why there tends to be upward pressure on prices during the spring months, and downward pressure on prices during the fall months.

    The lighter line, the 3 month moving average, is an attempt to smooth out some of the month to month “noise” in the numbers.

  176. ruggles says:

    177 – I am sure my greedy land load will bring the price up. Knowing that there is not much of rent houses out there that is any better deal than this one, we are in decision point for purchasing.

    If you can’t find a better rental deal than you have now, why call your landlord greedy? sounds like he/she’s reasonable on price.

  177. All Hype says:

    Lots of free gubbmint money to the banks. Obama will bail out everyone. Time to sky the market boys!

  178. scribe says:

    kettle,

    I don’t drive a car since I live in NYC.

    But, yes, it seemed to me that it wouldn’t be the least bit difficult to subvert the tech.

    It’s more the concept that’s outrageous – the intrusion of “big brother.”

  179. Maryjane says:

    One well endowed prosecutor …Prosecutor’s dick causes wreck…http://www.trentonian.com/articles/2009/02/26/news/doc49a61889b4df3058753349.txt

  180. Sal says:

    Last year renewal, they wanted to make our rent from $2,100 to $2,500. We negotiated down to $2,250. I am pretty sure they will try $2,500 or even higher. In my opinion, it is greedy… It is not that I cannot find any house around the price range, just to think about hassle for moving and extra money to put for an agent ended up costing the same as price hike….

  181. scribe says:

    dink,

    My upstairs neighbor bought a used cell phone from a seller on eBay, and found it couldn’t be activated since it didn’t have a GPS.

    So my assumption is that a GPS is a requirement now.

    My cell is old and doesn’t have a GPS.

    Sprint keeps sending me notices to upgrade, but it seems to be working fine when I need it. Don’t use it very much.

  182. RentinginNJ says:

    Perhaps it is this: There is no need to point out the disaster to befall us when the evidence is now all around us and everyone now sees clearly the problems

    This is probably the most positive thing that I see right now.

    Up until this point, most people have been far too positive about the economy (a short, shallow recession, recovery around the corner, etc.) and until people accept the seriousness of the situation, there can be no bottom & no building toward a recovery.

    Hopefully we are transitioning from Bargaining to Depression.

  183. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    U.S. new-home sales down 48.2% compared with year ago

    U.S. Jan. median-sales price down record 9.9% vs. December

    U.S. Jan. new-home inventory record high 13.3 month supply

    U.S. new-home sales at record low rate in January

    U.S. Jan. new-home sales weaker than 320,000 expected

    U.S. Jan. new-homes sales drop 10.2% to 309,000 rate

  184. Imus says:

    Waited to buy for FIVE years? Oh, the humanity … best of luck.

  185. SG says:

    Housing Bubble’s chart was similar analysis that I did back in 2005. This analysis convinced me that housing prices were completely out of whack from reality. I had that feeling since 2004, but did analysis in 2005. I remember when I posted this analysis on this blog, there were some much opposition.

    NJ Home Price Index values comparison to Core Price Index and Personal Income

  186. kettle1 says:

    scribe, dink,

    by a prepaid “disposable” cell with cash, at one of the little kiosks all over the place.

    run you about $100 including the initial airtime

  187. Sal says:

    #190 Is that mean I haven’t waited long enough? or too long so that I should buy now?

  188. DoughBoy says:

    Thanks Grim!

  189. scribe says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Wall Street Banks Vacate Towers Pushing Empty Space to Record

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aHg7t_5c_xss&refer=home

  190. SG says:

    #190 Is that mean I haven’t waited long enough? or too long so that I should buy now?

    The way I see it, when you are run long distance, the most difficult time is probably last few minutes. I think we are in that mode for RE bust.

  191. kettle1 says:

    1. Teaching Math In 1950s
    A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit ?

    2. Teaching Math In 1960s
    A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

    3. Teaching Math In 1970s
    A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?

    4. Teaching Math In 1980s
    A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20 ..

    5. Teaching Math In 1990s
    A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers, and if you feel like crying, it’s okay.)

    6. Teaching Math In 2000s
    If you have special needs or just feel you need assistance because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, childhood memories, criminal background, then don’t answer and the correct answer will be provided for you. There are no wrong answers.

    7. Teaching Math In 2008
    A logger sells a truckload of lumber. He writes his profit on a piece of paper and turns it into his TARP advisor. The profit swells bank reserves by several billion dollars. The bank in turn uses this to estimate the loggers future production and adds six zeroes to its 3rd tier asset values. The wood is burned because no one wants to build with it. The fumes become a carbon credit swelling bank reserves further making it profitable for the year.

  192. Shore Guy says:

    About the fuel tax:

    Of course they are interested in an alternative to taxing fuel. The push is on for a move to plug-in hybrids. These use less fuel, but still put wear and tear on the road. The GPS systems will fail in the face of civil liberties concerns; however, requiring people to pull into an odometer reading station, or to upload odometer readings monthly, or some such program, will fly.

  193. 3b says:

    #190 Imus:best of luck.

    He does not need any luck he will make out well. Patience and discipline are always rewarded.

    As for the people who bought in the last 5 years(are you one of them??) well they may be OK in another 10 to 15 years.

    Once you ahve over paid, you will have always over paid.It’s that simple.

  194. Shore Guy says:

    “In case you didn’t realize, organized price collusion (price fixing) is illegal”

    But, Realtors are skilled professionals who have great skill at recognizing market values. If they just happen to recognize the same, or essentially the same, value of given pieces of RE, are they colluding or excersizing the professional expertise and judgment for which they are compensated?

  195. Secondary Market says:

    kettle, that’s hysterical!

  196. kettle1 says:

    Clot,

    When do we start the Aruba operation?

    Ukraine, Russia face March gas crisis: report

    MOSCOW (AFP) — Russian energy giant Gazprom has warned it will again cut off gas to Ukraine on March 8 if the country does not pay back 400 million dollars of new debts, a newspaper report said Thursday.

    The Kommersant daily said the head of Gazprom’s finance department, Andrei Kruglov, had warned a board of directors meeting the day earlier of his concerns about Ukraine’s ability to pay February’s bills.

    “If 400 million dollars is not paid on March 7, then on March 8 once again we will have to cut off gas to Ukraine,” an unnamed participant in the meeting quoted him as saying, the paper said.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jycSAdQCzzsQRpf25sF_yeA1Xlig

  197. Shore Guy says:

    “For the super paranoid (or secret agents), buy a disposable phone. power on only when you want to use it and never near your normal haunts. drop it down the gutter when done.”

    For certain aspects of my work I have done a variation of this: purchase two or more such phones with cash; send phones to the people I need to be in contact with; use once; discard after using.

    And, no, do not ask.

  198. Imus says:

    #193: There is no right answer to that. Depends on your situation. Only you know when you can pull the trigger (not folks on a blog).

    Just meant that a house purchase used to be a fairly simple event – was never meant to be an agononizing, multi-year process which consumes one’s life. I was empathising with your situation. Hope you get what you want. Cheers.

  199. ruggles says:

    186-I understand how you feel but I still wouldn’t call it greedy, its a business and if you can legally get away with something that hurts someone else, that’s they way it goes. renting has a downside too. you either need to negotiate and threaten to leave or take him to court if his increase is onerous or leave.

    30% off is great–you may not get the house but it puts the thought out there and maybe in 3-6 months the seller gets it–shop yourself out there to as many sellers as you need to. Ideally with 20% down you shouldn’t pay more per month than it would cost to rent it out, more or less. Anyway, at 350k, I’m guessing you’re not looking in a “top town” in Morris. I’d suggest that if anyone is looking to buy now, they should be targeting either houses that need work (especially kitchens and baths) and/or people in distress in ‘better towns’. you might have to keep your rental for another year but there’s a good chance some fancier towns than where you’re looking might get down there, or at least a few houses in those towns might come into reach. good luck

  200. kettle1 says:

    198 shore

    if you want to charge a tax proportional to the damage done to the road by the vehicle, then cars would be taxed almost nothing and big rigs would be taxed out the wazu. The amount of damage done to pavement is proportional to the amount of deflection that is induced by the mass of the vehicle.

    Big rigs exert more deflection by orders of magnitude. A big rig can do 10,000 times the relative damage to the road that a car can. The relationship between mass and road deflextion is exponential

    The gas tax is a way to “spread the pain”

    here is some meat data if you really want to dig.

    http://www.lib.unb.ca/Texts/JFE/bin/get6.cgi?directory=July99/&filename=martin.html
    (includes links back to DOT studies)

  201. Shore Guy says:

    Ket,

    But charging the big rigs according to their damage would put them out of business as rail service then becomes less expensive. And, we have a desire in this nation to keep all those trucks on the road.

  202. Sal says:

    The decision will be mine to buy or rent, but just reading like #14 and #17, they are very sure it is not the time to buy. Figuring the further price drop (let’s say %30 from now), is that still consider a bad time to low ball? Do they think it will fall more than that to justify the cost of rent? Will this house $350k right now will fall to $100sk?

  203. And, no, do not ask.

    Hmmm. You’re not working for Barksdale are you?

    I’m in the middle of re-watchind season 4, what a great show that was.

  204. Pat says:

    “Just meant that a house purchase used to be a fairly simple event – was never meant to be an agononizing, multi-year process which consumes one’s life. I was empathising with your situation. Hope you get what you want. Cheers.”

    Imus, for potential homebuyers alive today, the process will NEVER, EVER be the same again.

    Buying a house was a simple event because the buyer was a completely shut out and ignorant dope, in most transactions. ‘Here’s a house, here’s what you’re going to pay, and here’s your interest rate. Sign here.”

    There is no longer trust for any service providers, as you can clearly tell in your day-to-day discussions with buyers.

    If you could imagine back to a time before the free flow of information about housing, can you make an opinion on something? How would the last two years of bubble burst be different if there were no internet?

  205. cobbler says:

    Actually one of the reasons why the European freeways are in much better shape than ours is the speed restriction to 85 kmh that is slapped on most if not all big rigs there. Extent of damage to the road as you’ve mentioned is proportional to the mass but also to the square of velocity (speed). So, the increase in the trucking costs which would happen if the top speed of the 18-wheelers were (via hardware)restricted to say 50 mph will be more than offset by the reduced road maintenance needed plus less fuel used plus fewer people killed.

  206. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    New-Home Sales in U.S. Plunge to Record-Low 309,000

    Sales of new homes in the U.S. plunged in January to a record low as soaring unemployment and mounting foreclosures drove buyers away.

    Purchases dropped 10 percent to an annual pace of 309,000, the lowest level since data began in 1963, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The median price decreased 13.5 percent, the most in almost four decades.

    Even as they slash prices, builders are likely to keep losing customers as foreclosures drive down the value of existing homes further, making them comparatively more affordable. The Obama administration is making a priority of keeping more Americans in their homes to stem the collapse in property values at the root of the credit crisis.

    “There is a risk that you continue to see foreclosures and you continue to have new inventory added to the market that prolongs the adjustment process,” Zach Pandl, an economist at Nomura Securities International Inc. in New York, said before the report.

  207. Pat says:

    BTW, in my opinion, this generation of buyers are the pioneers. Trailblazers.

    Future generations will erect statues in front of buildings to commemorate the consumer breakdown of the real estate cartel.

  208. Shore Guy says:

    Tosh. I don’t do anything of any real importance. It just helps facilitate communication at times; that is all.

    As for the Wire, it was second only to Homicide. Being on cable, it was able to use the crutch of in-your-face language the way Homicide could not and that tended to take away fromthe writing a bit. That said, the Wire was head and shoulders above even the Sopranos, which itself was head and shoulders above anything else on at the time.

  209. Sal says:

    #206: Thank you for the real advice. Yes, I shouldn’t call my land load greedy. I should call them desperate.

    Looking into a good town right now has a little concern where the tax is sky high. Like, Chatham, Madison, Mountain lakes, Mendhan even Montville….even for FixUpper.

