Still no sign of a bottom

From the AP:

Bottom of real estate slump? What’s that?

Hoped-for end to tumbling housing market appears pushed back by the latest sales data

Homeowners and investors hunting for any indication that the housing market has bottomed out did not get it Tuesday, as the latest home sales data from a real estate trade group moved that sign further down the road to recovery.

With house prices falling and credit continuing to tighten, many economists say the housing market is likely to worsen in the coming months, though some remain hopeful about a recovery in the second half of the year.

“The question was whether things were starting to stabilize,” said Global Insight economist Patrick Newport. “Apparently they’re not.”

Newport predicts home sales will fall by another 5 percent to 10 percent before picking up at the end of the year, while the Realtors group forecasts sales will remain flat in the first half of the year before rebounding strongly in the second half.

Moody’s forecasts sales of existing homes will fall 1.6 percent in March to an annual rate of 4.95 million units, down from 5.03 million units in February. That month’s 2.9 percent increase in home sales was the first increase since last July.

“Despite recent steps to provide more liquidity to the mortgage market and ease financing constraints for potential buyers, access to credit remains restricted, especially for marginal buyers,” Aaron Smith, senior economist at, wrote. If job losses prove worse than expected as the economy slows, “the floor forming under home sales could begin to cave in.”

Some analysts say lower home prices are luring bottom-fishers to look for cheap deals, but that activity is not a guaranteed industry booster.

“We’ll have to see if these pending transactions can actually close,” Mike Larson, a real estate analyst with Jupiter-based Weiss Research said in an e-mail. “My concern is that stingier lending standards are leading to more deals falling apart.”

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288 Responses to Still no sign of a bottom

  1. grim says:

    From the WSJ:

    Fed Minutes Reflect Worries About Downturn
    April 9, 2008

    Many Federal Reserve officials think the economy is likely to contract in the first half, and some worry that the downturn could be worse than expected, according to minutes of the central bank’s latest meeting.

    The minutes of the March 18 meeting, which occurred days after the Fed staged the rescue of Bear Stearns Cos., show some Fed policy makers felt falling home prices and financial-market turmoil “could lead to a more severe and protracted downturn in activity than currently anticipated.” The minutes were released Tuesday with the usual three-week lag.

    Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, in testimony before Congress last week, said the economy could slip into recession in the first half. Minutes show that downbeat view was broadly held. Officials discussed evidence of one of their greatest concerns: an “adverse feedback loop” in which restricted credit availability worsens the economic outlook and then tightens credit conditions further.

    “Several participants noted that the problems of declining asset values, credit losses, and strained financial-market conditions could be quite persistent, restraining credit availability and thus economic activity for a time and having the potential subsequently to delay and damp economic recovery,” the minutes said.

  2. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Volcker Stands Tall, Greenspan Keeps Shrinking: Caroline Baum

    Former Federal Reserve Chairmen Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan present an interesting study in contrasts.

    Volcker is tall; Greenspan isn’t. Volcker is a man of few words; Greenspan won’t shut up. Volcker retired as Fed chair and avoided the limelight; Greenspan is doing everything possible to make sure the light shines on him.

    The problem for Greenspan is that the spotlight on him is also illuminating detritus on the economy’s shoreline now that the tide of easy money has gone out. (Wait, easy money is back!) Greenspan’s curriculum vitae includes two asset bubbles (one in Internet and technology stocks in the late 1990s, another in residential real estate), a pair of banking crises, a boatload of fraudulent lending he chose to ignore, and a household savings rate of zero.

    What really separates the two men, however, is the legacy issue. Volcker is content to let his record speak for itself: He inherited inflation of almost 15 percent and bequeathed a rate of 4 percent to posterity. It took two recessions to get there, but he did the heavy lifting on inflation.

    Greenspan is desperate to deflect the blame for a credit crisis he called “the most wrenching” in 50 years. He can write his autobiography, which he did last year, but he can’t write his epitaph. We, the public, will do that.

  3. grim says:

    From the WSJ:

    Affordable-Housing Group Blasts Ratings
    April 9, 2008

    An affordable-housing group has called for the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether U.S. credit-rating firms knowingly issued false and misleading ratings on mortgage-backed securities.

    Fitch Inc., Moody’s Investors Service Inc., a unit of Moody’s Corp., and Standard & Poor’s, a division of McGraw-Hill Cos., are named in a letter to the SEC by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

    NCRC President and Chief Executive John Taylor said Tuesday that inflated credit ratings have devastated families who have lost their homes to foreclosure. Mr. Taylor blamed conflicts of interest in the ratings business, noting that rating firms are paid by the companies whose securities are being rated.

    The Washington-based housing group urged the SEC to examine whether rating firms were “unduly influenced” by securities issuers or underwriters to give inflated ratings to residential mortgage-backed securities. It also called for SEC scrutiny into whether rating firms strayed from their usual standards or defrauded investors, for instance, by failing to consider factors such as mortgage fraud, declining underwriting standards and new loan products for riskier “subprime” borrowers.

  4. grim says:

    From the AP:

    NJ loses 72,500 residents in a single year, still likely to retain 13 House seats

    A new study shows New Jersey is likely to keep its 13 seats in the House of Representatives even though the Garden State is losing residents.

    The analysis by Ernest Reock Jr. of Rutgers University concludes that New Jersey will hang on to its current level of representation, but barely, when the congressional map is redrawn after the 2010 census.

    Reock concluded the population loss won’t be enough to change the representation.

    The Garden State lost 72,500 residents in 2006.

    However, the geography of the state’s 13 congressional districts and 40 legislative districts is likely to change.

    Congressional districts in central and south Jersey are likely to shrink, he says, and north Jersey could lose a state legislative district to another region.

  5. grim says:

    From the WSJ:

    Retailers’ Struggles Mean
    Lean Times at the Mall
    Shopping Centers Take Hit
    As Economy Socks Stores;
    Cutting Prices (On Rent)
    April 9, 2008

    Weak consumer spending is pushing struggling retailers close to or over the edge, and that is starting to hurt shopping-mall owners.

    The latest retail casualty is Linens ‘n Things Inc., a 500-store home-accessory chain, which is considering filing for bankruptcy-court protection as soon as this week. The chain, which went private in a leveraged buyout two years ago, is running short of cash, and its vendors have stopped shipping products, said two people familiar with the company.

    For shopping-mall owners, it is a rude awakening from the boom times of the past few years, when consumers borrowed to furnish new homes. While vacancies should remain low, the slowdown means weaker rent growth for all mall owners and serious pain for the most heavily indebted landlords.

    The list of weak retailers is growing by the day, including furniture seller Domain Inc., high-end jeweler Fortunoff Inc. and electronics merchant Sharper Image Corp., all of which have sought bankruptcy protection since January.

    Mall mainstay Foot Locker Inc. closed 274 stores last year and anticipates 140 more closures this year. Jeweler Zale Corp. is closing 100 stores in the wake of disastrous holiday sales. Wilsons the Leather Experts Inc. is closing 158 of its 260 mall stores this year, and teen retailer Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. is closing its 153-store Demo chain.

  6. grim says:

    From Newsday:

    Nassau tax assessor challenges levy on his condo

    Nassau Assessor Harvey Levinson, who vigorously defends the accuracy of the countywide property tax assessment system he oversees, has challenged the assessment on his own Garden City condominium.

    In a handwritten grievance signed by him and his wife, Levinson is asking the county’s Assessment Review Commission to reduce the value of his fourth-floor apartment in the exclusive Wyndham West complex.

    Levinson has requested the $502,080 value set by his office for his two-bedroom unit be reduced to $300,770 – while other two-bedroom Wyndham apartments are currently for sale at prices ranging from $849,000 to more than $1.2 million, according to the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island.

    If approved for the full amount, the reduction is estimated by the county to remove $1,700 from Levinson’s $13,000 tax bill for 2009-2010, excluding village taxes.

  7. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Mortgage applications rose 5.4% last week: MBA

    Mortgage application filings rose a seasonally adjusted 5.4% last week compared with the last week of March, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported on Wednesday.
    Interest rates charged on fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages increased across the board.

    Applications for the week ended April 4 were up 10.9% compared with the same week a year ago.

    Both applications for mortgages to purchase homes and to refinance existing mortgages rose on a week-to-week basis, according to the Washington-based MBA’s weekly survey.
    Refinancing filings rose 3.4%, while home purchase applications increased a seasonally adjusted 8.1%.

    The number of applications for Federal Housing Administration-backed loans also went up last week. The seasonally adjusted government index, which includes mostly FHA loans and covers both purchase mortgages and refinancings, increased 12.9%, the MBA’s data showed.

  8. Noah says:

    Can anyone chart the Realtor Association pricing forecast vs. Moody’s forecast along with actual? Everything I’ve seen shows Realtors have consistently projected “even” then “increasing” for the last two years.

  9. grim says:

    This one is very interesting, there is a very real impact when it comes to being a ‘flood’ home. Not only must the owner bear the higher cost of insurance, but the property will also carry the stigma of being in flood (whether or not it really is the case).

    I think this will be a trememdous blow to homeowners that have recently purchased “non flood” homes, only to find themselves in the newly designated flood zone. Not only will their cost of living see an unexpected increase, their property values will likely fall as well.

    From the AP:

    Homeowners upset FEMA expands flood zone in Monmouth County

    Federal Emergency Management Administration officials have unleashed a torrent of complaints over new flood-zone maps in Monmouth County’s Bayshore region.

    The proposed maps show nearly 4,400 more homes at risk in Keansburg, Middletown, Hazlet and Union Beach.

    FEMA officials say more precise flood measurement technology is available and man-made buffers that provided protection have deteriorated.

    FEMA executives advised residents to purchase insurance before the maps become permanent in roughly a year to be “grandfathered” in at lower premiums.

  10. grim says:


    In December of 2006, the NAR forecast 2007 sales to come in at 6.40 million, and Q4 07 sales to be 4.6% higher than Q4 06.

    Existing-Home Sales In 2007 Expected To Recover From Cyclical Low

    The actual number was 5.65 million and was almost 12% too high, they were off by a mere 750,000 sales. Q4 sales did not see a 4.6% improvement, in fact, it was the worst performing quarter of the year.

    The National Association of Realtors is a member supported industry trade group whose job it is to promote Realtors and keep the cash flowing, they do not represent the public in any fashion.

    Their forecasts are *always* upbeat and positive, their dues paying membership demands it.

  11. thatBIGwindow says:

    How many times have you heard this on the radio:
    “It is always a great time to buy, every market is different. Contact a Realtor today!”

  12. grim says:

    NAR press releases are a joke, the fact that the Realtors have any credibility left is amazing..

    Gradual Rise Projected for Home Sales

    WASHINGTON, January 10, 2007 – After bottoming in the fourth quarter of 2006, existing-home sales are forecast to gradually rise through 2007 and into 2008, while new-home sales should turnaround by summer, according to the latest forecast by the National Association of Realtors.

    Not even close, home sales deteriorated almost every month following that forecast. There were minor upticks in July and February, but the trend was overwhelmingly downwards. There was nothing even close to resembling a “bottom” in the fourth quarter of 2006.

  13. Randy says:

    indeed the fundamentals support a bottoming out and pant up demand flowing in from the sidelines later this year. housing will soar in the second half! (that’s just 2 months away)


  14. Orion says:

    Re: #7 Mortgage applications increase

    In contrast with the low pending home sales figure released on Tuesday, doesn’t the increase in home purchase applications imply an increase in sales for March?

  15. Cindy says:

    (9) Grim
    I have a bit of a “flood” story to share.

    While still living in Silverton, Oregon on Silver Street across from Silver Creek the “creek” decided one year back in the 90’s to turn into a raging river and cut across my front lawn (going from point A to point B and cutting off the bend in the “creek.”)

    My home was up high so no damage there but the basement was flooded. Since I had a mortgage and lived in this 100-year flood plain I had flood insurance. (Most around me did not – older neighborhood – they owned their property outright.) FEMA came in and gave them all FREE money! I, on the other hand – one of the few with flood insurance, had to go through a review and much of the damage was not covered! Example – 1/2 inch cracks in the wall – not covered – needed to be one inch to qualify. Yeah, they covered the water heater – which was floating on four feet of water. (The sump pump was inadequate – it just couldn’t keep up.) They entire basement was filled with water. The most devastating loss…the Christmas decorations my children had made over the years.

    FEMA was happy to give me a 3% loan for $6,000. pd. at $35.00 a month through the Small Business Administration. I still pay on that loan today to remind me that maybe flood insurance isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Obviously, had I been wiped out – the insurance would have been valuable but there are restrictions…

    In hind sight, I should not have evacuated when I was told to do so. Instead of being in a hurry to get out, I should have “sand bagged” the windows to the basement etc. Just a flood story…live and learn.

  16. John says:

    UBS accounting…

    There are two sides of the balance sheet – the left side and the right side.

    On the left side, there is nothing right, and on the right side, there is nothing left!

  17. grim says:

    In contrast with the low pending home sales figure released on Tuesday, doesn’t the increase in home purchase applications imply an increase in sales for March?

    Not really, applications have entirely disconnected from sales. Realize that we’re talking about applications submitted here, not accepted. As lenders fail, more applications are submitted to the larger survivors (the ones who are surveyed), thus the surviors report higher applications. Likewise, with tighter credit, applicants are submitting more applications in an attempt to gain approvals. Lastly, rate spreads seem to vary across lenders pretty dramatically, so some portion of this is probably brokers “shopping”.

    I shouldn’t even post the MBA numbers anymore, they don’t tell us much of anything.

    However, I know that if I don’t, someone will come here ranting and raving that I’m trying to hide information, so I post it.

    MBA numbers are probably best ignored until such point that they begin to correlate with sales again.

  18. John says:

    Who cares about a bottom. As long as firms are distressed vulture/venture/private equity will have some good feasting. Plus the playas of banking like Chase can scoop up NCC, Suntrust etc. for pennies on a dollar. The game has changed, people are making tons of money on one side and people are losing money on the other side. Articles about subprime mortgage brokers seeking jobs as subprime mortgage brokers are rampant but in reality they are like laid off typewriter repairman in the 1970’s the game is over they need to find new skills and switch industries.

