Expected the best, but worst still better than last year

From Bloomberg:

Housing Data Disappoint … Again

So the latest housing number is kind of bad: 654,000 new units were started in March, 5.8 percent below the revised February numbers. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting something considerably higher. The median estimate of the 82 who ventured a guess was 705,000. Even the lowball forecast, 670,000, was too high. It’s the rare economic survey where the biggest bear isn’t bearish enough. Clearly we’ve been fooled by housing again: Just when it looked like he was getting out of bed, the perpetual sick man of the recovery rolls over with some phlegmy numbers.

But how disappointed should we be? Housing starts last month were still 10 percent higher than a year earlier. And building permits were strong, up 4.5 percent from February and 30 percent higher than they were a year earlier. Permits data tend to be the more dependable number anyway, compared with the choppy starts number that tends to get significantly revised. Of course, it’s a lot easier to file a building permit than to start building the thing.

So much of the recently nice housing data was apparently being goosed by the unseasonably warm temperatures over the last several months—which everyone knew. “I thought the weather would give us a bigger lift,” says Joe Lavorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank (DB), who forecast 725,000 housing starts in March.

Among those colored not surprised is Barry Ritholtz, whose “Debunking the Housing Recovery” series has done just that, fairly thoroughly. Ritholtz’s continued housing bearishness can be summed up thusly: There are still too many unsold homes on the market, they’re still too expensive for first-time buyers, there are still lots more foreclosures coming down the pike, and renting is too good an option for too many people, compared with owning.

Still, not everyone’s reading these numbers as bad.

Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM), says the strong permits data refute the warm weather argument, and that construction will grow through the year. Shenfeld, who forecast 675,000 housing starts, believes housing will actually contribute to GDP this year, and that it might already be doing so, despite consecutive decreases in construction spending since December.

Still, even housing bulls are tepid in their enthusiasm. “This isn’t the big recovery in construction we’re waiting for. It’s merely a crawl off the bottom of low homebuilding levels,” says Shenfeld. “Still, the mini-bounce off the bottom has begun.”

This entry was posted in Economics, Housing Recovery, New Development. Bookmark the permalink.

113 Responses to Expected the best, but worst still better than last year

  1. grim says:

    From HousingWire:

    Fannie, Freddie set new short sale timelines

    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will require mortgage servicers to make decisions on short sales under new timelines beginning this June.

    Servicers must review and respond to a borrower within 30 days of receiving all documentation. According to guidance released Tuesday, the servicer can take up to 60 days on a deciison if negotiations with mortgage insurers or other stakeholders linger.

    Short sales have in the past taken several months to complete as servicers, borrowers, buyers, investors and different lien holders had to agree on a transaction. Mortgage servicers working with the goverment-sponsored enterprises completed a record 32,000 short sales in the fourth quarter, up 14% from the previous quarter, according to agency data.

    Under the new guidance, which takes effect June 15, the servicer has three business days to acknowledge the documentation was received, and must notify the borrower within five days if more paperwork is needed.

    If a short sale is still under review after 30 days, the servicer must provide weekly status updates to the borrower.

  2. grim says:

    1 – Too little too late, short sales are soooo 2010. When has the government ever been right or on-time? REO is the new kid on the block in 2012, and the buyers will be heading there for bargains. Congrats geniuses, but you should have came up with this 2 years ago. Don’t get too excited either, since this only applies to Fannie and Freddie.

    Housing bailout attempt # 847 … Check!

  3. Mike says:

    Good Morning New Jersey

  4. Mike says:

    Barry lets not forget about that little thing called unemployment either

  5. grim says:

    Just a quick note on the hardcore inspectors.

    It’s one thing to have a ringer in your corner (inspector that’ll write up an ugly report, but walk you through the real issues) versus hiring a critical hard-ass.

    There seems to be a whole new segment of extremely hard assed know-it-all inspectors that are very black and white, and damn near everything is black to them. Maybe it’s got to do with appraisers getting the fingers pointed at them, or maybe it’s just Holmes.

    I know someone who has shelled out more than 1500 in inspections (not with Uber), and walked away from 3 deals in the process. Having looked over the reports, and seen 2 of the houses in person, I thought he was off the mark, not because the reports weren’t accurate, but because he did nothing to help set expectations in the buyer about what could typically be expected when buying a 5o year old split level.

    Doesn’t matter to this guy, he’s built such a strong rep that he can easily extract $1500 from a buyer and make the buyer feel good about it (thank god he was on our side!). But failed to mention that most issues in the report were relatively common to similar aged homes, and thus could be expected just about everywhere. I laughed out loud when I was reading through report #3, and I put #1 and #2 right next to it on the desk, and started flipping through all three together. Wouldn’t you know, damn near identical. (All of these would make a new buyer run away screaming).

    Now, I’d rather have the critical hardass than the idiot brother who needed a job. But when you take the hardass, just make sure you know what’s really a costly problem, and what’s expected given the age and condition of the property.

  6. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Grim 5
    “But when you take the hardass, just make sure you know what’s really a costly problem, and what’s expected given the age and condition of the property.”
    If you can not figure out what is something big and what is to be expected maybe you should not be signing loan docs anyway. I guess it is just age talking as I would know, but looking back to my first purchase over 20 years ago I surely would have asked people in the area of problem to get a feel (no internet then, now easier).