  210. SG says:

    The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index: Complete Listing by Affordibility Rank

    Here are ranks for NJ areas.

    111: Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ ^^^ 69.4
    117: Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, NJ 68.6
    139: Camden, NJ ^^^ 64.4
    161: Trenton-Ewing, NJ 58.7
    182: Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ 52.8
    197: Edison-New Brunswick, NJ ^^^ 47.5
    209: Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ 43.3
    221: Newark-Union, NJ-PA ^^^ 34.0
    226: Ocean City, NJ 27.9
    231: New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ ^^^ 13.9

  211. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Sal 209 that 350 house will fall to 300 not unreasonable considering the data. Now if you pay 3k a month rent (totally over the top)you are still up14k & even if you receive 2% interest on your dp your up some more. Never buy a depreciating asset especially an illiquid one. Worse case you break even & you are not locked in to a possible loss. It seems pretty simple, no?

  212. #212 – Actually one of the reasons why the European freeways are in much better shape than ours is the speed restriction to 85 kmh that is slapped on most if not all big rigs there.

    That certainly has something to do with it, but I’d imagine that the primary reason has to do with the road’s construction. Euro autobahns (not just the Germany ones) are much better built, and far more expensive than the US Interstate system. I was trying to find an article that discusses the differences between the two designs but I’m sure we’ve all seen that episode of Modern Marvels.

  213. Shore Guy says:

    The PBR is out, for anyone so interested.

  214. Sal says:

    #218: I understand if we buy this house for $300k. That will be a simple math. But we are going to offer(final point) %30 off ($245k). If the house will go down more than that within a year that would be a big loss for us.

  215. Rich In NNJ says:

    Pabst Blue Ribbon?

  216. Shore Guy says:

    President’s Budget Request

  217. Shore Guy says:

    Although, a beer would be a good start too.

  218. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Sal 223 If you get it for 245 that is the new comp for that house that area. All future homes must sell for same or less if trend continues. I don’t believe I can get a better deal than anybody else are you thinking you will low ball to cover yourself & every body else will pay more. I don’t think so.

  219. Shore Guy says:

    “That will be a simple math. But we are going to offer(final point) %30 off ($245k). If the house will go down more than that within a year that would be a big loss for us.”

    Sal,

    THAT is the big risk. And, given the current trend and our awful financial condition, one should not be surprised to see housing prices to continue to fall well below levels most folks currently imagine possible.

  220. With the Sopranos, The Wire and Deadwood gone does HBO have anything in production
    or development to take their place?

    I love Flight of the Conchords and Eastbound and Down has been funny so far, but I’ve become dependent on HBO as the only US source for decent and serious drama.

    Is Big Love any good?

  221. Outofstater says:

    Maryjane – Laughing so hard I’m crying!

  222. HEHEHE says:

    Kettle, fantastic!

  223. Sean says:

    I think they are going to run our of zeros at the Fed at this burn rate.

    Obama’s Budget Proposes Up to $750 Billion More for Bank Aid

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a9ZpGFQikqp4&refer=home

  224. kettle1 says:

    Tosh, COb,

    cant find it at the moment, but i believe that the actual relation was primarily weight. The relation was f(x)^4 per axel if i remember correctly.

    regardless shore guys comment sums up the entire issue
    But charging the big rigs according to their damage would put them out of business as rail service then becomes less expensive. And, we have a desire in this nation to keep all those trucks on the road.

  225. HEHEHE says:

    Sean,

    $750B more but the good thing is they are not going to nationalize…sarcasm off.

  226. JBJB says:

    Interestign analysis on O’s deadbeat bailout plan:

    http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2009/02/24/hardest-hit-markets-unlikely-to-get-relief-from-obama-rescue/

    “In New York and northern New Jersey, nearly 16% of all borrowers could be eligible to refinance. In the pool of ineligible borrowers, 3% of borrowers are too far upside-down in their homes, and nearly 9% of borrowers have jumbo loans.”

    It will do nothing to help anyone, and will only drag out the process of finding a market bottom.

  227. make money says:

    $750B more but the good thing is they are not going to nationalize…sarcasm off.

    This guy is making Bush and Hank seem like a frugal pennie pincher.

  228. Shore Guy says:

    JBJB,

    This is where the cram-down issue comes into play. Poof, like magic, the underwater are at least treading water. Of course, banks will start requiring 40% downpayments and most work-a-day people will be locked out of home ownership in the future, but, hey, we live in a shortsighted culture.

  229. Mikeinwaiting says:

    JBJB 235
    “It will do nothing to help anyone, and will only drag out the process of finding a market bottom.”

    Makes the sheeple think your doing something.

  230. This is a very detailed illustration of New Jersey’s market drop. Perhaps the asking prices will soon follow and encourage buyers on the fence to purchase. Lots of the complaints appear to be that values have fallen too much for what the price tag says.

  231. Stu says:

    “but, hey, we live in a shortsighted culture.”

    So true!

  232. chicagofinance says:

    Clotpoll says:
    February 26, 2009 at 8:28 am
    ruggles (107)- Hunterdon sales in January may not have broken 10. I think statisticians call that “noise”.

    clot: I would guess “not statistically significant”….your opinion about it is “noise”

  233. skep-tic says:

    #190

    “Waited to buy for FIVE years? Oh, the humanity … best of luck.”

    well, I’ve put it off for 3 yrs now and just signed a 2 yr lease, so this does not seem like a big deal to me.

    Buying has just flat out not made sense in a long time. It still doesn’t, but we are getting closer, little by little

  234. JBJB says:

    “the underwater are at least treading water”

    and then is 6-9 months they are underwater again.

  235. cobbler says:

    [233} kettle
    The three principal destructive effects are (1) normal abrasion which is a minor one (2) crushing as a result of the wheel bouncing up and down a little bit (or more than a little bit) – here the weight per sq in of the wheel contact surface (not per axle) is the main player (3) wave-like deformation that happens when the vehicle accelerates or, especially, slows down – there you talk energy = mass * speed squared. Factor (3) in time aggravates the effect of a factor (2). Should note that (3) is important only for asphalt, not concrete – concrete usually starts to break apart because the slabs are getting out of the alignment w/each other. European freeways, btw are almost 100% asphalt.

  236. chicagofinance says:

    Stu says:
    February 26, 2009 at 8:47 am
    Gator made me a stir fry for my lunch today that made the whole house smell like Big Wong’s last night.

    S: I would assume that John’s onions also smell like Big Wong’s unless he chose to give those up for Lent as well.

    What is “lent”? It sounds like some pompous British way to say “loaned”….

  237. HEHEHE says:

    “This guy is making Bush and Hank seem like a frugal pennie pincher.”

    I was naive enough to think that impossible

  238. chicagofinance says:

    Rich In NNJ says:
    February 26, 2009 at 8:55 am
    What recession?

    If you thought January was bad, take a look at how February is shaping up. Even though there are only two days left in the month, these are extremely preliminary numbers.

    Rich: We are trying to line up furniture movers. Nobody has any work. Everybody’s calendar is completely open; everyone is agressively pricing….

  239. Shore Guy says:

    Lent is what one does with a napkin when the person next to them spilt milk. As in: I lent him my napkin to clean the spilt milk.

  240. chicagofinance says:

    grim says:
    February 26, 2009 at 8:57 am
    In case you didn’t realize, organized price collusion (price fixing) is illegal.

    They should make wearing a button-down shirt without an undershirt illegal.

  241. Shore Guy says:

    Of couse, in such cases one woul;d be speaking of a serviette, and not a napkin. But I digress.

  242. Shore Guy says:

    Chifi,

    In Colts neck, maybe you can hire someone with a couple teams of courses and some wagons. Get that Rawhide feel to the move.

  243. jcer says:

    Trucks absolutely destroy roads. I know in Jersey City they spend a lot of county money fixing Coles St. by the holland tunnel. It was one of the worst streets I have ever seen, so bumpy huge potholes, bituminous asphalt on cement on cobblestone, literally could bottom out most cars. So 2-3 years ago they fix it, totally rip out the old road and lay new asphalt totally smooth, perfect road, mind you only this section the other section of the road is still old, but no truck traffic. The new section of road is already bumpy and the signs of wear are evident. I think the weight of the trucks is a problem as the ground there is filled swamp, so it is not just high speeds but also the weight. The big problem with rail is the logistics costs wipe out any benefit of the lower energy costs. As far a I am concerned the federal government should push for freight rail use, trucks are fuel ineficient, cause traffic problems and destroy roads. Ideally trucks are last mile type of thing.

  244. chicagofinance says:

    toshiro_mifune says:
    February 26, 2009 at 8:59 am
    Does anyone have a clear idea of how this company is still afloat? It has been slowly going out of business for the entire course of my adult life. Every few years flirting with bankruptcy but never actually going all the way.
    Its core retail, at this point, has to have been severely hammered by encroachment from Target and Walmart.
    I know the arguement about its real estate holdings being valuable, blah blah blah.
    Am I missing something here?

    tosh: Honestly, I have no idea….but here is an example…..my firm owns the building we work in. Broad Street in Red Bank with a paved parking lot in the back. The building was purchased in 1993. The real estate and business are commingled. It is a pure subsidy to the business on a cost scale with a location competitive advantage. Bottom line, I’m sure that the internal transfer pricing as Sears is a constant point of contention pitting different leaders of business units against each other.

    From what I understand, one of the most historically successful retailer locations is a K-Mart located in the Hamptons…no competition and they make a friggin’ serious mint on overcharging high-moneyed people for crap…..

  245. Stu says:

    “I would assume that John’s onions also smell like Big Wong’s unless he chose to give those up for Lent as well.”

    I would assume that John’s onions smell more like his Little Wang!

  246. Shore Guy says:

    “Little Wang”

    Isn’t that some rap or soul singer who hass gotten into trouble recently?

  247. chicagofinance says:

    DoughBoy says:
    February 26, 2009 at 9:49 am
    For example. Absorption rates… what does that mean? What is it representing? How do you calculate it?

    Dough: If you are familiar with the Star Trek episode “Return of the Archons”. The rate of absorption refers to the those “Not of the Body” bring brought under Landru…..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYTkSFRmKzM

  248. Shore Guy says:

    Talk about la-la-land budget figures. Look at DHS funding by 2014, lower than FY 2009. It is also interesting to look at HHS vs. Homeland Security. They are totally clueless, and, when some incident occurs, they are going to tax the hell out of us to gather the needed emergency funding to address the incident.

    page 130 of http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/fy2010_new_era/Summary_Tables2.pdf

    Agriculture ……………………………………………………………… 23.9 6.9 26.0 27.2 27.9 28.4 29.1 138.6 299.0
    Commerce ………………………………………………………………. 9.3 7.9 13.8 8.1 7.9 8.5 8.7 46.9 94.3
    Defense (DOD — excluding Overseas Contingency
    Operations) …………………………………………………………. 513.3 7.4 533.7 541.8 550.7 561.1 574.5 2,761.8 5,854.9
    Education 1 ……………………………………………………………… 41.4 81.1 46.7 53.6 58.5 61.6 64.5 284.9 626.4
    Energy ……………………………………………………………………. 26.4 38.7 26.3 26.3 27.2 27.7 28.3 135.8 285.9
    Health and Human Services 2 …………………………………… 80.1 22.4 78.7 83.7 85.5 87.5 90.7 426.1 908.5
    Homeland Security ………………………………………………….. 42.2 2.8 42.7 42.4 41.9 41.4 40.9 209.3 426.3
    Housing and Urban Development …………………………….. 40.1 13.6 47.5 47.6 47.5 47.6 48.2 238.3 498.8
    Interior …………………………………………………………………… 11.3 3.0 12.0 12.3 12.5 12.7 13.0 62.4 131.8
    Justice ……………………………………………………………………. 25.5 4.0 23.9 27.7 27.9 28.0 28.2 135.7 284.6
    Labor ……………………………………………………………………… 12.7 4.8 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 67.5 139.8
    State and Other International Programs 3 …………………. 36.7 0.6 51.7 56.0 60.3 64.8 69.3 302.1 687.7
    Transportation 4, 5 …………………………………………………….. 70.5 48.1 72.5 64.2 64.1 65.2 66.3 332.2 681.8
    Treasury …………………………………………………………………. 12.7 0.3 13.3 13.7 14.1 14.7 15.3 71.1 157.8
    Veterans Affairs 6 …………………………………………………….. 47.6 1.4 52.5 53.7 55.1 56.6 58.2 276.2 588.8

  249. Shore Guy says:

    oops, things got cut off in the cut and paste.

