Much further to go…

From the Wall Street Journal:

Decline in Home Prices Accelerates

The decline in U.S. home prices accelerated in the fourth quarter, according to two leading barometers, compounding two of the biggest threats facing the nation’s economy: faltering consumer spending and tight credit markets.

The S&P/Case-Shiller national home-price index for the fourth quarter fell 8.9% from a year earlier, the largest drop in its 20 years of data. And the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s index — which tracks only homes purchased with mortgages guaranteed by home-loan giants Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac — was down 0.3%, the first year-to-year decline in the measure’s 16 years.

Lower home prices threaten the economy’s growth by making consumers feel less wealthy and thus less willing to spend. They also curtail homeowners’ ability to borrow against the value of their homes to finance other purchases. In addition, lower housing prices erode the value of banks’ collateral, prompting them to tighten their lending standards, which further damps economic growth.

A top Federal Reserve official indicated the housing slump and its broadening impact on the economy probably would keep the central bank biased in favor of more interest-rate cuts. “It appears that the correction in the housing market has further to go,” Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn said yesterday in a speech in North Carolina. Mr. Kohn said that the downturn, after being “contained” for nearly two years, “appears to have spread to other sectors of the economy.” He added that if the housing market deteriorates more than expected, “lenders might further reduce credit availability.”

The Fed’s efforts so far to soften the blow of the housing slump with lower interest rates appear to be having a muted effect. Since September, the Fed has reduced its target for short-term interest rates by 2.25 percentage points to 3%. But some mortgage rates are actually rising, and those that are falling haven’t fallen that much.

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366 Responses to Much further to go…

  1. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Home builder Toll Brothers swings to $96 million loss

    Luxury home builder Toll Brothers said it posted a fiscal first-quarter to Jan. 31 loss of $96 million, or 61 cents a share, after $153.3 million in write-downs. It earned $54.3 million, or 33 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue dropped 23% to $842.9 million, and its backlog fell 42% to $2.4 billion. Excluding write-offs, it would’ve earned 35 cents a share during the quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected a loss of 44 cents a share. The company said “ceaseless talk” of a recession is dampening the mood of consumers, but it’s seeing “glimmers of hope” in the Naples, Fla. area and suburban Washington D.C.

  2. grim says:

    From the NY Times:

    Corzine Seeks to Cut N.J. Budget and Work Force

    Declaring that New Jersey had reached an irrevocable “turning point” because of years of bad fiscal habits, Gov. Jon S. Corzine proposed a budget on Tuesday that would reduce the state’s work force by 3,000 people, close three departments and prune expenses for services including colleges and hospitals.

    If enacted as proposed, the overall state budget would shrink by $500 million to $33 billion, marking only the fifth time in the last 50 years that New Jersey would spend less money than it did the previous year. Assuming inflation this year at around 3 percent, as it has been since 2004, the cut would be equivalent to roughly $1.5 billion, or 4.4 percent of last year’s budget, in real terms.

    “Frankly, New Jersey has a government its people cannot afford,” a somber Governor Corzine told a stone-silent group of legislators, lobbyists and local officials in his annual budget address.

    “We must turn away from the era of spending and borrowing beyond our means, once and for all,” he said. “In practical terms, failing to take on the tough choices will only force New Jersey into a deeper fiscal swamp.”

    Mr. Corzine delivered the harsh prognosis against a grim national backdrop, given that more than 20 states, New York included, are now grappling with budget shortfalls because of a downturn in the national economy, according to an analysis released Monday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

    But New Jersey’s troubles are especially deep, fiscal analysts say, because of rising costs for pension and health care benefits, a ballooning increase in spending under both Republicans and Democrats over the last decade or so and the longtime practice of paving over deficits with one-shot revenues that dried up the following year.

    So while the slumping housing market has led to shrinking tax receipts across the country, only a few states face a greater shortfall than the nearly 10 percent gap New Jersey has to fill, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said. Arizona’s deficit is the largest, 16 percent, followed by California, at 15 percent.

  3. grim says:

    From the NY Times:

    Bush Vows to Veto a Mortgage Relief Bill

    President Bush sided with banks and mortgage lenders on Tuesday, threatening to veto a bill being offered by Senate Democrats that would give more bargaining power to homeowners who face foreclosure.

    Opening what is likely to be an intense political battle in the deepening mortgage crisis, the White House said it strongly opposed the bill, which would let bankruptcy court judges modify the terms of a mortgage as part of the restructuring of a debt in a bankruptcy filing.

  4. SG says:

    Home overcrowding in N.J. crosshairs

    Under proposed law, tenants could be fined for causing problem

    Abill that is currently making its way through the state Senate could have an impact on towns such as Freehold Borough and Lakewood if it eventually becomes law. The proposed legislation addresses residential overcrowding in private homes, but not apartment complexes.

    The bill (S-164), whose primary sponsor is Sen. Anthony R. Bucco (R-Morris County), “would allow municipalities to adopt ordinances authorizing the issuance of summonses upon certain landlords and tenants alleged to have violated occupancy requirements resulting in overcrowding.

    “The bill would allow for the imposition of fines upon a culpable landlord or tenant of up to $2,500 for a first violation, $5,000 for a second violation, and $10,000 for each subsequent violation. These fines would be in addition to any other fines or penalties authorized by law. The bill would require that a hearing be held before any fines could be imposed. The bill would not be applicable to seasonal rentals or to buildings with more than four residential rental units.”

  5. SG says:

    Report: Housing woes grow worse

    Wednesday, February 27, 2008
    Star-Ledger Staff
    The decline in home prices is showing no sign of letting up and the number of foreclosures continues to rise.

    A closely-watched national index released yesterday shows home prices tumbled 8.9 percent in 2007 — the steepest price drop in the index’s 20-year history.

    In the New York region, which includes counties in New York State, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, home prices fell 5.6 percent year-over-year in 2007.

    Meanwhile, New Jersey ranked 18th in the nation, with 5,113 properties in default or having been re possessed. That’s 57 percent more than the previous month (December 2007), but 15 percent less than January 2007.

    “You have more people going into default and a higher percentage of the properties going back to the banks,” said Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac’s vice president of marketing.

    One dramatic trend last month was a 90 percent spike in the number of properties that were repos sessed by banks, compared with January 2007.

    “It suggests there’s little or no equity in a lot of these homes, be cause they’re not even being sold to investors at auctions, and it suggests a continuing weakness in a lot of markets in terms of real es tate sales,” Sharga said.

    David Stiff, the chief economist at Fiserv Lending Solutions, said while the S&P/Case Shiller price data was bleak, he expects prices to continue falling this year.

    “We’re showing prices hitting a bottom in early 2009, so, there is quite a bit more to go,” he said.

  6. SG says:

    Lautenberg Cosponsors Foreclosure Prevention Act
    Lautenberg Cosponsors Foreclosure Prevention Act
    With more than 175,000 subprime mortgages in Garden State, bill would help homeowners in New Jersey and nationwide

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today joined legislation to address the mortgage crisis currently affecting homeowners in New Jersey and across the country. The measure would help struggling families keep their homes, help families avoid future foreclosures and help communities hurt by the recent foreclosure crisis recover.

  7. bairen says:

    “Frankly, New Jersey has a government its people cannot afford,” a somber Governor Corzine. No kidding.

    Once gas tax and tolls are increased where’s the state going turn to next to raise more funds? Property? ha. That’s going to drop unless all the towns adjust their tax rate up a lot. Higher sales tax? Maybe

    Me thinks a wealth tax based on a percentage of your net worth (excluding your primary residence) as of 12/31 of each year may be showing up.

    Just one more way the financially prudent will pay for the excesses of the masses and our government. I bet it will apply to anyone who owns a house in NJ. This way the people who head south and west for 6+ months a year can share the joy of us year rounders.

  8. grim says:

    If we see a gas tax increase passed, the next on the table is a sales tax on clothing and shoes. If so, the item value cutoff would likely be higher than NY State.

  9. bairen says:

    Grim, that’s possible, but would it be based on your total bill or high priced items? If total bill people will wise up and break up purchases into smaller lots.

    Do you think the pols remember the anger over the toilet paper tax?

    Still wouldn’t be surprised at a wealth tax with a sliding scale rate based on your net assets.

    Also higher car registration fees like in California.

    NJ has to quickly make up for its excesses and mistakes (like issuing bonds to invest in the pension fund at the height of the tech bubble so the munis could make significantly less contributions to the pension fund). Otherwise the impact of compounding the fiscally bad long term decisions of the 80’s and 90’s are going to be pretty high next decade.

  10. grim says:

    Speaking of Greenspan, the Fed, and Bubbles, I started reading this one last night:

  11. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Refinancing applications down 30.4% last week

    Mortgage applications filed last week dropped a seasonally adjusted 19.2% compared with the previous week, reflecting a plunge in homeowners pursuing refinancings, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported on Wednesday.

    Interest rates on both fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages increased, according to the Washington-based MBA’s weekly survey.

    Applications to refinance existing home loans dropped 30.4% for the week ended Feb. 22 vs. the previous week, while filings for mortgages to purchase homes edged up a seasonally adjusted 0.2%, the survey found.

    Total mortgage applications were up 5.1% compared with the same week in 2007. The four-week moving average for all application filings was down 9.7%, according to the survey.

    The interest rate charged on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.27% last week, up from 6.09% the previous week, while the average on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 5.77% from 5.55%. The one-year ARM averaged 5.84% last week, up from 5.72%.

  12. bairen says:

    saw this bullet point on

    Futures edge lower as dollar sinks to all-time low versus euro;

    That’s quite an accomplishment!! Congrats to our pols and the fed.

    Wonder if that will be a recurring headline for the next few years?

  13. Stu says:

    RGE Monitor

    How Much Will U.S. Housing Prices Fall and How Long Will the Downturn Last?

    * S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Prices Fell 9.1% in December – biggest fall on record
    * OFHEO: U.S. home prices fell in the fourth quarter of 2007 according to OFHEO’s seasonally-adjusted purchase-only house price index; the index was 1.3% lower on a seasonally-adjusted basis in Q4 2007 than in Q3
    * Kiesel: housing prices nationwide will likely decline up to 15% peak-to-trough. In Florida and California, where inventories are alarmingly high and speculators, creative financing, and subprime mortgages long ruled the market, price declines of 30% peak-to-trough are possible
    * S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index 20 U.S. metropolitan areas (data through Nov 2007): broadbased declines in the prices of existing single family homes across the United States, marking the 11th consecutive month of negative annual returns and a full two years of decelerating returns; ; 10-City Composite’s annual decline of 8.4% is a new record low; 20-City Composite recorded an annual decline of 7.7%. Robert J. Shiller: We reached another grim milestone in the housing market in November. Not only did the 10-City Composite post another record low in its annual growth rate, but 13 of the 20 metro areas did the same
    * AEA: overall consensus is that home prices may have to fall 20 to 30% before they bottom out and that the risks of an economy wide recession are high and rising (via Roubini)
    * Davis, Lehnert and Martin: prices would have to fall 15% over five years – assuming rents rose 4% a year – to bring rent/price ratio back to its long-term average
    * Residential Property Index: 8.2% drop in prices nationwide next year. Prices around Los Angeles and Miami are expected to fall 19% between Sep 07 and Sep 08
    * Goldman Sachs (Calculated Risk): Home prices to fall 15% w/o recession and 30% in case of a recession
    * Shiller: home prices to fall up to 50% in some areas

  14. grim says:

    Is 102 dollar-a-barrel oil stimulative to the economy?

  15. rhymingrealtor says:


    When you stop in this morning I was wondering if you could briefly talk about what you dicusss at your office meetings, because mine are brutal, worse than a Nar commercial.


  16. Stu says:

    Grim (3):

    “Bush Vows to Veto a Mortgage Relief Bill”

    Wow, it has taken 4 years, but I finally agree with Dubya on a second policy. The first one having been his decision to lower the tax on dividend income.

    Does that make me born again?

  17. Confused In NJ says:

    Corzine should consider implementing a 50% of your Net Worth “Exit Tax”. That way he could minimize the number of people trying to not be sheeple, and replenish the State Entitlement Funds.

  18. lostinny says:

    16 Stu
    No it doesn’t make you born again. It means he had a moment of clarity. I almost choked when I read that piece and realized I actually agreed with him on something.

  19. Stu says:

    According to 30 year fixed rate mortgage is up to 6.10%.

    There ain’t gonna be no spring selling season.

  20. John says:

    The WSJ has tons of negative housing stories today, that is good news if we want a quick bottome. It has been almost six months since 9-18 and that is a lot of rate cuts and the jumbo is higher than it was on 9-17 and thirty year is pretty much unchanged.

  21. Essex says:

    17….old news….but relevant

    N.J. Pension Fund Endangered by Diverted Billions

    By Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times

    April 4, 2007

    In 2005, New Jersey put either $551 million, $56 million or nothing into its pension fund for teachers. All three figures appeared in various state documents — though the state now says that the actual amount was zero.

    The phantom contribution is just one indication that New Jersey has been diverting billions of dollars from its pension fund for state and local workers into other government purposes over the last 15 years, using a variety of unorthodox transactions authorized by the Legislature and by governors from both political parties.

    The state has long acknowledged that it has been putting less money into the pension fund than it should. But an analysis of its records by The New York Times shows that in many cases, New Jersey has overstated even what it has claimed to be contributing, sometimes by hundreds of millions of dollars.

  22. John says:

    Only if you move down south are you born again.

    My friend is doing an open house in Ho Ho Kus this weekend, should be fun it is a new listing. I told her not to make too many cookies!!!

  23. HEHEHE says:


    Let me know how that book is, I saw that guy on Fast Money a couple of weeks ago and he seemed pretty spot on about what has happened and is happening.

    BTW I saw Greenspan said something about the era of cheap oil being over, that guy is late about everything.

