If you are a contrarian, is it time to buy?

From Bloomberg:

Americans Shun Most Affordable Homes in Generation as Owning Loses Appeal

Victoria Pauli signed a one-year lease last week to stay in her rental home in Fair Oaks, California. She had considered buying in the area, where property prices have slumped 57 percent since a 2005 peak.

In the end, she decided it wasn’t worth it.

“I know people who have watched their home values get cut in half, and I know people who are losing their homes,” said Pauli, 31, who works as a property manager for a real estate company. “It’s part of the American dream to want to own your own home, and I used to feel that way, but now I tell myself: Be careful what you wish for.”

The most affordable real estate in a generation is failing to lure buyers as Americans like Pauli sour on the idea of home ownership. At the end of 2010, the fourth year of the housing collapse, the share of people who said a home was a safe investment dropped to 64 percent from 70 percent in the first quarter. The December figure was the lowest in a survey that goes back to 2003, when it was 83 percent.

“The magnitude of the housing crash caused permanent changes in the way some people view home ownership,” said Michael Lea, a finance professor at San Diego State University. “Even as the economy improves, there are some who will never buy a home because their confidence in real estate is gone.”

“If we’ve learned anything from this mess, it’s that housing is not a risk-free investment,” said Michelle Meyer, a senior economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research in New York. “Everyone knows someone underwater in their mortgage or struggling to sell a home.”

The share of Americans who said they plan to purchase a home in the next six months tumbled 23 percent in March, according to the Conference Board research firm in New York. The National Association of Realtors probably will say tomorrow that existing-home sales were at a 5 million annual rate in March, up 2.5 percent after a 9.6 percent plunge in February, according to the median estimate of 74 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

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218 Responses to If you are a contrarian, is it time to buy?

  1. grim says:

    From HousingWire:

    Bill would waive retirement plan withdrawal penalties to buy REOs

    A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would waive early distribution penalties on certain qualified retirement plans if the funds are used to buy a house that has been in foreclosure for a year or more.

    Bill Posey (R-Fla.) introduced H.R. 1526 — the Housing Recovery Act of 2011. It has been referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.

    “It’s not an end-all fix,” Press Secretary George Cecala said. “It’s just another idea to help the housing market.”

    The idea is to add stability to neighborhoods by promoting purchases by owner-occupants or those seeking a second home rather than investors who immediately “flip” the home. Under the bill, the purchaser must agree to hold the property for at least two years to be exempt from early retirement plan distribution penalties.

    The bill is expected to apply to distributions from Roth IRAs, 401(k) plans and company pension plans. It would require the person to use the retirement distribution within 120 days of receipt by buying a home that “has been in foreclosure for a year or more.”

  2. grim says:

    From BusinessWeek:

    Builders Probably Broke Ground on More U.S. Homes in March

    A gain in housing starts in March probably failed to make up for ground lost the prior month as U.S. homebuilders continued to struggle almost two years into the economic recovery, economists said before a report today.

    Work began on 520,000 houses at an annual pace, up 8.6 percent from the prior month, according to the median estimate of 77 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Starts fell 23 percent in February, the most since 1984, to the lowest level in almost two years.

    Housing, which pushed the economy into the recession, remains the weak link in the recovery and continues to weigh on consumer spending as home prices fall. The prospect of more foreclosures and joblessness forecast to average 8.7 percent this year means any recovery in housing may take time to develop.

    “Builders can’t sell homes and make a profit with so many distressed homes on the market,” said Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight Inc. in Lexington, Massachusetts. “What’s keeping activity down now are foreclosures and falling prices.”

    The Commerce Department’s report is due at 8:30 a.m. in Washington. Survey estimates ranged from 475,000 to 620,000.

  3. still_looking says:

    jeez! are you an insomniac?? good morning!

    sl

  4. grim says:

    From the Record:

    Short sales come with long waits

    Lori Purcell was sick of being a landlady and wanted to unload her two-family house in Garfield. But she knew it would never sell for the $325,440 she had paid in 2004.

    A short sale solved her problem.

    And though they can still be drawn-out affairs, real estate agents and lawyers say that as short sales have become more common, the odds of having a smooth transaction are getting better.

    Still, buyers, sellers, real estate agents and lawyers have plenty of stories about short sales that are held up for months — or even years — for a wide variety of reasons (and sometimes for no apparent reason).

    Purcell, a legal assistant, says it took almost a year to complete the sale of her Garfield home.

    She had bought the home in 2004, living in one unit and renting out the other. But after she moved in with her fiancé in Wayne, her tenants brought in extra people — and dogs — to live in the apartment. They were often late with the rent, and they broke the plumbing. Then a contractor punctured a water line. Purcell decided she was done with being a landlady, and put the house on the market.

    She soon realized that she wouldn’t be able to get nearly as much as she had paid, and started negotiating with the bank for a short sale. Answers were hard to come by.

    “You call an 800 number and speak to the customer service representatives who have no clue what is going on,” she said. “Every time I called, I got a different story.”

    She credits her real estate agent, Eileen Meehan of Re/Max in Saddle River, with getting the deal done.

    “She just kept following up and following up,” Purcell said.

    The home sold for $220,000 last fall — more than $100,000 less than Purcell had paid.

    “It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders once it finally went through,” she said.

    Purcell’s story is echoed by many who say lenders are slow to act on short-sale offers.

    “I’m waiting for the bank — they just don’t give you an answer,” said Nicole Idler of Friedberg Properties in Tenafly, who has been working for two years with a seller trying for a short sale in Teaneck. As the process dragged on, the market has been sliding, so she had to cut the asking price from $349,000 to $299,000. “It’s a very long, tedious, frustrating process,” Idler said.

    Similarly, Sal Poliandro, a Re/Max agent in Saddle River, has been trying to sell a short-sale property in Rochelle Park for two years. He has received several offers on the house, a Cape Cod with a back yard that overlooks Route 17. But by the time the lender finally responded to the offers, the buyers had moved on.

    “It should have sold two times over,” Poliandro said. “It’s frustrating.” First offered at $299,000, the home’s price has been cut to $259,000.

  5. Mike says:

    Good Morning New Jersey

  6. Mike says:

    Number 1 So what they waive early withdrawal penalties, the distribution is still taxable make it worth my while Washington poop!

  7. Mike says:

    oops the Roth isn’t taxable my mistake

  8. xroads says:

    #1

    lets make more people unprepared for retirement.. wtf?

  9. Confused In NJ says:

    The Government is one big shell game, robbing Peter to pay Paul.

  10. Overwhelming stench of death everywhere.

    It is the end of days.

  11. So this is how we kill shot what was once the greatest country on the planet.

    “For all those who read the initial attempt at damage control from Jan Hatzius over the S&P warning yesterday, this follow up from Goldman’s Alec Phillips will come as no surprise. To all those who may have missed the prompt note which came out after Mohamed El-Erian FT oped, the below will still not come as a surprise. Bottom line: “Although the US already appears to be on the edge of AAA territory by rating agency criteria and further deterioration of those measures seems likely, policy credibility is likely to be more important than the level of fiscal ratios at any given time. While enactment of major structural reforms to entitlement programs or the tax code look challenging in the next year, today’s announcement from S&P may on the margin increase the likelihood that Congress enacts one or more fiscal rules along with the increase in the debt limit, which we already viewed as a good possibility. The most likely change would be discretionary spending caps, which could apply for multiple years and would be difficult to undo once put in place. A second possibility is some version of the “failsafe” concept that President Obama proposed last week, which would require automatic reductions in spending and “tax expenditures” if by 2014 the debt to GDP ratio has not yet stabilized and is not projected to decline in the second half of the decade.” Of course as those who followed our notes during the S&P conference call, to a rational man, none of the above would come as credible, therefore inevitably pushing the US to an AA handle by 2013. Of course, this little piece of theater is once again very much irrelevant in the grand scheme of things: by 2013 we will have much bigger issues on our hands.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/sp-downgrade-warning-goldman-sachs-damage-control-part-2

  12. Greek 2 year notes @ 20%. 5 year at 15%.

    That should end really well.

  13. Jets12 says:

    The long protracted selling cycle is a New Jersey problem numerous other States don’t have. I bought a short in Georgia through a ReMax agent from HSBC, took 4 weeks from offer closing & keys. I’ve bought shorts here in NJ too.

    The key to buying a short in NJ is confirming the mortgage lender is 1 entity and not several, buying ‘as-is’, assuming all closing costs, submitting the deal with a mortgage commitment (not just an approval) and guarantee closing in 60 days. Most buyers fail to put a clean, clear, concise simple decision on the table for the bank. You don’t ask for concessions, there is nothing to negotiate, you build anticipated cost of any kind in your offer.

  14. yo'me says:

    Retirement account penalties should be abolished.It’s your own money.They should tax the withrawal to your highest income bracket for the last 10 years.That is fair.10% penalty plus taxes is not fair to prohibit you from using your own money.

    With this downturn millions of people are withrawing money to pay for daily living and getting hit with 10% penalty plus taxes.

  15. Biggest necessity spending these days should be on survival rations and ammo.

    Oh…and a few ingots, Krugs and silver bars.