  250. Shore Guy says:

    oops, things got cut off in the cut and paste.

  251. Shore Guy says:

    and then reappeared in the final post. Oy.

  252. Shore Guy says:

    “those ‘Not of the Body'”

    And here we have policy makers who seem to be “not of the brain.”

  253. make money says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1aXBxWYvDg&feature=related

    Ron Paul inetersting two minutes. New global monetary system being drawn up by the world central banks.

  254. yikes says:

    i got my bible and my gun

    http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090226/METRO08/902260402

    “This neighborhood has become a desert of nomads,” said Bouyer, a native Detroiter. “Older people take their garbage out once a week and lock themselves back in. People are moving out and it seems like nobody cares.”

    Bouyer committed her life to Detroit, preferring to see the glass half-full. She endured the bad times: the riot of 1967, the murder of her husband in 1977, the crack epidemic of the ’80s and ’90s, the blight of the abandoned nursing home in 2002, the drug addicts who moved into the foreclosed house next to hers in the middle of the night along with their children. The wild nights ensued. The loud music. The liquor in paper bags. The strange men.

    But two weeks ago, while she was away at the store in the middle of the day, somebody pried through the bars and kicked the front door in. For whatever reason, they made off with nothing. But they had unlocked the windows, perhaps to return at another hour.

    “I told her to get out, just walk away,” said her son Chris, who lives in another state. “It’s not normal that a church lady needs to be packing to go to church.”

  255. kettle1 says:

    244 cob

    well, there you have it then…..

  256. veto says:

    198 Shore Guy, good point on the plug in hybrids. my concern is taxing by mile reduces the incentive to drive higher mpg cars. im sure argument can be made that heavier, more powerful gas guzzlers also create more damage to roads.

    Grim, great charts thanks, how about adding one more county for the mercer contingent? i’m sick of hearing that “its different here”.

  257. via thechoosybeggar; an IHT article on how the change in social mood is affecting the fashion industry. Pretty interesting to see both the denial and those who understand the social implications of the financial collapse.

  258. make money says:

    It seems like the PPT is finnaly re-capitalized and re-energized. Check out the price of my Shiny and the market on the green side with all this non-sense coming out of Washington.

    I hope we get to 800’s so that I can pick up a few more ounces with the savings I’m getting from this loan mod plan.

  259. Clotpoll says:

    3b (148)-

    The RE was severely undervalued at the time of the K-Mart BK. However, Lampert frittered away the advantage and didn’t start looking to sell any of the RE until the downturn was well underway.

    Now, he’s got a bunch of shit RE in even shittier locations.

  260. Frank says:

    #153,
    Mortgage interest deduction is a tax scam and should be repealed ASAP. That’s what got us in this mess in the first place. Go 0bama, my hero.

  261. Clotpoll says:

    skep (150)-

    The way junkies “transition” off smack is not pretty, either. However, it’s a painful and necessary step.

    “I actually agree with most of what you post on the substance, I am mainly concerned with the TRANSITION from an economy that is largely dependent on debt for liquidity to one that uses savings for that purpose instead.”

  262. 3b says:

    #206 ruggles:but there’s a good chance some fancier towns than where you’re looking might get down there, or at least a few houses in those towns might come into reach. good luck.

    Prices are falling and will continue to fall in ALL towns, whether so called good towns, bad towns, and so-so towns.

    No area is immune, no county, no town, no section of town, no block in the town.

  263. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (153)-

    Guns.

  264. veto says:

    207 kettle:
    good stuff, i was thinking along those lines but you spelled it out nicely. sooo, to my original point, i still dont get the tax by mile thing… unless gas is eventually going away.

    “vheres the spoon? ahh haa, ahh haa. there is no spoon.”
    -coming to america

  265. Stu says:

    Tim Duy’s Fed Watch Blog:
    Will TALF Do The Job?

    http://economistsview.typepad.com/timduy/2009/02/will-talf-do-the-job.html

    “The expansion of TALF to CBMS also requires AAA-ratings. I suspected that limiting the program to investment grade securities would severely curtail the effectiveness of the program for one simple reason – that, relative to expectations of officials, investment grade borrowers are relatively few, and they have maintained that status by not accumulating excessive debt, so already they are not inclined to borrow.”

  266. kettle1 says:

    Obama sending Congress ‘hard choices’ budget
    Deficit total is roughly equivalent to $12,000 for every U.S. taxpayer

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29392964/

    This budget includes a deficit of 1.75 trillion. that should be interesting. at this point we might as well ask for 100 bazillion dollars!!!!!!

  267. Hubba says:

    Big reversal in the market today. Where is PPT?

  268. Stu says:

    “No area is immune, no county, no town, no section of town, no block in the town.”

    Except for mine!

  269. Clotpoll says:

    sal (177)-

    Can’t get tomorrow’s price today. Keep renting.

    “IF” we like it, then we might offer %30 off asking price since NYC metro area MIGHT fall around 30%.”

  270. skep-tic says:

    #266

    re: luxury retail. I read recently that Barney’s target shopper makes $175k. That seems awful low for a store like that– I would’ve thought they cater to $500k+ crowd. My take away from this is that most “luxury” shoppers are really “aspirational” and are probably living beyond their means. It seems to me there must be deep denial in this business, but then again, I never have thought there was value in any of that stuff.

  271. 3b says:

    #228 shore:one should not be surprised to see housing prices to continue to fall well below levels most folks currently imagine possible.

    As in late 1990 levels> i used to think that would not happen, not any more.

  272. kettle1 says:

    maybe if obama asks like this they will give it to us….

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

  273. skep-tic says:

    #270

    “The way junkies “transition” off smack is not pretty, either. However, it’s a painful and necessary step.”

    Yes, but it is generally better to wean them off in a controlled environment rather than cold turkey. A lot of people here are proposing cold turkey for the economy and it just doesn’t make sense to me.

  274. 3b says:

    #237 shore:Of course, banks will start requiring 40% downpayments and most work-a-day people will be locked out of home ownership in the future, but, hey, we live in a shortsighted culture.

    One could argue that if 40% down payments became the norm, than house prices would have to fall even further to reflect that new reality

  275. comrade nom deplume says:

    [185] maryjane,

    That was priceless. Coffee on the screen priceless. It will be on Leno next week, I am sure.

    BTW, did I mention that I was told I would be well equipped to be a prosecutor? True!

  276. #279 – read recently that Barney’s target shopper makes $175k. That seems awful low for a store like that– I would’ve thought they cater to $500k+
    I like Barneys, but I honestly have no idea who would pay their full retail price.
    The sales can be very very good, but that’s the only time I shop there.

  277. House Hunter says:

    one word…Armageddon…I just can’t believe what is in the news today

  278. Shore Guy says:

    ” im sure argument can be made that heavier, more powerful gas guzzlers also create more damage to roads. ”

    That is easy enough to deal with, just charge a different amount per mile for different weight vehicles.

  279. Clotpoll says:

    Mr. Market and Mr. Bonds no likee Obamanomics.

    See 10 yr. inching toward 3%.

    No see 4% mortgages for all.

    No hear much about Treasury purchases of agency paper anymore.

    See little glimmer of light at end of long, dark, tunnel…

  280. Clotpoll says:

    Run toward the light, Timmay! Run, run!

  281. House Hunter says:

    anyone see this
    We need your help to make these events a success. Go to IamWithRick.com, sign up and select one or more of the tea parties that you would like to attend or help us to organize.

  282. Clotpoll says:

    hunter (286)-

    For the past few days, I’ve honestly been thinking more about whether I can get a crop in more than about anything financial.

    When the weather starts getting really hot, the riots are going to be all we’re talking about.

  283. HEHEHE says:

    Clot,

    That’s Obammunism – the invisible hand slipping into your future grandchildren’s wallets

  284. Victorian says:

    Clot (291) –

    “When the weather starts getting really hot, the riots are going to be all we’re talking about.”

    – Yes, hot weather and a stupid cop who messes with a young unemployed punk. That’s all it should take.

  285. House Hunter says:

    Clot…I just am amazed at the denial, my hubby and i are getting scared…

  286. House Hunter says:

    oh yeah…by the way, why do you think O’s plan wants money to go to state budgets to keep cops, they know what is coming

  287. bi says:

    this board should write omama a thank-you letter and invite him join blogging here. seriously. once bulls started to roar, he drop a huge bomb with 1 trillion tons of TNT:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a.9fZg9MKKGk&refer=home

  288. 3b says:

    #297: bi:once bulls started to roar

    Why and when did the bulls start to roar? Are you talking about that 236 pt sigh rally the other day?

  289. Sean says:

    How about this Irish parable.

    Seanie took over a pub in Ireland – Anglo’s Irish Bar.

    In order to increase sales he decided to allow loyal customers – most of whom were unemployed alcoholics – to drink now but pay later. He kept track of amounts owed on drinks consumed – effectively granting loans.
    Word got around and increasing numbers of customers flooded into the bar.
    The drink flowed.

    Taking advantage of his customers’ freedom from immediate payment constraints Seanie increased prices.
    Turnover increased.
    He extended opening hours.
    Turnover increased even more.
    The drink flowed.

    A customer service consultant at the bank recognized debts as valuable future assets and increased Seanie’s borrowing limit time and time again.
    He saw no reason for undue concern since the debts of the alcoholics were plainly there as collateral.
    The drink flowed.

    Taking advantage of his own freedom from immediate payment constraints Seanie extended the pub.
    Turnover continued to increase.
    He bought additional public houses.
    Turnover increased even more.
    The drink flowed.

    At the bank’s corporate headquarters, expert bankers transformed these customer assets (the debts of the alcoholics) into derivatives which they termed ANGLOALKO bonds.
    These securities were traded on markets worldwide – although on one really understood what they were or how they might be guaranteed.
    The drink flowed.

    Taking advantage of these new sources of capitalisation Seanie built big new pubs in out-of-the-way places.
    Turnover continued to increase.
    Bar staff from all over the world came to work in his pubs.
    Turnover increased even more.
    The drink flowed.

    As the drinkers kept drinking and Anglo kept borrowing and building, their prices continuously climbed thus the bonds became top-selling hot items in the financial world.
    Occasionally a harmless looking old geezer would look in the door of Anglo’s Irish Bar, smile, nod and go away.
    He was called D’Regulator to distinguish him from D’Regulars.
    The drink flowed.

    Taking advantage D’Regulator’s obvious approval Seanie extended the ‘drink now/pay later’ business model.
    Turnover continued to increase.
    Diversification into food, hospitality and God knows what other businesses went ahead.
    Turnover increased even more.
    The drink flowed.

    However, the day came when ANGLOALKO prices stopped climbing.
    The bank manager decided to call in payment of Anglo’s dues.
    Seanie sought the help of D’Regulars.
    ANGLOALKO fell 95% overnight.
    The drink stopped flowing.

    D’Regulars could not chip in enough to pay the debts.

    Seanie stopped giving out any drink at all.

    Following emergency consultations with ‘Interests’, Seanie was saved by a Government bail out.

    The funds for this support will be obtained by a tax on all non-drinkers.