  24. Confused In NJ says:

    The U.S. Treasury Department has issued Revenue Ruling 2008-7 that allows companies to selectively freeze the pension accruals of older workers in certain cases without violating laws that were intended to protect retirement nest eggs.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, Treasury’s ruling validates pension “wear aways” and could tip the outcome of long-running lawsuits alleging age discrimination in pension benefits by a number of major companies, including AT&T.

    Luckily, this only applies to the Private Sector, Public Sector remains whole.

  25. lostinny says:

    Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, what could this lead to? If judges change the amount of the mortgage to reflect what the house is worth in today’s market I see a few things potentially happening: 1)The market could come down to earth more quickly because there would be legal papers stating what the market value is thus forcing sellers to reduce selling prices if they really want to sell. 2)Or, number 1 may just give buyers false hope that they have leverage against the seller. 3)There will be more problems because the market value may be worth x today but worth less 6 months from now, upsetting mortgage holders and causing them to ask for a second or third or more re-evaluation by the judge.
    Will said judges have to get a real estate license to be able to determine what market value is?

  26. Stu says:


    Why would there be a quick bottom in housing? Hopeful thinking? RE has so far to go that it is unfathomable that we’ll see the bottom withing the next 12 months. This run up was bigger on a percentage basis than any prior. Plus the economic headwinds we are facing during the bust are unmatched. Add signs of hyperinflation to the mix, diminishing wages, a dropping dollar, >$100 oil, massive federal deficits, the tightest lending standards since the depression, a commodity run, a diminishing manufacturing sector and an income gap between the upper and middle class that is growing faster than ever before.

    The only quick bottom will be that of the overextended borrower when the sheriff comes with the foreclosure notice!

  27. BC Bob says:

    “the White House said it strongly opposed the bill, which would let bankruptcy court judges modify the terms of a mortgage as part of the restructuring of a debt in a bankruptcy filing.”


    Go ahead, let a bankruptcy judge modify terms of a contract. It will be the final nail in the coffin for this market. You will have mortgage interest rates comparable to cc rates. I know this is going out on a limb [there is too much competition]. However, this has to be one of the most asinine ideas to ever come out of DC.

    If I’m down 20% on a stock, can I journey to the same dolt and plead to have my purchase price modified.

  28. bairen says:

    #16 Stu,

    A stopped clock is right twice a day.

    GW has had his 2 moments. If we’re lucky he’ll go back to things he’s good at, like eating BBQ pork and watching TV and order all his cronies to do the same.

    There may be hope for us all if that happens.

  29. BC Bob says:

    Dollar, pounded again. Thank you Bergabe. The bailout of your constituents is robbing John Q of his purchasing power.

  30. Frank says:

    Corzine increased spending by 20% while in office, now he wants to cut it by 4.4% big deal. How about reversing some of the huge increases and then some?

  31. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Fannie Mae sees avg home prices still declining in 2008

    Fannie Mae sees home prices down 5-7% nationwide in 2008

  32. John says:

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Fannie Mae (FNM), the largest provider of financing for U.S. home loans, on Wednesday reported a $3.6 billion quarterly loss as the housing slump deepened.

    The government-chartered company posted a $3.80 per share net loss for the fourth quarter. That compares with a profit of $604 million in the year-earlier period and a $1.52 billion loss in the third quarter.

    Analysts expected the company would post a fourth-quarter loss of $1.39 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

    A sharper-than-expected drop in home prices that first sparked a crisis in subprime lending has since tainted the entire U.S. housing market, hurting Fannie Mae and rival Freddie Mac (FRE) . Rising delinquencies and foreclosures have led the companies to write down values of mortgage securities they own and increase reserves to cover their guarantees of payment on bonds held by investors.

  33. John says:

    Well we had a quick bottom in 1991 after a frothy late 1980’s RE boom. But the quick bottom happend when every newspaper and TV news show told you day after day you were insane to buy housing. That plus RTC bailout was for FDIC insured people, RTC quickly took possession of failed thrifts REOs and quickly flooded the market and gave us a hard swift bottom. Mind you the market was pretty much flat for several years after. The democrats are all talk no action and are not even in office, 2008 will be a horrible year in RE and maybe in 2009 or 2010 the democrats get their act together we will have a bottom. The worst thing we need right now is to give people hope, they need to sell and sell quick

  34. mikeinwaiting says:

    Grim 3
    “President Bush sided with banks and mortgage lenders on Tuesday”
    It would seem that Bush sided with future home owners not banks.
    NY Times spin is unfounded & a clear sign of liberal bias.
    Who would loan you money if you you could go this route & change the rate/terms according to your financial needs.
    Where are this boards large population of lefties now.You can hate all you want but this is the right bill to veto.
    As I remember Obama is against this(much to his credit),Clinton all for it.The dems in congress pushing it through.
    A Dem controlled congress & Pres.could spell
    disaster next 4 years (just as it did on the flip side with Reb.).Something to think about in November.

  35. MikeH says:

    @25 – How can a judge determine the “market” price? Market price implies that some sort of “market” set the price (ie auction).

  36. HEHEHE says:

    I don’t care if you are liberal or conservative if anything the first six years of the Bush administration teaches the important lesson that one party rule is a nightmare.

  37. Sean says:

    Under this new law the Chapter 13 repayment plan bankruptcy proceeding would allow judges to unilaterally mark down the value of a primary mortgage from its full amount to the fair market value.

    It says nothing about Chapter 11. Oh, wait I forgot you can’t get Chapter 11 anymore if you still have a job, you are forced to go into Chapter 13.

    Mitchell’s Rep. Brad Miller, of North Carolina sponsord this Bill.

    Rep. Brad Miller must be worried that there will be another 100,000 or so empty double wides scattered across the North Carolina if this bill does not pass.

  38. Rich In NNJ says:

    And here we go…

  39. Sean says:

    grim 36 is in moderation

  40. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    U.S. Jan. durable-goods orders fall 5.3%

    Demand for durable goods fell back in January after a burst of orders in December, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday, another sign that the economy is slowing. New orders for durable goods fell 5.3% in January, close to the 5.1% drop anticipated by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. December’s gains were revised lower to 4.4% from 5% previously reported. Much of the decline in January was due to the unwinding of the flood of orders for aircraft in December. Declining demand was seen in almost every industry in January, however, despite reports of higher exports.

  41. lostinny says:

    35 Mike
    I don’t understand it either. That’s why I don’t understand how a judge can determine what the mortgage should be.

  42. Rich In NNJ says:

    From The Record:

    State pushes small towns to consolidate

    Efforts to consolidate municipal services and merge towns were given an extra push Tuesday by Governor Corzine, whose austere budget would cut $190 million in municipal aid statewide.

    Towns with fewer than 10,000 residents will be targeted for cuts in aid while also being given first priority for $32 million in grants from a state fund that encourages shared services, Corzine said.

    Those cuts could affect the bottom line for 35 Bergen County and four Passaic County towns in 2008.

    More at the link above, Rich

  43. Sean says:

    Another thing about this new Mortgage Bankruptcy Bill. There would a huge spike in Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings. Perhaps be an additional half million or so bankruptcy filings every year if this passes.

    As the word spreads that the Judges will be marking down mortgages to fair market value and putting together a payment plan for them, people will be rushing to file for Chapter 13 file like they rush into Walmart on Black Friday.

    There is no way the Courts could handle the case load. They would have to do perform proceedings like an assembly line and we all know the wheels of Justice move slower than a 90 year pole dancer.

  44. spam spam bacon spam says:


    Back in the late 60’s, my dad was a weekend “pit crew chief” for a dragster owner/driver. They worked their day job together and with a few other buddies, spent weekends ripping up and down the east coast to race at various drag strips.

    While much time was spent drinking and comparing the decibel levels of their body functions, they did manage to get the finish line in one piece without serious harm.

    Island Dragway was the first to open that year and the boys were eager to test out their “Frankenstein of auto parts”;
    So as winter was drawing to a close, they all donned winter mittens and parkas, packed into the van and headed out into light snow flurries for the dragstrip’s opening Sunday to get some practice runs in and see what they had accomplished in the garage…

    At the dragstrip, old friends met up and bets were made for the coming season. My dad’s car was drawn to be car #1 off the line, officially being the first car of the season to run the trip down the track. As the dragstrip employees swept dust off desktops and plugged microphones back in, the cars were pushed to the start line to be ready for the official 9am start.

    Being practice runs, the car was started and things were checked to make sure nothing was amiss. As the clocked ticked 9am, the loudspeaker crackled to life and bid everyone welcome and good luck. The first cars was released to “ ‘ave ‘er a go…” and my dad’s car sprinted easily to the end of the track; the chase truck lumbered up beside it and my dad jumped out to check the car over…As he was feeling the engine for consistent heat, a dog was heard barking in the distance and a man could be seen, with the dog in the lead, running towards them across a great wide and long field of dead winter grass…the man, bearing a crumpled Sunday Paper, was wearing a robe and slippers, with his hair all mussed. The dog easily won, and when the man arrived in second place, he yelled, “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU ALL DOING IN MY BACKYARD?!?!?”

    The guys stared at this berobed idiot just as they would someone who had just said “my Beeblebrox smithered the upjeen!!!”

    My dad, puzzled, said, “Your what?

    Out of breath, the man claimed that these people and cars were in his backyard.

    “Sir”, my dad said, “We’re not in anyone’s backyard. We’re at a dragstrip and this here’s opening day.”

    “A WHAT?!?!?!” the robed man cried. A “fu#k& dragstrip?!?! Are you f@#$ing kidding me?!?!”

    Several murmurs like “yeah, buddy” and “holy shoot, this cat’s crazy” went thru the group…

    “The real estate agent didn’t say anything about a drag strip when I bought the house…” the man finally whimpered.

    “When did you buy the house”, my dad asked…

    “December.” came the reply.

    “Aw, sh**, we’re done racing by end of October,” said dad. “But hey buddy, looks like you got yourself season tickets.”

    The dog, excited by all the people now walking down the track to see what the hold up was, jumped and yipped in delight at his newfound excitement… RACECARS in his very back yard 3 nights a week and every weekend!!!!!

    “Wahooooo!” thought the dog, as his master slowly turned and walked towards his castle, shoulders crumpled, newspaper slowly flittering away from his hand to mix in with the snow flurries now swirling about them.



    Darn it if realtors don’t always leave out the juciest bits…

  45. JIM says:


    Yea that is old news, but the fact is we keep blaming Whitman for the pension problems. When in reality the Governors that followed her did much more damage.

    Minimal to no contributions, stealing from the pension fund, and allowing exhorbirant withdrawals for teachers and police pensions. It is way out of touch with the real world, and Governor Corzine won’t touch this hot potato because of the unions power.

    The scenario will break down to this: pension will go bust in about 7 years, sooner if stock market tanks, and population continues to leave. Federal government will take state over and cut pensions to 30% of value,it is inevitable, and may be the only viable answer. Union Greed will kill the cash cow, then nobody will win.

    Quick story, went to dinner with another couple last week, she being a teacher.Lifetime healthcare for them came up in conversation, she says all teachers deserve this perk.

    I ask if she understands what this is doing to NJ, her reply” that’s not my problem”.

    Reality is it will be!


  46. Stu says:

    I agree Jim,

    NJ is rapidly approaching the breaking point. The sheeple like to bicker about which party is to blame rather than to focus on potential solutions.

    Ultimately, the levee is about to break in NJ and the state workers are about to feel the pain.

    I too blame the unions, btw.

  47. grim says:

    We had an actuary here, is he still around?

    Looking for insight into how large scale layoffs affect pension contributions and liabilities. It seems to me, that if current pension contributions are used to pay out current liabilities, large scale layoffs of contributing employees could have a potentially significant impact to current pension liabilities.

    Would make for a very interesting scenario where the state simply couldn’t afford to layoff workers, or that potential savings from layoffs would be muted by the state having to make up for the funding shortfall.

  48. pretorius says:

    Stu 13,

    So what is your forecast for NJ home prices?

  49. spam spam bacon spam says:

    Ahhh, come on….

    MLS#: 2492058

    Check photo one, shows a Bucks county stone front, photos 9 and 10 show a different house.

    I guess the realtor wants to get you to look at a few houses with one listing :)

    And by the way, how many times has this house been relisted? (Whatever it looks like…)

    I think this is the 4th(?) time? (I’m not counting, so I could be wrong)

  50. JIM says:

    Another Quick note, pension fund is down 4 BILLION dollars from July, Corzine failed to address this.

    Could this be part of the reason he is actually trying to cut goverment.


  51. Rich In NNJ says:

    From The Record:

    Lodi landowner praises blight ruling

    Property owners whose land is targeted for condemnation under eminent domain won a big victory on Monday when a state appeals court ruled government has to deal “forthrightly and fairly” with them.

    The ruling was promptly praised by Lodi businesswoman Etta Cardiello, who owns a 1.3-acre lot on Main Street that the borough wants as part of a massive ongoing revitalization plan for its business district.

    “Good,” Cardiello said when told of the appeals court ruling.
    Cardiello said the property, the site of a carwash, has been appraised at $2 million. Developer Crown Properties has offered $1.1 million.

    The case involved the Harrison Redevelopment Agency and three business owners, with Harrison officials arguing that property owners lose the right to make such a challenge when the area is declared blighted or in need of redevelopment.

    The court rejected Harrison’s argument that simply citing the state’s eminent domain statute in condemnation notices is sufficient to give ordinary citizens an understanding of the consequences of “the euphemistic term ‘redevelopment,’ ” which could result in owners being ousted from their homes or businesses.

    More at the link above, Rich

  52. gary says:

    Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) — The dollar weakened below $1.50 per euro for the first time on speculation Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will indicate the U.S. central bank is ready to cut interest rates from a three-year low.

    I luv Bergabe.

  53. Sean says:

    There are quite a few towns in NJ with less than 10,000 people.

    Lots of towns in Bergen County below 10,000 people accoriding to the 2000 Census.