  19. Sean says:

    re: (5)

    Grim in the same paper today there was another article about Apollo Mgmt the owners of Linen n Things. They are filing for an IPO to raise 480 million in cash and want to buy up as much junk debt as possible.

    Private-Equity Firm
    Files $418 Million Issue;
    Wealth for Three Owners
    April 9, 2008; Page C1

    Private-equity firm Apollo Management LP pushed to join the ranks of publicly traded investing shops Tuesday, filing for an initial public offering of stock valued at about $418 million. (Read the filing.)

    The move should unlock billions of personal wealth for Apollo’s three main owners — Leon Black, Josh Harris, and Marc Rowan — who founded the firm 18 years ago out of the wreckage of the Drexel Burham Lambert brokerage house.
    [Leon Black]

    The latest move nonetheless comes at an awkward time for their breed of money-management firms. Private-equity shops like Apollo were able to feast on easily available debt to fund a spate of huge corporate buyouts over the past three years. But many of those deals are already in trouble, such as Apollo’s own $1.3 billion purchase of retailer Linens ‘n Things and an ill-fated $6.65 billion purchase of real-estate firm Realogy Corp.

    Such stories have made public investors skittish about buying into private-equity firms. The shares of Blackstone Group LP and Fortress Investment Group LLC are down substantially from their public offerings last year. Blackstone, for instance, trades at about 60% of its $31 offering price last summer. Apollo had already broadcast its intentions to list publicly, having traded on a private Goldman Sachs Group Inc. exchange since last summer. Those shares are down more than 40%.

    The success of Apollo’s share offering will be closely watched by other buyout firms such as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., which filed for an IPO last July but was stopped in its tracks when the credit markets seized up.

    In its 406-page securities filing, Apollo shrugged off worries about an economic downturn and its inability to do traditional limited buyouts, instead embracing the period as a time of opportunity. “Investors should understand that we may significantly increase the pace of investment when the ‘prevailing wisdom’ is to sell and may decrease the pace of investment or sell large portions of our funds’ portfolios when the ‘prevailing wisdom’ is to buy,” the filing states.

    The partners at Apollo make a base cash salary of $100,000 a year, but have a windfall as part of the reorganization of the firm in July in preparation for capital-raising. Although individual compensation is not yet broken out, Apollo’s partners will get stock and restricted stock units valued at a total of $986 million. The firm’s restricted-stock units have long vesting periods of six years, which is about twice the normal length of such units on Wall Street.

    Last year the company posted revenue of $637 million, with $294 million of that figure from the firm’s share of investment gains. The remainder came from management, transaction and advisory fees. Economic net income, a measure of profitability that excludes income taxes and other noncash charges related to compensation, fell by 59% from 2006 to $153 million. By comparison, Blackstone’s revenue was $3.1 billion, with economic net income of $2.1 billion.

    Since 1990, Apollo’s funds have generated a 29% net internal rate of return, after fees, from their inception through Dec. 31, 2007. That compares with a 9% return for the Standard & Poor’s 500-Stock Index. That performance has proved a windfall for Mr. Black, a 56-year-old who is at the heart of Apollo’s culture and investment decisions. Mr. Black made his name at Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc., where he helped the investment-banking firm popularize the use of junk bonds, the high-risk, high-return securities that fueled the 1980s leveraged-buyout boom. After Drexel fell apart in the wake of insider-trading charges that left Mr. Black unscathed, he founded Apollo.

    Publicity-averse and a sometimes halting public speaker, Mr. Black has navigated through the intertwined worlds of New York finance and elite society.

    Underneath this social advancement is economic competition with a handful of leading private-investment funds, such as Blackstone Group, KKR, TPG (the former Texas Pacific Group) and Bain Capital Partners LLC. On that score, the filing shows how Apollo, once dismissed by rivals as a lower-tier bond-investing shop, has grown up.

    Apollo now calls leveraged buyouts “the cornerstone” of its investment business, accounting for roughly three-quarters of its $40 billion in assets. It also has $10 billion of what it calls “capital markets” investments, which include a roughly $5 billion mezzanine fund.

    By comparison, KKR had $53.4 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2007, before it filed for an IPO. Blackstone had $78.7 billion in assets under management before the IPO.

    Not included in the Apollo IPO is Apollo Real Estate Advisors, a large property investor founded in 1993 by William Mack, a well-known real-estate executive, and Apollo. The filling says Mr. Black and his co-founders have a minority stake in the real-estate affiliate, but have no managerial control.

    Mr. Black, unable to get funding for large LBOs, recently told investors that he is using funds to buy up distressed-debt securities, an effective return to his roots.

    Apollo is expected to take a lead role in a deal to buy about $12 billion of leveraged loans and bonds from Citigroup Inc.

    “We are doing exactly what you would expect of us in this market — using our distressed expertise and appetite for complexity to find investments in good companies that are available at significantly discounted levels,” Mr. Black wrote in a letter to investors last month, explaining that Apollo was investing $1 billion in distressed securities.

    In its filing, Apollo unapologetically explains that its corporate governance will be less democratic than a typical public company, with its three managing partners — Messrs. Black, Harris and Rowan — maintaining extraordinary management powers.

    The firm plans to get a “controlled company” exception from the New York Stock Exchange, which would eliminate the requirement that it have a majority of independent directors on its board. The board will have “limited powers,” the filing says; indeed, Mr. Black will have the right to veto the designation of any director to the board. As part of this exception, Apollo, like Blackstone, also won’t have a compensation committee. “Our managing partners have historically made all final determinations regarding executive officer compensation,” it says.

    Apollo didn’t disclose its underwriters.

    I gather these former

  20. grim says:


    Here is an older Reuters article that sums the issue up pretty well. The disconnect became clear about midway through 2007.

    From Reuters:

    Subprime stress seen skewing home loan data

    Tighter lending standards in the aftermath of rampant defaults on subprime mortgages are hurting more than would-be home buyers.

    It looks as though these tougher measures have weakened the value of one of Wall Street’s favorite measures of the U.S. housing market.

    With loans harder to come by, analysts say prospective borrowers are taking a shot-gun approach to getting a mortgage — blasting out multiple applications to obtain a single loan. That, they believe, is artificially inflating the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey on loans to buy homes, giving a false impression of the pace of U.S. home sales.

    “Frankly, the data has become a much less important indicator,” said James O’Sullivan, economist at UBS Securities in Stamford, Connecticut.

    Skewed data makes it less reliable, therefore diminishing its value to economists who use it as a gauge of home sales.

    Until earlier this year, that would have pointed clearly to a pick-up in home sales.

    No more, though. Home sales have fallen consistently over that time, with existing home sales down for three straight months and new home sales off in four of the past five months.

    “Clearly there has been a complete breakdown of the relationship between the purchase index and home sales in recent months, which historically has been a decent fit,” O’Sullivan said.

    In previous housing cycles there also has been a gap between mortgage applications and actual sales, possibly because the proportion of potential buyers who get cold feet — or lose their jobs — between application and closing rises during a downturn, Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York, said in recent commentary.

    The size of the gap, however, is unprecedented right now, he said.

    “We think it will widen further, making applications an even less reliable guide to sales,” he said.

  21. Sean says:

    grim #19 is in moderation, it is a follow up to #5

  22. gary says:

    The NAR s*cks. The people at the top of the stench running the NAR s*ck. They’re a bunch of con artist swindlers who have not a shred of decency, credibility or character.

  23. G$ says:

    This was on NPR this morning. No new information but otherwise a good listen:

  24. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Mild recession likely for U.S. this year, IMF says

    25% chance of global recession in ’08-’09: IMF report

  25. grim says:

    You know, I haven’t heard the words “contained” or “soft landing” lately..

  26. 3b says:

    #24 Mild recession likely for U.S. this year, IMF says.

    So now we can use the R word, but it will only be mild. I wonder how they define mild?

  27. grim says:

    Is a mild recession anything like a “a sharp downclimb” (Paulson, 2008)?

    Mild recession I can understand, but what the heck is a downclimb?

  28. Orion says:

    #20 Grim,

    Thanks for the insight and link.
    Now it makes more sense to me.

  29. gary says:

    The listings I’m receiving on a daily basis are still insane. If these people that are actually bidding on these houses are not bidding at least 20% of asking, then they’re brainless. I’ll say it again, the masses have become so conditioned that they don’t realize how over-priced these dumps have become. The shock diminishes when you’re exposed to the same thing over and over for a period of time. People become persuaded easily. It’s the housing version of the Stockholm syndrome. How can so many not see this? Oh wait, I already know that answer.

  30. gary says:

    That’s 80% of asking…

  31. grim says:


    Interest rates are low and there is a good selection of homes to buy.

    Relax, sit back, buy a home or two. Maybe a Miami condo? A Vegas Condotel? Gold Coast?

    Times are good, but the good times won’t last, you better buy now before you are priced out forever. I’d suggest that you think about purchasing a home for each of your kids now, to lock in these low prices.

    No, no! Don’t worry about selling your existing house before you buy. You’ll have no problem selling your house after the closing. It’ll show better without all that clutter anyway. Besides, real estate prices only go up, if you sell before you buy, you leave money on the table.

    As a Realtor, I can help you with this.

  32. Al says:

    Here is my take on current situation:

    It is about to get worse.

    For past 10 years manufacturing and R@D sectors were contracting with alarming speed. However total wealth of the USA masked this effect – instead creating new goods/values USA started to live off it’s assets.

    Hence the mortgage industry, stock market booms and such.


    It is the creation of new goods whether they are material or IP which provides grown/sustenance of economy.

    Now we are finally at the final leg – when it is obvious that UDA do not produce enough GOODS to sustain it’s living standard.

    Job losses are just starting to hit private sector – housing bulls finally realized that current situation is not a short-term slowdown but a long term crisis.

    Once construction/mortgage/finance layoff’s will happen it will trickle down to service industry.

    It is slow process but it will hit (already started and about to get worse) restaurants, resorts, airlines, hospitals/doctors – as patients will have no money to pay for their exuberant medical fees (I got charged 250$ for box of Kleenex at the Saint’s Peter’s hospital, but insurance made them take 2$) and such.


  33. Orion says:

    Containment & soft landing =

    Home inventory absorbed by early 2009 (Greenspan 2008)

  34. still_looking says:

    #31 grim,

    need a meathook to pull your tongue out of your cheek? ;-)

    oh, and….. buy a home – it’ll double in 10 yrs… um…er, I mean your monthly mortgage payment will, uh. double in 10 yrs…er. ah.

    nevermind that, just sign here.


  35. gary says:


    If you were a true realtor, you would advise me to take out a HELOC on my current home to buy the new home but lie to the bank as to what I’m using the money for. This is the sound advice I received about a year ago. I bet she’s a seasoned veteran.

  36. gary says:

    And how much have salaries gone up in the last 10 years? Approximately 3.5% a year tops, correct? Ok, so how the f*ck does housing go up more than double that percentage over the last 10 years? Look at the Shiller chart. Do you realize that housing barely appreciated, if at all for sometimes DECADES! Find that chart and take a look.

  37. grim says:

    If you were a true realtor, you would advise me to take out a HELOC on my current home to buy the new home but lie to the bank as to what I’m using the money for.

    C’mon, I can’t hold your hand here, do you expect me to advise you to brush your teeth in the morning too? Of course you HELOC your place. Leverage baby, the fast track to easy riches. What? Are you telling me you don’t want to be rich?

  38. gary says:

    Leverage baby, the fast track to easy riches.

    Just like Bear Stearns…

  39. Al says:

    need a meathook to pull your tongue out of your cheek? ;-)

    oh, and….. buy a home – it’ll double in 10 yrs… um…er, I mean your monthly mortgage payment will, uh. double in 10 yrs…er. ah.

    Do not worry your taxes will triple in that time…

    Plus if senate will approve legislation of allowing local municipalities impose their owm taxes……

    He also said towns should have the option of levying their own taxes to reduce the dependence on property taxes.

    Virginia is among those with a personal property tax on cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, planes and other vehicles. “We ought to look at that, too,” said Assemblywoman Joan M. Quigley, D-Bergen, Hudson.

    Then we will really have fun time here. NJ will be truly state of very poor and very rich, as there will be no jobs in NJ for middle class.

  40. grim says:

    Housing prices double every 10 years? What? Somebody should tell this guy. He is sitting on a gold mine but doesn’t realize it. I wonder why it hasn’t sold?

    632 Lawlins Road, Wyckoff

    Purchased: 5/15/1987
    Purchase Price: $304,000

    Currently Asking: $499,000

    It has been 20 years, this place should be worth $1.2 million according to the NAR.

  41. kettle1 says:


    you are correct, this is all just globalization coming home to roost. But dont worry, peak energy will re-localize industries around the world over the next decade. As energy and shipping prices sky rocket it will once again make more sense to produce locally then offshore operations. Another change coming down the pipeline is the death of JIT (Just In Time) manufacturing. If you are not familiar with this, it is the principle that you manufacture/maintain only the stocks that you have immediate need for, as holding additional stock has a cost associated with it. JIT will be a casualty of increasing energy and raw material price increases and volatility.

  42. chicagofinance says:

    DINJ Says:
    April 8th, 2008 at 11:12 pm
    Roseland is looking at a 2009 tax reassessment.
    Goodbye to jaw droppingly low taxes???


    A reval in itself does not increase taxes. What it does is more fairly distribute existing taxes among the affected group. The issue is that those people who have been around awhile tend to think it is their right to bilk newcomers. Why? Because they are lazy f—ing crooks, even though they don’t fully appreciate the magnitude and ethics of what they are doing….stupid is as stupid does….

  43. Al says:

    C’mon, I can’t hold your hand here, do you expect me to advise you to brush your teeth in the morning too? Of course you HELOC your place. Leverage baby, the fast track to easy riches. What? Are you telling me you don’t want to be rich?

    Reminds me of advertisement on the radio – Do you know what many millionaires in USA have in common: They decided they want to be rich!!!

    Call my toll-free number and become one NOW!!!