  7. grim says:

    Here are my rules of thumb:

    1. Roof and flashing will always be near the end of life
    1a. If not, there is a 25% chance there is a second layer.
    1b. If there are 3 layers, find the framing damage in the attic, if there isn’t any, keep looking until you find it.
    1c. If the gutters are full of leaves in the spring, chances are they’ve never touched them, expect damage to rafter tails, facia and soffits, and roof underlayment due to ice damming.
    2. Avoid slate roof homes at all costs, run away screaming if you see a cedar roof.
    2a. No, you can’t afford to put a new one on, and fixing it will cost 10x the estimate.
    3. Natural siding will always have problems (Either requiring paint or replacement)
    3a. If the cedar shakes are cupping, with the edges coming towards you, water is running down the wall behind the siding, read: budget for new siding).
    3b. Aluminum siding probably has shingles or shakes behind it.
    3c. Natural materials outside look beautiful, but require maintenance and repainting regularly.
    4. Water heater is always past it’s useful life, if it isn’t, it’s probably undersized.
    5. If the house has original windows, at least half will be painted shut
    5a. Avoid remodels that use mismatched window styles, they probably got them on clearance somewhere, and they probably cheaped out everywhere else.
    6. If there is an old car in the garage in pieces, clearly not running and covered in dust, look for lots of bad DIY repairs.
    7. If the driveway is cracked and in poor shape, look for water issues around the foundation and other signs of neglect.
    7a. If you see signs of neglect, they’ve probably neglected everything.
    8. Downspouts open to the foundation will almost always have foundation damage, and the basement will have mold.
    8a. Old PT deck in bad shape? Water is probably coming in behind the ledger too.
    8b. Better to not have a deck than an old deck past it’s life. Why? You’ll need to remove the deck before you can rebuilt it from scratch when you find out all the timber is rotted.
    9. Every basement finished 20+ years ago with wood paneling and carpet over slab will have mold issues.
    10. Avoid any remodels done during the bubble, the construction quality should be assumed as shit unless it’s clearly quality work (not judged by the quality of finishes, but by the work. Look at cabinet alignment, look at the inside drywall corners, look at tile spacing on the walls and lippage on the floors, look at switch/outlet heights, etc). Look at long runs of tile, look at the end tile at each end, they should be identically sized, this is the mark of a good contractor, they measured first. DIY’ers and hack-jobs will leave slivers of tile at one end.
    11. Assume any heating and cooling system older than 15 years old will break the day after you buy the house.
    12. Assume the inspector is going to miss more than 2 dozen real problems.
    13. Chimney will always need repointing, relining, flue cleaning (pick 2).
    14. Avoid sellers that put granite on 30 year old hickory cabinets they painted white unless you clearly recognize and accept that they’ve probably polished every turd in the house.
    15. Insulation will always be inadequate.
    16. An untouched older house will generally have fewer issues than something remodeled recently.
    17. 70s or earlier house with wrought iron railings inside? They have lead paint on them. Take a knife and scratch them, look for a thin line of gray between paint coats, that’s the lead.
    18. And yes, it’s asbestos.
    19. Look for copper oil tank lines or filler caps, curous patches to the foundations where they would typically be located, find out where the tank is.
    20. New construction is not superior to older construction.
    21. Read the disclosure, but don’t bother trusting it, since the seller is not a builder, engineer, inspector, or otherwise.
    22. Cheap french doors (not anderson or pella), are generally garbage, expect to pay upwards of $2500 to replace them.
    23. Grass and landscaping are very expensive if they don’t already exist. Yes, grass can cost $10k when all you have are rocks.
    24. Do not discount the value of a flat dry lot. Flat, green, dry, sunny? Easily worth 30, 40, 50 thousand, maybe more. You don’t think so? Try to turn a rocky, wet, sloped, shady dirt lot into a green flat and dry one and let me know how you make out.
    25. Expect to replace any old timber retaining walls, and it won’t be cheap.
    26. All the appliances are broken, even if they appear to be working at inspection time.
    27. Do not be wowed by finishes, or judge overall quality of the house based on the finishes/fixtures.
    28. Avoid remodels that used bargain priced Home Depot vanities and Plumbing fixtures.
    29. A damp basement will probably always be damp, fixing it right costs 5 figures. In many cases “fixing it” just makes it “less damp”, see #24 about the flat dry lot above.
    30. If there is a bead of caulk running up the corner of the tile on the wall in the bath or shower, it’s shot. Go downstairs, you’ll see the ceiling was patched as well. Look harder, it’s there. Time to gut.
    31. Replacing that rotten wood privacy with vinyl will cost more than you think. You will give up after replacing the 19th picket and you realize you aren’t getting anywhere.
    32. Look closely at the masonry on the front and rear stairs, shake the railings, look for broken concrete or signs of “repairs” that really do nothing but conceal the damage. Good masonry work is expensive.
    33. Be extremely wary of cheap chinese cabinetry in new kitchen remodels, it’s trash and will not last. It is everywhere today. Dovetails are no longer a sign of quality, ignore them. All reputable brands will mark the inside of their drawers, note the brand, look it up. I am not a fan of Ikea cabinetry either, sorry ikea lovers.
    34. New tile floors? Look for cracks across the face of the tiles, especially if they are larger format tiles or natural stone (and especially so if both). If you see one crack, expect the entire floor to be cracked in a few years, the subfloor was not sufficiently rigid. Putting down big tiles is easy, reinforcing the floor joists and building up the necessary subfloor to support large format natural tile is signifincatly more expensive and time consuming.
    35. I will always take older wooden double hungs especially if they are divided lights in good condition with storm windows, over a hack job vinyl window redo.
    35a. If the windows were replaced with vinyls, look at every window, if you see even one window with signs of penetration/infiltration (condensation or haze inside the window pane), assume them all to be junk.
    36. Run away from any home with knob and tube, I don’t care if it is in Glen Ridge.
    37. Old plaster walls are a nightmare and generally impossible to repair without leaving obvious patches.
    38. If the home was old enough to have lath and plaster, but has since been drywalled, look closely at the bottoms of the walls, do they bulge out any? Flippers have been covering over deteriorated plaster with paper thin drywall instead of removing it. The plaster continues to deteriorate (and the screws just cause it to disintegrate), and the plaster piles up at the bottom of the wall cavity causing it to bulge. Have fun gutting all those rooms.
    39. Don’t for one second think the house next door without a Radon mitigation system is more safe than the house with one. If one house in the neighborhood has radon, they probably all do.
    40. Replace the sump pump the day after you move in.

  8. Mikeinwaiting says:

    grim 7 agreed hence I rent, a very comprehensive list may I add.

  9. Roof and four walls. Arm yourselves and prepare for war.

  10. grim, add to your list: “perimeter of property should lend itself to easy fortification”.

  11. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    grim –
    That’s a great list, every prospective Buyer should carry a copy into their first visit to a House For Sale.

    I can spot that silly looking Home Depot vanity & half-sink from the Foyer. If you see that piece in a home you’re considering, it’s generally indicative of the level of materials used throughout the house.