    Waldwick, Maywood, River Vale,Washington township,Leonia,East Rutherford,Park Ridge,Closter,Bogota,Oradell,Cresskill,
    Upper Saddle River,Edgewater,Wood-Ridge,Emerson,Montvale,Midland Park,Allendale,Carlstadt,Norwood,Rochelle Park,Old Tappan,Demarest,Northvale,Ho-Ho-Kus,Haworth ,Saddle River,Moonachie,Alpine,Rockleigh, and the little town of 18 residents Teterboro.

    Here is the 2000 census data of NJ towns ranked by most population to least.

  54. Stu says:


    30% top to bottom in ‘real’ dollars.

    Some places will see 40% and others will see 20%, but no location will be spared.

    IMO, the only thing that is keeping home prices stable in NJ is that no one has the nut to buy our overpriced homes at any cost with the current credit conditions. This lack of sales is why the prices haven’t appeared to be dropping. The true home values are probably down more than the published stats indicate, but not until more foreclosures hit the market and inventory hits record levels will we see the sale prices drop. Right now, the banks are as ignorant as the sheeple, holding RE in hopes of a quick rebound. By the end of the Summer, their gonna be giving these homes away at 20% less than they are trying to pawn them off at now.

    WE HAVE NOT HAD A SPRING WITH THE CURRENT CREDIT SITUATION IN PLACE!!! And last Spring’s RE season was not exactly gangbusters even with credit still available.

    For the most part, it is subprime defaults that are cratering the Florida’s and Nevada’s and California. We haven’t had much of that yet in NJ. In NJ, it will be the prime defaulters causing the pain.

    You just need a little patience, which is lacking among many posters here. Pret, ask me the same question again in the fall.

  55. BC Bob says:

    grim Says:
    February 27th, 2008 at 7:39 am
    Is 102 dollar-a-barrel oil stimulative to the economy?

    Yes, if you’re long crude.

  56. gary says:


    I think I’m one of those posters who have a “patience” problem. lol!

  57. Sean says:


    Here is an actuarial report on the State workers pension liabilities.

    Also,I believe this blogger has all the stats you need from last years contract negotiation when Corzine gave the state workers a 35% raise. I guess he did not tell them he planned to jettison 3,000 of their members when they voted on the contract.

  58. DebtVulture says:

    BC Bob said:

    “Go ahead, let a bankruptcy judge modify terms of a contract. It will be the final nail in the coffin for this market. You will have mortgage interest rates comparable to cc rates. I know this is going out on a limb [there is too much competition]. However, this has to be one of the most asinine ideas to ever come out of DC.”

    I totally agree 100%. Mortgage rates would go through the roof. This is a horrible idea

    BC class of ’91

  59. BC Bob says:


    Fellow Eagle!! For Boston, For Boston.

    Flutie era.

  60. Jason says:

    Not related to NJ, but a striking story from the NYC area that has a link to some of the NJ state financial crisis discussions around here lately.–Case-Worker-Suspended-in-Dead-Children-Case/1720954

    Eddie Arredondo, the CPS night supervisor on Friday, was suspended indefinitely without pay for directing that Brewer’s case be followed up Sunday, instead of Saturday, after two caseworkers made unsuccessful attempts to contact her on Friday. The result of his decision was the death of 3 children. What does this CPS employees union have to say about Arredondos suspension?

    CSEA Local 830 President Jerry Laricchiuta complained that the supervisor was suspended without due process.

    “We feel that this worker was unfairly made as a scapegoat in this situation,” he said.

    I wonder if Mr Arredondo will get a severance pkg or a pension when he is dismissed from his post. Taxpayers, this is where your money is going.

  61. lostinny says:

    Child Protection Workers are unionized? I wonder if that’s why I can’t get one of them to call me back.

  62. Pat says:

    re: funding pension liabilities

    A layoff by itself doesn’t automatically equate to to a reduction (or increase) in current or future funding liability. Depends on other assumptions relative to future benefit accruals of the two distinct populations (layoff group and group actively accruing benefits).

    disclaimer: I’m not an actuary.

  63. Kid Twist says:

    Spam #44,
    I live about 2 miles from Island dragway! Depending on the wind I can hear them sometimes.
    The sod farms still flood out in very heavy rain.

  64. Jill says:

    Stu: I live in one of these towns. I love the way there’s this hue and cry about how little towns somehow have government transparency. The mayor of Closter had an op-ed in the Record yesterday to that effect.

    In my town, the mayor’s house is empty and on the market. I hear he picks up his mail at a PO box in town. The mayor and council run unopposed in every primary and general election. Cronyism and make-work jobs are rampant. It’s one-party rule (Republican). There is zero accountability, no one cares, those who care are powerless because there is no alternative come election time.

  65. skep-tic says:

    My prediction is that national house prices will be down 10% in 2008 according to the NAR index.

  66. Ann says:

    Maybe instead of trying to kill teachers health care we should try to get health care for everyone.

  67. skep-tic says:


    who pays?

  68. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    U.S. Jan. new-home sales fall 2.8% to 588,000 pace

    Sales of new U.S. homes fell by 2.8% in January, led by a drop of more than 10% in the Northeast, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Sales of new homes fell 2.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 588,000 in January, just below the 590,000 expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. January’s sales pace was down 33.9% compared with January 2007. December’s sales pace for new homes was revised to 605,000, up slightly from the 604,000 reported earlier.

  69. grim says:

    Maybe instead of trying to kill teachers health care we should try to get health care for everyone

    How about universal health care based on risk-based pricing?

    You want to be sedentary, overweight, and eat junk food all day long? Have fun paying the $5k monthly premium.

    Don’t exercise for 30 minutes a day? No problem, but you’ll be paying for it.

    Smoker? Don’t even ask.

  70. Jamey says:

    57, 58

    Too bad BC couldn’t hack it in the Big East.


  71. lostinny says:

    I’d be on board with that to an extent. But what happens to families of children born with some kind of disability or needing emergency care? Would forcing tubby to pay that much a month make up for the child that needs emergency heart surgery?

  72. Jamey says:


    Jill, I, too, live in one of those towns. We have the same thing, a sclerotic Boro Council and a mayor with an IQ in the high double digits (not counting decimal places). We have single-party rule, too: Democratic. But the party has split into two factions, the pro Bergen County Machine Dems, and the anti-Bergen County Machine Dems. At times I feel like I’m reliving the scenes from Life of Brian, wherein the Judean People’s Front are always squabbling with the People’s Front of Judea. At least the fratricidal war brings about, collaterally, some sort of accountability — but mostly we have public servants of an indifferent quality . . . and lots of backseat drivers.

    Municipal salaries and pensions a burden. (Not too much pay-for-play-type nookie, thankfully, because, well, there’s not much play—anyone who’s been through Leonia knows what I mean.) Shared services would be a boon, as our fair boro is less than a mile square; no resident would be very far from a fire station or police precinct. I reckon each homeowner would save dozens, even scores of dollars each year off their property taxes! If I buy a second home in the town, my savings might even be in the hundreds of dollars!

    Not sure, but I think the State’s problems might just originate within the State government. But that’s just a hunch.

  73. Jamey says:


    Or what if said unfortunate child happens to have a parent who logs eight hours a day couch-time and earns frequent flier miles from Taco Bell?

    The goo-goo (good government)wonk/policy studies major in me believes that incentives work better than punishments. Universal/ single-payer plan insurance rates could start high, and each subscriber then could whittle down his or her rate by checking off boxes. For active non-smokers, the rate would decline precipitously from the default. For the sedentary, Cheetos-munching, pack-a-day smoker, no discount; just incentives to do better.

    HMOs are wising up to this — many are offer ing, or planning to offer, healthy living cash-back incentives

  74. Hard Place says:

    If enacted as proposed, the overall state budget would shrink by $500 million to $33 billion, marking only the fifth time in the last 50 years that New Jersey would spend less money than it did the previous year. Assuming inflation this year at around 3 percent, as it has been since 2004, the cut would be equivalent to roughly $1.5 billion, or 4.4 percent of last year’s budget, in real terms.

    You have to love the way the state/media manipulated the potential budget cut number. They say the cut is 4.4 percent in “real terms”. In actuality it is only 1.67 percent adjusted for inflation. What was the increase in spending adjusted for inflation?

    Such total BS! Someone in the public relations dept in Corzine’s office probably spoon fed that line to the NY Times!

  75. Sean says:

    re: risk-based pricing Health Care Insurance.

    To make risk based pricing happen the Federal Goverment would have to undo a whole bunch of legislation like HIPAA.

    If you use BMI then fat people would sue over discrimination and if you get my drift then there will be lots of class action lawsuits to prevent risk-based pricing for health care.

    Health risk is more genetic than you might think. Sure living a healty lifestyle makes a difference but you still can’t beat good genes.

    So far there is little legislation to prevent genetic based risk pricing.

    Anyone here see the movie Gattica?

  76. Hard Place says:

    In my anger and haste I meant to say

    “In actuality it is only 1.67% minus inflation. What was the increase in spending the last few years in real terms?”

  77. Bystander says:

    Reminder, another round of Bergabe vs. Ron Paul today. Hide the children and lock the doors. This should almost be Pay per view.

  78. Jamey says:

    Living on a fixed income, tied to your MMA or CD’s rate of return? Price of food and heat rising? Looking for those cheap mortgages that were surely around the corner after the last huge fed rate cuts?

    To quote Henry Hill in “Goodfellas, “F**k you, pay me.”

  79. Ann says:

    Universal healthcare

    We’re already all paying, whether we like it or not. And we already have universal healthcare, except you have to be a kid or an old person to get it.

    I agree that incentives work better than punishments too for bad health behaviors. Barring that, even paying for better preventative care, let’s say for a Type II diabetic, is cheaper than amputating their feet.

  80. Ann says:


    Great point. It’s a slippery slope with risk-based healthcare pricing. And certainly none of us wants to get into a genetic pricing situation, who knows what is lurking in our genes?

    Although, I would be for giving financial incentives to those who maintain a health weight and don’t smoke.

  81. Stu says:

    Here we go again. Bergabe has pretty much promised more rate cuts.

    When this artificially inflated bubble pops, there will be both blood and body parts in the streets.

    Gold might go to 1,000 by the end of the day.

    Housing is done!

    Bergabe is trying to restart the economy by making lending to businesses virtually free.

    It’s jsut too bad that he doesn’t realize that most companies are sitting on more cash than they ever have in history already. They don’t need cheap loans.

    Plain and simple, the Feds plan is to devalue the dollar to export inflation.

    Sorry REinvestor, but residential and soon commercial real estate is so F’ed.

  82. grim says:

    Although, I would be for giving financial incentives to those who maintain a health weight and don’t smoke.

    So what you’re saying is that overweight smokers should pay more?

    I agree, didn’t I say that above?

    As for pre-existing conditions or genetics, sorry, but that isn’t within our control, thus shouldn’t be part of the program.

    Likewise, the family premium would simply be a summation of each individual premium. Lil’ Debbie, being a juvenile, wouldn’t necessarily be charged the same premium as her overweight, smoking, mother Mrs. Tubby.

    Mrs. Tubby could opt out, however, she would be responsible for paying for her daughter until she was of legal age.

  83. Stu says:

    “So what you’re saying is that overweight smokers should pay more?”

    I am so screwed. I do play hockey though so would I still be eligible for the physical activity discount?

    Let’s be real…Universal health care as advertised by Billary and Obama ain’t happening. You can debate the pros and cons all day long, but at the end of the day, it’s just more fantasies for the sheeple to dream about.

  84. Stu says:

    Grim just mentioned Lil’ Debbie…all of a sudden, I’m craving a scooter pie.

  85. grim says:

    I could go on all day with this one..

    Had an accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Sorry, not covered.

    Tanning Salon? Please sign this waiver.

  86. Jamey says:

    And before someone trots out the “In England, you have to wait eleventy-hundred months to have a splinter removed — and they all have bad teeth!” trope: An UNDERFUNDED single-payer/universal health care plan is the real danger. And England’s National Health only pay approx 40% per citizen what the U.S. pay.

    At the current rate the US pay per individual for VA health, Medicare/Medicaid, government employees’ coverage, Dick Cheney’s hourly virgin-blood transfusions, etc, we’d be doing okay — and that doesn’t even take into account the lost tax revenues from taxpayer health-care-related deductions.

    Plus, the option to pay out-of-pocket for drive-thru liposuction and Viagra will always exist for those with deep pockets.

    Seriously, it’s time we wised up. We’re already paying for Universal health care. The benefits, however, aren’t by any means universal. Not advocating any one solution, just that we veer into the path of sanity when discussing health care.

  87. Jamey says:


    So not like you to cite the exception as the rule.

  88. Pat says:

    Do people who swim vigorously once a week in shark-infested waters or at non-guarded beaches have to pay more under this plan, or do they still get the healthy lifestyle credit?

  89. gary says:

    Henry Hill quotes, Mrs. Tubby references… it sounds like stuff Gary would post!

  90. skep-tic says:

    My sense is that people who want universal healthcare at root really think that healthcare is a public good, like national defense. Only the gov’t can realistically pool the resources to provide for national defense at this point, but is the same really true for healthcare?

  91. njpatient says:

    Clot’s comment last night, worth repeating:

    “Greenspan was propping the economy up in a RE/credit boom from 9/11 until the souffle finally went poof. We all forget, but nothing else was working back then. Growth stocks, bonds, you name it…NOTHING else could gain traction.

    Which is why it’s crazy to say that RE can’t also now drag us into prolonged recession. If it was enough to pump the economy to that degree, it can also plow us under.”

  92. lisoosh says:

    Risk premiums on healthcare :

    Silly. Might as well charge old people because they use the most. In fact MOST healthcare usage is in the year before dying.

    You don’t charge a risk premium.

    You tax the risky activity.
    Cigarettes, fast food and cookies/candy/preservative laden garbage all taxed. Plus you get rid of HFCS subsidies that the government doles out to farmers and you can probably pay for a hefty chunk right there.

