Too big to fail

From CNN/Money:

The trillion-dollar mortgage time bomb

Among the nightmares lurking around the corner for the already battered housing and credit markets would be a meltdown at mortgage financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Although few are predicting an imminent need for a bailout just yet, credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s recently placed an estimated price tag on this worst case scenario — $420 billion to $1.1 trillion of taxpayer’s money.

This dwarfs how much it cost to help banks during the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. That cost taxpayers about $250 billion in today’s dollars.

S&P added that saving Fannie and Freddie might cost so much that the federal government’s AAA credit rating, the top possible rating, might even be at risk. If that was lost, then all federal government borrowing would become more expensive.

Wagner pointed out that at the end of January, 82% of all mortgages in the U.S. were backed by one of the firms, up from only 46% in the second quarter of 2007.

And Fannie and Freddie’s role in the mortgage and real estate markets is likely to grow, as Congress recently allowed them to back larger mortgages, up to $729,750, up from the previous limit of $417,000.

“I don’t think the message is a bailout is necessary or imminent,” Wagner said. “But they’re facing this increased role at a time that their own credit performance is suffering from the rifts in the housing and mortgage markets. They’re both projecting much higher losses than we’ve seen in some time.”

“The real fundamental problem is real estate prices have been falling and they might fall substantially more,” said Robert Shiller, a Yale University economist who argued for years that a bubble was forming in real estate prices. “OFHEO and Fannie and Freddie never considered the possibility of a massive real estate correction.”

“I would say there’s at least a 50-50 chance of some sort of bailout. I’m not saying it will necessarily cost $1 trillion, but they’ll need some kind of help, and it very well could happen this year,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

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290 Responses to Too big to fail

  1. grim says:

    From Reuters:

    UBS report blames lax controls for credit losses

    Poor risk control and a narrow focus on revenue growth at UBS AG’s investment bank helped cause huge credit losses, UBS said on Monday, as it prepares to meet restive shareholders this week.

    The subprime-battered bank blamed itself for a lack of risk control in a report ordered by Switzerland’s EBK banking watchdog and said it had let the rapid build-up of its investment bank run out of control.

    “The investment bank was focused on the maximization of revenue. There appears to have been a lack of challenge on the risk and reward to business area plans,” UBS said about its fixed-income business.

    The world’s largest wealth manager has written down about $37 billion in assets — more than any other bank…

  2. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Bank of England’s mortgage bailout

    The Bank of England on Monday said it will swap up to 50 billion pounds worth of Treasury bills for high-rated mortgage-backed securities with commercial banks in an effort to thaw frozen credit markets and ensure lower interest rates are passed on to consumers.

    The program “is designed to improve the liquidity position of the banking system and raise confidence in financial markets while ensuring that the risk of losses on the loans they have made remains with the banks,” said Bank of England Governor Mervyn King in a statement.

  3. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    RBS Plans Fund to Transfer $2.3 Billion Loan Risk, People Say

    Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, the U.K.’s second-biggest lender, plans to start a fund to transfer the risk of losses from 1.5 billion euros ($2.3 billion) of high-yield loans, according to three people with knowledge of the proposal.

    The fund will earn a return for investors by selling contracts to RBS that protect the bank from losses on 15 loans in euros and pounds and a further six in dollars, said the people who declined to be identified because the discussions are private.

  4. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    GIC Says Global Recession May Be Worst in 30 Years

    Government of Singapore Investment Corp., the sovereign fund that has invested about $18 billion in UBS AG and Citigroup Inc. since December, said the world economy may be headed for its worst recession in three decades.

    “We could be facing a recession which is longer, deeper and wider than any recession that we have encountered in the last 30 years,” Tony Tan, deputy chairman of GIC, as the company is known, said in a speech to more than 500 employees in Singapore today.

  5. grim says:

    From the Press of Atlantic City:

    Shore area homeowners shunned by State Farm

    If you call a State Farm Insurance Company agent in Ventnor after office hours, you get a tape-recorded message saying, “Like a good neighbor, we are there for you 24/7.”
    Don’t try and sell the “good neighbor” bit to Mary Nugent, of Pennsylvania, who has a home in Longport.

    After paying premiums to State Farm for 25 years with no claims, Nugent got a letter from the company last week saying it will not renew her policy as part of a program “to reduce our exposure to catastrophic property losses.” The state Department of Banking and Insurance approved their “block nonrenewal plan.”

    “Since your property is located on a barrier island, your policy is being nonrenewed” and will expire June 9, the letter said.

    That got Nugent mad, and not only because she has to hunt down a new insurance policy at, most likely, a much higher price.

  6. sas says:

    in the past few years regulation went out the door.

    also, bailouts enable people to continue…

    like I’ve said before on these boards…

    hope you like oatmeal, because thats all that many people will be eating and can afford in the near future.


  7. grim says:

    From the WSJ:

    Smaller Banks Begin to Pay Price For Their Boomtime Expansion
    Rising Losses Seen On Distant Loans; Sovereign’s Car Mess
    April 21, 2008; Page A1

    PHOENIX — Pennsylvania’s Sovereign Bancorp grew in two decades from a tiny savings and loan into a regional bank with branches from New Hampshire to Maryland. Then in 2006, seeking faster growth, it drove all the way to Phoenix.

    Concentrating on auto loans, Sovereign offered some of the best terms around to car buyers in Arizona and eight other states far from Sovereign’s home branches. “They came on like a tidal wave,” says Steve Dancy, finance director at Mel Clayton Ford here. “It was a car dealer’s dream.”

    Now, two years after its expansion push, Sovereign has quit making auto loans outside the Northeast because too many borrowers fell behind on their bills. Losses on the bank’s loans ballooned. In January, to conserve cash as it wrote off more bad loans, Sovereign eliminated dividend payments. On Tuesday, the bank is expected to announce a 40% drop in first-quarter earnings.

    Similar troubles are echoing through small and midsize banks across the U.S. In a bid to expand during the recent boom, many set up operations in unfamiliar markets or started pitching new products. Others, aiming to stave off encroachment by huge U.S. financial institutions, boosted their lending by offering easy terms or lower rates. Now the slowing economy is exposing bad timing and blunders.

    Big U.S. banks have received the lion’s share of attention since the crisis began, due to their exposure to housing-related woes. Some analysts and investors are betting that those larger banks have gone a long way toward cleaning up their books. On Friday, stocks soared when Citigroup Inc. posted a first-quarter loss of $5.1 billion, one day after Merrill Lynch & Co. announced its own first-quarter loss of nearly $2 billion.

    But there’s a growing sense that there’s another shoe to drop: losses at smaller banks. Regional and local institutions mostly dodged the initial wave of troubles because many weren’t exposed to the complex mortgage-backed securities that slammed the behemoths. As housing prices continue to erode and the economy weakens, they’re taking their lumps now, too.

  8. grim says:

    From the Morning Call:

    Easton choking on office space

    Last month, Easton city officials got an unwelcome surprise.

    Unique Mortgage Solutions, the top-floor tenant in the city-owned Alpha Building, abruptly left after making none of its monthly $5,500 lease payments since December.

    The company, based in Paramus, N.J., owes the city and its taxpayers roughly $60,000 in back and future rent and has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, records show. That’s enough money to pay the salary and benefits of a new police officer.

    Making matters worse, city officials say a new tenant — not only to fill the space but also a hole in the budget that grows larger each month the space remains vacant — will be difficult to find in today’s economic climate.

    ”I am not happy,” said Mayor Sal Panto Jr. ”The market is real soft and the space is going to be hard to lease.”

  9. sas says:

    I’m no lawyer

    but can Easton sue?


  10. bairen says:

    Fannie and Freddie too big to fail?

    So was the Roman Empire.

  11. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    IMF: More severe credit crunch ‘a distinct possibility’

    Bank lending across Europe has held up despite financial turmoil related to the credit crisis, but the test of Europe’s financial system isn’t over, the International Monetary Fund said Monday in its latest regional economic outlook report for Europe. “A more severe credit crunch remains a distinct possibility and would amplify the slowdown,” the IMF said. A range of estimates suggest that “loss recognition in many financial institutions still needs to catch up with reality,” the report warned.

  12. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Here is one to watch this home is priced 80k under any of the other bi-levels in that lake. This is where I sold in 06 for 297, also a bi-level. When & if it sells it will be a comp killer.

  13. Clotpoll says:

    I think the chances are about 100% that Fannie/Freddie will require a massive bailout. These agencies are the gubmint-designated garbage cans for all the refuse that can be tamped into them. Once they are brimming over, they will quietly (the gubmint hopes) go bust, then be bailed out…with our money.

    Normally, any one of the following situations would cause the gubmint to curb the expanison of a GSE. For Fannie/Freddie, however, they seem to form the basis of a top-notch resume:

    1. Recent quarterly losses in the billions.

    2. Recent Congressional investigations leading to calls for stronger oversight.

    3. Repeated warnings of increased defaults within their securitized holdings.

    4. Recent accounting “irregularities”.

    So, what do we do? Lower their capital reserve requirements and give them a mandate to take on even more slop.

    This thing is going to end very badly.

  14. rhymingrealtor says:

    Grim # 5,

    While most posters here think the Real Estate field is “The Worst” having worked in Insurance and leaving because of the industry practices, I can tell you from what I have seen, I’ll take Realtors over Insurance salesman anyday.


  15. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Clot 13 The mental picture I have from your post is a train rushing down the track with the bridge over a deep ravine out ahead. Whistleblowing, stoking the boiler!

