January home sales looking better? Or was it just the weather?

From Bloomberg:

Previously Owned U.S. Home Sales Probably Rose to Highest Since May 2010

Sales of previously owned U.S. houses probably rose in January to the highest level since May 2010, adding to signs the housing market is regaining its footing, economists said before a report today.

Purchases climbed 1.1 percent, a fourth straight monthly increase, to a 4.66 million annual rate from a 4.61 million pace in December, according to the median forecast of 74 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

A strengthening job market, combined with record affordability driven by the drop in home prices and mortgage rates, will probably keep underpinning demand. Nonetheless, the Federal Reserve and Obama administration are striving to find ways to lend the industry additional assistance amid concern that mounting foreclosures will continue to hinder the recovery.

“Things are beginning to pick up here,” said Kevin Cummins, an economist at UBS Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. “We will see better home sales data in coming months. With healthier gains in payrolls, incomes should be picking up as well. That’s going to spill over.”

The National Association of Realtors’ data are due at 10 a.m. in Washington. Economists’ estimates ranged from 4.4 million to 4.91 million.

Existing-home sales, tabulated when a contract closes, climbed to 4.26 million last year, from 4.19 million in 2010. Demand peaked at 7.1 million in 2005 during the housing boom. In 2008, sales totaled 4.1 million, the least since 1995.

The fourth-warmest January on record may have boosted homebuyer traffic. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported the average temperature was 36.3 degrees Fahrenheit (2.39 Celsius), 5.5 degrees above the 1901-2000 long- term average.

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159 Responses to January home sales looking better? Or was it just the weather?

  1. grim says:

    From the Chicago Tribune:

    Housing Market Improves, but Growth Years Away: Prices are stabilizing, but not going up

    Other signs point positive, but long-term recovery elusive.Even if the plan doesn’t pass, there are signs that the housing market could be on the mend. According to Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow Real Estate Research, 2012 will be a “transitional year” buoyed by positive economic trends that will push the housing market closer to its bottom.

    “The real reason for the rebound is market fundamentals. It’s going to be a very strong year for new and existing home sales, but also housing starts. The decent growth of the broader economy and progress in terms of job growth is also a positive. We think we’re going to stay well above [adding] 100,000 jobs each month. It will make people feel better about the economy.”

    He says this would also make it easier for consumers to get a home loan. “Lending standards will ease a bit in 2012 because lenders are responsive to what the broader economy is doing, as well as what’s happening with home values,” he says.

    But Humphries, who characterized his view toward the housing market as “cautiously optimistic,” warned that even if the housing market does bottom out in 2012, prices are likely to stay relatively flat for two to four years to come.

    “Once we hit bottom it will be a long rocky affair, lasting two to four years,” he says. “Price appreciation will be fairly tepid. I don’t expect to get back to a normal market for a few years. We’re approaching a bottom but the bottom could last a long time.”

    Min at the Center for American Progress also warns that the dramatic price appreciation that occurred before the bubble burst is not coming back.

    “The housing finance system is in a generational change. You’ll never go back to the double-digit annual appreciations,” he says. “But it’s not unthinkable that we can go back to the 80s and 90s when housing was a good, solid investment. We can return to that, and that’s the goal of a lot of the policymakers.”

  2. grim says:

    From the Daily Record:

    Christie touts his $32.1B state spending plan

    Gov. Chris Christie proclaimed New Jersey’s fiscal house in order as he unveiled a $32.1 billion state budget proposal Tuesday that trims income taxes, while Democrats attacked the blueprint as one that helps the wealthy and doesn’t do enough to address rising property taxes.

    The budget plan keeps property tax credits level and boosts direct aid to schools by $212.5 million, nearly 2.5 percent. District-level details are to be announced today; officials wouldn’t say if all districts will get increases, but a budget document cryptically refers to spending $121 million on “Formula Aid — Modified Funding Methodology.”

    The budget relies on some optimistic revenue projections, such as the current budget erasing a $325 million shortfall to match last year’s forecast and a 7.3 percent jump in tax collections next year, despite revenue forgone from the first installment of a three-year, 10 percent cut in income tax rates.

    “We believe that the economy of the state is, in fact, experiencing a comeback and that will and has already begun to translate into improved tax receipts,” said state Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff.

    “A 10 percent tax cut for every working New Jerseyan will help families keep more of what they earn,” Christie said. “It will make us more competitive with other states and attract more new jobs to New Jersey. Every New Jerseyan deserves a tax cut, and they deserve it now.”

    “It’s not the income tax that’s a problem in this state, it’s the property tax,” said Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester. “I don’t know anyone that’s screaming for an income tax cut, but I sure know people crying to (get) help (with) property taxes.”

  3. Mike says:

    Good Morning New Jersey

  4. grim says:

    From CR:

    Home Depot on Housing

    Dennis McGill, Zelman & Associates: Just a question focused on some of the regions, you mentioned California being at the company average and Florida being above and 2 areas that we wouldn’t normally attribute to being volatile from the weather standpoint. So just wondering if you could elaborate there, particularly in California, where it seemed like weather was pretty steady year-over-year, especially with some of the housing metrics improving in those markets?

    CEO Blake: Dennis, I think that’s exactly the point. I mean, wanted to call out California and Florida because they really aren’t weather-related. And so that’s an indication that there was more than just weather … And I think just exactly as you said, that those markets are more reflective of not a housing recovery, but a stabilization in the markets that we’ve seen over the last 2 years, as they’ve just — they’ve gotten kind off there, off the floor in effect on housing.

  5. All the flacks keep sucking in the last of the marks susceptible to the Ponzi.

    Gary, can you explain to us what will happen when the tsunami of backlogged REO begins to hit the market?

    Note: it will be unacceptable to answer with: “local gubmints will buy the REO and form public/private partnerships to rent them out and manage them”.

  6. Think the last four years has been a shitshow?

    Wait until your local burg gets into the RE business.

  7. Fabius Maximus says:

    #2 grim

    Wasn’t last years budget $28B. I’ll have to look at te numbrs, but I wonder if CC is meeting is pension obligations or kicking the can.

  8. grim says:

    From HousingWire:

    The next big idea: Government bonds to tear down houses

    The vacant homes that line neighborhoods of all types are grim reminders of the housing bubble that burst a few years back.

    Empty homes on decaying properties that go unfixed become headaches for neighbors in more ways than one. Falling fences, tall grass and peeling paint drive down the desirability of neighborhoods and drive up the likelihood for squatters and crime.

    While many vacant properties will be sold to those who want to fix them, some sit in disrepair and should be demolished. But cities are quickly running out of money to knock the houses down.

    A bill, introduced by a bipartisan coalition led by Rep. Steven LaTourett (R-Ohio), seeks to fix that problem by funding demolition programs through the use of government-issued bonds.

    The money brought in by the program would augment the funds many states have set aside to deal with properties that have gone beyond repair. LaTourett’s home state, for instance, could supplement the demolition initiative announced by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, which set aside $75 million of the state’s $335 million share of the mortgage servicer settlement to demolish vacant homes.

    If passed, the bill would spark a change in the stagnant nature of the vacant homes. While cities have been initiating small fixes — like requiring owners to register vacant properties — the rules are often unenforceable or the problem grew so large it became unmanageable. This bill would finally give cities the power to deal with an ever-worsening situation.

  9. grim says:

    7 – From the Star Ledger:

    Gov. Christie: I implore you, fund this pension contribution this year

    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addresses the state’s underfunded pension system, saying that the pension payment in his proposed budget is the single largest state contribution ever. It is a $1.1 billion for the state’s pension contribution, a $587 million increase over last year. This is Christie’s third budget speech. 02/21/12 (Source: NJTV)

  10. Smartest thing to do would be for states to stop funding pensions and admit they’re all busted out.

    Got Friskies?

  11. Wait ’til the vigilantes land on our shores. Don’t think austerity is going to play too well here.

    Yield must be paid, mf’er. I’d hate to be a municipal stooge who’s eligible for the gravy train once the ultra-violence gets going.

  12. JJ says:

    so I saw a big sign the recession is over. on squak box today and in GQ the new rage is brown shoes even light brown shoes with blue suits. No more black shoes with blue suits. When I first started wall street in a raging bull market, I recall wearing blues, suit, cordvan shoes, hankie showing in jacket, power tie and why not cufflinks and even an expensive watch. I also dressed like that in 1999. But you know what after bubble burst and I was consulting in an armani suit I was told in recession cut it out you don’t want to seem like you are robbin the client. Meanwhile I was like I got it at an outlet sale cash and it is last years suit so I only paid $300 for the armani suit, I got think Macys not Armani. But we are back!!! Bull Market.

  13. Mikeinwaiting says:

    The market perspective as a suit, only JJ.

  14. grim says:

    Why is it when I see the word Cordovan I always read it in Ricado Montalban’s voice?

