Weekend Open Discussion

This is the time and place to post observations about your local areas, comments on news stories or the New Jersey housing market, open house reports, etc. If you have any questions you wanted to ask earlier in the week but never posted them up, let’s have them. Also a good place to post suggestions, requests for information, criticism, and praise.

For readers that have never commented, there is a link at the top of each message that is typically labelled “[#] Comments“. Go ahead and give that a click, you might be missing out on a world of information you didn’t know about. While you are there, introduce yourselves to everyone.

For new readers that have only read the messages displayed on the main page, take a look through the archives, a substantial amount of information has been put online in the past year. The archives can be accessed by using the links found in the menus on the right hand side of the page.

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317 Responses to Weekend Open Discussion

  1. grim says:

    Are these Wall Street jobs?

    From the Star Ledger:

    Merrill’s steep loss in Q1 spurs job cuts

    Merrill Lynch, the world’s largest brokerage, said yesterday it would cut another 3,000 jobs after more than $6.5 billion of fresh write-downs pushed it to a loss for the first quarter.

    Merrill is one of the largest employers in New Jersey, employing more than 8,000 mostly in back-office operations.

  2. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    New Jersey’s Corzine Seeks Up to $700 Million of Cuts

    New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine’s administration is seeking as much as $700 million in additional cuts to his $33 billion budget as slowing consumer spending and a weakening housing market crimp tax revenue.

    “We’re fighting a stone rolling downhill,” Corzine said today in a Bloomberg interview. “I think we are in a recession as we speak. I think it’s deeper than the market reflects.”

    The additional cuts amount to about 5 percent to 10 percent of the state’s operating costs, Treasurer David Rousseau said. Corzine’s administration has asked Cabinet agencies in recent days to suggest the reductions, Rousseau said. Those cuts won’t be unveiled until at least mid-May, he said, when the treasurer goes before lawmakers with updated state revenue figures.

    Corzine, a first-term Democrat and former Goldman, Sachs & Co. chairman, said earlier this month the state may need as much as $500 million in additional spending cuts. His budget as proposed in February called for $2.7 billion in reductions that include shedding at least 3,000 jobs.

  3. grim says:

    From the Times Trenton:

    Merrill workers brace for layoffs

    Mercer County’s economy has sus tained its second body blow in five months.

    Financial services giant Merrill Lynch, Mercer County’s largest employer with approximately 6,000 personnel here, announced yesterday it will reduce its global work force of 61,000 by approximately 4,000 jobs.

    The company would not specify exactly how many people locally could lose their jobs. That has created a tense atmosphere in the Hopewell facility where speculation among employees is as many as 500 people could be laid off in central New Jersey, an employee told The Times.

    In December, pharmaceuticals titan Bristol-Myers Squibb, the county’s No. 3 employer with about 3,800 employees, also announced heavy layoffs worldwide. Similarly, Bristol-Myers would not specify then exactly how many people locally would be let go.

    But as the cutbacks by two of the nation’s Fortune 500 stalwarts play out over this year, it is ex pected that they will affect Mercer County deeply.

    “Obviously, there is going to be a lot of pain in this recession,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. “You can be ready with all of the tools that you have but you can’t make up for the human suf fering that is going to go on.”

    That suffering was evident yesterday among employees. “The atmosphere here is definitely intense and somber,” said a Merrill employee. “We’re all just waiting it out to see what happens. I don’t think there’s anyone who isn’t worried about losing their job.”

  4. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Citigroup CEO Vows to Slash Cost Base by 20%, FT Says

    Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit said the biggest U.S. bank plans to slash costs by as much as 20 percent, the Financial Times reported.

    It is “clearly feasible” for Citigroup to take “10, 15, 20 percent” off its cost base, especially in information technology and operations, the FT cited Pandit as saying. The cuts would include job losses among the bank’s 370,000 employees, Pandit said. Citigroup is expected to report a first-quarter loss of $4.75 billion today, based on a Bloomberg survey of six analysts.

  5. grim says:

    From Dow Jones (hat tip CR):

    Home-Remodeling Spending To Fall 4.8% Through ’08 – Study

    Home-improvement spending is unlikely to improve until 2009, and the second half of 2008 is shaping up to be weaker than the first, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

    Falling consumer confidence and a weakening economy are inhibiting remodeling spending, which is expected to fall by an annual rate of 4.8% through the end of 2008, the center said Thursday. That is steeper than the 2.6% annualized decline the center projected through the third quarter when it last updated its Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity in January.

    The center, which develops its quarterly indicator from government data and surveys, estimates remodeling spending declined 1.7% in 2007.

    “Spending on home improvements continues to be sluggish, as homeowners respond to falling home prices,” said center Director Nicolas P. Retsinas. “The fall-off in pending home sales suggests a long and slow recovery.”

  6. grim says:

    From the NY Times:

    Workers Get Fewer Hours, Deepening the Downturn

    Not long ago, overtime was a regular feature at the Ludowici Roof Tile factory in eastern Ohio. Not anymore. With orders scarce and crates of unsold tiles piling up across the yard, the company has slowed production and cut working hours, sowing worry and thrift among its workers.

    “We don’t just hop in the car and go shopping or get something to eat,” said Kim Baker, whose take-home pay at the plant has recently dropped to $450 a week, from more than $600. “You’ve got to watch everything. If we go to town now, it’s for a reason.”

    Throughout the country, businesses grappling with declining fortunes are cutting hours for those on their payrolls. Self-employed people are suffering a drop in demand for their services, like music lessons, catering and management consulting. Growing numbers of people are settling for part-time work out of a failure to secure a full-time position.

    The gradual erosion of the paycheck has become a stealth force driving the American economic downturn. Most of the attention has focused on the loss of jobs and the risk of layoffs. But the less-noticeable shrinking of hours and pay for millions of workers around the country appears to be a bigger contributor to the decline, which has already spread from housing and finance to other important areas of the economy.

    While official unemployment has risen only modestly, to 5.1 percent, the reduction of wages and working hours for those still employed has become a primary cause of distress, pushing many more Americans into a downward spiral, economists say.

  7. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Citigroup Q1 net loss $5.1B vs $5B profit

    Citigroup takes $6B in subprime write-downs, credit costs

    Citigroup takes $3.1B write-down on leveraged finance

    Citigroup takes $1.5B auction rate securities write-down

    Citi takes $1.5B credit adjustment on monoline insurers

    Citigroup: global consumer credit costs up $3.1B

    Citi Q1 revenue down 48% at $13.22B

  8. NJ Finance says:

    Let me first say that I have been reading this board for quite some time without posting much at all. But recently I have seen people pointing to how many times income someone should pay for a house (ie 4X or 2.5X), or we should go back to 2000 pricing and add 4% per year etc. I’ve also seen people relying on economic indicators to show that housing prices will continue to decline; this may work in the stock market, but has little to do with a local real estate market. In my opinion, a better way (certainly not the only way) to understand the true market value of a home should be based on affordability. The main driver of affordability is and will continue to be interest rates. The rate will allow a buyer significant leverage or very little, given the same 20% downpayment across all buyers. With that said, Joe Q will always ask “what’s my payment” and the purchase price will follow. Therefore if Mr Joe Q can afford a $2,801 Principle and interest payment with 20% down on a conventional 30 year fixed, he can afford a $600K home (excluding taxes for this illustration) based on a 5.75% interest rate. IF that rate continues to go up, purchase power drops significantly for all buyers across all income ranges. See the following examples of home prices being impacted by increasing rates with the same payment.

    Rate 5.75%
    Purchase Price 600,000
    20 % Down (120,000)
    Mortgage 480,000
    Principle & Interest 2,801

    Rate 6.75%
    Purchase Price 539,818
    20 % Down (107,964)
    Mortgage 431,854
    Principle & Interest 2,801

    Rate 7.75%
    Purchase Price 488,720
    20 % Down (97,744)
    Mortgage 390,976
    Principle & Interest 2,801

    Rate 8.75%
    Purchase Price 445,055
    20 % Down (89,011)
    Mortgage 356,044
    Principle & Interest 2,801

    As you can see at 5.75% the house is worth 600K, at 8.75% its worth 445K.

    Sitting back and saying 2.5X income or 4X income has nothing to do with affordability, and therefore is a misleading indicator as to true value.

    GRANTED, the market went way beyond “true value” due to other hybrid mortgages which allowed for higher leverage based on the same payment. Examples are, interest only, ARM, balloon, even interest capitalization (neg amortization). Further, subprime borrowers had access to money well beyond their means, which brought more inexperienced borrowers to the table making offers they had no business making. But now that most of that is gone, we come back to the standard 30 year fixed with 20% down, take the average income in NJ and find the payment he can make based on the old standard of 28-36. (28% of gross income = P&I+taxes+insurance, or 36% of income for all debt). This will assist you in creating the “affordability index” which will tell you if the average income in NJ can afford the average home. The index is perfect at 100, but historically speaking NJ has NEVER gone above 90 (to my knowledge) and has gone as low as 50, as soon as that index hits 80+, its time to buy. That will be your indicator that the hybrid mortgage impact has worked its way out of the system.

    My situation has been to rent but now its my feeling that if I can find a home in which I can live in for a 7+ year period, I will make out just fine. There are risks, but at some point you’ve either got to do your business or get off the pot. In other words, i’m getting weak.

    I have had trouble finding an accurate NJ affordability index since I’ve left banking back in ’05, if anyone has access to this information, I would greatly appreciate it.

  9. bairen says:

    #8 NJcpa,

    What happens to the people who buy a house with interest rates at 5.75 and then try to sell a few years later with interest rates at 8.75? According to your figures, afford ability will have declined about 25%. Historically interest rates on mtgs have been in the 7.75 to 8.75% range. These low rates are contributing to overpriced houses.

    Thinking in terms of monthly payments instead of the value of what you are purchasing can lead to nasty surprises.

  10. Salty Steve says:

    Hanover township observation:

    4 Ranches have entered the market in the 500-600k range in the last few weeks for the spring selling season (where previously there were none)

    In the past 6 months there was maybe 2 that came on the market. This is a significant uptick in supply

    It’s going to be interesting to see how fast they sell and for what price…

    The last ranch-style sale was at 508k. Maybe one of these will go for under 500k.

  11. Mikeinwaiting says:

    CPA here’s something that has some relevance to your post.

    A Warning in the Bond Market


    Since Friday, the 10 year yield has risen from 3.47% to 3.7%, which is a huge move. Long-term mortgages closely track this rate, so expect mortgage rates to head back up.

    This complicates the Fed’s ability to create a floor in housing, which it desperately needs to do. Consumers buy housing based on how much they can afford on a monthly payment — little distinction is made between which portion goes to equity vs. financing, i.e. the mortgage rate. If the Joneses can afford a $1500/month mortgage payment, that’s what they will spend regardless of house prices or mortgage rates. The Fed has 3 basic options:

    Lower the mortgage rates so less of that $1500 is sucked up by interest, allowing the Joneses to buy “more house.” Theoretically, this would help put a floor under house prices.
    Allow house prices to come down. Rising mortgage rates are a double-whammy where buyers are hit since the lower house price that is partially offset by more of that $1500 is eaten up by interest and sellers are hit with lower home equity. The current situation most fits this case and the Fed (and everyone else) is desperately trying to mitigate this scenario with its knock-on effects on wealth consumption effect, housing-based derivatives, related industries, etc.
    Give the Joneses more money so they can afford a bigger monthly payment and pay more for houses, which should stabilize housing. As far as I can see, this can happen only through wage inflation. The Fed is actively working against this option as it believes this would spark an inflationary spiral (yes, I know inflation is already spiraling but let’s just play the Fed’s shell game for the purposes of this post). Despite the official mucking of inflation numbers, this scenario is bad news for everyone.

  12. grim says:


    Please confirm the following assumptions:

    1) Home prices don’t rise or fall without a corresponding inverse move in mortgage rates.

    2) The average buyer puts down 20%.

    3) Supply and demand are irrelevant.

    4) Access to capital is irrelevant.

    5) Appreciation is only possible in a perpetual declining rate environment.