  16. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Bank Of America 1st Quarter Slides, Boosts Credit Loss Provision

    Bank of America Corp.’s first-quarter earnings sank 77% to $1.21 billion, or 23 cents a share, from $5.26 billion, or $1.16 a share, a year earlier, as its provision for credit losses climbed and it posted $2.72 billion in net charge-offs. The Charlotte, N.C., bank’s net interest income rose to $9.99 billion from $8.27 billion, while it increased its provision for credit losses to $6.01 billion from $1.24 billion a year ago. The company said it “remains concerned” about the health of the consumer.

  17. Mikeinwaiting says:

    It just keeps getting better & better.

    Between April 14th and April 18th, the Libor rate jumped sharply to 2.9%, up from 2.7%. This increase, which was unexpected, will “add billions of dollars to the interest bills of home-owners, companies and other borrowers around the world, ” according to the Wall Street Journal.

    What does this mean? Well, it means that any debt pegged to the Libor – about $9 trillion worldwide – would see an increase in interest payments. This comes at a very precarious time when homeowners are struggling to pay their mortgages, and many ARMs are resetting using Libor as a floor. Not only will this increase hurt residential real estate, it will also hurt – and quite severely – commercial real estate. Commercial real estate is typically highly leveraged using floating-rate Libor debt.

    It is my belief that we will see dramatic losses, like the ones we’ve been seeing with residential real estate, in commercial real estate. When that happens, banks that are already reeling to cope with the residential mess will be in for another wave of losses and write-downs.

  18. grim says:

    From the AP:

    Survey: 30 percent believe economy will shrink

    The odds the country will fall into its first recession since 2001 are rising sharply.

    Thirty percent of economists now believe the economy will shrink in the first half of this year, up from 10 percent who thought this in January, according to a survey being released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics, known by its acronym NABE.

    “That’s a striking difference,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America and the NABE’s point person on the survey. The tone of the overall survey, he said, was “extremely gloomy.”

  19. SteveTheBrigadoonian says:

    Any bets on $120 oil this week?

    And oil could trade above $120 that should the euro make a convincing break above $1.60, he says. Meanwhile in Chicago, Phil Flynn of senior market analyst with Alaron Trading, agrees with the $120 call. “That wouldn’t surprise me … we closed close enough to $115 (on Wednesday) to take a shot at $120.”

  20. grim says:

    Trading above 117

  21. Cindy says:

    Is there the possibility that banks would again be responsibile for their own “loss control?” Like the old days where the banks scrutinized the borrower/collateral/income and only loaned on what they were willing to keep on their own books? So…is banking cyclical or are those days just long gone…

  22. grim says:

    Uh oh, TD Bank talking about cost synergies, does this mean the axe for Commerce Bancorp employees in Cherry Hill and Mount Laurel?

  23. bairen says:

    #13 Clot, I think you are right.

    Will we go back to 2000, 1998, or 1991 prices?

  24. BC Bob says:

    Clot [13],

    Spot on. Without a doubt, they will be our version of Northern Crock.

  25. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Cindy 21 No of course not the brilliant minds
    in banking have found a way to spread the risk. They can pool these debts , get AAA ratings & sell to investors all over the world.
    Sarcasm off.

    They will really have no choice. That is if they are willing to lend money at all. What investor except are gov would take this crap. Our tax money at work isn’t it grand.
    Hope all is well on the west coast.

  26. Frank says:

    Clotpoll “I think the chances are about 100% that Fannie/Freddie will require a massive bailout.”
    Make money, buy puts on them.

  27. BC Bob says:

    “Now super-rich face a backlash as credit crunch hits home in America”

  28. Sean says:

    re: (26) Frank – both Fannie and Freddie already have tanked. The bailout if and when it occurs will only drive the stock price up.

  29. Frank says:

    You don’t think Fannie and Freddie are worth $0 at bailout, just like Bear?

  30. Sean says:

    re: (29) Frank – If Fannie or Freddie were allowed to go to $0 you might as well bend over and kiss your kiester goodbye.

  31. John says:

    One last car comment on bring “green” and leasing. Driving around this weekend I was thinking about when you lease a new car every three years what happens to all the old cars you turn in now that cars last so long. Then I kept seeing one old Taurus after another on the road this weekend.

    Well what amazed me is the original style Ford Taurus (think robocop) was built from 1986 to 1995 With 2009 cars coming out those cars are anywhere from between 23 to 13 years old. Pretty amazing to see those babies cooking at 75 on the highway after being beaten for 20 years. Any old 20 year old SL or 911 that has been babied in the garage on the road is no big deal. But from day one a Taurus was thrown into a rental fleet, commuter car or family car duty and to still be around 20 years later after being abused for so long is amazing.

  32. Mikeinwaiting says:

    The home in my post represents an almost normal rate of appreciation for this area.
    Once houses of that type are all asking 2 to 220 we will be at norm. The disparity in pricing will take time to level out crappy condos for more than homes, with equal taxes by the way. Nice homes in good area less than pos ones.This will take a season or 2 to play out. Spoke to my landlord last night taking another year. No hurry, time is on my side.

  33. Mikeinwaiting says:

    That was post 12.

  34. PGC says:

    #17 Mikeinwaiting

    I think this could be a result of the Bank of England and the UK government issuing a threat to banks to report their true borrowing costs. Some companies were trying to hide the costs and amounts of their borrowing to try and stop a Northern Rock type run. This was skewing LIBOR lower. This could be the first part of a big correction.

  35. John says:

    Recent Price : $8.33
    According to an unconfirmed report in today’sWall Street Journal, NCC may soon accept a $6 billion
    capital infusion from private equity fund Corsair Capital. Based on the reported terms of this deal, the
    investors will then hold a 9.9% stake in NCC, paying about $5 per share, a price that is well below Friday’s
    closing price of $8.33, and below what we had expected for any such deal.We are reducing our 12-month
    target price by $3 to $7, based on a steep discount-to-peers multiple of 4.3X our ’09 EPS estimate of $1.63,
    or 0.33X times book value. Shares are indicated lower.

  36. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Gambling gains luster in the face of deficit

    As state officials scramble to avert controversial cuts without raising taxes, several leading lawmakers say giving residents more ways to gamble may be New Jersey’s best bet to raise extra cash for the ailing state budget.

    Critics of gambling warn that expanding it has social consequences and would not be a money-making panacea. Gaming supporters say New Jersey is far from tapping out its potential.

    “We have to be aggressive about finding new revenues that are falling through the cracks,” said Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), who would like to bring sports betting to New Jersey. “These are activities that people enjoy.”

    Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex) earlier this month suggested an expansion of the New Jersey Lottery that would encourage “big box” stores like Home Depot and Target to sell tickets and let people play on the internet.

    Lesniak said he may file a lawsuit to challenge a 1992 federal moratorium that prevents New Jersey and virtually every other state from having sports betting. The Assembly earlier this year approved a measure seeking a voter referendum on the issue.

    Before leaving office in January, former Assemblyman Louis Manzo (D-Hudson) introduced a resolution asking voters to approve a casino at the Meadowlands, something he says could tap the New York market before the city considers its own gaming halls.

    Rutgers University economist Joseph Seneca opposes giving people more outlets to play the lottery, saying it is more harmful to the poor than the gasoline tax.

    “There is probably no more regressive way to raise state revenues than the lottery,” he said. “It is a tax on the poor.”

  37. Essex says:


    so what?

  38. BC Bob says:


    I know it’s Monday morning but just try to decipher.

  39. x-underwriter says:

    One more example of why I trust realtors. Many are are operating without any clue.

    “We paid $585,000. It was the peak of the market, but no one told us,” said Shaffer, a real-estate agent from Colorado. “We would probably have to spend the next 20 years trying to get right on the mortgage. That’s crazy.”

  40. grim says:

    Where did National City Guy go?

    From MarketWatch:

    National City to raise $7 bln additional equity capital

    National City to cut dividend to 1 cent from 21 cents

  41. Sean says:

    Coming to a town near you?

    People aren’t just walking away some are burning down the house and torching the car.,0,3776892.story

  42. grim says:


    You gotta look at the upside man, more arson, less inventory. Less inventory, higher prices.

  43. John says:

    “The decline in housing prices has to be solved for things to get better,” said Chris Hagedorn, portfolio manager at Fifth Third Asset Management in Cincinnati, in an interview before earnings were disclosed. “In terms of the maximum point of pain, I don’t think we’re there yet.” Fifth Third manages $22 billion and owns Bank of America shares.

  44. chicagofinance says:
  45. Sybarite says:


    What is there left to solve?

  46. chicagofinance says:

    John: was I correct?

    chicagofinance Says:
    April 20th, 2008 at 12:14 pm
    I have a vague feeling that I have identified John’s favorite vacation spot…..

  47. kettle1 says:

    Grim 36

    The lotto and gabling are classic example of a stupid tax. Its truly baffling to be in Atlantic city and see a tremendous line of elderly people using credit cards to draw cash at the money window in the casino’s!!! arent these the people on “fixed” incomes? or what about the little old man you see in the convenience store buying $50 worth of scratch off tickets…..

    my point? why fix the spending problem when you can just continue to rob the general population and have them thank you for it?

  48. chicagofinance says:

    grim unmod

  49. grim says:

    Just park your car somewhere in Newark at night, with keys on the back seat. stay in hotekl for a night, come out in the morning – car is gone. No need to start a fire.

    Having had the pleasure of taking part in an Essex Co. arson investigation (the Irvington office), let me just say that your suggestion is a pretty reckless one. Theft or arson, it doesn’t matter.