  15. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    Ahh the Chrysler New Yorker Rich Corinthian Leather,

    It had to be that POS broke down so much you had to sit on something nice

  16. yo says:

    During QE.We printed trillions of $.We don’t owe anybody this money but us.It is internal.The Fed holds the debt and refund the treasury with interest.It is not a burden to the tax payers,because we pay ourselves with newly minted digital $ with interest.They can decide to destroy this money or buy some more treasuries.
    When the Fed sells this debt to investors then it will become a burden.We have to pay investors principal and interest.So far the Fed is holding this debt.
    My only question is;Is this amount included with the deficit?Should it be?

  17. JJ says:

    the bull market is getting me giddy. I had an outrageous goal back in Aprile 2008 to take my $150,000 trading account which was all short term munis, investment grade and CDs and invest every nickle I make in junk bonds, and depending on market, muni bonds and stocks. In other words, every nickle in, go all in and employ margin as necessary for buying opportunities like March 2009 and October 2011. Goal was to reach one million by April 2012. Sometimes I was in margin up to 100K.

    Well I am giddy as January/Feb run up has caused me to hit my one million goal. I am fully out of margin. Next goal is April 2016 two million.

    But I think the wind is no longer at my back. the days of ford bonds at 15 cents on dollar and citi bonds at 50 cents on dollar and GMAC/AIG bonds at 60 cents on a dollar are all over. I tried stocks in the 4q of 2011 and that worked out but with dow 13K ouch. I almost cry when I see investment grade, muni and CD yields.

    Rental properties is a tough sell for wife even though I could get a deal. She has been accostomed to me hitting some buttons at work and trading 15-20 minutes a day and pulling down 10K a month sometimes. Makes netting $1,000 a month on a rental seem like an awful joke considering work involved and iluiqidity of asset.

    But anyhow full blown bull market I can smell it in the streets, people were chatting and joking at gym this morning. Something you never would see even in October 2011. Only thing people complain about now if property taxes and upcoming 2013 tax hikes. Although treasury should get record tax receipts this year as cap gains going from 15% to 30% will force everyone to sell winners this year and pay the tax.

  18. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Tax analysis of the day:

    I predict a flood of op-eds over the latest Obama tax hike. First, the right will point out (correctly) that it’s a tax hike being sold as a tax cut. The left will fire back with “WTF you talking about? Look at the top rate cut!”

    But let’s look at the facts. I haven’t even seen this legislation but there are two facts being floated: First, that it will raise revenues. Either the Obamunists have adopted the Laffer Curve or there are tax hikes in there somewhere (and there are). Second, the much-ballyhooed cut (which will be one of two things about it ballyhooed on MSNBC) is a rate, if you believe Fabius and the rest of the left (and I do on this point), that few corporations actually pay.

    This legislation doesn’t suddenly recognize the Laffer Curve but is a base-broadening exercise that will subject more income to taxation, thus increasing effective tax rates. However, as we saw with the individual rates, the Obamunists say that effective tax rates don’t matter—if these go up because of things we do, it isn’t a tax increase. You’re delusional. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

    No, instead, they will point to a cut that benefits almost no one and claim that they are lowering taxes, and belittle anyone who points out that most affected taxpayers will actually pay more.

    This is why Bloomberg has already called it an “election year document.”

  19. yo says:

    O proposing a lower corporate tax and eliminating corporate tax breaks.World wide Companies that enjoyed lower payment of tax due to loop holes are complaing.Retailers and companies operating in the US applauds this measure

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-22/obama-to-ask-congress-to-lower-corporate-tax-rate-to-28-remove-loopholes.html

  20. freedy says:

    Note in today WSJ, tells us Toll Brothers says recession over. Big homes selling well.

  21. 3B says:

    Moose from previous thread thanks for the information. Its a big chunk in savings bonds, I actually counted them last night, and it was even more than I thought. I will check the web site as suggested, and probably just make copies too.

  22. JJ says:

    Treasury website lets you look up by ss number. what is average interest rate?
    3B says:
    February 22, 2012 at 8:50 am
    Moose from previous thread thanks for the information. Its a big chunk in savings bonds, I actually counted them last night, and it was even more than I thought. I will check the web site as suggested, and probably just make copies too.

  23. 3B says:

    #23 JJ I am going to check that tonight. Some of them are 20 years old or more.

  24. grim says:

    Was in the shower this morning thinking about the income tax vs property tax cut debate, and came to a bit of a quandry.

    Why, exactly, would the democrats say that the income tax cut is more beneficial for the rich, but the property tax cut is fair?

    Property ownership is skewed towards higher incomes, and higher income residents live in larger/more expensive homes and pay higher property taxes. Presumably, they’d receive a larger tax cut here than the middle class would as well.

    Would think the income tax cut would be the fairer choice, since every worker would benefit from the cut, and not just homeowners.

    So are they just trying to capitalize on the property tax issue?

  25. seif says:

    short sale questions:

    dynamic of an offer on a short sale: owner has to accept/sign the contract but the bank has to agree to it, correct? the bank takes less for the loan they have out there and what happens (financially, etc.) to the owner? what would make an owner agree to one offer and not another? doesn’t he just want out of the property? what is he on the hook for? what would make a bank accept one offer over another? is it strictly higher dollar amount wins? is there any rule of thumb as to how much of a loss a bank can/will take on a short sale?

    thanks.

  26. JJ says:

    And I was thinking about Kate Uptons SI pictures. Silly me.

    grim says:
    February 22, 2012 at 9:10 am
    Was in the shower this morning thinking about the income tax vs property tax cut debate, and came to a bit of a quandry.

    Why, exactly, would the democrats say that the income tax cut is more beneficial for the rich, but the property tax cut is fair?

    Property ownership is skewed towards higher incomes, and higher income residents live in larger/more expensive homes and pay higher property taxes. Presumably, they’d receive a larger tax cut here than the middle class would as well.

    Would think the income tax cut would be the fairer choice, since every worker would benefit from the cut, and not just homeowners.

    So are they just trying to capitalize on the property tax issue?

  27. grim says:

    dynamic of an offer on a short sale: owner has to accept/sign the contract but the bank has to agree to it, correct?

    Generally two approaches, depending on the lender.

    1) Bank requires that the property be “under contract”, so not only is the contract inked, but you’ve gone through attorney review, and the clock begins to tick on inspections, mortgage contingencies, etc. Lender is basically being presented with a done deal.

    2) Bank will grant approval based on the offer, unilaterally inked contract, no clock ticking. Once the short sale approval is given, contracts are signed and the clock starts ticking.

    (There is a third which is a variant on #1, where the deal fell apart before closing, some times you see these listed as already having had approval for the short sale. If they have a rep assigned to the deal already, it can sometimes be easier to resurrect these without starting from Step 1)

    Either way, the seller intends to sell and agree to the offer, the only difference is timing.

    Clearly the second is the most advantageous for the buyer, since your financial exposure is limited. Approach 1 is most common these days, with approach 2 only being available through some investor held and portfolio loans, a very small segment of the market.

    the bank takes less for the loan they have out there and what happens (financially, etc.) to the owner? what would make an owner agree to one offer and not another? doesn’t he just want out of the property? what is he on the hook for?

    Depends on the lender. I’ve seen some lenders force the sellers to sign a promissory note for the deficiency in order to receive an approval to sell. Others need to sign deficiency agreements acknowledging they are liable for the losses (with no clear direction on if or when they’ll be required to pay it back). Still others have been able to short sell without signing deficiency. In the past, sellers would be liable for the taxes associated with the short sale, but that was deferred by Bush I believe.

    what would make a bank accept one offer over another? is it strictly higher dollar amount wins

    Usually. Sometimes they’ll give preference to buyers who use their lending companies, etc. While I’ve heard anecdotally about preference for cash buyers, I haven’t seen it personally, since it’s all cash at closing anyway.

    is there any rule of thumb as to how much of a loss a bank can/will take on a short sale?>

    None, although if you hunt on Google you can sometimes find real estate agents chatting about what percentages they’ve had accepted. I imagine this would vary dramatically by geography and loan amount though.

  28. Mike says:

    21 Need some of Fred Sanford’s Champipple to celebrate

  29. Shore Guy says:

    “So are they just trying to capitalize on the property tax issue?”

    Perish the thought. Play fast and loose with facts to make a skewed political point? In what kind of world do you live? Our legislators are dedicated public servants who would never stoop to such tactics.

  30. Anon E. Moose says:

    3B [24];

    I think after a certain age (and 20 years rings a bell) they stop accruing interest.

  31. Shore Guy says:

    grim,

    The bottom line for democrats is this:

    Rich people have higher income, so, any across-the-board- decrease in income tax rates will bring the rich greater savings, therefore it is unfair.

    Rich people have more expensive homes, which have higher tax bills, so, any across-the-board decrease in property tax rates will bring the rich greater savings, therefore it is unfair.

  32. joyce says:

    16

    yo,

    why don’t we cease all forms of taxation and just have the FED print any and all spending at the federal and state levels

    problem solved

  33. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [20] yo

    so the battle is joined. Good. Now let’s examine what this legislation also does.