  16. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Xroads 8 my thoughts also, we read about how most Americans do not have enough retirement money. The stories of people draining their 401 ks to survive are abound.
    What do the chowder heads in DC come up with put your retirement money in an illiquid asset that is taxed to hell and needs up keep. Then in conjunction with this they are planing on cutting SS some way or other. This people are brain dead.

  17. borat obama says:

    Last

  18. gary says:

    Let me know which part you’re having trouble comprehending and we’ll use baby words to help you:

    http://tinyurl.com/6ko5frh

  19. Lone Ranger says:

    “If we’ve learned anything from this mess, it’s that housing is not a risk-free investment,” said Michelle Meyer, a senior economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research in New York”

    Thanks Michelle; a typical economist. Akin to yelling fire after the village burned to the ground.

    Where were you in 2006 when 3/4 of this board were called wannabes. Funny thing, all thouse touting RE on this board, back then, are gone. Did Listen stay in Miami after the Super Bowl?

  20. Lone Ranger says:

    Gary,

    Check your email.

  21. gary says:

    Ranger,

    Affirmative! :)

  22. Nothing to see here; move on.

    “Oddly, as most other banks are relevering their risk taking activities, Goldman is actively curbing them.”

  23. Sell in May, and go away.

  24. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Trump calling for 25% tariff on all chinese imports.

  25. grim says:

    Housing starts and permits numbers surprise to the upside.

  26. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Veto Trump went off the deep end on the birther thing however I think positions like that one will resonate well with American voters.

  27. gary says:

    Santelli gutting Liesman in the span of 4.3 seconds… once again.

  28. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Grim saw that 549, all is well.

  29. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Gary wasn’t that fun to watch.

  30. Lone Ranger says:

    Currency wars, trade wars, protectionism, devaluing paper, inflating, war. Nobody could see this coming.

  31. gary says:

    grim [26],

    Pant up demand.

  32. gary says:

    grim,

    When you get a chance, please send me Mikeinwaiting’s email or give him mine. Thank you! :)

  33. The same crooks and idiots who brought you Great Depression 2 are still the ones at the controls, trying to right the ship.

    Meanwhile, the biggest daylight bank robbery in history continues.

  34. gary says:

    Quick! Little Timmy is on CNBC!

  35. prtraders2000 says:

    Owning a home is like getting married. Something to consider if you have kids. Otherwise not necessary.

  36. 3b says:

    #26 Just going to add to more unsold inevntory.

  37. grim says:

    #37 – The increase is not nearly large enough to cause concerns about inventory.

  38. Kettle1^2 says:

    Juice,

    I guess the Japanese government is tired of having the official line questioned (take with a Kg of NaCl, I am nor familiar with the source):

    Now the Japanese government has moved to crack down on independent reportage and criticism of the government’s policies in the wake of the disaster by deciding what citizens may or may not talk about in public. A new project team has been created by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, the National Police Agency, and METI to combat “rumors” deemed harmful to Japanese security in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

    The government charges that the damage caused by earthquakes and by the nuclear accident are being magnified by irresponsible rumors, and the government must take action for the sake of the public good. The project team has begun to send “letters of request” to such organizations as telephone companies, internet providers, cable television stations, and others, demanding that they “take adequate measures based on the guidelines in response to illegal information. ”The measures include erasing any information from internet sites that the authorities deem harmful to public order and morality.

    http://japanfocus.org/-Makiko-Segawa/3516

  39. yo'me says:

    With rising inflation Fed only choice is to increase banks reserve and to increase the value of the dollar to combat inflation.We will have to take in more cheaper imports.Domestic goods will be too expensive.Import prices will be brought down by a higher valued dollar.

    But Bernk is planning to buy more treasuries instead of retiring loans paid.We are screwed.

  40. Juice X says:

    re:#39 – kettle 1 – A little Harmony eh? We could use that here. Article 21 of the Japanese Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and prohibits formal censorship. If anyone is left alive in the coming decades they will challenge it in court.

  41. Juice X says:

    Yo’me -100 trillion in new lending. Full Steam ahead.

    What we should be doing is opening our own bank.

  42. JJ says:

    Only if you are white or asian.

    prtraders2000 says:
    April 19, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Owning a home is like getting married. Something to consider if you have kids. Otherwise not necessary.

  43. RentL0rd says:

    Taking a vote. “If you are a contrarian, is it time to buy?”

  44. 3b says:

    #44 Not so much the prices any more. It is the property taxes.But I will be buying.

  45. 3b says:

    #45 Buying within the next year, I should say.

  46. Happy Renter says:

    Today’s arithmetic lesson, with variables from the news article Grim posted to start off class this morning …

    “Americans stay in their homes for a median of eight years”
    +
    “A rebound in home sales depends on the availability of jobs”
    +
    “Federal regulators are proposing rules that may make lending even more stringent”
    +
    “As mortgage requirements rise, rates could follow as Congress and the Obama administration consider phasing out government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac”
    +
    the dotted red line on the Case-Shiller chart Gary posted at [18]
    +
    the deep red color (think blood) of NJ’s massive shadow inventory on the chart Grim posted a few days ago http://njrereport.com/images/2011shadow.jpg
    =
    “Going to bed every night worrying about your home value doesn’t sound like a good time to me.”

  47. Dan says:

    I could have sworn Becky Quick said this morning that she heard from people that the US defaulting would be a good thing and then Carl and guest quickly shut her up and moved on but Becky already had that look that she knew that she had said something idiotic or against what TPTB says and thinks. I hope someone Youtubes it later and hope she doesn’t end up in Siberia or demoted to MSNBC as a result.

  48. JJ says:

    What are we buying?
    A contrarian does not buy overpriced assets like Real Estate. We wait til an asset class over-corrects and then jumps in. Car Company Bonds 12-2008, Junk Bonds and Stocks all of 2009, Muni Bonds Jan 2011, Suprime Mortgages 2009-2010, NYC Coops 1991, etc etc. Until real estate reverts back to 12-1999 prices, pre-froth you only have a highly over priced asset that is not only overpriced.

  49. Confused In NJ says:

    With the current weather patterns, safe money is on buying a one story stone house, with a steel roof & shutters. Also should include a tornado cellar or bomb shelter.

  50. JJ says:

    If “Americans stay in their homes for a median of eight years”then the average home for sale was bought in April 2003 which means they are at break even or a slight profit.

  51. Kettle1^2 says:

    Juice

    What is this “constitution” document you speak of????

  52. Kettle1^2 says:

    JJ 51

    That assumes they didn’t lever up with HELOCs. I would bet that the majority did lever up. On top of that you have emotions. How many people are willing to sell at 2003 prices when the majority still have dreams of 750K POS capes in their heads and reinforcing stories of that friend who made 200K selling their POS cape for a 200K profit in 05?

  53. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Rent for my area “no” not yet.

  54. RentL0rd says:

    My own vote – I’m buying in the next few months. But buying a significantly less priced property in a lower tax area. Not expecting to make any money if I have to sell within 10 years. My monthly expenses on the house with taxes are about the same (if not less with more principal in) as my current rent – which is on the high side.

  55. 30 year realtor says:

    Purely on price and profit, no it is not time to buy. Real estate moves slowly, it is a lumbering beast. Give me 6 months consecutive of positive employment and real estate numbers and then I will tell you it is time to buy. No need to buy at the bottom. When you see the bottom in the rear view mirror, pull the trigger.

    In reality residential real estate is all about life issues and lifestyle. Timing the market is great, but you can’t raise your family based upon it.

  56. Jets12 says:

    It’s a great time to buy, you just have to know how to see blood in the water. This house was on the market for $454,000 for most of 2010, just sold last month for $300K. It’s entirely updated per today’s HGTV standards.

    http://www.trulia.com/homes/New_Jersey/Teaneck/sold/20239345-926-Phelps-Rd-Teaneck-NJ-07666

    Great deals are out there where the previous owners put in all the updates, got in financial trouble, and basically are in short or foreclosure status. $300K for that above is sweet.

  57. gary says:

    When you see the bottom in the rear view mirror, pull the trigger.

    This just entered the top 10 greatest lines uttered on this blog.

  58. 3b says:

    #57 With an 11k a year tax bill.

  59. 3b says:

    #55 I am looking at my next house as a long term rental, whereby I do not potentially have to move every couple of years. My rental now will be coming to an end in a year, as owner is selling, and we do not want to buy the house for various reasons. 6 years there, and not one rent increase.

  60. Jets12 says:

    #59, what are the options? saving $3K/year in taxes elsewhere for a far lesser property? at some point you have to see anywhere you go, if you have a decent house and not a shack, you’re going to pay $8K-$11K easy, no?

    How far out, away from NYC do you plan on moving? And what’s your limit in annual taxes? There are compromises either way, it’s a double edged sword.

  61. 3b says:

    #61 For 11k a year in taxes, IMO there are better choices then Teaneck, but you are right 300K is a far cry from 450K.

  62. grim says:

    saving $3K/year in taxes elsewhere for a far lesser property?

    Good luck with this one, I ranted the other day about how, from my perspective, it appeared that taxes were equalizing across NJ.