  44. grim says:

    It has been 20 years, this place should be worth $1.2 million according to the NAR.

    Must be a temporary dislocation, the place is selling at a $700,000 discount.

    Buy it now, and in 30 years it will be worth $9.7 million based on the 1987 purchase price.

  45. chicagofinance says:

    This story should be from NJ…..perfect name…

    Aphrodisiac Kills Singapore Man

  46. gary says:

    And did you all know that Bergen County’s population is growing by 10% a year? Betcha didn’t know that.

  47. Al says:

    Another quote by state’s Office of Legislative Services Budget and Finance Officer David Rosen said:

    He noted higher wage earners predominately paid the state’s income taxes. He said the top 1 percent wage earners taking home more than $500,000 contributed to 40 percent of state’s income tax, while the 12 to 15 percent earning more than about $100,000 accounted for 80 percent of the tax.

    “The other 80 percent, if they move out of the state it doesn’t really matter,” Rosen said. “It’s the high-income people who matter.”

    NJ taxes 10K/year, Real estate taxes 10K/year, sales tax 7% ~2800$/year, other NJ fee’s and taxes….Few K’s…

    You own government official is openly telling you that you do not matter…..Priceless

  48. Al says:

    Grim – Inmoderate 39 Please – it has a link to 47

  49. 3b says:

    #45 gary; Actually Bergen Co’s population is dropping.

  50. make money says:

    Al Says:
    April 9th, 2008 at 9:20 am
    Here is my take on current situation:

    It is about to get worse.

    You could have just stopped there you know. Are you communist? This is Un American. You actually make sense.

  51. IVV says:

    #36 gary:

    This is why I have a hard time accepting a situation in which the residents of a community can only afford to live in that community by virtue of having purchased years ago (paying off mortgages notwithstanding). It means that someone of the same economic standing as the local residents cannot enter; the upshot is that the same economic standing must become satisfied with a lesser lifestyle.

    Therefore, the greatest factor in determining the capability of an individual to consume is no longer productivity or influence, but age.

  52. spam spam bacon spam says:

    [31] Grim:

    ROFL… love the snark.

  53. gary says:

    Gary and Mrs. Gary at an open house in Ridgewood about 2 years ago:

    Realtor: This town (Ridgewood) is just bleeding money.

    Gary: You mean it’s bleeding debt.

    Realtor: No, I mean the majority of this town is very wealthy. It expects a “certain” type of people to buy here.

    Mrs. Gary: Ok, thank you very much for your time… c’mon Gary, we have to go (said with a very icy, cold and shocked looking stare)

  54. Ann says:

    Just catching up on yesterday’s thread…is that a real post about the Foxmoor townhouse being RAFFLED? Is that even legal? Shady!

    ledward, I don’t know if a big commercial building down the street will hurt the value of the house, but it’s good that you know it’s coming.

  55. John says:

    kkr is also doing ipo. was up visiting both firms recently and the CP views are out of this world and the gourmet in house kitchen and chefs are heavenly. 4 star meals with cp views from a leather seat that feels like butter is enough to forget me forget about the ression we are in. Of course I took the subway and by passed car service as we are in a recession and that would not look right!

    Of course the six figure crowd is doing its part, my friend fired his lawn service for this year and will cut his own lawn to show he is doing his part in cutting back. I am sure as he drives his BMW convert to the county club that will make a good story on the “19 hole”.

  56. Ann says:


    Gary, I thought realtors weren’t allowed to say stuff like that. Isn’t there some sort of discrimination law for that kind of stuff?

    I don’t get Ridgewood. There are some beautiful houses there for sure, but lots of crap too. And unless you are walking distance to the downtown, who cares.

  57. grim says:


    NYT wrote this one just for you today.

    For Many, a Boom That Wasn’t

    How has the United States economy gotten to this point?

    It’s not just the apparent recession. Recessions happen. If you tried to build an economy immune to the human emotions that produce boom and bust, you would end up with something that looked like East Germany.

    The bigger problem is that the now-finished boom was, for most Americans, nothing of the sort. In 2000, at the end of the previous economic expansion, the median American family made about $61,000, according to the Census Bureau’s inflation-adjusted numbers. In 2007, in what looks to have been the final year of the most recent expansion, the median family, amazingly, seems to have made less — about $60,500.

    This has never happened before, at least not for as long as the government has been keeping records. In every other expansion since World War II, the buying power of most American families grew while the economy did. You can think of this as the most basic test of an economy’s health: does it produce ever-rising living standards for its citizens?

    “We have had expansions before where the bottom end didn’t do well,” said Lawrence F. Katz, a Harvard economist who studies the job market. “But we’ve never had an expansion in which the middle of income distribution had no wage growth.”

  58. IVV says:


    Classic effect of non-production (which Al discussed earlier). When a group starts living off their assets, the only winners are the suppliers of the assets.

  59. IVV says:

    Actually, that should be holders of the assets and suppliers of the consumables–but since, in a non-productive environment, the consumables must come from outside (e.g. China), the asset-holders are the only ones to maintain position as low-asset holders hold and receive less.

  60. Doyle says:

    movinBC Says:
    April 8th, 2008 at 5:43 pm
    #167 Doyle,

    Would you consider buying in Rutherford if you were planning on living there for 7-10yrs and putting 1-2 kids through the town’s public school system?

    The last reports I saw in the Record showed that a lot of kids leave the school district, which I guess means the parents are often looking to trade up houses/towns or school districts…?


    Yes I am/would. I grew up in R and came through the Public School System K-12 and so did my immediate and extended fam. The school system is fine and is what you make of it. I know plenty of kids that went Ivy if that’s your thing, and plenty that went community. I always thought it was a good school system; it’s not an “upper-tier” town, so maybe people are moving up to Ridgewood – Westfield eventually.

    Anyway, I love all those “upper-tier” towns, but I work in NYC and so does my wife. It doesn’t look like she wants to stop working anytime soon, so I want to be close to the city to shorten the commute. I think R is the best suburb option within 8 miles of the Lincoln Tunnel (just my opinion). I don’t know if that’s where we’ll end up, but it is a solid option.

    Good luck.

  61. gary says:

    My Mom was the most pragmatic person I’ve ever known; some of it must have rubbed off.

  62. gefilta says:

    I’m in the midst of preparing an offer (first one). Should I involved a lawyer in submitting the initial offer contract, or wait till the sellers accept and the subsequent attorney review process?

    I would like to include more detail about appliances included/window treatment etc. . ., appriasel contingency, reduce the amount that goes into escrow. Is it premature to involve a lawyer at this point? Would he have a standardized form that is more favorable to the buyers perspective?

    Also is 5% of 500K offer price normal to include in the escrow?
    Also is the attorney review usually only 3 days? that seems a bit quick?


  63. spam spam bacon spam says:

    I went to a class at RVCC for a SBDC (Small Business Development Center) course.

    It’s kind of a “starting out” course and I’m in business 17 years, but I know the teacher and feel I’ll gain knowledge by attending.

    So the introductions were “who are you, what do you do, why are you here?”

    1. “I’m Joe Smith I’m in construction. I want to start my own construction busuiness because almost everyone around me has been laid off and I feel like I’m the last guy standing… I know it’s just a matter of time.”

    Later, “Joe” and I spoke briefly…he mentioned he has 3 houses that “I couldn’t have gotten with today’s credit restrictions”

    (There’s so much in that statement, feel free to analyze it as you wish…)

    BTW-Pretty good showing in class enrollment…although the one lady in banking that is taking the course so she can help her BANKING CLIENTS start a business did kind of give me the shivers…

  64. Joeycasz says:


    I don’t get Ridgewood.

    Me neither. I will say this though, they are the most delinquent on library fines i’ve ever seen. Maybe that says something…

  65. gary says:


    Always remember, when it comes to closing a deal, nothing is out of bounds for a realtor.

  66. grim says:

    I’m in the midst of preparing an offer (first one). Should I involved a lawyer in submitting the initial offer contract, or wait till the sellers accept and the subsequent attorney review process?

    My 2 cents? No, it isn’t worth the cost.

    From a seller perspective, it points to a difficult negotiation. If they’ve got two contracts on the table, one vanilla, and a custom lawyer prepared contract, my money is on them going vanilla.

    It certainly doesn’t enhance the probability of the contract being accepted. If your offer is turned down, you’ve just lost that money. Do it a few times and it will start to get cost prohibitive.

    There are times this makes sense, if your presenting an offer on a “handshake” FSBO, this route would most certainly be the best approach. Or, if you are presenting an entirely non-standard contract. Agents can’t really make changes to standard contracts, it is more of a “fill-in-the-blanks” game.

    I would like to include more detail about appliances included/window treatment etc. . ., appriasel contingency, reduce the amount that goes into escrow. Is it premature to involve a lawyer at this point? Would he have a standardized form that is more favorable to the buyers perspective?

    Use the last page of the standard MLS/In-House/Realtor contract form to add additional contractual obligations/addendum, or simply attach another page.

  67. BubbleYum says:

    Al Says:

    NJ will be truly state of very poor and very rich, as there will be no jobs in NJ for middle class.

    Not just NJ.

  68. grim says:

    From Prudential Fox & Roach:

    February Pending Home Sales Index© Shows Decrease in the Greater Philadelphia Region Real Estate Activity

    DEVON, PA – April 9, 2008 – The Greater Philadelphia region* saw a 19.2 percent decrease in February real estate activity moving to an index of 70.2 from the downwardly revised January index of 86.8, according to The Prudential Fox & Roach, REALTORS® HomExpert Pending Home Sales Index©. The February index indicates the market is 41.7 percent lower than February 2007.

    Compared to findings reported by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index, real estate activity in the Greater Philadelphia region fell below the Northeast and National indices. The NAR index showed a 3.2 percent growth in pending sales in the Northeast and a 1.9 percent decrease nationally. In January, the NAR index indicated a 4.1 percent decrease in pending sales in the Northeast and remained unchanged nationwide.

    Based on the forward-looking indicator, real estate activity in the five-county Southeastern Pennsylvania had the largest decrease in the tri-state market showing a 20.4 percent decrease from a revised index of 96 in January to 76.4 in February. Main Line pending home sales fluctuated from an index of 87.8 in December to 115.7 in January, a 31.8 percent increase, back down to an index of 83 in February, decreasing 28.3 percent. Philadelphia County saw an 18 percent decrease in activity, with Center City falling 20.3 percent.

    Southern New Jersey pending home sales fell 18.6 percent, moving from a revised index of 70.9 in January to 57.7 in February. Salem County saw the largest decrease in the Greater Philadelphia Region falling 31.6 percent, followed by Burlington County at 29.7 percent. After posting a 16.9 percent decrease in the January index, Mercer County remained unchanged at an index of 63.6 in February.

    “The Greater Philadelphia region is in a wait and see mode for a lot of home sellers,” said Steve Storti, senior vice president of marketing for Prudential Fox & Roach. “We’re still seeing an adjustment from the impact of the mortgage crisis. At the same time, warmer weather is starting to motivate some buyers to start thinking about their next home. Low mortgage rates are also helping.”

    While the February pending homes sales index for the Greater Philadelphia region decreased 19.2 percent, it is 41.7 percent below the February 2007 index, moving from an index of 120.4 in 2007 to 70.2 in 2008. The Southeastern Pennsylvania index is 39.1 percent below a year ago, Southern New Jersey is down 47.5 percent and the Delaware area fell 42 percent below last year’s indices.

  69. John says:

    Funniest ever, I got an invite for a real estate netoworking event that said Mortgage brokers, real estate agents, headhunters and insurance salesmen will be denied entry.

  70. 3b says:

    Next Tuesday April 15 in addition to be the deadline for your annual tax filing is also the date wher you c an vote for you your local school budget and your local BOE candidtes who are running for election or reelection.

    Vote YES!!! It is for our children!!! Do not ask questions, just do it. 10k property taxes on a 50 year old POS Cape is a small price to pay for our children’s future.

    Vote yes for your local BOE canadidate, they know that the only way to ensure high housing prices, is to ensure massive spending on the schools (so what if their plan is to get out of Dodge once their kids are done with the system)

    Vote for them, they know what they are doing, they coached Little League or Girl’s Softball.

    They are going to write letters to our state legislators and demand more money. Please vote, do not question, do not ask, do not worry, just Vote Yes. Remember it is up to you!!

  71. Orion says:

    IMF made a prediction last year.

    From today’s UK Telegraph:

  72. Hehehe says:


    Education is the one thing that really holds me back from voting Democrat on a regular basis. Teachers unions have way too much power in this country and essentially the public school system has become focused on spending money on jobs and not on focusing on teaching students. Until that changes this country is going to continue its swirl down the toilet.

    Ps. Before any teachers have a hissy fit, I am not bad mouthing all teachers, just the unions.

  73. Hehehe says:

    “But we’ve never had an expansion in which the middle of income distribution had no wage growth.”

    How can that be when Bergabe and Greenspan have kept inflation so under wrap ;)

  74. DINJ says:

    ChiFi #42
    Are you saying that only newcomers are reassessed?

  75. Essex says:

    At the Polls, the Demographics of Pass or Fail
    Published: May 14, 2006
    A SCHOOL district like Cold Spring Harbor, with its combination of high wealth, small size and relatively low property-tax rates, might have been able to propose a tax increase of 13 percent this year without generating enough opposition among taxpayers to defeat its budget.

    But a district like Roosevelt — bigger, poorer and more heavily taxed — would probably have to keep its tax increase below 5 percent to win approval.
    Those are conclusions from a New York Times statistical analysis of last year’s budget votes on Long Island, which show a strong pattern of correlation between first-ballot budget rejections and districts’ size, wealth, existing tax burden and rate of tax increase.

    Voters in every school district in the state, including the 124 on Long Island, will pass judgment on proposed budgets on Tuesday. If the trends and patterns from 2005 hold true, they spell trouble for school systems up and down the Island.

    Big districts like Brentwood and Middle Country; relatively low-wealth districts like Deer Park; and high-tax-rate districts like Central Islip could be heading for rejections, along with districts that have proposed big tax increases, like Patchogue-Medford, East Moriches and East Islip.