    It picks winners and losers. The winners are those paying at the high level of taxes because they don’t have the benefit of writeoffs, such as retailers and service sector entities. Manufacturing is given a boost, which is a protectionist measure (recall I said that we’d be seeing stealthy protectionism on a creeping basis). Those are the winners–industries with most of its labor located in the US, much of which is unskilled and blue collar. The losers are also apparent from the legislation: multinational corporations including pharma companies, energy producers and manufacturers operating outside of the US.

    Now aside from the fact that billing this legislation as a tax cut is intellectually dishonest, the winners and losers tend, to me at least, fall on party lines, or are at least tailored to appeal to industries where more dem votes may be found. So this is a politicially-motivated tax plan, designed to reward friends and punish enemies. If it wasn’t so designed, it had the amazingly coincidental effect of working out that way.

    Now the base problem with all of this is not so much the partisan nature of it, or the intellectual dishonesty: It’s the tax incidence that will have the effect (perhaps intentionally) of reengineering our economy and reallocating burdens and benefits. Before we go there, let’s look at multinationals, a special case. This administration is telling multinationals that they are the pariahs, and that they will have to pay. I am sure that the legislation also includes carrots to go with that stick, such as incentives for moving manufacturing back to the US. But there can be no doubt that, just as racing commissioners handicap horses with imprest weight, the administration is handicapping american multinationals with tax weight. The effect is to reduce their competitiveness. And one must ask why the US wants to reduce the competitiveness of US multinationals at a time when they are trying (in public at least) to drive exports?

    One answer may be that they aren’t interested in exports. First, there exists a balance, an oligarchical tacit agreement, not to become too dominant in certain spheres (though someone ought to tell the chinese) so that all can survive. For example, this administration doesn’t want to see Europe implode, but just as in WWII, it would be domestically unpopular to overtly support Europe. So, instead, we hold back our multinationals so that the European companies can get off the mat. In China, we can’t piss off our largest creditor, so we do the same, insuring that the Chinese have lots of dollars that they then have to plow into Treasuries.

    Second, this adminstration believes that our multinationals aren’t really helping exports insofar as they don’t conduct all of their business (notably, their manufacturing and other productive industries) here. If a multinational is producing goods overseas, selling them overseas, and keeping the profits offshore because of the tax on repatriated profit, then it isn’t really helping the US nearly as much as it can (putting aside the taxes paid by all those investors–they don’t count anyway). These are the multinationals that the Obamunists have always wanted to go after.

    Aside from the State Capitalism features of this (and other) Obama legislation, this adminstration has seemingly not considered the impact of their re-engineering, and this is a second level of tax incidence. Already this administration has tried to advance legislation that they knew would cause dislocations in the economy. Cap and Trade is a good example—the administration admitted it would cause energy prices to skyrocket. Now one can conclude that this administration is short-sighted to the problems that its actions will cause. Higher taxes on energy get passed through to end users. Higher taxes on pharma also get passed through or may result in more shortages, just as we are seeing now (and have in the past). But I don’t believe that this administration is short-sighted. Rather, just as with healthcare, they are willing to accept the problems, the crises, as a vehicle for change. Let the problems occur and then rally the voters to change policies beyond what the populace would accept absent a crisis. After all, their mantra is “don’t let a good crisis go to waste.” However, I object to them manufacturing the crises in the first place.

    I said long ago that this administration doesn’t succeed in turning the economy without protectionism (there are also pro-growth policies but those won’t be tried by the left due to philosophical reasons). But they simply cannot use the tools of the 50s, 60s and 70s, such as wage and price controls. Not in a global economy. And tariffs and quotas violate our trade treaties. No, I said that we’d see creeping, stealth protectionism. Small doses of it at every level to build a wall around the nation and drive up the cost of importing into the US. The changes will be, and have been, everywhere from the docks to the tax code. This is an example of the latter. And as I write this, it strikes me that the wall analogy goes well beyond trade; this administration is literally ring-fencing the nation and not just to keep foreign goods out but to keep capital in. Perhaps we are seeing a new model of protectionism being created (FATCA comes to mind as it has features of protectionism and advances protectionist goals).

    ATEOTD, I look at the prospective winners and losers, and I have to invest accordingly. If I don’t, then I bear the burden of tax incidence as my costs go up without the corresponding bump in income from favored industries.

  34. Shore Guy says:

    The bottom line on liberal tax policy:

    Regardless of how hard one has worked or what they have suffered in order to build a degree of wealth, the fact that some people have “more” is, by itself, unfair and government must take “excess wealth” from those who have “too much” and give it to deserving people.

  35. gary says:

    Meat [5],

    Gary, can you explain to us what will happen when the tsunami of backlogged REO begins to hit the market?

    Fast forward to 2017: Stand on the corner of Maple Ave. and Ridgewood Avenue in Ridgewood. You’ll see Martin’s Bail Bonds on one corner, Brittany’s mommy sashaying in a stilettos, some dude in a knit cap grabbing a rolled-up wad of cash from an open car window and the newly opened Tu Bodega Deli Grocery on the other corner. Any questions?

  36. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [27] JJ

    So are we to assume that there is only one region on your body that doesn’t have BO this morning?

  37. seif says:

    28 – thank you grim

  38. Juice says:

    Here is a good one.

    Owe IRS Taxes, Lose Your Passport

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2012/02/18/owe-irs-taxes-lose-your-passport/

    How about owe the IRS Taxes lose your House? I like that one better.

  39. Anon E. Moose says:

    seif [26];

    dynamic of an offer on a short sale: owner has to accept/sign the contract but the bank has to agree to it, correct? Yes.

    the bank takes less for the loan they have out there and what happens (financially, etc.) to the owner? It really doesn’t matter for the buyer, but the bank can chase the seller for the defecit, or they can agree not to, or (typically) they decide that it just isn’t worth it to chase a broke deadbeat — blood from a stone and all that — if the seller could pay they wouldn’t be selling short.

    what would make an owner agree to one offer and not another? If the rat does want out of the trap, a higher offer is more likely to be accepted. I’ve had a seriously short seller refuse to even take an offer to the bank (He may have been listing the house purely as a negotiating wedge with the bank — “See, it won’t sell for $XXX, so let me buy out of the delinquent note for $XXX-YYY.”)

    doesn’t he just want out of the property? Maybe. See above.

    what is he on the hook for? The payoff on teh note, pluss late fees, accured interest, collections costs. Whether and how much he pays of what he’s on the hook for is another matter — here again if he could pay he wouldn’t be a deadbeat.

    what would make a bank accept one offer over another? is it strictly higher dollar amount wins? Yes, but don’t forget that you are not only bidding against other real buyers, you’re bidding against the seller’s/bank’s imagination of what they could get if they just held on one more day.

    is there any rule of thumb as to how much of a loss a bank can/will take on a short sale? No rhyme, reason, dollar amount, percent, rule of thumb, etc. It’s pure liar’s poker.

  40. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [35] shore,

    that is precisely the point I made repeatedly in my Tax Policy course at NYU. The instructor had a hard time accepting it. In fact, I managed to piss her off royally. But she had no rebuttal and I did get an “A” in a curve-graded course.

  41. grim says:

    Oh one more note, generally as a buyer, the bank will require no sale contingency on the contract, so if you’ve got a house to sell, you better already have it UC, arrange for financing, or have the income to carry two mortgages.

    After you’ve waited 6 months for approval, expect to see a very short fuse to close. Bank will have taken their sweet time, but they expect you to scramble like an idiot and close in a potentially unreasonable amount of time (we just did a 17 day close, this was not fun).

  42. gary says:

    Nom,

    Not to bring up the events of (ahem….) Februrary 5th, but did you know that this is the Anniversary of the Constitution? Sort of ironic since the Patriots were playing, isn’t it? ;)

  43. grim says:

    From CNBC:

    Existing Home Sales Surged 4.3 Percent in January

    U.S. home resales surged in January to a 1-1/2 year high and the supply of properties on the market was the lowest in almost seven years, pointing to a nascent housing recovery.

    The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday existing home sales increased 4.3 percent to an annual rate of 4.57 million units last month, the highest since May 2010.

    However, the tenor of the report was weakened somewhat by a sharp downward revision to December’s sales data to show only a 4.38 million-unit rate rather than the previously reported 4.61 million-unit pace.

    That followed an annual revision of the seasonal factors for the series going back three years. Sales in December actually fell 0.5 pct from November, instead of the 5 percent increase reported last month.

  44. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [39] juice,

    That idea has been floated before. The problem with it is that it places a civil compliance condition on an internationally-recognized fundamental right, thus raising it to the level of a criminal penalty (a detainer).

    Imagine that someone wants to travel but they are in a tax dispute with IRS. IRS blocks the passport, or if they already have one, the ability to leave the country. Obviously, this is because the person is wealthy, has offshore assets, and is deemed a flight risk. But there hasn’t been any criminal charge.