    A few years back there were a few standouts with tax rates that were astronomical, however they provided a high level of services and they were haughty towns, so it was accepted. You could live a few towns away and save a bundle.

    That gap has shrunk dramatically, and it continues to do so. The largest tax increases are in towns nobody ever expected (yes yes, the obvious exception is Montclair).

    You can’t just hop over into Morris and lower your taxes by 3k anymore.

  63. Happy Renter says:

    Arithmetic aside, as for my vote, I’m not buying in NJ anytime soon. I used to own and sold a few years ago, thinking I’d rent until I found something at a fair price to buy, but never did. I have a nice rental house and there is way too much uncertainty, both in the economy/housing market, and in my own personal situation, that I see no reason to tie a ball and chain of owning NJ real estate around my neck right now.

    Only when the dust settles from all the housing market manipulation and other economic turmoil will we really be able to get a sense for what fair market value is for NJ real estate.

    And by that time, I might not even be in NJ anymore. Neither my wife nor I have family in this state. Frankly, I’m sick of the commute (“35 minutes from NYC by train!” = 3 hours round trip door-to-door after you factor in inevitable delays) that one needs to do in order to make “Manhattan money” and live in a blue-ribbony town with a decent bit of land.

    Getting out of town for the weekend or a few days is now a massive hassle, whether you drive (insane traffic) or fly (thanks TSA!). Five months of winter. Close to the beach in the summer but boy don’t you just love the effing Parkway traffic. And the privilege of being taxed out the wazoo to support bloated public employee and teacher unions, with no sign of stabilization or improvement on the horizon.

    Like the frog in the slowly boiling pot of water, only when I get out of the area for a bit do I notice it.

    All of which perhaps wouldn’t be so bad if buying something meant that upon selling in, say, 7 years one could expect to at least not lose money on the deal (after inflation). But I just don’t see it.

    Right now, it is pretty sweet knowing that I can bail on this state the minute it gets too bad.

  64. Jets12 says:

    #62, seriously, i have never seen better finishes then that Teaneck house for $300K in metro NJ anywhere, with $11K annual taxes.

    sure, you can buy something in Westwood with $8K taxes, but the finishes are standard low end builder stuff. it would cost you a fortune to update a Westwood house to that Teaneck homes level, negating any tax savings for the next 30 years. That house has $100K in updates easily.

    That house is ideal for someone who can value proximity to Manhattan, might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Most people that buy homes and update them promise to NEVER do it again (time, cost, pain, headache). They vow to only buy something updated already, and that’s what that Teaneck house is.

  65. Dan says:

    I’d have loved to have waiting buying for longer but the combo of wifey pregnant and an apartment complex which raised my rent 8% last November and was looking forward to jacking me up at least 5% in July (explains AVB’s stock rise) meant I was looking now. I’m not saying I got a great deal even though the buyer did drop the price over time. I just want to break even in the 7 or 8 year time frame I expect to live there with some tax benefits in the meantime.

    If I wasn’t having kids though, I’d have waited.
    http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=avb&ql=1

  66. make money says:

    JJ,[49]

    The gubmint didn’t allow 1999 prices to happen. Think commodity inflation. Since 2008 kettle correctly predicted a deflationary environment which is now around the bottom. Say helo to inflation now. If I’m right, you want to be locked in a 4 handle loan and long shiny/silver. Why the nominal cost may seem high, the “real” cost of PITI will/is a joke. My PITI used to cost me 9 ounces in 2006, it only costs 3.5 today. All while the nominal increased 20%.(taxes).

    Is it better to be sitting in your 1500 sq foot home waiting for the market to correct, or enjoy a comfortable quality lifestyle with a affordable PITI for the past 5 years. Rememeber, after the kids grow up and move out couples don’t need 6000 sq feet. The window closes quickly and kids grow up as they don’t wait for the market to correct. Buying a comfortable home is not like buying a stock, starting a business, or buying a bond. Its actually something that should/needs to happen during a specific window of ones life.

    At least Chifi is renting in colts neck, you’re stuck owning and living in a blue collar town feeling overcrowded in a small home, driving a 528i and selling the Pats, game so that you can watch the rest of them. Not exactly what I would expect from a big time bond trader.

  67. 3b says:

    #63 grim You know better than I do regarding the property tax situation. However, for my particular situation, leaving where I am now and the town I most likely going to, the average difference in property taxes for a similar house is around 3K. In addition the average tax increase in my current town has been 5 to 7& a year vs. around 3% where I am looking to move. So form my own perspective it does make sense.

    Now of course I do not get the blue ribbony thing, but I do not need it any more, and anyhow I never thought it really meant anything. Comparing the 2 areas the difference in SAT scores fluctuates between 100 to 150 points (depending on the year).
    higher in the blue ribbony town vs. where I want to go. The same % of HS graduates go on to college in both towns as well. So if some one wishes to pay a premium in price and property tax for that 100/150 point difference, than that of course is their right.

    I think there are probably quite a few schools in NNJ that are just as comparable to those towns that go around shouting about their blue ribbon.

  68. NJSerf says:

    From the sound of this blog, it sounds like the bottom might be in.

    How long we’ll be there is a whole different story.

  69. NJSerf says:

    (68) – The blue ribbon premium only applies if your kid is in the top 10-15 in their class. Like it or not, the better high schools tend to get their top kids into the better colleges. It can mean the difference between a Harvard/Yale admission or Umass. This isn’t a knock on any institution, but if you have a really bright kid, the blue ribbon high schools can make a big difference.

    Again, just to stress, for 98% of kids it won’t make that much of a difference.

  70. BckInJersey says:

    First time poster here..

    #56 30 yr realtor is dead on, There are a lot of good deals out there but we are certainly not at the bottom yet. With taxes sure to continue to climb & interest rates surely going up, there’s no way that prices will stop dropping. As 30 yr says it’s all about your family lifestyle. I’ve been renting a house for the first time in my life, townhouse, Nice townhouse but would rather be back in a single family home any day. Again all about the lifestyle. But until the prices/taxes combo come down to where it is comfortable i’m not pulling the trigger.. Sold my house in the tampa, fl area after living down there for 5 years.. the Wife couldnt stand it down there… bummer.. cause i Loved it!!!

  71. Painhrtz - Salmon of Doubt says:

    Happy renter in some ways I’m envious of your mobility, and your situation. I also look at it from this perspective with the suspension of moral hazard I’m just as mobile I just walk away. Would I do that probably not, but the option is there.

    Grim of course taxes are normalizing, goverments are inherently lazy and once they see one town getting fat on the largesse of their taxpayers they will institute the same policies. If there is no howling and electoral consequences the cycle continues. The only way that will change is if you can speak to the electorate as responsible adults not spoiled children with their hands out. since that will never happen, I’ll chew on my popcorn and watch the chaos unfold.

  72. 3b says:

    #70 I do not agree, but agree to disaagree. In my blue ribbony town, very few of the graduates go on to Ivy League schools.

    Away from the Ivy League, then one can get into the whole my kids 50K a year private college is better than your kids. Much of this is parent driven, not the kids.But that is for another debate.

  73. Outofstater says:

    What do you guys get in return for $12K in property taxes that other people in less heavily taxed states don’t get? Why are the taxes so high? Where does the money go? Is it retiree benefits? Healthcare? Unions?

  74. freedy says:

    NJ is different the pols just steal the money

  75. Kettle1^2 says:

    JJ

    I hope you arent still holding that GM stock you picked up at the IPO.

  76. Kettle1^2 says:

    Stater,

    retiree benefits? Healthcare? Unions? Yes

  77. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Yesterday’s quote of the day has to go to Ratigan, who is gargling with the MSNBC kool-aid:

    “If you are long gold, you are short the US”

  78. Kettle1^2 says:

    Nom 78

    And what exactly is the problem with that?

  79. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Boy, GS took a helluva swing today.

  80. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    (79) Kettle

    Did I say “problem”?

  81. Painhrtz - Salmon of Doubt says:

    Nom I think at this point anyone with a brain is short on the US

  82. NJSerf says:

    (73) Here is the main difference between a good high school and a bad one: In the good high schools 80%+ go on to college, and your kid and their peers look at college as the next natural step(the merits of this is obviously debatable). In general, studying and getting good grades is not frowned upon, its expected.

    At a bad high school less then half go on to college, and your kid can find themselves in one or the other crowd. Good luck controlling which half they fall into.

    The key difference between a good high school and a “blue ribbon” high school, is the top kids tend to get into better colleges. A lot of this has to do with the fact that these schools know to offer the proper course load and programs that these colleges are looking for.

  83. 3b says:

    #74 We are told we get the best schools in the country.

    Ironically Newsweeks 1000 best HS in the U.S. did not list any NJ HS school in the top 20 so called best.

    Florida which is apparently not known for its PS’s, had 8 in the top 20.

    Just saying.

  84. Lone Ranger says:

    “If you are long gold, you are short the US”

    Nom,

    Tell Dylan that if you live in NY/NJ there is a good chance that you may be either a Yankee or Met fan.

  85. 3b says:

    #83 I understand the difference between a good and bad HS. I will soon have the third one out of HS (blue ribbon). They did well because of the standards that we set.