  13. NJ Finance says:


    You are correct.


    Please confirm the following assumptions:

    1) Home prices don’t rise or fall without a corresponding inverse move in mortgage rates.

    2) The average buyer puts down 20%.

    3) Supply and demand are irrelevant.

    4) Access to capital is irrelevant.

    5) Appreciation is only possible in a perpetual declining rate environment.

  14. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Cpa Bairen’s post is dead on & as you can see by the clip of my post the writer also feels that the Joneses will buy without thinking in the terms that Bairen posted.
    But as you have been reading here a while as I have we know better than to be the Joneses. Stay strong!

  15. grim says:

    Affordability is an important factor in the housing market, but it isn’t the only factor. Trying to distill the “value” of a home in with a single indicator simply isn’t possible, or useful. The interplay of both quantifyable and non-quantifiable variables is not only incredibly complex, but is also dynamic, making it unlikely that such a simplification would ever be appropriate.

  16. bairen says:

    #14 Mikeinwaiting,

    That’s why so many people took out short term arms. They looked at the teaser rate and never looked at what the payment would be when it reset. or they simply figured we can sell it in 3 years and make a ton of money. Problem is millions thought like that, and if they are still employed and can’t afford the reset, who is sitting on the sidelines (especially if they are a renter) and can step in and buy a higher priced house with higher interest rates?

    Not many. Factor in higher lending standards and a weakening economy and you have the making for a housing implosion.

  17. grim says:

    I have had trouble finding an accurate NJ affordability index since I’ve left banking back in ’05, if anyone has access to this information, I would greatly appreciate it.


  18. njpatient says:

    1 grim

    Don’t be silly. They’re not even near Manhattan.

  19. Clotpoll says:

    Big numbers from Caterpillar & Honeywell this AM. Futures already indicate a goodly amount of short-covering today.

  20. Clotpoll says:

    CItigroup reports another bloodletting and gets a 6% bump. Amazing that a 6 bil writedown gets taken as good news (compared to the 20 bil rumor flying around this week).

    Anyone who goes long C today should have his brain removed.

    All disclaimers.

  21. Pat says:

    “The main driver of affordability is and will continue to be interest rates.”

    I will take the opposing view:
    The main driver of affordability is and will continue to be: purchase price (e.g., a function of wage).

    Rates are a temporary assumption. Absent government intervention, the purchase price is “forever” static.

    This is the factor, in my opinion, that overshadows all others in a declining price environment like today’s. Because of the negative leverage effect, demand decreases at every price point. Because alternate housing opportunities exist, the effect is magnified.

    Ask most “lookers” today, whether or not they would buy if they knew prices were going to decline 5% during the next twelve months. I challenge you to find one looker who would respond by saying, “But what will interest rates do?”

  22. Clotpoll says:

    Pat (21)-

    “Ask most “lookers” today, whether or not they would buy if they knew prices were going to decline 5% during the next twelve months. I challenge you to find one looker who would respond by saying, “But what will interest rates do?”

    Pat, prices effectively got whacked 5% in the past two weeks…by lenders who’ve now categorized all of NJ as a “declining market”. Now, the “V” in LTV (loan-to-value) will be the appraised value, adjusted downward by 5%.

    All I’ve been doing the last two days is trying to help my mortgage guys piece back together all their pending loans that had the original LTVs blown up by this significant event.

    Frankly, 1 out of 3 of these loans will not come back together. Our outfit is very conservative, so I’d guess more aggressive shops will have even higher fall-thru rates.

  23. Painhrtz says:


    You also have to consider that even with a 20% down payment on the 600,000 and 540000 home those are still loans above the 417,000 dollar Freddie conforming loan limit (jumbo loans). So even if the buyer has the 20% they are still going to be paying a higher interest rate due to the originators inability to sell it to Freddie.

  24. x-underwriter says:

    “The main driver of affordability is and will continue to be interest rates.”

    A mortgage broker friend told me last summer to buy now because the rates were never going to be this low. I said to him, the interest rate is variable. Interest rates will fluctuate over time. Unless you locked in during a period of record low rates, it will probably go lower at some point and you can refinance to the lower rate. The purchase price, however, is locked in forever. If you buy now for $500,000 and that same property sells for $400,00 a year from now, you will never be able to recoup that extra $100,000 by having a lower rate now. If you buy at the cheaper price but higher rate, you will inevitably be able to refi for a lower rate.

  25. Clotpoll says:

    Of course, now there’s no piggyback, high-LTV, stated/stated or option-ARM alternative available to borrowers who want to force themselves into a max-dollar purchase of RE.

    Hence, the days of max-dollar sales are over. Prices WILL now begin a more-accelerated decline.

  26. x-underwriter says:

    What’s the highest CLTV available for piggyback loans out there today in NJ?

  27. Clotpoll says:

    Pain (23)-

    Excellent point. Even with great credit, you’re looking at a minimum 75 bps premium once that mortgage passes 417K.

    Bad credit? You could be up to 250 bps…or simply, rejected.

    The secondary market WILL NOT accept jumbo paper without a big premium. Hell, they won’t even take FHA with a FICO under 580 (FHA’s own guidelines do not contain minimum FICO requirements).

  28. thatBIGwindow says:

    It is predicted to be 64 and cloudy this Sunday in Northern NJ. No sun for the open houses :(

  29. Clotpoll says:

    x (26)-

    You’re joking, right?

  30. x-underwriter says:

    nada? wow!!!!

  31. Clotpoll says:

    x (30)-

    I seem to remember one or two outfits quoting us CLTVs under 90% a few months back.

    I’d have to believe none exist now, though. Piggyback is not even an option we discuss, either internally or with clients.

  32. x-underwriter says:

    I just got an email out of the blue looking for FHA Underwriters. I guess FHA is now taking the place of Alt-A and Sub-Prime. Too bad you have to go through the rubber glove test to get a loan with FHA. No lyin’ ’bout the income there.

  33. BC Bob says:

    Shut up and buy the damn dollar. OOPS, looks like they may be stepping to the plate? Maybe the fun will begin, the world markets against the world’s cb’s. Guess, who will win? Intervention will not work, long term, if the fundamentals don’t support it. Will they ever learn?

    “Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU’s ‘Mr Euro’, has given the clearest warning to date that the world authorities may take action to halt the collapse of the dollar and undercut commodity speculation by hedge funds.”

    “I don’t have the impression that financial markets and other actors have correctly and entirely understood the message of the G7 meeting,” he said. [Edit, actors? Understood their message? Let’s see your resolve]


  34. Clotpoll says:

    BC (33)-

    This is going to end very, very badly.

  35. Clotpoll says:

    But, yesterday Crudlow said the Treasury won’t do what it takes to attempt to shore up the USD!

  36. Clotpoll says:

    x (32)-

    Still, FHA allows for consideration of multiple “mitigating factors”.

    Not that this is a good thing…

  37. BC Bob says:


    Pandit blew it. As a new CEO he had 90-120 days to blow it out, lay the blame on Chuck Prince. Unfortunately, he’s a puppet, got caught up in the lying game. He first stated that the dividend was safe, the writeoffs were finished and Citi was on the path to recovery. That was late last year. Anybody with a pulse [OK, that’s saying a lot], knows that Citi is bankrupt. However, T-bills for toxins does keep the patient alive.

  38. BC Bob says:

    Clot [35],

    The Treasury does not have to do it. It may be a world war, currencies.

  39. Laurie says:

    Re: 28….64* and cloudy in perfect house hunting weather. You don’t feel guilty about wasting the day on houses when you should be enjoying the weather with your kids…Where are you going to look in Northern NJ?? We probably won’t have any open houses in our neighborhood as we had a TON last week..lots of cars means lots of people looking,(and not just neighbors who come on foot) and then when they drive real slowly thru the neighborhood you know they’re sizing it up…lots of Range Rovers with baby seats in the back…somebody is making money..

  40. Clotpoll says:

    BC (38)-

    A war of weak men and phantom strength.

  41. lisoosh says:

    NJcpa – I’m going to have to pile on with the others here.
    Absent all the other factors which go into house prices and affordability (local economy, personal desire etc), from what I have seen, lower interest rates just translate into higher prices.

    Yes, Joe 6-pack just looks at the monthly payment, but tends to buy within a specific payment range. Lower rates just encourages a bigger outlay and stimulates price increases. At the end of the day the low rates didn’t make a home more affordable, it just puts the buyer into a bigger and more precarious hole.

  42. lisoosh says:

    Laurie Says:
    April 18th, 2008 at 8:42 am
    “…lots of Range Rovers with baby seats in the back…somebody is making money..”

    Yeah, loan sharks.

  43. BC Bob says:

    Clot [40],


  44. lisoosh says:

    According to Forbes, the repo men are doing a roaring trade these days:


    When Bad News Is Good Business

    ” Leleu says that a year ago, approximately 75% of the cars recovered were C- and E-class Mercedes Benz, carrying sticker prices of $35,000 to $80,000. A year later, the numbers are up by 20% or so, but the true picture here is that now 75% of the high-line cars ARB is recovering are valued in the range of $100,000 to $500,000.

    We’re pulling cars from mortgage bankers, real-estate firms,” Leleu says. “We’re talking about upper-echelon people. It’s like nobody seems to have that savings or extra borrowing ability to get them over the hump.”

  45. meter says:

    Re 8:

    Your model may well make sense for those with lower %s to put down, but for those of us sitting on “dry powder” (term du jour which I really hate), price is a far more important factor than interest rate.

  46. x-underwriter says:

    Clotpoll (31)
    I just went to Bankrate.com and looked up what 2nd programs they offered. Max 80% LTV. Nothing higher. Piggybacks are indeed dead.

  47. John says:

    Most people are doing pretty good. Anyone who bought their home pre 2002 did not cash out and refinanced down in 2004 has low monthly expenses even counting in the sky high fuel and electricity. Dealers are re-leasing the turned back 24 month leased lux cars for another 24 months at a low monthly rate.

    If you were a mortgage broker, realtor, you cashed out all your equity, bought at the peak etc. you are sucking wind. But around 90% of my neighbors bought in the 1990s dirt cheap, refinanced and are doing just fine. It is that other 10% the media focuses on with their gloom and doom stories.

  48. 3b says:

    #8 Njfinance: And just how many people out there do you think in this environment have that 120K down payment, plus losing costs?

    It is the underlying value of the asset that matter most, not the financing mechanism.

  49. BC Bob says:

    miw [11],

    IMO, the 10 year is is the very beginning stages of a long term bear market, falling prices/rising yields.

    All Disclaimers.

  50. PGC says:

    From another blog

    First Data are being held responsible for Frontier Airlines going bankrupt in the States, according to the airline.

    Apparently, Frontier blame First Data because they demanded a sudden jump in collateral, due to the credit crunch, and started taking a large slice of the 70% of Frontier’s revenues which they controlled; the other 30% is from cash, cheques, AMEX and Discover.

    On April 8th, First Data not only told Frontier that they wanted to raise Frontier’s collateral from $55 million to $130 million, but allegedly claimed withholdings would rise from 45% to 100% by May 1st in order to build this up.

    As a result, Frontier declared bankruptcy on April 10th.

    First Data … how could you?

    Aha … First Data were as surprised as everyone else by this announcement.

    Sounds like it could be a bit of brinkmanship between a customer and their processor, especially as Chapter 11 in the USA just means that you don’t pay your suppliers for a while. And you can still book seats on the flights …

    … even so, declaring bankruptcy is a bit radical just because your card processor has kicked you in the collaterals so to speak.

  51. BC Bob says:

    Clot [19],

    Gotta love dirt.

  52. John says:

    “Sometimes I live in the country
    Sometimes I live in the town
    Sometimes I get a great notion
    To jump into the river an’ drown”
    Song, Goodbye Irene sung by Lead Belly or that Pandit guy over at Citi.

  53. 3b says:

    #39 lots of Range Rovers with baby seats in the back…somebody is making money..

    Or they have have a big lease payment, and lots of credit card debt.
    it is very difficult today to tell who really has money, and who does not.

    Having money vs. the appearance of having money are 2 different things.