    If it were me, I’d have a case brought in an international tribunal, and try to get an order directing the US to allow me to travel beyond borders, which I believe is a fundamental right under international law.

    And if the person is a dual national, that simply compounds the issue.

  45. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [43] gary

    &#%$ off!

  46. seif says:

    grim/anon – thanks.

    i read yesterday that someone – murkowski (AK), i think – has introduced legislation that would require banks to give answers on short sales within 75 days.

  47. JJ says:

    you buy a short sale or reo cuase it is cheap. how long does it really take to write a check? It is the bank and current owner of underwater home who has issue. short sales are a nightmare to buy, most people refust to get involved and if you do you should expect it cheaper than an REO

    grim says:
    February 22, 2012 at 10:06 am
    Oh one more note, generally as a buyer, the bank will require no sale contingency on the contract, so if you’ve got a house to sell, you better already have it UC, arrange for financing, or have the income to carry two mortgages.

    After you’ve waited 6 months for approval, expect to see a very short fuse to close. Bank will have taken their sweet time, but they expect you to scramble like an idiot and close in a potentially unreasonable amount of time (we just did a 17 day close, this was not fun).

  48. Juice says:

    re: #35- Shore the “hard work and suffering”?? You are kidding right? All you need to do is control the vote in Congress and have them vote to give the Treasury to me and mine. That is the ticket to success! Just ask the folks who got TARP bonuses in 08 and 09.

  49. joyce says:

    40

    Moose,
    “if the seller could pay they wouldn’t be selling short… again if he could pay he wouldn’t be a deadbeat.”

    Yeah, that is spot on, considering the no one ever performs a strategic default.
    If memory serves, someone somewhere defaulted for like some $30+ million.

    http://www.mortgage-mod-monster.com/strategic-default-ok-for-mortgage-bankers-association-but-not-for-you/

    And let’s not forget about Morgan Stanely walking away…

    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2009/12/does-morgan-stanley-walking-away-from.html

  50. grim says:

    47 – Will likely result in the unintended consequence of a greater number of denials as banks will answer any uncompleted files with a “No” to meet the timeline and then promptly file the documents in the trash bin.

    I still maintain my position that short sales are having a tremendously negative impact on buyer psychology and are a detriment to the market:

    1) They lock willing and qualified buyers in deals with little possibility of closing for outrageous periods of time.

    2) Set wildly wrong perceptions and expectations around pricing and inventory. When buyers see “great” prices for properties that can’t be purchased, they assume they should receive the same discount for properties that can. The prices for those properties should have probably just been ignored, since they aren’t for sale at that price.

    3) Cause buyers to retract out of the market when short sales fail. Disappointment, outrage, broken lamps, and possibly thousands of wasted dollars with nothing to show for it.

  51. joyce says:

    45

    Nom,
    I agree that traveling beyond borders in an inherent right, but then why do we need passports at all?

  52. Anon E. Moose says:

    Grim [44];

    Sales in December actually fell 0.5 pct from November, instead of the 5 percent increase reported last month.

    Opps! My bad. Whatchagonnado? Hoocodanode? *shrug*

    It should be considered journalistic malpractice not to report price trands in the same article as volume trends. Pretty transparent if volume up and prices down — Adam Smith proved right AGAIN!

  53. grim says:

    The way the short sale process “should work”, is that the lenders should provide approval or disapproval to the seller prior to ever listing the house. As part of that approval, the lender should provide the seller with the agreed upon acceptable price and closing terms/package.

    Only at that point should the property be listed for sale, with the closing terms and price made available to buyers.

    However, this approach would make much too much sense, so we’ll just continue to operate under the current model of uncertainty and chaos.

  54. Anon E. Moose says:

    Joyce [50];

    You apparently have some insight that I lack. I didn’t assume that seif was interested in bidding on a class A office building or Stuyvesant Park, but rather a singlt family home.

    In short, see [46].

  55. grim says:

    53 – Ignore everything but the unadjusted year over year numbers.

  56. Shore Guy says:

    Speaking of anniversaries: “Eleven seconds. You got ten seconds, the countdown going on right now. Five seconds left in the game! Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYscemhnf88

  57. Shore Guy says:

    And whom did we play to clinch the Gold medal?

  58. Shore Guy says:

    “Ignore everything but the unadjusted year over year numbers.”

    And ignore the team of men behind the curtain.

  59. Anon E. Moose says:

    Shore [58];

    Finland.

  60. seif says:

    51…#3 the thousands of dollars being wasted on what? inspections? fees?

  61. Anon E. Moose says:

    Con’t [60];

    That was kind of like the NFL in the 80’s and 90’s — you watched the NFC championship game to see who would win the Super Bowl.

  62. Shore Guy says:

    “Shore the “hard work and suffering”?? You are kidding right? ”

    I know that describes me, and the people I know who have managed to scrape together some bit of wealth. We are not rich, although the liberals say we are, and they keep coming for what we have worked our @sses off to accumulate. The same is largely true of most people who have managed to accumulate some decent net worth; not all, I agree. But, even if people did not struggle to build wealth, do-gooders have no claim on what those folks have legally earned. If liberals want fairness, they should impose a flat tax; nothing could be more fair.

  63. Anon E. Moose says:

    Shore [57];

    I heard an interview with Eruzzione right after Herb died. Mike says Herb used to ride him in practice: “Rizzo, you’re playing worse and worse every day, and right now you’re playing like there’s no tomorrow.”

  64. grim says:

    61 – Legal fees, home inspections (your typical, but also septic, well, oil tank, etc), potentially mortgage applications, surveys, title/judgement searches/reviews, flood searches, etc.

    I’ve seen a short sale scuttled a few days before closing due to the seller changing their mind around a pay-off to the second which was necessary for them to relinquish their lien.

    Keep in mind that legal fees around a closing for a short sale will generally be much higher than your typical no issues closing.

  65. Shore Guy says:

    Moose,

    I have heard that some of the players harbored ill feelings towards Brooks for years after the ’80 Games, because of how hard he rode them in the run-up to the Olympics.

  66. Anon E. Moose says:

    Shore [63];

    If liberals want fairness, they should impose a flat tax; nothing could be more fair.

    “Fair” to them means equality of outcome, regardless of effort; not equality of opportunity. In practice it means all are equally miserable (except the ruling elite like themselves, nach), but that’s not a bug to them, its a feature.

  67. Shore Guy says:

    I think it is likely that “rich,” to a given liberal, is $1 more than he or she makes.

  68. Shore Guy says:

    “equality of outcome, regardless of effort; not equality of opportunity. ”

    The bottom line is that the world is not fair and that talent and abilities are not the sole determinant of success or failure. For example, one can walk into any good music school in the world and find people who have far more talent and skills than just about any of the “names” in the music industry. Is that fair? Not really. It just is.

  69. 30 year realtor says:

    #54 Grim – I’ve been doing REO since the mid 1980’s. After 20+ years and some tough real estate markets you would think banks and servicers would have it down to a science and they don’t. Same stupidity, same delays, same ideas rolled out to solve the same problems over and over again. Why would you expect them to have a handle on the best way to deal with short sales?

    For short sales banks need to handle the situation more similarly to a deed in lieu. Get mortgagor to sign over their rights to choose broker, set asking price, sign listing, sign contract and so on. Bank should market home with termite inspection, home inspection and appraisal completed, all assignable to buyer. Mortgagor must move within 30 days from end of attorney review.

    You are correct. the current way of dealing with short sales is having all sorts of unintended consequences.

  70. gary says:

    This is the liberal’s version of the National Anthem:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mOEU87SBTU

  71. Brian says:

    Your logic is flawed. You assume that politicians actually think. Democrats like Steve Sweeney instinctively just hate Chris Christie and want to do the opposite of what he does. There is no thinking or logic involved.

    http://www.nj.com/njvoices/index.ssf/2011/10/chris_christies_friends_stephe.html

    25.grim says:
    February 22, 2012 at 9:10 am
    Was in the shower this morning thinking about the income tax vs property tax cut debate, and came to a bit of a quandry.

    Why, exactly, would the democrats say that the income tax cut is more beneficial for the rich, but the property tax cut is fair?

    Property ownership is skewed towards higher incomes, and higher income residents live in larger/more expensive homes and pay higher property taxes. Presumably, they’d receive a larger tax cut here than the middle class would as well.

    Would think the income tax cut would be the fairer choice, since every worker would benefit from the cut, and not just homeowners.

    So are they just trying to capitalize on the property tax issue?

  72. Juice says:

    re # 63 – Shore enough with the black and white already. You want to bitch about tax policy fine, but stop acting like everyone is either Tea Party or Occupy Wall St. The Congress is controlled by the wealthy globalist elite of any persuasion, they are the people out to prevent capital formation, since they already have it. You beef is with them, they and their army of lawyers and lobbyists occupy Washington DC full time and will be crafting Tax Policy for this current administration and future administrations. Chairman O and any of the left leaning progressives on his team who want to tax the lower hard working classes like you are just along for the ride.