    All I am saying is that IMO many of the non blue ribbon HS; in NNJ are just as good as the so called blue ribbony ones.

    I have seen over the years (and this is not directed at you), people screaming about blue ribbon, some of these people are clueless, and more than a few did not even have kids in the system yet, or were just starting. All I am saying is having gone through it, it is (blue ribbon) by no means the be all or end all.

  86. grim says:

    New Jersey made it’s showing at #50 with McNair in JC. I don’t think any public HS in Jersey made a showing in the top 100.

  87. 3b says:

    #87 Ironic.

  88. grim says:

    Ah there it is, Ridge came in at 194.

  89. NJSerf says:

    (86)They really aren’t the end all be all. My point is that the bulk of the benefit in these schools goes to about 5-10 kids a year. For those 5 to 10 kids, it really does make a big difference.

    The rest aren’t really any better served then if they had gone to a good non-blue ribbon HS.

    I have seen over the years (and this is not directed at you), people screaming about blue ribbon, some of these people are clueless, and more than a few did not even have kids in the system yet, or were just starting. All I am saying is having gone through it, it is (blue ribbon) by no means the be all or end all.

  90. Lone Ranger says:

    Where was Snyder, JC, ranked?

  91. 3b says:

    #90 Yes and yet ironically so many will pay for the blue ribbony premium.

  92. sas3 says:

    3b, here, some families are paying a tax bill of about 14k and sending kids to 25k+ private schools. Post-blue-ribbony.

  93. make money says:

    (85),

    Tell Dylan that if you’re love Yankees then you’re short Red Sox.

  94. JJ says:

    Housing has lots of headwinds coming up in Fall.

    1) Tax Changes that may limit mortgage interest deduction to a max of 28%.
    2) Confirming Mortgage limits are set to fall in the Fall of 2011. This will cause Jumbo rates to rise and make it harder to get a mortgage.
    3) Mortgage rates are set to rise.
    4) Property taxes are still headed up.
    5) Retirees trapped in houses with 24K property taxes and higher and higher heating bills hoping for 2006 prices will eventually have to capitulate.
    6) Foreclosures/Short Sales prices driving down resale prices.

    If we make it past the next 12 months and none of the above things cause RE to fall further I say we have a firm bottom. I am not saying we will rise in price anytime soon. But we have a floor. I think unless it is a bargain I would rather be selling then buying, catching a falling knife can be painful.

    RentL0rd says:
    April 19, 2011 at 10:24 am

    My own vote – I’m buying in the next few months. But buying a significantly less priced property in a lower tax area. Not expecting to make any money if I have to sell within 10 years. My monthly expenses on the house with taxes are about the same (if not less with more principal in) as my current rent – which is on the high side.

  95. 4c says:

    I would like to move out of the city NJ or Westchester.
    I don’t agree with 30yearoldre. Sure there are bargains to be found but what today can look as a bargain it will not be a bargain a couple of years later. Bargain houses get cheaper while prices are going down.

    Also we are nowhere near the bottom. Although this blog is bearish it seems you do not realize the huge bubble that has occurred, the squeeze of the middle class, the loss of income, the high property taxes, unemployment, and the fact there is nowhere enough people with high income to replace the wave of retiring boomers with their overpriced and high taxed properties meant to fund their retirement.

    Fortunately I have the luxury to wait for a couple of years more but I am not catching today’s falling knife.

  96. 4c says:

    95 JJ

    my words agreed. if there is a stabilization of prices in the next 12 months or so then this will be some kind of plateau (perhaps a japanese style one) because there are no real estate ponies from above. Of course there is the QE but it is not focused on re.
    However now the knife is still falling and even if it stops falling there is no hurry to buy for several years. There isn’t and won’t be a bargain.

  97. 3b says:

    #95 5) Retirees trapped in houses with 24K property taxes and higher and higher heating bills hoping for 2006 prices will eventually have to capitulate.

    Ironically they appear many times to be the most in denial. ” I ain’t giving my house away”.

  98. 4c says:

    98 3b Ironically they appear many times to be the most in denial. ” I ain’t giving my house away”.

    Of course, there will be a lot of pain involved and as in any case of people with denial the only think you can do is wait.

  99. JJ says:

    Re 97 people also forget generational shifts. When I was young I was by several years the first person to buy real estate. When I bought my coop from RTC in 1991 for 27K fully renovated that was originally priced at 106K in 1989. Nearly all of my friends said you are insane RE is a losing investment only fools buy real estate. The great Coop and RE meltdown in the S&L crisis affected home buyers up till around the last 90’s. In fact in the 1990s not one single friend owned a place in the city. Other shift I see is young people don’t want a trade up home. They want to move right to that HGTV dream home. The capes and splits just sit there. The young folks would rather stay home with mommy and daddy rent with friends or when newly married rent a apt or townhome for a few years. This is a whole generation of engaged couples not buying. This also happened in 1991-1997. This combined with a massive exudus of baby boomers selling as they are in retirement. In older established bedroom communities this is causing a glut of homes.

    This will change, it did in the past. But remember the 1970s and 1980s were relative low birth rate years. The 1990s and 2000 kids are not ready to buy houses for a good 15-20 years.

  100. 3b says:

    Somebody talking about 1990’s prices for real estate? The listing below is now offered at 250K, which is definitely late 1990’s pricing. Sold in 2005 for 385K. Taxes are $8,900 (with this years increase add another $550). it is on a busy street, but you get your blue ribbony thing

    http://www.njmls.com/listings/index.cfm?action=dsp.info&mlsnum=1039663&dayssince=&countysearch=false

  101. Painhrtz - Salmon of Doubt says:

    3b you cant fix ugly and that place is awful

  102. JJ says:

    3b those homes were like 180K back in 1997.

  103. 4c says:

    I think that either
    -property taxes will explode thereby making houses dirt cheap. think 70s NYC where houses were free for those who could pay taxes.
    -property taxes are contained which means low income, no loans and deflation. House prices? correct

    Eitehr way there are no bargains now

    if no money trickles down to sheep there will be no 90s recovery either

  104. 4c says:

    the worst hit will be on those $600k and above houses. if you are not making $300k+ forget about them. Imagine how much you need to maintain, heat, tax etc. and be able to retire too–I am talking about the younger families. No way those houses won’t be selling for 90 prices soon.
    The only reason won’t be getting lower is because people will flock NYC for a high paying job promise and rents might remain high. If NYC does not hold then all bets are off.

  105. 3b says:

    #03 JJ Those homes I believe would have been around 200K say in 99, early 2000. We are now in 2011, the house will IMO sell for no more than 200k, and perhaps less; that takes us to your 180k in 1997.

    The fact that somebody paid 385K for it in 2005, IMO demonstrates the absolute madness, that the bubble was.

  106. 3b says:

    #02 Oh it is ugly, but I have seen much worse at much higher prices.

  107. DL says:

    Time to buy? Until we solve our national debt problem, our Congressional cleptocracy problem, our state unfunded pension problem, our teacher’s union-school board problem, our currency printing problem, and our job problem, the answer is no. Soon we will wish we were Greece. Except we’ll have no Germany to bail us out. (BTW, German tax receipts were 16.5 percent above expectations in March; I bet Merkel wished she followed Timmy G’s advice now!)

  108. DL says:

    “If you’re long gold; you’re short the US.” Sounds like a no-brainer to me. See PIMCO’s analysis of US off-balance sheet accounting and our real debt of 300% of GDP.
    http://www.pimco.com/EN/insights/pages/skunked.aspx

  109. Jets12 says:

    104 & everybody seems to forget. talk to a realtor, there is a never ending flow (demand) of manhattan people having kids and looking for options from paying $35K/yr for Kindergarten and grade school.

    NJ has bargains and is cheap now, $12K/taxes no big deal, to a whole lot of Manhattan couples with far far more expensive propositions sitting where they are in their $5K/Mo 800 sq’ rental on the West Side and newborn.

    they look to the ‘blue ribbony’ places, right? not all go to westchester, many look to NJ, isn’t Montclair basically a product of this for the past 4 decades?

  110. me@my.other.job says:

    I wish I had the chutzpah to pick up and live/work in the Keys….

    just sayin’

    sl

  111. 4c says:

    110 jets

    you seem to forget we talked about people in denial

  112. DL says:

    Make that 500% of GDP.

  113. Double Down says:

    News this AM featured these two stories one minute apart…

    “Bad news, consumers are burdened by rising gas prices.”

    “Good news, home prices are rising.”

    Indeed, it is miserable to struggle under the burden of a few extra dollars for gasoline expenses, but what a joy to have a mortgage payment 50% too high, to the tune of thousands of dollars a month.

  114. Shore Guy says:

    NJ could reduce the number of municipalities by 1/2 to 1/3 with no loss of services, local responsiveness, etc. that are often cited in support of geographically-small municipalities. The aoblition of the towns joining and the creation of new entities could also provide opportunities to negotiate new contracts with employees, insurance companies, etc.

    The cost savings associated with consolidation could be large.