    The point of universal healthcare is to SPREAD the risk load over the entire population, thus lessening the impact of catastrophic needs.

  93. grim says:


    Risk premium overrides the healthy lifestyle credit.

    Exercise credit will only be valid if exercise takes place at a Halliburton-run reeducation exercise facility.

  94. lisoosh says:

    And of course – tax alcohol and legalize marijuana and other drugs and tax those too.

    Pretty much pay for everything.

  95. SG says:

    On Health Care, I think most of the debate focuses on expense side and not the supply side. I think one need to solve the Inflation issue to solve Health Care. Here are some suggestions.

    1. Primary Health Centers (like one opened in Target and Walmart) run by NP and PAs for minor illnesses. No insurance needed here as the service would be cheap.

    2. Limit on Mal practice insurance claims

    3. Catastrophic coverages from Govt. Some sort of Govt price regulation on Hospital Charges, which I think are outrageous in many cases.

    4. Promote use of things like Medical Surgeries either to rural areas or cheaper countries. Find unused capacities within the country and promote use of that.

    5. Options for Self-employed to join into group insurance scheme etc…

    I am not expert, but just some observations.

  96. HEHEHE says:

    Bergabe is insane. Commodities are the new currency in this country.

  97. grim says:

    How about this one?

    6. Streamlined visa/citizenship for medical-related professions, including MDs. A prerequisite to this would be licensure and training reciprocity.

  98. lisoosh says:

    SG – most of the ridiculous expenses comes from excessive admin costs and profits.

    The only way to get rid of that is to get rid of these ridiculous private insurance companies.

    Medicare is surprisingly cost efficient when it comes to admin.

  99. skep-tic says:

    all of these jokingly proposed risk premiums for nat’l healthcare point out another disturbing aspect of the scheme: the gov’t increasing ability to exercise power over individuals. economic freedom is real freedom.

  100. lisoosh says:

    Grim 96 – they are already fastracked.

  101. Pat says:

    96 streamlined…didn’t we already do that with Phillipino nurses and strip their country of medical professionals?

  102. Pat says:

    99 owe you a beer.

  103. grim says:

    99 – Was editing that as you replied. What about licensure reciprocity?

  104. kettle1 says:

    is there not a middle ground in the world of universal healthcare?

    guarantee emergency/critical care and basic preventive care across the board. Then in the in bewteen space buy what ever sort of medical care you like. I am shooting from the hip so this may have serious logic holes.

    Penalty or enticement fees/discount are not very effective. To alter bad behaviors suck as smoking over eating etc you must treat the root cause. You have to change the US culture if you want to change habits like smoking and over eating. this is best done outside of the immediate health care plan but can certainly be related to it.

    We do not want to go anywhere near genetic based healthcare!!!!! Gatica is a very good warning

  105. SG says:

    lisoosh: Agreed on Admin costs, but not sure Medicare can scale to whole country and still remain efficient.

    I think the better approach would be to standardize Health care offerings by insurance companies and improve competition. For e.g. have grades defined like Grade A, B, C, D etc… with set of minimum benefits and copays etc… That way it becomes easy to compare Insurance plans and costs for same set of service. This would spur competition among players as they can not hide behind complexities.

    After that even servicing claims becomes easier and can help reduce cost.

  106. grim says:

    You don’t charge a risk premium.

    You tax the risky activity.

    I couldn’t imagine the backlash from the lobbies on this one, it would be tremendous.

  107. MJ says:

    Katz has made comments on the budget cuts at I hope she is reading the comments she herself is getting on the blog.

  108. kettle1 says:


    keep a close eye on grain and natural gas. Both have severe underlying weakness.

  109. lostinny says:

    Away with my Double Stuft Oreos then. Dammit!

  110. grim says:

    Let me tell you, there is nothing better than eating an entire sleeve of Oreos after a hundred mile bike ride. Although this would probably put me in the same category as the chum swimmer above.

  111. kettle1 says:

    I think health Insurance companies need to be curtailed. talk about a major conflict of interest. it is well known the shenanigans they play in order to turn down claims. While i am generally not for government intervention i do not think that a for profit health care business is an effective choice for the people. the company may make money but at the cost of peoples health.

  112. grim says:

    Ellen Karcher attempted to float a ban on trans-fats in NJ restaurants..

    So maybe a fat tax isn’t out of the picture.

  113. lisoosh says:

    Grim –

    grim Says:
    February 27th, 2008 at 11:24 am
    99 – Was editing that as you replied. What about licensure reciprocity?

    I think there is some, but of course they charge an arm and a leg to reexam them here. Of course there are liability issues too.
    As Pat noted, we stripped the Phillippines. I believe we are also stripping South Africa as their nurses are VERY highly trained.

    As to taxing the risky activities – Yup, the lobbies would go nuts. Trouble with risk based premiums is a million lawsuits, and a ton in admin. Someone was drunk? HOW drunk? What about their body chemistry, what about their metabolism? Blah blah.

    The lobbies would hate it, but taxing risky activities is less discriminatory and MUCH easier to administer.

  114. SG says:

    kettle1: I disagree. Priave Health Insurance companies are definitely better alternative then Govt run company. I have worked in both sectors (not in Insurance though) and can gurantee that if Govt was providing insurance, we would be paying through roof right now.

    The trouble I have is on lack of competition for price. Due to lack of standards, insurance companies can use slezy sells techniques to get customers. If there were standards, and servicing was done based on those standards, you would eliminate lot of dead weights. Increased competition would cause consolidation and only efficient players would survive.

    I dont think this solution solves the issue completely, but does get you to better state than where we are right now.

  115. lostinny says:

    I don’t even remember the last time I rode a bike. I’d love to get one but don’t have the space to store it. Do you get the same sugar high then crash the same as you would without the exercise?
    Bloomberg banned trans fats from NYC restaurants. I guess anything is possible.

  116. lisoosh says:


    Kerry floated the idea of government run catastrophic coverage to lessen the burden. It wasn’t a bad first step idea actually.

    Another idea I heard floated was to have 2 or 3 NON PROFIT insurance companies, limit the confusion and take out the profit motive. Probably possible to streamline admin that way too, at least to a pretty serious degree. The admin costs on the part of doctors and hospitals comes from the plethora of companies out there, each with their own code and system.

  117. njpatient says:

    “This run up was bigger on a percentage basis than any prior. Plus the economic headwinds we are facing during the bust are unmatched. Add signs of hyperinflation to the mix, diminishing wages, a dropping dollar, >$100 oil, massive federal deficits, the tightest lending standards since the depression, a commodity run, a diminishing manufacturing sector and an income gap between the upper and middle class that is growing faster than ever before.”

    That sounds less than optimistic.

  118. lisoosh says:

    SG Says:
    February 27th, 2008 at 11:47 am
    “kettle1: I disagree. Priave Health Insurance companies are definitely better alternative then Govt run company. I have worked in both sectors (not in Insurance though) and can gurantee that if Govt was providing insurance, we would be paying through roof right now.”

    All the evidence points to this being 100% wrong, at least in the area of Health insurance.

    The government currently offers universal health to all seniors, Medicare. It has proved vastly more efficient than the current crop of private companies. Health care is a requirement, not a choice based luxury and so privatization is problematic. Plus the current system of it being offered by employers means that the actual consumers, the patients, don’t get to shop around in a manner that would make these private companies serve there customers properly.

  119. Rich In NNJ says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Commentary: Nobody ‘talked’ housing into its recession

    Home builder Toll Brothers took more than $150 million in write-downs in its current quarter as revenue dropped 23% and its backlog of orders fell 42%. And what did the company blame that poor performance on? Loose lips.

    “Ceaseless talk of a recession continues to dampen the mood of consumers in general, whether or not a recession actually occurs,” CEO Robert Toll said. “For home buyers, we believe this drumbeat, coupled with concerns over mortgages, the direction of home prices, and foreclosures, has kept pent-up demand on the sidelines.”

    Whether or not a recession occurs in the overall economy, it is here in spades in housing. And what is doing the talking is data.

    [Emphasis Added]
    Much more at the link above, Rich

  120. Jumbo says:

    Can someone give me some info on MLS# 20714445? Thanks very much.

  121. skep-tic says:

    let’s look at mortgages as an example of where the federal gov’t muscled into a flawed but otherwise functioning market. what is the result? two very greedy GSEs that are accountable to nobody, poorly run and which foist systemic risk on the backs of taxpayers.

  122. njpatient says:

    “The point of universal healthcare is to SPREAD the risk load over the entire population, thus lessening the impact of catastrophic needs.”

    Exactly. Otherwise it’s not “insurance”, it’s just “paying for medical expenses”.

  123. lisoosh says:

    grim – my response is in moderation.

  124. kettle1 says:


    my understanding is that a large percentage of bankruptcies and people in financial trouble comes from catastrophic medical costs. Even as a first step, guaranteed coverage for emergency /critical care is a huge first step


    In theory i agree with you, but the rules and regulations in the US are rigged in favor of corporations. Companies rarely (perhaps an overstatement)behave as predicted in a free market model in the US; for a variety of reasons and thats a different discussion.

  125. BC Bob says:

    “Tanning Salon? Please sign this waiver.”

    Who covers Angelo?

  126. Rich In NNJ says:

    From MarketWatch:


    Toll Brothers posts loss, frets about recession talk
    Refinancing applications down 30.4% last week
    Euro tops $1.50 as dollar drops on recession fears
    UBS chairman appeals to shareholders over board role; vows to stay
    FSA CEO reportedly says cheap money for banks could decline
    Provident Bankshares sees added REIT-securities charges
    Issuers ask SEC for break amid auction-rate woes
    Weber Says ECB Rate-Cut Bets Underestimate Inflation
    Dubai fund values Colonial at $4.5 bln in offer

    More detailed info at the link above, Rich

  127. grim says:

    Who covers Angelo?

    Shareholders, as usual…

  128. njpatient says:

    Bill Buckley, RIP

  129. Make Money says:

    Ron Paul is up.

  130. kettle1 says:

    Mandating that health insurance companies be NONPROFIT would also be a big first step. The problem with for profit companies is that they are beholden to their share holders to make money. The purpose of health care is to provide health care and maintain accessibility to the same. The purpose is not to make money for share holders. on top of that as was pointed out before, health care s not optional on the larger scale ( you may choose not to get a physical this year, but eventually you will need medical care).
    Once a companies primary motive is to make money instead of maintain the health of its “customers” within a reasonable financial constraint then the quality of health care will decrease. I challenge anyone to show me a counter example.

  131. njpatient says:

    124 kettle

    “my understanding is that a large percentage of bankruptcies and people in financial trouble comes from catastrophic medical costs”


    Key finding: “Nearly half (46.2 percent) (95 percent confidence interval = 43.5, 48.9) of debtors met at least one of our criteria for “major medical bankruptcy.” Slightly more than half (54.5 percent) (95 percent CI = 51.8, 57.2) met criteria for “any medical bankruptcy.””

  132. Rich In NNJ says:

    Jumbo (120),

    Can’t help ya, must be a GSMLS listing.

  133. Jill says:

    Grim #69: Suppose you’re overweight, have a BMI over 35, but you exercise at least 30 minutes a day, you eat right, you don’t eat fast food, your blood pressure is normal and your cholesterol is fine. You still want to deny these people health insurance because they’re “unsightly” to you?

    Don’t say they don’t exist; I am one.

  134. Victorian says:

    What do you guys make of the raising of the GSE limits?

    Didnt the limits protect them from the bubble?

  135. Jill says:

    Lisoosh #123: “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” -Oscar Wilde

  136. mikeinwaiting says:

    IF anyone is watching Ron Paul just gave Bernanke an economic lesson you could see him squirm, Paul burnt him alive.
    Subject inflation ,m3 money, debasing dollar.Love to see this exchange on the 6 o’clock news.

  137. Stu says:

    Jill, that’s me to a t as well. I have more endurance than any other member on my team. My cholesterol is in the 130s my pulse is low 60’s. But I weigh 240 lbs.

    Am I speedy? Nope. But the dr. says I’m in excellent physical shape.

    I could only imagine what the bureaucracy around the universal health care would look like.

  138. Rich In NNJ says:

    Jill (133),

    Where did he say anything about being “unsightly”? You put it in quotes yet I can’t find any reference to someone paying a higher premium do to how they look.
    If you mean the Mrs Tubby (by the way, I dated Deb Tubby for awhile) reference, that was followed by exapmles of poor health habits.

  139. njpatient says:

    137 mike
    His opening statement was pretty good too.

  140. Rich In NNJ says:

    due to how they look.


    I wish I could edit my damn posts!

  141. lisoosh says:

    Jill – Love Wilde.

  142. Rich In NNJ says:

    Someone over paid (IMHO) for a very nice, large C/C with big property and now…

    SLD 334 SUNSET BLVD $830,000 9/15/2006

    ACT 334 SUNSET BLVD $829,900 2/27/2008

  143. kettle1 says:

    stu jill,

    medical opinions and standards change over time and are sometimes politically driven. that is why i would not be for a system that rewards or penalizes individual characteristics. As i said before, these are issue that have to be dealt with outside of health care as they are symptoms and causes and it is futile in the long term to try and solve a problem by only addressing symptoms.

  144. kettle1 says:

    i missed paul/bergabe’s exchange anyone know when it will be up on the web?

  145. grim says:

    Grim #69: Suppose you’re overweight, have a BMI over 35, but you exercise at least 30 minutes a day, you eat right, you don’t eat fast food, your blood pressure is normal and your cholesterol is fine. You still want to deny these people health insurance because they’re “unsightly” to you?

    (hat off)

    Most of my comments were tongue-in-cheek, aimed mainly at spurring the discussion. When we don’t have a jackass handy to cause a ruckus, I’ll wear that hat.