  73. joyce says:

    Moose,

    Ok then, my mistake. Only individuals defaulting on a couple hundred thousand (if not much less) can be deadbeats…

  74. yo says:

    I know somebody that went short sale 6months ago under BAC.I checked the county records,mortgage is discharge.Short sale for $270k owed was $420k.Record states $420k is paid.

  75. Anon E. Moose says:

    YO [76];

    Mortgage discharge ≠ Paid in Full – It just means the leinholder (the bank) is surrendering its claim on the property; usually for some payment, and even occasionally all that it’s owed.

  76. yo says:

    Nom,
    This is exactly I think they should be treated a foreign company with an American name.Goods made and sold outside the US and even goods made outside the US and sold in the US should be treated like any foreign Firm.An American Company should have the benefits we give if the product is made and sold here and abroad.

    Multi national companies don’t want to bring earnings in the US when the dollar is down.Or else they will be loosing on the exchange rate even if you give them a break on the taxes.You will only see money flowback in the US when the dollar is up.And yes they don’t help export,the product is not made here,,just the name.

    “Second, this adminstration believes that our multinationals aren’t really helping exports insofar as they don’t conduct all of their business (notably, their manufacturing and other productive industries) here. If a multinational is producing goods overseas, selling them overseas, and keeping the profits offshore because of the tax on repatriated profit, then it isn’t really helping the US nearly as much as it can (putting aside the taxes paid by all those investors–they don’t count anyway). These are the multinationals that the Obamunists have always wanted to go after.”

  77. yo says:

    Can anybody here verify that the bank still can go after the defficiency,even if records says MGD mortgage discharge.

    yo says:
    February 22, 2012 at 11:43 am
    I know somebody that went short sale 6months ago under BAC.I checked the county records,mortgage is discharge.Short sale for $270k owed was $420k.Record states $420k is paid.

    Anon E. Moose says:
    February 22, 2012 at 11:55 am
    YO [76];

    Mortgage discharge ≠ Paid in Full – It just means the leinholder (the bank) is surrendering its claim on the property; usually for some payment, and even occasionally all that it’s owed.

  78. JJ says:

    Paid in full does not always mean paid in full. Most companies for good jobs and even more so for good jobs that handle cash do a credit check. I don’t know if I would hire someone who is a deadbeat. It is like marrying someone with a history of cheating, eventually they will cheat on you.

    Anon E. Moose says:
    February 22, 2012 at 11:55 am
    YO [76];

    Mortgage discharge ≠ Paid in Full – It just means the leinholder (the bank) is surrendering its claim on the property; usually for some payment, and even occasionally all that it’s owed.

  79. JJ says:

    Whitney Says Munis Remain ‘Danger Zone’ Even After Failed Default Forecast
    By Brian Chappatta – Feb 22, 2012 10:02 AM ET

  80. grim says:

    Discharge of the mortgage is the vehicle necessary to clear title and allow the sale take place.

    It doesn’t relieve the previous owner from any liabilities incurred as a result of the short sale. That should have been clearly spelled out in any associated deficiency agreements or promissory notes.

  81. grim says:

    If anyone would be interested in a business venture surrounding deficiency debt investment and collection, let me know. Bring lawyers and money, I’ve got guns.

  82. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [78] yo,

    That’s a thought but I foresee further problems with that approach, at least at the margins and that is the regulatory environment for certain industries. Some companies stay domestic for regulatory reasons when it may make more sense to go foreign and perhaps take advantage of treaties.

    As for Exchange rate risk, that can be hedged so I discount that. From where I sit, I see taxes as the main factor preventing repatriation.

    That said, I don’t disapprove if using the tax code to favor domestic production but there is more in the mix than tax. Companies produce abroad because it is cost effective for them to produce abroad. And you don’t help American companies by increasing their foreign costs relative to their competitors. At the extreme, you are telling these companies to leave or exit their foreign businesses.

  83. Anon E. Moose says:

    Grim [83];

    Housing viaticals?

  84. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Business channels using the term “net tax hike” to describe todays proposal. Also noting that all new winners and losers from this bill.

    Hmmmm, njre readers had this analysis first.

  85. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    Nom kleptocracy or corptocracy at work nothing to see here move along

  86. Fabius Maximus says:

    #25 grim
    The income tax cut is regressive. When you run the numbers.
    Earn $50K $80.50 savings 0.06%
    Earn $100k $275 savings 0.2%
    Property tax you could say is paid by everyone on the same scale. Wether you pay direct on your house or indirect via rent check, that nut gets paid.
    My big issue with the budget is that revenues are up and we get a mini bush tax cut. Instead of holding the budget at last years levels and using the. Surplus aginst the debt or other obligations. Its like your bad brother in law he gets a tax refund check and instead of paying off his credit card debt, decides to have a shopping blow out at the mall or the outlets.

  87. 3B says:

    #88 Fab: That may be the case on one SFH house rented, vs. the same house owned as far as property taxes, but it is not the same for multi-family housing.

  88. JJ says:

    re 88 poor people pay no federal tax and pay no real estate tax.

  89. Fabius Maximus says:

    #88
    Missed a row
    Earn $1M $7,265 savings 0.7%

    Which is disproportionate based on the tax rates paid.

  90. gary says:

    Fabius,

    Flat tax, across the board. Everybody’s equal, everybody’s treated fairly.

  91. JJ says:

    I say a fat tax would be better. Snooki could lose a few pounds, looks like two pounds of bolognia in a one pound bag

  92. Fabius Maximus says:

    #92 gary

    A flat tax would kill businesses if you take away their ability to deduct or depreciate.

  93. njescapee says:

    lots of luck with a flat federal income tax w/ no deductions / exclusions in Jerzee. we’ll get fare a lot better here in our low tax state.

    gary says:
    February 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm
    Fabius,

    Flat tax, across the board. Everybody’s equal, everybody’s treated fairly.

  94. joyce says:

    94

    Fab,
    I’m assuming that was tongue in cheek because business only pay tax on net income. But a flat tax will only harm the businesses who have special deductions/credits carved out in the tax code. And it will only kill the businesses in industries that rely on the complex tax code as the reason for their existence.

  95. joyce says:

    JJ

    poor people who rent pay the property tax of the lease holder, so i guess the lease holder pays no property tax

  96. cobbler says:

    The idea that richer people live on average in higher RE-taxed houses is only true for a specific town. Except for the Abbott towns, the average RE tax except for the county portion is very comparable say in Millburn and Nutley, or Summit and Union, etc. – so similar-sized %%-wise RE tax reduction will help middle-income people much more than 10% GIT reduction.

  97. Juice says:

    NYPD lol if you are looking for a terrorist try the nearest Fried Chicken Joint.

    http://gawker.com/5887289/the-nypd-zagat-guide-to-newarks-best-and-most-threatening-muslim-restaurants

  98. grim says:

    88/98

    Wealthy Financier and Hedge Fund Mogul Stu in Glen Ridge is paying $28,000 a year in property taxes for his mansion on Ridgewood Ave.

    Blue collar Grim is paying $7k for his crapshack in Garfield.

    Chi is in Section 8 in Asbury, he doesn’t directly pay property taxes.

    Under what situation does Stu not yield a greater benefit than Grim? Under what situation will Chi even get a penny in direct savings?

    Now, are we just going to start talking about imposing income or tax/valuation limits? 5% Reduction on the first $5000?

  99. grim says:

    Likewise, wasteful and mismanaged towns like Montclair will get a disproportionately larger share of benefits compared to well run towns who didn’t blow tax dollars on trips to China and bike lanes. Residents in towns that don’t include trash removal will lose out to towns that do, etc etc.

  100. JJ says:

    Ok I was trying to find a formula on how much to pay for a rental property. Here it is.

    Lets say 200K purchase price
    100% financing, lets say 4% so $800 a month (even if you pay cash add this in)
    $400 a month property tax
    $200 a month renters insurance and umbrella policy

    Total is $1,400

    Now factor in 20% of rent for maint repairs and upkeep, $280 a month.
    Now factor in 10K to close and get ready for renting at 4% or $40 a month.

    New Total is $1,720. Now factor in 8% profit margin for headache. so total is $1,857

    So if this 200K house rents for $1,857 or more buy it.

    I say the heck with tax breaks on mortgage and re-taxes as that goes vs. rental income.

    I say the heck with depreciation as you have to pay back in end.

    I say the heck with the person is paying off your mortgage. In first ten years of mortgage very little goes towards paying down loan.

    Cash flow should be 8% straight up without the tax break or bonus you own at the end.

    Where do I coume up with this. Distressed property investors or distressed real estate funds use the 8% straight up profit margin as the benchmark for buying a distressed RE asset.

  101. gary says:

    I was thinking a flat tax in regards to earned income on individuals. Obama is preaching that everyone needs to pay their fair share, what’s more fair than this?

  102. Anon E. Moose says:

    Nom;

    Sawx get pwned on domain name for new spring training ball park.

    http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/travelers-check/201202/cubs-fan-wins-gigabyte-glory

    I wonder how the UDRP panel will treat him?