    D’Regulator retired and got free drink for life

  290. yikes says:

    i know there’s all this talk of where you would go if you left the US … but really, can’t you find fault with every country? I know the big govt crap is annoying, and we’re on a slippery slope … but europe is crumbling, language may be an issue many places, south of the border is chaos, canada is cold, most of south america is sketchy …

    where’s the safe haven? and if you say costa rica, this isn’t exactly a vote of confidence

    http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1093.html

    going somewhere for a week or two or a month is one thing. day-to-day living is another.

  291. Sean says:

    re#297 – bi

    didn’t you get the memo? Once all of the new Administrations policies and plans are in place there will not be anyone left making over 250k.

  292. kettle1 says:

    clot 289

    Run toward the light, Timmay! Run, run!

    timmy: (running towards the light) …..wait…….whats that sound…… GOOD GOD, thats not a light, THATS A FRIGHT TRAIN!

  293. comrade nom deplume says:

    [301] sean

    Not officially, anyway.

    (cue music) “the cayman islaaaaaandsssss”

  294. confused in nj says:

    296 House Hunter

    The cops & firemen are necessary for the riots, but the teachers serve no useful purpose in the new land of Armageddon. That was strictly a Union payback. His Universal Medical makes no sense. Don’t even understand what it is on top of Private, Public, Medicare, Medicaid, Child Insurance for Low Income not eligible for Medicaid, etc. Most is probably for Illegal Alien coverage. The indigenous American is now being asked to fund the world. Can’t be done, we are Bankrupt. They are also considering making Private Sector Medical Taxable. Guess only Public Sector Medical would remain Non Taxable. The Problems cannot be Quantified as they are Global in Scope, therefore not resolvable. This is much worse then the Great Depression where America was not in Debt and controlled it’s own Destiny.

  295. comrade nom deplume says:

    [279] skep

    Re: Barney’s

    That is because your eyes are open. Barneys stuff is nice enouugh, and I may be in that demographic, but WTF would I spend like that for, when I can look just as good for a lot less?

    FWIW, I really like Brooks Bros. stuff–fits me well, etc. So I got their credit card, ran all costs thru it to get a boatload of points, waith until I get a 25% off sale flyer, and used them at the factory outlets. The staff has told me that I am stealing their stuff.

  296. Ben says:

    “how is it possible to allow Rutgers to spend billions when the state is broke?”

    They suckered someone into buying their bonds because Moody’s upgraded their rating. My guess is, Rutgers used some sort of connection to get that one through. It’s a scam, and they are going to borrow all this money and pay it back with pocket change when the real inflation hits. I can’t say I blame them though. If someone is stupid enough to buy bonds from RU, then they deserve to get wiped out. Btw, I say this, as i post from a Rutgers computer. Heh, one of these days the university is going to fire me.

  297. comrade nom deplume says:

    [300] yikes.

    That is why the Nompound is gonna be here in the good ol’ USSA.

    Only our money will be sunning itself in the caribbean.

    Meanwhile, we will be here, “poor” and on the dole, just like everyone else.

    When traveling in southern france and italy years ago, a tour guide said that people did not invest much in housing because of a historical fear that it made them look wealthy, and thus a target for looting barbarian hordes. Since the barbarians are at the gate, I figure, poor is the new black.

  298. freedy says:

    RU , very sad,,,

    but football will keep em in the game,as the taxpayers of NJ continue to
    take it up the dirt trail.

  299. bi says:

    i think we should implement national pay scale system as soviet did few years ago. say,
    level 1: president, $400K,
    level 2: vp and leaders in congress, $350K, (i see biden is smiling with his big white faked teeth)
    level 3: congress, $300K (guaranteed they will pass this bill).
    level 4: union leaders, 275K
    level 5: nationalized bank executives 250K.
    level 6: executives in other industries, 240K

    buffett, hedgies and IPO gainers should vuluntarily contribute their gains to national budget office.

  300. Brook says:

    REMEMBER; NO MATTER WHAT YOU BID ON A HOME, THE REAL ESTATE AGENT IS LIABLE TO PUT IN THE BID WITH A CONTRACT. IF SHE/HE DOESNT, YOU CAN TAKE ACTIONS TO TAKE THEIR LICENSE AWAY!!!!!!! IF THE HOUSE IS $500,000 — YOU CAN BID $250,000. THE MORE HOMEBUYERS BID ACCORDING TO PRE-BOOM PRICES, THE BETTER OFF WE ALL ARE AND WE CAN BUY HOMES, ONCE AGAIN!

  301. Ben says:

    freedy,

    freedy, you should be happy. They RU just suckered a bunch of people to pay for the RU football team instead of the taxpayers. I just hope that the state pension fund wasn’t one of the big buyers.

  302. Nicholas says:

    My upstairs neighbor bought a used cell phone from a seller on eBay, and found it couldn’t be activated since it didn’t have a GPS.

    I don’t think that it is a requirement that the phone have GPS for it to gain service from providers, at least I haven’t found that to be the case. I think that the Feds require that the phone be trackable for E911 services incase you are in distress.

    If the company that you are trying to gain service with doesn’t have any other available method, other then GPS, to track your phone then I suppose they would have to decline your service. There are plenty of cell phone companies that can accurately geo-locate you given which tower that your associated with and your received transmit power.

    Tell your neighbor to try another company for service.

  303. Rich In NNJ says:

    Frank #146,

    You mean homes are still selling for more than 2005 prices in Bergen County???

    Glad you asked.
    No, selling prices are below 2005 prices in Bergen County.
    Actually, they are 16% below peak prices set in 2006.
    And worst of all sales are down 62% and pending sales (U/C) are down 50% compared to 2005!

    Yup, it’s a recession alright. And it’s far from over. Prices will continue to fall.

    Now when you factor in inflation over this period… well, we all know how confused you get when it comes to inflation. So I’ll just stop here.

    ….-20%

  304. grim says:

    My upstairs neighbor bought a used cell phone from a seller on eBay, and found it couldn’t be activated since it didn’t have a GPS.

    Sounds like some confusion between GSM and GPS. Was the carrier T-Mobile?

  305. still_looking says:

    “hey should make wearing a button-down shirt without an undershirt illegal.”

    chi 249

    Still obsessing over grim’s manly-man chest hair?? :)

    sl

  306. Shore Guy says:

    “where’s the safe haven? and if you say costa rica, this isn’t exactly a vote of confidence”

    BVI works for me.

  307. freedy says:

    ben: it seem to me that somehow the NJ
    taxpayer ,of which their seem to be fewer and fewer, will get screwed.

    details,,, details,,, sort of like,,lets see: the dump cleanup in
    N.arlington

  308. Clotpoll says:

    Brook (310)-

    Good to have a rep from the shrill moron contingent here. Welcome.

  309. PGC says:

    “indigenous American ”

    Ummm, might want to rethink that.

  310. kettle1 says:

    reason 1,122 why we are screwed.

    CBO is projecting the average deficit over the next ten years will be about $400B. The assume that we will have increasing revenues by 2010. If you look at their assumptions, obama’s trillion dollar deficit for several tears is a given…

    http://www.cbo.gov/budget/budproj.shtml

  311. still_looking says:

    tosh, RE HBO (i forget what effin’ number)

    HBO continued its “True Blood” vampire series…

    You can see the original 12 episodes here:

    http://www.watchtrueblood.net

    sl

  312. Clotpoll says:

    Ben (311)-

    State pension fund? They’re still too busy trying to figure out how their slam-dunk investment in LEH turned so sour.

  313. still_looking says:

    For those interested:

    NRA Basic training courses intended for beginnerrs or a refresher for experienced shooters:

    NRA Basic Pistol Class
    Riverdale Police Pistol Range/Riverdale, NJ
    (these are tentative dates – you gotta email or call ’em.)

    Sat Feb 28th or Sat April 18
    Contact John Donovan at Jdon68@aol.com or (201) 692-0372 (prompt 3)

    There is also a Tenafly NJ Rifle and Pistol Club course on Personal Protection in the Home on Sat March 14 at the same contact number/name above.

    disclaimer: I have no affiliation, experience or opinions w/r/t above courses.

    sl

  314. Rich In NNJ says:

    I’m a Deciduous American.

    I lose my jacket every spring.

    Hey-oooooooooo!

    ——

    Cell Phone: Tell them to buy a new Motorola.
    Please.
    Pretty please!
    For the love of god, PLEASE!!!!!

  315. make money says:

    Brook(310)

    In order to make a low ball bid and have a chance to have it accepted you need to find out if you’re dealing with a qualified seller.

    The problem is and will be to find a qualified seller.

  316. Ben says:

    322, Clot

    “State pension fund? They’re still too busy trying to figure out how their slam-dunk investment in LEH turned so sour.”

    I disagree. I think it was simply a play to bailout some of Corzine’s buddies who were holding Lehman stock knowing it was going to tank.

  317. #321 – Thanks sl. I’ll try and check it out.

  318. Stu says:

    If someone says we are currently in a goldilocks market, I’m going to kick them in the shins.

  319. There are now 252 banks252 banks on the FDIC’s super double secret probation list.
    They, of course, won’t say who though.

  320. 252 banks252 banks

    That should be 252 banks. I blame the lack of a preview button…. yup.

  321. still_looking says:

    “BTW, did I mention that I was told I would be well equipped to be a prosecutor? True!”

    nom, 284

    Does that mean John is sending his Jumbo Spanish Onions your way? :)

    He’s keeping the c0cktail onions for himself….

    sl

  322. Clotpoll says:

    Anybody got a barf bag?

  323. james says:

    If home prices drop 50% from peak at the jersey shore I will be buying more real estate. Hell I will buy a friggin compund. The main problem is, the larger the compund the harder it is to defend.

  324. kettle1 says:

    shore 316

    BVI… bad idea

    Lots of pent up racial tension in USVI and BVI. The islands can not support themselves with food or water. the food has to be imported and the water comes from desalination run off of imported oil. the money that pays for both comes from tourism. without tourism, those islands would be a very shady place to be from a security stand point.

    gorgeous to visit. heck i got married on cinnamon bay beach!

  325. Stu says:

    Clot:

    It may be time to start dusting off the muzzle again as well.

    And to think I almost invested in ticker symbol STU a few years ago.

  326. Clotpoll says:

    tosh (334)-

    You know it’s got to be true. This action would satisfy both tests of Clot’s Theory of Fail:

    1. What is the maximum cost that could be generated in finding a solution? Figure it out, and proceed in that direction.

    2. What is the worst possible outcome? Determine it, then proceed in that direction.

  327. Clotpoll says:

    Stu (338)-

    Pretty soon, it will be bi, investing in ticker symbol STFU. :)

    BTW, I rode FMD back in the day like a college girl on roofies. I can’t even remember what prompted me to get out, but I’m glad I did. It now gets above $1/share every now and then.

  328. Clotpoll says:

    Wow. I just referred to myself in the third person (#339).

    Must be time for baseball.

    Must be Rickey time.

    Rickey wants to play baseball.

  329. make money says:

    Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) — American International Group Inc. may get a backstop from the U.S. to protect against further losses on credit-default swaps, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    Tosh(334),

    Translation: FED bails out Goldman and JPM.
    I love the commitment to transperency of this administration.

  330. bi says:

    when it was in campaign season, stu said he couldn’t wait to see O in office so he could make some real money. congratulations stu: SRS up 10%

  331. chicagofinance says:

    make money says:
    February 26, 2009 at 1:08 pm
    It seems like the PPT is finnaly re-capitalized and re-energized. Check out the price of my Shiny and the market on the green side with all this non-sense coming out of Washington.

    I hope we get to 800’s so that I can pick up a few more ounces with the savings I’m getting from this loan mod plan.

    albani: don’t take my work for it; bost flat out told you to book some gains last weekend when the it was $1000……it is a bs market; so don’t be shocked when things don’t go your way; that said, you have a lot of good momentum on your bet, but there several ways to diversify across a similar type of bet; why doesn’t Peter The Receding Hairline queue some up for you….make him earn his fees….