    (hat back on)

    I didn’t say deny coverage, I said the premium would have surcharges or incentives driven by lifestyle choices (or lack thereof).

    (hat off)

    I’m not a Doctor, not even a nutritionist, hell, I’m stuffing my face with capricolla, procuitto, salami, and provolone as I type.

    (hat on)

    But I wonder what portion of my premium pays for the guy getting treated for lung cancer, after a lifetime of smoking?

    Yes, insurance exists to protect me from the unknown and uncertainty. But is it there to protect me from myself?

  146. skep-tic says:

    guys– this is the point. once the gov’t takes over the game, they can do whatever they want. you won’t have a choice any longer. most people have insurance now as it is. is the current arrangement perfect? definitely not. but does that mean we should nationalize this industry? this is a huge step

  147. kettle1 says:

    to change the subject for a moment…

    anyone see that aerogel insulation is starting to hit the market. this is pretty cool stuff, one of the best insulators known lb for lb

    wiki about aerogels if you arent familiar with them

  148. kettle1 says:


    then what would you think about mandating that all health insurance companies be non-profit?

  149. Confused In NJ says:

    Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans were started in the Depression of the 1930’s to help working people to pay hospitals and doctors. For decades Blues plans had little competition but in the 1980’s and 1990’s they lost millions of customers as many big companies eliminated jobs and turned to lower-priced managed care insurers to try to hold down medical-cost inflation.

  150. Stu says:

    In my life, I don’t have a single insurance claim on any personal policy. Not Medical, not homeowners, not auto, not anything.

    I am an insurance companies dream.

    What kind of insurance plan would benefit me the most?

  151. skep-tic says:

    kettle1– the nonprofit idea is interesting. universities are nonprofit (supposedly) and there is definitely competition between them. my primary concern is creating an unaccountable monopoly.

  152. Confused In NJ says:

    Blue Cross plans across the country have been trying to merge and become for-profit companies as they compete with private insurance companies that have also been consolidating in a series of big mergers. All the insurers want to spread the enormous costs of the new computer systems they need for their managed health care business.

    But officials in a number of states have insisted that when Blue Cross plans make such deals, they owe the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

    New Jersey Blue Cross and Anthem said they were calling off their merger plans because ”legal and regulatory issues” had delayed the conversion of Blue Cross and Blue Shield into a mutual insurance company that would be owned by its policyholders. The conversion ”is a necessary step toward merger with Anthem, which is a mutual insurance company,” the two companies said in a statement.

  153. kettle1 says:


    could you set the non-profit health insurance company up in the same form as a credit union, where the “customers” are also the equivalent of the share holders? then you have annual meetings where the customer base as a whole can act to regulate the compnay

  154. grim says:

    Confused brings up an interesting point..

    Why not ownership by the policyholders instead of the shareholders?

  155. skep-tic says:

    #154, 155

    I believe State Farm actually has this setup. I have State Farm auto insurance and my experience with them has been positive. They seem to be much more responsive to customer concerns than other insurance companies I’ve dealt with.

  156. grim says:

    New Jersey Manufacturers as well. NJM gives me lower rates than Geico, and I get a dividend check every year.

  157. Bubble Disciple says:

    Re: 16 (Stu)

    I think this is just a ploy by the Democrats so they can accuse Bush of blocking a housing relief bill. If the Democrats had override veto power, I don’t think they would use it; the banks still have a lot of influence.

    Meanwhile, the situation will continue to deteriorate. The CDO mortgage holders are so far removed from the borrowers that it is logistically difficult renegotiate these contracts, even if it were in the best interests of both parties.

    Of course, we’ve already heard that when a bank is ready and willing to renegotiate (e.g. to a lower fixed rate for much longer term), the borrower would rather walk away.

  158. grim says:

    Given that there is no easy fix, what can I do about it?

    What about investing in Healthcare and Insurers as a hedge against rising premiums?

    How about investing in my own personal health as a hedge?

  159. x-underwriter says:

    # Stu Says:
    I am an insurance companies dream.
    What kind of insurance plan would benefit me the most?

    Actually, you are statistically overdue for a claim, meaning you are a potential nightmare.

  160. kettle1 says:

    I have USAA, for all of my Insurance excapt health. for that i have Blue Cross. USAA is the best business i have ever worked with PERIOD!

    Blue Cross has issues in my opinion. they are currently being sued in California because a teenage girl died when they refused to authorize a kidney (or liver i dont remeber transplant, but changed their minds and authorized after it was to late. Their implementation is horrible. I actually did not know that they were not a private company.

    Another health care issue. All health care costs should be public info. for instance blue cross gets service X for Y dollars from a hospital but the same service at the same hos[ital will cost you 2-3X if you pay cash!

    the birth of my son would have cost about 30K if i paid out of pocket and that was a normal birth with no interventions of any sort. i ended up paying about 2K with deductables, but on the statements, services that BC (blue cross) got for 2K were originally billed at 4K.

  161. Clotpoll says:

    kl (15)-

    My office meetings are informal, on-the-fly, ad hoc events. I detest the “culture of meetings”, and I limit meetings to only topics of urgency or merit. In fact, we don’t meet unless ALL the agents in the office feel it is merited.

    That said, the meetings we’ve had over the past few months have focused on things like:

    1) Understanding changes in the law that affect people entering foreclosure (such as the new law that tax-exempts forgiven mortgage debt).

    2) Understanding changes in the tax code that affect RE ownership, such as the tax-deductibility of PMI.

    3) Refinance and qualification traps.

    4) How to identify homeowners in trouble, canvass them, suggest solutions, negotiate with banks and initiate short sale or deed-in-lieu processes.

    I’ve always believed that you can’t sell stuff in a meeting…and we’re in the business of selling stuff. Anyway, most RE offices only have meetings in order to cross-sell affiliated services and exert subliminal control over their agents. I want agents who are crazy-busy and borderline uncontrollable (in a good way), so meetings are not our thing.

  162. Clotpoll says:

    Stu (19)-

    If any of my clients could pull a 6.1% 30-fixed, I’d tell them to lock it today.

    6.25%-6.5% is more like it. Gotta bake in the Fannie/Freddie surcharges now.

  163. Clotpoll says:

    John (22)-

    “My friend is doing an open house in Ho Ho Kus this weekend, should be fun it is a new listing. I told her not to make too many cookies!!!”

    Tell her to bake some hashish into them. That should liven things up…

  164. skep-tic says:

    I would be curious to hear price predictions for this year’s RE market. Percent decline/increase and by what measure (i.e., index)

  165. pretorius says:

    “USAA is the best business i have ever worked with PERIOD!”

    I agree. Great for insurance. Great for financial services, including mortgages. Best service. Very good rates.

    Nobody comes close on service. Rates are very competitive, plus I get a dividend check each year.

  166. Clotpoll says:

    BC (29)-

    “Thank you Bergabe. The bailout of your constituents is robbing John Q of his purchasing power.”

    Most of my competitors are out there telling prospective buyers that rates are coming down and that it’s a great time to buy a house now.

    I can’t wait to see how many fall-throughs occur this Spring when a subset of the already-thin pool of buyers out there realize they either don’t qualify for a mortgage…or can’t really afford the payments on mortgages they could conceivably get.

    The promise of cheap, easy money is what gets buyers to pay up and hit the bid. When they find out that money isn’t so cheap, those deals are gonna unwind fast.

  167. Ann says:

    147 skeptic

    47 million Americans don’t have health insurance, and even those who do are one job away from not having it. We already have a nationalized healthcare plan, it’s called Medicare. But it’s limited to old people. As far as choice, not sure what kind of choice you have, but we don’t have all that much in our plan.

  168. Ann says:

    146 grim

    I think we should tax your sandwich to pay for our new healthcare system.

    As far as protecting people from themselves, ideally, in a national system, everyone would have access to a primary care provider who would manage health issues like obesity, smoking etc. Heck, we could even compensate doctors on how healthy their patients are, or what steps they took, rather than how sick their patients are.

  169. Jamey says:


    I could only imagine what the bureaucracy around the universal health care would look like.

    I’ll see your government bureaucracy and raise you the utter failure of the private sector to do anything, other than ensure fatter margins for PHarma members, health insurers, and major hospital chains, and point the finger at “teh LAWYERS!”

    The false dilemma between the saintly-and-efficient private enterprise-based model, and the evil, commie, make-our-kids-gay public sector model needs to be broken down a bit.

    How about we allow for competent governance (i.e., by professionals who actually take their jobs seriously, like FEMA under Clinton) and incompetent governance? (We can even create a subcategory for the latter: Willfully incompetent governance, q.v., George W. Bush’s Administration.)

  170. kettle1 says:


    i would argue that the carrot/stick method will not be very effective in national health care. any system whether the carrot or stick can be gamed and will likely have unintended consequences. Everyone has bad habits, some more obvious then others. The primary care provider should be advising patients on good and bad health behaviors but cover everyone equally and then focus on life style modification outside of the health care arena. heck teaching kids how to eat in a healthy manner that does not include regular amounts of soda or chips would be a good start.

  171. Clotpoll says:

    HE (96)-

    Hi ho.

    Anybody know how one can become a licensed commodities dealer? :)

  172. Clotpoll says:

    grim (97)-

    Great. I want my splenectomy done by a graduate of the Univ. of Guam…

  173. kettle1 says:


    some of the best heart surgeons in the world are in india!

  174. skep-tic says:

    Ann– we also have Medicaid, which benefits the poor. Both Medicare and Medicaid have massive long term budget deficits. No one has figured out how to pay for the entitlement programs we already have and somehow we are also supposed to implement new ones.

    The problem obviously is that healthcare is too expensive for many people. What happens in most markets where there is high demand for a product is that someone finds a way to supply it at a price people can afford (and which is profitable). WalMart is doing this right now with prescription drugs.

    Once you eliminate competition (by installing a gov’t monopoly) all incentive to reduce the cost of the product is eliminated. In other words, government takeover of health insurance will not correct the fact that health insurance is too expensive. It will simply pass the cost onto someone else– but the massive inefficieny will remain and likely even grow.

  175. PGC says:

    Can someone explain to me the difference between Chatam Township at number 1 and Chatam Boro at number 23?—the-complete-top-towns-list-.html

  176. BklynHawk says:

    Why don’t we create default swaps for health? Everyone’s health risk could be traded in a market (all individuals identities would be protected, of course) and you would have to provide all of your health history and genetic information. Then, the government covers any risk that doesn’t get covered in the market then re-sells that to sovereign funds at high yields. Problem solved!

  177. Stu says:

    “Actually, you are statistically overdue for a claim, meaning you are a potential nightmare.”

    I really hope the insurance companies pricing models do not work this way. Some people think the Roulette wheel is more likely to stop on black after it stops on red. This logic is what keeps the casino in business.

    Hey…ya never know?

    Yeah I do. I know that I have a better chance of guessing your phone number than I do at winning Mega Millions! Know how big the jackpot needs to be for your $1 to represent an even money bet? How about >230 million. Hence, I’ve only spent a total of $3 on the lottery since it started.

    Hey…ya always know!

  178. Clotpoll says:

    grim (160)-

    You can. Use a MSA, and keep rolling over the unused yearly contributions.

  179. Clotpoll says:

    vodka (176)-

    “…some of the best heart surgeons in the world are in india!”

    How the hell does that help my spleen? Jesus, it ain’t PVC plumbing! ;)

  180. HEHEHE says:

    For the Gold Bugs:

    “It is what it is. The Fed is going to inflate. Don’t fight the Fed.

    People have become used to disinflation for the past 25 years. Only in the past several days has it finally begun to dawn on the herd that inflation and more specifically stagflation is going to be a problem going forward. That means the conditions are ripe for a sudden shift in herd psychology which could trigger a virtual stampede into inflationary hedges in the coming days and weeks, including potential major currency shifts in the Middle East and in China. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

  181. Stu says:


    “Can someone explain to me the difference between Chatam Township at number 1 and Chatam Boro at number 23?”

    If you attended either school or lived in either town, you probably would have learned that Chatham has an ‘H’ in the name ;)

  182. Stu says:

    errr. Make that a second H. My school was obviously not in the top 30 :)

  183. Clotpoll says:

    Hawk (179)-

    Where on the body do you suggest we affix the bar codes?

    My vote would be soles of the feet.

  184. Clotpoll says:

    HE (183)-

    “…the conditions are ripe for a sudden shift in herd psychology which could trigger a virtual stampede into inflationary hedges in the coming days and weeks…”

    Music to my ears.

  185. lostinny says:

    Clot- We all know they go on the forearm or back of the neck. There should be no question.

  186. John says:

    Home Sales Fall More Than Expected, Prices Sink
    DE Assessment: No bottom yet in sight.
    New home sales fell -2.8% to 588K in January (DE: 591K, Consensus: 600K), the fewest since 1995. The median price of new homes dropped sharply by -15.1% to $216,000.
    Today’s release indicates that prices for new homes will have to fall much further to bring supply in line with demand, and that buyers, faced with falling prices and tightening lending standards, are staying away from the market. Prices will continue to fall as foreclosures add to the supply of unsold homes.
    The inventory of unsold homes fell -2.2% to 482,000 at the end of January. Month’s supply, however, rose to 9.9 months from 9.5 months in December, suggesting that at the current level of demand, housing starts will have to decline from existing levels in order for builders to draw down their
    inventories. The prospect of further cuts in housing starts is a negative for residential investment, employment, and ultimately consumption spending.

  187. John says:

    Actually, if we encouraged the civil servants to smoke, drink and eat fast food as well as skydive and drive motorcycles it would solve the pension problem rather nicely.

  188. gary says:


    Is that true? Stellar credit and some skin will only get you a 30 yr. fixed @ 6.25% to 6.50%?