  103. JJ says:

    You obviously never lived in a rent stablized apt. I actually for three years was a landlord as I rented my place and was a tennant as I rented a place. Two sets of rules apply. Funniest thing was apt was a LLC where you don’t know owner but apparantly when flames shoot out of fuse box and box is flown across basement and building is in a black out for 12 hours apparantly they find the need to introduce themselves. That and the “elevator” incident, plus eviction fees hardly ment I was paying his RE taxes. More likely repairs. Also apparantly 40 people at a party in a two square foot unit is another issue. Another landlord for some reason felt that serving 3,000 jello shots and 1,000 buffolo wings, ten kegs, and 1,000 hotdogs and hamburgers to 500 people at a house party was an issue. Really isn’t that why folks rent? would I want 500 people doing jello shots in my own house? But the oddity of that party was a nieighbor apparntly saw a male guest orally pleasing a female guest spread eagle on second story deck. Apparantly 200 cars on lawn and street and 500 guests at a house party was not issue, but a little lawn munching is. That is why being a landlord is interesting. The funniest thing we ever did to a prick landlord is reorgaize his furnished house. It was clean alright, no damage but apparantly pots and pans hidden in attic by pool in basement and bedroom furniture in living room was not funny, even funnier when he called yelling as the lawyer stated their was nothing in contract that said I could not move furniture. I should have unbolted his toliet and put it in kitchen. I love renting. Kinda like when I tought a class I realized every students goal was to cheat or not due work, kinda like when I was a student the game of cat and mouse between tenant and landlord is excelent. BTW dont ever do this, make a loud break noice outside supers door so he runs out without locking door and then throw a container of throw-up on his bed, apparantly they just don’t get it. That is funny stuff. Not even the dominor delivery to his door at three am made him happy. Also never throw furniture out your window onto street, my friend got caught doing that and landlord chased him down street with knife. Apparantly he was touchy when the xmas tree came down with bulbs and all still on it.

    joyce says:
    February 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm
    JJ

    poor people who rent pay the property tax of the lease holder, so i guess the lease holder pays no property tax

  104. njescapee says:

    nothing wrong with a flat income tax but it will cause severe impacts to low and middle income earners. take for example a 100k gross income taxed at 15% federal flat tax, add SS and medicare @ 7.65%, state income tax @3% leaves about 74k. add re tax @ 6k will leave you and your family with $68k to live on, healthcare, save for retirement etc. it’s doable but won’t be pretty.

  105. yo says:

    A graduated flat tax I will like to see.If everybody pays at one rate somebody on a bracket will get hurt.Somebody that is paying 38% will be very happy with 20% and somebody paying nothing will be hurt by paying 20%.Graduated it is.Just like Shore said let the poor pay $50 at least they paid Federal tax.

  106. cobbler says:

    grim [100]
    OK, let’s exclude the people in public housing (they don’t pay neither RE, nor income tax, so reduction in either one wouldn’t affect them). For the rest of us, the progressiveness of the income tax is much greater than of the RE tax; so, 10% GIT reduction will make extremely small difference for someone making say 50K a year and no difference at all for the retiree whose pension income is tax-exempt to a certain level. OTOH, 10% reduction in this retiree’s say 6K property tax bill will be a significant event which on the margin may even reduce his desire to leave the state and put another house on the market.

  107. njescapee says:

    graduated = progressive no?

  108. chicagofinance says:

    WSJ
    REVIEW & OUTLOOK
    FEBRUARY 22, 2012

    Obama’s Dividend Assault

    A plan to triple the tax rate would hurt all shareholders..

    President Obama’s 2013 budget is the gift that keeps on giving—to government. One buried surprise is his proposal to triple the tax rate on corporate dividends, which believe it or not is higher than in his previous budgets.

    Mr. Obama is proposing to raise the dividend tax rate to the higher personal income tax rate of 39.6% that will kick in next year. Add in the planned phase-out of deductions and exemptions, and the rate hits 41%. Then add the 3.8% investment tax surcharge in ObamaCare, and the new dividend tax rate in 2013 would be 44.8%—nearly three times today’s 15% rate.

    Keep in mind that dividends are paid to shareholders only after the corporation pays taxes on its profits. So assuming a maximum 35% corporate tax rate and a 44.8% dividend tax, the total tax on corporate earnings passed through as dividends would be 64.1%.

    In previous budgets, Mr. Obama proposed an increase to 23.8% on both dividends and capital gains. That’s roughly a 60% increase in the tax on investments, but at least it would maintain parity between taxes on capital gains and dividends, a principle established as part of George W. Bush’s 2003 tax cut.

    With the same rate on both forms of income, the tax code doesn’t bias corporate decisions on whether to retain and reinvest profits (and allow the earnings to be capitalized into the stock price), or distribute the money as dividends at the time they are earned.

    Of course, the White House wants everyone to know that this new rate would apply only to those filthy rich individuals who make $200,000 a year, or $250,000 if you’re a greedy couple. We’re all supposed to believe that no one would be hurt other than rich folks who can afford it.

    The truth is that the plan gives new meaning to the term collateral damage, because shareholders of all incomes will share the pain. Here’s why. Historical experience indicates that corporate dividend payouts are highly sensitive to the dividend tax. Dividends fell out of favor in the 1990s when the dividend tax rate was roughly twice the rate of capital gains.

    When the rate fell to 15% on January 1, 2003, dividends reported on tax returns nearly doubled to $196 billion from $103 billion the year before the tax cut. By 2006 dividend income had grown to nearly $337 billion, more than three times the pre-tax cut level.

    Shortly after the rate cut, Microsoft, which had never paid a dividend, distributed $32 billion of its retained earnings in a special dividend of $3 per share. According to a Cato Institute study, 22 S&P 500 companies that didn’t pay dividends before the tax cut began paying them in 2003 and 2004.

    As former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill explained at the time: “The recent change in the tax law levels the playing field between dividends and share repurchases as a means to return capital to shareholders. This substantial increase in our dividend will be part of our effort to reallocate capital to dividends and reduce share repurchases.”

    And that’s what happened. An American Economic Association study by University of California at Berkeley economists Raj Chetty and Emmanuel Saez examined dividend payouts by firms and concluded that “the tax reform played a significant role in the [2003 and 2004] increase in dividend payouts.” They also found that the incentive for firms to pay dividends rather than sit on cash helped “reshuffle” capital from lower growth firms to “ventures with greater expected value,” thus increasing capital-market efficiency.

    If you reverse the policy, you reverse the incentives. The tripling of the dividend tax will have a dampening effect on these payments.

    Who would get hurt? IRS data show that retirees and near-retirees who depend on dividend income would be hit especially hard. Almost three of four dividend payments go to those over the age of 55, and more than half go to those older than 65, according to IRS data.

    But all American shareholders would lose. Higher dividend and capital gains taxes make stocks less valuable. A share of stock is worth the discounted present value of the future earnings stream after taxes. Stock prices would fall over time to adjust to the new after-tax rate of return. And if investors become convinced later this year that dividend and capital gains taxes are going way up on January 1, some investors are likely to sell shares ahead of paying these higher rates.

    The question is how this helps anyone. According to the Investment Company Institute, about 51% of adults own stock directly or through mutual funds, which is more than 100 million shareholders. Tens of millions more own stocks through pension funds. Why would the White House endorse a policy that will make these households poorer?

    Seldom has there been a clearer example of a policy that is supposed to soak the rich but will drench almost all American families.

  109. njescapee says:

    graduated = progressive no-yo? ;)

  110. yo says:

    HOW CAN SO MANY DIE AT 16mph?

    “The train entered the Once station at 26 kilometers per hour (16 mph)… we suppose there was some flaw in the brakes,” Transport Secretary Juan Pablo Schiavi told state news agency Telam.

    “The train was full and the impact was tremendous,” a passenger named Ezequiel told local television, AFP reported.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46479386/ns/world_news-americas/

  111. chicagofinance says:

    unmod

  112. chicagofinance says:

    chicagofinance says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm
    The End Is Nigh (Culinary Edition):
    WSJ
    THE A-HED
    FEBRUARY 22, 2012

    An Unconventional Pairing: Wine and ‘Sliders’ at the Castle

    Famed for Mini-Burgers, White Castle Samples New Tastes; Other Chains Also Testing.

    By BARRY NEWMAN

    LAFAYETTE, Ind.—The wine list at the White Castle here proposes a thoughtfully balanced varietal selection, from a pétillant Mo-cato to a quite approachable Merlot.

    Jeanette Merritt stopped by one lunchtime for a tasting. Ms. Merritt isn’t new to wine; she’s the Indiana Wine Grape Council’s marketing director. Wine, however, is new to White Castle. Since December, at this one location, the hamburger chain has been pairing some elegant aspirations with its rather unpretentious “sliders.”