    As the owner, you will immediately become the first suspect if there is *any* outstanding balance on the vehicle.

    I owned my car outright, paid cash, and I still needed to go through the rectal exam. Didn’t even care that my car was stolen along with two others at the time (Audi S4 and an M3).

    Let me tell you, being read your Miranda rights is an incredibly sobering experience, and I was innocent.

    And by the way, the first thing they asked me to produce were both sets of keys.

  50. Al says:

    my point? why fix the spending problem when you can just continue to rob the general population and have them thank you for it?

    Give it 10 years. In 10 years this state(NJ) will collapse and declare BK.

    NJ will default on it’s pension and heqaltyhcare obligations leaving Federal goverment with the bill .I think pensionsa and healthcare benefits are insured(guaranteed) by federal goverment?? It is full benefit or %??

  51. Sean says:

    Are you ready to lose a few pounds?

    {sarcasm off}

  52. njpatient says:

    “Fannie and Freddie too big to fail?
    So was the Roman Empire.”

    And Goliath
    And the Titanic

  53. Al says:

    To post #50.

    But it is my right to park my car where I want at night – as long as I do not park in No park zone – Am I wrong in htis assumption?? You are not committing fraud, – you just needed to stay in Newark hotel for a night – for “Personal” reasons. it is police fault actually for not preventing evil car thieves from stealing your car…

    Anyways just a thought. I am quite familiar with car constructions this day and I will claim – unless car was made before 1980, there is NO WAY it will spontaneously ignite while parked and turned off. So ANY CAR FIRE = ARSON.

    (may be one case in a million, it will be some freak accident like debree ont he road hits fuel line and car catches flame – but htat will only happen while driving.)

  54. thatBIGwindow says:

    all suspects are guilty until proven innocent in the investigators eyes. Take it from the son of a insurance fraud investigator.

  55. Orion says:

    njcoast, (#143 from week-end thread)

    Thanks for those Monmouth comp killers. Gracias.

  56. Al says:

    Let me tell you, being read your Miranda rights is an incredibly sobering experience, and I was innocent.

    You’d do a lot better if you were guilty – you’d be well prepared for it…

  57. 3b says:

    #40 x underwriter:We paid $585,000. It was the peak of the market, but no one told us,” said Shaffer, a real-estate agent from Colorado.

    So no one told the realtor it was the peak of the market. I wonder who he expected to tell him, his hair stylist?

  58. RentininNJ says:


    Can you please give me the status of the following 2 listings?


    I think these are both for the same home.
    The first is listed at $415.
    The second was listed at $399, but I don’t see it on GSLMS anymore.
    The pics in the second listing show some cosmetic work (new paint on shutters etc.)

    Any reason why there would be 2 listing?
    Is either listing still active or did it go under contract?

  59. Orion says:

    Auction traffic in North Wildwood.

    Went to check out oceanfront condos up for auction in
    No. Wildwood. They’ve had 4 open houses so far.
    4,000 people have shown up to look (as per auctioneer).
    Bottom fishing, like me.

  60. grim says:


    Two different houses, 35 and 36 Tremont. The one with new siding/shutters (36) went UC at $399,900. The other, 35, is still active at $415k.

    Keep in mind that 36 was purchased in January of 2005 for $415k.

  61. BC Bob says:

    “I wonder who he expected to tell him, his hair stylist?”


    His hair stylist’s licensing requirements, hours, are much more demanding.

  62. Sean says:

    re: car theft and Newark.

    Last month I saw three brand new BMW M3s all the same red color on of one of those vehicle car carriers. Each vehicle looked like it was in a winner in a Destruction Derby.

    My guess is some kids hopped the fence at the Newark Seaport at got behind the wheel of those 400 horsepower cars and tore it up in the parking lots.

  63. John says:

    Hey BC Bob I have not been to a concert since 1999 as there are no good concerts to go to. I went to live shows all the time for around 20 years but I don’t want to see the same bands forever playing the same old songs, Springsteen is a relic. Look when I was a kid from sixth grade through 12 grade, Springsteen, Doors, Hendrix, Led ZEP, Billy Joel were cool, but by college I moved on to sex pistols, clash, ramones etc. By 25 I moved on to east coast rap and my 30 I was big into west coast rap, by my mid 30’s I was done. The dinos like Bruce and Rod Steward play for a bucnh of 50 year old rug club members in their minivans. The cool trendy modern artists won’t let an old fart like me in the door without a press badge, stack of thousand dollar bills taped to my forhead and pamela sue anderson on my arm so I have called it quits seing concerts. But in my crazy white boy rap period of 1988 to 1996 I did get to see, Run DMC, NWA, House of Pain, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Snoop Dog, Rock Master Scott but I swore that rap thing off after a huge metal chair fight in the Garden between skin heads and rappers when a Forever Together concert turned really ugly!! I was lucky I had my BGs with me that night. So if you are still watching tired old Bruce Springsteen after all these years enjoy, my sister is still into him and she was mad she could not get babysitting for his last concert.

    More importantly & OMG a fresh GG is on tonight!!!!! I have a party to go to and will miss the GGs, but maybe a girl as hot as Blake Lively will be at the party!

  64. Shore Guy says:

    # 14 “I’ll take Realtors over Insurance salesman anyday”

    High praise indeed, on the order of “I prefer Dengue Fever to Ebola.”

  65. thatBIGwindow says:

    Secaucus Lis Pendens

    Elderly owned 2 family house

    Sold 9/2005 $570,000 to a flipper
    Sold 7/2006 $740,000 flipped successfully!

    on market as Lis Pendens $670,635

  66. CB in SJ says:

    It was the peak of the market, but no one told us,” said Shaffer, a real-estate agent from Colorado.

    See, it wasn’t her fault. How could she possibly be blamed if no one told her? She should find out who was responsible for telling her so that she can sue them.

  67. Shore Guy says:

    # 19 Does anyone have ready access to the price of oil on January 20, 2001? I am just curious how close we are to a $100 rise in oil prices during the administration of George III.

  68. 3b says:

    #63 BC Bob: You are right. My apologies to the hair stylists. But again who exactly did the realtor expect to tell him? The mailman?

  69. Bank of America profit hurt by credit crunch
    Monday April 21, 9:25 am ET

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC – News), the second-largest U.S. bank, on Monday said quarterly profit fell 77 percent, hurt by more than $5 billion of write-downs and credit-related costs as more borrowers fell behind on payments.

  70. kettle1 says:

    Grim et al

    does anyone have an idea of how much operational costs come into play for cash strapped home owners (i.e home renters, cost such as utilities?

    To what degree can/will operational/utility costs drive more people into jingle mail and foreclosure? summer

  71. Shore Guy says:

    # 25 “Our tax money at work ”

    And don’t even get me started on offshore accounts in tax havens where the wealthy can escape taxation, but if they get in trouble the middle class and lower economic class Marines will be sent in to save their unpatriotic a$$es.

  72. Shore Guy says:

    # 73


    Good question. I read your post right after reading about the insurance issue on the barrier islands. Didn’t Allstate do something similar in NJ and on Long Island? It seems to me that there is a situation for those on the coasts, if folks bought too high and prices declined, well at least the house is near the beach so how bad can things be. But if one cannot insure the place (and national flood insurance only covers to something like $200k or $250k, and does not address wind damage, and I don’t think it addresses wind-driven water) and one is now underwater with the mortgage and prices are expected to be flat or declining more it does not make much sense to do anything other than turn the house back to the bank.

  73. Al says:

    Also beware that quite often people report cars stolen at malls, the first question the police will ask you if you have your keys, if not you will be arrested.

    I left my car key in my car and locked myself out on multiple occasions – are you implying that I can be arrested for it?? If car gets stolen?

  74. BC Bob says:



    Only have the monthly, not the specific date. High-low [futures] for the month; 32.70-26.65.

  75. Shore Guy says:

    # 75 thanks.. # 76, the thing one learns around here, lol.

  76. John says:

    RE 78 actually you car cannot be stolen if you left your keys in it, the person joyriding can only be arrested for possesion of stolen property.

    They might take you in for questioning. But no, criminals are generally stupid. They hear a mall has lots of auto theft, they dump their leased car in a bad neighborhood go to a mall with lots of theft and claim it was stolen in the lot. Then the dopes don’t bring the car keys with them or they gave it to the junkyard that took the car for parts. It is just a good indicator.

  77. Shore Guy says:

    $ 30.63 was the spot price of oil at the end of the week George III took over in 2001. Anyone offering a guess as to whether it will be $100 above that sometime before he heads back to the oil patch in January?

  78. Hehehe says:

    “At a recent luxury property auction in Fort Lauderdale, the auctioneer took home after home off the block within moments after opening the bidding when nobody made an offer. On one high-rise condo in the Miami enclave of Williams Island, a 3,100 square foot penthouse previously listed at $5.6 million, he opened bidding at $5 million, lowered his price to $3.5 million, $3 million, $2.5 million, and then closed the auction, all within a minute. (BTIG)”

  79. Nom Deplume says:

    [76] et al.,

    Doesn’t Newark have a carjacking problem? That would explain the missing key.

    Of course, a good carjacker would also make sure there were no security cameras around.

  80. kettle1 says:


    jan 20 2001 was a saturday. The WTI spot price on friday jan 19 2001 was $32.13. Adjusted for inflation, the jan 19 2001 wti spot price in 2008 dollars is 38.74.