  189. skep-tic says:

    Summary from WSJ:

    The euro continues to notch all-time highs against the dollar Wednesday

    The dollar also fell to an all-time low against the Swiss franc

    Meanwhile, the Australian dollar rose to a 24-year high against the U.S. dollar

    the New Zealand dollar zoomed to its highest mark against the greenback since January 1982

    South American currencies also were outperforming Wednesday, with Brazil’s real and Colombia’s peso hitting their highest level since 1999

    The U.S. dollar dredged an eight-year low against the Phillipine peso, a decade low against the Malaysian ringgit, and a 33-month low against the New Taiwan dollar

  190. HEHEHE says:


    USO, GLD, DBA, TIP. If that nut wants to grease the slope of this country’s current slide down the sh*tter we might as well make money off of it.

    All disclaimers apply.

  191. x-underwriter says:

    Stu Says:
    I really hope the insurance companies pricing models do not work this way.

    I have an aunt in Upstate NY where the auto insurance cancelled her policy because she hadn’t had a claim in over 20 years. They told her straight out that she was a higher risk…go figure

  192. Clotpoll says:

    gary (191)-

    Yep. Unless the mtg. broker cuts you a break, you have ridiculous FICO (750+) and 20% DP. Then, maybe you get a tick below 6.25%.

  193. Ann says:

    177 skep-tic

    You have to control costs along with it. I also don’t think that universal health care necessarily has to be completely government run. I also believe in universal education, but not necessarily public-only.

    Back to controlling costs, that is something that the private health care companies aren’t doing a good job of right now anyway, as any business owner who buys insurance for his or her employees will tell you.

    I sometimes wonder how we haven’t had a complete refusal by businesses to buy, (or to at least manage the purchase of) health insurance for their employees anymore.

  194. Ann says:


    “The primary care provider should be advising patients on good and bad health behaviors but cover everyone equally and then focus on life style modification outside of the health care arena.”

    I agree.

    Ending our gov’t’s farm subsidies of corn, which is making our whole country fat, would be a good place to start.

  195. Confused In NJ says:

    You can solve a lot of Medical Cost Issues by rolling the rules back to 1980. Example, no Drug Cholesterol Treatment under T.C.= 300. No Blood Pressure Drug Treatment under (Age + 100 = O.K.). Those two items alone save Billions, and reduce side effects, without influencing mortality, negatively. Today’s Health News also stated Anti Depressants don’t work unless you are severely depressed. Lot’s of examples if one looks. Tell the Drug Companies to work on something real like a cure for MS or MD or some other real disease, not drugs for contrived sympthoms.

  196. Make Money says:

    HE (183)-

    “…the conditions are ripe for a sudden shift in herd psychology which could trigger a virtual stampede into inflationary hedges in the coming days and weeks…”

    Music to my ears.


    It’s not just anykind of music it’s Frank Sinatra. I’ve been sitting Gold and Silver since last year and Euro CD are looking to provide me with double digit returns(after Xchange). I agree make money or be left out in the cold.

    In 5 yrs you’ll see 2 million dollar POS and 25K to fill the refrigirator. Whatever you do, DO NOT SAVE US DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We should hang all politicians for TREASON.

  197. Clotpoll says:

    HE (193)-

    Don’t like mining/metals ETFs and broad sector plays. Too many mining companies improperly hedge away profits, and some actually engage in what is essentially naked shorting. No, thanks.

    TIP is for wusses, IMO. I don’t want inflation protection, I want to leach every last drop of blood I can from a situation in which our sovreignty is handed over to our enemies…bit by bit.

  198. Confused In NJ says:

    197.Ann Says:
    February 27th, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    “The primary care provider should be advising patients on good and bad health behaviors but cover everyone equally and then focus on life style modification outside of the health care arena.”

    I agree.

    Ending our gov’t’s farm subsidies of corn, which is making our whole country fat, would be a good place to start

    Big problem today is the Health Care Provider is one of the leading causes of death.

  199. Confused In NJ says:

    199.We should hang all politicians for TREASON.

    No make them take 80MG of Crestor till their organs melt.

  200. kettle1 says:


    regarding depression and blood pressure….

    depression can easily be treated with psychedelics for pennies. There is a large group of psychologists and psychiatrist that have been lobbying the governments of eruope and the US for years to be allowed to use them The have little to no long term side effects and are highly effective.
    a regular glass of redwine can be just as effective as a number of blood pressure medications.

  201. Mitchell says:

    #37 Sean – Yup we all live in New 3,000+ sq ft double wides in NC with granite counter tops. Sucks to be us.

    Face some facts the house buying business and flipping in NJ will be dead until maybe 2010/2011. Low balling like Grim states is an option but will the NJ market drop below lowball prices. I would just rent and wait it out if you must live in NJ. Right now there is no sign of improvement coming soon unless you work for the NAR then now is the time to buy buy buy because its never been a better time.

    You should also stop crying about how other states have their income to cost of living ratios in a more realistic world. But then you all make 250K in NJ and its your maids/housekeepers that explain the median home income in NJ being so much lower. If you make 250K thats awesome I commend you. Somehow I doubt the majority of people here do unless they are insomniacs.

    Judging from the way house prices are falling in NJ the Jersey market will self correct in a few years but what will the taxes be like? Will your taxes cost you more than your mortgage by then? Will water costs be just as high?

    The way I see it NJ is doomed. They raise the property taxes and soon because that wont solve the problems they will hit businesses which are taxed to death in NJ already. Businesses will just keep moving out of state or relocating the jobs as they open to maximize profits. They keep your homestead rebates soon. They will add tolls and the problems still wont go away because they are just putting the money back into their buddy’s pockets. They will lay off people from state jobs raising unemployment.

    When was the last time good news came out of Trenton about the cost of living?

    At the current rate if your going to be paying so much anyhow you might as well live and work in NY its probably cheaper and tax wise better.

    As for NJ Corzine will tell you get back to work you have taxes to pay and he needs a new car and wants a better retirement package and his friends need to pave some roads that really don’t need it so they can cash in too. Dance Puppet Dance and don’t forget to re-elect him so he can do it some more then start cutting into school budgets because they need state spending cuts but you don’t need tax reductions. Raise tolls again this week.

  202. Mike NJ says:


    The towns are next to each other and share a school system. The borough is closer to the train and located on both sides of 124 and the Township spans the wetlands southwest of the borough for a few miles. Generally the homes are newer and larger in the township and they have more land. Most of the township is actually closer to Berkley heights and New Providence than the center of Chatham borough. The borough prefers a Glock 9 to keep the malcontents from madison and new providence out of town while the township goes with the Beretta.

  203. Jill says:

    Ann #170: “everyone would have access to a primary care provider who would manage health issues like obesity, smoking etc.”

    As a healthy overweight person, I don’t trust doctors to be able to “manage” health issues such as obesity…not when the answer to everything is “lose weight.”

    I’ve been lucky in that my health is so good, and I do enough research, that I’ve been able to find doctors who recognize that sometimes good genes trumps conventional wisdom. My mom is 80, is a 20-year lung cancer survivor (which is unheard of) and is also obese. And still smoking. My dad is 82, obese, sedentary, in perfect health, and eats bar-type food in restaurants quite frequently. He’ll break 90 without breaking a sweat, I’m sure.

    The fact of the matter is that we really don’t know why obesity is a health risk for some people and not others. There IS, however, evidence that trans fats and HFCS are metabolized differently. There’s also evidence that stress is a contributor to obesity, because increased cortisol secretion that comes from stress settles through the middle. It’s no accident that Indian call center workers (a very high stress job) are showing the same tendency towards obesity and heart disease as American workers.

    But I don’t see anyone saying that we should get rid of the notion that the only way you show that you’re “valuable” to a company is to work 100 hours a week.

    If “eat less and move more” were the answer, there would be no fat people and Weight Watchers wouldn’t be populated by repeaters who lose and gain the same 20 pounds over and over again. I went on Cambridge Diet in the 1980’s (300 calories a day), went to aerobics classes five nights a week, and lost a grand total of 13 pounds in four months.

    Don’t tell ME it’s “calories in, calories out”, and don’t tell me it’s about eating donuts. I haven’t had a donut since 1987, and I haven’t had a twinkie since 1973.

    Hell, I put ground flaxseed in my nonfat yogurt!

  204. chicagofinance says:

    OT: can someone explain the Bergabe thing again?

  205. An actuary says:


    The answer to the pension question is that if the employees leave, they stop accruing benefits, so it leads to a cost reduction in the long run. Of course if you provide large subsidies as an incentive, then all the bets are off.

    I have not looked at the latest NJ pension numbers, but I am pretty sure that the fund will not run out of money in 7 years (Frank where did you get that from?). However, NJ is notorious for how underfunded the oeverall postrettirement liabilities are (including postretirement medical coverage). It is one of the worst states in the nation.

    I have not followed Corzine’s policies during his administration, but he alone cannot be blamed for the New Jersey’s outrageous situation (especially when it comes to retirement liabilities). It seems to me that he is trying to deal with the situation, and if that takes selling the turnpike or raising tolls and taxes and cutting some services then so I am in favor of that.

    We simply can’t afford continue spending money we don’t have

  206. Confused In NJ says:

    203. Kettle

    Red Wine & Olive Oil also raises your HDL (Good Cholesterol).

  207. Hehehe says:

    “chicagofinance Says:
    February 27th, 2008 at 3:27 pm
    OT: can someone explain the Bergabe thing again?”

    After the last rate cut Dennis Gartman was on Fast Money and said he is calling Bernanke “Bergabe” from now on because he’s inflating the money supply like that Mugabe nut in Zimbabwe.

  208. An actuary says:


    I can’t type or spell…

  209. Ann says:

    206 Jill

    Genes play a huge role in health and disease.

    As far as other factors, the only one that is correlated with disease, over and over, is smoking. Obesity has been in some, hasn’t in others. And I won’t even get started on studies on specific foods!

    My point about the PCPs and universal healthcare is that we don’t have to penalize or tax or otherwise punish people who may partake in behaviors that aren’t health-enhancing. Like now, those issues should stay between a doctor and patient.

  210. Ann says:

    I thought Whitman was the one who started borrowing or underfunding the pension funds?

  211. Sean says:

    re: (204) Mitchell I admire your admiration for the palmetto state, but I really don’t want to live in a 3,000+ sq ft anything with granite counter tops when I have to continually worry that the crank addicts will break in and steal all the copper wiring while I am away at work earing my so called 85%.

  212. pretorius says:

    “OT: can someone explain the Bergabe thing again?”

    Play on names of Zimbabwe president and Fed chairman. When Robert Mugabe became Zimbabwe president in 1980, 1 Zimbabwe dollar was worth more than 1 US dollar.

    Today 20,000,000 Zimbabwe dollars = 1 US dollar.

    So I think people are implying that Bernanke’s leadership will cause higher inflation.

    The comparison between Mugabe and Bernanke is ridiculous, but some people seem to get a kick out of it.

  213. Hehehe says:


    To each his own. TIPS aren’t exciting but in this environment they are a pretty safe investment and sure beats a CD.

  214. Hehehe says:


    It’s all relative.

  215. Al says:

    The borough prefers a Glock 9 to keep the malcontents from madison and new providence out of town while the township goes with the Beretta.

    There is nothing like few camouflaged patrols carrying M-16 or AK-47 with heavy eyes and unfriendly faces to ward-off malcontents :)
    Glock and Beretta might now do it.

  216. Mitchell says:

    #208 I beg to differ Corzine is to blame for a lot of it and the timing is worse because of the housing bubble collapsing.

    The first step to recovery in a bad financial situation is to CUT the unnecessary spending immediately, question the current spending, then work on the income situation and make a plan.

    Corzine is doing this in reverse. First he increased everything possible and continues to increase everything possible then tries to announce a 4.4% decrease in the spending. Now everyone is ticked off, over taxed, and third party items are hitting the fan (SubPrime, Housing Value Drop) on top of Corzines increases before a single spending cut has been made.

    Had he done the reverse and cut the fat initially then there would be 4 years less of fat being paid for by the tax payer.

  217. Mitchell says:

    #214 Then you should move to NC where like I posted yesterday your 5 cities had significantly higher crime rates than Charlotte.

    I hear if Corzine is able to tax Crack in NJ then the debt problem would be solved in a year.

  218. Al says:

    Another question- 1970’s stagflation period – how did salaries behaved during thouse times – this will be crucial question in the future few years.

    So far inflation did not cause wage increases – thanks to global workforce markets.

    Untill dollar collapses so much that US wages wil be closer to China and India’s wages in currency equivalent ( well it would mean about 300%-1000% inflation I think) – we will not see wages increases due to inflation in USA.

    And for thouse who will say america worker are worth more and more prodictive and more skillfull – Bull$hit.
    Thats why more than 70% of scientisis in this country are foreigners??

  219. jlx says:

    what’s the best cd/savings rate out there currently?

    ing is around 3.4%
    emigrant 3.6%

    anything better out there?

    where to put our down payment money while we ride out the storm in this market?

  220. Make Money says:

    where to put our down payment money while we ride out the storm in this market

    If still asking this question then my friend you haven’t benn paying attention now have you. PPI is 12% and you want to get 3.6?????????


    School him like you schooled me!!!

  221. Al says:

    Join the credt unions – they are non-profit. My credit union CD’a are at 4.75%. (Still below inflation after taxes). but beat the He11 out of my stocks/broad market index mutual fund.

    CD’s are FDIC insured the same as savings and checking. penalty on early withdrawal is something like last 30 days interest.

  222. kettle1 says:

    218 AL

    The AK is indeed a solid choice, but i would not recommend the M-16, good long range accuracy but to sensitive to jamming. try the XM-8, the next gen assault rifle the army has been playing with. i had a chance to play with it and it was impressive. The HK Bullpup is also a good choice.

  223. jlx says:

    ok, ready to be schooled…

  224. Rich In NNJ says:


    300 calories a day

    It’s an excellent way to gain weight. Your body goes into starvation mode.

    I don’t trust doctors to be able to “manage” health issues such as obesity…not when the answer to everything is “lose weight.”