  12. gary says:

    grim [7],

    Magnificent list! And, as a homeowner for close to 2 decades, I nod my head in agreement on every point. Potential buyers, print that list (with grim’s permission) and memorize every bit of it. You still think sellers aren’t completely batsh1t stupid with their asking prices?

  13. gary says:

    Ritholtz’s continued housing bearishness can be summed up thusly: There are still too many unsold homes on the market, they’re still too expensive for first-time buyers, there are still lots more foreclosures coming down the pike, and renting is too good an option for too many people, compared with owning.

    Let me know what part you don’t understand.

  14. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Gary 14 Dare I say none.

  15. SRK says:

    5 and 7 grim, thanks a mil ! will print and take with me tomorrow.

    10 Meat, “perimeter of property should lend itself to easy fortification”. Could u pls elaborate ? reason is prospective home is a irregular lot with 4 sides not counting front.

    Also there is a steep slope at the back after level ground of about 10 feet, needing 5 steps to go down. But then guess water runs away because of this, while every house in this area (this is not flood-zone) got water in basement during Irene, this one is spotless.

  16. seif says:

    15 – that is funny…he means make sure you can set up barbed wire and gun towers to avoid the coming onslaught of zombies. a moat isn’t a bad idea either.

  17. Brass Balls says:

    I am glad to see the US housing market is still in the gutter where it belongs. In the bahamas funny thing is I did see empty units. Cabbie told me at peak builders build condos and coops on roadway between airport and bridge to Paradise island on beach side that sold out immediately. They then build more on spec on other side of road from beach and lots are empty. Those are not walking distance to stores/bars and you have to cross the busy road to beach. Atlantis owns 40% of all land in Paradise island. They also own One and Only club and most of Comfort Suites. Too many white trash people at resort, tattoos, smokers, piercing, etc. It is too big to be exclusive and once the trash stays there bit drives out the better class of people. I think Atlantis stuffs tripadvisor reviews. The last two days I moved tot he Riu next door as it was an inclusive. I was scared at trip advisor has tons of bad reviews. It turns out it was excelent. Little strange.

    For those keeping track, year to date bond returns. Junk is once again in the lead. Four years running. Hope you guys at least in your 401K have had some junk in your trunk the last few years.
    High-yield corporate bonds (5.00%)
    Taxable municipal bonds (Build America Bonds) (4.55% )
    Investment-grade corporate bonds (3.23%)
    Municipal bonds (2.68%)
    Mortgage-backed securities(1.16%)
    Agencies (0.57%)
    Treasuries (-0.16%)

  18. Brian says:

    7 –
    I’d like to add “have a plumber examine your sewer line with a fiber optic camera to check it’s condition”.

    Mine was crushed and mostly impacted with roots.

  19. gary says:

    SRK [15],

    This is what Meat sort of had in mind:

    http://s1.hubimg.com/u/1179376_f520.jpg

  20. SRK says:

    16 seif and 19 gary, :-) Thanks. This house-buying process rids one of even the most basic sense of humour ! :-( I shudder thinking about what house-buying must have been in the golden selling ages between 2004 and 2007 !

  21. wtf says:

    I missed this yeterday…

    (152)”Finally nice to see an article that gets past the view that “it’s all billionaires renouncing as they are getting taxed too much”. ”

    I agree. Nom pats himself on the back for noticing a trend, but wrongly suggests it’s because people are packing up and leaving the country because of high taxes. Two things I gleaned from that article: (1) the people renouncing their citizenship are mostly already living outside the US and rarely come here anyway, and (2) are renouncing because of the high administrative (not tax) burden.

  22. gary says:

    SRK [20],

    It was a glorious time for house tour guides and lender loan sharks. It was the age of treachery and hokum… it was a time for pretense and deceit… outlined by craftiness and dupery… insincerity and slight of hand. It was skullduggery and chicanery at its very best!!

  23. Mike says:

    Grim 7 The NAR has a price on your head.

  24. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Grim,

    Great list. Thanks for making my sale harder.

    Seriously, we did run into and addressed some of these. All kitchen appliances replaced within past 3 years, older section of house insulated, flue lined with stainless, oil tank in basement removed, house repainted before it became a problem, and heating/cooling systems overhauled.

    I have the large, pretty flat lot with drainage piped to street or diverted from foundation. Did not flood from Irene even though my neighbor did. No sump pump but none needed.

    I tried to stay on things because I wanted to enjoy them, not just buy them for the next buyer. Will do some of that anyway but my philosophy is to not defer improvements.

    Still have some cosmetic things to address. And some things just not perfect, but no house is.

  25. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Meat 10 now you have SRK wondering WTF! LOL
    SRK not to worry by the time it gets that bad a perimeter will just prolong the inevitable.

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

    Mike unfortunately for them he is adept with a pistol

  27. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Pain 26 may be the last guy standing but in that case what is the point.

  28. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [21] wtf

    Have to take issue. I pointed out some time back that there were expats who were not primarily tax motivated. You identified some of these, which are indirectly tax enforcement related although there is no suggestion that these expats save taxes by leaving.

    I did note that everyone who makes the list is rich and covered by the HEART act. It is reasonable to conclude that these expats are more tax motivated than the unlisted expats, but that isn’t to suggest that all expats, or even all listed expats, are pure tax-patriates.

  29. Anon E. Moose says:

    Nom [28];

    I was out-of-pocket yesterday; is this the piece you’re talking about?

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/tax-time-pushes-americans-hike-204320491.html

  30. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Well off to the races, have fun folks.

  31. seif says:

    28 – if “taxing the rich will do nothing” to help the deficit then why should we care if they leave?

  32. Juice Box says:

    re: perimeter. Things have gotten so bad in Ireland that you must have someone house sit while you are away for any reason including going to a wedding or a funeral, the thieves check the local obituaries to see who died and rob homes near the deceased on the date of the funeral. My Aunt put in wrought iron gates, and not the hollow cheap stuff either. They gates are locked every night, the rest of the property is surrounded by 8ft high stone walls, so not so easy to go around the back either. She has also added a camera to screen even the neighbors who are out of work and want to borrow stuff. Broken glass on top of the stone walls will be next if the robberies in the neighborhood keep occurring.