    WTI is currently at $116.83

    So the current spread is $78.09 in inflation adjusted dollars

    the 7 year spread, from 19 jan 01 ( WTI at 90.55) to 18 jan 08 = $51.81 in inflation adjusted dollars

  81. kettle1 says:


    I think it would be silly to take your wager, it is a given at this point that the spread will be greater then $100 if you look at any of the production, supply data

  82. Shore Guy says:

    # 36 ““We have to be aggressive about finding new revenues that are falling through the cracks,” said Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), who would like to bring sports betting to New Jersey. “These are activities that people enjoy.””

    If the new standard of what to to allow and what to tax is “activities that people enjoy,” legalized and taxed bordellos cannot be far behind.

  83. Hard Place says:

    John – stolen cars

    I won’t ask why and how you know this…

    I had a car stolen from me 7 years ago. About two years ago the cops called to tell me they found my car. The engine was in some car at a chop shop and the body of the car was crushed and sitting at the Dept. of Sanitation. It was an Acura Integra GSX. I also had a motorcycle stolen about 9 years ago. When I change insurance companies I still get questions about those two incidences since they occurred so close together. Thinking about changing insurance companies once again, so I’m sure I’ll have to go through another round of questioning.

  84. Shore Guy says:

    # 54

    And the sun never sets on the British Empire.

  85. kettle1 says:

    correction to 86

    the 7 year spread, from 19 jan 01 ( WTI at 90.55) to 18 jan 08 = $51.81 in inflation adjusted dollars

    the 7 year spread, from 19 jan 01 to 18 jan 08( WTI at 90.55) = $51.81 in inflation adjusted dollars

  86. Al says:

    This ois a real story:

    Last summer I was at the Middlesex shopping mall… At about 9 PM – it was summer, just getting dark… I walked out of my car and saw 2008 jeep Cherookee with open door, someone sitting in the driver’s seat and I also saw sparks…

    I figured someone is trying to steal a car.
    I went into a store called 911, tried to report what I saw. Operator lady asked me – is it an emergency – I said somebody stealing a car… She said wait one minute… About 30 second later police picked up and asked me – where I am, is it my car getting stolen. I told them what I saw, they said: Well how do you know they are stealing it? they Adviced me to ignore it!!!!!!

    Ok I shop for aboit 5 minutes, paid walked away – it looks like they are still trying to hotwire the car…

    Mall’s security guard comes by. I tell him – overthere it looks like they are stealing the car. He pretends that he did not hear me,. I call him and repeat it in his face. He says: It is not my JOB?!!! They guy was visibly scared got into his truck and rode away.

    Well I got into my car and drove home..

    now the humor: @006 and Older Jeeps all have active immobilizers. Unless you are using a key with code programmed michrochip, engine control microprocessor, will shut down ingition and Fuel injection, and reset intself into un-operable condition. AFTER 3 TRIES. SO I’d say the car thief tried to hotwire a new car while it was impossible to do.

    He was trying for about 10 mnutes.

    Now who is a victum here: Unless car owner have good insurance and service plan, car owner is the victum, as the microchip will have to be reaset at the dealership at a cost (with towing) close to 600$.

    Just an information – I think it is becoming a standard feature to include active immobilizer on cars, so amature car-thiefing getting harder and harder.

  87. grim says:

    You want to talk about robbery?

    Try to get a new set of keys/fob after losing a set.

  88. Shore Guy says:

    # 92 “amature car-thiefing getting harder and harder”

    There goes another career option for those trying to make a quick buyck in these recessionarty times. Now it looks like folks will need flatbeds, and shipping containers, and contacts on the docks, etc. It is getting such that an honest low-budget thief cant make a living anymore. Wht IS this world coming to anyway? The only safe way to steal anymore seems to be on Wall Street or in politics; and with forced municipal consolidation, we may be losing some of those good-paying political jobs too. This is just not right.

  89. Al says:

    grim Says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 10:38 am
    You want to talk about robbery?

    Try to get a new set of keys/fob after losing a set.

    Absolutelly agreed:

    For my family’s newer car it is 85$/a key.

    For my old Camry – 75 cents/sears.

  90. kettle1 says:

    92 AL

    the encryption on those chips can be cracked relativly easily with a modern laptop according to an EE friend of mine that recently found and demoed a weakness to chrysler in their immobilizer software/hardware design. Chrysler said that they did not care. This guy was able to remotely crack the encryption from several hundred feet away. I dont know the details but apparently anyone one with an EE background who looked at this stuff should be able to do it.

    EE = electrical engineering

  91. grim says:

    There goes another career option

    Easier and more profitable to steal AC cores off rooftops.

  92. x-underwriter says:

    Sean Says:
    Last month I saw three brand new BMW M3s all the same red color on of one of those vehicle car carriers. Each vehicle looked like it was in a winner in a Destruction Derby.

    I remember reading about a month back where a car carrier ship was loaded with BMW’s and listed heavily to one side and the cars all slid to that side. I’ll bet those were some of the cars. They had a picture at the Elizabeth terminal with damaged M3’s.

  93. RentininNJ says:

    We paid $585,000. It was the peak of the market, but no one told us,” said Shaffer, a real-estate agent from Colorado.

    I wonder how many realtors®, mortgage brokers, appraisers, contractors, etc. bought at the peak figuring home prices, along with their bloated incomes, would keep going up forever. Now many of these folks are underwater and no longer have the incomes to support their debt service. Of course, the unemployment stats wont show this since they are still technically employed.

    I know of one mortgage broker myself who bought a home in 2005 (along with a high-end Mercedes) thinking the $250k he made in ’05 was the “new normal”. Last year he made $75k and this year is looking worse. He’s already burned through his savings and 401k. It’s just a matter time before he is out of options.

  94. Al says:

    # 92 “amateur car-thieving getting harder and harder”

    There goes another career option for those trying to make a quick buck in these recessionary times.

    Hey soon gasoline in a bit SUV will cost more that a car itself – as nobody will want them.

    You can still siphon-off gas tank with simple screw driver, empty Gas-canister and 5 feet PVC tube. – Investment of about 10$ – return – right now about 100$..

    Which other “Business model” will allow you to get 1000% return in about an hour??? And almost no risk – I believe if what you are stealing is under 99$ you are not doing time in jail….

    Plus do you really see cops paying a lot of attention to someone complaining that their gasoline got siphoned off??

  95. SG says:

    Foes focus on environment to resist housing

    While municipal officials across the state have cited various objections to a 50 percent increase in low- to moderate-income housing obligations determined by the Council on Affordable Housing, those in western Monmouth County say their main objection is that of adverse environmental impacts.

    In Colts Neck, a traditionally bucolic community deemed environmentally sensitive in the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, Committeeman Kenneth Florek took action when the possibility of having to rezone farmland along Route 34 North to make way for homes came to light.

    He began with a letter-writing campaign to more than 40 similarly classified municipalities in which he proposed the formation of a coalition that would fight high-density growth typically associated with affordable housing.

    But Florek said that is just the purpose of the coalition. If a group of municipalities pooled their resources to fight further development, each would be required to share a significantly smaller expense than if they fought the guidelines on their own.

  96. Shore Guy says:

    # 99

    “thinking the $250k he made in ’05 was the “new normal”. ”

    There is an old saying: Don’t live off the overtime. The outsized earnings many builders, realtors, etc. had these past few years was, essentially, overtime.

  97. kettle1 says:

    BC, you will find this amusing…


    ROME (Rome) – Record oil of $117 a barrel calls for a demand response and a supply response, but for now there is little to stop prices heading still higher, the deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Saturday.

    “We need both a demand response and a supply response,” said William Ramsay on arrival in Rome for talks between energy producers and consumers.

    “I certainly hope we’ll start to get a demand response … that’s greater efficiencies and all those things we have talked about.”


    Emerging Market Oil Use Exceeds U.S. as Prices Rise (Update1)By Mark Shenk

    April 21 (Bloomberg) — Traffic jams in Beijing and humming air conditioners in Dubai are replacing U.S. highways and suburbs as the driver of global oil prices.

    China, India, Russia and the Middle East for the first time will consume more crude oil than the U.S., burning 20.67 million barrels a day this year, an increase of 4.4 percent, according to the International Energy Agency in Paris. U.S. demand will contract 2 percent to 20.38 million barrels daily, the IEA says.

    Economic growth of more than 8 percent in China and India, coupled with increasing car ownership among the countries’ combined populations of 2.45 billion people, will more than compensate for falling U.S. demand. Oil use worldwide will increase 2 percent this year because of growth in emerging markets, the Paris-based IEA says.

  98. Al says:

    TO post 96 by Kettle – That’s why I said amateur car-thieving getting harder and harder

    You can not stop a professional from stealing your car. But p[professionals will probably not steal a car under 30K+ anyways. In my cars microchip in imbedded in a key and does not operate on radio waves – it is done by modulation of electric current I believe – so more complex equipment that just laptop is required.

    If someone wants to steal my car the easiest will be to steal my keys… it is not that hard – break a window in my house, take the keys off key-holder.

    Anyways I believe it is enough about car-thieving :).
    I submitted an offer on a house Sunday. Expiration 3 weeks as it is REO. We will see if bank will get their act together in 3 weeks, to even review it.
    I do not really want the house, but if i get it at my price, it will be cheaper for me to pay my mortgage payments, taxes and maintenance on this house, than to live in a two bedroom apartment 2 blocks away, where I live now.

  99. Sean says:

    re: (103)

    Kettle1 I heard that one the radio as well this morning.

    The International Energy Agency (IEA) has predicted more than 50 percent growth in global primary energy of which fossil fuel would increase by 84 percent, this is a near term prediction of about 20 years.