    Of course, a host of factors could lead voters to buck the statistical trend in any of those communities, or to defeat budgets in the kinds of districts that have been relatively immune in the past.

    But after two years of swelling tax revolt, school boards have seen and reacted to the broad trend. In a break from the past, the Island’s districts are proposing smaller increases in tax levies this year — an average of 5.8 percent — than those in the rest of the state, which average 6.3 percent. In both 2004 and 2005, Long Island’s average tax increases were higher than the rest of the state’s.

    This reversal comes at a time when enrollment is growing on Long Island, but not in much of the rest of the state, reinforcing the impression that Island districts have been trying harder to tighten their belts since voters began to reject budgets in large numbers in 2004.

    In Westchester, where enrollments are growing at about the same rate as on Long Island, the average district is proposing a 7.6 percent increase in tax levies. Westchester voters have been much less prone to reject school budgets in recent years than Long Islanders have.

    An increase in state aid this year has helped districts everywhere hold down tax increases, but not nearly as much as some had hoped. Fuel costs are rising, as are salaries. And the costs associated with teacher pensions and health benefits continue to rise steeply.

    In spite of excellent returns in the stock market for the statewide pension system, districts will be assessed 8 percent of their salary costs for teacher pensions in the coming school year, up nearly 50 percent from last year’s assessment.

    And districts are seeing huge jumps in medical costs. For example, East Islip, which reduced salary spending in its proposed budget, lost all of those savings and more to a 20 percent increase in the cost of health benefits.

    Many factors come into play in school budget elections, and the economic outlook and political atmosphere surrounding this year’s voting are different from last year’s. For one thing, the embezzlement scandal that embroiled the Roslyn school district has receded further.

    “Last year, Roslyn was on the minds of most voters,” said Tim Kremer, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association. “This year, we hope that voters see most things being well attended to. We hope there is no sense of crisis that would cause voters on Long Island to vote no.”

    STATISTICALLY, though, the link between budget voting and district wealth, size and tax burden was fairly consistent, the analysis found. A similar study of 2004 budget voting statewide by the State Education Department likewise found that voting margins were correlated with tax burdens, size and tax-increase rates.

    So, relatively low-tax districts like Quogue and Amagansett and high-income Nassau districts like Locust Valley and Manhasset would be expected to have a relatively easy time at the polls, if last year’s pattern holds. So would districts like Herricks and Bellmore that have proposed below-average tax increases.

    The single most important factor predicting a budget vote’s outcome has been the percentage increase in the proposed tax levy: The bigger the increase, the more likely it is to be defeated. All other things being equal, in fact, a school board can expect to see the proportion of no votes rise by 1.5 percentage points for every percentage point it raises the tax levy.

    Large districts have also been at a disadvantage. The yes vote in a district with 10,000 students, for instance, tends to be 4 percentage points lower than in a 5,000-student district. This suggests that smaller, more homogeneous communities may have an easier time reaching a consensus on school taxes.
    Richer districts have been less likely to defeat budgets than less affluent areas. So a district with about $70,000 in income for each pupil — the level of Central Islip, according to state figures for 2003, the most recent year available — could expect 1.2 percentage points fewer yes votes than if it had $200,000 for each pupil — about the level of the Half Hollow Hills district.

    This suggests that people in richer districts have the resources to cope with higher taxes more easily and so are less likely to vote no.

    So Cold Spring Harbor, with nearly $700,000 in income for each pupil, ought to be able, at least in theory, to tolerate a much larger tax increase than the average district and still get its budget passed. All other things being equal, last year’s pattern suggests it could have safely proposed a 13 percent increase this year.

    There is also a correlation between a district’s total tax burden and budget voting. Districts whose taxes were already high, relative to the value of homes, have been more likely to suffer budget rejections, even when proposed increases are not large.

    For instance, in districts where homeowners pay taxes of about 1 percent of the value of their houses — a category that included Great Neck in 2003, the most recent year the state published such statistics — the yes vote can be expected to be about 6 percentage points greater than in a district where homeowners pay 3 percent, like Hempstead, the most heavily taxed on the Island by this measure.

    The Times also examined the widely held belief that districts with concentrations of older voters have a harder time passing a school budget. But there appeared to be no statistical correlation between the proportion of a district’s population that is over 55 and the results of budget votes, either on Long Island or in the rest of the state.

  76. gary (38)-

    “Leverage baby, the fast track to easy riches.

    Just like Bear Stearns…”

    What? What? The road to wealth isn’t through bong hits and playing bridge?

  77. Essex says:

    Stoneham cuts all sports at high school
    $3m override fails; students fear impact on their futures
    By Eric Moskowitz, Globe Staff | June 23, 2007

    STONEHAM — In a year in which one property tax override rejection follows another and cuts to public services have become the norm, this town may have set a new standard this week.

    Voters here defeated a $3 million override Tuesday, spurring a round of budget cuts that will wipe out the town’s entire high school sports program and leave hundreds of student athletes in the lurch. All 54 coaching positions, the athletic director’s job, and elementary and middle school arts and music programs were eliminated Wednesday night by the Stoneham School Committee.

    The cuts, among the most draconian in the region this year, stunned parents, who talked openly yesterday of sending their children to private schools so they can play in sports. Students, just beginning their summer vacation, worried about their plans for fall sports and beyond.

    “I think a part of me would be gone. You know what I mean?” said Dustin Feldman, 17, a basketball player who will be a senior in the fall. “If you get rid of all sports, what’s going to happen to all this,” he said, motioning to the athletic complex outside Stoneham High School, where Feldman and 10 friends played pick-up baseball yesterday.

    Stoneham selectmen will meet Tuesday night to consider continuing an unpopular trash fee, which could raise about $1 million and avoid a portion of the cuts that were recommended by the School Committee.

  78. MT says:

    #31 Grim
    Yesterday I met a realtor who confidently told me “The house value is ALWAYS going up! Buy it NOW. This house is priced right”

    -Not only the seller but also the realtor is still living in an old world. Amaziiiing!-

  79. grim says:

    Nice snippet from Ritholtz courtesy of Dow Jones:

    11:56 (Dow Jones) Month after month, the National Association of Realtors puts as bright a spin on its home report no matter the numbers, and while it’s stopped predicting an outright bottom, it still comes close. This month, after reporting February pending sales were down 21.4% from a year ago, the industry group still predicted “essentially stable” sales, with an increase coming this summer. “You have to be a drug abuser to believe a 21.4% drop in the year-over-year index is a sign of stability,” Barry Ritholtz writes at The Big Picture. (PJV)

  80. CAIBC says:

    this doesnt look like bottom…does it?

    the way this is going, we are hovering around a top still!!!!who is going to pay 500K for this with 11K in taxes??????


  81. lostinny says:

    I have to agree with badmouthing the unions themselves. Teacher unions fight for the people who work for the unions. When teachers need the unions to back them, they are often met with evasive answers and are left to fend for themselves. All those union dues are paid to the union. But members are not getting all the support from the union that one might think they are.

  82. Jill says:

    Recession indicator story: I was at Terminal A, Newark Airport at around 6:30 PM after my flight arrived an hour EARLY from Raleigh-Durham (I’d booked back on American Eagle after I was stranded because of Skybus folding the day before — with no notice to anyone). Maybe Terminal C was mobbed as usual, but Terminal A was like a ghost town — almost no one at the gate area waiting to board, no lines at security, no one waiting for baggage, only one carousel working. I haven’t seen Newark Airport like this since it was a sleepy little airport. RDU was a lot more crowded, and that isn’t saying much.

  83. grim says:

    Funniest ever, I got an invite for a real estate netoworking event that said Mortgage brokers, real estate agents, headhunters and insurance salesmen will be denied entry.

    Very nice.

  84. skep-tic says:


    threatening to cut school sports always gets the parents to cough up the extra money. has happened in my home town several times. what is interesting is when schools cut arts, no one blinks

  85. Al says:

    oneham cuts all sports at high school

    From this post – school programm have 54!!! Coaches???

    Basketball, volleyball, tennis, football, gymnastics – lets say 4 coaches each = 20…..

    But 54? ?!?!?! – even 20 is excessive – it’s high school not NFL/Olympic training camp.

  86. lostinny says:

    85 Septic
    The arts don’t win scholarships much as sports do.

  87. Al says:

    Is it loss of scholarship or true believe that’s the only way middle class parent’s kid can make it is to become professional athlete?

  88. lostinny says:

    86 Al
    Varsity and JV with a coach and maybe assitant coach each- 27 sports at the high school.

  89. Al says:

    27 sports??????

  90. Al says:

    27 sportsat high school – we need a DEPRESSION!!!!!

  91. grim says:

    From the Stoneham Mass High School web site:

    Stoneham High School is a comprehensive, four-year public high school with an enrollment of approximately 900 students in grades 9 – 12.

    Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, its 71-member faculty has earned 55 Masters Degrees and has an average of 15 years of experience. As members of the Middlesex League, Stoneham High School student-athletes compete in 20 varsity sports.

  92. lostinny says:

    I think its far more rare for a middle class parent to assume their kid’s only chance at a life is to be a professional athlete. Most of those parents are looking for some scholarship money and healthy way to keep their kids from getting in trouble.

  93. ledward says:

    #54, thanks Ann. I found something interesting from google,

    Sarah West, an assistant professor of economics at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., and her student, Soren Anderson, studied the effects of several factors on home prices, including the presence of nearby retail properties. They found that homes within a quarter-mile of a major shopping mall sold for 12% more on average than homes more than two miles away, controlling for such home and neighborhood characteristics as square footage and public-school quality. Homes located between a quarter-mile and two miles of a mall sold for approximately 5% more than the more distant homes. Malls pull up home values, Prof. West says, because they add jobs.

  94. Nom Deplume says:

    [77] Essex,

    I was surprised to see your post. Here is some perspective.

    Stoneham (Mass.) actually axed sports last year. This has been an ongoing game of chicken for the past year as older Stoneham residents, who have always been anti-tax, resisted calls for overrides by newer residents. This followed a huge population shift in the town over the past two decades, where older families, like mine, moved out, and newer ones moved in on a very large scale. There was a student dearth for some time, which caused realignments in the school system (I recall two elem. schools were sold and converted to condos in the 80’s). This meant the older, antitax residents had no children in the system, and the newer residents were just starting to repopulate the schools. The town and school board held the sports teams hostage, but the residents called their bluff, and the town and school board reacted by cutting football first, then other teams.

    Stoneham is a fairly small (6 sq. miles) town north of Boston, and is probably median income for that area and the state. The school age population always had trouble fielding teams in recent years, and had become poorer performers as a result, so the residents probably figured “what’s the value in them”? Ordinarily, a town that small may form up with a regional school district, but the surrounding towns are much larger and have no need to do so. So it is left to its own budget devices.

    For those who don’t know why this came to pass, the override is mandated by Prop. 2, the state property tax cap law enacted in the 80’s. In order to raise property taxes, residents must vote an override. Except in the most affluent towns, these typically fail. While Stoneham has a not insignficant proportion of upper middle class owners, these folks often send their kids to private schools anyway. So no one in the town is particularly motivated to pay the tax, ergo the first things to go are extracirrucular activities. Other, larger, towns were able to survive failed overrides, but in a town so small, there is little left to cut.

    Sad, really. The Stoneham-Reading football rivalry was one of the oldest sports rivalries in the country (even though Reading dominated it in recent decades). And now it is gone.

  95. Zack says:

    The only way we have a true RE bottom is if we continue to have layoff’s. People without a job and having a hard time finding one will eventually lower their asking prices. There is no if’s and but’s about it. No job, no mortgage payment and hence lets get rid of the house by chasing the bottom.
    Ultimately all asset value kind of mirror the psychology of market participants and the state of the economy.

  96. John says:

    Of course cold spring harbor is upset. school taxes are based on property value and even a ok home there can cost 2 million. 13% based on an assessed value of 2 million is huge.

    Roosvelt has garage schools and houses valued at 400K, a 5% raise on a 400K assessed value is nothing, but they would rather make a bad school even worse and them blame “the man” for their problems.

  97. grim says:

    New study out from the Legal Services of NJ Poverty Research Insititute:

    The Real Cost of Living in 2008: The Self Sufficiency Standard for New Jersey

  98. R Patrick says:

    Any idea where to get information on WHO is running for school board ect.

    I’m trying to be a good citizen/homeowner and do not want to make the “NO NO NO” or a null vote.

    After seeing several names from real estate signs on the BC ballots I realize that this is a somewhat rigged system but I still feel I can contribute.

  99. 3b says:

    #93 lost; I do not know if you have kids yet, but I think you are wrong. I have come across a lot of people over the years who thought their kid would go pro.

    And others who thought their kid would get a 4 year full scholarship for sports. It is far more common than you might think out in the burbs;its like the twilight zone.

  100. Nom Deplume says:

    Off topic, but appropos to the Stoneham story, these tales of two wealthier Boston suburbs:

    Voters in Wayland last night approved a $1.9 million Proposition 2 1/2 tax override and voted out a selectman who had been vocal against the tax increase. Nearly $1.3 million of the increased taxes will directly benefit Wayland K-12 public schools and serve to avoid about 10 teacher layoffs in the western suburb. The jobs of two police officers and a firefighter will also be saved. Selectman Alan J. Reiss, a vocal opponent of the tax increase, lost his reelection bid to override proponent Steven J. Correia. Selectman Joseph F. Nolan, an incumbent in favor of the override, easily won reelection.

    Town Meeting voters in Sudbury approved a budget Monday night that could require significant cuts in both the Sudbury and Lincoln-Sudbury school systems. As many as 31 full-time faculty and staff positions could be lost in the two systems as well as several sports and other student activities, officials said. Fees for busing, sports, and clubs will rise across the board in an attempt to offset some of the cutbacks. At last week’s town elections, voters defeated both a $1.8 million and a $2.8 million property tax override increase. Town officials said Monday night that they planned to divert $225,000 in ambulance revenues and increased state aid to the Sudbury school system to offset some of the reductions.

    In the past, these towns would have voted overrides easily. Now, even a Sudbury, which is a very wealthy town, says no.