    Well, the answer to obesity is to lose weight.
    But getting to the underlying issue of the obesity (depression, genetics, poor health choices or education, etc.) needs to be dealt with.

    My mom is 80, is a 20-year lung cancer survivor (which is unheard of) and is also obese. And still smoking. My dad is 82, obese, sedentary, in perfect health, and eats bar-type food in restaurants quite frequently.

    Perfect health? No joint issues? They can climb a set of stairs or walk long distances without getting overly winded?
    Lucky and healthy are two different things.

  225. Quandry says:

    $0.02 on health insurance.

    Make it a taxable benefit. If employers have to pay tax, they will offer cash. If every employee has cash, insurers will have compete for health care dollars. Competitive pricing and coverage plans would ensue.

  226. BC Bob says:

    Make [223],

    Please. You schooled yourself.

  227. Mike NJ says:

    Wamu pays 4% on my savings account right now. You only get it online when you open a checking and savings together. I moved all my cash over there after Emigrant Direct’s rate went down the tubes. Used to be ED always was above Wamu but Wamu has been higher all summer/fall/winter. When they reverse I will move the cash back to ED. That is the beauty of no limit internet accounts.

  228. jlx says:

    now after taxes, what are we really left with? 3%? 2.5%?

    what tax-free investments are good out there?

  229. BC Bob says:

    “The comparison between Mugabe and Bernanke is ridiculous, but some people seem to get a kick out of it.”


    Do you get a kick out of the fact that your dollar is rapidly losing purchasing power?

    The comparison may be ridiculous. However, if you have been long crude, grains, softs or metals since the fed has been on their damn the dollar campaign, you would be getting a kick out of your monthly statements.

    In early Sept it cost approx $650 to buy one oz of gold. Today it costs $960 to buy one oz. Many people are getting a kick out of this.

  230. John says:

    Big deal you can get a a closed ended NJ muni fund that pays 5.3% tax free or a short term NJ muni bond at 3.3 percent tax free. Or even a short term investment grade corporate for 5.3%, keeping your money in a 4% money market with 30 day paper will be a rate of nothing come April after the March 50bp rate cut.

  231. Clotpoll says:

    Mitchell (204)-

    First, it’s shilling for NC and your award-winning stable of websites.

    Now, it’s thumbing your nose at us.

    Please shut up.

  232. Clotpoll says:

    Jill (206)-

    Exactly. What we don’t seem to realize is that there are a lot of people and companies out there who have a vested interest in either making us sick…or keeping us sick.

  233. Clotpoll says:

    Confused (209)-

    “Red Wine & Olive Oil also raises your HDL (Good Cholesterol).”

    So do Bushmills and Knob Creek.

  234. chicagofinance says:

    A cohiba and a slug of Oban lowers my HDL dude!

  235. Clotpoll says:

    Mike (231)-

    What are you going to do when there’s a run on WaMu?

    Still my favorite for first bank to go bust.

  236. Clotpoll says:

    BC (233)-

    Pret is too busy traveling the world, bringing prestige and honor to himself and his company.

  237. Contractor Bill says:

    I find this property and it’s a FSBO. I like it, want to buy and have done my best to arrive at a value through comps, tax records, etc. The property is difficult to comp as the neighborhood is basically non-existent. Since the property has not been on the MLS determining what it’s really worth, aside from my own intrinsic value, is problematic as it has not really been exposed to true market conditions. What’s the best of trying to arrive at it’s true market value?

  238. SG says:

    Mitchell – Here is my take on Location debate. I think it depends on your personality.

    Aggressive Type A Personality
    => you should move to NYC, Boston, SFO, they are much better than NJ.

    Defensive, Conservative, 9 to 5 personality
    => NC, SC, Most of Midwest, Texas. You will be among similar kind of folks and will get better life style compared to NJ

    For those looking balance between Work and Life =>
    I feel areas such as Chicago, DC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Pheonix, Seattle, Portland etc… are much better options compared to NJ.

    The only reason to choose NJ, in my opinion is if you have family around here. NYC argument does not cut it as very small percentage of NJ residents work in NYC and also make big bucks. If you are making big bucks, why would you want to live in NJ!!!

  239. Clotpoll says:

    Go with your own gut value. You might be the only potential buyer.

  240. stu says:

    I just watched the Bergabe/Paul video.

    RP essentially says we have to back our money with gold and stop printing dollars. He cites the fact that oil, when adjusted for inflation has essentially stayed level and suggests we get back to backing dollars with gold to stop the money presses.

    How does Bergabe answer?

    Well if oil prices would flatten, then prices would come down.

    The manipulation of the sheeple has been maintained for another day.

  241. Essex says:

    #242…..NJ….why live here? Gee whiz. It’s not ‘that’ horrible…

  242. Clotpoll says:

    stu (244)-

    Thanks for the short story. I think I’d puke if I watched the video.

    “Well if oil prices would flatten, then prices would come down.”

    That’s priceless: a commodity…priced in a worthless, inflated currency…controlled by dictators and religious maniacs.

    Does that sound like a recipe for “flattening”?

    We are so f-ed.

  243. Doyle says:


    Some people on this board would be miserable in NJ, NC, CA, TX, (insert any state here). They could make the famous $250k, pay $0 in taxes, and be married to Petra Nemcova.

    Just plain miserable folk.

  244. NJKiwi says:

    AH, gotta love it. Arrived in NZ for a vac 2 weeks ago at 78c on the dollar and now it is over 82 at a 26 year high. Now when you add visas rip off 3% to purchases you have an insane exchange rate. Makes that Sav Blanc expensive even here…..
    As for healthcare costs, smokers and obese folks should pay less for health insurance not more! (see below).Kinda like the theory that we shouldn’t jump all over motorcyclists that don’t want to wear a helmet- it costs a lot more to have someone make it to the hospital with a head injury from wearing a helmet than cleaning up the pavement of someone that doesn’t.

    “Smokers, obese cost less to treat

    A new study throws cold water on the idea that preventing obesity and smoking saves money for health systems. Thin, healthy people live longer and their total care in adulthood costs more, says a study conducted by Dutch researchers and published in the journal Public Library of Science Medicine. Healthy people live an average of 84 years and their care costs about $417,000, while obese people live 80 years with care costing $371,000. Smokers averaged 77 years and $326,000.”

  245. Hehehe says:


    Can you arrange that?

  246. SG says:

    Essex: #242…..NJ….why live here? Gee whiz. It’s not ‘that’ horrible…

    The point is location to some extent defines our personality, similar to things like profession also defines our personality. Mitchell can argue all he wants about benefits of NC, but it is not going to be right place for everyone. I have been to NC more than I wanted to, and agree that for Type A personality, that place would be horrible.

    But I would agree with him to some extent. For someone who wants easy life, more house, less competition, and no family closeby NC is better place than NJ.

    But at the same time I will tell you that if you are workoholic and want to be at top of your game, there are better places then NJ.

    Also there is age factor. I would say closer you are to retirement, the better NC looks compared to NJ.

  247. Contractor Bill says:


    Are ya a fisherman? Went to NZ this time last year and had a hell-of-a-time fishing the lower Tungariro and Taupo-Tungariro. Some big browns and nice bows. Wonderful country.

  248. John says:

    “Ceaseless talk of a recession continues to dampen the mood of consumers in general, whether or not a recession actually occurs. For home buyers, we believe this drumbeat, coupled with concerns over mortgages, the direction of home prices, and foreclosures, has kept pent-up demand on the sidelines,” said Robert Toll, chairman and chief executive, in a statement.

    Mr. Toll should sue this site!!!

  249. Clotpoll says:

    Hey, Mr. Toll-

    That’s PANT-up demand!


    No way.

  250. grim says:

    From the AP:

    &P: Mortgage Bond Credit Worsens

    The delinquency rate for a wide range of home loans that provide the payments for mortgage bonds has spiked in the past year, Standard & Poor’s said Wednesday.

    In a report detailing credit quality, S&P said most pools of home loans that secure bonds have suffered from more people missing payments on their debt.

    These reports cover an investment called a residential mortgage-backed security, which funnels payments from bundles of home loans to investors.

    The more reliably the borrowers in these pools pay their bills, the safer and more valuable the bonds are.

    S&P examined how dependably people are repaying their debt for five types of loans: home-equity lines of credit, subprime loans, Alt-A loans, closed-end second-lien loans and prime jumbo loans.

    For nearly all these categories, delinquencies have accelerated in the past year.

    The delinquency rate was the worst for pooled subprime loans, or loans to people with bad credit. For pooled subprime loans issued in 2005, the delinquency rate is 34.4 percent, S&P said. Delinquencies have soared as much as 15 percent for some subprime loan pools.

    The only class of loan whose delinquency rate has moderated in the past year is home-equity line of credit loans issued last year. A home-equity line of credit is a credit line a bank offers borrowers using a house a collateral.

    For HELOC loans issued in 2005 and 2006, delinquencies are up 6 percent to 7 percent.

    Delinquencies on closed-end home-equity loans, which involve a fixed amount of cash lent as opposed to an open-ended line of credit, have jumped as much as 12 percent.

    In Alt-A, which are mortgage loans for which borrowers did not have to document their income, delinquencies have surged as much as 18.1 percent.

    Delinquencies on prime jumbo loans are up as much as 18.2 percent. Jumbo refers to home loans with good credit quality but that are too big to be eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

  251. stu says:

    Mr. Toll may be ReInvestor. At times, they sound eerily similar.

  252. NJKiwi says:

    252 Contractor Bill:
    Born and grew up here and fished, but not fly fishing. However I was just on my brothers farm asking him if he had taken up fly fishing at all and he mentioned that the river that runs through the big gorge at the bottom of his property is on the world fly fishing tour! (runs through the Karagahape Gorge near Waihi). Going to take some lessons for when I come back.
    Very nice weather here, off to take the kids to the beach

  253. stu says:

    Just received an email from E-Loan:

    Your Market Insight
    February 2008 Edition

    Take advantage of the latest Fed rate cut

    The Fed cut short-term interest rates again. Find out how you can take advantage of these changes in the market.

  254. Doyle says:



    Let me see what I can do.

  255. John says:

    Hey we should not use the 250K income anymore for us New Yorkers, that was 2007, we are now in 2008 so we are all making 300K now. Plus in ten months in 2009 we will all be at 350K a year. Isn’t NY great!!

  256. stu says:

    My Apple Bank for Savings is yielding 4%, down from 5.25%

    I am redoing 3 bathrooms in my 2-family. Guess which account the cash is going to come from?

    How is the lowering of Fed rates gonna solve the insolvency problems of the banks?

    First, they can’t lend money to individuals anymore because so few qualify for a loan and businesses don’t need cash since they are sitting on piles of it (special dividends and stock buybacks).

    Second, no one is going to save when the bank rates are way below inflation.

    Am I missing something?

    Is this a reverse Peter Pan? Robbing the poor to pay the rich!

  257. grim says:

    From Reuters:

    Wells Fargo: Over 200 markets face housing trouble

    Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N: Quote, Profile, Research), the second-largest U.S. provider of home loans, has identified more than 200 troubled housing markets nationwide, showing how the mortgage crisis has spread beyond a few select regions.

    In a Feb. 25 document sent to mortgage brokers, San Francisco-based Wells Fargo said it had identified “soft,” “distressed” or “severely distressed” housing markets in 24 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. Most of the markets are counties, while a handful are cities.

    Wells Fargo is tightening its lending standards in the affected markets on Feb 29, often by limiting the size of loans as a percentage of home values, regardless of borrowers’ ability to pay. In some markets, it will not allow purchasers to borrow more than 75 percent of the value of their homes.

    Its assessment reflects how the housing slump is no longer concentrated among just high-risk borrowers with subprime or below-prime “Alt-A” home loans, and in markets such as Arizona, California, Florida and the upper Midwest.

  258. jcer says:

    #221 Al, I actually disagree I think the American worker is more efficient and effective than the competition and your statement reinforces it. America as the wage leader, as a place with better infrastructure, and as a place with greater freedoms than a country whose name starts with a C attracts a lot of top talent. Additionally the US economic and work culture inherited from the Dutch and British is more effective than what is being done in other countries. The difference isn’t in the work force it is the work place. So in the inflationary scenario the overseas worker becomes a little more expensive, we become a little cheaper and ultimately the US becomes more competitive.

  259. dreamtheaterr says:

    #249, Clot,

    I highly doubt it. If Pret’s been travelling overseas as often as he claims, he’d be b1tching a bit more about how frickin expensive Europe (and Asia) is in US dollar terms.

    US$:Euro above 1.51…. psychologically, it’s gotta hurt. Maybe it’s time to switch from Johnie Walker to Jack Daniels?

  260. grim says:

    This isn’t the Wells list, but a declining markets list from Radian.

    Anyone care to map this?

  261. njpatient says:

    228 Qandry

    “Make it a taxable benefit. If employers have to pay tax, they will offer cash. If every employee has cash, insurers will have compete for health care dollars. Competitive pricing and coverage plans would ensue.”

    This fails to take into account bargaining power.

  262. Essex says:

    If you can’t be happy in the Garden State, you can’t be happy.

  263. njpatient says:

    “Additionally the US economic and work culture inherited from the Dutch and British is more effective than what is being done in other countries. ”

    Other than England and Holland, of course. Right?

  264. njpatient says:

    Last time I was in Amsterdam, I was looking around and saying to myself “d*amn if these aren’t some HARD working people!”

  265. njpatient says:

    “Anyone care to map this?”

    Not I, but I note that Brigadoon is on the list.

  266. Mitchell says:

    #235 Yawn. I like my websites. You don’t like free stuff thats fine. Its a hobby that forces me to learn. You have a website I see too thats cool.

    #242 I think your just about on the money.

    Here is my thoughts on the various areas.