  115. Double Down says:

    JJ, while housing remains overvalued, in your buying calculus factor in that people don’t live forever. It’s no bargain if values hit the ideal mark when you’re 70 years old.

  116. Shore Guy says:

    Towns tend not to care whether high taxes drive away owners because, unless things collapse, owners cannot walkaway without finding another sucker, uh, buyer to purchase the place. Regardless of what the new buyer pays, or how big of a hit the old owner takes, the new owner is on the hook for the taxes.New names but, same or increased town revenue.

    Nevertheless, if things are such that people are buying with litle down and they get tired of getting scre-wed by taxes, they can walk, even without finding a buyer. Just ask Detroit whether entire neighborhoods of property owners can vaporize into thin air and what happens to revenues when owners decide that walking away is the best solution.

  117. 4c says:

    110 jets

    why do you think that the soon to retire policeman believes his pos will soon sell for a 2006 price. Because he believes he will be collecting a pension and that there is the endless stream of the parochial NY couple who sells their 1br for a million to move to NJ. Only time can cure this.

  118. 3b says:

    #10 Yes. We get this every year, the unending supply of Mnahatan couples with scads of money who can pay whatever in property taxes. Manhattan bakes a new batch every year; and yet the Spring selling season for the last few years some does no turn out to be strong.

  119. Mark to fantasy says:

    To Shore #117

    Try this for a fit. Those from Hudson County know the m/o & where it will lead.

    North Bergen weighs ordinance to allow township to renovate abandoned property and charge owner the costs, then seize property for other uses if bill goes unpaid
    Friday, April 15, 2011
    By JEAN-PIERRE MESTANZA
    JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
    NORTH BERGEN – The township commissioners introduced an ordinance this week that would allow the municipality to renovate abandoned properties and charge the owners for the fix-up.

    The “Abandoned Properties Rehabilitation Ordinance” will help the municipality curb problems that arise with abandoned buildings, such as diminished property values and increased criminal activity, officials said.

    An owner would be charged for the renovations and if they didn’t pay in a timely manner, the township would be able to take over the property for other uses, according to the ordinance.

    Properties are considered to be abandoned if they are either not in use for six months or are unsuitable for occupancy and no renovation work is taking place, the ordinance says.

    A public hearing on the ordinance is expected at the next commissioners’ meeting, on April 27 at 11 a.m. in Township Hall, 4233 Kennedy Blvd.

  120. Shore Guy says:

    This absurd notion that there is one perfect town for them drives so many people to bid up prices to unreasonable levels. Therte is no one perfect town any more than there is one perfect spouse for any given person — notwithstanding how wonderfula a given spouse may be and how much in love the spouses may be. The fact is that there are multiple towns in multiple states that will satisfy the wants and needs of just about any fussy buyer.

    It is like the kids who exclaim “OMG, if I don’t get into Harvard, my life will be ruined.” Wrong Bucko. There are literally hundreds of colleges at which any given student will thrive and receive a great education.

  121. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [85] Lone Ranger

    Not always. I’m an exile from Red Sox Nation.

    I tell people that I was too much of an a-hole for Mass. so I was banished to NJ.

  122. Lone Ranger says:

    Since this site surfaced we’ve heard about the Manhattanites, the Chinese, the Europeans, the Canadians and, every May, the new graduates who would be supporting RE prices in NNJ. Simply a heap of BS. The only one who gives a hoot is Mr Market. This decline will go much further and for a much longer period of time than most be begin to imagine. It will be Chinese water torture for many, many years to come.

    Next stop on the train; demographics. Every day for the next 19 years, 10,000 boomers will be turning 65. Remember, they thought that RE was their ticket to retirement. Sell? Sell to whom?

  123. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [121] shore

    If my experience observing the PSU alumni in DC is any indication of how strong their bonds and networks are, I would send my kids to Penn State before Harvard.

    Down there, PSU is everywhere and they take care of their own.

  124. nj escapee says:

    (111) I wish I had the chutzpah to pick up and live/work in the Keys….

    Quit Your Job And Move To Key West : The Complete Guide [Paperback]

    http://www.amazon.com/Quit-Your-Job-Move-West/dp/0967449820/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1303237444&sr=1-1

  125. RentL0rd says:

    question for the gurus:

    If my written offer is not being submitted to the seller by the seller’s agent, what is my recourse? Call up the seller? It is almost 24 hours, and the seller’s agent has not submitted my written offer yet.

  126. PSU, not! says:

    Wasn’t Penn State founded by Jim Jones?

  127. Painhrtz - Salmon of Doubt says:

    Nom those nittany lions alum are rabidly loyal. I pal around with one in town, daughter is now a second gen and I have no doubt she will have no issues finding work when done with school.

    Being too much of an A-hole for Mass is impossible, when us folks from NJ refer to a whole population as Ma$$holes, I just don’t think you were manning up in those tawny NE towns.

  128. Shore Guy says:

    I assume the agent is obliged to present the offer. If they don’t, I would send one over to the owner via registered mail.

  129. Jets12 says:

    126, you gotta allow more time. reasonable matters might cause delay (illness, family emergency etc.). you have to allow for the possible reasonable explanation for delay, before you take it a second level, imo and that means more than 24 hours.

  130. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [128] pain,

    From what I observed having lived in Phila. and NJ for the past 7 years, is that “ma-ssholes” are amateurs.

  131. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [126] lord

    Withdraw the offer. Any offer can be revoked prior to acceptance unless you agreed to make it irrevocable.

  132. Shore Guy says:

    Penn State, Mchigan, Ohio State, they are the same way. Must be something in the Big Ten water. Whatever it is also prevents them from being able to count above 10.

  133. Nicholas says:

    Almost 24 hours?!? OMG panic!!!

    Less than one day has transpired and you are already in a knit about your offer not making it to the seller. What if the seller was eating dinner when the agent called and decided not to answer the phone and since they are 80 years old they don’t have a cell phone or voicemail either. Perhaps the seller has a standing order with their agent to throw away all offers below xxx dollars.

    Relax, call the sellers agent and ask if they have submitted your offer and why it is taking so long. Put into your offer expiration conditions that require action on the sellers part or your bid becomes void if you are really seeking feedback from the seller.

    The best words of advice that I have recieved about the negotiation process is that it is much like dating. You leave your telephone number with a girl at the bar and you think you are a good offer but don’t be offended if she doesn’t call. It sounds to me that you are sitting by the phone waiting for this girl to call and that is depressing me.

    My suggestion would be to go look at some more houses and forget about the girl that wont call you back. I don’t know about your area but you could support your family being the guy driving wooden “For Sale” signs into peoples yards around here.

  134. grim says:

    If my written offer is not being submitted to the seller by the seller’s agent, what is my recourse? Call up the seller? It is almost 24 hours, and the seller’s agent has not submitted my written offer yet.

    Tell your agent you want their broker to call up the listing agent’s broker and find out the hold up is. Not presenting a written offer is a serious issue.

  135. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [82] pain,

    Anyone with a brain, or who is a regular reader of this blog. How many of us said months ago that we were getting out of domestic securities?

    Okay, I haven’t yet, but I am in the process of lightening up on US exposure.

  136. 3b says:

    #23 Yes. I will tell that to the kid I know with 250K in student loan debt,and his girl friend with another 125K. Yeah, they will be out looking this Spring; I am sure of it.

  137. Shore Guy says:

    I agree with Nom. I’d withdraw the offer and I might even tell the seller “this is what I offered and yor agent sat on, good luck with selling to someone else

  138. Shore Guy says:

    On an unrelated note, I just love Patti Smith’s voice in the chorus of Till Victory. When she is in tune, she can be awsome.

  139. chicagofinance says:

    F-Bombs and ‘Jorts’: 9 Craziest College Rejection Reasons
    (Page 1 of 3)
    For high-school seniors, the stress level of the past two weeks hit an all time high last Wednesday when Ivy League decisions came out. You've probably heard by now that for many schools, this year was the toughest college admission season on record. Take a look at the grisly acceptance rates: Harvard, 6.2 percent; Columbia, 6.9; Yale, 7.4; Princeton, 8.4; Brown, 8.7; Dartmouth 9.7; University of Pennsylvania, 12.3; and Cornell, 18. Even a school like San Diego State—best known for its beer and basketball-loving student body–saw its acceptance rate plummet to a jaw-dropping 10 percent.

    With so many students applying, it's no wonder that some of the rejections feel arbitrary and whimsical. Many had to be. “You are denying perfection,” says Eric J. Furda, admissions dean at the University of Pennsylvania. Adds Jim Miller, an admissions officer from Brown University: “The truth is that the differences are ludicrously slender and it's very hard to say to a kid why their candidacy played well or didn't play well.”

    The Daily Beast caught up with a number of exhausted deans and admissions officers from top colleges around the country to get a glimpse of what happened behind closed doors. What follows is the good, the bad and the ugly of this year's red-hot admission season, as told in the admissions officers' own words. Getting accepted at any of the schools we talked to required stellar SAT scores, solid grades, a tough curriculum and a whole lot of luck. Some deans and admissions officials preferred not to identify themselves, or their universities.