    Anyway, enought off-topic for me. The Stoneham story was depressing enough.

  101. grim says:

    From Reuters:

    Soros says global subprime losses could top $1 trillion

    Billionaire investor George Soros said on Wednesday that global losses from the subprime mortgage debt crisis could top $1 trillion.

    “Losses being recognized now amount to $1 trillion,” from the subprime mortgage debt crisis, said Soros, asked about an estimate from the IMF that is near that total.

    “I think that is a fair estimate, but that number is likely to still grow,” as house prices in some countries including the United States continue to fall, he said.

  102. gary says:

    Let me try to explain this again. The proletariat are simply a device that is used for the purpose of someone elses gain. It has always been that way. It’s been that way since the beginning of time. In the case of real estate, the snake oil sales people slithered in through the cracks when they sensed an opportunity. The brokers, lenders, agents and appraisers saw a chance to swindle the naive masses using housing as the prop and pulled a con. It’s very simple.

    Bob and Sally want “that” house in “that” neighborhood. The con comes up with just enough justification to convince them they’re doing the right thing. Suzanne says, “I researched this, It’s always a good time to buy, prices always go up, buy now or be priced out forever, blah, blah.” Sally says, “we can do this” and cha ching, commission gets deposited.

    On the other side, chubby Mary and her husband realize the neighbor made a killing and decide to price their dump even higher because now the industry (con artists) have introduced “creative financing for savvy buyers” which, of course, is another way of saying, “we’ve created new and different ways to swindle you”. Of course, the buyer, who believed the industry had there best interests at heart, had no idea they were being taken until the “creative” product resets, increasing the monthly payment by $1,200 per month. By this time, the industry re-packaged and passed the loan around more times than a 10 year veteran in a French brothel.

    This is basically how any switch works. Hey listen, if you don’t believe me then try asking that guy cleaning out his desk at the company previously known as Bear Stearns.

  103. spam spam bacon spam says:

    [78] That story was from June 23, 2007

    But I agree.

    I don’t know why we have to have “pro”sports type facilities built for kids on the taxpayer dime.


    Why does every HS in a town have it’s own professionally turfed fields, pro coaches, etc.

    If kids want to play, let them join local leagues… These leagues can purchase their own land, build as “pro” a field as they want and hire all the top coaches they want…

    I’d rather we spend the $$ on ALL the kids INSIDE the school…

  104. skep-tic says:

    I think high school sports are great (I played 3), but it is a matter of priorities. Most kids in high school do not play sports, so when there are budgetary constraints, I think it is fair to look at the programs that affect only a minority of the student population rather than cutting things that benefit the student body as a whole (like academics). Very few high school athletes have a future past high school— it is really supposed to be about having fun. Unfortunately, many parents prioritize sports above everything else (regardless of their kids’ apptitude) and they tend to be more aggressive than the majority who may have more balanced priorities

  105. Pat says:

    You know the first time I saw the shell game was when I was 10. I had five bucks to spend. A guy on the corner near Times Sq had a folding table.

    I handed him my five bucks and walked away with ten.

    It’s easy to spot a scam when you’re at eye level with the scam. For the rest of folks with normal perspectives, you can’t see it until after the fact, Gary.

  106. kettle1 says:

    Regarding school funding increases…

    Why is it so disappointing that people have resisted the continuous increase in taxes “for the children”? The US spends the most in the world in eduction per student, yet we are not even in the top 10 for results. There is no need for school budget increases, there is plenty of fat that can be trimmed from the schools to make up any cost increases.

  107. kettle1 says:

    The US school system is the equivalent of requiring a Porsche to go to the grocery store when a honda civic would cost significantly less and actually be more effective.

  108. kettle1 says:

    106 pat,

    the messed up thing about the so called scam, was that i could only happen if the “consumers” agreed to being scammed! in 98% of cases the loan documents stated in black and white what the terms were. Yet now people howl and scream about how they were scammed because they couldnt take the time to read the paper work. I helped a family member buy a house in 03 and all parties involved got very upset with me when i insisted that my family member read every line of the contract before signing. They wanted the deal one in 5 minutes. We were there for 3 hours and ended up redlining the contract because they put some shenanigans into it.

  109. jmacdaddio says:

    78 – From what I’m able to gather, scholastic sports are much bigger in the US than overseas. The youth sports landscape is shifting though, where kids focus more on club teams than on their schools. It started with soccer, and now the top US players coming through the ranks never bothered playing for their high schools. Basketball has had the AAU teams and sneaker teams for some time. Baseball is changing too. I like school sports and enjoyed playing them, but schools need to focus on their core mission of education if the money isn’t there for the extras.

  110. skep-tic says:

    “Prop. 2, the state property tax cap law enacted in the 80’s. In order to raise property taxes, residents must vote an override.”

    for a long time, Mass was a joke due to its high taxes. it has made a lot of progress though and is actually better than CT and RI at this point. other northeastern states should put up roadblocks for tax increases

  111. jmacdaddio says:

    I’ve seen many cases where parents justify major expenditures on sports because it would lead to a college scholarship. It’s more cost-effective to take the money for soccer camps, private coaches, traveling teams, etc. and put it into a 529 plan. But who would do that when it’s much more fun to brag about how many goals Junior scored at some regional select elite tournament?

  112. make money says:

    #109 kETTLE,

    I agree 100%. People spent all day reasearching a digital camera and a notebook and make sure that get the biggest bang for the buck. My wife spends 2 days for a dress and a pair of shoes to wear at a wedding.But we can’t spent a couple hours going over the terms of our biggest purchase most of us will ever make.

    This is just an excuse for people who believed that homeownership will get you rich. Now instead of looking ourselves in the mirror and saying we were wrong we tend to point the fingure. That’s all.

  113. grim says:

    It’s easy to spot a scam when you’re at eye level with the scam. For the rest of folks with normal perspectives, you can’t see it until after the fact, Gary.


    You were the plant, 6 guys lost $45 after you walked away from the table.

    Hey, if a kid could win…

  114. 3b says:

    #112 Absolutley correct.

  115. make money says:


    Soccer is teh only sport were HS is a second class league. It’s the travel teams that teh best kids compete with their own dollars.

    Basketbal and footbal farm system relies on taxpayers dollars to develop these athletes.

  116. skep-tic says:

    actually, if your kid is good enough at a sport to get a college scholarship, then he is also good enough to get a scholarship to one of the private/parochial schools. so all of the top shelf athletes really don’t have to worry, and all of the kids who just want to have fun can play club sports

  117. Pat says:

    114 :P
    I thought of that, at the time. Believe me, with 9 older bros/sisters, I got my lessons in way before I hit that dude up.

    I watched until a kid won. Then I pushed in there in front of the guy who was waiting, so the shellguy was pissed at me. He wanted to beat me.

  118. Shore Guy says:

    #26 “I wonder how they define mild?”

    In a mild recession, economists keep their jobs.

    In a severe one, economists lose their jobs.

  119. grim says:

    I watched until a kid won. Then I pushed in there in front of the guy who was waiting, so the shellguy was pissed at me. He wanted to beat me.

    He let two kids win in a crowd of people?

    I bet he ate dinner at Lugers that night.. :)

  120. Jill says:

    I have no kids but I usually vote for the school budgets because I am a bleeding heart liberal and I feel that when you live in a community, part of living in that community is supporting the schools, not saying “I got mine and eff you”.

    That said, I’m always disheartened at the amount of money that’s always in the budget for school team sports, which are by definition exclusionary to all but a few students. Too many people regard the high school football team’s status as more important than the academic quality of the schools.

    Frankly, I’d rather see more creative physical education programs that would allow more kids, including those who aren’t athletic, to find something they enjoy doing. I remember when I was a kid being turned off of exercise entirely because in school everything was team sports like soccer, softball, lacrosse, etc. or requirements to do stunts on gymnastics equipment or climb ropes or other things I couldn’t do. In my town there is a Y — why not have swimming as a physical education program? Why not allow kids who attend martial arts classes after school to get physical education credits? Why not have yoga and pilates in the schools? If you give the klutzy kids something they can do without being ridiculed by other kids, perhaps they might not be as averse to exercise.

    If we are headed into tough economic times, they always cut libraries and the arts — never exclusionary team sports. Reading and creativity benefits all kids; team sports only benefit the few.

    And it’s not just the schools. In my town there is a big battle over spending tons of money to refurbish ball fields. Estimates range from $50K to lay sod that will be torn to shreds by the end of the summer to $1-$2 million for artificial turf. My town has almost NOTHING for kids other than organized sports.

  121. Pat says:

    Grim, the funny thing about that day was that on the way home in the car, my sister finagled the ten bucks off of me.

  122. grim says:

    I can’t comment on sports funding, I was a nerd.

    I thought “going to the Stadium?” was a play on the ol’ “Senior Pool” joke.

    Seniors used to cut class to go hang out in gym or lunch, I used to cut gym to hang out in the electronics lab.

    Everyone knew who I was, but only because I got into a fist fight with a popular jock one night (lasted an hour, maybe 3 punches thrown, found out we were both wimps). He was out the next day when the rumors broke, which instantly catapulted me to supernerd status.

  123. Shore Guy says:

    # 33 “Home inventory absorbed by early 2009 ”

    Ahh, instead of the Three Great Lies, we now have the Four Great Lies:

    1)Yhis won’t hurt a bit;
    2)Yes, I will respect you in the morning;
    3)I am from the government, I am here to help; and now,
    4)Home inventory absorbed by early 2009

  124. jmacdaddio says:

    116 mm –

    High school basketball is a waste of time for top players, and the NCAA system is rapidly losing relevance when it comes to basketball. Overseas players can focus on basketball after age 16 or so without having to pretend to go to school. At 18 they’re playing in pro leagues earning semi-decent wages while their US counterparts have the NCAA regulating practice time and handing out suspensions when a booster is caught buying players dinner at Friday’s. At 21 foreign players report to NBA camp with solid basketball fundamentals while their US counterparts have wasted a year or two in college trying to make ESPN highlight reels. NCAA basketball won’t go away because of the traditions, but look for it to send fewer and fewer players to the pros.

    Football (the American variety) will always be an NCAA sport simply because there is no viable alternative to a feeder league.

  125. Shore Guy says:

    # 37

    Or as one twit once told me, “Only chumps pay off their mortgage. It is better to owe the money and let it work for you than to actually own the propety.”

  126. kettle1 says:


    I have no kids but I usually vote for the school budgets because I am a bleeding heart liberal and I feel that when you live in a community, part of living in that community is supporting the schools, not saying “I got mine and eff you”.

    I am all for supporting your community but blindly supporting increased expenditures helps no one but the fat cats running the show. “I got mine and eff you” is exactly where the constant increases come from, every one wants what they want but wants someone else (the tax payer) to pay for it.
    It doesnt cost more every year to teach a child how to read or how to add.
    I am all for supporting your community, but do so in a constructive and beneficial manner, not just by supporting the status quo which is unsustainable in the long term.

  127. Shore Guy says:

    # 47 I’VE GOT IT. I’VE GOT IT!!!!!

    Taxes on those earning $100k stay where they are. The taxes on those earning less are TRIPPLED each year for, oh, 2-3 years or so. This will prompt the service users to leave and lower the cost of providing government to the ones who matter.

    (tongue planted firmly in cheek)

  128. Shore Guy says:

    # 47, do you have a link to his entire statement? I think I can use it.

  129. kettle1 says:

    shore 128,

    sounds like you have the beginnings of a modest proposal there….

  130. Essex says:

    127…the fat cats won’t get cut….the young enthusiastic teachers will lose their jobs…no highly paid admin will be left wanting…they’ll just make class sizes bigger. I love how the ‘revolutionaries’ always end up screwing the little guy.

  131. Essex says:

    17…enrollments up? Costs go up. Or is that math a little too tough for Kettle.

  132. 3b says:

    #121 Jill:I am a bleeding heart liberal and I feel that when you live in a community, part of living in that community is supporting the schools, not saying “I got mine and eff you”.

    That attitude of I got mine and eff you is an unfair characterization of many people myself included who are deeply alarmed by the massive amounts of spending on the schools, and yet the ever decreasing return ont hat investment.

    As a former huge supporter of the public education system,a nd onew who was closely involved with it for many years, and who has been to untold amount of mettings over the years, I can safely say I speak with some authorityknowledge on the subject.

    This massive amount of spending is all for the kids,a nd yet amny of the kids will nto eb able to afford to live in the towns they gre up in (if they choose), because the property taxes have destroyed that opportunity.

    I suggets you get a copy of your local school budget, see where the monies are spent;its shocking.

    I also suggest you actually got to a BOE meeting and ask questions, and see what passes for rational discourse there.

    These are the people who are making spending decesions involving multiple millions of dollars, and some of them could not find their way out of a paper bag

  133. Essex says:

    Study examines NJ incomes, poverty
    by Tom Hester/The Star-Ledger
    Wednesday April 09, 2008, 7:11 AM
    The Legal Services of New Jersey Poverty Research Institute today plans to release a report on the cost of living in New Jersey and its effect on the poor.

    “The Real Cost of Living in 2008: The Self-Sufficiency Standard for New Jersey,” is expected to show that poverty in New Jersey is the highest among surrounding Northeast states and higher than the national average. The report is also expected to show poverty among female-headed households with children has grown worse since 2005.

    Legal Services has found that 50 percent of income earned in New Jersey was held by 20 percent of the households in 2006 while the bottom 20 percent of households earned less than 4 percent of the income. The difference in median income between the richest county, Hunterdon, and the poorest, Cumberland, was more than $45,000 in 2006. Essex, Hudson and Passaic continue to have high poverty rates.

    The report will be detailed at an 11 a.m. press conference at the Statehouse in Trenton.

  134. kettle1 says:


    Its that public school eduction catching up to me!!! ;)

    Costs go up. Or is that math a little too tough for Kettle.

    Lets be realistic, schools only ever grow? no school has ever had a decreasing enrollment? School costs are not entirely simple. i was making a general comment not a blanket statement.

  135. Essex says:

    133…..I didn’t know James E. Cayne sat on the BOE!