  100. Hard Place says:

    Al – Congrats.

    Is that a similar rent to buy comp? Just curious…

  101. grim says:


    Can I get a read? Trying to assess the potential impact of this. Competition or consolidation? Seems there are a number of cost synergies to explore here.

    From the Record:

    Tri-state deal helps N.J. banks branch out

    New Jersey’s state-chartered banks can now branch out in New York and Pennsylvania without increased regulatory scrutiny, under a new tri-state agreement.

    Branches of New Jersey banks in either of those states will now operate only under New Jersey banking laws and regulations. Banks chartered by New York and Pennsylvania will get the same consideration when they branch into New Jersey.

  102. PGC says:

    Where’s that siphon? Todays cheapest price in my area is $3.38

    Local Price Snapshot
    Today 3.301
    Yesterday 3.291
    One Week Ago 3.114
    One Month Ago 3.033
    One Year Ago 2.655

  103. spam spam bacon spam says:

    [55] Al:

    (It is with some amusement I read the “car talk” here recently, but successfully bit my lip…let’s just say don’t get all your car expertise from the “tubes”…)

    Al, you said:

    Anyways just a thought. I am quite familiar with car constructions this day and I will claim – unless car was made before 1980, there is NO WAY it will spontaneously ignite while parked and turned off. So ANY CAR FIRE = ARSON.

    Consumer Advisory: NHTSA Warns Ford, Lincoln and Mercury Owners of Fire Hazards Involving Faulty Cruise Control Switches in Recalled Vehicles That Have Not Been Repaired

    … Failure to have the switch disconnected could lead to a vehicle fire at any time, whether or not the key is in the ignition, and whether or not owners use the cruise control system. The safety agency said the fire danger is present regardless of the age of the vehicle, and could even occur while the vehicle is parked and unattended. Several dwelling fires have been attributed to the problem.

    … The involved vehicles are:

    1. 1993 – 2004 F150
    2. 1993 – 1999 F250 (gasoline engine)
    3. 1993 – 1996 Bronco
    4. 1994 – 1996 Econoline
    5. 1997 – 2002 Ford Expedition
    6. 1998 – 2002 Lincoln Navigator
    7. 1998 – 2002 Ford Ranger
    8. 1992 – 1998 Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car
    9. 1993 – 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII
    10. 1993 – 1995 Ford Taurus SHO with automatic transmission
    11. 1994 – Mercury Capri
    12. 1998 – 2001 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer
    13. 2001 – 2002 Ford Explorer Sport and Explorer Sport Trac
    14. 1992 – 1993 and 1997 – 2003 Ford E-150-350 gasoline or natural gas vehicles
    15. 2002 – E-550 gasoline engine vehicles
    16. 1996 – 2003 E-450 gasoline or natural gas vehicles
    17. 1994 – 2002 F-250 through F-550 super Duty trucks (gasoline engine)
    18. 2000 – 2002 Ford Excursion (gasoline engine)
    19. 2003 – F250 – F550 Super Duty, Ford Excursion
    20. 1995 – 2002 Ford F53 Motor home chassis
    21. 2002 – 2003 Lincoln Blackwood

    Here’s a website called flamingfords… pretty funny cartoon just below fold.

    Pssssttt: here are a few more… (and these are JUST Ford and just older vehicles…)

    1992-95 Ford Tempo, Mercury Topaz, Lincoln Continental, Ford Taurus, Mercury Sable
    Number of Vehicles: 75,200
    Completion rate: to be provided
    During high winds, heavy, drifting snow, and low temperatures, engine cooling fan can become blocked or frozen with snow. Fan motor may not rotate and overheat, which can cause smoke or flames from fan and/or shroud, fan electrical wiring, or fan motor, resulting in vehicle fire.

    1995 Ford Windstar
    Number of Vehicles: 112,000
    Completion rate: to be provided
    Alternator output wire was not connected tightly to power distribution box. This can result in overheating of the connection and vehicle fire.

    1997 Ford F-Super Duty
    A plastic coated steel strap was crimped to battery cable for support. Battery cable insulation could have been damaged when the strap was crimped onto the cable. This damage can result in the battery cable developing a short to ground. A shorted battery cable can cause a vehicle fire.

    1997-98 Ford Mercury, Villager
    Number of Vehicles: 6,000
    Batteries have defective negative post that can cause acid leakage and related corrosion damage, which can cause catastrophic failure of battery, engine fire or battery explosion.

    1988-89 Ford Crown Victoria, Tempo Topaz, Mercury Cougar; 1988-90 Escort, EXP; 1988 Mustang Thunderbird; 1988-93 Aerostar Bronco F150, F250, F350, Grand Marquis; 1988-91 Lincoln Town Car
    Number of vehicles: 7,500,000
    Ignition switch could experience an internal short circuit which can cause overheating, smoke, and fire in the steering column area.

    1990 Ford Thunderbird Mercury, Cougar
    Number of Vehicles: 72
    On cars with 3.8 L engines, battery-to-starter cables are longer than specified; excessive cable length could contact engine damper pulley. Cable protective covering and insulation could wear through and cause a direct short to ground, resulting in overheating of the cable insulation and an underhood fire.

    1992-94 Ford Explorer
    Number of Vehicles: 61,000
    Short circuit can occur in remote power mirror control switch circuit board as result of separated part of contact assembly that bridges positive battery pad switch and adjacent chassis ground pad. Current can overheat printed circuit board and other plastic and elastomeric components of switch assembly, resulting in smoke or fire.

    1992 Ford F-250, F-350
    Number of Vehicles: 48,000
    Sound insulation on the engine side of the dash panel can contact the exhaust manifold. Contact between the insulation and the hot exhaust manifold may result in a engine compartment fire.

    1993-97 Ford F Super Duty
    Number of Vehicles: 64,000
    Hot exhaust gases can leak from exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) tube on engine. Hole can develop in flexible section of tube. Heat damage to passenger compartment floor and floor covering can occur and result in vehicle fire.

    1996 Ford Taurus
    Fuel pressure regulator located in the fuel engine compartment has a vacuum diaphragm that was damaged during manufacture of regulator. If diaphragm tears or ruptures, liquid fuel could enter intake manifold plenum through vacuum line, release fuel from the air cleaner assembly or the exhaust system and result in a fire.

    1990 Ford Truck F-150, F-250, F-350
    Number of Vehicles: 1,100
    On light duty trucks equipped with dual fuel tanks, incorrectly installed fuel line connectors have fuel supply and return lines crossed. Fuel could be transferred from one tank to the other, possibly resulting in fuel overflow and spillage; in presence of an ignition source, a fire could occur.

    1991 Ford Lincoln Town Car
    Number of Vehicles: 26,000
    Distorted fuel lines in engine compartment may contact the steering column universal joint and cause damage to the fuel line, resulting in fuel leakage and possibly a fire.

    1993 Ford Mercury Villager
    Number of Vehicles: 10,800
    Fuel filler hoses may have been cut prior to installation by a utility knife used to open the shipping box. Fuel leakage can result if the cut extended through the thickness of the hose wall. Leaking fuel can result in an underhood fire. 1993 Ford Mercury Villager Number of Vehicles: 10,800 Fuel filler hoses may have been cut prior to installation by a utility knife used to open the shipping box. Fuel leakage can result if the cut extended through the thickness of the hose wall. Leaking fuel can result in an underhood fire.

    1992-93 Ford Econoline
    Number of Vehicles: 1,235
    Cargo vans sold to Sears company fleet. The fuel filler hose or fuel filler vent hose may have been damaged by a drill bit used to install a special package for Sears vehicles. If either of the hoses was penetrated by the drill bit, fuel leakage could result, particularly during fueling of the vehicle, and result in fire.

    1993 Ford Mustang
    Number of Vehicles: 4,100
    The fuel rail that supplies fuel to the fuel injectors has an improperly formed tube which could fracture, causing fuel to leak and cause a fire.

    1990-91 Ford Chassis, F-250, F-350, Super Duty
    Number of Vehicles: 89,770
    The steel fuel return tubes that connect the frame fuel return lines with the engine fuel rail can contact the pinch weld flange connecting the dash panel to the floor pan. Continued contact leads to abrasion of the steel fuel return tube and eventually results in a fuel leak. A fuel leak may result in a fire, if a source of ignition is present.

    1994 Ford Ranger
    Number of Vehicles: 11,400
    Front fuel lines on pickups with 3.0 and 4.0-liter engines have a section of flexible hose that is susceptible to cracking. This can allow fuel leakage and result in fire when exposed to a source of ignition.

    1994 Ford Aspire
    Number of Vehicles: 26,700
    Fuel supply, return and vapor hoses or lines can contact or have inadequate clearance with surrounding components because of improper positioning during assembly. Wear of hose or line can occur, resulting in fuel leakage in the engine compartment and fire.

    1997 Ford Mercury Villager
    Four rubber fuel line connector hoses that are supplied to Ford with fuel tank assembly were improperly manufactured. These hoses can develop cracks or splits resulting in fuel leakage and a possible fire.

    1992-93 Ford Thunderbird Mercury Cougar
    Number of Vehicles: 125,000
    Movement of fuel lines causes nylon fuel line jumper to chafe against floor pan. Wear can cause pin hole in one of the fuel lines, resulting in fuel leakage and possible fire.

    1998 Ford Ranger
    Number of Vehicles: 2,000
    Flexible section of chassis mounted fuel line connecting engine was routed too close to exhaust manifold and line could contact manifold. This could result in damage to fuel line, cause fuel leak, and result in fire.