    I drove by a house in my town the otehr evening that is in pre forclosure. Mc Mansiony type of thing.

    And in the drive way was a Land Rover and Lexus.

  54. chicagofinance says:

    njpatient Says:
    April 17th, 2008 at 11:35 pm
    chifi – you watching the Mets?

    njpatient Says:
    April 17th, 2008 at 11:54 pm
    I would NEVER walk the bases loaded in a tie game in extras.

    I stopped watching after 10, but when I saw it tied after 12, I went back down. I think the point was that you walk the bases loaded to get to the pitcher’s spot. However, Hanrahan is wild….good for the home team.

  55. John says:

    3b, depends on neighborhood.

  56. Clotpoll says:

    x (46)-

    Yeah, at 80%, why bother?

  57. 3b says:

    #47 John: I guess it depends. Everyone I know who bought in the 90’s has done extensive remodel and renovation work to their homes. Some have bought second homes, and Benz’s Bemmers,and Lexus’s are sitting in many drive ways.

    And many are using their home equity to pay for their kids college.

    I get dirty looks when the college paymenet subjsect comes up, and when asked how I pay for it, i simply reply by writing a check.

  58. 3b says:

    #55 John: Well I am in one of those desireable, prstigious Bergen Co Blue Ribbon close to NYC towns.

  59. Clotpoll says:

    John (47)-

    “It is that other 10% the media focuses on with their gloom and doom stories.”

    That “other 10%”- and all the attendant activity spurred by their buying/borrowing decisions- has done a helluva job of taking down the whole shebang, though.

  60. Clotpoll says:

    BC (49)-

    Seems like a lot of people realized in the past day or two that they were paying a helluva premium for safety. That trade was real crowded.

  61. grim says:

    Wild moves in the 10y and LIBOR.

  62. BC Bob says:

    Benny, Benny, please open the window, wide, and take Mussina. After all, he’s probably worth about as much as the used tires that you are accumulating?


  63. BC Bob says:

    Clot [60],

    Talk about an overloaded boat?

  64. Clotpoll says:

    BC (62)-

    I’d like to see what’s behind the window. It must look like Moe’s Pawn Shop.

  65. Hard Place says:

    3b –

    What about the boomers that used home equity to help their kids buy a home of their own? Don’t have any numbers there, but a lot have done that. I couldn’t do that to my parents, so I sucked it up and rented.

  66. kettle1 says:

    will the “coming out” party that LIBOR is apparently now throwing be the straw that breaks the camels back and start the collapse of home prices through a combination of higher rates limiting peoples ability to borrow for exorbitant prices and causing an acceleration of foreclosures/ jingle-mail as people rates reset even higher?

    And HEHE i will have you know that i made it at least 2 hours before mentioning energy!!! a good time was had by all

  67. grim says:

    I’d like to see what’s behind the window. It must look like Moe’s Pawn Shop

    No, neat and orderly. They’ve got a tremendous amount of free space in the vault downstairs.

  68. Stu says:

    Market is ready to rally today. Since Benny was willing to bail the market out on the way down, does anyone expect him to begin raising interest rates on the way up?

    Curious what everyone thinks he will do with the rates at the next FED meeting?

    Additionally, although lowering interest rates has not greatly impacted fixed mortgage rates, he will have to raise interest rates to stop inflation soon. How do you all see this impacting fixed mortgage rates? My bet is that they will go up in lockstep with the FED lending rate, increasing the damage to housing and its pricing.

  69. RentininNJ says:

    Bloomberg reports: Citi announces another 9,000 job cuts on top of previously announced cuts.

    Don’t worry, I’m sure none will be in NYC

  70. thatBIGwindow says:

    3b: #53: Absolutely, as I said before, a neighbors house is in foreclosure and they have a $90,000 BMW. Go figure…

  71. Hard Place says:


    Wow! That was fast. Another 9k.

  72. thatBIGwindow says:

    My in-laws have a new BMW, when my wife and I want to play yuppies for the day, we borrow the inlaws car.

  73. Clotpoll says:

    stu (68)-

    This thing is off the rails now. The 10-yr. might be pushing 4% and oil closing on $120 by then.

  74. grim says:


    If I had to describe the relationship between the 10 year and rates, the only word I could come up with would be rachet.

    As the 10y falls, mortgage rates stay status quo, as it rises, rates rachet upwards.

    Rinse, repeat.

    Lenders do not appear willing to share the spread.

  75. rhymingrealtor says:

    After a couple of interrupted interviews with the cell phone addicts, I excused myself when the next interviewee reached for her cell (in the middle of explaining to me why she’d never topped more than 10 units a year after four years in the biz).

    I excused myself, left the room, went to my car, and drove away.

    Sh@t, I knew I knew you from somewhere!


  76. grim says:

    My neighbor bought a brand new SUV immediately before going into pre-foreclosure. A festering short-sale, patiently awaiting their date on the court house stairs.

    And why not? Get it while your credit is still good, because there isn’t any way you are getting it after those 90 day lates hit your credit report.

  77. Essex says:

    thatBIGwindow Says:
    April 18th, 2008 at 9:28 am
    My in-laws have a new BMW, when my wife and I want to play yuppies for the day, we borrow the inlaws car.

    You guys are way too funny…it’s a car….and a fairly ubiquitous one around here.

  78. BC Bob says:

    Clot [73],

    Rising rates, rising inflation, rising commodity prices, rising stocks[sectors]. Is Tony Manero dancing at 2001 Odyessy this Saturday night?

  79. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Citigroup see 9,000 job cuts coming in Q2

    Citigroup CFO Gary Crittenden said Friday that the firm expects to eliminate 9,000 jobs during the second quarter. That is in addition to the 1,300 jobs it said it eliminated in its banking and finance business in the first quarter.

  80. Stu says:

    Being ultra short on days that the market futures show a 2% increase really blow. Luckily, I’m patient and see increasingly negative market fundamentals daily.

    What really scares the krap outta me is how big the one day drop will be when the shell game is finally realized.

    To make matters worse, traditionally a bottom in financials and consumer cyclicals signals the end of a downward business cycle.


    Every recent positive earnings report was wholly attributed to the difference in currency values (IE our dollar is dead). Google, IBM, Caterpillar, etc. At some point the FEDs going to have to increase interest rates and the collapse of our market will follow as housing implodes. I kind of feel bad for Benny. He is totally doomed.

  81. thatBIGwindow says:

    #77: hey, I never get to drive a new car, so why not? a “new” car for me has under 50,000 miles!

  82. Laurie says:

    Re: 58 and 53… So if that Range Rover is leased and the credit card paymants are out the yazoo won’t these couples be denied the mortgage for a 900k house?? You hear all the time about credit drying up and loans being offered only to the best risk…doesn’t that leave Chace and Sally Range Rover out in the cold???

  83. NJ Finance says:


    The realtor’s are always optimistic on the affordability index. The best i’ve found are the PMI people…Wayne area is at a 77…I still cant find anyone else publishing this data…



  84. make money says:

    thatBIGwindow Says:
    April 18th, 2008 at 9:41 am
    #77: hey, I never get to drive a new car, so why not? a “new” car for me has under 50,000 miles!

    Isn’t it fun that you and your tax dollars get to bail the guy who wouldn’t be seen dead in a car with 50K miles?

    Why aren’t 300 million people marching to Washington and hanging all politicuians for Treason. Putting all the spelcial groups and lobbyist into Guantanamo Bay terrorist jails and practicing waterboarding on them?

    What’s it gonna take? Just like Citi this country is bankrupt.

  85. 3b says:

    #70 tbw $90,000 BMW


  86. BC Bob says:

    stu [80],

    Just a thought. Be careful. When the fed floods the market with $, it has to find a home somewhere. Companies are not allocating it to increase investment at this time, captial goods expenditures and hiring. Inventories and unemployment are rising. Therefore, the capital finds a home elsewhere.

  87. 3b says:

    #65 hardplace; I am sure there was a lot of that too.

  88. 3b says:

    Citi announces its earnings/writedowns,and the Dow is up about 178.

    You just gotta love it. bad news is good news, because the bad news could have been worse.

  89. Hobokenite says:


    “But around 90% of my neighbors bought in the 1990s dirt cheap, refinanced and are doing just fine. It is that other 10% the media focuses on with their gloom and doom stories.”

    So in 8+ years, your neighborhood has only had 10% turnover? Considering that the average annual “move” rate is over 5% (I’ve heard some numbers up to 13%), I find that somewhat hard to believe.

  90. RentininNJ says:

    Being ultra short on days that the market futures show a 2% increase really blow. Luckily, I’m patient and see increasingly negative market fundamentals daily.

    Some of the most ferocious rallies in history occur during bear markets and economic downturns. In fact, the 10 best days (in percentage terms) in Dow Jones history occurred during the Great Depression.

  91. Laurie says:

    RE: 58/53
    Our neighborhood RE is a major player. Her and her husband both drive late model Jags…at her open houses in our neighborhood last weekend she parked one of the jags in each driveway..now both of these houses were clearly within walking distance of her own house ..one house is directly across the street from her own house…I mean it was more trouble to take the car out of the garage and drive it across the street than it would of been to just walk..but a fancy car says “come inside and you too can live a jaguar lifestyle”..

  92. Stu says:

    BC Bob:

    Where is the elsewhere?

  93. make money says:


    How confidant are you the the CB from around the globe won’t be able to save the US Dollar and the market will prevail. How long can they continue to Short Gold and pring their currency to buy dollars?

    Can they do this for years? Are you long Gold still?


  94. Clotpoll says:

    BC (78)-

    I’m going on EBay to get a “WIN” button.

  95. Stu says:

    89 Renting:

    “Some of the most ferocious rallies in history occur during bear markets and economic downturns. In fact, the 10 best days (in percentage terms) in Dow Jones history occurred during the Great Depression.”

    I am well aware of the bear market rally. These are primarily driven by weak shorts covering. Surprisingly, I am not performing half as badly today as I expected to be.

  96. Clotpoll says:

    BC (85)-

    “Therefore, the capital finds a home elsewhere.”

    It’s sure not parked in the 10 anymore.

  97. SG says:

    Pat, prices effectively got whacked 5% in the past two weeks…by lenders who’ve now categorized all of NJ as a “declining market”. Now, the “V” in LTV (loan-to-value) will be the appraised value, adjusted downward by 5%.

    Clot: During normal sales, do the sellers get Appraised values from Realtors? I see most of the properties listed today are at asking prices significantly above computer calculated appraisals.

    I can understand computer calculated values may be off in some instances where there has been upgrades etc… but that is smaller percentages, I guess.

    Also, if the difference is much wider, would Bank give even 80% loan?

  98. Clotpoll says:

    Laurie (90)-

    “come inside and you too can live a jaguar lifestyle”

    As in, gorging regularly on bloody, raw meat?

    Just saying.

  99. Clotpoll says:

    Or, Jaguar…as in Tata Motors?

    A broken, formerly elite brand and a shell of a car, perched atop a Ford frame.

    What a perfect metaphor for right now.

  100. SG says:

    John: It is that other 10% the media focuses on with their gloom and doom stories.

    I don’t think even in normal years, 10% of houses sell. If you think 10% home owners are in trouble, you got a catastrophe. Cant imagine even 5% of NJ homes coming on market to sell.

  101. grim says:

    A late model Jag? Ford-uar?

    I’m more impressed by the gal driving the 1985 XJ-S V12 convertible. Well, that and just about anyone who drives an E-type.

  102. Stu says:

    BC (85):

    So you were not referring to the government loans, but were referring to individuals investment capital. If that’s the case, then I agree, it will go somewhere and that somewhere appears to be the new asset class… commodities. The problem with this is that it is exacerbating inflation. Woe is us.

  103. grim says:

    Clot beat me to it.

  104. Hard Place says:

    early model jags.

    Impressed is right! Should be impressed that those things are still running…

    Those cars had major quality problems back than.