  136. 3b says:

    #127 kettle:not just by supporting the status quo which is unsustainable in the long term.

    And I might add is rapidly becoming unsustainable in the short term as well.

  137. Essex says:

    135…Just rattling your cage kettle…public education is most people’s only hope to achieve a better life. Emotional argument? Possibly. But the amount of money the gov. pisses away on pork and unjust war could make some schools much better!

  138. Laurie says:

    RE #52.> it’s called the lawns section and yes, it’s nothing great. Taxes are way to high in’s the’s for the children..bite me.

  139. Nom Deplume says:

    [123] grim, funny story. And familiar.

    I was a nobody at SHS until I got into a fight with a school jock in front of nearly the entire assembly. It was a 2-hit fight–I hit him in the mouth, breaking some of his teeth, and he hit the floor. P1ssed him off royally to get decked by me, and he made it well known he wanted payback. Months later, he came after me with pipes, bats, broken bottles, and 4 friends, and he still couldn’t do as much damage as I did to him.

  140. Laurie says:

    Whoops.I meant post #56 regarding Ridgewood..

  141. kettle1 says:

    no problem essex, rattle away, it keeps me honest

  142. grim says:

    First I was told Bergen County was prestigious, and I had to live there.

    When I found an affordable home, I was told it was in a bad town, funny, nobody told me that there were “bad towns” in Bergen. I needed to buy in a good town.

    So I looked, and looked, and found an affordable home in a good town. I was told that I was on the “bad side” of “good town”. Wait a minute, I thought you said the town was desirable? Oh! You didn’t mean the whole town, just a section of town.

    So I look in the good section, of the not-quite-as-good-as-I-thought-town, and find a house that I can’t quite afford, but I decided to stretch anyway.

    And I’m told that it’s on the wrong street, not only is it on the wrong street, it’s the wrong style (Don’t even get me started on the color).

    At this rate it seems like the “prestigious” rating that was bestowed upon Bergen County was based on a total of 3 houses, all the right style, on the right street, in the right section of the right town.

    None of which are for sale.

    Go figure.

  143. kettle1 says:

    essex 138,

    You are probably right. But that method would miss the point. if we spend 10X more then anyone else on education yet do not eve rank in the top 10 for educational outcomes internationally then we clearly have a problem. We need to fix what ever the systemic problem is, not bury it in money.

  144. Pat says:

    You know, I’ve been reading about this whole Bergen County thing now for two years.

    It just sounds so boring.

    I’ve got strip clubs to fight, horrible schools, ugly downtown, POS Capes, nude neighbors and no jobs.

    How come I’m the one who seems so happy around here?

  145. Essex says:

    Kettle by that logic, we would pay much less for drugs….prescription drugs…than the rest of the world! Now what would ‘that’ do to our local economy! Everyone just shuddup…pay your taxes…take your pills….and enjoy your life in the Garden State….for Gawds sake!

  146. MT says:

    #26 “I wonder how they define mild?”

    In a mild recession, I keep my job.

    In a severe one, I lose my job.

  147. Pat says:

    BTW, the zoning meeting for the signage on newd club for my town’s historic area was postponed. It was packed, and the principals got the meeting delayed until the next month.

    Knowing me, can anybody guess what I did?

  148. Al says:

    Shore Guy Says:
    April 9th, 2008 at 12:41 pm
    # 47, do you have a link to his entire statement? I think I can use it.

    I got it from this paper:

    – see post #39.

  149. mac (110)-

    Right you are. I coach many kids with serious talent who will never walk onto the soccer field for a HS team. Their select, club and US Club teams will always take priority. The quality of the soccer is higher with us, the officiating is about a million times better…and all the money comes from parents, kids, the club itself and fundraisers.

    My daughter plays varsity lacrosse at N Hunterdon, but if we were looking at serious budget cuts, I have no doubt her old club- which now stops after 8th grade- could expand to accomodate HS kids, we’d move on, and the world would keep spinning.

  150. 3b says:

    #143 grim: Now you understand the myth of Bergen County. That disease howver, is actually mroe prevelant IMO in the wannabe BC towns than others.

  151. mac (112)-

    The illusion of readily-available sports scholarships is one of the biggest boondoggles in higher education. The percentage of kids who receive significant sports scholarships is only a fraction higher than the percentage of HS kids who eventually play pro sports.

  152. Shore Guy says:

    # 76 “All 54 coaching positions, the athletic director’s job, and elementary and middle school arts and music programs were eliminated Wednesday night by the Stoneham School Committee.”

    Music is an academic area. Art is an academic area. Interscholastic athletics is a nice addition but not essential. All of the lessons that are learned, and all of the physical fitness attained in interscholastic athletics can be replicated (and for a far greater number of students, at far less cost) with a good intramural program.

    For those inclined to tag me as a sports hater, I am a multiple letter winner at both the high school and college level, I attended a big-time sports school (we placed a good number of folks in the pros during my time there), as I type this I am wearing a big-ol ring from a college bowl game, and I later trained as a guest of the olympic training center for a number of years (nope, never made the team).

    I love sports, but school is about academics, and intramural sports are all to often overlooked as a way of teaching the lessons we all hope kids will learn from sports.

  153. 3b says:

    #151 clot: True but every parent who even knows that will tell you I know, but my kid is different.

    I have seen it time, and time again;it will never change.

    And sadly many parents consider an athletic scholarship to have more bragging rights than an academic one.

  154. thatBIGwindow says:

    Speaking of Prestigious Bergen County:

    I saw a new construction listed in Garfield.
    The listing stated:
    “located in affluent Bergen County”

    Garfield is affluent now?

  155. Al says:

    NJ is affluent

  156. thatBIGwindow says:

    3b.. you have to take a ride to Van Saun drive (in between Oak and Valley)

    There is a house with an addition which literally looks like a bird house sitting on top of a ranch house. Funny stuff!

  157. 3b says:

    # 153 tbw Are Abbott districts considered affluent now?

    By the way you will be happy to know that affluent and prestigious River Edge now has the 3rd highest property taxes in affluent and prestigious Bergen county.

  158. Jill (121)-

    “Frankly, I’d rather see more creative physical education programs that would allow more kids, including those who aren’t athletic, to find something they enjoy doing.”

    Jill, this will never happen. The mass feeding industry in the US will never allow us to be weaned from high-fructose corn syrup, white carbs and other empty foodstuffs. There’s both huge money and control of the population at stake here.

    A certain percentage of the population must be kept obese, sluggish and susceptible to disease in order for gubmint and corporations to maintain both physical and mental control.

  159. grim says:

    Take a trip down the turnpike and “NJ is effluent” will seem like the more appropriate monicker.

  160. Victorian says:

    There was an interesting article in the NYT about the myth of athletic scholarships..

    “Excluding the glamour sports of football and basketball, the average N.C.A.A. athletic scholarship is nowhere near a full ride, amounting to $8,707. In sports like baseball or track and field, the number is routinely as low as $2,000. Even when football and basketball are included, the average is $10,409. Tuition and room and board for N.C.A.A. institutions often cost between $20,000 and $50,000 a year.”

  161. (121)-

    “Why not have yoga and pilates in the schools?”

    In many communities, these are considered occult activities.

  162. 3b says:

    #56 tbw; I saw that last Sunday, in a word it is hideous. I cannot believe there are still McMansions being built down there,with all the McMansions that are rotting on the market in RE right now.

  163. make money says:

    Right you are. I coach many kids with serious talent who will never walk onto the soccer field for a HS team. Their select, club and US Club teams will always take priority. The quality of the soccer is higher with us, the officiating is about a million times better…and all the money comes from parents, kids, the club itself and fundraisers.


    I agree. Why is it that Football and Basketball colleges rely on the tax payer to fund multimillion dollar fields, practice equipment, Gyms that make NY sports clubs envy and not the private sector to do this. We the tax payers encourage this type of nonsense HS spending of our tax dollars. Each HS football team has a video room and a cameraman at every game and practice. Thousands of TAX Dollars and five or six assistant coaches. Does a HS defensive coordinator need two assistants?

  164. Al says:

    Why don;’t limit it to PE and club/untramural sports?

  165. grim says:

    Why not let the schools fund their sports programs through sponsorships, advertising, and naming rights?

    Want new turf? Ask Nike.

  166. lisoosh says:

    Favorite lines in the thread above:

    Gary: “It’s the housing version of the Stockholm syndrome.”

    Still looking: “need a meathook to pull your tongue out of your cheek? ;-)”

    Grim: “Of course you HELOC your place. Leverage baby, the fast track to easy riches.”

    Jill – Isn’t Terminal A where most of Americans’ shuttle flights leave from? A huge portion of their Super 80 fleet in down for emergency inspections.

    Hate those planes.

  167. 3b says:

    #163 Make: If you were to voice that opinion in my town you would be tarred and feathered.

  168. Jill (121)-

    This is all fine and good; but, if you accept that all institutions in America operate with an underlying addiction paradigm, continuing to fund schools in the usual manner is the equivalent of handing stacks of $100s to a crackhead.

    And, IMO, it’s very hard to argue that the underlying, unifying symptom in American life is not addiction.

    If it weren’t so, this blog wouldn’t exist.

  169. movinBC says:

    #60 Doyle:
    You make a good point – I do think that sharp kids can do well in most public schools, and underachievers can underachieve in “good” public schools, too.

    Coming from 10+ years in the Bay Area, I guess I’ve gotten a bit paranoid about public schools… it’s shameful how horrible they are out here (a gross generalization, of course, but valid nonetheless).

  170. chicagofinance says:

    I think many recent studies have reflected the fact that sports in high schools have served to mostly dumb-down male students in recent years. While gender bias still exists, academically, the “playing field” of opportunity is as level as it has been in history at the secondary school. Girls have really begun to assert themselves in earnest and it is reflected in achievement and college matriculation.

  171. Jill says:

    Clot #158 and #161: Did you see Supersize Me? Whatever you may think of the rest of it, the segment dealing with the substitution of soda, cake, pizza, and chicken nuggets in that school for kids with behavior problems with healthier, tasty foods like stir-fry and salads and such resulting in dramatic reduction in behavior problems was the most effective part of the film.

    The amount of Frankenfood being pumped into kids by schools and their own parents is horrifying. The only hope I see is that because so much corn is being diverted into Ethanol, it may soon be more cost-effective to use real sugar instead of HFCS. I know that there is a brand of soda now, Jones Soda, that uses actual sugar. And they are also having a contest for an LOLCat to put on their label.

    Not that sugared sodas are a whole lot better, but at least they aren’t metabolized immediately as fat the way HFCS is.

    As for yoga being regarded as occult, yes, I heard this. OTOH, there are Christian sects who have decided to adopt yoga principles to create something called “Christian yoga.” I guess it involves focusing on Jesus instead of focusing within. All I know is that yoga has really helped me with an anxiety problem…and it would probably help a lot of kids with problems focusing.

  172. Essex says:

    WASHINGTON — The Bush administration on Wednesday proposed a new effort to help homeowners in danger of foreclosure by loosening the eligibility criteria for new mortgages insured by the federal government. The program seemed designed, at least in part, to pre-empt legislation sought by Congressional Democrats for a much broader expansion of federally insured loans.

    Skip to next paragraph
    Looming Deficit Impedes Federal Housing Agency (April 9, 2008)
    Times Topics: Mortgages and the MarketsThe commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration, Brian D. Montgomery, announced the new proposal at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee. He said the expansion of an existing loan insurance program, called FHA Secure, would help as many as 100,000 additional homeowners by the end of 2008.

    Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts and the chairman of the financial services committee, has put forward a more expansive plan that he has said could help as many as 1.5 million troubled borrowers.

  173. meter says:

    It’s not “pant up demand.” It’s “pent up demand.”

  174. 3b says:

    #173 No, its pant up demand; you must be new to the site.

  175. grim says:

    to help homeowners in danger of foreclosure by loosening the eligibility criteria for new mortgages insured by the federal government.

    So let me get this straight, the solution to the problems caused by loose lending standards is to loosen lending standards?

    Beer Credit, the solution to, and cause of, all of life’s problems.” H. J. Simpson G. W. Bush

  176. Pat says:

    Grim, you misunderstood the intent of that sentence.

    Should read, “to help homeowners in danger of foreclosure by losing the eligibility criteria for new mortgages.”

    It’s that old “loose” versus “lose” problem with our school system.

  177. 3b (153)-

    The economic times we’re entering are going to force a lot of people to pull their heads out of their a$$es.

    The scary part is that the denial stage of this whole affair is going to be incredibly rough, because so many of us don’t have the mental and emotional tools to deal with what’s coming.

  178. Pat says:

    And Clot, once again, I also agree with the addiction theory.

    When I read the book you recommended, it was right there in the theme. That must have drawn you to the ideas.

    So much of our observable behavior goes back to our brain’s reliance on habits. Habits meant survival millions of years ago. So we do habits well. We are good at habits. Until they are destructive.

  179. grim says:

    because so many of us don’t have the mental and emotional tools to deal with what’s coming.

    We got tools..

    Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Cymbalta, Xanax, Valium.

  180. 3b says:

    #177 clot: So true. With the exception of my wife (my better half) I still feel like at times I am the only one who can see this happening. And yet I am accused of fear mongering, doom and gloom, exaggeration, un-patriotic, un-American, a malcontent, and on and on.

    Part of the reason I am so fond of this site. It tells me I am not alone.

  181. Homer says:

    Just popping in to say hello. With all these articles I have read, I have yet to see a decent price reduction on places in Central NJ. I am however having fun low balling people. And realators keep telling me I am crazy with my offers and that they have other people who are interested. I tell them I think there overinflated price is crazy and to let the other people interested overpay.

    These sellers need to get off cloud 9 and come down to reality. These sellers are still Greedy grubbers. I cant figure out if 2005 was the peak of the market why sellers are still asking way over 2005 prices. People need to just lowball more and more. I guess I am into Extreme lowballing. Hey I liked 1997-1998 prices. So thats what I offer. Or a smidge above those prices.
    But sellers do not like those offers.
    We need more extreme lowballers like me out there. That will help get the prices down more

  182. make (163)-

    The only reason for the existence of American football is gambling. Otherwise, it’s a taxpayer-sponsored enterprise that sucks billions of dollars out of the public coffers at every level: high school, university and even professional (via the extortionate public funding of stadiums).