    1996 Ford Ford Aerostar
    Number of Vehicles: 91,000
    On truck-vans, insufficient interference fit between fuel tank filler pipe and grommet could result in an inadequate seal which could allow fuel to seep from the joint. In the presence of an ignition source, fuel leakage could result in a fire.

    1991 Ford Truck Explorer
    Number of Vehicles: 25,000
    Front heat shield may contact front of the plastic fuel tank, causing cuts or other damage to the extent of the penetration. This could cause vapors to escape and possibly fuel to spill, which could lead to a fire.

    1991 Ford Truck Explorer
    Number of Vehicles: 18,000
    The hot plate weld which attaches vapor vent valve carrier to top of the plastic fuel tank may partially fracture, allowing fuel vapor to escape from the top of the tank. The escaped vapor or leaked fuel could cause a fire in the presence of an ignition source.

    1989, 1990, 1991 Ford Econoline; 1989 F-150, F-250, F-350
    Number of Vehicles: 350,000
    Dual function fuel reservoir may malfunction and cause an overfill condition in one of the fuel tanks, resulting in an overflow of fuel past filler cap. Overflow of fuel past filler cap causes a fuel leakage, which can result in fire when exposed to a source of ignition.

    1991 Ford Escort; 1991 Mercury Tracer
    Number of Vehicles: 22,000
    Fatigue cracks can develop in the solder joint between the fuel return tube and the fuel pump sending unit located at the top of the fuel tank. Should a crack develop, fuel vapor can escape from the tank when the tank is full and a small amount of fuel can leak from the crack and result in fire.

    1991-93 Ford Truck F Super Duty, 1990-93 F-150, F-250, F-350
    Number of Vehicles: 1,131,000
    Light trucks and chassis cabs with gasoline engines and dual fuel tanks. A malfunctioning check valve within the fuel pump assembly causes a portion of the unused fuel from one tank to be returned to the second tank. When this occurs, the capacity of the second tank can be exceeded, causing fuel spillage which can result in a fire. 1991-94 Ford L800, L900, L9000 Number of Vehicles: 3,200 On heavy duty trucks with Detroit Diesel Series 60 engines, labels reminding service personnel closing fuel tank crossover valves to reopen valves before operating engines were omitted. If the tanks are over half full and vehicle operation was resumed without reopening the fuel tank cross-over valves, pressure could build in one of the tanks and result in rupture of tank, spilling diesel fuel, which can cause a fire.

    1995 Ford Crown Victoria, Lincoln Town Car, Mercury Grand Marquis
    Number of Vehicles: 100,000
    The seal material between the fuel filler pipe and fuel tank may not have been fully cured during the molding process which could allow fuel to leak and result in fire.

    1996 Ford F Super Duty, F250, F350
    Cross member frame gussets were installed with undersized threaded fasteners following a breakdown of the production rivet gun that is generally used. This gusset is the attachment point for the rear strap of the mid-ship fuel tank. Fasteners can separate causing the rear strap of the fuel tank to become disconnected. A loose or disconnected rear strap allows the fuel tank to contact the road surface increasing the risk of a vehicle fire.

    1995 Ford Escort, Mercury Tracer
    Number of Vehicles: 64,000
    Cracks can develop in plastic fuel tank near heat shield attachment, resulting in fuel leakage if cracks go through fuel tank wall and result in vehicle fire.

    1995 Ford Escort, Mercury Tracer
    Number of Vehicles: 600
    Plastic fuel tank can exhibit substantial cracking near heat shield attachment, which can result in fuel leakage and fire.

    1989 Ford Crown Victoria
    Number of Vehicles: 225
    On Flexible Fuel Vehicles with fuel systems modified to operate with gasoline, methanol, or combinations of the two fuels, a glass element that separates electronic circuitry from pressurized fuel may loosen and create an opening that could allow pressurized fuel to enter body of sensor. Under seal deterioration, the housing would not contain the fuel, causing a leak which could lead to a fire.

    1995 Ford Contour, Mercury Mystique
    Number of Vehicles: 8,000
    Metal shield on outside of plastic fuel filler pipe can develop static electrical charge during refueling of vehicle. Static charge can discharge and serve as an ignition source for fuel vapors in area of filler pipe, resulting in flash vapor ignition and vehicle fire.

    1995 Ford Contour, Mercury Mystique
    Number of Vehicles: 28,500
    Fuel tank filler pipe opening reinforcement can leak at weld and result in a fire.

    1995 Ford Contour, Mercury Mystique
    Number of vehicles: 167,784
    Fuel tank filler pipe opening reinforcement, constructed from two separately molded pieces, can leak at the weld and result in a fire.

    1996-97 Ford Contour
    Number of Vehicles: 1,800
    Natural gas fuel tanks have solenoid shut-off valve that stops fuel flow from fuel tank during some moderate to severe collisions. If vehicle is in collision and natural gas fuel line is damaged, system could leak natural gas and result in fire.

    1998 Ford Mustang
    Number of Vehicles: 8,000
    Vehicles have missing or inadequately brazed joints between fuel rail body and fuel rail mounting brackets. If bracket separates from rail, rail can lift one or more of injectors, and fuel leakage will result and fire can occur.

    1988-89 Ford Taurus, Mercury Sable
    Number of Vehicles: 278,000
    Power seat switch wiring is routed over rather than under the front seat support brace, allowing damage by seat cushion spring ends when seat is occupied. The wiring insulation may become abraded, or punctured; an electrical short can occur, possibly resulting in a fire in the seat cushion material.

    1992-93 Ford Crown Victoria
    Number of Vehicles: 16,000
    Power front seat tracks. Police and fleet vehicles equipped with rubber floor mats and non-powered front seats. An unused power seat harness connector is positioned on the rubber floor mat under the seat. If the vehicle is operated in cold weather areas that have large amounts of salt used for snow and ice control, a puddle of saltwater can accumulate on the rubber floor mats, repeatedly wetting the connector. This will result in corrosion of the connector, causing current to flow between the terminals without tripping the circuit breaker. If this occurs, electrical current can heat the connector and release fumes into the passenger compartment. This can result in a vehicle fire.

    1997 Ford Taurus Windstar, Mercury Sable
    Number of Vehicles: 100,000
    Low/intermediate servo cover can separate from transaxle while vehicle is being driven. If this occurs, transmission fluid will leak and contact catalytic converter. Catalytic converter temperature may be hot enough to ignite transmission fluid and cause vehicle fire.

    1991 Ford Mercury Capri
    Number of Vehicles: 4,200
    Rubber tube that connects the automatic transmission to the transmission oil cooler (in the radiator) may disconnect, causing discharge of transmission fluid. If fluid contacts the exhaust manifold or pipe, a fire could result.

    1993 Ford Mercury Capri
    Number of Vehicles: 3,750
    Automatic powertrain cooling unit and lines. The transmission fluid rubber tube connecting the transmission to the transmission oil cooler located in the radiator can become disconnected from the transmission, resulting in discharge of transmission fluid which could contact the exhaust manifold or the exhaust pipe, resulting in a fire.

    1992-97 Ford Aerostar
    Number of Vehicles: 75,000
    Vehicles can develop powertrain bending resonance or displacement of transfer case output shaft bushing. Powertrain bending resonance or output shaft bushing displacement can result in structural failure of transmission and/or transfer case. Fluid expulsion, drive shaft separation, or loss of vehicle drive can result, particularly as result of sustained driving at high speed and high ambient temperatures. This can cause loss of vehicle control, and vehicle fire.

    1993 Ford Mercury Villager
    Number of vehicles: 48,053
    Leaves and other foreign material can enter through the cowl panel air intake during operation of the front heater and/or air conditioning system resulting in a build-up of material in the plenum. This can lead to noise, odors, or ignition of these materials, causing a fire.

  104. Al says:

    Hard Place Says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 11:02 am
    Al – Congrats.

    Is that a similar rent to buy comp? Just curious…

    NO, it is not a smililar comp.

    It is apartment to a house. About the same square footage – what makes my rent more expensive is that I have a dog and I rent a garage.

    Pet’s owners are pretty much $crewed in NJ. My estimate that i pay about 25% higher rent because I have pet – better and cheaper apartment complexes are not allowing pets.

    House does need some work but it has newer furnace and newer roof – siding needs to go, wallpaper will go and such….

  105. make money says:

    I had my 300E stolen back in the nineties. after 30 days I received and cashed my insurance check. However ten days later they found my car. All State sold it back to me for 60 cents on the dollar.
    I was a happy man.

  106. make money says:

    I think it’s a “Miracle” that Haliburton posted great profits in these difficult times. Maybe the Pope had something to do with it.

  107. SG says:

    Grim: #111 in moderation.

  108. grim says:

    Gas is too cheap in NJ.

    An opportunity for additional revenue enhancement?

  109. Hehehe says:


    I am telling you gas siphoning is going to increase soon enough. Good money to be had by the enterprising youth. Forget that crack trade and start looking at the crack spread playas.

  110. CB in SJ says:

    Looks like a winner:

    Bravo executives announced they will be expanding their Real Housewives franchise.

    Next up?

    New Jersey!

    “The newest edition of Bravo’s successful “Real Housewives” franchise brings big homes, big hair, new money and drama,” the press release promised. “Shot through Bravo’s pop culture filter, welcome to New Jersey, home to five of the Garden State’s most affluent ladies and the families they run. These best friends do everything over-the-top, from their decorating, to their dating and their fighting. The Real Housewives of New Jersey showcases the McMansions and lavish lifestyles of these women and all the drama that money can buy.”