  105. John says:

    Re 88 – Let me put it his way, my daughters second grade teacher and my other daughters kindergarten teacher were born in my town and both married guys that were born in this town. There is a large amount of people in my town who bought a home as newlweds, like my neighbor did in 1982 and never moved. My town is very homogenus, no little houses no big houses. The damm town is just full of 60 by 100 1950’s split. So you can’t trade up or trade down really so you either leave the town or stay put. A lot of people have kids and get stuck where the kids and wife don’t want to leave the town. My neighbor paid 40K for his house in 1982 and has a successful CPA practice but with three kids and a wife he got trapped.

  106. Clotpoll says:

    SG (96)-

    Appraised values must be disclosed to the buyer/borrower, by law. If the appraisal shortfalls, the buyer will probably share that fact with the seller, as the loan is almost always in jeopardy at that point.

    In reality, when the appraisal comes up short, the buyer runs for the hills.

    Banks will make no loans against value that does not exist. Any portion “over” would technically be unsecured. And, nobody’s going there these days.

  107. BC Bob says:

    “You just gotta love it. bad news is good news, because the bad news could have been worse.”


    Are you the artist?


  108. Stu says:

    Funny thing about Tata motors. They said they could make a $2,500 car in less than 5 years. They succeeded!

    When was the last time you saw such a near impossible business endeavor actually come to fruition and on time.

    And surprisingly, the few cars that people drive in India are incredibly reliable. I would expect no less from the Nano. I would bet that reliability, the major problem with the Jaguar, will be solved under Tata. Can’t say though that the prestige factor will recover under them though.

  109. grim says:

    Those cars had major quality problems back than.

    I knew a guy who used to heat up the oil for his vintage Ferrari race car on an old stove he had installed in his garage. He eventually gave up on the stove and used big industrial heating pads to warm the engine before starting.

    The car was generally a piece of crap, but absolute perfection when it ran.

  110. SG says:

    Thanks Clot.

    Appraised values must be disclosed to the buyer/borrower, by law. If the appraisal shortfalls, the buyer will probably share that fact with the seller, as the loan is almost always in jeopardy at that point.

    Just logistical question. Does this disclosing need to happen prior to Offer from Buyer or once the offer is accepted and during Under contract period?

    If its during under contract period, then can buyer walk out if appraisal is below offered price?

  111. Laurie says:

    Early model jags.. my FIL had one…really a POS …the one that had the 2 gas tanks…remember those? That car stranded us sooo many times no one would even drive it.what a POS..when one of our more snotty friends (when we had them) got a new high end jag back when Ford first bought them and my husband asked him how he liked his new Ford..if looks could kill!!!

  112. BC Bob says:

    make [92],

    I’m taking it to the grave with me. That is unless a Tall Paul like figure sits in the seat. CB’s are like gnats, they can be irritating but they can’t deliver a lethal blow. Their only chance of success, long term, if the market is on the same side of the street. Lip service is weak.

  113. grim says:

    If its during under contract period, then can buyer walk out if appraisal is below offered price?

    I’ve never seen an appraisal done during attorney review.

  114. bi says:

    if obama is elected, he should replace bernanke by volcker for the sake of gold lovers including bloggers on this board.

  115. Clotpoll says:

    SG (109)-

    No appraisal until contract becomes pending, as buyer has no equitable title in the property until such time. Appraisal and mortgage contingencies are still open even after attorney review ends.

  116. Clotpoll says:

    bi (113)-

    Stop mixing your meds.

  117. 3b says:

    #110 Laurie: At one point Ford was building the Jaguar on a Taurus chassis.

  118. 3b says:

    #106 BCBob: that would be about the extent of my artistic ability.

  119. spam spam bacon spam says:



    When I see someone with a Jaguar, I immediately think “stupid”… they bought a poorly made, substandard quality, albeit fancy “badge”.

    So what other “stupid” things have they done? I can only imagine, but I bet granite countertops are involved… :)

  120. BC Bob says:

    bi [113],

    On the flip side, we can all listen to you and get obliterated.

  121. Doyle says:

    #88 – # 104

    I agree with John, depends on the town / neighborhood. I grew up in a NNJ town, and my parents are still in the same home. There are probably 25 houses on their block, and I would say 20 of them have been the same owners for at least the last 15-20 years and 15 have been there at least 25-30 years.

  122. RentininNJ says:

    BC (78)-

    I’m going on EBay to get a “WIN” button

    I’m buying this:
    Zimbabwe $50 million note


  123. 3b says:

    #99 SG: In my town is we have about 3000 SFH’s, and about 15oo hundred of those turned from 1998 to around 2005.

  124. gary says:

    Laurie [82],

    “Chace and Sally Range Rover”

    LOL!! Awesome!

  125. Nom Deplume says:

    As long as we are on cars, the A6 is back in the shop again. Next time spouse wants to buy a car I disapprove of, I will reply “remember the Audi?”

    That is what I get for saying “oh, if you really want it dear . . .”

  126. grim says:

    So what was the extent of the Citi writedown? I’ve heard 13b, 10b, 12b, and now >16b. Or doesn’t the actual number matter anymore?

    Market Bullish on Citigroup Despite Big Quarterly Loss

    Citigroup posted its second straight quarterly loss, hurt by more than $16 billion of write-downs and costs related to credit losses, and said it will cut another 9,000 jobs.

  127. Laurie says:

    Audis totally became the status car of choice up here in Bergen county…ever checked out the parking lot of Immaculate Heart Academy in Washington Township?? And those are the cars of the students!! I know the owner of a big Audi dealership here and let me tell you those owners are major millionaires right now…

  128. grim says:

    When Citi rallied pre-market, the rationale was that the writedowns were significantly under the “whisper” numbers that were passed around earlier this week. Some of the bearish numbers I heard passed around were $20b, but most were in the $15-17b range.

  129. Sybarite says:

    Hard Place,

    Where did you buy your bulk BMW oil filters?

  130. 3b says:

    3126 laurie: As a product of Catholic Schools, I find it incredibly funny, when people I know who send their kids to IHA, or BC etc., no longer refer to them as Catholic Schools, but rather as private.

  131. njcoast says:


    The world has become a bit more gray today. Danny Federici, the keyboard player for the E Street Band, passed away yesterday. A kind and gentle man he was. New Jersey born and bred.

  132. Hard Place says:

    Don’t think I saw this posted…

    Subprime Bank Losses Reach $245 Billion With WaMu, HSH:


    This is from 4/10, so obviously this needs updating and the number is going up.

  133. 3b says:

    Another reason NYC is going to suffer more with Wall St layoffs is that over the years, the goldmans, merrils etc. consolidated much of theri Fixed Incoem Business in NYC.

    Back in the day, they all had a Chicago, Boston, LA SF desk etc.,

    But over the years at least for Fixed Income they consolidated those positions in NYC, bringing to NY, key people from other cities, and at best leaving a token prescense in other places for relationship purposes.

  134. 3b says:

    #130 Always the quiet member, but had a major influence on their sound, especially with such hits as Hungry Heart.

  135. Jamey says:

    77: Not just a car; it’s a DLA.

  136. Hard Place says:

    BMW filters.

    Don’t remember. bought it 4 yrs ago, online. it was a pack of 12 filters. w/ oil changes every 6 months that’s another 2 years before i have to check again. Filter’s were cheap, it’s the synthetic oil that get’s expensive.

  137. chicagofinance says:

    Stu Says:
    April 18th, 2008 at 9:38 am
    To make matters worse, traditionally a bottom in financials and consumer cyclicals signals the end of a downward business cycle.

    Every recent positive earnings report was wholly attributed to the difference in currency values (IE our dollar is dead). Google, IBM, Caterpillar, etc. At some point the FEDs going to have to increase interest rates and the collapse of our market will follow as housing implodes. I kind of feel bad for Benny. He is totally doomed.

    Stu: do you appreciate the fundamental and real-world dynamics of that graph? Also, bear in mind that globalization has really messed up some of the truisms there……on a separate note, I completely disagree with your cynicism of earnings quality.

    You will be held to a higher standard, because you should be.

  138. grim says:

    I wonder if Fitch is going to give us another Billion-Dollar-Writedown-Friday. They downgraded over $800b of residential mortgage backed yesterday. Just won’t be a Friday without it.

    They did downgrade Citi though.

  139. Laurie says:

    I guess when the tution is over 10k you can skip the catholic part and go straight to private…my daughters were class of 2007 and 2005…with 3 more kids to go…sigh..

  140. John says:

    Well the E-Street band had decreased the size of it’s carbon footprint this week. That eco-political nut that Springsteen has become must be very proud.

    “Guys like us baby we were born to pretend we are blue collar”

    “In the days I ride around in shinny Benz’s”

    “Baby let me in I wanna whine and tell you but bad politicians”

    Back in 1973 when he was playing the stone pony and my fathers place those guys had some street cred, now they are bloated arena playing dinos.

  141. Sybarite says:

    Hard place,

    You’re not kidding; each oil change runs me $50-60 just in oil costs.

    I wouldn’t consider the filters cheap; each one costs me about $12 or $13.

  142. Sybarite says:

    Italian convicted for staring at woman on train

    An Italian man was given a suspended jail sentence for staring too intensely at a woman sitting in front of him on a train.

    A judge sentenced the man in his 30s, whose name was not revealed, to 10 days in prison and a 40 euro fine after a 55-year old woman filed a complaint for sexual harassment.

    His lawyer said on Friday he would appeal the sentence. The court will explain its verdict later.

    The two met on two separate occasions in 2005 on a commuter train going from Lecco, a town in northern Italy, to Milan.

    The first time, the man sat next to the woman but she felt he had moved too close for comfort. The next day, the man sat in front of the same woman and according to her complaint, stared at her for the whole journey.

    The two did not speak.


  143. BC Bob says:

    njcoast [130],

    I’m floored. That’s devastating. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. A top notch individual.

    I will be playing Kitty’s Back all weekend.

  144. John says:

    what is the purpose of synthitic oil in the BMW? Unless you plan on keeping the car over 160K miles it sound like a lot of extra money for no purpose. I change the oil in my station car as often as a bad catholic goes to church around once a year.

  145. Hobokenite says:

    John (104),

    Even if I were to accept your figures (WAG) as fact, you seem to be taking your personal anecdotes and using it as “data”.

    I saw a homeless man on the street today. Therefore, the MSM is clearly not reporting the huge uptick in homelessness.


  146. Stu says:

    CF (136): “on a separate note, I completely disagree with your cynicism of earnings quality.”

    I was going to list why I disagree, but I’m too busy at work today to collect all of the data. Needless to say. I will try to do this sometime this weekend, although Passover has me booked up.

  147. 3b says:

    #138 laurie: Well for some calling it private is a status thing.

  148. jmacdaddio says:

    I just read about Citigroup’s latest write down and layoff wave. Supposedly Citi Field will be ready for Opening Day 2008, but I’m wondering if Citigroup will even be in business by then!

    Maybe they’ll have to call the park Dubai Sovereign Wealth Fund Field?

    I think the classy thing to do would be to name the place Jackie Robinson Stadium.

  149. Hard Place says:

    John – U nailed it on the head. I’m driving my car into the ground, thereby reducing my carbon footprint, consumer consumption and having a sweet ride while I’m at it. One problem with that plan has been backseat space in 325i w/ 2 young kids. May switch to a used odyssey and get a 1-2 year repoed 3 series coupe for fun. May wait another year before I do that though. Just finished paying off the 325i.

  150. gary says:

    “The National Association of Realtors, or NAR, reports that sales of single-family homes were down by 13 percent in 2007, the biggest drop since a 17.7 plunge in 1982.
    Representatives of the NAR say that this makes it the best buyer’s market in a long time. Prices are down, interest rates are near a 45-year low and the supply of houses is high.”

    I don’t quite understand something; these representatives of the NAR said a few years ago that you better buy now or be priced out forever. Hey representatives, now you’re claiming that prices are down. How am I supposed to believe your words as an experienced professional when you change your mind? It sounds like you’re contradicting yourselves, don’t you think?

    And why do you suppose the supply of houses is high? Could it be this supply and demand thing I hear so much about? Perhaps one of you could post here and explain this to an uneducated real estate person such as myself? You know, since you’re experienced professionals and all. Just saying.