  33. Anon E. Moose says:

    Where’s my fiddle? And how can I play with all this smoke?

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/guest-post-all-transactions-be-conducted-presence-tax-collector

  34. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [29] moose,

    Yes, but every outlet is running it. I found it mildly misleading because it doesn’t point out that only the wealthy get on the list, and because Nina isn’t going to address pure taxpatriation, only the hassle factor for Americans abroad.

    Wtf responded to fabius, who did not suggest that I think all renunciation is tax driven, but it was to fabius that I said some months back that the issues driving expats were varied.

    Finally, two things: renouncing b/c of admin issues are tax issues, just not tax rate issues. Anyone who is middle class and in Europe is not renouncing for tax rate reasons. Also, I don’t believe I said that billionaires were leaving. Millionaires yes, but billionaires already exist in an alternate universe where the rule of marginal utility works in their favor, and any tax hike that isn’t draconian won’t sting them.

  35. Libtard in the City says:

    Absolutely fantastic list Grim. I experienced way too much of this when we bought our multi. We have experienced none of this with our GR home. Believe it or not, the Uberinspektor was spot on. It was uncanny. Even the trees he said that would need removing, needed removing. Sh1t, one of them fell on our house!!! I think the beauty of a starter home is that you learn so much from the process. We’ve sunk almost nothing into repairs of our new house. Just upgrades really.

  36. Anon E. Moose says:

    Seif [31];

    if “taxing the rich will do nothing” to help the deficit then why should we care if they leave?

    Of course, the blazingly obvious point you ignore is that what is being discussed is not taxing “the rich” from an assumed current level of zero to some level that a whiny OWS-type with a B.S. degree in Basketweaving conferred by the local communist assylum considers “fair”; the proposal is to tax “the rich” so that they pay more than what they are currently paying in taxes — one recent estimate has the top 5% of earners paying almost 60% of the income tax burden (linky).

    Do you hallucinate that the rich who leave are going to continue paying taxes at their former levels after they leave?

  37. seif says:

    i only hallucinate on weekends….after my Basket Weaving (it is two words, not one) class ends.

    By YUVAL ROSENBERG, The Fiscal Times
    March 25, 2012
    The recovering economy and booming stock market helped mint 200,000 more millionaires in the U.S. last year…

    Crunch all you want, we’ll make more! The number of millionaires does not remain in stasis. How many more will be created with the facebook ipo next month? We just created another 13 last week with Instagram.

  38. gary says:

    Job Update: Atrocious. There’s no other way to describe it. There was more activity back in 2008/2009 when the sh1t hit the fan. My email and cell phone are dead. Recruiters are looking for one thing: Java Developers. Anything else IT related doesn’t exist. The floor I’m on looks like a semi graveyard with some cubes empty and the rest occupied by people with paper name tags and names I cannot pronounce. Word just came at that Manhattan and Jersey City locations are consolidating and doubling up cubes here to cut operating expenses. Green shoots? Bahha!!

  39. gary says:

    Why don’t we forget about the millionaires and figure out how we can create a tidal wave of new job activity. A job means more federal revenue so it would seem to me. I just can’t figure out how demanding more tax money to feed a runaway deficit is going to create new technology, expanding industry and thus, jobs.

  40. seif says:

    39 – we can do both…this is America!!!!

  41. Bystander says:

    Juice,

    Where in Ireland? My mom’s family lives mostly in central Ireland- Leitrim and Cavan. My mom wants to move back even though she left @ 17. Trying to find decent area for her with public transport. Funny – two younger cousins came to work in Worcester, MA for 2 years.Job was helping troubled youths. They decided to go back to Ireland than stay in dangerous US. Times and perspective have changed

  42. Brian says:

    Gary what do you specialize in? You might have to broaden the skillset. Infosec is in demand. Colleagues have also told me to get into administration of private clouds. Our business is always changing and it’s exhausting but you have to always be getting new certifications.

    39.gary says:
    April 18, 2012 at 10:47 am
    Why don’t we forget about the millionaires and figure out how we can create a tidal wave of new job activity. A job means more federal revenue so it would seem to me. I just can’t figure out how demanding more tax money to feed a runaway deficit is going to create new technology, expanding industry and thus, jobs.

  43. Fabius Maximus says:

    And as usual Eddie Ray is wrong. You do not have to be rich to make this list. If you have not filed your taxes correctly in the previous five years, you will make the list regardless of your income and assets.

  44. Fabius Maximus says:

    Grim,

    A few to add to the list.

    Check the trees are not dead or in need of major pruning. Arborists are expensive. Stumps in the ground should also come out. Mushrooms in the grass or near the foundations indicate buried rotten wood and coust start the termites or carpenter ants off.
    Aluminum wiring or ungrounded sockets. The cloth wrap will be shot and is a big fire hazard and if it hasn’t been repaced it may be that getting access to replace is too big of a job.

    Sanded door edges may show that the doors frames are under load from sagging joists and have been sticking.

  45. Brian says:

    Hey did you guys see this article on the same page as the housing numbers article Grim posted:

    Why You Should Drink at Work
    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-04-12/why-you-should-drink-at-work

    I’m going to print this out and show it to my boss. I knew I deserved a raise.

  46. chicagofinance says:
  47. Libtard in the City says:

    Chi(46):

    My online investment club owns CHSI. We just made 100% on it in less than a year. Huzzah.

  48. gary says:

    Brian [42],

    Does it really matter? I studied literally for days before an interview involving networking and UNIX support for internal/external clients only to be asked some random, obscure nonsense involving other technologies. Was the purpose to be impressed or humilated? Which, I was neither. You know as well as I do that 90% of a support position includes a) developing a process and enforcing it and b) finding a resolution. Everything else is nonsense.

  49. chicagofinance says:

    Lib: I know an analyst at one of the major (pure) research firms who covers life sciences. I mostly piled into it in the fall of 2010 in the low-30’s.

  50. Fabius Maximus says:

    #48 gary

    I told you before to start looking at cloud computing. Amazon will give you everything you need to learn and play with it for free. It is new enough that you can’t be called on on it and you can give a prospective employer a URL to go look at your work.

  51. gary says:

    Fabius,

    I’ll follow-up on it. Thanks.