    1. Essays Resulting in Instant Knockout

    • Jim Miller, admissions officer at Brown University:

    “There was a really strong candidate we didn’t admit because he used an enormous amount of profanity in his personal essay. He had a string of F-bombs that was pretty remarkable. I am not opposed to profanity and sometimes it can work. But, every third word doesn’t work. Otherwise, he would have gotten in.”

    • Admissions dean at a top liberal arts school:

    “The tone of the essay matters a lot. One kid wrote about why men shouldn’t wear “jorts,” which I guess are jean shorts. How it’s a bad fashion statement. I was waiting for the punch line.”

    2. Things Raising a Red Flag

    • Ivy League admissions officer:

    “We had one great line. A young woman wrote that she took a summer course and she meant to say in ‘organismic biology’ but she wrote ‘org-smic biology’ and went on to say it was the best course she’d ever taken. We didn’t reject her for that outright, but it makes you look twice.”

    • Top state school admissions officer:

    “We had a few people camp out in our lobby and they refused to leave. The person said I am going to stay here until I talk to the people I need to talk to. He talked to everyone who was there and still didn’t leave. We finally had to ask them to leave. The person was very respectful and didn’t do anything that threatened anyone. But after the third person talked to the student, it’s fair to say the person’s persistence wasn’t working in his favor.”

    3. Unconventional Gestures by Applicants

    • Top state school admissions officer:

    “We had a student this year who sent a life-sized poster of herself in a box with a catchy jingle. It was attached to helium-filled balloons. When it was opened, the life-sized poster was supposed to go up in the air and unfurl before us like we were in a Harry Potter movie. But the balloons didn’t quite work. I don’t know that this hurt the student, but investing a few more minutes on the essay would have been a better use of her time. I just thought, ‘Wow, I hope it works out for her.’ I didn’t go look her up to make a statement one way or the other.”

    • Admissions dean at a top liberal arts school:

    “We received pies this year, two from the same person. She was trying to say she’s not an athlete, but a really great baker. That was really sweet. We didn’t take her, but we ate the pies.”

    4. Unhelpful Teacher Evaluations

    • Ivy League admissions officer:

    “Pick teachers who know you. Sometimes teachers will damn you with faint praise. One teacher wrote about a student: ‘He is not just an athlete. There is so much less here than meets the eye.’ Another teacher wrote about a different student: ‘Over time, he has developed a set of friends who have learned to tolerate and even accept him.’ Both of these students didn’t get in.”

    5. Choosing the Wrong Sport

    • Admissions officer from a liberal arts college in the Northeast:

    “We had one kid who was an accomplished race-car driver who competed in some professional-level races. He would have been an extraordinary student, but we took others first and put him on the waitlist. It [racing cars] is really interesting, but it doesn’t necessarily translate into something he could do while he was here.”

    6. Serendipity Playing a Part

    • Richard Nesbitt, director of admission at Williams College:

    “One applicant talked about how she loves to bake bread. The person who was reading her essay happened to have focaccia bread baking in the oven at the time of reading the application. The reader was on the same wavelength and even emailed the student to say, ‘I really liked your essay and here’s my recipe for focaccia bread.’ It’s a funny coincidence, but even the second reader who wasn’t a bread baker was similarly impressed by the application.”

    7. Expressing Interest in the School

    • Dan Parish, director of admissions and recruitment at Dartmouth:

    “As we make admissions decisions we try not to focus too much on people expressing an interest in Dartmouth. We should respect their application and try to convince them to attend on the other end. We don’t keep track of the number of times a student communicates with us. A student’s expressed interest in Dartmouth doesn’t play a role in our admissions decision.”

    • Eric J. Furda, admissions dean at the University of Pennsylvania:

    “We wanted to know, why Penn? Did you submit a generic essay that was part of a school’s supplement—another school’s supplement? You may need to do a little bit more research before you hit the submit button. Take notes during the campus visit, and even if it isn’t your top choice, still understand that you need to speak to that school and show what you are going to contribute to that campus. Articulate why this school is for you. Students who do well will start citing faculty and programs they want to explore.”

    • Admissions dean at a top liberal arts school in the Northeast:

    “One school’s horrible essay is another school’s favorite. It’s all subjective.”

    • Top state school admissions officer:

    “We end up with a lot of essays that sound like they were written by people who were prematurely middle-aged.”

    8. Lack of Guarantees

    • Eric J. Furda, admissions dean at the University of Pennsylvania:

    “When you are admitting [12 out of 100 students] there is no one who is a shoo-in anymore. There is no foregone conclusion about a student being admitted. You go through the selection process and before you mail them out that week you look at the decisions you’ve made. We change the decisions up until they are posted.”

    • Paul Seegert, admissions officer at the University of Washington:

    “We did reject someone this year who had a 4.0 who was an in-state resident.”

    9. Committee Comments Pushing a Decision One Way Or the Other

    • From a top liberal arts school in the Northeast:

    I just don’t feel any spark from this application.
    What would he/she bring to campus that we don’t already have?Would he/she be someone I would want to room with?

    English grades/scores are great, but this isn’t seen in their Common Application essay.
    How does the applicant compare to a sibling that we took/didn’t take?

    Will the decisions make sense to the high school?
    Alum interview notes that he/she has that ‘fire in the belly’ that we are looking for.

    Kristina Dell is an editor at Newsweek.com and runs the education website. Previously, she wrote for TIME magazine. Her stories have also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Reader’s Digest.

  140. NJGator says:

    The Gator Family wishes y’all a Zissen Pesach from Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras, where the water is beautiful, the iguanas plentiful, and everything nicer than a shack is located beyond barbed wire fences or manned by armed guards

  141. Juice X says:

    Private mortgage insurance no more, perish the thought. Home Equity of 25% before refinancing? 20% down to Buy? What in the Heck is this country thinking? We cannot
    have that kind of responsible lending in the middle of the American Dream!

    Several powerful real estate, home building, and mortgage banking groups have attacked the proposed qualified residential mortgage (QRM), claiming it would harm both creditworthy borrowers and a housing recovery.

    The following statement was released by the Center for Responsible Lending, the Community Mortgage Banking Project, the Mortgage Bankers Association, the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America, the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors late last week:

    “In the midst of a very fragile housing recovery, the government is throwing a devastating, unnecessary and very expensive wrench into the American dream.”

    “First time homebuyers will have to choose between higher rates today or a 9-14 year delay while they save up the necessary down payment. And 25 million current homeowners would be locked out of lower refinancing rates because they lack the required 25 percent equity in their homes.”

    The groups believe the down payment and home equity requirements won’t have a “meaningful impact” on mortgage payment default rates, but rather will penalize responsible consumers and cause many to put off the purchase of a home.

    Additionally, they argue that those unable to qualify for a QRM will be subjected to higher mortgage rates, making qualification and homeownership more difficult, if not impossible.

    “We urge regulators to develop a final rule that encourages good lending and borrowing without punishing credit-worthy consumers,” the groups concluded.

    In short, the proposed QRM will require a 20 percent down payment for purchase money mortgages and 25 percent equity for a refinance, effectively eliminating the need for private mortgage insurance , while putting pressure on home sales and mortgage financing.

  142. Shore Guy says:

    Gator,

    Have you gotten to Yabba Ding Ding?

  143. Shore Guy says:

    Roatan used to be nice, now it is too built up.

  144. sas3 says:

    Pain, where do you put your money if you are avoiding US securities? Metals? International Stocks?

    For the last couple of years, SPY has been doing fine — in dollar units of course.

    S

  145. Shore Guy says:

    It is a good place for Lenca. The owner is Susan, I seem to recall but, I think she is spending most of her time in the US.

  146. sas3 says:

    Gator,

    everything nicer than a shack is located beyond barbed wire fences or manned by armed guards

    You have seen the future of the US, sans the clean water :)

    Have a nice vacation. Has Stu fully recovered?

  147. Shore Guy says:

    Yaba, not Yabba.

  148. Painhrtz - Salmon of Doubt says:

    Nom that is because you are using the Philly population who are born professional a$$holes as your baseline. The rest of folks from NJ are just stupidity filters who have no tolerance for it.

  149. Shore Guy says:

    From cat to salmon? Moving the wrong way on the food chaim, it seems.

  150. Shore Guy says:

    Next up, plankton of hope?

  151. Painhrtz - Salmon of Doubt says:

    SAS3 no investment guru like JJ and chifi but we have been mixing it up with some carry trade, US securities even though we are now looking to fully divest, metals and resources. Had a nice bump on oil commodities since after the last hiccup with Katrina got smart and learned to dive in on unrest then get out when every one else gets in. Not brave enough to do munis, and most of it is spread against currencies that look stable Canadian, Aussie with minimal exposure to Euros and Dollars.

    Granted the money I’m talking about is in the tens of thousands not millions, just trying to protect what was saved while have the possibility to bug out with multiple types of currency

  152. Nicholas says:

    So I opened a letter in the mail yesterday.

    Apparently I qualify for a no money down, no job, no income verification, no appraisal, mortgage that will lower my payments and allow me to skip up to the next two mortgage payments.

    I think I am becomming physically ill from reading the advertisement. If you thought NINJA loans died in 2008 you are completely mistaken. I feel like framing it but it makes me sick just looking at it.