  151. Stu says:

    “Maybe they’ll have to call the park Dubai Sovereign Wealth Fund Field?”

    Well technically it should now be named, “Abu Dhabi Field,” which does have a nice ring to it.

    Prior to the latest cash infusion, it would have had to be named, “Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Stadium,” which is quite a mouthful.

  152. Sybarite says:


    Same here; my car now has 113k miles and I don’t plan on getting rid of it anytime soon.

  153. Hard Place says:


    You peeked my curiousity, since I’ll be running low on filters in a year. Here are prices. Seems they upped it a little since I last bought, but still fairly inexpensive, compared to your cost.


  154. Stu says:

    My Civic with 130K is going to Tewksbury Mass and back twice in the next two weeks. I still get >40 MPG. If somehow I break down, I will purchase a Honda Fit to continue my journey.

  155. Sybarite says:

    Hard Place,

    Thanks for that link; those prices are far cheaper than the dealer, even with BMWCCA discount. Does that price include the rubber gaskets and metal washers that need to be replaced each time also?

  156. John says:

    I think Citi Field is better. A loser company and a loser team.

    BMW includes free maint on everything for four years so the repos coming back in piles are of unusual quality. Usually, someone who leases particularly someone behind in payments in not going to keep up on maint., but since it is free and when you bring it in they vacum and wash it for free the losers getting their 2007 BMW’s repo’d are taking care of them right up till they end up on the hook of a tow truck.

    2007 5 series with under 20K miles are going for 24K at auction, not bad for a car 53K 18 months earlier. Amazing depreciation. That works out to around $400 bucks A WEEK depriciation!.

  157. njpatient says:

    “The main driver of affordability is and will continue to be interest rates.”

    You owe me a coffee. Mine’s on my computer screen.

  158. ithink-ithink says:

    Tom Keene on 1130am 8:50am said that the 9k at Citi was nada to their operation globally. 2-3% by my count using Hoovers & Wiki data.

  159. pretorius says:

    This is supposedly a question in the current Series 7 study manual:

    “Which of the following choices describes the greatest risk associated with mortgage-backed securities?
    A. Borrowers might default on their mortgage payments.
    B. The market for mortgage-backed securities is illiquid.
    C. The market price of the bonds might fall due to a rating
    D. Falling interest rates might accelerate early repayment of

    Answer: D
    Mortgage-backed securities are subject to prepayment risk. The early return of principal would then have to be reinvested then rates are low.
    Many mortgages that underlie mortgage-backed securities are backed by government guarantees or private mortgage insurance, which insulates many holders from defaults on the underlying mortgages. (7-11)”

  160. make money says:

    2007 5 series with under 20K miles are going for 24K at auction, not bad for a car 53K 18 months earlier. Amazing depreciation. That works out to around $400 bucks A WEEK depriciation!.

    If true that’s cheap but it’s probably the lowly 525i. Which to any BMW fan is not really a BMW as it’s engine is very weak relative to the body and it’s weight.

  161. John says:

    around 30K for a 2007 530xi, 24K if for 525i

  162. Pat says:

    Pret, I guess the next edition will include option E:

    Global thermonuclear financial meltdown.

    Now don’t get started, kettle.

  163. jcer says:

    What is with all of the jaguar hating, the XJ is an excellent car the 4.2L V8 is a great engine, it is light, fast(0-60 under 7secs), and gets 30 mpg. I compares well to the BMW 7 series, or Mercedes S-Class. My parents both have jags and have put 100k miles on them no problem. The only jag that has some ford qualities to it was the x-type but hey you trying building a car in the UK for under 40k, corners needed to be cut. Jaguar’s big problem is no longer reliability or quality, although they could use to improve it, it is the inability to release updated models BMW/Mercedes/Lexus release 3 times as many updates in the time it takes Jaguar to release 1. That cannot help sell new cars, also their marketing is bad and their customer base is firmly 55+, basically rich mans Cadilac go to palm beach and you will see what I mean. My parents next cars will probably be Mercedes for no other reason than wanting 4-matic.

  164. Hard Place says:

    Syb – gasket & washer included.

    John – Damn! That’s tempting.

    So when a homeowner is in trouble, do you think they let their cars go first or their credit cards? Probably have to check car loan defaults vs. credit card defaults. When car loan defaults hit a peak, than it’s probably the best time to go out to auction.

  165. grim says:

    Might want to avoid Lukoil if you care about your car.

  166. njpatient says:

    67 grim

    There goes another coffee


  167. John says:

    what the heck is the big deal about 4-matic, old people don’t drive in the snow and people in Florida even have 4-matic I don’t get it. I had a chance to buy a used e-class last year and my wife was like it is not AWD and I was like where the heck am I going in a snowstorm in an E clase when we already have a GMC 4×4 and she like what if we need to go separate places on the day of a snowstorm, yea and what if I am elected next pope!

  168. 1987 Condo Buyer says:

    #104; same in my town. last house sale on my block was maybe 2005. we all just add on instead of moving.

  169. Essex says:

    If true that’s cheap but it’s probably the lowly 525i. Which to any BMW fan is not really a BMW as it’s engine is very weak relative to the body and it’s weight


    That is such BS…the 3 L goes fine and the V-8 kicks tail….I wish people wouldn’t claim to be experts on these things….”real BMW”….how moronic.

  170. make money says:


    I agree, My wife drives the S-type and she loves it. but it’s been the same body and look for the past 7 years.

  171. RayC says:

    John 139

    Bashing Bruce as an arena playing dinosaur? Seen him lately? Why don’t you now go to the northernvaticanrealestatereport(dot)com and bash the pope.

  172. make money says:

    That is such BS…the 3 L goes fine and the V-8 kicks tail….I wish people wouldn’t claim to be experts on these things….”real BMW”….how moronic

    What V8? and it’s 2.5 liter.

  173. BB says:

    OT, but, did anyone else catch Oprah show yesterday about how much Americans waste? They featured a family from NJ. Father kept saying they were on the brink of losing everything. Some of the reasons why:
    – 3 kids, each has their own plasma TV,computer, cell phone
    – mom cooks 3 different types of meals each night(not everyone likes the same thing)
    – $200 a month on electricity
    – nearly $800 on gas heat

    My favorite comment from the father:
    “The bills, like the trash, keep piling up. “Some months, I have to borrow money,” Joe Sr. says. “If I get a bonus, I can pay back my mother or friend. Right now, I’m on the brink of, borderline, where I’m going to lose everything.”

    I wanted to barf….

  174. Richie says:


    I’d agree with you. My wife drives an e320 without 4matic. Anyone that thinks 4-wheel drive on a car is going to save their lives it’s just plain stupid. If it’s snowing that bad, you shouldn’t be on the road anyway.

    I don’t think the 4matic is worth the extra premium they add to the price of the car.


  175. Essex says:

    172…what the hell are you doing watching Oprah…..it’s gorgeous outside….

  176. Essex says:

    170…Bruce concerts are the best….I’ve been going to see the Boss since 1981…yeah I got my seats for July. He is amazing live.

  177. make money says:


    I drove BMW’s my whole life. My lease is up in Oct and I’ll be returning the M6. I’ve owned the M5 and the M3.
    I would rather own a Japanese car then drive a 525i. It’s the eqivalent of the 318i that they used to make.

  178. kettle1 says:

    If we are talking all wheel drive then i have to step up for the Audi Quattro. Audi’s have their issue’s and my next car will not be an Audi ( currently in an A4)but the Quattro system has really impressed me. an audi quattro will out handle most other cars on the road in heavy snow conditions from my personal experience

  179. kettle1 says:


    I saw your comment about boon pickens from last night. interesting no?

  180. Nom Deplume says:

    [126] Laurie

    I know, the Audi was also the status car in center city Phila. when I lived there (Just got my settlement check today. Woo hoo!!). But we bought it quickly, used, and off of an expiring lease (which I questioned but the dealer was backing it), and if I did my homework, I would never have bought it. Every thing you read about on blogs that goes ping on Audi/VWs went on mine, and a few things that should not have. Of course, our other option was an even older Volvo, and they aren’t much better.

    Fact is, Audi/VW has a poor rep for reliability, which is big with me. Heck, my old Chevy S-10 never gave me problems, and we have had great luck with Toyotas.

    To me, a car is a tool, not an investment and certainly not a status symbol, and I forgot that once.

  181. Stu says:

    Question for you all, and I won’t hold anyone responsible for the validity of the answer.

    I pay my taxes and insurance through WellsFargo Mortgage (escrow) and I just received a plan to cancel policy letter from my property insurance company if they do not receive a $300 or so payment by April 27th.

    I emailed WellsFargo and they claim they are up to date, although I’m guessing they didn’t even read my original email. This seems to be the way most service works these days. Of course, it appears they are about $300 short for the annual insurance policy that ends 9/20/2008. Since I don’t even get the bills from my insurance company (they send it directly to WellsFargo), I don’t know what their agreed payment schedule is. I thought that since my mortgage had an escrow, I give up any interest I would have made off of the money in exchange for not having to deal with this petty BS!

    So my question is do I continue to deal with this krap or do I just let my insurance lapse and then hold WellsFargo responsible if anything goes wrong?

    This kind of garbage drives me crazy.

  182. grim says:

    In honor of Car Friday. Lukoil owns two of these stations.

    Paramus police probe third episode of tainted gasoline damaging automobiles

    Authorities are investigating whether a third North Jersey service station has been selling substandard gasoline that causes cars to abruptly conk out, police said.

    As many as 10 vehicles broke down in Paramus today after the drivers all filled up at an independent service station on Forest Avenue, police said. Lukoil has admitted responsibility for more than 60 cars that stalled Thursday after leaving stations in Fort Lee and Bloomfield, saying water had contaminated bulk gasoline storage tanks at a north Jersey distributor.

    Investigators are determining whether contaminated gasoline is to blame for today’s problem in Paramus.

    “Some of the cars didn’t even make it out of the station,” Paramus Deputy Police Chief Richard Cary said.

  183. make money says:

    If we are talking all wheel drive then i have to step up for the Audi Quattro. Audi’s have their issue’s and my next car will not be an Audi ( currently in an A4)but the Quattro system has really impressed me. an audi quattro will out handle most other cars on the road in heavy snow conditions from my personal experience.

    You’re a man who knows his stuff. I love the Quatro and have gone to see Ray and brought my car back for servicing for a Quatro loaner(greased up Mike a little). They’re sooo much fun. This year sucked with barely any snow days.

  184. njpatient says:

    158 pretorius

    Wow – funny.
    I would have gotten that one wrong.

  185. njpatient says:

    178 kettle

    very much so

  186. njpatient says:


    “Might want to avoid Lukoil if you care about your car.”

    elaborate? I am behind the curve…

  187. njpatient says:

    oh – you did already – hadn’t gotten there yet.

  188. grim says:



  189. Kurt says:

    “Ploof Ploof!! Your so-called BMW doesn’t have 300 horsepowers, let alone an M badge like mine!”

    MM – do you regularly do driving events at road courses with your M-cars? I’d bet my 1999 528i that you do not.

  190. gary says:

    Geezus, you people are killing me with the car sh*t. Basta!

  191. Hard Place says:


    I noticed that article. I’ve also noticed that at certain gas stations, when I buy gas I tend to get less MPG. My driving is fairly stable, so variability should not be huge. I’m talking difference in getting 25-26 MPG between fillups and getting 18-21 MPG. I stay away from the places I see a noticeable increase in my gas consumption.

  192. Hehehe says:

    “And HEHE i will have you know that i made it at least 2 hours before mentioning energy!!! a good time was had by all”

    Ok Jim Lereah!

  193. grim says:

    Used to love to go to the autocrosses at the Meadowlands and watch the good drivers in Neons outdrive the rookies in the brand new M3s. Every weekend, without fail, some hotshot would show up in their brand new M3 (not even broken in), at their first autocross, and end up with the worst times posted. I even watched a younger lady in an original Mini Cooper (damn those are small) post a time that made you wonder if these guys bothered to put down the parking brake.