  52. chicagofinance says:

    I don’t know whether I mentioned this item yesterday. I was going through our roster of managed accounts, and I came across a tax return for 2011. The person was laid off the first week of January 2011, but it was a golden handshake and they got to collect unemployment for the entire year…….FUKING $31,700 so they can be a scratch golfer……WTF????

    Look I feel bad for those unemployed, but that sh!t is WRONG!

    Mike says:
    April 18, 2012 at 6:03 am
    Barry lets not forget about that little thing called unemployment either

  53. Brian says:

    50 –

    That would make him a user of the technology. Not somebody who designs, installs or administers it in a corporate environment. You would, for example, learn how to implement and administer a product like Vmware vcloud.

  54. Fabius Maximus says:

    #51 gary

    If you are free Thursday, have a free day out and lunch on Amazon.
    http://aws.amazon.com/aws-summit-2012/nyc/

  55. BklynHawk says:

    #7…would love to hear thoughts on what to look for in electrical panels and furnaces/boilers…

    On an another note, has anyone else noticed that listings with the largest number of photos usually are the least attractive and have many pictures in desperate need of staging…

  56. tbiggs says:

    #7 Grim –

    Wow, that’s a great list… 2/3 of them applied to my house, the other 1/3 didn’t because I bought it before this bubble (I bought at the peak of the last one, in 1989).

    Horrible DIY hacks everywhere, a fusebox that sparked and smoked occasionally, moldy basement rec room with carpet directly on the slab / no insulation, rot in the walls, 2 layers of ancient roofing shingles, etc., etc. We asked about the appliances, “oh, you can have them.” Sure, since they all failed within a year or so. Oh yeah, and the well failed within two months of moving in – the useless house inspector didn’t catch that.

    I was talking to the guy drilling our new well, and he said “You guys got a beautiful lot here; woods, waterfall… you should bulldoze that ol’ shack and build a nice house.” I was kind of annoyed with him. The place had “character”, right? But a decade later, after re-wiring, re-plumbing, re-roofing, fixing rotten framing, insulating, and undoing literally dozens of crappy DIY “fixes”, I realized “Ya know, that guy was right!”

  57. Brian says:

    So I hear the talking heads on the radio alot talk about how Romney is making noise about how women were greatly affected by job losses during the great recession. (my wife included) Then I read this article.

    http://money.cnn.com/2012/04/18/pf/moms-work/index.htm?iid=Lead

    …And I had a thought. Could this be the start of a culture shift in the US?

    I remember sitting down with my wife, doing the numbers, weighing the pros and cons and in the end, we shifted our lifestyle and my wife became a stay at home mom. We knew having the kids would be a huge change anyway. Are more women sitting down and coming to the same realization?

  58. daddyo says:

    A secular shift in stay-at-home mom’s would definitely be bearish for home prices.

  59. Brian says:

    Yes. In fact, lowered home prices might support this trend for those not already homeowners.

    58.daddyo says:
    April 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm
    A secular shift in stay-at-home mom’s would definitely be bearish for home prices.

  60. Brass Balls says:

    Same day an article is published saying that Men are paid way more than women as article it does not make financial sense for many women with kids to work. I did the math with my wife and first 90K of income would be 100% spent on day care, commute etc. 90K is above the average income of an average working mom. I think if more women stayed home housing prices may rise. Plus we could get back to MadMan days at the office. I dont see Don Drapper or any of there buddies suffering.

    daddyo says:
    April 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm
    A secular shift in stay-at-home mom’s would definitely be bearish for home prices.

  61. gary says:

    Fabius,

    I’m working Thursday (Is that what I do here?) but I appreciate the heads up! :)

  62. Juice Box says:

    re # 41 – Bystander, sunny south east Wexford, most of the Dublin commuter villages are being targeted by the gangs.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/0410/1224314567573.html

  63. 3B says:

    #63 Juice

    We are the boys of Wexford,
    Who fought with heart and hand
    To burst in twain the galling chain!!!!

  64. 3B says:

    #41 bystander:New 2 bedroom hosues can be had in Cavan for $20,000 (U.S.), not commutable to Dublin,by mass transit.

  65. Juice Box says:

    re: # 60 – BB & daddyo – not going to be a secular shift for stay at home mommies anytime soon. There are something like 2 million bastards born in the USA every year, these women have two choices work or welfare and that is around 40% of all kids born today, when it was only 20% 20 years ago and in Don Draper’s day it was perhaps 4%. People just don’t stay together for the kids anymore and have a cavalier attitude about it. You can look at Cromartie as the prime example of his demographic where over 70% are born out of wedlock or anyone else who perhaps knows of one or two mid-30s working women who run a solo operation with one or two young kids in daycare. Everyone knows a single working mom there is no avoiding it. The will be no demographic shift in housing prices do to household formations and women choosing to stay home in our lifetimes.

  66. JJ says:

    Cromartie’s wife tweeted this weekend she is expecting twins. That would be baby 11 and 12 for him. Now that Cromartie is now only having babies with his wife that alone will cut down on the single mom problem.

    Juice Box says:
    April 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    re: # 60 – BB & daddyo – not going to be a secular shift for stay at home mommies anytime soon. There are something like 2 million bastards born in the USA every year, these women have two choices work or welfare and that is around 40% of all kids born today, when it was only 20% 20 years ago and in Don Draper’s day it was perhaps 4%. People just don’t stay together for the kids anymore and have a cavalier attitude about it. You can look at Cromartie as the prime example of his demographic where over 70% are born out of wedlock or anyone else who perhaps knows of one or two mid-30s working women who run a solo operation with one or two young kids in daycare. Everyone knows a single working mom there is no avoiding it. The will be no demographic shift in housing prices do to household formations and women choosing to stay home in our lifetimes.

  67. 3B says:

    #66 Juice: Not to mention that debate has been going on for over 20 years.

  68. Brian says:

    Juice –

    Do you agree that there are some women who do stay married to thier husbands and have kids? Isn’t it possible that a fraction of these women may have voulentarily left their jobs or been fired in the last two years? That’s really what I was speaking of. Married women making these decisions about their current family.

    The trend you speak of is irrelevant.