  153. Al Mossberg says:

    Theres a 44 handle on Silver.

    Gold $1,497.90 $1,498.90 $5.00
    Silver $44.03 $44.08 $1.05

    Any fresh doom today? Thanks in advance.

  154. Lone Ranger says:

    Al,

    Tonto is devising an option play to lock it in, while keeping exposure.

    http://www.kitco.com/charts/popup/ag1825nyb.html

  155. me@my.other.job says:

    escapee, 125

    thanks!

    sl

  156. sas3 says:

    Pain, yours seems like a fairly reasonable diversification, though it does require an aptitude for sane, active investment strategy, which is beyond my ability!

  157. Juice X says:

    re: #154 Al – Turbo Timmay opened his mouth again.

    “He said that despite the S&P move he has “absolutely not” had to reassure any foreign buyers of Treasury securities of the credit worthiness of the U.S. government.”

    Sure not answering the phone and going on a media blitz since the weekend with both guns blazing is surely a way to win over investors.

  158. Al Mossberg says:

    155.

    Lone,

    The good Mr. Turk has calmed my nerves about my mining shares. Im going half in, half out. Looks like the hedge funds are long bullion and short the shares.

    ““It’s depressing to see the mining share action today with gold and silver putting in such strong performances. But don’t let your emotions fool you and send you in the wrong direction. Sometimes the markets really do try your patience and this is one of those moments that we are seeing right now in the mining shares. KWN readers should continue accumulating the mining shares because at some point in the near future we will see a move that will be absolutely breathtaking.”
    James turk 4/18/11

  159. Juice X says:

    Cleaning house.

    “Ireland plans to clear the boards of its banks of members appointed before the country’s financial crisis.”

    “I’m not saying that they are personally culpable. I am simply saying that the crisis occurred on their watch and it’s normal that if the crisis occurs on your watch that you depart subsequently,” Noonan told a news conference.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/19/ireland-economy-banks-idUSLDE73I1NU20110419

  160. Al Mossberg says:

    158.

    Juice,

    I think they try to hide Timmy G because its too bullish for bullion. On another note I say the Kenyan get interviewed in Texas by channel 8 news. They treated him like a foreign national hell bent on destroying Texas. Quite amusing and appropriate.

  161. Al Mossberg says:

    Silver $44.13 $44.18 $1.16

    Unbelievable whats going on with silver. I think COMEX default this summer. Any takers?

  162. me@my.other.job says:

    L Ranger,

    Are you BC/Wantan?

    sl

  163. JJ says:

    Is a written offer a NJ thing? I sold one coop, two houses and bought one house. Never got a written offer and never gave a written offer. I mean everyone cowboys up we come to a verbal price and then we write up offer letter. What is point of this bad and forth on offer letters other than it makes good TV?

  164. Shore Guy says:

    Sl,

    Bingo

  165. me@my.other.job says:

    Shore,

    thanks!

    sl

  166. Shore Guy says:

    A written offer, if accepted can be enforced. A verbal offer, good luck. The written prevents one from trollng to find the seller’s true botom line.

  167. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [149] pain

    IMHO, Philly is an extraterritorial extension of SoJo. It really has no affinity with the rest of PA, yet it is largely identified with Southern Jersey. Rather, SoJo identifies with Philly, and the cross-pollination of SoJo and Philly is so complete that it is, for all intents and purposes, interchangeable.

    Remember, many of those that we consider Philadelphians are actually NJ’ers, or are NJ transplants.

    Finally, an anecdote. Nearly 5 years ago, I was on a sidewalk in Orleans, MA. An SUV drove very near my daughter and scared her out of her wits. She ran to me screaming “Daddy, keep me safe from the bad Philly driver.” I looked back at the SUV.

    Jersey plates.

  168. NJSerf says:

    (164) Its only a thing for people that don’t have access to a hot tub time machine.

  169. RentL0rd says:

    Thanks grim and others on the suggestions. Unfortunately, there’s only so much I can disclose on this blog. The hold up is that the other agent is at a dispute with my agent. Let’s say they duke it out and the offer (which is actually a pretty good offer) is presented and all that. Can the sellers agent cause other problems in the future. Does it make sense to withdraw the offer just because the sellers agent is a pig?

  170. Painhrtz - Salmon of Doubt says:

    Shore parmecium of paucity if I can

  171. Painhrtz - Salmon of Doubt says:

    I guess C anadian border puts you into moderation

  172. Painhrtz - Salmon of Doubt says:

    reposting with edits

    Nom lovely antedote never said we could drive : )

    Sas3 it isn’t an investment strategy, it is more along the lines of throw as much poop against the wall san see what sticks while providing with the opportunity to leave should the proverbial poop hit the mechanical spinning device. There is a reason I live no more than 7 days hike from the Canadian border

  173. JJ says:

    I find lowball buyer agent bids have two hurdles, first you are asking sellers agent to split commission and then you are putting in a low bid.

    Also is this even a serious bid. An agent asked me to look at a home on Sunday that was a first open house. She then told me am I serious about house and would like to make an offer. I said maybe, she then said what day this week would you like to come over with your family to meet with owner have your questions answered and come to an agreement on price. This is the third time in a row by three different agents I was told how to put in a offer.

    So you write something down give to buyers agent who gives to sellers agent who gives to owner who gives back to sellers agent who gives back to buyers agent who gives back to you. WTF. I bought my house at open house. RE said to stick around she would tell owner to come back and we would get a price. Wrote a binder after we agreed on price and gave a deposit check. Same way every place I sold.

    Ask to sit down with buyer no realtors present man to man and woman to woman and do or don’t do deal. I am suprised any homes at all sell in NJ the way you guys nancy boy around like a couple of proper ladies deciding who gets the last tea biscuit.

    Funny I was bluffing on a house a few weeks ago with realtor to get price. Realtor called my bluff and said if your wife wants house bring by wife and kids tonight to house so you and the home owner can meet man to man in the den while the ladies, kids and I have some snacks and chats in the kitchen and when you come out I can write up deal. I ran away.

    RentL0rd says:
    April 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks grim and others on the suggestions. Unfortunately, there’s only so much I can disclose on this blog. The hold up is that the other agent is at a dispute with my agent. Let’s say they duke it out and the offer (which is actually a pretty good offer) is presented and all that. Can the sellers agent cause other problems in the future. Does it make sense to withdraw the offer just because the sellers agent is a pig?

  174. RentL0rd says:

    JJ – What are you trying to say?

  175. Shore Guy says:

    171, I thought that was Obama.

  176. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Not as ironic as Jim Fixx dropping dead from a heart attack while still comparatively young, but it doesn’t promote marathon running either:

    “OSLO, Norway – Grete Waitz, the Norwegian runner who won nine New York City Marathons and the silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, died Tuesday after a six-year battle with cancer. She was 57.”

  177. Shore Guy says:

    George Sheehan as well back in the day.

  178. Shore Guy says:

    Boy, I love the BBC but, enough already with this “royal wedding” nonsense. I propose that we name the 21st century as the End of Monarchy Century — 89 years should be long enough to sweep all remaining monarchs to the dung pile.

  179. make money says:

    Funny I was bluffing on a house a few weeks ago with realtor to get price. Realtor called my bluff and said if your wife wants house bring by wife and kids tonight to house so you and the home owner can meet man to man in the den while the ladies, kids and I have some snacks and chats in the kitchen and when you come out I can write up deal. I ran away.

    JJ,

    Window shopping? Stop wasting everyone’s time!

  180. Shore Guy says:

    I would prefer to be hanged than to call someone ” your majesty.”

  181. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [173] pain

    FWIW, I have noticed that NJ and NY drivers are downright well-behaved when driving in Mass. In fact, if that was my only interaction, I’d say that we were much worse than NJ or NY drivers.

    Of course, I know better. NY/NJ, eastern PA, and (oddly) DE drivers are downright awful while driving in their home states (I’ve also noticed that PA drivers in NJ are also pretty bad. Whether that is cross-pollination or what, I can’t say).

    What that tells me is this: That NY and NJ drivers know that they are aggressive, etc., and also know (or at least suspect innately) that the rest of the country isn’t going to be tolerant of their well-known driving habits, so they behave themselves while in other states.

    I also have a related alternate theory that is applicable only in the 5.5 NE states: That NY/NJ drivers know that NY or NJ plates tag them as potential Yankees fans, so they try not to draw attention to themselves by being themselves.

  182. Shore Guy says:

    And, “your highness,” fufgedaboutit. No freaking way I am addressing some genetically-ordained head of state that way, unless they are the one hanging limp from a rope.

  183. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [181] shore

    I have no problem addressing someone as “your majesty” if they have no jurisdiction over me.

    I note that calling Obama “Mr. President” is a semantic equivalent. In fact, I have thought of what would be the reaction if I referred to him simply as “Mr. Obama.” When the left points out my obvious protocol faux pas (and after they get done calling me a racist), I would simply point out that the title is reserved for one’s president, and he, by his own admission, has no interest in being my president.

  184. Shore Guy says:

    Nom,

    NJ and NY drivers are aggressive with a purpose, to shave as much time off a mind-numbing commute, fir instance. Mass drivers are just bad in every sense of the word and at all times.