    The only reason I enjoy American football is because it is the perfect gambling vehicle. When viewed as pure sport, it looks suspiciously like trash sport. The specialization of skills and positions rewards the freak and the oaf more than the pure athlete (of which there are only a handful on even the best teams).

  183. Jill (171)-

    “All I know is that yoga has really helped me with an anxiety problem…and it would probably help a lot of kids with problems focusing.”

    The folks who bring you Ritalin might have an argument with your point…and several billion dollars available to make sure your opinion will never spread to others.

  184. 3b (174)-

    I can’t wait to go into a meeting and say “pant-up demand”. I’m sure it will happen & it won’t even be premeditated.

  185. kettle1 says:

    182 clott,

    Re football…

    you forget that modern football is our equivalent of roman gladiatorial games. The more problems a society has the more “entertainment” needed. Look at rome, the further down they went the more they ramped up the gladiator games.

  186. Shore Guy says:

    # 173 In fact, we all demand to pant.

  187. 3b says:

    #184 clot: I use it all the time now, and yes without thinking. On another note I will be in you neck of the woods ( I believe) this weekend for a family function (Annandale/Clinton).

  188. Pat (178)-

    Run through the maze, punch the button, get the pellet.

    It’s not so much the habits themselves as it is the unconscious ways in which we engage in them.

    Introducing consciousness into our activities changes everything.

  189. Jill says:

    Anyone have info on MLS #2743244 (i.e. how long on market, price changes, etc.)? Thanks.

  190. vodka (185)-

    Gladiators? Nah. I’m more of a bear-baiting and mock naval battle guy.

  191. And, nothing beats a good chariot race.

    I wonder if chariot races were considered only for the Roman rednecks…kinda like NASCAR?

  192. ithink-ithink says:

    punch line?

    High school seniors’ financial know-how goes from bad to worse

    AP Economics Writer

    WASHINGTON (AP) _ Young people’s financial know-how has gone from bad to worse.

    High school seniors, on average, answered correctly only 48.3 percent of questions about personal finance and economics, according to a nationwide survey released Wednesday by the Federal Reserve. That was even lower than the 52.4 percent in the previous survey in 2006 and marked the worst score out of the six surveys conducted so far.

    With home foreclosures at record highs, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke stressed in a speech that young people must sharpen their financial knowledge so they are in a better position to make sound investment decisions throughout their lives.

    “The financial preparedness of our nation’s youth is essential to their well-being and of vital importance to our economic future,” Bernanke said at the Fed event on financial literacy.

    “In light of the problems that have arisen in the subprime mortgage market, we are reminded of how critically important it is for individuals to become financially literate at an early age so that they are better prepared to make decisions and navigate an increasingly complex financial marketplace,” the Fed chairman added.

    When the housing market collapsed, home values fell and interest rates rose. That especially clobbered people with tarnished credit or low incomes holding more risky “subprime” mortgages. As these homeowners found it increasingly difficult or possible to make their monthly mortgage payments, home foreclosures took off, some lenders went out of business and financial institutions suffered multibillion losses as mortgage-backed investments soured.

    Problems spread into other areas, affecting more creditworthy borrowers. And the housing, credit and financial slumps are threatening to push the economy into a deep recession.

    Bernanke, in his remarks, didn’t talk about the state of the economy or offer clues about the Fed’s next move on interest rates.

    Many economists believe the Fed will lower rates later this month as part of a multi-pronged approach to bolstering the economy and trying to ease the credit crunch.

    In this year’s survey, only 16.8 percent correctly answered that stocks likely would offer the higher growth over 18 years of saving for a child’s education, while 37.3 percent thought a U.S. savings bond — one of the most conservative investments — would offer the highest growth.

    Nearly 53 percent said they would have no liability if their credit card was stolen and a thief ran up $1,000 worth of debt. (Liability is limited to $50 after the credit-card issuer is notified.) Only 13 percent knew they might have to be responsible for $50.

    “The survey demonstrated that graduating high school seniors continue to struggle with financial literacy basics,” said Lewis Mandell, professor of finance and managerial economics at SUNY Buffalo School of Management.

    The latest survey — the sixth — was released by the Federal Reserve. The surveys, done every two years, were sponsored by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, which wants students to have the skills to be financially competent.

    College students’ financial literacy also was tested this year. They answered 62 percent of the questions correctly.

    The surveys were paid for by the Merrill Lynch Foundation.

  193. 3b (187)-

    Come on over. Just look for the mushroom cloud; that’s my place.

  194. ithink-ithink says:

    double entendre?

  195. kettle1 says:


    so considering political correctness trends and the endangered status of some big cats, who do we get to feed to the lions? can we still use lions?

  196. Ann says:

    Re school budgets

    I used to vote Yes for them, liberal that I am (was), but now I vote No, and I have kids in school.

    There will always be a level of spending that the state will shove down the throats of non-Abbott towns anyway, regardless of how the budget vote goes.

    I say, why give them even more? If you think it’s excessive, which it usually is, vote No and make it go to the town council and they will take out one symbolic purchase of $50,000 bucks and call it a day.

    I remember in my old town, they cut one club that five kids were in, the parents went to the meeting and whined, and boom, it was back in the budget! Vote no to that.

    I also think that the special ed spending has gone out of control with too little ROI.

  197. grim says:


    51 Park
    Listed: 10/24/2007
    Original List: $399,900
    Reduced to: $385,000 on 3/4
    Days on Market: 169


    Also, appears to be an estate sale.

  198. skep-tic says:

    “sports in high schools have served to mostly dumb-down male students in recent years.”

    there is an old prep school in RI that requires boys to play a sport every season (I’m sure there are others like it as well). if done right, sports are very valuable: they teach hard work, teamwork, sportsmanship, time management in addition to physical fitness. The problem is when the sport itself becomes the end instead of a vehicle for learning. At that point, in my opinion, it does not deserve to be associated with a school, which is supposed to be devoted to learning

  199. 3b says:

    #193 clot: Can I bring my Thompson?

  200. skep-tic says:

    another bailout of overpriced colleges is more quietly underway (from the Boston Globe):

    “A congressional committee on Wednesday approved a bill to let the Department of Education buy federally guaranteed student loans from lenders unable to sell the loans.

    Policy analysts and industry lobbyists were sorting through the political ramifications of a government rescue of the nation’s largest, most controversial student loan program — the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).

    Major lenders involved in FFELP include industry leader Sallie Mae, Citigroup, Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase and many others.

    Jaret Seiberg, financial services policy analyst at the investment advisory firm of Stanford Group Co, said letting the Education Department buy FFELP loans “could lead to the end of FFELP. It shows that private capital is not up to the task of providing FFELP loans.”

    Dozens of lenders have recently withdrawn from FFELP because they could no longer sell loans onto the secondary market, reflecting a new wariness among pension funds and other institutional investors about buying asset-backed securities.”

  201. gary says:

    Homer [182],

    Amen, Amen and Amen!! All great questions. I’ve been told, “wait, you’ll see prices come down.” I’m still waiting.

  202. jmacdaddio says:

    Clot 182-

    I’m a die-hard Giants fan, and even I managed to fall asleep during the Tampa Bay and Dallas playoff games. I love how the league markets games as quarterback showdowns (Marino vs. Montana, Manning vs. Farve) when the fact is that the opposing QBs will never be on the field at the same time. Watching the linemen go at it is no better than watching 300 pounders play pattycakes. Teams appear to have one support person for each player. A football team is a monumental operation even at the youth level, and I have no idea how parents find time to do it. It’s made the transition from sport to spectacle, and while the NFL talks up the sport as having global appeal, it’s mainly to the sports bettors in all 187 countries that get the game on TV.

  203. mark says:

    they got some loser on bloom regarding his
    mortgage. what a loser wants the feds to bail him out.


  204. mark says:

    is this what its come to?

  205. gary says:

    Control the line of scrimmage and you win the game. Period.

  206. movinBC says:

    So if we stick to our “lowball” offers, but ignorant, misled and misinformed buyers keep barfing up the bloated asking price, will prices ever come down? Or will the rest of us simply continue to be informed…renters? I imagine it to be like the movie “Idiocracy,” with dumb people living in mansions while the rest of us sit on piles of gold in shantytowns. Good times.

  207. kettle1 says:


    you mean idiocracy was a movie?!?!?!?!? i thought it was a documentary!

  208. grim says:

    God save us from the profanity laden rant that those pictures are going to elicit.

    Lottery ticket listing!

  209. movinBC says:


    say WHAT?!

    … I guess you’re paying for the view of the bigger houses?!?!?

  210. John says:

    without the male swim teams and female field hockey at most high schools where will are future creepy male swim coaches and female field hockey coaches come from.

    I would love to cancel sports in my school and make the parents who use them pay for it. But if Tony Baroney retired cop gets a kick out of watching his kid play football and be a star for a little while before the kid signs on with the sanitation department who am I to stop it.

  211. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Summers says U.S. in recession, sees recovery by 2009

    Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said Wednesday the U.S. economy is “currently in recession” but the next U.S. president will likely inherit an economy on the cusp of recovery. “In a technical sense the recession will have ended when the next president takes office,” he said on a panel hosted by the Harvard Club here. Summers, a Harvard University professor who led the U.S. Treasury during the Clinton Administration, said that while the economy may no longer meet the technical definition of a recession, it may still feel like one to Americans.

  212. 3b says:

    #207 movin: That is the way I feel sometimes, but at the end of the day. I keep the faith, Because at the end of the day, is it really worth it to pay 500k for POS Cape with 10k a year property taxes? And the answer in my mind is no.

  213. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Report: 1 in 5 New Jerseyans can’t afford essentials

    One in five New Jerseyans do not have enough money to afford the barest essentials to live in the state, according to a report issued today by the Legal Services of New Jersey Poverty Research Institute.

    When it comes to determining who is poor or financially struggling, anti-poverty activists said, the federal poverty level standard is useless. And the minimum wage of $7.15 an hour will not provide for self-sufficiency anywhere in the state.

    The report, “The Real Cost of Living in 2008: The Self-Sufficiency Standard for New Jersey,” is an attempt to show the actual income needed for singles and various size families to live without government support. “If we are serious about helping people escape poverty for the long term, we need a clear and accurate understanding of what level of income is needed to provide the basic necessities of life for New Jersey families,” said Melville Miller, Legal Services president.

    In Middlesex County, a single-parent with a pre-school child and a school age child needs $61,149 a-year to be self-sufficient, $43,549 more than the poverty level of $17,600.

  214. movinBC says:

    #214 3b:

    I hope other people agree with us and drive things further down, because if not, we’ll be fertilizing our shanty-lawns with Gatorade pretty soon.

  215. Ann says:

    Prices are never going back down to 1997, even inflation-adjusted.

  216. Ann says:

    House in #208

    That takes the cake. Not making fun of anyone’s house, just the price.

  217. skep-tic says:


    Ann– why?

  218. 3b says:

    3213 grim: while the economy may no longer meet the technical definition of a recession, it may still feel like one to Americans.

    And when the non-technical recession becomes a technical recession, does that mean it could be a non-technical depression?

    How can people already be talking about a recovery,when the non-technical recession which will most likely become a technical recession that might become soemthing worse, is just really now being accepted as getting under way.

    This is how I torture myself. Why can I not just accept that statement on face value, like so many others might do?

  219. ledward says:

    #217, what abt 2002? possible?? I don’t think so in the train towns.

  220. 3b says:

    #217 Ann: Never say never. Nobody ever expected them to get as high as they did, and yet they did. So we could have the same scenario on the down side.

  221. 3b says:

    #221 I belive 2002 prices are definitely possible, and would go as far as saying back to early 01.

  222. 3b says:

    #208 Now you have done it, I am going to have to talk gary down, get his soothing waterfall, and Enya CD’s

  223. Al says:

    Ann Says:
    April 9th, 2008 at 3:06 pm
    Prices are never going back down to 1997, even inflation-adjusted.

    If there is no JOBs in NYC, no JObs in NJ – what will make prices stay high – I can actually see prices crashing in NJ.

    For example – high unemployment causes wave riots in Oranges, Plainfield, Newark, elizabeth and such – all surrounding areas will crash.

  224. skep-tic says:

    from today’s WSJ:

    “Private loans have been one of the fastest-growing ways to pay for college. In 2006-07, students and their parents took out an estimated $17.1 billion in private loans, up from $1.57 billion in 1996-1997, according to the most recent tally from the College Board. The $17.1 billion represents 22% of all the borrowing to pay for college that year.”

    so almost a 1000% increase in private college loans in 10 yrs, not to mention all of the tuition that has been paid via HELOCs. If these funding sources continue to be more restricted going forward, I think you’re going to see many small, expensive private colleges go under.

  225. Ann says:


    Eh, that would just be too low.

    I predict the bottom will have at most (least?) 2001 prices, inflation adjusted.

  226. grim says:

    Of course median and average home prices aren’t going to fall to 1997 levels, even after inflation adjustment.

    The housing stock is entirely different.

    Homes built in 2008 are not only larger, but contain fixtures and finishes far in excess of anything that was used in 1997.

    We’ve spent the last 5 years tearing down starter homes and replacing them with McMansions.

    The median and average price of resales will be higher simply due to this replacement effect.

  227. Ann says:

    225 Al

    If there are NO jobs in NJ or NYC? Yeah, then houses will be worth nothing in NJ. I’m with you there.

  228. grim says:

    The current housing stock has more bedrooms, more bathrooms, more square footage, more garages than in 1997. Not to mention the $100,000 kitchens, whirlpool baths, elaborate stone and tile work, media rooms, etc etc.

    To think that we could even make an apples to apples comparison with 1997 is just silly.

  229. Ann says:


    Good point, but let’s say, for a given type of house, houses are still never going back to 1997, even inflation-adjusted.

    But I agree, using median/average price of resales could be deceiving.