    NC is the new Atlanta or as some call it South New York because of the banking industry HQ in Charlotte. BOA and Wachovia are not a bad things to have out of Charlotte. When you downtown every direction you look they are putting up a new office facility. Expect a lot more companies coming here that just haven’t announced it yet but the buildings are going up.

    While NC/SC is a bit more 9-5 than working 100 hour work weeks the reason for that is probably because you don’t have to work 100 hours to make ends meet. I have certainly found jobs there where I could be working excessive hours but then I found 85% of what I was making in the north which I found is the average however I landed a more laid back position because I can afford not to work 100 hours a week. No Work cell phone, blackberry, or on call for me and 85% of my pay with full medical, dental, etc. And every one of my bosses has been great should I want or need to take a day off. no grief. Why should there be? I had a boss even say if your best friend died take the day off a friend if like family and they understand. In NJ I had a dying grandmother and my manager at Pfizer told me I couldn’t take off at the last second I had to fight for it.

    I think NJ is more that you are forced to work a lot of hours and be aggressive or you will not survive in NJ because of how excessive the state costs are.

    OH – Some parts Bad some parts good. People leaving OH though to come to NC because I would guess there is more bad then good going on there and its a straight shoot down 77 to get to NC where there is more opportunities than OH right now but that doesn’t mean every part of the state is bad. NJ is a tiny state. When we talk NJ we talk North and South. With some states they also have East, West, and a Mid because of size. Not all parts of OH are bad. OH also has surrounding cities in neighboring states too. Maybe they are the PA of NJ/NY.

    Chicago is going downhill – Bad climate – overtaxed – prices dropping bad. They are looking at the 2011 for a comeback.

    DC – I never saw the attraction the traffic is the worst I have ever seen. That to me is a great place to make a lot of money if you can find a way of living cheap maybe a ways away in VA but the commute is monstrous. If your young live downtown.

    Philadelphia is a cool city but live in PA to save on the taxes.

    Atlanta is a mess your job depends on what side of the highway you live on. Dont expect to ever get to the other side. A first is that I chose NJ over Atlanta. I think Atlanta is maxed out. Lucent flew me there tons of times.

    Pheonix – Ghost town but for a while it was a great income to cost of living place to be. I don’t follow Phoenix but for the people I know that lived there yes it would be better than NJ but thats a big move unless your a car load.

    Seattle – Never been there but strangely enough I got calls to move there for jobs but in the last 6 months I haven’t so I cant judge.

    Portland – I hear this place is awesome. Un tapped but I think jobs are scarce. This might be a place I think if you get a job there you might as well stay with that company.

    I stress NC/SC and Parts of OH why. Well there are within a half days driving distance to NJ should you be leaving family behind and still either can visit. The cost of living is so much more in line with reality here. There are plenty of jobs. You could put down 50K on a 500K home in NJ or you could pay off 25%-33% of the same exact home or better in NC and make nearly as much coin. Your still close enough to visit family back in NJ.

    Even if we get hit with the house value decline which we didn’t in 2007 but could in 2008 heck even losing 20% of 320K home hurts a lot less than losing 20% of 500K. Chances are we might see a decline in NC/Charlotte but since we really didn’t have a bubble thats hard to say. Still lots of people moving this way from 3 different states and people don’t seem to be angry enough to follow me 10 exits giving me the finger if I cut someone off.

    After yesterdays rant I asked my wife at dinner if there was anything she missed about NJ and she too said Nothing after living there since 88 (17 years). No regrets. I dont come home to an angry wife and I dont come home blaming her for the house she wanted. Not saying anyone else will be the same but we rolled the equity nicely into NC where it went twice as far and reversed our financial position. As I have stated before I can actually save money if I were on unemployment. How long would someone last in NJ on unemployment? In a recession anything is possible. I would have 6 months to figure out a solution and I can say I would go to school during that time. How many others can say they can afford to go to school at be unemployed at the same time.

    Live within your means but by all account LIVE. Dont Live to Work.

  267. stu says:

    Not to sound unpatriotic, but my experience with my workers in India vs. my teams in the U.S. is that their work ethic and job-related education is better. Their willingness to do whatever it is that is asked of them is unparalleled to anything I have ever witnessed.

    They have cultural differences that must be considered during training and execution. But then again, so does every culture.

    I do understand that this is a very small sample, so consider it anecdotal if you desire.

  268. BC Bob says:

    dream [265],


  269. grim says:

    Not I, but I note that Brigadoon is on the list.

    So it is…

  270. njpatient says:


  271. lisoosh says:

    You know the dollar is really bad when your stash of shekels starts looking really good….

  272. Essex says:

    Mitchell….your insights are stirring…and your study that included your wife….eye opening. You should really write a book. Riveting.

  273. njpatient says:

    essex, you have the best knife-twisting skills in the room.

  274. pretorius says:

    Hoboken (07030), Weehawken (07086), and waterfront Jersey City (07310) aren’t on the list.

    But Short Hills (07078) is on there.

    More evidence that home prices in the NJ suburbs are on the decline at same time home prices in NJ areas closest to Manhattan continue to hold up. This matches what I’ve been observing.

    Some people say that home price declines are moving inwards and it is only a matter of time until Hudson waterfront neighborhoods experience a crash. But where is the evidence?

  275. Clotpoll says:

    sx (279)-


    I wish someone would drive a rivet into each of his hands.

  276. grim says:

    Evidence of home price declines moving inwards toward NYC?

    You just provided it, 07078.

  277. Clotpoll says:

    pret (281)-

    “More evidence that home prices in the NJ suburbs are on the decline at same time home prices in NJ areas closest to Manhattan continue to hold up. This matches what I’ve been observing.”

    Brilliant. Confirm your own bias with a redline list prepared by a lender who’s already been completely undressed by making thousands of 2nd mortgages and HELOCs on properties that had no equity upon which to base the loans.

    Do you make statements like #281 to your bosses and co-workers? If you said something like that in my humble little office, one of my agents would throw a stapler at you.

  278. Bloodbath in Winter 2007 says:

    Just starting to read the thread now … but a virtual high-five goes out to Clot for his great call of gold.

    Yet another good call.

    What else you got?

  279. pretorius says:


    Flimsy evidence at best – 07078 is 25 miles from Manhattan.

  280. lisoosh says:

    283 Bingo

  281. pretorius says:


    I understand that you’re sticking with your forecast of “rot beginning on the outside and working its way in.” Please advise when we should expect 2004 prices to arrive in Hoboken, Weehawken, and downtown Jersey City.

    By the way, why do you advocate violence so frequently?

  282. Rich In NNJ says:

    It’s slap-stick violence.
    It’s funny.
    Besides, he’s wearing a hat…

  283. Mitchell says:

    #279 Math good – Vocabulary bad.

    The decisions we made were for our family not just myself.

    Reading my own comments back I realized something else. I had dinner with my wife after work. I used to leave so early in the morning and get home to listen to the wife tell me what the kids did that day because they were already in bed. At times the wife was already in bed. Weekends I would be working at home but still wasn’t living. It was like working and reading a book about a family and I wasn’t in that book experiencing all this. I realized when I did the numbers that this would never change and judging from how much I had to fight to get time off for a dying grandmother that I could forget ever seeing my kids graduate or play soccer. Who wants to live like that? Yes I made great money but I had no family life. My wife didn’t like having a husband she never saw. If I had stayed I would be divorced. I took a serious look at this guy Mike in our department. Living on cigarettes, stressed, overworked, and wife just filed for divorce. Not like the guy didn’t have a nice home but everything the poor guy was working for? Wife? Kids? With the hours he was working its not like he could have daycare and his current job either? I felt for the guy but I felt I would end up like him if I continue this way. It’s not life.

    I came up with a plan that I didn’t want to live this way and got real aggressive for a while banking everything possible hoping to get far enough ahead that I could find a more local job but every time I made more they took more and that dream just kept moving further back. It would cost me an additional 100k in mortgage to move closer to work for a house in worse condition. Local jobs in NJ never showed because they really didn’t exist and if they did the pay was horrible. It seemed I would never get far enough ahead. I planned an extra payment would bring me to a 17 year mortgage but then I have 2 cars, colleges, weddings to work out. I want the best for my kids and I want to do it without struggling and by planning ahead. Something my parents didn’t do. So when I heard our house was worth what? I realized the money I wasn’t able to bank was in my house. Not the case for a lot of people today except maybe renters saving up that down payment or those who bought their homes 7+ years ago kind of like me. We took the money and ran to a place that had been calling me for years about jobs. Want to move to Raleigh? Want to move to Charlotte? Ran the numbers, checked, flew down for a weekend and we were was sold. House was on the market.

    I’m not really trying to bash NJ but try to make other people out there aware there is more to life than a high paying job only to pay high everything and have little to nothing for it in the end. I know I made more money than most people. I wasn’t 200K but I was pretty close that final year in NJ. But I had no life.

    Now I work less, get sleep, no stress, etc and I have more money at the end of the year. Go figure.

    Best of luck to everyone.

  284. njpatient says:

    286 pretorius

    So, would you define all of the following as being “not close to NYC”?

    Cedar Grove?
    Essex Fells?
    Glen Ridge?
    Short Hills?
    East Orange?
    The Other Oranges?
    Port Reading?
    Roselle Park?
    Linden? (Linden is exactly four miles from NYC).

  285. njpatient says:

    (yes – those are all on the Radian list)

  286. njpatient says:

    “pretorius Says:
    February 27th, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Flimsy evidence at best – 07078 is 25 miles from Manhattan.”

    Just for future refernce, Pretorius, define “close to NYC”.

    That way we won’t have any further moving of the goalposts.

  287. pretorius says:


    Thank you for putting some effort into your comeback post.

    Linden might be 4 miles from the Staten Island landfill, but I clearly stated Manhattan, not New York City.

    Fair enough to ask me to clarify “NJ areas closet to Manhattan.” The area I have in mind is Hoboken, Weehawken, and downtown Jersey City.

  288. BC Bob says:


    Correct me if I’m wrong, I have been subterranean lately. Haven’t you provided a list of commuter towns, serviced by NJ Transit? Doesn’t this area house high income, highly educated individuals? I don’t get it.

    That’s enough for now, back to duties below.

  289. njpatient says:


    “Fair enough to ask me to clarify “NJ areas close to Manhattan.” The area I have in mind is Hoboken, Weehawken, and downtown Jersey City.”

    Seriously? You’re losing the argument so badly that now the only places in NJ that qualify as “close to Manhattan” are Hoboken, Weehawken and Jersey City?

    So next time one of these lists comes out and, say, Cliffside Park is on the list, you’ll still maintain that everything “close to Manhattan” is just fine?

    Hillside is exactly 12.5 miles from the Holland Tunnel. That’s not “close to Manhattan”?

  290. njpatient says:

    “Haven’t you provided a list of commuter towns, serviced by NJ Transit? Doesn’t this area house high income, highly educated individuals? ”

    They may be NJ Transit towns filled with high net worth NYC commuters, but they’re not “close to Manhattan” in the sense of not being Weehawken, Hobroken or JC. Now do you understand?

  291. Bloodbath in Winter 2007 says:

    Pre – Sorry, I can’t take anything you say seriously today. Still hung up on your howler that two central jersey towns have been nightlife than anywhere in North Carolina.

    Sometimes, you say stuff that rings true (when you provide links), but that’s preposterous.

    A female I used to work with bought in Weehawken and loves it. She went to cash out and sell last month and her realtor told her that she “missed the boat” and it wasn’t worth selling now, she should hold onto it unless she absolutely, positive must move.

    She enjoys her place, but does somewhat lament the fact that it is … Weehawken. I just passed the 5-year marking living in NYC/Brooklyn, and if you’re not in Manhattan, you’re in a bedroom community.

  292. njpatient says:

    grim – help! can’t see any of my comments!

  293. njpatient says:

    oh – there they are – grim, can you unmoderate the middle one (the others are repeats)?

  294. njpatient says:


    Hillside is exactly 12.5 miles from Manhattan. That’s “not close to Manhattan”?

    I’m just trying to understand how narrowly you need to define your argument in order not to lose it.

  295. PGC says:

    #231 Mike NJ

    Just watch out. If WaMu becomes roadkill, you may be chasing FDIC for that balance.

  296. BC Bob says:

    “Fair enough to ask me to clarify “NJ areas closet to Manhattan.” The area I have in mind is Hoboken, Weehawken, and downtown Jersey City.”

    Proximity? Forget downtown JC or living above/beside the Lincoln Tunnel. Why not park your ass in a Pinnacle, docked in Newport Marina?

  297. PGC says:


    No Hudson Co and no Bergan Co. but everywere else.

    I would not clasify places like Bayone as a a safe place from a soft market.

  298. jcer says:

    Stu, I have dealt extensively with people in india, for 6 months I was managing a few members of my team there. Good people are impossible to find, if you can get an IIT grad or something of the like they will be very intelligent but it will cost you 20k, they are very eager to work, but they look for very explicit instruction, and training is expensive difficult and typically they jump ship every 6 months. Most candidates have substandard skills but a masters degree in acronym, technology name speak. I also think there are books published in india on how to interview because I feel like when asked a question all of the candidates robot the same textbook response without understanding what they are saying. We gave up on it, fresh grads work hard learn faster and are cheap initially.

    Stu, just out of curiosity what is your background are you an engineer or just a technology manager, because it takes a trained eye to determine the quality of code and how difficult the design will be to extend and maintain over the years.

  299. Clotpoll says:

    pret (288)-

    “…why do you advocate violence so frequently?”

    My own special brand of humor. Why do you bury your head in the sand?

    If you want me to take a stab at when the rot gets to the core, I’ll say Summer, 2009.

  300. Clotpoll says:

    Rich (289)-

    I guess Pret isn’t a Three Stooges fan. The ultimate auteurs of film violence.

  301. Clotpoll says:

    Bath (285)-

    “What else you got?”

    What else do you need?

    Sorry, my helmet-flashlight dimmed, and I missed your post earlier. Back into the shaft I go.

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