  185. Shore Guy says:

    Fir=for

  186. JJ says:

    Providing a valuable service. How else can I get my RE intel. Plus agents get lonely at open houses.

    make money says:
    April 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Funny I was bluffing on a house a few weeks ago with realtor to get price. Realtor called my bluff and said if your wife wants house bring by wife and kids tonight to house so you and the home owner can meet man to man in the den while the ladies, kids and I have some snacks and chats in the kitchen and when you come out I can write up deal. I ran away.

    JJ,

    Window shopping? Stop wasting everyone’s time!

  187. Shore Guy says:

    Nom,

    I disagree. Mr. President is respect for an office, wheras “your majesty’ is a way of putting down yhe one addressing the “royal.” I will willingly call the British monarch “Queen X” or “King X” but as the ancestor of several revolutionaries, I will never bow to a Monarch or address them as majesty or highness etc.

  188. Shore Guy says:

    Fcuk monarchs, then toss them overboard.

  189. Juice X says:

    Speaking of royalty and “your majesty” no one really knows exactly what kind of welcome Queen Elizabeth will receive when she visits Ireland next month which by the way is the first trip by a British monarch since 1911. One thing seems sure there are some Irish who will not welcome an English monarch now or ever. I would not be too surprised if she gets jeers or egged or perhaps as Debt like to put it a cap or two fired her way.

  190. yo'me says:

    Did C dropped 13% at the close and come back up?

    http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/c

  191. yo'me says:

    Never mind,start of after hours

  192. Shore Guy says:

    Hard to believe the Irish REPUBLIC is not a fan of the spawn of their oppressors.

  193. Kettle1^2 says:

    Pain

    7 days seems optimistic for 300 – 350 miles

  194. sas3 says:

    but as the ancestor of several revolutionaries, I will never…

    Shore, didn’t realize you were so old :)

    I would probably refer to her as British Queen Elizabeth, in the same tone as “Saudi Prince XYZ”.

  195. chicagofinance says:

    Did anyone see the new opening TNT is using for the NBA playoff telecasts?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIBGh1SLN9s

  196. sas3 says:

    Shore, a lot of “patriots” were badmouthing France and cheering England on 4th of July, 2003.

    S

  197. Shore Guy says:

    Doh! The dangers of blogging at traffic lights. God bless Rt 35.

    Yea, that upstart Ben Franklin as always getting in may garden. Pain in the @ss. I told him to go fly a kite and then the real problems began.

  198. Shore Guy says:

    ancestor, descendent, whatever.

  199. Shore Guy says:

    Sastry,

    We were lucky that the Frenck King, there goes that dirty word again, was naive and had such hatred for the UK that he was willing to squander his treasury to try and hurt the UK. It ended up costing him his head.

  200. Shore Guy says:

    Frickin’ Android.

  201. Shore Guy says:

    Monarch free by 2023.

  202. sas3 says:

    Shore, here is an interesting tidbit from wiki…

    The finances of the French state were in disastrous shape and were made worse by Jacques Necker, who, rather than raise taxes, used loans to pay off debts. State secretary in Finances Charles Alexandre de Calonne attempted to fix the deficit problem by asking for the taxation of the property of nobles and clergy but was dismissed and exiled for his ideas. The French instability further weakened the reforms that were essential in the re-establishment of stable French finances. Trade also severely declined during the war, but was revived by 1783.

  203. Shore Guy says:

    Like a stopped clock, Wikki may be right twice a day but it is not a source I would ever cite.

  204. Neanderthal Economist says:

    “property taxes will explode thereby making house dirt cheap.”
    4c were you sent here from 2006?

  205. cobbler says:

    Doom (CNBC edition):

    Should the government pay to bulldoze abandoned, foreclosed homes to shed excess housing supply?

    Share your opinion:

    Should the US government bulldoze abandoned foreclosed homes?
    Yes, the sooner we get rid of them the better
    28%
    No, stop the spending
    72%

  206. Juice X says:

    Just in time for Clot’s doom predictions is a new movie starring Reutger Hauer as Clot in a dystopian future.

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/hobo_with_a_shotgun/trailers/11141354

  207. Shore Guy says:

    We have a winner:

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/42608309

    Red Flags Popping Up All Over Bank of America

    snip

    But a bad quarter may be the least of the bank’s worries.

    The largest bank by deposits just lost its chief financial officer and just hired one of the most connected regulatory lawyers in the U.S.

    Both events are alarming.

    The bank says that Charles Noski requested to step aside due to family illness. There’s no doubt some truth in this: a family member is ill, and Noski probably volunteered his resignation. But it comes on the back of some very troubling developments:

    Earlier this month we learned that Bank of America’s announcement that the government had denied its insane request to raise its dividend had not been reviewed by Noski before it was made public. No one has offered a credible explanation for this lapse in internal controls.

    Bank of America recently announced that it was going to start charging some 5 percent of its credit card customers a brand new $59 annual fee. This is a breathtakingly obvious attempt to drive $180 million in profits through a loophole in Dodd-Frank—which prohibited interest rate increases unless customers were seriously delinquent, but left open the possibility of random fee hikes.

    Bank of America has been estimating for three quarters that it is more than two-thirds through the wave of repurchase requests on soured home loans, and that the total losses will not amount to more than $10 billion. This quarter it provided for just $1 billion in mortgage repurchase and litigation expenses—compared with $2.2 billion for JP Morgan Chase in the first quarter. Does anyone believe that the bank with exposure to Countrywide’s loans is better off than JP Morgan?

    snip

  208. Shore Guy says:

    Here is a woman for ya, John:

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/42535654/

  209. Shore Guy says:

    Snip

    It’s hard not to notice: Tilton’s lipstick is frosty pink, her eyelashes are long and inky black, her hair is Barbie-doll blonde, with curls spilling over cleavage that is invariably visible, invariably tan, invariably accentuated by a diamond necklace, and invariably supported by a tight-fitting garment made by one of her favorite designers. Today she has chosen a Roberto Cavalli miniskirt accessorized with spike-heeled suede boots and a fur-trimmed cape. “There’s never been a carcass I wouldn’t put on my back,” says Tilton, adding that she’s been a vegetarian for 40 years, so she’s earned it.

    Her brand of femininity is so over-the-top, so cartoonish, it’s as if she were playing a part, the Wonder Woman of Wall Street. But this is pretty much how she sees herself: an Ayn Rand heroine in six-inch heels who has men stay the night, then eats them for breakfast. “I’ll be your girlfriend,” she’s told clients, “but I won’t be your bitch.”

    snip

    http://nymag.com/news/business/wallstreet/lynn-tilton-2011-4/

  210. Shore Guy says:

    Grim,

    Did you catch this?

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-19/ex-taylor-bean-chairman-convicted-of-conspiracy-fraud-1-.html

    Lee Farkas, the former chairman of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp., was found guilty of 14 counts of conspiracy and bank, wire and securities fraud in what prosecutors said was one of the largest and longest-running bank frauds in the U.S.

    A federal jury in Alexandria, Virginia, today returned the verdict after one day of deliberations. Farkas, who was free during the trial, was taken into custody. He faces a maximum sentence of 30 years on the conspiracy and bank-fraud charges and 20 years or more on the wire-fraud and securities-fraud counts when he’s sentenced on July 1.

    Prosecutors said Farkas, 58, orchestrated a $3 billion fraud involving fake mortgage assets that duped some of the country’s largest financial institutions, targeted the federal bank bailout program and contributed to the failures of Taylor Bean and Montgomery, Alabama-based Colonial Bank.

    snip

  211. Shore Guy says:

    From above, it makes Bergen County look like discount RE.

    By Brett Arends, MarketWatch
    LONDON (MarketWatch) — Is this the biggest bubble in the world?

    I hesitate to use the overplayed word “bubble.” But in the case of London property, it’s hard to avoid.

    What’s happening here is absolutely ridiculous.

    Look in the window of any real-estate agent here and you think people have gone crazy — and then you realize that the prices are in British pounds, and that to convert to dollars you have to add another 60%.

    Half a million pounds ($800,000) for a one-bedroom condo with a small garden on the southern, unfashionable side of the river Thames? Really? And $2 million for a modest two-bedroom condo in Chelsea?

    snip

  212. Shore Guy says:

    What were the odds?

    “Despite growing concerns about the country’s long-term fiscal problems and an intensifying debate in Washington about how to deal with them, Americans strongly oppose some of the major remedies under consideration, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    “The survey finds that Americans prefer to keep Medicare just the way it is. Most also oppose cuts in Medicaid and the defense budget. More than half say they are against small, across-the-board tax increases combined with modest reductions in Medicare and Social Security benefits. Only President Obama’s call to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans enjoys solid support.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/poll-shows-americans-oppose-entitlement-cuts-to-deal-with-debt-problem/2011/04/19/AFoiAH9D_story.html

  213. free ipad 2 says:

    Oh dear.. Many of these commentators dont make sense?! Give the guy a break and prevent posting spam

  214. Issac says:

    Saved as a favorite, I enjoy your site! :)

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