    Do you have any theories as to why, of the job gains for men in most industries has favored men?

    http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2011/07/wheres_the_shecovery.html

    But the Pew study defies, or at least complicates, the story: It shows that men are gaining jobs not just in sectors like mining and manufacturing, but in all kinds of businesses. Indeed, in 15 out of 16 sectors studied by Pew, men have outpaced women in job growth or lost fewer positions since the recovery started. And the nonpartisan think tank has little idea why: “There is no ready explanation for why employment growth in these sectors has favored men,” the study’s author, Rakesh Kochhar, writes.

  69. prtraders2000 says:

    52 I couldn’t believe how many tax returns that I prepared this year where either one spouse or the other collected unemployment for a period. No more stigma attached to collecting. More of a get it while you can attitude.

  70. daddyo says:

    I think you have to exclude single mom’s in the discussion, it’s not a decision they even have.

  71. B says:

    #69 According to the WSJ some of the difference has to do with that the fact that construction/auto related jobs are improving; (if you believe that) those industries are more male dominated. Retail (clothing) and bank teller jobs more dominated by women are not. The statistics ( citing less improvement for women) apparently do not include college educated and or those women who are skilled.

  72. Libtard in Union says:

    I once did a Pew study. Ahhh–forget it.

  73. B says:

    #72 Should be 3b

  74. Brian says:

    Couple of guys at work have 4+ kids. They say not much difference after the second one so, you might as well just keep going.

    Two is enough for me thanks.

    69.JJ says:
    April 18, 2012 at 1:54 pm
    Cromartie’s wife tweeted this weekend she is expecting twins. That would be baby 11 and 12 for him. Now that Cromartie is now only having babies with his wife that alone will cut down on the single mom problem.

  75. Anon E. Moose says:

    Brian [75];

    Only middle-class families I know with more than two kids live outside the Manhattan orbit. Anyone within 50 mile radius or so having more is at one of two tail ends of the income distribution.

  76. Brass Balls says:

    There is an old German saying “The baby brings the bread” All three times I had kids I got promoted. If I had three more I be President. Who knows if Bush, Clinton and Obama had more kids perhaps they could have been good presidents

    Anon E. Moose says:
    April 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm
    Brian [75];

    Only middle-class families I know with more than two kids live outside the Manhattan orbit. Anyone within 50 mile radius or so having more is at one of two tail ends of the income distribution.

  77. Bystander says:

    Juice,

    My Dad’s cousins live near Featherd in Wexford. He just got back yesterday visiting them. Will ask about the crime. Sad.

    3b,

    Cavan town is a choice. She has everything there. Commuting to Dublin is only for flights. Bus runs daily so pretty convenient.

  78. B says:

    #78 Bystander: Cavan Town is a very nice town, well maintained located etc. And you are right I forgot there is a bus to Dublin, and with the new highways it is direct run right into Dublin. I remember years ago the ride from Dublin to Cavan or vice versa was a long slog. And of course if you are in Cavan and going to Dublin, you always say you are going up to Dublin, even though you are going down to Dublin!!!

  79. Juice Box says:

    re: # 69 Brian – Point is it is not a secular shift, not even close. There will always be married couples who stay together forever, their percentages have shrunk continue to shrink and housing prices still go up so I fail to see your point. There is no trend say perhaps a micro trend in JJ’s corner of the world where the laid off Wall St women never come back to work on Wall St ever again.

    The demographics I speak of household formation are a cornerstone of housing predictions. The only years showing negative growth in household formation since 1947 are 2008, 2010, and 2011.

    As far as men recovering from job losses quicker. Men recover faster because they will take anything they can get. I don’t see ex-Wall Street women going into mining and construction or even working at day care centers. Also, I would also think as a man if you miss a few child support payments the Judge is going to toss you into a lockup.

    Another point on this recovery of jobs. Are there are actual long term job gains? There are over 1 million less full time jobs than there were in the year 2000 and we have added 30 million people to the population. In another 10 years we could have increased the population by 60 million in the USA and there are only a small amount of overall full time jobs created. That is a paradigm shift, where we follow Japan’s story where full time employment is at all time lows.

  80. gary says:

    Juice Box,

    In another 10 years we could have increased the population by 60 million in the USA and there are only a small amount of overall full time jobs created.

    Yeah, but don’t forget, we’re prestigious and live close to Manhattan so we’re exempt.

  81. srk (15)-

    I mean that it should be easy to plant land mines, ring-fence with razor wire and offer enough clear visibility to get off clean head shots from a second floor window.

    “perimeter of property should lend itself to easy fortification”. Could u pls elaborate ? reason is prospective home is a irregular lot with 4 sides not counting front.”

  82. A.West says:

    How not to sell a house:
    I used to live in Scotch Plains. Back in July 2009 the home across the street went on the market at $560k, which was insane. We sold our house quickly in the spring of 2010, and our house was in far better condition and a lower price. I just checked zillow and nearly 3 yrs later, it’s still on the market, after having used several realtors.
    It’s amazing how many people think they can sell their crapshacks at a premium, and then watch the potential market value sink and sink. They have also now paid about $30k of property taxes on an empty house while waiting.

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2242-Old-Farm-Rd-Scotch-Plains-NJ-07076/40054356_zpid/

  83. mikey (27)-

    The point is to be the last guy standing.

    “…may be the last guy standing but in that case what is the point”

  84. box (32)-

    At that point, Ireland will have hit Argentina’s level in the early ’90s.

    “Broken glass on top of the stone walls will be next if the robberies in the neighborhood keep occurring.”

  85. NJGator says:

    Moron….