    Most new Porsche owners were humble, but only because they drove at a PCA event the week prior.

  194. make money says:

    MM – do you regularly do driving events at road courses with your M-cars? I’d bet my 1999 528i that you do not.

    I do not.

  195. Essex says:

    176………Dude…..those cars are nice….but overkill…..try toning down the rhetoric for all of the little guys. THANKS

  196. Essex says:

    P.S. the Nissan Skyline GTR…..’Japanese’ car I would drive in a heartbeat….among others.

  197. Essex says:

    The Nissan Skyline GT-R is a Japanese sports coupé based on the Nissan Skyline range. Dubbed “Godzilla” by Wheels magazine in Australia when released there in 1989, it was rated by many motoring magazines, as providing performance and handling similar to that of European icons like the Porsche 911 and the Ferrari Testarossa, but at a considerably lower price

  198. Stu says:

    My sportscar gets 102 horsepower and sports 1.5 Liters of 4-cyclinder performance. I think I go 0-60 in 19 seconds. And with the AC on, that number doubles.

    Funny thing is, that stupid Civic hatchback gets better traction in the snow than my wifes 2005 true 4 wheel drive Xterra. Of course, I only have about 5 inches of clearance off the ground so if the snow is deep, I feel every slush boulder and it is very discomforting.

  199. kettle1 says:

    191 HEHE

    Jim Lereah????

  200. Hard Place says:

    Article is a little old, but ties in the auto lending to home lending crisis…


    Especially liked the very last line of the article.

  201. kettle1 says:


    all wheel drive and 4-wheel drive are not the same thing.in all wheel drive, different wheels can turn at different rates. In true 4 wheel drive all wheels are drive at the same rate. 4 Wheel is great for off road, but all wheel is better for on road, but poor condition driving. there are more differences, but this is the basic idea. 4wheel and all wheel drives are also best used with different driving techniques which most people do not know or do not use.

  202. Nom Deplume says:

    [199] hardplace

    Plymouth, huh? Now I know who is drilling into the gas tanks up there.

  203. # 196 – The new ones are coming to the states, but without the RB26DETT and at 911 prices. Just not that interesting any more.
    The R34 V-Spec was the one to have, but from what I understand the GT-S versions were cheaper and lighter (and hence faster) but without the Nintendo handling.
    I’ve still got my eye on an Elise, as they depreciate like a rock.

  204. Essex says:

    197….power to Weight baby…power to weight.

  205. Essex says:

    202….I love the Lotus’ lines…..but I am not sure my left cheek would even fit in that car…..

  206. grim says:

    I’ve still got my eye on an Elise, as they depreciate like a rock.


    I saw an early model for $24k, good condition but needed new rubber. I was tempted, but neither the wife nor my accountant would approve. They didn’t perceive the value in quite the same way as I did. Took the real long way home a week or so later to show my wife, but it had already sold.

  207. 3b says:

    #199 hardplace: some of the same old nonsense, as with the houisng mess. We were pressured, we were swindled etc.

    I guess we should bail these people out too. If everybody is entitled to own a house than surely, everybody should be entitlesd to own a car;of their choice of course.

  208. Hard Place says:

    Googled car loan defaults. Saw this article…


    Interesting note was that homeowners w/ little equity defaulted first on their home before they defaulted on their credit cards and auto loans. Makes sense. If your in a plane going down, throw out the heaviest burden (default on mortgage loan). With auto loans and credit card defaults now going up, seems to me there is little else to do before the plane (economy) crashes.

  209. Kurt says:

    ok 2nd and last car post for me, but Grim sounds like a true pistonhead (unlike MM :P)

    while living in Germany I becamed addicted to the Nuerburgring (longest, most dangerous track in the world, that just happens to be open to the public when there’s no racing going on), but my modest engineers budget meant I was limited to driving low powered rental cars (except when a weatlhy friend offered up his keys).

    Because I religiously studied all 125+ turns, have done over 220 laps, and am not really too bad a driver, passing cars with 2 or even 3 times the HP as mine became a great sport.
    My favorite overtake was surely while driving an enemic, floaty VW beetle cabriolet (diesel!) and loaded with 3 other helmeted passengers (one of them Ben Lovejoy of http://www.nurburgring.org.uk/).
    We passed a early 90′ Porsche 964RS – one of THE most devastating ‘Ring tools in the right hands – heading down into the Fuchrohre section, while my passengers all waved at him. He’s probably still going through therapy.

    Power is nothing without control!



  210. Essex says:

    “…people who live within their means are not using their imaginations…” -Oscar Wilde

  211. Stu says:

    “defaulted first on their home before they defaulted on their credit cards and auto loans”

    You can live in your car after you lose your home and still can get to work. Can’t do it the other way around!

  212. Secondary Market says:

    for what it’s worth, i love my acura mdx (07). dollar for dollar it was best in it’s class and exactly what i was looking for in terms of technology. bill vince’s bridgewater acura’s internet departement low balls the floor sales guys so i was able to get it under invoice-divide and conquer!
    don’t fret suv haters, my wife and i share the car, live and work in the city and use public transportation so we’re not gas guzzling. it comfortably fits our rhodesian ridgeback and will be safe for our lil secondarys when ever that happens.

  213. Stu says:

    Essex (209):

    Wilde entered a world of regular sex with youths such as servants and newsboys, in their mid to late teens, whom he would meet in homosexual bars or brothels. In Wilde’s words, the relations were akin to “feasting with panthers”, and he revelled in the risk: “the danger was half the excitement.”

    I’ll drive my Civic.

  214. spam spam bacon spam says:

    I’m working on something in the background here at work and I’m intertested in any “dirt” on Napa Auto Parts…

    Are they public or privately held?

    Does corporate NAPA own any stores or is it all “franchised out”?

    Are their sales up or down?

    Does anyone know this kind of info or where I can find out? Thank-um-u!

  215. RentininNJ says:

    Interesting note was that homeowners w/ little equity defaulted first on their home before they defaulted on their credit cards and auto loans. Makes sense.

    That wasn’t always the case. Traditionally, when people got in credit trouble, convention wisdom was “do anything in your power to keep the house”. This is the first time we are seeing people walk away from the house first.

    It does make sense though, because most recent buyers today have no skin in the game. They put nothing down and now owe more than the place is worth. It makes perfect sense to jettison the biggest burden.

    Sadly too, people have also become so dependant on credit cards, they see losing access to plastic as a bigger threat than losing their home.

  216. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Libor rate jumps anew as bank group readies review

    A closely watched measure of global borrowing costs jumped again Friday, reflecting continued concerns about the accuracy of the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, gauge.

    Three-month Libor in U.S. dollars jumped nine basis points to 2.9075%, according to British Bankers’ Association data and FactSet Research.

    That’s the biggest increase since the credit crunch hit in August. The rate climbed by eight basis points on Thursday.

  217. lurkerA says:

    I’m coming out of lurking mode to praise my car – i, too, love my civic. when i am done driving this one into the ground, i’ll likely get another one (though maybe a four door since we will probably have kids at some point).

    Stu, when did you change your timing belt/water pump? I’m at 111k miles and thinking i shouldnt be pushing my luck much more.

  218. Kurt says:

    Grim 209 is in moderation.

    Assuming it wasn’t a salvaged wreck of had 75k miles, you should have jumped on that elise for $24k! I’ve driven them (and the European-only Opel version) on racetracks and have never had more fun behind the wheel.
    I could justify $20k for one, but so far I haven’t seen any solid Elises for under $30k.

  219. Nom Deplume says:


    last I saw, NAPA was a division of Dana Corp.

  220. Stu says:

    lurker A,

    It really depends on the model year, Chilton’s recommends 60K but I did mine at 90K. I also change the oil every 5K miles. At 111K you are really tempting fate. If the belt goes, so goes your ride, and most likely permanently. By the way, shop around for the best price. Dealer wanted like $1200, local gas station $900 and I got a reliable Firestone by me (yes most suck, but I’ve been using these guys for 30 years and there is very little mechanic turnover) to do it for under $500. I also buy my tires at tirerack.com and Firestone will mount and install them for like $15/tire. Can’t beat that with a bat!

  221. Hard Place says:

    Another good article about defaults of home loan vs auto loans. IHT does some insightful reporting…


  222. lurkerA says:


    Stu –

    mine is 2001.

    honda told me 105k when i asked it about it when i was at about 70k or so.

    i have shopped around a bit and found a HUGE difference in price too (i then laughed the $35 off coupon i got from the dealer). I guess 6k over isn’t too bad. eh… maybe.

    i change the oil about every 5k also, sometimes 4500 b/c of timing, etc.

  223. Essex says:

    214…yeah but he was a witty sum bitch.

  224. Aaron says:

    NJ Finance #8

    The purpose of the ‘income factor’ is to allow someone to survive shocks in the economy and wide variations in interest rates.
    Your simplistic analysis does not take this into account.

  225. John says:


    Citigroup Posts $5.11 Bln Loss on Big Write-Downs
    Subprime Losses Clip Profits at Sumitomo Trust
    Merrill Lynch Posts Big Loss, to Cut 4,000 Jobs
    U.S. State Officials Probing Auction-Rate Market
    Bank of America to Halt Private Student Loans
    Capital One First-Quarter Earnings Fall
    BB&T Operating Net Falls, Real Estate Losses Rise
    Housing Weighs on Several U.S. Regional Banks
    KeyCorp Profit Tumbles Amid Market Turmoil
    Merrill Lynch to Write Down Further $6 Bln-8 Bln – WSJ
    JPMorgan CEO Says Bear Deal Doesn’t Stop Bank Hunt
    Basel Bank Watchdog Plans Crackdown on Risk
    U.S. Senator Asks SEC to Step Up Ratings Scrutiny – WSJ
    WaMu Sees $12 Bln-$19 Bln in One-Family Charge-Offs
    Bank of Montreal Sees Buy Opportunities in U.S. Woes
    Wachovia to Cut Investment Banking Jobs in Second Quarter
    Bear Stearns First-Quarter Profit Falls 79 Percent
    Crisis to Affect Markets for a Decade – JP Morgan

  226. John says:

    RE Timing Belts, certain model cars like my old camry when belt breaks all that happens is car stops, no damage to vehicle. Certain old cars like my wife’s old Subaru belt breaks big problem and possible damage to engine. If it is like my old Camry temp fate all day long if car is just used local.

  227. jmacdaddio says:

    I was drooling when the Audi A3 came to the USA, however I was disappointed that they don’t have quattro available on the 2.0 liter version (quattro is only available on the A3 with the 3.2 6 cyl model, and I’m not about to drop $38k on a hatchback). I heard rumors that the entry A3 is getting quattro for the 2009 model year – if it’s true, I might just mosey on over to the Audi dealer.

  228. John says:

    I used to be a HUGE Bruce FAN, went to every concert he had between 1978, I remember when he was the first band to play the Meadowlands and I thought the whole damm place was going to fall down. Then when that River crap album came out and he ditched his wife and married that skanky co-singer and started yelling at fans in concert to keep quiet while he did that acoustic crap he lost me. Now he is the loser the rest of us run from.

  229. kettle1 says:

    UN fears tragedy over North Korean food shortage
    Tania Branigan, Guardian

    The hand-to-mouth existence of North Korea’s 23 million inhabitants is at risk of deteriorating into “a serious tragedy”, the UN food agency warned yesterday.

    Long-term food shortages have been exacerbated by last year’s floods, which devastated the country’s agricultural production, while key donors China and South Korea are expected to reduce their direct aid to the country this year.

    Relations on the peninsula have deteriorated sharply since the new South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, took power in February. Pyongyang is furious at his insistence that humanitarian assistance depends on the progress it makes in dismantling its nuclear weapons programme, a break with the previous “sunshine policy” of engagement.

    The World Food Programme estimates that already 6.5 million people are short of food. It said state rations were dwindling while prices in markets had doubled – with a kilogram of rice now costing around one-third of a typical worker’s monthly salary.

    this is a political time bomb waiting to happen. mass starvation could cause NK to become fairly agressive

  230. Essex says:

    John, John, John…..the river has some great songs……and the first wife just wasn’t a Jersey Girl…..I don’t see a problem.