  111. Shore Guy says:

    108 and 114

    I paid over $4 a gallon in Broward and Palm Beach counties this past week. I suspect we will be at $5 by the end of summer.

  112. Al says:

    spam spam bacon spam Says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 11:08 am
    [55] Al:

    (It is with some amusement I read the “car talk” here recently, but successfully bit my lip…let’s just say don’t get all your car expertise from the “tubes”…)

    LOL I forgot that there is always ford and Chevy’s to rescue. But still what is the actuall number of car catching flames while standing???

    As you can see most causes of fire are problems with fuel lines… In many cases – defects in manufacturing and assembly…

    Again – FORD gets the medal there.

  113. PGC says:

    Car Keys.

    I used to buy key blanks from the dealership for about $15 and program them myself. That and a second hand remote from ebay $12 meant I always had a third set available.

    My Prius has SKS. It is way cooler, but $270 to replace.

  114. Sybarite says:

    #64 Sean,

    Actually, not too long ago there was an accident on one of the vessels transporting brand new M3’s from Germany. I think the boat tipped over too far and a bunch of BMW’s slid around and got banged up. Those vehicles you saw may have been victims of that accident.

  115. kettle1 says:


    Does forced affordable income housing really work? I do not know and am curious what success/failure others have seen with this.

    The current COAHsituation sounds poorly planned. Is a forced high density development in the middle of someplace like mendham or other similar communities really going to work? i would be more inclined to see them quickly festering and becoming undesirable places o live. Can affordable housing really be forced by direct legislation and be successful?

  116. Shore Guy says:

    I was just looking at a CNBC story about foreclosures in West Palm and it brought to mind this WSJ piece from last year. I was able to find it, so here it is. I love the kid who asked dad, “are we poor.”

    The Jungles of Palm Beach
    Last year, when I was in Palm Beach researching my book, I paid a visit to the Palm Beach Day Academy. Palm Beach Day used to be a seasonal stop-off for the blue-blood, old-money families from the Northeast and Midwest who “wintered” on the island between Christmas and Easter. The school was relatively small, and students sometimes came just for a few months.

    But the wealth boom of the past decade has transformed Palm Beach and Palm Beach Day. The new rich are younger, self-made families who live on the island year round. The school is now overflowing with kids. (And cars. It took me a half-hour to find a parking spot near the school, what with all the Escalades, Range Rovers and Bentleys dropping off students.)

    When I met last year with Jack Thompson, the head of school, I asked him if the kids growing up in Palm Beach were aware of their social standing. Palm Beach is one of those bubble communities where everyone is wealthy and kids can easily come to think having a private jet and three homes is normal. (One father I interviewed last year said his 12-year-old son had asked if they were “poor.” When the father asked why he was asking, the son said his friend’s family had two private jets, whereas they only chartered.)


  117. njpatient says:

    13/24 BC/Clot


  118. kettle1 says:

    the Bluetooth type keys that unlock, start your car while in your pocket are a car thieves wet dream. if you have an capacity for learning basic programing and are tech savvy the tools are pretty much all on the web for hacking these and being able to open and start the car with nothing but a laptop or a more powerful handheld pc.

  119. Shore Guy says:

    # 120 “Again – FORD gets the medal there.”

    Actually, isn’t it a statue, shaped like a horse — a pinto I think?

  120. grim says:



  121. SG says:

    Is a forced high density development in the middle of someplace like mendham or other similar communities really going to work?

    On the other hand, Isn’t McMansion in Medham, chopped over 1 acre lot, environmental disaster?

    Can affordable housing really be forced by direct legislation and be successful?

    What is the alternative? Isn’t that the last resort.

  122. grim says:


    Are RCAs any better? Where Mendham can throw a few dollars to some urban town in exchange for taking over its obligation?

    What good does this do? Does it make urban areas any more desirable?

  123. John says:

    When my last car was stolen it was taken via tow truck. My neigbors newer blue wrangler was pulled out of the spot to get to my red wrangler. Turns out it was pouring that night. Cops told me theives lover rainy nights as no one is on street and few who are will stop and ask questions. Body shop who stole my jeep was looking for red. Higher profit to steal same color as car you are fixing. Body shops pay $25 to $50 a car to college kids just to drive around and locate where the right makes and models are parked. List goes back to shop and he sends two truck out first crappy weather night and picks them up. They also like to hit a neighborhood at a time and then rotate.

  124. grim says:

    I’m not sure that this spreadsheet is recent, but it is telling:

    Summit shifting it’s obligations to Elizabeth.

    Essex Fells to Linden

    Montvale to Garfield

    Harding to Orange

    Mountain Lakes to Orange

    Saddle River to Passaic

    Oh yeah.

    Mendham to Orange

  125. kettle1 says:

    Grim, SG

    I am not suggesting that i have the answer and i do agree that it is a pressing issue. but it seems like a doomed enterpise to force high density housing into a town that does not want it. Havent you done more harm then good if you force high density housing into a area that it doesnt really fit and it then decays into undesirable housing?

    Would it not make more sense to offer incentives in areas that are already high density. WHy mandate additional construction when the market is already over supplied? other apartment complexes in edison, montclair, etc tax breaks for a given % rent reduction.

  126. Nj Appraiser says:

    #117 They probably won’t be comong out to my 748 sq. ft. mansion in the “Griggstown” section of Franklin Twp., which I purchased in 1980 for $49,000. Don’t laugh it’s paid off.

  127. Shore Guy says:

    I wonder if we are not just heading towards a “southern approach” to government-provided services such as education where government taxes just enough to provide the most basic service and anyone who wants better pays for it themselves. We have a friend who had a house in Alabama (actually a huge house in Alabama), with an assessed value that was higher than the assessed value of the home they now have in a northern state. In Alabama, the total property tax bill was on the order of $500 and up north it is something like $10-12,000. The downside was that the schools sucked and one needed to send one’s children to private school but, as they saw it: 1) the price was still less than paying to live in a “quality school district in the north and 2) high property taxes in the northern states are forever wheras tuition is for a limited period.

    In the final analysis, CEOs and other executives do not care much about the quality of public schools when making decisions about where to locate facilities; what they want is an educated and hard working workforce and low operating costs, and low income taxes (to protect their own wealth). If they have children, they will be going to private school anyway, so if thew schools suck so be it. How does NJ compete with this? I doubt it can.

  128. grim says:

    I really wonder why these towns aren’t demanding a greater dollar amount in exchange for the obligation.

    Whoops! Almost forgot about the envelope!

  129. kettle1 says:


    do you think that the current COAH concept would/will be successful at meeting its goals?

    Isnt part of the affordable housing issue do to the extreme RE bubble we are experiencing?

  130. kettle1 says:

    Saudis put oil capacity rise on hold

    By Carola Hoyos in Rome

    Published: April 20 2008 18:54 | Last updated: April 20 2008 18:54

    Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil producer, has put on hold any plans to further increase long-term production capacity from its vast oil fields, its most powerful policymakers have said.

    In a series of statements, including one by the king himself, the kingdom has warned consumers it does not reckon there is a need for further expansion, an assumption disputed by the world’s biggest developed countries.
    Russia paying price of oil strategy – Apr-20
    Oil breaks $115 after US stocks fall – Apr-17
    In depth: Commodities boom – Apr-05
    China builds stake in BP – Apr-15
    Fears emerge over Russia’s oil output – Apr-15
    Russia braces for oil output decline – Apr-14

    The realisation Saudi Arabia will not increase production to 15m barrels a day as quickly as important consumers and the markets had assumed could put further pressure on oil prices, which touched fresh records last week.

    New York benchmark futures reached a record of slightly less than $117 a barrel last week in response to fear that Russia, the world’s second largest producer, was unable to increase production in the next years.

    Shore 118

    here is you $5+ gas

  131. SG says:

    Long op-ed. Some interesting posts as well.

    Condos on the Parkway? Could be

  132. Shore Guy says:

    # 141 At least at $5 there will be more incentive to divert crops to fuel so we can save $.05 on gas while trippling the food bill. It is good to save. Or, as a friend once said, “No I did not need it but it was on sale, so look how much I saved by buying it.” Probably purchased on credit too.

  133. Shore Guy says:

    # 142 The folks in the article miss the big point that lies just under the surface: State regulations for affordable housing seems to have no alternative but to force changes in the characters of many towns by forcing re-zoning from SFH to high-rise buildings. It is asy to get 1,0000 new housing units in Cranford just by tearing down a modest number of SFHs and building up — they can bill the town as “Palm Beach South North” or “Miami Beach North.” It will be the same look of shoulder-to-shoulder high rises only without the sun, the beach, the intercoastal waterway, the wealth, etc. Just the same, and with access to NYC, which is the only city worth living near anyway.

  134. lisoosh says:

    The COAH complaints have b*gger all to do with high density housing. None of the towns has any problem with high density “luxury” condos and townhouses. The real issue is that super special upwardly mobile NJ McMansion dwellers in Upper Haughty McSwellville don’t want to have to breathe the same air as the “poor”, and heaven forbid their kids might actually have to sit near one in school.

    However, moderately affordable housing guidelines involve salaries in the $70-$80k range in many counties. These aren’t the unwashed masses, but generally lower paid “social” professionals – cops, teachers, nurses etc. and mid level big company employees, such as designers, engineers, tech people.