    Creepy Finance Guy With Spreadsheet of Match.com ‘Prospects’ Says He Was Just Trying to Be Organized

    A certain Match.com member kept a ridiculously nitpicky Excel spreadsheet tracking his “in process” ladies. He then sent said document to the girl he liked most, who forwarded it to her friends, and eventually the spreadsheet — which contains his prospective dates’ contact information — went viral. Jezebel got this genius du jour on the phone, wherein he attempted to explain what in the world he was thinking.

    http://jezebel.com/5902718/creepy-finance-guy-with-spreadsheet-of-matchcom-prospects-says-he-was-just-trying-to-be-organized

  86. JJ says:

    Most laid off wall street women did not really have to work anyhow. Most “girls” I worked with on Wall st. came from richer families than me and Dad paid for college. They paid for a good education and landed a great job, they worked up the ladder to maybe VP, got married later around 32 and somewhere around 36 and 38 pumped out two kids, by 42 it is a crazy juggle and the lucky ones got laid off between 2008 and 2011 with a package. Working in a male dominated industry when men traditionally marry women younger and a level below them their hubbies are 48 year old SVPs. By the time they quit they put in 20 years and hubbie put in 25 years. Also they got to enjoy the whole 1991 to 2010 stock market in their 401Ks and stocks grants. 1991-1998 and 2002-2004 and 2008 to 2010 were great investing times. They were able to max out 401Ks whole time and get a good match. Best earning years behind them, they were lucky to be let go. 45-60 is a PITA to work for Moms who had kids between 36-43 like a lot of wall st women do.

    Juice Box says:
    April 18, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    re: # 69 Brian – Point is it is not a secular shift, not even close. There will always be married couples who stay together forever, their percentages have shrunk continue to shrink and housing prices still go up so I fail to see your point. There is no trend say perhaps a micro trend in JJ’s corner of the world where the laid off Wall St women never come back to work on Wall St ever again.

  87. chicagofinance says:

    Westie: just to close the loop with you; my cousin ended up being offered a summer internship by The Hartford in their risk management and derivatives group. The job is good, but given the location, it allows him to live at his parents home for the summer. All things being equal, it is a slam dunk for him, as they are a broke bunch of Albanians in debt to their eyeballs. Thanks for being willing to network. I know it was a longshot anyway at your (elite) shop, but the offer was appreciated.

    A.West says:
    April 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm

  88. A.West says:

    Chifi,
    Glad something worked out for him. Did he ever send a resume over?
    I don’t see these things until someone schedules me to interview prospects.

  89. Two broke Albanians walk into a bar…

  90. grim says:

    2242 Old Farm? I showed that crapshack to two different people. One who wasn’t looking for a crapshack, and one who was.

    Who cares about still being on the market, I’m surprised that place is still standing.

  91. Juice Box says:

    Take a knee,Tebow moves to Hoboken…

  92. chicagofinance says:

    That is a lot of NFL QB in a one block radius……

    Juice Box says:
    April 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm
    Take a knee,Tebow moves to Hoboken…

  93. chicagofinance says:

    He had gone through final rounds with HIG, and was a couple of days away from blanketing his next set of targets. He did not in fact send a resume, because even though he thought there would better potential opportunities, HIG was demanding an immediate response, and also the issue of location, and obviously an exploding offer….I do think that he will be looking come full-time recruiting, which is really only 6 months away, and he probably needs to start laying the ground work for that in the next 3-4 months.

    A.West says:
    April 18, 2012 at 4:44 pm
    Chifi,
    Glad something worked out for him. Did he ever send a resume over?
    I don’t see these things until someone schedules me to interview prospects.

  94. Anon E. Moose says:

    Grim [91];

    04/14/2012 Listed for sale $398,000 -5.0% — Weichert Realtors
    04/13/2012 Listing removed $419,000 — — Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty
    11/16/2011 Listed for sale $419,000 — — Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty
    11/16/2011 Listing removed $419,000 — — —
    07/08/2011 Price change $419,000 -9.9% — —
    05/21/2011 Price change $465,000 -4.9% — —
    05/20/2011 Listed for sale $489,000 — — Agent
    03/03/2011 Listing removed $489,000 — — ERA Suburb Realty Agency
    02/13/2011 Listed for sale $489,000 — — ERA Suburb Realty Agency
    02/12/2011 Listing removed $489,000 — — —
    08/16/2010 Listed for sale $489,000 — — Agent
    08/03/2010 Listing removed $489,000 — — Weichert Realtors
    03/31/2010 Price change $489,000 -9.3% — Weichert Realtors
    09/12/2009 Price change $539,000 -3.8% — Weichert Realtors
    07/22/2009 Listed for sale $560,000 93.1% — Weichert Realtors
    07/22/1991 Sold $290,000 — — Public Record

    Round trip, with Weichert once again, $100k lower. Perhaps “Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty” was a little out of their element? Slumming it here, or pretending the rest of the time?

  95. borat the dictator says:

    Jj is bacccckkk

  96. JJ says:

    A virgin who does not drink alcohol in Hoboken?

    Juice Box says:
    April 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Take a knee,Tebow moves to Hoboken…

  97. Anon E. Moose says:

    Con’t [95];

    As long as we’re hihglighting the foolishness of delusional sellers, how’s this specimen:

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/53-Dalewood-Rd-West-Caldwell-NJ-07006/38742384_zpid/

    09/18/2011 Listed for sale $499,900 — — Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage – Caldwell Office
    08/12/2011 Listing removed $499,900 — — Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage – Caldwell Office
    06/29/2011 Listed for sale $499,900 -4.8% — Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage – Caldwell Office
    06/17/2011 Listing removed $525,000 — — Keller Williams Suburban Realty
    03/11/2011 Listed for sale $525,000 -4.4% — Keller Williams Suburban Realty
    12/26/2010 Listing removed $549,000 — — Weichert Realtors
    10/15/2010 Price change $549,000 -0.2% — Weichert Realtors
    10/03/2010 Price change $549,900 -4.3% — Weichert Realtors
    06/26/2010 Listed for sale $574,900 -3.9% — Weichert Realtors
    05/02/2010 Listing removed $598,405 — — NRT TriStates
    03/15/2010 Price change $598,405 -5.0% — NRT TriStates
    09/07/2009 Price change $629,900 -6.0% — NRT TriStates
    03/06/2009 Listed for sale $669,900 — — NRT TriStates

    That’s three full years on the market, folks. Makes you wish the deceased owner would give their kids a whack upside the head from the grave. Then again, maybe — in a way — that’s just what they are doing.

  98. Juice Box says:

    JJ – I would think Sanchez did not want to play catch across the pool at Trump National.

    http://www.trumpnationalbedminster.com/images/dynamic/getImage.gif?ID=1646407

  99. chicagofinance says:

    Maybe he will bump into some of the LUA hags on the way to church Sunday AM?