  332. veto says:

    now that i think about it, im pretty surprised by the dramatic drop in sales that grims charts show, we saw alot of houses selling in jan and feb 2009.
    Is the Jan chart data for houses that sold nov dec but closed in Jan? if so, that makes alot of sense and therefore would expect to see significant increases in sales for mar april.

  333. Clotpoll says:

    chi (344)-

    This is the rare occasion I agree with you. However, it might not be for your reasons.

    I’m just scared shiny tanks again when the next wave of forced selling of everything hits.

    And, mark my words, it is going to hit.

    Black Monday, anyone?

  334. Translation: FED bails out Goldman and JPM.

    While I don’t doubt that at all, IIRC the rumored counterparty was a foreign institution, perhaps gallic in nature.

  335. Clotpoll says:

    Is Schiff still making predictions? I thought he was running for Senate in CT.

  336. skep-tic says:

    what are the odds that europe will get super cheap compared to the U.S.?

  337. comrade nom deplume says:

    Nom’s Tax Protest (imagine if everyone did this)

    Here’s how the HENRYs should fight back (and fight dirty) with the IRS and the Obamunists.

    WARNING—unless you can reasonably and in good faith do things this way, you shouldn’t.

    1. Decrease your withholding. Fill out a new W-4 and take as many exemptions as you, in good conscience, feel you can take (you were going to file as a head of household, weren’t you?). This will cause you to be underwithheld, but if you, in good faith, think that it will accurately reflect your taxes at year end, you can do it.

    2. Rebalance your estimated tax payments. Because you anticipate stock losses/deductions/job issues/etc., you “reasonably and in good faith” think that your estimate was too high. Pay less instead.

    3. Bank the extra cash (this is kinda important).

    4. In the 4th quarter, go back to payroll and increase your withholding to add back the money you did not have withheld during the year. You can even have extra cash withheld.

    5. Make a larger estimated tax payment on 1/15. If you are ever audited, you can simply tell them that you re-evaluated your situation in light of changes in your life, new income, a bonus that you didn’t expect, etc., or that certain assumptions never came to pass. There is no rule that says you cannot increase your estimated payments because events in your life changed.

    6. Rinse and repeat.

    This effectively deprives the IRS of funding during a large part of the year and will look to the Treasury as if the Obamunist Manifesto is causing “deadweight loss” to the Treasury. If millions of taxpayers did this, it would throw Washington into an absolute panic.

  338. comrade nom deplume says:

    [335] james, et al.

    The chatter is sufficiently heavy, such that maybe Kettle was right and we out to have a Compound GTG. Thus far, our only themes are geographic—perhaps a discussion group (with booze) is in order.

    Will shoot for warmer weather. Spam called for a Hunterdon GTG in March and don’t want to saturate the GTG market.

  339. Stu says:

    “Thus far, our only themes are geographic—perhaps a discussion group (with booze) is in order.”

    The gazebo in my backyard is available for such a GTG if we wait until late April warmth, but it would only be made available to the usual suspects here. We can grill and drink in preparation for the real deal.

  340. scribe says:

    grim, #314

    Don’t know about my neighbor’s used cell.

    He couldn’t get his money back from the seller on eBay, and just tossed it. Cheap item.

  341. scribe says:

    From the WSJ:

    Didn’t Corzine suggest recently that marijuana be legalized for “medical” purposes?

    Translation: States eye ball another source of taxes.

    California Legislator Sees Benefit in Legalizing Pot

    By STU WOO

    SAN FRANCISCO — A state legislator proposed legalizing the sale of marijuana in California, saying the plan would generate more than $1 billion annually for the cash-strapped state.

    Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced a bill Monday that would legalize possession and sales of the drug for people aged 21 and older. The legislation would impose regulations and taxation similar to those for alcohol sales. Federal law makes it a crime to possess or sell marijuana, so the measure, if passed, would likely face an immediate legal challenge.

    Mr. Ammiano, a San Francisco Democrat who is well known in the state as a champion of liberal causes, proposes a tax of $50 on an ounce of marijuana, which sells for a few hundred dollars on the street.

    California’s dire financial situation was the impetus for proposing the bill, said Quintin Mecke, a spokesman for Mr. Ammiano. The state, which last week closed a $42 billion budget deficit through steep spending cuts and tax increases, should be making money on pot sales, Mr. Mecke said. He estimated that marijuana is a $14 billion-a-year crop in California.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123552248140364907.html

  342. still_looking says:

    350 nom

    buahahahahahahaha….

    sl

  343. PGC says:

    GTG market is down on light volume … :*)

  344. scribe says:

    Nom,

    Where is the Brooks Brothers outlet?

  345. #357 – There’s one at Jersey Gardens.
    Truth told though, it’s the same pricing as their regular stores. Great quality.

  346. Victorian says:

    Nom –

    “If millions of taxpayers did this, it would throw Washington into an absolute panic.”

    Unfortunately, only 1.5% of American Households earn above $250,000.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States

  347. comrade nom deplume says:

    [358] tosh

    same pricing? Not from what I have seen. For example, the no-iron cotton shirts are typically about 20-30 more in the main stores, and the only difference is the label.

  348. jcer says:

    358, tosh, most times pricing is the same items are the same but when you go occasionally they will have say winter sweaters in may and you can buy them with a 25% coupon and pay like $25-30 for $150 wool sweater. If you are close to the J Gardens check it out otherwise it is not worth a long trip.

  349. comrade nom deplume says:

    [359] Vic,

    First, all taxpayers that earn a wage can do this.

    Second, that 1.5% pays a significant portion of the total tax burden, probably in the vicinity of 20% of all taxes.

    If the top 0.5% of taxpayers suddenly expatriated today, there would be a tax blip from the HEART Act cap gains tax receipts (maybe, much of that can be postponed) but then you would see at least a 10% drop in income tax revenues. And that is at today’s numbers.

  350. jcer says:

    Nom it depends you are correct many times they run cheaper specials but not always, i have left there with good deals and other times with nothing because they are not any cheaper than they normally are.

  351. W8TING says:

    I never used to wear Brooks Brothers shirts but once i learned of their ‘unconditional guarantee’, i only buy from them now. I have a bad habit of ripping through my left elbow (due to leaning on it at work). I used to replace my shirts every 2-3 months but now I can just bring them back to BB and they replace them, no questions asked.

  352. SG says:

    Half-priced condos … in New York City?!

    Sales in New York City have slowed down so much that many developers of luxury properties are planning to slash their prices – by as much as half – reports The New York Times.

    “We have quite a large investment in a new condo building in a good location downtown,” one lender said. But sales have been “very, very slow,” he added. The units are currently priced at $1,000 per square foot. He expects to start the bidding at $600 per square foot.

    Business Insider reports that Manhattan condo inventory is piling up four times as fast as it can be sold. A real estate insider told the publication that sellers are now putting about 1,500 units per month on the market. But only about 300 units are being put into contract.

  353. #360 – Really? I’ve never seen a pricing difference between the two. The regular and outlets run do sales at different times though. (There’s a 3 day %25 off running this weekend at the outlets)
    I could be wrong though. I do most of my Brooks buying via the web as I know their sizing very well.
    There’s also a Brooks outlet in Flemington, IIRC.

    #357 – scribe – You may want to try Hickey Freeman, but only on sale items, otherwise their too expensive.

  354. Barbara says:

    outlets are a scam. They are not full of the high end label goods, they have a different label and use inferior fabric and buttons.
    Its a tourist trap.

  355. SG says:

    And Do I Hear $2 Million? No? $1 Million? Sold!

    There are 8,000 new condos on the market in New York City, and 22,000 more are scheduled to go on the market by the end of next year. “You’ve got all this inventory that’s been based on this young financial buyer and international buyers,” Mr. Gollinger said, but those buyers have been hard hit by Wall Street’s collapse.

    The reduced asking prices could bring condos in line with prices seen just a few years ago. The average sales price of a two-bedroom Upper East Side condo was just above $1 million in 2002. It rose to $1.5 million in 2004, and to $2.2 millionat its peak in 2008.

  356. Sean says:

    re #366 SG – don’t post that you might cause Frank to take a running leap off the roof of his building.

  357. #367 – otherwise they’re too expensive – I suck.

    #362 – It is the only reason to go to J Gardens.

  358. #368 – outlets are a scam – Pretty much. I think at one point, a long time ago, outlets did offer deals. From what I understand most of the outlet mall staples (Calvin Klein/etc) have lines of clothes that are only sold at the outlet malls.

  359. sas says:

    latest scoop

    The book publisher didn’t want me to speak because I am not an author.

    Then we were going to a 5 min Q/A, author wasn’t totally hip on that as he thought might take away from the purpose of book promotion.

    at this point in time, I will just show up and be open. my after event Q/A at a local pub.

    don’t have to RSVP or be alumni, just how up and say you are a guest, but you will have to still pay your $30. (not my rules)

    http://www.gsb.columbia.edu/events/alumni?main.id=50264

    SAS

  360. Barbara says:

    368
    yeah years ago I bought a bunch of stuff at the Banana Republic outlet at JG for my husband. I didn’t realize it was inferior stuff. The Ts fell apart after about 6 washes. It was like Old Navy crap. I shop using coupons and codes online and in the actual stores, much better.

  361. sas says:

    “maybe after event Q/A at a local pub”

    I gotta run
    SAS

  362. scribe says:

    Thanks for the outlet locations.

  363. Barbara says:

    BTW, how insane and gross is wall to wall carpeting in a mall? (Jersey Gardens). The Nast.

  364. scribe says:

    If anyone gets to your event, how would they know what you look like, SAS?

  365. Silera says:

    #359- Luckily for that 1.5%, most of the rest of American Households have deluded themselves into thinking they’re in it.

  366. sas says:

    “how would they know what you look like, SAS?”

    i won’t look like a yuppie, black leather jacket, black leather boots, salt & pepper hair.

    wife may go, not sure. if goes, brown hair, late 30s.

    gotta go.
    SAS

  367. sas says:

    oh yea.. I’m not in late 30s (wish i was).

    I’m a boomer.

    later gater
    SAS

  368. scribe says:

    sas,

    with more of a warning, I would have gone & waited outside, just to lay eyes on you :)

  369. 3b says:

    #369 SG:The reduced asking prices could bring condos in line with prices seen just a few years ago.

    Overly optimistic at best.

  370. Clotpoll says:

    (382)-

    Whatever stock bi touches, it will be over.

    “whatever industry omama touches, it will be over.”

    This is too easy, bi. Quit laying BP fastballs over the plate.

  371. skep-tic says:

    #359

    I think those figures are outdated. From today’s WSJ:

    ********************

    “Consider the IRS data for 2006, the most recent year that such tax data are available and a good year for the economy and “the wealthiest 2%.” Roughly 3.8 million filers had adjusted gross incomes above $200,000 in 2006. (That’s about 7% of all returns; the data aren’t broken down at the $250,000 point.) These people paid about $522 billion in income taxes, or roughly 62% of all federal individual income receipts. The richest 1% — about 1.65 million filers making above $388,806 — paid some $408 billion, or 39.9% of all income tax revenues, while earning about 22% of all reported U.S. income.”

  372. skep-tic says:

    It seems that the way we are headed, the top 5% will end up paying 100% of the income taxes pretty soon.

  373. skep-tic says:

    and let me just say that higher taxes in exchange for universal healthcare is a worthy goal. I would have much less of a problem with the higher taxes if this healthcare proposal wasn’t preceded by the porkulus

  374. comrade nom deplume says:

    [365] w8ting

    guaratee??? Does that apply to outlet as well? (I doubt it).

    Reason is that a couple of the no iron shirts tore along the permanent crease, right at the shoulder. For two to do that in a 3 month span is suspicious. Mind you, I did not pay a lot for these shirts but if I can recover, hey, why not?

  375. Ben says:

    “Why Didn’t They See the Bullion Bubble?”

    When gold bubbled, it was $890 in 1980. The only way it’s in a bubble now is if we have had no inflation since the 1980s.

  376. Silera says:

    Universal healthcare is so reviled. It is unfortunate that the term “entitlement” has taken on a negative connotation.