    At the counter, Ms. Merritt ordered three cheeseburgers and the full complement of wines: four, in seven-ounce bottles. The burgers cost $2.49, the wine $18. A staffer carried the wine to a booth, twisted open the screw-tops and set out clear-plastic glasses. Table service enhances the ambience (and is required by state law).

    Ms. Merritt began with the Merlot, from Barefoot Cellars, and deemed it “good.” Of the Chardonnay, she said, “The fruit’s there instead of the butter.” The Mo-cato was “fun.” Then came the “sweet red,” a blend. “It’s red,” said Ms. Merritt. “It’s sweet.”

    The Merlot, she decided, paired best with the burgers. She ate two. Eyeing the leftovers, she said, “At some point that was a cow, I guess.”

    White Castle, a fixture in a dozen east-central states, is the Motel 6 of fast food. A family business since 1921, with 421 stores and sales last year of $632 million, it gets credit for initiating the masses to 100% ground beef in a bun.

    White Castle hasn’t sold beer—also newly on sale in Lafayette—or wine up to now, but for those who missed the movie “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle,” it is famous as the place where fervid “cravers”—drunk, stoned or just gluttonous—go to pig out.

    “I have never in my mind combined the idea of wine with White Castle,” says Richard Crosby, a music professor at Eastern Kentucky University who says he eats there 300 times a year.

    Neither has David Hogan, an Ohio historian whose book on White Castle describes it as a “socioeconomic ‘common ground’ where truck drivers eat alongside physicians who eat next to the homeless.”

    “Wine?” Prof. Hogan says. “It seems wholly illogical to me. If Wendy’s did it, it would be less startling.”

    Or Burger King, or Starbucks, or Sonic. All three are also in the midst of booze tests at a handful of their stores. Yet if Prof. Hogan cheers White Castle for learning to “celebrate its own anachronism,” fast-food experts toast this experiment’s shrewdness. As restaurant adviser Malcolm Knapp says, “They’re always right in sync with the zeitgeist.”

    “Slider,” for example, is a slur dating to the 1940s on the alleged ease with which White Castle burgers slide in. Now hip bistros serve ahi tuna sliders, foie gras sliders. At the Little Owl, in New York’s Greenwich Village, the “gravy meatball slider” ($15 for three) made the cover of Bon Appétit.

    The chef and owner of Little Owl, Joey Campanaro, was at his bar one recent day, contemplating a stack of White Castle sliders brought in for a dégustation. “Those onions were cooked forever,” he said, after taking a bite and making a face.

    “Disgusted?” said his friend, Josh Ozersky, author of “The Hamburger, a History.” Mr. Ozersky grew up eating White Castle sliders in New Jersey. “It’s still a beautiful thing,” he said, “a talisman, a one-of-a-kind craveable object.” Between pronouncements, he ate three.

    Last year, White Castle registered “The Original Slider” as a trademark. From there, it was a hip-hop and a jump to Mo-cato.

    “We’ll muse occasionally on metaphysics, but we’re only selling a 2½-inch-square hamburger,” said Jamie Richardson, head of corporate relations, when asked for the rationale.

    Mr. Richardson, married to a great-granddaughter of Billy Ingram, the founder, was in Columbus, Ohio, the company’s hometown, at a board members’ c-cktail party—being held in a White Castle.

    “Our customers wanted beer, so we thought, why not try wine, too?” said Lisa Ingram, chief operating officer. She was drinking a Sprite. Her father, Bill Ingram, president and chief executive, held a bottle of Budweiser. “I don’t think we’ll do scotch,” he said.

    At another White Castle, in downtown Columbus, opinions varied among the staff on the wisdom of adding spirits to the menu.

    “We got all kinds of drunks already,” said Dominic Williams, tending the grill behind bulletproof glass. Aqueelah Smith finished mopping and disagreed. “Wine? At White Castle?” she said. “People would try it, eagerly. It’s ironic.”

    For now, the ironies are confined to Lafayette’s one White Castle, off I-65 between Chicago and Indianapolis. Arby’s, Chili’s, Denny’s, McDonald’s, IHOP and Burger King are within a five-minute drive. There is a Starbucks across the road and a Dairy Queen next door, now re-christened “DQ Grill & Chill.” It sells burgers.

    Still white and crenelated, the White Castle has been dolled up and subbranded as “Blaze.” The menu has extras, mainly meat, pulled and stewed. The wines stand in a glass cooler, except the Merlot, which is served unchilled.

    Hours went by this day with no wine orders. “It isn’t Bordeaux, it’s Indiana,” said Dave Dore, the regional manager, who was passing through. A man sat nearby behind a pile of cheeseburgers. Mr. Dore called, “Some wine with your White Castle?” The man said, “Sliders would go better with Wild Turkey and Peppermint Schnapps.”

    The Andouille sausage was dropped a short while ago for lack of sales, but White Castle is giving the wine test here at least a year before deciding if it should let any other White Castles dip in. “Who would have known in 1921 that the hamburger would last?” said Mr. Dore.

    It was 10 p.m. before Lauren Reed finally walked in and caught sight of the bottles. “I thought it was a rumor,” she said. A chef at Purdue University in West Lafayette, she ordered three regular sliders, two cheese sliders—and a Mo-cato.

    “I find that people who know wine will choose the Mo-cato,” said the counterman, Ryan Parrott. Retiring to a booth, Ms. Reed said, “I just wanted something kind of sweet to go with my White Castles.”

    The place was empty by 11 p.m. In a blink of the flat screens above the counter, the alcohol suddenly was off the menu. White Castle doesn’t want drunken cravers coming in late to get drunker. But, like every White Castle, this one was staying open all night, in case they came in hungry.

  113. yo says:

    I guess you can call it that.I don’t see a problem with the system now except the loopholes.And citizens wants the poor pay something,set an amount.

    njescapee says:
    February 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm
    graduated = progressive no?

  114. Against The Grain says:

    #83
    “If anyone would be interested in a business venture surrounding deficiency debt investment and collection, let me know. Bring lawyers and money, I’ve got guns.”

    I’ve thought about this myself. It might be viable in other states, but in NJ how would you get over the rule that the debtor’s right of redemption remains as long as the deficiency action is pending, clouding the title to the property?

  115. Juice says:

    re: #112 – “One car penetrated nearly 20 feet into the next”

    F= m x a

    The force of the train was probably close to a million Newtons when it hit. People were crsued inside the tin can and smothered under the piled up bodies in the train cars, unable to get up or out. Not a fun way to die.

  116. cobbler says:

    yo[107]
    There is no point in taxing someone $50 and then giving him back $1,500 as EITC, it just increases the waste. EITC should be abolished, period – why should the taxpayers subsidize 99 cent hamburgers (which are made possible by paying the burger flippers $7 per hour)?

  117. Fabius Maximus says:

    #96 joyce
    All companies take advantage of some part of the tax code. If companies have to take all expense and revenue up front without the ability to defer or depreciate, it will hurt.

  118. JJ says:

    Lin just rented a place at the W downtown in the Financial District. Basketball and RE news together.

  119. yo says:

    A person that have an AGI of $20k will have a tax bill of $2000.I believe EITC is for becoming compassionate to a poor person.What I think,they should not qualify for a refund if they claim EITC.

  120. JJ says:

    Re 112 I got t-boned twice in a smaller car by a bigger car. Even at relatively slow speeds switching directions instantly and being dragged really is a nasty impacted. The last one the passenger side view mirror must have flew by my head at 40 mph and it exploded on the drivers door pillar. I have hit moving cars in accidents or bumped off stuff. But the impact of hitting something that weighs more than you and changing directions instantly is nasty. Stuff like in one tboning the inside of my trunk floor had bends in it. Even a slow speed head on collisium between two cars are messy, even more so if one weighs more and you are the one dragged backwards. The nut in the one tboning dragged me like 40 feet. As odd as this sounds I felt that no-one ever died or got hurt in a car accident up to around age 25. I mean me and my friends totalled cars, rolled cars, tboned cars all type of nasty stuff with no seat belts. Apparantly we were just lucky. But the joy of being 18 with no seatbelts drunk on four bald tires and bad breaks at 80 mph and not a care in a world is a great thing.

  121. JJ says:

    How does someone in NJ earn only 20K as an adult supporting a family.
    yo says:
    February 22, 2012 at 3:52 pm
    A person that have an AGI of $20k will have a tax bill of $2000.I believe EITC is for becoming compassionate to a poor person.What I think,they should not qualify for a refund if they claim EITC.

  122. Painhrtz - I ain't dead yet says:

    cobbler 108 and lets add in loopholes so people can take advantage of certain types of activity

    this is how the tax code became f*cked up in the first place. Want a flat tax. It is really simple total tax of 50 bucks up to 20K, if you have children each one of them is an additional 50 bucks up to 20K. tax all addtional income after at 20K at 15%.

    Whoever said if you have a car you are not poor, amen!