    JJ says:
    April 18, 2012 at 5:42 pm
    A virgin who does not drink alcohol in Hoboken?
    Juice Box says:
    April 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm
    Take a knee,Tebow moves to Hoboken…

  100. Juice Box says:

    Chi – LUA is closed, shut down when the sidewalk was closed because the road caved in. They are almost done fixing the sidewalk still no sign of LUA reopening.

    The new spot is the W. last night they had allot of celebs and Giants players at their party.

    http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/index.ssf/2012/04/star-studded_party_celebrates.html

    Tebow will at least get allot of eye candy, I know I do when I go for a jog on the waterfront or to the park with my son.

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  102. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [43] fabius,

    You are clearly referring to 26 USC 877(a)(2)(C), which states:

    “such individual fails to certify under penalty of perjury that he has met the requirements of this title for the 5 preceding taxable years or fails to submit such evidence of such compliance as the Secretary may require.”

    But you don’t explain how a person who fails to certify or provide proof is able to walk into a consulate, renounce their citizenship, and then get tax clearance from the IRS.

    This is the difference between practicing law and merely reading it. Yes, 26 USC 6039G publication applies to folks under both 26 USC 877(a) and 877A. But in reality, the folks that fail to certify under 26 USC 877(a)(2)(C) aren’t clearing the system, so there is nothing to report. Further, the folks under 26 USC 877(a)(2)(C) are not losing their nationality under 877A or 6039G as this (with one exception) requires that the renunciant take an affirmative step, and if you don’t get tax clearance, IRS treats you as a taxpayer going forward. So what is the point of going through a reunciation ritual if you are still treated as a taxpayer by the IRS?

    The aforementioned exception refers to people whom CIS reports to the IRS as having their PR status revoked or deemed to have been abandoned, and they don’t meet the certification test (which, logic would dictate, means all of them since CIS isn’t a tax agency and IRS has to report what it gets). Thus, it is theoretically possible that such taxpayers could wind up on the list and not meet the asset or income tests of 26 USC 877(a)(2)(A) or (B). However, for that to be the case, CIS would have to be revoking PR status for a very small number of folks, and anecdotal evidence suggests that more people lose their green cards than appear on this list, so the list should be a lot longer.

    Finally, the legislative history shows that the law was intended to shame tax-patriates, and this included people who met the asset or income tests. These people were presumed to be tax-patriates, and treated accordingly, unless they could rebut the presumption.

  103. chicagofinance says:

    WSJ
    REVIEW & OUTLOOK
    April 18, 2012, 7:06 p.m. ET
    Obama’s Seinfeld Strategy
    Hang the evil oil speculators, if anyone can find them

    On Tuesday President Barack Obama gave a speech about . . . nothing. At 11:27 a.m. in the Rose Garden, Mr. Obama did announce a crackdown on speculators in the oil markets. And he did call for more investigations, more regulation and more money for regulators. But we couldn’t help wondering if perhaps a few pages had been left out of the TelePrompter.

    Nowhere in his remarks did the President claim that speculation is doing any harm. He did not cite any negative impact on the oil market. He did not say that speculators are manipulating oil prices, nor did he describe in even the vaguest terms the individuals or institutions that might be involved. He didn’t cite any research. Mr. Obama didn’t even, well, speculate about whether oil prices would be higher or lower if not for unnamed actors who may or may not be affecting the markets.

    But the President did make clear that if speculators were manipulating markets, that would be bad. “We can’t afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage, and driving prices higher—only to flip the oil for a quick profit,” he said. “And for anyone who thinks this cannot happen, just think back to how Enron traders manipulated the price of electricity to reap huge profits at everybody else’s expense.”

    The Enron scandal happened more than a decade and two major financial-regulation laws ago. “So today, we’re announcing new steps to strengthen oversight of energy markets,” said Mr. Obama. “Things that we can do administratively, we are doing. And I call on Congress to pass a package of measures to crack down on illegal activity and hold accountable those who manipulate the market for private gain at the expense of millions of working families. And be specific.”

    That last line, delivered after a speech that contained not a sliver of evidence that even hinted at illegal activity, shows that at least Mr. Obama has a sense of humor.

    But speaking of regulation, we doubt that MF Global customers are laughing. While $1.6 billion of their money remains missing and no federal charges have been brought against those who presided over the firm’s 2011 collapse, the President is now directing the relevant federal agencies to search elsewhere for offenses that he imagines might exist.

    The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will soon find out if federal judges share Mr. Obama’s sense of humor. The CFTC, which was asleep on the MF Global watch, was nonetheless hailed by Mr. Obama Tuesday as deserving a bigger budget and more authority. But whether or not Congress chooses to reward the CFTC, the commission now must defend in court a rule it enacted last fall to curb speculation.

    Like Mr. Obama in the Rose Garden, the regulator has to find a way to carry the argument without the evidence to support it. “No one has proven that the looming specter of excessive speculation in the futures markets we regulate even exists,” said then-Commissioner Michael Dunn before the CFTC voted on the new rule last October.

    And you should hear what the rule’s opponents said. Mr. Dunn, a Democrat, provided the swing vote in favor of new limits on the size of trading positions only because he believed the Dodd-Frank law left him no choice.

    But even though he voted for the rule, Mr. Dunn said that “position limits may actually lead to higher prices for the commodities we consume on a daily basis.” Less liquidity makes it more difficult for market participants to hedge their risks, which could raise costs for everyone.

    The CFTC is now using Mr. Dunn’s “Dodd-Frank defense” in a federal lawsuit brought by market players who say the CFTC didn’t demonstrate the need for its rule or perform an adequate cost-benefit analysis. In other words, the agency isn’t trying to argue that speculation is a problem and must be reduced but is simply saying that the 2010 financial law forced the agency to act.

    Bashing anonymous Wall Street “speculators” may be more effective as a political argument than as a legal strategy, but we suspect that even the demands of politics will eventually require Mr. Obama to provide some specifics.

    At least with the Buffett Rule the President has a real live billionaire willing to serve as a prop. For now we’ll have to call this latest Obama policy the Seinfeld Rule. Much like the TV show, it’s a policy about nothing.

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