    Medical misfortune can just wipe you out. Even breaking a leg for a median earner can wipe out savings between lost work time and deductible.

    We all have or have heard sob stories, and when you have one you just feel like a jerk complaining. From my experience though, the safety net for those not in the 100K plus range just fails to the point that it destroys any hope of recovery for years.

  377. comrade nom deplume says:

    [386]

    Staggering. Imagine if there were just a 15% haircut in that figure. It would be unimaginable how much that would roil Treasury.

    Now, truth be told, they get that money in the last quarter and at tax time, but for a good 9 months, they are deprived. It would blow budgets straight to hell.

  378. kettle1 says:

    skeptic 388,

    i agree!

  379. spam spam bacon spam says:

    89: Mike waiting in the sticks:

    http://www.drbukk.com/gmhom/park.html

    They had a jersey site for mobile homes, but I can’t find it. waybackmachine time.

    Read ’em all. They get better as you get farther down…

  380. grim says:

    SAS,

    Are you kidding? This is the heads up you give us?

    I’d have been there if you gave me more than a 5 minute warning.

  381. Essex says:

    379….sucks being in the bottom tier of that group though……damn.

    Couldn’t they have regionalized it — say $150k in KS….$500k in metro NYC….come on!!!

  382. Hobokenite says:

    Apartment Buyers Abandoning 6-Figure Deposits

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/01/realestate/01walk.html

    “At 304 Spring Street, a sleek condominium building in SoHo with stunning Hudson River views, the buyer for the duplex penthouse recently decided he would not go through with the deal and walked away from a $780,000 deposit.

    At 1120 Park Avenue, a classic prewar co-op filled with multimillion-dollar apartments, it appears that a buyer forfeited a deposit of as much as $1.1 million.”

  383. still_looking says:

    grim, 395

    Yeah! What YOU said!

    sl

  384. comrade nom deplume says:

    More budget talk:

    “‘House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, praised the budget as “a statement of our national values.”‘

    Which nation?

  385. HEHEHE says:

    “Which nation?”

    Caleeforneeyah

  386. kettle1 says:

    mexico in trouble.

    Mexico’s hillbilly drug smugglers have morphed into a raging insurgency. Violence claimed more lives there last year alone than all the Americans killed in the war in Iraq. And there’s no end in sight.

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4684

  387. Happy Daze says:

    402k

  388. skep-tic says:

    here is something I’ve been wondering. Is the 401k basically dead as a concept now? I mean, it is a nice idea in theory, but in practice it seems to me there is now way you can argue that it has succeeded as a vehicle to provide stable retirement planning for most Americans.

    The fact that Mr. O is willing to mess with the mortgage interest deduction, which is the oldest and most popular deduction in the individual income tax code, makes me think the 401k is not sacrosanct, especially in light of its practical failure. I would not be surprised at this point to see it phased out.

  389. chicagofinance says:

    skep-tic says:
    February 26, 2009 at 7:07 pm
    here is something I’ve been wondering. Is the 401k basically dead as a concept now? I mean, it is a nice idea in theory, but in practice it seems to me there is now way you can argue that it has succeeded as a vehicle to provide stable retirement planning for most Americans.

    The fact that Mr. O is willing to mess with the mortgage interest deduction, which is the oldest and most popular deduction in the individual income tax code, makes me think the 401k is not sacrosanct, especially in light of its practical failure. I would not be surprised at this point to see it phased out.

    skep: you are talking like clot….

  390. Pat says:

    Yeah, skep, lately I haven’t heard anybody praising the benefits of setting up Social Security “Accounts.”

  391. skep-tic says:

    Help the victims:

    ****************

    After reading an article in Monday’s Chronicle indicating that many people holding the pricy mortgages common to the Bay Area would not be able to take advantage of low-cost refinances, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, amended a bill scheduled for a House vote.

    “After reading your article, I thought, this isn’t going to work for California,” Speier said.

    “I’ve drafted an amendment so that rather than being limited to whether the loan was conforming at time of origination, it will be based on (whether it’s conforming at) the time of (modification), which will take the limit up to $729,750 in high-cost areas. This should make more people in the Bay Area eligible.”

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2009/02/26/MNSB165AQU.DTL

  392. skep-tic says:

    from the above:

    ****************

    “This puts some parameters around what the Obama administration didn’t articulate in its plan and makes it so an important program for the Bay Area and surrounding counties will be widely available to folks, particularly in those areas where mortgages are very high-cost,” said Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

    Hammill added that loan modifications might be available for even-larger loans, but this language “protects the conforming loan limit in particular areas, which is vital.”

    Pelosi supports the amendment and the bill, which is expected to pass the House.

  393. yikes says:

    Shore Guy says:
    February 26, 2009 at 10:43 am

    For certain aspects of my work I have done a variation of this: purchase two or more such phones with cash; send phones to the people I need to be in contact with; use once; discard after using.

    And, no, do not ask.

    shore – three questions … 1) where do you get these phones, 2) if you get them and throw them in a safe for later use, how long do you think they’ll last? 3) for a doomsday scenario, do you think these phones are the answer, or, since they rely on satellites, do you advocate the walkie talkie?

  394. yikes says:

    Sal says:
    February 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

    #218: I understand if we buy this house for $300k. That will be a simple math. But we are going to offer(final point) %30 off ($245k). If the house will go down more than that within a year that would be a big loss for us.

    way late on this, and dont know the area you’re looking, but i feel it’s tough to put a blanket statement like 30% OFF, PERIOD, END OF STORY.

    i feel it’s more about the area you are looking, and how that area appreciated in the last 6-7 years. find comps, check to see if there are a ton of foreclosures, check to see what the new construction situation is in the area … lotta variables to take into account.

  395. skep-tic says:

    I stopped funding my 401k in November because I wanted to have as much cash available as possible. I do not regret this decision, but I thought it would be temporary until I learned whether my job would be relatively secure going forward. Now after seeing the spending spree that is going on in D.C., I am starting to wonder whether locking up any more money in a 401k is a good idea. I am also quite skeptical that stocks will have anything approaching the returns of the 80/90s anytime soon. Without this kind of compounding and faced with lack of liquidity and almost certainly much higher tax rates on that income when it is finally withdrawn, it does not seem to me automatic that one should continue to use this option rather than saving and investing in another way.

  396. Clotpoll says:

    grim (395)-

    “Are you kidding? This is the heads up you give us?

    I’d have been there if you gave me more than a 5 minute warning.”

    Ever get the feeling that sas never gives anyone more than five minutes’ advance notice of his whereabouts?

  397. Clotpoll says:

    chi (404)-

    Really? Check out what Rep. George Miller has to say about 401k’s.

    Sometimes, even a paranoiac is right.

    “skep: you are talking like clot…”

  398. Sean says:

    Obama plans mortgage-deduction cut, and the NAR has a conniption fit.

    http://lansner.freedomblogging.com/2009/02/26/obama-plans-mortgage-deduction-cut/15641/

  399. Clotpoll says:

    yikes (409)-

    Multiple variables? I got the feeling this guy would have a hard time solving for “x” in a two-step equation.

  400. cobbler says:

    401K concept was one of the worst disasters that ever happened to the U.S. It started, in earnest, the move away from the defined benefit pensions (which historically were adequate together with SS to retire on, and did not depend on the economic conditions); it facilitated (by turning large part of the nation into shareholders presumably more sympathetic to the corporations) the large shift of the national income from wages to profits; it moved the dominant part of the stock ownership from the individuals and pension funds to the mutual funds (which, generally, don’t care about the corporate governance and whose inept trades are the principal source of income for hedgies and other nimble players); 401K contributions (which disappeared in the market’s black hole but actually have been WS’s fodder for years) were made by the people instead of saving (which “disappeared” from GDP) – with the market indices now at 1997 levels 12 years of contributions went poof. I can rant some more…

  401. Clotpoll says:

    cobbler (415)-

    Looks like somebody took a smart pill.

    What solution do you propose that will achieve the protection of people from themselves?

  402. kettle1 says:

    yikes 408

    disposable cell pones do not rely on satellites. they use cell towers. you can buy a hand crank charger to put in the safe with the phone is you really want. But in that case make sure you buy a disposable phone from one of the big boys (att, t-mobile etc) so that they are likely to be around when you try to use the phone.

    you can but these all over the place. walk into a t-mobile or att store and pay cash. if they ask for personal info, then give them fake info

    http://www.t-mobile.com/shop/phones/prepaid.aspx

  403. kettle1 says:

    clot 416

    birth control and grizzly bears

  404. chicagofinance says:

    skep-tic says:
    February 26, 2009 at 7:43 pm
    I stopped funding my 401k in November because I wanted to have as much cash available as possible. I do not regret this decision, but I thought it would be temporary until I learned whether my job would be relatively secure going forward. Now after seeing the spending spree that is going on in D.C., I am starting to wonder whether locking up any more money in a 401k is a good idea. I am also quite skeptical that stocks will have anything approaching the returns of the 80/90s anytime soon. Without this kind of compounding and faced with lack of liquidity and almost certainly much higher tax rates on that income when it is finally withdrawn, it does not seem to me automatic that one should continue to use this option rather than saving and investing in another way.

    skep: regardless…if the plan with which you (formerly) participate has a (better than pittance or no) company match, and you are in a vested position, the return you receive is unparalleled…..

  405. chicagofinance says:

    N.B. some companies offer brokerage account 401(k)s

  406. chicagofinance says:

    cobbler says:
    February 26, 2009 at 8:04 pm
    401K concept was one of the worst disasters that ever happened to the U.S. It started, in earnest, the move away from the defined benefit pensions (which historically were adequate together with SS to retire on, and did not depend on the economic conditions); it facilitated (by turning large part of the nation into shareholders presumably more sympathetic to the corporations) the large shift of the national income from wages to profits; it moved the dominant part of the stock ownership from the individuals and pension funds to the mutual funds (which, generally, don’t care about the corporate governance and whose inept trades are the principal source of income for hedgies and other nimble players); 401K contributions (which disappeared in the market’s black hole but actually have been WS’s fodder for years) were made by the people instead of saving (which “disappeared” from GDP) – with the market indices now at 1997 levels 12 years of contributions went poof. I can rant some more…

    Sh!tty Swanson Dinner Dessert: the extreme example that proves that pension destroy are the american auto companies…..regardless, the simple answer is that people should buy principal protected annuities and annuitize them up retirement. Oh sorry…that effective negates the liquified feces you just excreted.

    By the way, at my first job, my boss’s director was the man who invented the cash balance plan.

  407. grim says:

    From Law.com:

    Lowenstein Sandler Lays Off 8 Percent of Attorneys

    Lowenstein Sandler laid off about 8 percent of its attorneys on Thursday. The Roseland, N.J.-based law firm let go of 21 lawyers and 32 staff employees and reduced its incoming associate class size by three spots.

    “Unfortunately, our efforts to substantially curtail expenses over the past year without reducing full-time headcount proved insufficient in the face of a rapidly slowing economy and slowing demand for legal services,” wrote Lowenstein Sandler managing partner Gary M. Wingens in an e-mail that went out to firm employees on Thursday. “As has become abundantly clear over the past few months, our nation is suffering through the deepest global economic crisis that any of us has experienced during our careers.”

    Wingens said that in addition to a slowdown in clients’ business activity, the firm has also seen attrition slow “dramatically.”

  408. grim says:

    From the Weehawken Reporter:

    Liberty Science Center lets go of 37 employees

    The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City laid off 37 employees today, according to Elizabeth Romanaux, vice president of communications.

    32 full-time and five part-time workers – ranging from adminstrators to floor staff – were let go, as the center is facing a budget shortfall. Romanaux said she cannot predict if there would be any future layoffs. Laid-off employees will receive a severance package of one week for every year they worked there.

    “The layoffs helps put the Liberty Science Center back in a position where we hope to have a surplus by the end of the year,” Romanaux said.