  230. skep-tic says:

    1997 was the bottom of the trough from the early 90s downturn in housing. If you accept that 2008 is the equivalent of 1991-92, then we still have 5-6 yrs of downtrend left. given that this downturn so far is steeper and inflation is significantly higher, I do not see why arriving at prices equivalent to 1997 is out of the question

  231. PGC says:

    If we could only have demand this good over here, there wouldn’t be a problem.

    So much demand that you have to beat the buyers back with sticks.

  232. PeaceNow says:

    All this talk about high school sports…and nothing about college sports?

  233. lisoosh says:

    Pat Says:
    April 9th, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    “I’ve got strip clubs to fight, horrible schools, ugly downtown, POS Capes, nude neighbors and no jobs.

    How come I’m the one who seems so happy around here?”

    Lowered expectations?

  234. Al says:

    Homer Says:
    April 9th, 2008 at 2:09 pm
    Just popping in to say hello. With all these articles I have read, I have yet to see a decent price reduction on places in Central NJ.

    NO Reductions?? How Much lower do you expect this one to go??

    Piscataway, NJ 08854 MLS ID# 815411
    $165,000 3 Bed, 1 Bath

    Piscataway Lowest Priced house

  235. Al says:

    I wish we could edit our posts … – Grim could you remove extra URL and unmoderate?

  236. lisoosh says:

    skep-tic Says:
    ” If these funding sources continue to be more restricted going forward, I think you’re going to see many small, expensive private colleges go under.”

    I agree. College prices have been in something of a bubble of their own. Some of these institutions are in for a shock.

  237. ithink-ithink says:

    We’ve spent the last 5 years tearing down starter homes and replacing them with McMansions.

    grim, here comes 1997, because of tearing down the starter homes vs it remains 2001 because of building the mcmansions.

  238. lisoosh says:

    grim Says:
    April 9th, 2008 at 3:18 pm
    “Of course median and average home prices aren’t going to fall to 1997 levels, even after inflation adjustment.

    The housing stock is entirely different.

    Homes built in 2008 are not only larger, but contain fixtures and finishes far in excess of anything that was used in 1997.”

    I KIND of agree. However I do feel the need to point out that it makes no difference how big a house is or what kind of fixtures it has if people can’t afford to buy it. Housing, due to the fact that it is generally immobile, is subject to more than just the cost of materials – location does factor in as does the local economy.

    Plenty of houses in Detroit now worth far less than the cost of materials or their size or their fixtures would indicate. All Jersey needs is a real economic kick in the teeth and those McMansions could easily fall below the relative price of a cape from yesteryear.

  239. kettle1 says:

    Grim 228,

    As you said, all the starter homes have been torn down and replaced by mcmansions. the problem with that is the majority of these mcmansions are built to such flimsy standards and of such flimsy material that many of them will not last 50 years without serious renovations. The starter homes built in the 50’s have actually held up . I cant even count the number of mcmansions i have been in that looked like they were built by a drunk blind guy with some architectural drawings.

  240. ithink-ithink says:

    Study: Many who think they belong to middle class, in fact, don’t
    new report by the Pew Research Center highlights a paradox of the American middle class: Most people, no matter where they fall on the economic spectrum, believe they are part of it.,1,516536.story

  241. kettle1 says:


    another point to consider…

    Energy costs. All of these new homes with more bedrooms , more square footage and more appliances are going to get very expensive to operate. My uneducated opinion is that skyrocketing energy costs combined with shoddy construction and a plummeting market may take these homes lower then you might expect.

  242. Jamey (of the coalition of the unwilling and unable) says:

    Basically, a summation of all that’s been written on these message boards since their inception (albeit with less posturing)…

  243. grim says:

    You mean a white elephant?

  244. Al says:

    TO follow up on post 236:

    Just for the record – I looked at the houses in spring of 2006 in this area of P-way.

    Similar completelly run down home was on the marked withing few blocks on abusier street – asking price was ……319K.

    By run down I mean: I was afraid to go in, and it had collectors item gas oven – the one from 1940th, holes in walls hardwood flooring worn to holes -how do you do it? -and ancient linoleum. Bath tub was rusted trough and heater looked like an evil rusted machine from horror movies. outside was in no better condition.. When I saw it in 2006 – I said I am done looking for houses in NJ – my wife got a bit pi$sed at me… She is glad now…

  245. gary says:

    ithink-ithink [208],

    Holy friggin’ sh*t.

  246. grim says:

    Off topic..

    Microsoft must be fuming!

    From MarketWatch:

    Yahoo in talks to carry search ads from Google: report

  247. Stu says:

    House in #208

    Make sure you click on picture 4.

  248. grim says:

    And back to the regularly scheduled program..

    From Bloomberg:

    Moelis Says Wall Street Banks May Be Forced to Cut 35% of Jobs

    — Kenneth Moelis, the former president of UBS AG’s investment bank, said Wall Street firms may have to eliminate as much as 35 percent of employees as leveraged lending dwindles and the pace of mergers and acquisitions slows.

    “The Street got staffed up to support what was a slight bubble in M&A,” Moelis, 49, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television today. “You’re going to see a significant retrenchment.”

  249. grim says:

    Make sure you click on picture 4.

    Those ‘tarp’ additions are all the rage, the whole “indoor/outdoor” living craze.

  250. grim says:

    Or is that tent one of the two bedrooms?

  251. 3b says:

    #250 But that will not affect train towns, including River Edge.

  252. citizen x says:


    Percentage of my school system’s budget earmarked for salaries: 9%

    Percentage of same for benefits: 18%

    Benefits plan member co-payments (for medical/life/disability; not sure about pension/retirement): $0

    Reaction of Superintendent to the possibility that we *formally* consider all compensation as part of a whole, with the goal cost containment AND increasing base salary (attractive to best talent), while instituting modest co-payments that are still FAR below what most taxpayers make for the same benefits and services: “Heresy!”

    The Q and A part of tonight’s debate/candidates’ night should be interesting…

  253. 3b says:

    #254 Be careful what you say, some of the villagers may come after you with torches and pitch forks.

  254. lostinny says:

    Wow you guys have been busy.
    I’m sorry you’ve met so many delusional people. They need a reality check about how many kids end up going pro. I’ve worked with high school kids for the last 10 years. I have met a few parents that counted on it but the majority didn’t. I’m not saying your experience isn’t true- just saying mine is different.

  255. jamey says:


    I am a multiple letter winner at both the high school and college level, I attended a big-time sports school (we placed a good number of folks in the pros during my time there), as I type this I am wearing a big-ol ring from a college bowl game, and I later trained as a guest of the olympic training center for a number of years

    Wait, Shore, you forgot to mention how rich you are, too… Off day?

  256. citizen x (TPFKAJamey) says:


    Actually, since the proposal is just financial sleight-of-hand (same raw dollar amount; different ratio applied to distro), a lot of townsfolk are kind of hepped up about the idea.

  257. citizen x (TPFKAJamey) says:


    Garfield is affluent now?

    Are you kidding, he’s the quintessential fat-cat…

  258. make money says:


    #163 Make: If you were to voice that opinion in my town you would be tarred and feathered.

    Then don’t complain about property taxes. Whatever happened to limited gov’t to in this country.

  259. RentininNJ says:


    Please check your email

  260. make money says:

    The scary part is that the denial stage of this whole affair is going to be incredibly rough, because so many of us don’t have the mental and emotional tools to deal with what’s coming.


    long Prozac?


  261. CB in SJ says:

    “Homes built in 2008 are not only larger, but contain fixtures and finishes far in excess of anything that was used in 1997”

    Check out Strawberry Mansion, in Philadelphia, a neighborhood of mansions built 1890-1920s. By the 1960s it was one of the most notorious ghettos in Philadelphia. All those mansions (real mansions, not McMansions) became tenements. It has happened before, why not again? If you could travel back to 1920 and tell people that this area was going to be a slum, they’d’ve carted you off to the loony bin.

  262. Nom Deplume says:

    [263] CB

    SM — Not much better today.

  263. make money says:


    With the inevitable inflation in commodities and the collapse of housing you will definitively get to th epoint where it’s more expensive to build a McMansion then buy one thats foreclosed.


  264. grim says:


    Love it, it’s going up right now.

  265. 3b says:

    #260 I have stopped complianing, do not care any more. Lots of people in my town complain about the taxes but yet they have voted in the past for every referendum that the town ever put in front of them pertaining to the schools.

    But yet we cannot complain about too much money being spent on the schools, but yet they still complain about the taxes.

    Hope you understand that; I don’t.

  266. grim says:

    All those mansions (real mansions, not McMansions) became tenements. It has happened before, why not again? If you could travel back to 1920 and tell people that this area was going to be a slum, they’d’ve carted you off to the loony bin.

    For those in Northern NJ, you don’t need to travel down to Philly to see this, the Plainfields contain numerous examples of mansions carved into tenements.

  267. Ann says:

    241 kettle

    I don’t know, I saw a lot of starter homes built in the 50s on our househunt that needed to be totally overhauled. In addition, all of them had “evidence of termites” and no one knew what lurking behind the walls.

  268. Ann says:

    Question, technically, what is a “McMansion”?

    You hear the term tossed about so much, but what is a McMansion really? Just a new house? A house that is bigger than some arbitrary square footage? A house that isn’t a Cape or a split or a bilevel or a ranch or a 1920’s colonial?

  269. grim says:


    Everyone seems to have their own definition.

    McMansion is a pejorative architectural term coined in 1984 by suburban New York environmentalist Jay Westerveld, to describe a particular style of housing that is constructed in an assembly line fashion reminiscent of food production at McDonald’s fast food restaurants. So-called “McMansions” often have a large footprint, cookie-cutter designs, similar architectural styles, and are often located in a newer, larger subdivision or replace existing, smaller structure in older neighborhoods.

  270. grim says:

    Faux chateau is by far my favorite

  271. Shore Guy says:

    #257 As I have stated numerous times in the past, I am not rich. Also, I made the statement you pointed to just to show that I am not some sport-hating guy who has it in for school sports.

  272. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Ann Take a Sunday drive 23 north to 565 north cloned monsters will appear on your right about a mile up the road.You’ll know them when you see them.Go another mile or 2 Lamp Post on your left good food & drink.A drive in the country is nice but the gas may cost more than lunch.

  273. Ann says:


    Thanks for def. Interesting. See, here’s what I don’t get. Pretty much all neighborhoods, whatever their age, were “developments” at some point with “cookie cutter designs.”

    Example, I think we’ve all seen towns where 90% of the houses are the same exact split or cape. Isn’t that cookie cutter? Not exactly architectural brilliance.

    Then you have all the houses from earlier, like the 20s, 30s. Weren’t they all built from kits? They all look the same to me.

    I guess the only thing where I get busting on McMansions would be their size, which in some cases, has gotten out of control.

  274. Jason says:

    271 Grim
    I think of a McMansion as any new pre-fab home with such a large footprint that it occupies 66+% of the piece of property its situated on.

  275. Laurie says:

    Regarding house in post #208…nice wheelbarrow in photo…does the backyard junk come with the house or is that negotiable??? BTW..We have another house for sale in our development…3 of them out of a street of 5 are for sale…looks like our own little love canal..altho pricier but ultimately just as toxic/

  276. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Jason I still think mine fit the bill 3700 sq ft but on 2 ac. Not to make you Bergen buyers upset but 889 for these bad boys.Seems like a deal after that house posted in 208.Taxes 15 or so.

  277. Ann says:


    I see the point about size, 3700 sf is enormous and unnecessary.

    In general, I just don’t get the complaints about cookie cutter and lacking architectural charm. All eras suffered from those afflictions at least from what I’ve seen in NJ.

  278. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Ann They just look so out of place & my god who would want to heat these things.

  279. BubbleYum says:

    When I see “McMansion” I think huge behemouth on a tiny lot.

  280. chicagofinance says:

    Ann Says:
    April 9th, 2008 at 3:21 pm
    228 Good point, but let’s say, for a given type of house, houses are still never going back to 1997, even inflation-adjusted. But I agree, using median/average price of resales could be deceiving.

    A: talk to people in the rust-belt about your opinion….

  281. chicagofinance says:

    grim Says:
    April 9th, 2008 at 3:45 pm
    Off topic..
    Microsoft must be fuming!
    From MarketWatch:
    Yahoo in talks to carry search ads from Google: report

    grim: Yahoo! longs are fuming….Jerry Yang looks like a diaperman….honestly, the Yahoo! board is putting on public display the vision and competence that caused them to fall to also-ran status in search…..pathetic display of megalomania….

  282. Ann says:


    Hey, just my opinion.

  283. njpatient says:

    85 skep

    sadly true.

  284. njpatient says:

    275 Ann

    “Pretty much all neighborhoods, whatever their age, were “developments” at some point with “cookie cutter designs.””



    Anywhere near Boston?


    Anywhere near Philly

    New Orleans?


    Anywhere where the streets were carved out by cows some time ago, or by walls (see, e.g., Manhattan) etc.?

    Nah. Definitely not “pretty much all.”

  285. njpatient says:

    263 CB
    “Check out Strawberry Mansion, in Philadelphia, a neighborhood of mansions built 1890-1920s. By the 1960s it was one of the most notorious ghettos in Philadelphia. All those mansions (real mansions, not McMansions) became tenements. It has happened before, why not again? If you could travel back to 1920 and tell people that this area was going to be a slum, they’d’ve carted you off to the loony bin.”

    While you’re in 1920, you should go visit beautiful Harlem.

  286. Ann says:


    I don’t quite get your post, but here goes. Philly. Yes, everything built during a certain period in Philly looks the same. Street after street of rowhouses for example.

    New York City. Everything built during the same period looks the same, and some of it is really ugly, like all of those bland high rises they built all over the Upper East Side.

    There are entire towns in NJ that have hardly anything in certain parts but capes and splits and ranches, ala 1950s.

    My point is that condemning McMansion neighborhoods because they are “cookie cutter” doesn’t make sense to me. There have always been “cookie cutter” neighborhoods. McMansion neighborhoods are just NEW cookie cutter neighborhoods.

    Now, if we want to talk about the size of McMansions, that’s another story

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