  123. yo says:

    My neighbor 52 years old got a seasonal job at lowes paying $10 an hour after loosing a great job.That is all there is in jersey part time or seasonal.No benefits

  124. Fabius Maximus says:

    #100 grim

    If you take out the school portion, you are comparing your 25×100 against Stu’s 1 acre in GR. As he is paying to take a bigger piece of the property pie the amount back will be bigger. In fact when you take out all municipal and county, the state charges for both should be proportional.

    As for section 8 they do have some skin in the game,if there is a property tax cut across the board FMR sould drop for the area and the section 8 landlords would have to folllow suit.

  125. joyce (50)-

    Please stop annoying Moose with the niggling fact that the biggest deadbeats in Amerika are of the corporate and bankster variety.

  126. grim (54)-

    This was actually attempted for about three nanoseconds by BAC. It came at around the same time as the gubmint’s 5th or 6th shot at HARP, HAMP, FART and FCUK.

    It’s all just a remake of Weekend at Bernie’s at this point. Bring out your dead.

  127. grim (83)-

    Don’t discount the effectiveness of vicious dogs and baseball bats.

    “If anyone would be interested in a business venture surrounding deficiency debt investment and collection, let me know. Bring lawyers and money, I’ve got guns.”

    BTW, I have still to know of a pursuit of deficiency judgments or collection of same in NJ. I do know in other states, most people simply file BK if there’s an aggressive attempt to collect RE-related deficiencies.

  128. Anyone here thinking of being a landlord should tattoo post #105 inside his eyelids.

    “Also never throw furniture out your window onto street, my friend got caught doing that and landlord chased him down street with knife. Apparantly he was touchy when the xmas tree came down with bulbs and all still on it.”

  129. Fabius Maximus says:

    #103 gary,
    It has to go across the board to cover everyone from farmers, sole proprietor, hedge fund mgrs, retirees on dividend/interest income, etc

  130. Bocephus says:

    Dude you are in long or not at all. Welcome to Jersey, It’s a life sentence .

  131. Bocephus says:

    Giddam i love here. Teeth grit.

  132. chi (110)-

    A 0% rate of return for savers, coupled with draconian taxes on dividend income.

    Again, anyone who does not think the Amerikan gubmint has declared war on us is functioning on a brain stem with a dessicated walnut attached to it.

  133. The poor don’t pay nearly enough in taxes. Time for them to man up and get some skin in the game.

  134. grim says:

    JJ would have loved my friends fathers deadbeat tenants. They were running an S&M website along with photo studio out of the attic. They snuck in one night to assess damage before the eviction hearing and couldn’t believe the ‘dungeon’ they found in the attic.

  135. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    “Mr. Obama is proposing to raise the dividend tax rate to the higher personal income tax rate of 39.6% that will kick in next year. Add in the planned phase-out of deductions and exemptions, and the rate hits 41%. Then add the 3.8% investment tax surcharge in ObamaCare, and the new dividend tax rate in 2013 would be 44.8%—nearly three times today’s 15% rate.”

    So if you are on a fixed income looks like yet another avenue of income is going bye bye. Hopey and changey.

  136. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    I will say this of Chairman O. For a tax attorney, he is the gift that keeps on giving. I really have to ramp up that side of my practice so I can take advantage.

  137. JJ says:

    And we were good tenants. I have seen dead people, shootings, herioin addicts, pimps, hos, drugdealling type stuff when I livedi n the city in the early 90s.

    My favorite are the people who turn the water on full volumne before they leave to flood out all the units below. Leave windowss open when raining. And favorite of all a ranch house where they had a rock band play on roof and runined who roof, threw a piano through window onto front lawn and demolished place. Landlord sues goes through process and judge awards him for all damages. Tennants turns out had money wrote him a check no problem. Landlord was mad all stress aggrivation and work it caused him to get repairs done. But judge said I can only make them pay for repairs not your stress. Tennants could care less. they were always going to pay.

    BTW the dividend rate is not 44.8 it also gets first taxed at corporate rate which could be up to 40. Dividend taxes could be 80%

    There Went Meat says:
    February 22, 2012 at 4:46 pm
    Anyone here thinking of being a landlord should tattoo post #105 inside his eyelids.

    “Also never throw furniture out your window onto street, my friend got caught doing that and landlord chased him down street with knife. Apparantly he was touchy when the xmas tree came down with bulbs and all still on it.”

  138. yo says:

    HOW MANY MORE COMPANIES DO THE SAME?

    Employing another strategy, Marriott legally avoided hundreds of millions of dollars in income taxes thanks to a federal tax-credit program criticized and allowed to expire by Congress. Marriott has also shifted profits to a Luxembourg shell company. During Romney’s years on the board, Marriott’s effective tax rate dipped as low as 6.8 percent, compared with the federal corporate statutory rate of 35 percent.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-22/romney-as-auditing-chairman-saw-marriott-son-of-boss-tax-shelter-defy-irs.html

  139. 3b says:

    Has there not been talk of a Spring housing recovery for the last 4 years? Just saying.

  140. freedy says:

    The recovery is here. Ask any realtor.

  141. Ben says:

    HOW CAN SO MANY DIE AT 16mph?

    Do you realize how much momentum a train has at 16 mph? A wall can stop a car moving at 16 mph no problem. A train moving at 16 mph is going to demolish anything in its path.

  142. 3b says:

    #142 Of course they would know!!!

  143. zieba says:

    RE: 140

    The attached link is amateur (graphic warning) video of the crash site. If you watch carefully, it appears as if the wagon on the left rides 6> feet over the first, rightmost wagon. Notice the white paint scheme on the wagons:

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=337_1329926091

    I’m with Yo, that’s a lot of damage for the recorded speed, regardless of inertia.

  144. Citigroup is a much bigger train wreck, and they are standing perfectly still.

  145. Shore Guy says:

    I don’t believe that a flat tax would have to adversely affect depreciation. After deprecating assets and doing the usual revenue minus cost of goods sold, cost of manufacture, wages, overhead, the resulting profit would be subject to the flat tax.

  146. Shore Guy says:

    Freaking Android

  147. Pat says:

    Cordovan. I truly miss you ijits.

  148. Pat says:

    Clot…while I’m admittedly a bit of a shabby newcomer and confirmed interloper, somehow the locals down heah have come to trust me.

    I’ve observed that my upscale neighbors with long-time [>12mo DOM] have been having various fire issues. Note that I am NOT using any form of the word lightening nor implying such. We are simply currently in possession of a fire station receiver.

    Five in as many weeks.

    Can you tell me if this is a buy signal?

    Love,

    Pat

  149. cobbler says:

    shore [148]
    For the corporate, I think VAT is the way to go. It is a good tax that picks up all the activity, plus it acts somewhat like a tariff by discouraging imports and encouraging exports.

  150. Pat (151)-

    Spontaneous combustion has long been recognized as a leading indicator of bull markets in real estate.

    For more information, please consult your local Realtor. The National Association of Realtors wishes you a happy day and reminds you once again that no one- absolutely no one- will be spared.

    [sarc off]

  151. yo says:

    We discussed this awhile ago

    PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. (MarketWatch) — A pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to the British Columbia coast already exists. It’s been “flying under the radar” until now, so to speak. But that’s about to change.

    All the media attention had been currently focused much further north, on Enbridge’s /quotes/zigman/20592/quotes/nls/enb ENB -0.16% proposed $5.5 billion Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to isolated Kitimat, B.C., where a shipping terminal is to be built. It’s distracted the media and environmentalists until now: Public hearings on Northern Gateway are underway and expected to last for months.

    But (Psst., buddy. Keep this quiet, would ya? ) Houston-based Kinder Morgan /quotes/zigman/3811989/quotes/nls/kmi KMI -0.40% has been operating its 600-mile Trans Mountain pipeline from Edmonton to Vancouver’s Burnaby Port for years. Trans Mountain carries only 300,000 barrels per day, a tiny percentage of Alberta crude. Now Kinder Morgan has announced it’s lined up enough shippers to double the pipeline’s capacity. It’ll decide by the end of March whether to go ahead with the $3.8 billion expansion — and face a new set of regulatory and public hurdles.

    This proposed pipeline expansion is no March madness; in fact, a Trans Mountain “doubling” announcement from Kinder seems like a much surer bet next month than any NCAA basketball favorite.

    Unnoticed
    The Kinder pipeline, which recently allowed the first tanker of bitumen crude to be shipped to China, has gone largely unnoticed during the Northern Gateway media furor. But that will change, no doubt. The prospect of it doubling its capacity to 600,000 barrels a day has already caught the attention of the usual suspects.

    Still, Ian Anderson, head of Kinder’s Canadian division, says the company “looks forward” to hearing from First Nations tribes and local stakeholders (i.e., enviros) about the proposed Trans Mountain expansion. (Yeah, sure). In the truest Canadian governmental tradition, there will be countless hearings if Kinder Morgan, as expected, decides to go ahead with its plans to double the pipeline’s capacity.

    Most of the crude that’s shipped in the existing Trans Mountain pipeline is shipped to — and refined in — California. A map of Trans Mountain can be found

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/canadian-oils-quiet-pipeline-to-the-west-2012-02-23

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