  231. kettle1 says:


    I lost a timing belt on an old 92 acura interga and all it did was stop the car. No damage to the engine,so i do believe that it depends on your cars setup

  232. kettle1 says:

    how important is that shiny new bimmer?? a little perspective for the day

    The Fury of the Poor
    Der Spiegel (Germany)
    Around the world, rising food prices have made basic staples like rice and corn unaffordable for many people, pushing the poor to the barricades because they can no longer get enough to eat. But the worst is yet to come.

    Fort Dimanche, a former prison in the hills above the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, is a hell on earth. In the past, it was home to the torture chambers of former dictator “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s death squads, the Tontons Macoutes. Today thousands of impoverished Haitians live in the prison’s grounds, digging through piles of garbage for food. But even dogs find little to eat there.

    For many Haitians, the mud biscuits are their only food. They taste of fat, suck the moisture out of the mouth and leave behind an aftertaste of dirt. They often cause diarrhea, but they help to numb the pangs of hunger.

  233. grim says:

    Interference versus non-interference (free running).

  234. kettle1 says:

    grim 234,

    are you refering to North korea?

  235. grim says:

    Engine design (timing belts), but I guess the same principles apply. Either catastrophic failure, or much ado about nothing.

  236. jmacdaddio says:


    I came across an article which was an inside look at NK as a place which could resemble life in a world with dwindling energy reserves. There is virtually no garbage in NK since everything is used, re-used, and re-used again. There is no vehicular traffic to speak of. The hills and forests are stripped bare of anything that is remotely edible, leading to further soil erosion. The downside is having to spend 18 hours a day foraging and rummaging for daily essentials, spending pre-dawn hours in total darkness looking for weeds, grass, or anything that could be burned for a cooking fire, not that there’s much to cook anyway.

  237. Essex says:

    235….wow…amazing marketing there, that is truly a can’t miss sale.

  238. Mitchell says:

    In response to wallies from yesterday.

    #350 wallies
    3. two different people send similar
    resumes with the same home address and
    claim not to know each other.

    Im glad you spoke with the person but here is something I have seen tech companies do.

    Tech companies knowing a tech from a competing agency is possibly being submitted by another tech agency will C-Block them by sending in a nearly identical resume knowing they will not contact the tech to verify why they received two resumes from different companies. The company will discard both resumes and candidates for the position to avoid a legal issue. Its a dirty technique a few recruiting agencies use to knock out candidates because tech’s will usually work with several agencies.

    Never tell an agency where you have been submitted! Your giving them a lead to compete with the job you might be applying for and they may C-Block you.

    We have blacklisted two major agencies for doing this.

  239. BC Bob says:

    “I remember when he was the first band to play the Meadowlands and I thought the whole damm place was going to fall down. Then when that River crap album came out”

    John [229],

    Stop talking out of your #ss. The Arena, at that time Brendan Bryne Arena, opened in 7/81 with Bruce. Now, if you were shaking, with the arena, you were to the damn River tour. I was there. The whole place was shaking, in regards to the River. Were you rocking to the Born to Run tour?

    My questions;
    1) Were you really there?
    2) If yes, what the hell do you think you were listening to?
    3) This one is easy. Were you the same d*ck back then as you are now.


    I’ll see you in July.

  240. Essex says:

    Hell Yeah….Sorry but I got two rules…No badmouthing the boss….and don’t crap on small efficient 6 cyl engines.

  241. Against The Grain says:

    Here’s a website for all you timing belt worryworts.

    You can find the belt replacement interval and determine whether you have an inteference engine.

  242. lurkerA says:

    243 – thanks for that. i’ll check out the link.

    i had thought that for all hondas (acuras included) that when the timing belt goes, it’s catastrophic and the car is done. i didn’t realize it wasn’t necessarily true.

  243. grim says:

    Hmm, 2:30 and we’ve only got $300 million in downgrades from Fitch. I really hope those guys are ok, I’m getting worried.

    Fitch Affirms $111.3MM and Downgrades $342.1MM from 2 Aegis 2005 Subprime Transactions

  244. ithink-ithink says:

    US must build its way out of debt
    Spending to catch up is the best way for the US to overcome its debt and save Americans’ standard of living.

  245. lisoosh says:

    Great opinion piece in the Times (UK):


    “House prices in Britain, at six times average earnings, are too high. That’s it. We all know that, we’ve known it for years. Property prices are nonsensical, exorbitant, unaffordable, immorally inflated by investors and a shortage of available land space to build new homes, exploited by a greedy City.

    … property owners have been complicit in the financial recklessness of the past few years: easy credit built on pyramid selling. Buying houses has been a gamble, a cross-your-fingers-and- hope-for-the-best

    …Nothing could be more immoral, then, in the current climate, than using government efforts and taxpayers’ money to encourage first-time buyers to enter the housing market in order to stabilise the dodgy situation that banks and incautious borrowers have got themselves into through overlending and overstretching themselves: row, row harder, keep us all afloat!

    ..To most of us, the housing bubble has been an alarming, nonsensical boom that we have scrabbled to keep up with for fear of being left behind, not out of greed but because we wanted a home to live in, one that we owned.”

  246. lisoosh says:

    Funny – the UK bubble burst later than here, but seems to be unravelling quicker. Maybe due to the smaller geography, or just British personalities? At least their sellers are getting real a bit quicker:


    “House sellers have cut their asking prices sharply in Greater London in a bid to attract buyers, property website Rightmove says today.

    Rightmove added that prices suffered a monthly fall in 27 of the 32 London boroughs with the most expensive boroughs hardest hit and now showing the fastest slowdown in annual gains.

    “However, sellers have taken the smart step of acknowledging that buyers will need tempting with a more competitive price, partly due to concerns over City job losses and mortgage costs not falling in line with base rates.””

  247. Essex says:

    Tricia Walsh Smith

    My new secret crush!


  248. tom says:

    Anyone know what last years high for GSMLS only was …I thought it was 36k.


  249. lisoosh says:

    Can’t stand Springsteen. (Ducks and runs).

  250. make money says:

    The same mathematics as housing will come into play for our ridiculously expensive higher education system, which can not exist without a well lubricated loan infrastructure. Limit the ability of students to take on heavy loans, and college education becomes untouchable for anyone but the wealthiest Americans. If loans dry up, universities will be forced to slash their bureaucracies and substantially reduce tuitions. Ironically the silver lining here is that with low tuitions students will no longer need the loans that kept tuitions so high in the first place.

  251. make money says:

    Peter Schiff wrote above…Did I tell you how much I love this guy?

  252. 3b says:

    #251 lisoosh: I like Springstee.But I must admit I am a bigger John Mellencamp fan, which is hard to be in the land of Springsteen.

  253. Essex says:

    John Mellencamp has a hotter wife….

  254. #251 – I’m also not a huge fan. Besides the greatest band ever from NJ was the Misfits.

  255. Jamey says:


    She’s got those crazy eyes. That’s hawt!

  256. Mitchell says:

    NJ also produced the Anti Springsteen Bon Jovi.

    Maybe he should open for Xanadu?

  257. Jamey says:

    256: My vote goes to Fountains of Wayne.

  258. John says:


    Girl who is a friend of a friend just listed her house at a price she thinks is good. It is in Ho Ho Kus for $585 and since the inside is perfect she thinks it will go quick. At $585 for a two bedroom even though it is on a good location on Hollywood is that possible? Anyone think this puppy will sell and for what price?

  259. RentininNJ says:

    Lets not forget Kool & the Gang

  260. njpatient says:

    218 lurker

    Re the Civic, me three! And Pat four, if I remember correctly.

  261. Pat says:

    Me four. And every fifth person in Central Jersey. You should see Route One. It went from Hummer Heaven to “I’m Civic Minded” in about 8 months flat down here.

    I’m on that timing belt site, searching every option for Civic, and I’m caught in an endless loop of “parts not found.”

    So do I need to do the timing belt or what?

  262. lurkerA says:

    263 Pat –

    Click on the link that says “Timing belt replacement guide” that will open a pdf file and on the left is an index of makes, which are then broken out by model, and then by year.

    my 01 is due for a timing belt replacement at 110k, so im only 1k over – which isnt bad. I was planning to schedule it sometime in the next month or so anyway.

  263. Pat says:

    J.B., you’re going to start to get ad placement requests from J.C. Whitney.

    Maybe even Honda.

  264. grim says:


    She’ll need to get $550k to break even, it was purchased in 2005 for $525k. Did she do work on the house? I think the powder room was updated.

    Going to be tough, 702 Hollywood is in ARIP at $499k, 4br/1.5ba. Likewise, the split at 610 Hollywood is listed at $535k, 3br/2.5ba, reduced from $575k.

    It is a nice house, I’ll agree with that, but 2 bedrooms is a killer in that price range.

  265. leavingtribeca says:

    Doesn’t this look like pretty good deal? Zillow, though, has a much lower value range and it seems to be the priciest house on its “block”. Any thoughts from those familiar with Rumson?


  266. make money says:

    The bill (HR 5715), which passed by a vote of 383-27, seeks to stem the departure of loan companies from the federally guaranteed student-loan program. More than 50 lenders have left that program in recent weeks, amid a credit crunch that has rippled across the financial sector, making many types of lending less profitable.

    To encourage lenders to remain in the federal program, the bill would allow the secretary of education to buy up loans that lenders have struggled to sell to investors. That move would inject liquidity into the student-loan market, providing lenders with fresh capital to make new loans

    I guess we can’t just open the window for CDO/MBS securities we have to through in Student loans in this as well. Great Job guys. The Car loan business is next and the retailers, and everyone else with a handout.

  267. John says:

    I saw Bruce at the opening act out in the Meadowlands back in 7/1981. I was in the back and the whole damm place was shaking so much I thought the bleachers were going to fall down. I also saw him in the late 90s sometimes out in NJ too. I saw him in the Garden in the late 1970s in the darkness on the edge of town tour. That was when he was good. I also saw Southside Johhny and the Asberry jukes on a double hearder with the Ramones and blondee at WLIR party in the park and I saw Clarence Clemmons once at My Fathers place. Took a shot to see if the boss would show up. To me Bruces’s hey day was 1973-1981, he has been going downhill ever since. When I saw him ten years ago and saw the aging fat old fart fans in their volvos and minivans out in the parking lot I swore them off forever. I hate seeing bands I saw in their prime in their elevator music phase of their career. Back in High School college I saw the blues brothers at the pladidum, Bob Marly at Stony Brook, Allman Brothers at st. johns with Cher kicking it on vocals!!, talking heads, pretenders, go gos, BLOTTO (i wanna be a lifeguard), Clash at Hosftra University, Stones, Stephanwolf back when John Kaye was so broke he did a monday night club tour for a 100 people with a two dollar cover, Chuck Berry in my High school gym for $5 bucks when he was desparate for money cause of tax problems etc. Concerts today stink, back then a high school kid with some free time cut school and could get tickets and go to the show. Heck I saw Billy Joel back in 1977 with my brother off newspaper route money as seed money and turned a profit by scalping the extras. Heck some times I would get Billy Joel tickets in college and my brother and I would scalp them all in Penn and use the money to go see the punk rockers in the village.

  268. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Ket check out “Red Phoenix” by Larry Bond.
    PUBLISHED 1989 should be able to read on line free. Stop at the part where we have any troops to send to reinforce. Present scenario.

  269. CAIBC says:

    260 – John,

    my opinion – 350K – 400K (Ho-Ho-Kus) isnt all that by-the-way

    but your friend will find out the hard way – there is a lot of DOM that this one will go through – my guess is that there is potential for more than 2 bedrooms and 1.5 baths in that house???

  270. Happy Camper says:


    April 18, 2008

    An Open Letter to ABC about the Presidential Debate

    We the undersigned deplore the conduct of ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson at the Democratic Presidential debate on April 16. The debate was a revolting descent into tabloid journalism and a gross disservice to Americans concerned about the great issues facing the nation and the world. This is not the first Democratic or Republican presidential debate to emphasize gotcha questions over real discussion. However, it is, so far, the worst.