  409. grim says:

    And with that, 90 NJ jobs go poof!

  410. Kapoom says:

    Lots of job cuts at GS today. Partners included.

  411. #423 – Geez, that has to be most of the staff.

  412. victorian says:

    RE: Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction.

    Wasn’t the govt supposed to prop up home prices? This will not be good for Bergen County.

  413. Joey says:

    I had a friend who worked at Liberty Science Center in college. Very poorly run museum. I was there one time when they had multiple traveling exhibits rotating out at the same time, so there was very little to see. Let the LSC die.

  414. PeaceNow says:

    grim, SAS posted about his seminar at the beginning of the week. Think you were on the road at the time.

    Victorian—I’m with you all the way.

    Nom—Would you please give up this whole compound idea? I mean, really, by the time you get it together, it’ll either be too late or totally unnecessary. (I lean toward totally unnecessary, btw.)

  415. still_looking says:

    PN, 430

    Yeah. Posted in a “sorta kinda” way – never gave a date, never gave a time….nothing.

    Grim even asked! for an invite.

    w/e

    sl

  416. Steve says:

    principal protected annuities

    ChiFi (421),

    Wouldn’t there be significant counterparty risk, esp nowadays, if the provider sees an untimely demise – not to mention serious fees socking it to the end client, in return for that protection?

    I hear the refrain these annuity assets are “ok” since they’re pools regulated by various states, but it doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies… e.g. if we see AIG, Hartford, MetLife et al crash and burn– ?

  417. Steve says:

    p.s. my knowledge of annuities approximates the mass of Big Bird’s cranium

  418. victorian says:

    Bank of America is a criminal enterprise

    The CAP term sheet says:

    Conversion price is 90% of the average closing price for the common stock for the 20 trading day period ending February 9, 2009

    Keeping this real simple, the higher the conversion price, the more taxpayer wealth the bank’s owners extract.

    By my arithmetic, those 20 trading days started January 13 and ended February 9. What were Bank of America’s executives and directors doing during that time? Why, buying their own company’s stock with a vengeance, of course. They purchased several million dollars’ worth, including a $1.2 million swing by Ken Lewis himself.

    Click through that link and look at it for a minute. Notice how they started making large purchases in late January, continued through the first week of February, then suddenly stopped on Feb 6. Also notice how they made no additional purchases, even when the stock fell to half the price that they paid just a few weeks before. I wonder why.

    Such “insider buying” is always good for a little short-term pump in a stock, as you can see from the price history. Now, it is completely impossible for this to have been an attempt to manipulate the price smack in the middle of the 20-day window, since the terms were not made public until a month later. So if I said, “These people should be in jail,” I would be overreacting, right?

    I reiterate my personal request: If you do any business with Bank of America or Citigroup — credit cards, checking accounts, whatever — please terminate it immediately and take it elsewhere. Especially Bank of America.

    https://self-evident.org/?p=476

  419. victorian says:

    I am moving all my money from BAC tonight. Motherfcukers.

  420. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (418)-

    Maybe Fox can come up with a new game show:

    TSTL (Too Stupid to Live).

    Right in Rupert’s wheelhouse.

  421. yikes says:

    clot, you heard about this shooting on oakland on NYE right?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAHjhtYZpX0

    there’s video of the kid getting shot accidentally

  422. Clotpoll says:

    Chi (421)-

    You’re talking to a wall.

  423. yikes says:

    com

    When traveling in southern france and italy years ago, a tour guide said that people did not invest much in housing because of a historical fear that it made them look wealthy, and thus a target for looting barbarian hordes. Since the barbarians are at the gate, I figure, poor is the new black.

    we’ll be holding off on the pool for a couple years, i guess. good idea, though. will make sure to park the old camry’s in the driveway

  424. NJGator says:

    Stu and I took Lil Gator to LSC over President’s Day Weekend. Big holiday weekend and they had 6 ticket counters open out of 16 and 3 of them were dedicated to members. Took us an hour and 20 minutes in line just to buy the tickets.

    We paid $7 to park there and there was a big sign at the parking entrance that stated ‘Absolutely No Refunds’. I guess they got a lot of complaints from people who didn’t want to wait in line.

    While they had no one selling tickets, they had 3 people working the floor by he entrance who continued to talk to each other for 5 minues before giving us an exhibit guide. I wonder if they were one of the 37.

  425. Sean says:

    Sas did mention his gig in NYC, more power to him for wearing leather to Columbia and book/geek GTG.

    I am sure we will all eventually have a GTG when the weather is warm. SaS,John,Chi, Grim, Still,3b, Essex, Yikes, Kettle, Clot, Comrade, Essex, Skep, Stu, Make, Shore,Hobokenite, Mike, Hehe, Vic, Pat, Cindy and the rest of the cast of characters like Bi and Reinvestor that make njrereport.com our very special online learning university.

    I am off the grid for a few days, heading to Colorado for some fresh air to spend some time with my pregnant wife away from the problems we all face and I am looking foward to clearing my mind. Skiing in some fluffy powder with some good friends is a cure a good for me.

    Folks, things are slowing down, we all know what is coming, so now is the time to take care of you and your family.

    Cheers and good heatlh to all.

    Sean

  426. Clotpoll says:

    yikes (437)-

    Yep. Teensy overreaction there.

  427. Clotpoll says:

    (441)-

    More like Singles’ Fingerpainting Night at Learning Annex.

  428. Clotpoll says:

    Sean (441)-

    Is this like some sort of cryptic bug-out letter?

    Have fun. :)

  429. sas says:

    ok, i’m back.
    the event was a little disappointing. The author only talked for about 30 minutes, then Columbia & the author/prof opened it up as a alumi mingle hour.

    wife & I just stayed at the bar upstairs, talked to a few people before and after, then we cut loose.

    Odd thing, someone came right up to me, intorduced himself, and then asked me what my opinion was of the RE market.

    a NJ RE bubble blog lurker?

    SAS

  430. yikes says:

    surprised by this 401k bashing. you can’t rely on the govt to take care of you via SS. pensions are a thing of the past – as Chifi said, take a look at the auto industry.

    401ks work fine … as long as you have a clue WTF you are doing and if your financial advisor doesn’t have his head up his ass. diversify.

    tax free $ is my kind of money.

    just one guy’s opinion

  431. sas says:

    “Yeah. Posted in a “sorta kinda” way – never gave a date, never gave a time….nothing.
    Grim even asked! for an invite”

    i posted the link.
    several days ago.

    if i didn’t advertize it day after day, well.. I will take the rap.

    sorry, the blogs aren’t always on my mind.

    SAS

  432. yikes says:

    Clotpoll says:
    February 26, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    yikes (437)-

    Yep. Teensy overreaction there.

    dont know if you saw me asking earlier in the week … you a shotgun or rifle guy? already have the handgun, and just think 2 more weapons would suffice.

    shotgun is power, but the rifle can nip things in the bud long before they become a problem and/or send a message.

    i know i’m treating life like a video game, but …

  433. Clotpoll says:

    sas (445)-

    Stasi.

  434. cobbler says:

    Clotpoll says:
    February 26, 2009 at 9:47 pm
    Chi (421)-

    You’re talking to a wall.

    Clot – thanks a lot for your compliment.
    You can’t save people from themselves, but you should at least try to provide a modicum of protection. Idea that the workers (most of whom can’t monitor the market during the work hours, generally have a narrow chance of investment options, can’t go short in a down market, and many of whom simply have no clue) as a group are more efficient investors than the pension fund managers (no matter what we think of WS people) is presumptious. Even if we stick with the defined contribution plans the default option should be either the professional management with some “floor”, or an annuity-type product. Again, I don’t believe that investment management should be a part of job responsibilities of an employee who is not able to handle it.

  435. Clotpoll says:

    yikes (448)-

    Mossberg 500, pistol grip. Open choke.

    My aim isn’t so good. With this, as long as I don’t point it at myself, everything dies.

  436. Clotpoll says:

    cobbler (450)-

    Ever just figure the system needs poor people and dupes in order to run properly?

    “I don’t believe that investment management should be a part of job responsibilities of an employee who is not able to handle it.”

    Boys, we got us a gin-u-wine li-buh-rul here.

  437. Clotpoll says:

    You eat meat, cobbler?

  438. Sean says:

    Clot – stand up comedy is your calling,you are a natural.

    Bug out for sure, but not do to any kind of jackbooted worries. Lots of friends and family are now on the dole, going to be a tough year (decades) with the wife expecting, this might be my last chance to dance and enjoy some fresh powder for a while. (:

  439. sas says:

    “pistol grip”

    careful. yes, looks cool. but really makes the shotgun not very accurate.

    For close contact, in my exp, you don’t want a long barrel, even shortened, in close contacts, you shoot from the hip.

    Lookin for KO power, a 40 or 45 pistol will due. I prefer 40, seems to have more velocity.

    if your aim sucks, take a class.

    if purpose of a firearm is home protection, a shotgun may not be the best way to go.

    besides, hard to sleep with a shotgun, but a pistol snuggles ever so sweet.

    for home protection, i suggest don’t ever keep a loaded gun, especially one in the chamber.

    just keep a nice loaded clip ready to go, so you can slam it & slide it.
    because of this, looks for a pistols that slides quick with no jams.
    and keep it lubed. with gun grease or WD40.

    learn to slam & slide quicker than one can say “oh sh*t”, and your good.

    SAS

  440. sas says:

    if anyone wants to get a firearm, take a safety class.
    point downfield.

    if have kids, best get an instant access pistol safe.

    SAS

  441. sas says:

    reminds me…
    back in the service, we had a motto:
    “one shot, one ____”

    SAS

  442. PGC says:

    #423

    LSC also terminated a lot of their reciprocal membership arrangements. They will only honor memberships outside a 90mile radius. We have membership to the Staten Island Children’s museum that used to get us free entrance to LSC. We will have to transfer that membership down to the Childrens museum in Florida beside Grandma.

  443. Steve says:

    Amazing what I learn on my favorite RE blog!

    Remember the days when folks would actually get grumpy w/ off topic posts? Circa 2005…

    NJRE Bubble Blog- such a distant memory…

  444. PGC says:

    441 Sean,

    I make it onto th RE101 list of undesirables, or Bi’s 60sec list of top posters in a day but I can’t make it on to your list of interesting posters.

    Time for me to hang up the keyboard and call it a day

  445. PGC says:

    grim

    423 in moderation.

  446. Sean says:

    PCG – try harder..,Lol

    I guess I owe you a drink too, don’t snap my neck for it.

  447. sas says:

    “RE101 list of undesirables”

    where is that guy? he is always fun, and in an odd, corky way, can be witty too.

    well, i think i will brush my crooked smile and hit the hay.

    night blokes.
    SAS

  448. Clotpoll says:

    Steve (459)-

    Now, we’re just killing time until the Gottendammerung.

  449. Shore Guy says:

    yikes,

    FOr my purposes, I use them once and discard. I asume that any such device can be identified and tracked if it is, um, taken for analysis. Once one keeps such a device for future use, one diminishes the advantages of using one. Buying and tossing devices can get expensive bbut, for certain business situations, the cost is justified. Just one person’s view.

  450. Shore Guy says:

    ” Rebalance your estimated tax payments. Because you anticipate stock losses/deductions/job issues/etc., you “reasonably and in good faith” think that your estimate was too high. Pay less instead.”

    One just needs to make eure one is within the safe-harbor rules when making such estimates.

  451. Clotpoll says:

    A little goodnight kiss, from Mikey:

    THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2009

    Chaos, Catastrophe, Crime and Consequences

    “Last week and early this week we took trading profits on our short positions. I thought we would see a move higher over the next week or two, but with what has unraveled during the past 48 hours, I now believe we are headed lower before any rally can take place. I don’t know when the rally starts, but right now the news is grim and getting much darker.