    For 53 minutes, we heard no question about public policy from either moderator. ABC seemed less interested in provoking serious discussion than in trying to generate cheap shot sound-bites for later rebroadcast. The questions asked by Mr. Stephanopoulos and Mr. Gibson were a disgrace, and the subsequent attempts to justify them by claiming that they reflect citizens’ interest are an insult to the intelligence of those citizens and ABC’s viewers. Many thousands of those viewers have already written to ABC to express their outrage.

    The moderators’ occasional later forays into substance were nearly as bad. Mr. Gibson’s claim that the government can raise revenues by cutting capital gains tax is grossly at odds with what taxation experts believe. Both candidates tried, repeatedly, to bring debate back to the real problems faced by ordinary Americans. Neither moderator allowed them to do this.

    We’re at a crucial moment in our country’s history, facing war, a terrorism threat, recession, and a range of big domestic challenges. Large majorities of our fellow Americans tell pollsters they’re deeply worried about the country’s direction. In such a context, journalists moderating a debate–who are, after all, entrusted with free public airwaves–have a particular responsibility to push and engage the candidates in serious debate about these matters. Tough, probing questions on these issues clearly serve the public interest. Demands that candidates make pledges about a future no one can predict or excessive emphasis on tangential “character” issues do not. This applies to candidates of both parties.

    Neither Mr. Gibson nor Mr. Stephanopoulos lived up to these responsibilities. In the words of Tom Shales of the Washington Post, Mr. Gibson and Mr. Stephanopoulos turned in “shoddy, despicable performances.” As Greg Mitchell of Editor and Publisher, describes it, the debate was a “travesty.” We hope that the public uproar over ABC’s miserable showing will encourage a return to serious journalism in debates between the Democratic and Republican nominees this fall. Anything less would be a betrayal of the basic responsibilities that journalists owe to their public.

    Spencer Ackerman, The Washington Independent
    Eric Alterman, City University of New York
    Dean Baker, The American Prospect Online
    Steven Benen, The Carpetbagger Report
    Julie Bergman Sender, Balcony Films
    Ari Berman, The Nation
    Brian Beutler, The Media Consortium
    Michael Berube, Crooked Timber, the University of Pennsylvania
    Joel Bleifuss, In These Times
    Sam Boyd, The American Prospect
    Lakshmi Chaudry, In These Times
    Joe Conason, Journalist and Author
    Brad DeLong, Brad DeLong’s Semi-Daily Journal and UC Berkeley
    Kevin Drum, The Washington Monthly
    Henry Farrell, Crooked Timber, George Washington University
    James Galbraith, University of Texas at Austin
    Todd Gitlin, Columbia University, TPM Cafe
    Merrill Goozner (formerly Chicago Tribune)
    Ilan Goldenberg, The National Security Network
    Robert Greenwald, Brave New Films
    Christopher Hayes, The Nation
    Don Hazen, Alternet
    Michael Kazin, Georgetown University
    Ed Kilgore, The Democratic Strategist
    Richard Kim, The Nation
    Ezra Klein, The American Prospect
    Mark Kleiman, UCLA/The Reality Based Community
    Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed
    Ari Melber, The Nation
    Rick Perlstein, Campaign for America’s Future
    Katha Pollitt, The Nation
    David Roberts, Grist
    Thomas Schaller, Columnist, The Baltimore Sun
    Mark Schmitt, The New America Foundation
    Adele Stan, The Media Consortium
    Jonathan Stein, Mother Jones Magazine
    Mark Thoma, The Economist’s View
    Michael Tomasky, The Guardian
    Cenk Uygur, The Young Turks
    Tracy Van Slyke, The Media Consortium
    Kai Wright, The Root

  271. John says:

    I think she is going to have a tough sale, it
    has a third room that is an office with a window but there is some rule in NJ that it needs a closet to be called a bedroom and it has to be officially listed as a third bedroom. She painted, did the floors, new carpets, replaced furnance and did general minor repairs but nothing major, in todays market that is what a buyer expects I don’t think they will pay extra for that. But it will help you sell if everything is in good condition. This is her first weekend listed so should be fun.
    grim Says:
    April 18th, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    She’ll need to get $550k to break even, it was purchased in 2005 for $525k. Did she do work on the house? I think the powder room was updated.

    Going to be tough, 702 Hollywood is in ARIP at $499k, 4br/1.5ba. Likewise, the split at 610 Hollywood is listed at $535k, 3br/2.5ba, reduced from $575k.

    It is a nice house, I’ll agree with that, but 2 bedrooms is a killer in that price range.

  272. njpatient says:

    220 Nom

    Last I saw, Dana Corp went bankrupt

  273. njpatient says:

    263 Pat

    Yes, at 60K miles

  274. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Happy Camper we agree on something. I would have much rather some questions on issues in the first 45 min. of wasted time.

  275. Mikeinwaiting says:

    JJ 274 TAXES ?

  276. Mikeinwaiting says:

    John I was at the first concert at Giants stadium Steve Miller,Beach Boys as I remember. Anyone else remember very fogy from that period! Did someone mention the Roof Top the other day.How about 226 had some wild times there.

  277. John says:

    Some people call me the space cowboy some call me gangster of love.

  278. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Some people call me Maurice.

    DO you know taxes?

  279. John says:

    Hey last time I saw the Pope when he was in town, that bad boy john paul kicked it at the race track. I was down in front. This time I wasn’t a good enough boy to score tickets. Any pope named after two of the beatles knows how to rock an arena.

  280. kettle1 says:


    regardless of the ultimate victor, a conflict between NK and SK would be devastating.With the amount of artillery that NK has point at Seoul, the death toll from the first round of any conflict would be astronomical and seoul could end up looking like desden germany in WWII.

    One of the key factors on that front is china. CHina does not want the US expanding its influence in asia and knows that any military action by NK would force the US to become involved. China generally keeps a very tight lease to NK and has supposedly threatened to “do the job” themselves before allowing NK to force the US to intervene.

    The really sad thing is that any near term opening of the border between NK ans SK is not feasible. The standard of living is disparate, that you would have a flood of NK into SK and end up with serious social upheaval. fascinating stuff from a strategic point of view.

  281. make money says:


    My wife calls me an asshole and yet others think I’m a nice guy.

  282. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Hey its Friday people go home!Doing Manhattans on the deck.All bets are off are grammar & spelling for the rest of today.Can I get a pass from the grammar police.

  283. 3b says:

    #255 essex; Which one, he is on wife number 4, although with this one its been over 10 years, so maybe it lasts.

  284. Laurie says:

    John RE:260
    That HoHoKus house is in the Cheelcroft section which is very popular…charming architecture and all ….but a 2 bedroom is a very small house. It’s not super overpriced it’s just 20% to high. People love Ho Hi kus schools but my girlfriend left an adorable Cheelcroft in Ho Ho kus for a sugar maple split in Wyckoff cuz there was more room…houses also very close together

  285. Mikeinwaiting says:

    KET YES China is keeping them on a short leash. Soviet 220 mm rockets devastating. Uragans I believe they are called.

  286. 3b says:

    #286 John: why is she moving;just curious

  287. 3b says:

    #288 Laurie Wyckoff has better taxes too.

  288. Mikeinwaiting says:

    MM 284 Don’t sweat it a lot of that going around.

  289. kettle1 says:


    i have the same problem, my wife confusing me with being an asshole and all ;) is that a wife thing?

  290. 3b says:

    Apr. 18, 2008 16:00 ET

    DJIA 12,849.36 228.87
    Nasdaq 2,402.97 61.14
    S&P 1,390.33 24.77
    AMEX 2,365.77 23.52

    Markets close up today across the board. Yes boy and girls good news is now bad news

  291. Essex says:

    287…the model from PA.

    I got one too…highly recommend them.

  292. kettle1 says:

    mike did you ever read about the war games the US ran with regard to iran?


  293. Mikeinwaiting says:

    KET 296 No, will read it all at latter date.
    Manhattans don’t you know. You were with the 50th out of NJ no. Got something for you next GTG Steal 3 simulation war game no graphics real deal the army used it, have you?
    Ket293 YES!
    John 7k not bad on the taxes.

  294. Sybarite says:



    I’ve done several autox’s and notice much of the same. The most shocking observation is that the mini’s run circles around virtually all of the M-cars.

    The old guy in a base non-S mini with less than 150 HP routinely smokes the newer guy in his M3 with 333 HP. By a wide margin, no less.

  295. John says:

    She is moving to an apt. in NYC near work. Works late and the surburb thing gets boring quick. In the housing boom lots of single women got in on the “property ladder” and now want off.

  296. John says:

    Isn’t John Mellancamp also on his fourth heart attack?

  297. Jill says:

    John #286: Pretty house, but rooms look really tiny. Maybe they need that guy Barry from Hidden Potential on HGTV to carve it up differently. :)

  298. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Ket That’s Steel 3. I asked for a pass from the police but you never know.

  299. 3b says:

    #300 John: Yeah. But he cut down on his smoking from 2 packs to 1 pack a day.

  300. Jill says:

    Hey, does anyone know anything about the Mini Clubman? My neighbor bought one in Chocolate Brown and I fell instantly and hopelessly in lurve. And I am not a “car girl”; we have a 2001 Civic with 55K miles and a 2003 Corolla with 43K miles.

  301. 3b says:

    3299 John: Thanks.

  302. RentininNJ says:


    Can you please tell me if 5 Hickory Place in Rockaway sold? I no longer see it listed and I’m curious what happend. Just curious because I got into a “spirited” discussion regarding the value of the house with the listing agent at an open house.


  303. Joeycasz says:

    As long as we are on cars, the A6 is back in the shop again. Next time spouse wants to buy a car I disapprove of, I will reply “remember the Audi?”

    That is what I get for saying “oh, if you really want it dear . . .”

    Or you could have gotten some of that good ol’ LukOil gas like i did last night. Hell, pure hell…


  304. spam spam bacon spam says:

    If I can believe this, I think I’m in a bidding war with Napa Auto Parts for a location…

    Landlord likes the “National Chain” whereas I’m a lowly small business with 1 location. Landlord can also charge “retail” rent to Napa whereas I’m an industrial company and would typically pay lower rates. (I don’t need to be on the busy highway with a neon sign)

    I did some digging and found out that Napa Auto Parts is just a “licensed name” for your local independent auto parts store… so “Joe’s Liquors and Auto Parts Cheeper” can sign a purchase agreement with Napa and slap a Napa sign up alongside the “Joe’s” sign…

    There is no “national/corporate” bank account the landlord can rely upon to make good in case the location is a non-starter or fails to thrive.

    A #$&^*& bidding war. Go figure.

  305. BC Bob says:

    “I was at the first concert at Giants stadium Steve Miller,Beach Boys as I remember.”


    I was there. Fly like an Eagle. If I’m correct, Pablo Cruise also performed. It was hot as s*it. I was on the field, it must have been 120 degrees on that turf. The security was spraying us with water, like cattle. By the time you brought your beer from the concession stand to the field it was warm.

  306. grim says:


    Sold at $377,500, OLP was $429,900.

  307. ac says:

    As follow up to the recent auto discussions… does anyone here own a BMW X5 3.0 or is familiar with how reliable they are (from a new and preowned angle)? Thanks.

  308. Mikeinwaiting says:

    BC aah yes! We had space punch every liquor we could find mixed with 7up & juice. They allowed plastic coolers (with spout) but no bottles we brought gallons. Also lawn chairs old basket weave. The other stuff I shouldn’t post. Think purple. Yes it was hot I guess! I was on the field.

  309. njpatient says:


  310. Mikeinwaiting says:

    NJP Have a blast, N. O. bound!?

  311. grim says:


    Sorry I couldn’t set that up for you.

    Hope you enjoy the trip, email a picture, I’ll post it up.

  312. chicagofinance says:

    John Says:
    April 18th, 2008 at 4:44 pm
    Isn’t John Mellancamp also on his fourth heart attack?

    errr….yes, but not due to cardiovascular disease……

Comments are closed.