    My biggest warning to everyone has been the destruction of fiduciary money – pension funds, endowments, trusts, charities, etc. The boys on Wall Street have r@ped these funds and filled them with junk. Junk in the form of bogus joint ventures, overpriced assets and derivatives that generated huge commissions. As this unfolds, we will enter something akin to anarchy. In fact, we are at the precipice of anarchy right now. Our politicians have joined the Economic Royalists in providing them with the means to rob us blind and leave the world in financial collapse. Moreover, since we are allowing them to keep the money, the same criminals will be the ones to profit from the global financial collapse.

    With that said, we reversed course yesterday and today, and put on additional shorts in banking, builders, REITs, restaurants and even oil. I know my oil call was totally against the grain, but despite what the experts say about a technical bottom in oil and upcoming cuts by Opec . . . we are driving less, trucking less and the ships at sea are the lightest they have been in decades. In fact, we have more ships sitting at anchor than ever before. Moreover, Opec is NOT going to cut. They may say they are going to cut, but the next Opec conference will leave a bunch of greedy pikers pumping more oil to make up for the fall in prices.

    For clients, we will expand on these issues on the Friday morning call.

    We are seeing a meltdown on a global scale. There are seven “C” words that deserve attention.

    1 – Catastrophe – Obama uses this word on a regular basis to describe what is going to happen if we don’t keep throwing more money at the problem. Little does he realize the word is reality.

    2 – Confidence – Obama had the confidence of the US and the world. In Europe he had a 77% – 90% approval rating last month. That has dropped, but we have not seen a new poll. In the US, just talk to your neighbors and you will see that very few people have confidence in Obama. In fact, he loses more of our confidence every time he talks . . . and that’s a lot. His daily ObamaRamaLamas on TV have become painful. Newsweek ran a cover – The Confidence Game – How Obama Can TALK Us Out of a Depression.

    I have news for you, you can’t talk your way out of this. This is not Hollywood where they can write the ending. Obama has great speech writers and he is smooth on his feet, but he lack any substance. And I will repeat . . . he has surrounded himself with huge egos that don’t play well with others . . . and they are running around the White House with scissors.

    3 – Consequences – This is the key word to solving the global financial crisis. Go after the crooks like Hank Paulson that stole billions. Make them pay the consequences. I suggest we line up Paulson, Thain, Mozilla, Lewis, Sandler, Dodd, Frank and a few others. We ask them to return the money and to create laws that will be enforced. If they so no, we shoot one. I can guarantee the rest of them will run to return what these guys stole, and Dodd and Frank will crap in their pants. That’s another favorite “C” word. I know this sounds off the wall and harsh, but what thousands of men like this did is to destroy the lives of millions of people. Obama likes to compare himself to Lincoln. Well, Lincoln called men like this traitors. We shot traitors in Lincoln’s day.

    4 – Crapola – This one has double significance. First, the only thing we are hearing from the talking heads on TV and the baboons in charge in Washington is . . . crapola. Second, that is what we are going to be eating while guys like Paulson will be dining on the other “Cs” . . . caviar, cake, croissants, crawfish, cheese and cognac.

    5 – Collusion: secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose. That, my friends, sums up what we have just witnessed over the past 10 years between guys like Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Chris Cox, Angelo Mozilla, Dick Cheney, Robert Rubin, Hank Paulson and hundreds of others. I did not include George Bush, because he was simply so out of touch with reality, that he had no clue what was going on, and he left it all to Cheney and his Buddies.

    6 – Crime – With what I see and hear, I believe we will see unbelievable spikes in crime throughout the world. For the US and beyond, as the weather warms into Spring and Summer, the masses will not sit back and do nothing. To the contrary, as we are seeing in warmer climates like Madagascar, Guadalupe and Martinique, the masses are already rioting. If you think the 1969 riots were horrible, I believe this year will make that look like a kiddie parade. We now have organized gangs on top of millions of angry people. We now have millions of unemployed that have no jobs and their 401k plans have been destroyed. We now have millions of people that don’t know if they can put food on the table much longer. If Obama wants to talk about Lincoln, let him go back and consider what happened during the Civil War. And if you think we cannot fall into anarchy like that again, you are only fooling yourself.

    7 – Chaos: a state of utter confusion. I think that sums up where we are at today.

    Unless we go after the economic terrorist and claw the money back, we will see violence on an unprecedented scale this year. We didn’t have huge shopping malls in 1969, but the downtown shops were all looted and burned. I saw it first hand in Asbury Park, New Jersey. That was 40 years ago . . . one Biblical generation. The malls will be looted and destroyed. Grocery stores the same. I do not see anyway to avoid this . . . IF we stay on the same course we are on.

    Dillon Radigan on Fast Money this evening was bold enough to say we need to go after the crooks like Paulson, Mozilla, etc. He didn’t mention them by name, but he analogized them to terrorists.

    I leave you with the only “C” word we should be concentrating on . . . Consequences. If we fail to force the thieves to pay the consequences for creating a world of financial crisis, we must pay the horrible consequences of financial ruin and chaos.

    And if we don’t take control of our destiny, in the end, guys like Paulson, Mozilla, Dodd and Frank still have to report to the Boss.”

  452. Barbara says:

    Liberty Science Center, what a dump. 75 bux for me, husband and 5 yr old. Half the sh*t was either broken or unintelligible. Give me the Museum of Natural History any day. Top notch for the same price.

  453. Clotpoll says:

    You can probably cram a lot of homeless people into LSC.

  454. Sal says:

    #414 – Clotpoll

    Stop man – Im just trying to get constructive input. Attacking math skills is not what Im seeking.

  455. Clotpoll says:

    English soccer and RE don’t mix:

    (ESPN, 2-26-09)-

    “There was good news and bad news on Thursday as Arsenal reported their half-yearly financial results.

    While the football side of the Gunners’ business is in rude health with pre-tax profits up £4.5m to £24.5m thanks to increases in both broadcasting revenues and matchday turnover at the Emirates Stadium, the dip in the UK housing market is impacting on Arsenal’s property business.

    The Gunners remain confident that the Highbury Square development can tough out the current economic downturn and to underline the point the club’s property business has reported a pre-tax profit of £4.9m for the six months ending November 30, 2008.

    However, the redevelopment of Highbury into luxury flats could present some challenges. Construction is close to completion on the development which sits in the footprint of the old stadium but the concern for Arsenal is that the prevailing economic climate will mean sales income from Highbury Square could be slower than expected.

    Consequently Arsenal admitted on Thursday that they could be forced to extend the term for repaying the £133.5m loan taken out to finance the Highbury’s redevelopment, saying: ”Discussions with the banking syndicate are at a preliminary stage.”

  456. Sal says:

    #409 – Thanks. That’s helpful to me.

  457. Clotpoll says:

    Sal (470)-

    Sorry. I did pull a cheap shot. However, you do need to broaden out your thinking on this and understand you just can’t decide the market will drop by x% by the time this is all over and make those kinds of offers right now.

    This is still a market, and RE markets move in increments…even ones as nasty as this one. Can’t get tomorrow’s price today.

  458. cobbler says:

    Clotpoll says:
    February 26, 2009 at 10:15 pm
    cobbler (450)-

    Ever just figure the system needs poor people and dupes in order to run properly?

    “I don’t believe that investment management should be a part of job responsibilities of an employee who is not able to handle it.”

    Boys, we got us a gin-u-wine li-buh-rul here.

    Sorry – I just don’t think the WS really needs to always take advantage of those who can’t afford to be taken advantage of. There is good enough number of others. I don’t see why a suggestion to allow the people to put their money into a guaranteed return investments makes me a liberal.

  459. Sal says:

    I am not trying to be ignorant, but when this bubble started, didn’t sellers put tomorrow’s price tag? Why not the other way around? Simply asking.

  460. cobbler says:

    LSC is unsuitable for the homeless – they will destroy it in no time. Better move them to the old Jersey Central RR terminal down the road from LSC – could hold thousands.

  461. chicagofinance says:

    Steve says:
    February 26, 2009 at 9:26 pm
    principal protected annuities

    ChiFi (421),

    Wouldn’t there be significant counterparty risk, esp nowadays, if the provider sees an untimely demise – not to mention serious fees socking it to the end client, in return for that protection?

    I hear the refrain these annuity assets are “ok” since they’re pools regulated by various states, but it doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies… e.g. if we see AIG, Hartford, MetLife et al crash and burn– ?

    Steve: I really don’t sell this stuff, so I really cannot answer your question. I would assume that there are firewalls involved that have been erected in conjunction with state insurance commissions, but I will not hold myself out as an expert to answer your question. You can probably get the answer as easily as I could.

  462. chicagofinance says:

    Clotpoll says:
    February 26, 2009 at 10:10 pm
    sas (445)- Stasi.

    clot: did you ever see the movie The Lives of Others? Netflix it….

  463. chicagofinance says:

    You fcuking clowns are taking over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Spam, Guns, Gold ‘Bizarre’ Confidence Indicators: Chart of Day

    By Meg Tirrell

    Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) — Guns, gold and Spam, the canned meat made by Hormel Foods Corp., create a “bizarre indicator” of crushed consumer confidence, Loop Capital Markets LLC said.

    “A growing number of Americans are stocking the basement with Spam and marketable gold, while they peek out from behind the curtains with their firearm of choice,” analysts led by Chris Mier in Chicago wrote in a Feb. 26 note. “Hormel’s plants are now running on weekends to keep up with demand.”

    The CHART OF THE DAY shows the year-to-date returns of gold, shares of gunmaker Sturm, Ruger & Co. and Spam-producer Hormel compared with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Also shown is U.S. consumer confidence, which slumped this month to the lowest since records began in 1967.

    “If people believe the end of the world is coming and we’re in for anarchy, people are going to load up on weapons and Spam for their fallout shelters,” said Tim Ghriskey, who helps oversee $2 billion as chief investment officer for Solaris Asset Management in Bedford Hills, New York. “The most popular one is gold when there’s no consumer confidence, when there’s no confidence in the markets.”

    Sturm Ruger’s fourth-quarter revenue jumped 72 percent, and sales have also increased for competitor Smith & Wesson Holding Corp., said Eric Wold, an analyst at Merriman Curhan Ford & Co.

    While that’s partly due to concerns over tighter gun laws under a new administration, revenue increased in the quarter before President Barack Obama was elected, Wold said. “In recessionary times, people get concerned about safety, concerned about potential break-ins. You see gun sales ramp up on that.”

    To contact the reporter on this story: Meg Tirrell in New York at mtirrell@bloomberg.net.

    Last Updated: February 26, 2009 22:40 EST

  464. Steve says:

    Clot (464),

    Yep, pretty much. And it could be a supercharged meltdown, occurring in record time.

    I know the world’s completely f— up, when I sleep better at night in cash and 3x short.

    To be long right now in the face of this mess, seems so……well, imprudent ;)

  465. Steve says:

    Thanks Chi- no worries, it was more general curiousity than anything else…

    Just ancedotal, I’m hearing fixed annuities sales on a retail level are absolutely killing it, a sudden change over the last month, mind boggling sales numbers – when outflows are the rule everywhere else.

    Many treasury funds have been shut down/closed to new investments, so I guess people are looking for perceived safety whereever they can….

  466. Steve says:

    Congrats, all!

    You’re now the proud owner of the biggest pile of toxic waste on the planet, with a great ATM network, to boot!

    This has to be one of Dante’s levels, I’m sure of it.

    However, US govt reportedly requiring dollar-for-dollar private capital matching for the preferred conversion.

    Good luck with that.

  467. KareninCA says:

    cooper – I’m sorry I didn’t reply to your question last night – I must have signed off just after you asked. no, I don’t work nights; I’m just nocturnal. even if I wanted to sleep, night is when my ancient, senile corgi-mix begins his appointed demented rounds, getting trapped in corners, making ook-ook sounds of distress, and requiring rescue. I start reading the blog around midnight, my time.

  468. cooper says:

    GM Karen,
    no worries I understand, I do the same… did you see the jobs report, ouch again

Comments are closed.