    I do think that there needs to be some state mandate. Mostly because of the ridiculous home rule tiny towns that exist in NJ. The planning in this state is a joke. Every town is loading up on over 55 communities, luxury condos and McMansions. Average family homes, like the Levittowns of the ’60’s and ’70’s have been assigned to the dustbin. Fiscally conservative young families and professionals are being pushed to the wall. The only truly “affordable” housing available is being consigned to huge slum towns, which does absolutely nothing for the state.

  135. John says:

    Re 117, it won’t work here as Alambama’s approach to public school education is racist. Lets see have a total crap public school that is dirt cheap for the poor people and a privately funded exclusive shool system for the rich. Down south is great if you have no kids, but up north here we have yeshivas and parochial schools as an inexpensive alternative. They don’t exist down south and private schools are either for profit and expensive or tied to some born again bible belt religion where your kids will end up with little orphan annie eyes and living on a cult compund with three kids of her own by her 16th birthday. My catholic friend who moved down south is paying 2K in taxes on his mc mcamansion and 20K in elementary school tuition.

  136. Shore Guy says:

    TIme for this entrepreneur to go oppress the masses for a bit.

  137. Shore Guy says:

    # 146 “My catholic friend who moved down south is paying 2K in taxes on his mc mcamansion and 20K in elementary school tuition.”

    And if he were living in NJ it would be $22,000 in taxes and those would be due and increasing forever. The tuition he is paying is only for 12 years.

    I am not saying I agree withthe way they are doing things but, we live in a market economy and, if that is where the market is taking us, it is hard to say that NJ, NY, etc will stand apart. We in the north are at a real disadvantage relative to the south because of our property and income tax levels. No corporate exec (well not many anyway) who has a compelling alternative will volunteer to pay more income and property taxes just so he/she can put a plant in NJ instead of someplace in the south. Even if the culture is not what he/she wants, the exec can take a portion of the $ saved by living down south and use it for chartered G-V flights to LA, NY, London, whatever.

  138. kettle1 says:

    I guess what gets me about the current implementation of COAH is that is reeks of a solution of a symptom, not a solution of the root cause of the problem.

    I agree with what lisoosh was getting at and that is that the iuuse is a state wide planning issue, and not just a local town issue. indiviual local solutions will not solve the problem

  139. John says:

    I thought the consitution entitled everyone to a good education? I have no problem with Albama geting rid of the union, admin and fluff programs up north that are very expensive. But in academics I think Alabama is dead last or near it. They can’t even do the three R’s that a school marm spinster could do in a one room school house one hundred years ago.

  140. Shore Guy says:

    # 149 The Constitution prevents the governmant from “quartering” troops in private homes during peacetime. That said, as George III asserts,’ we are in a global war on terrorism.” Perhaps the solution is to draft everyone who earns less than the income level necessary to live in their respective states and then quarter them in the homes of the wealthy. I saw that a guy in Palm Beach just bought a 32,000 sq. ft. home on the beach. Certainly he can fit a few quartered troops in there someplace. I bet even Grim as some room in the attic or basement.

  141. John says:

    State Sales Tax: 7% (food, prescription drugs and non-prescription
    drugs, clothing, footwear exempt). Local sales taxes are imposed on sales of certain items sold in Atlantic City and Cape May County.
    Gasoline Tax: 14.5 cents/gallon
    Diesel Fuel Tax: 17.5 cents/gallon
    Cigarette Tax: $2.575/pack of 20

    Personal Income Taxes
    Tax Rate Range: Low – 1.4%; High – 8.97%
    Income Brackets: * Lowest – $20,000; Highest – $500,000
    Number of Brackets: 6
    Personal Exemptions: Single – $1,000; Married – $2,000;
    Dependents – $1,500
    Additional Exemptions: Taxpayer or spouse 65 or older – $1,000
    Standard Deduction: None
    Medical/Dental Deduction: Limited to excess of 2% of gross income
    Federal Income Tax Deduction: None
    Retirement Income Taxes: Pensions, annuities, and certain IRA withdrawals are taxable and must be reported on your New Jersey resident income tax return. However, the taxable amount you show on your state return may differ from the amount that is taxable for Federal income tax purposes. This is because you may have to calculate the taxable amount for your New Jersey return differently than you do for your Federal return. Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits, and benefits received as a result of permanent and total disability before age 65, are not taxable and should not be reported as pension income. However, if you retired before age 65 on a total and permanent disability pension, and you continue to receive pension payments after age 65, your disability pension is treated as ordinary pension income beginning the year you reach age 65.

    The state provides several income exclusions to enable residents to reduce their taxable income. These exclusions can be used every year you qualify. Persons 62 or older may use the Pension Exclusion to exclude all or part of their taxable pensions, annuities, and IRA withdrawals provided their gross income for the entire year before subtracting any pension does not exceed $100,000. The maximum amount excluded depends on your filing status. If married and filing a joint return, you may exclude up to $20,000. If you file as single, head of household, or qualifying widow or widower, you may exclude up to $15,000. If you are married, filing a separate return, you may exclude up to $10,000. If you file a joint return, and both you and your spouse qualify for the Pension Exclusion, you may apply the exclusion to the total taxable pension amount on your return. However, if only one spouse is age 62 or older or disabled, then only the income of the spouse who is age 62 or older or disabled ay be excluded.
    Retired Military Pay: Exempt from taxes.
    Military Disability Retired Pay: Disability Portion – Length of Service Pay; Member on September 24, 1975 – No tax; Not Member on September 24, 1975 – Taxed, unless combat incurred. Retired Pay – Based solely on disability: Member on September 24, 1975 – No tax; Not Member on September 24, 1975 – Taxed, unless all pay based on disability and disability resulted from armed conflict, extra-hazardous service, simulated war, or an instrumentality of war.
    VA Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Not subject to federal or state taxes
    Military SBP/SSBP/RCSBP/RSFPP: Not subject to New Jersey gross income tax.

    Property Taxes
    Property taxation is local. To review rates by county, click here. Then click on Local Property Taxes. Also click on Property Tax Relief Programs in the left menu for details about the programs described below.

    The Homestead Rebate Program provides rebates for homeowners and tenants who occupied their principal residence in New Jersey on October 1, paid property taxes on that dwelling either directly or through rent, and whose gross income for the entire year does not exceed certain limits. Homeowners and tenants file different applications according to their status. For details, click here.

    Homestead Credit Program
    A new law enacted on April 3, 2007, establishes a system of homestead credits for homeowners and residential tenants, replacing the current Homestead Rebate Program (see above). The credit program provides taxpayers with benefits calculated as a percentage of the property tax (up to a maximum of $10,000 tax) that they paid during the previous year. The percentages used to calculate this benefit are based on income levels, with higher percentage benefits allowed for the lower income levels, and with no benefit allowed for those whose income exceeds $250,000. The act also imposes a 4% property tax levy cap on school districts and county and local governments, subject to limited exceptions and adjustments. The tax levy cap provisions will apply to budget years beginning on or after July 1, 2007, but not to years beginning after June 30, 2012. The homestead credit provisions will begin to apply to claims for rebates and credits for property tax paid for the year 2006.

    The Property Tax Reimbursement Program reimburses eligible senior citizens and disabled persons for property tax increases. The amount of the reimbursement is the difference between the amount of property taxes that were due and paid in the “base year” (the first year that you met all the eligibility requirements) and the amount due and paid in the current year for which you are claiming the reimbursement, provided the amount paid in the current year was greater. You must meet all the eligibility requirements for the base year and for each succeeding year, up to and including the current year to qualify for the reimbursement. See Property Tax Reimbursement Definitions. for more information.

    Income eligibility limits for the Property Tax Reimbursement Program have been increased for tax year 2007. As a result, you may be eligible for a reimbursement for 2007 even if you were not eligible in prior years be cause your income was above the previous limits. Eligible applicants must file the 2007 Property Tax Reimbursement Application on or before June 2, 2008.

    A Property Tax Deduction/Credit is available to eligible homeowners and tenants who pay property taxes, either directly or through rent, on their principal residence in New Jersey. They are eligible for either a deduction or a refundable credit on their New Jersey resident income tax return. Homeowners and tenants may be eligible for a deduction or credit even if they are not eligible for a homestead rebate. Qualified residents may deduct 100% of their property taxes due and paid or $10,000, whichever is less. For tenants, 18% of rent paid during the year is considered property taxes paid. The minimum benefit is a refundable credit of $50. Those eligible must be 65 years of age or older or blind or disabled and are not required to file a return because their income is below the minimum filing threshold.

    Inheritance and Estate Taxes
    New Jersey imposes a transfer inheritance tax, at graduated rates ranging from 11% to 16%, on the transfer of real and personal property having a total value of $500 or more which passes from a decedent to a beneficiary. If a decedent’s death occurs on or after July 1, 1988, property passing to a decedent’s surviving spouse, surviving parents, grandparents, children, stepchildren or grandchildren is entirely exempt from the tax.

    In addition to the inheritance tax, New Jersey imposes a separate estate tax. An estate may be subject to the New Jersey Estate Tax even though there is no New Jersey Inheritance Tax payable. For decedents with a date of death prior to January 1, 2002 the New Jersey Estate Tax was designed to absorb the maximum credit for state inheritance, estate, succession or legacy taxes allowable in the Federal estate tax proceeding. It did not increase the estate’s total estate tax obligation. For decedents with a date of death on or after January 1, 2002 the New Jersey Estate Tax was decoupled from the Federal estate tax proceeding.

    The New Jersey Estate tax is based upon the Federal Estate tax credit for state death taxes which was allowable under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code in effect on December 31, 2001. The Federal Estate tax does not have a provision providing a deduction for property passing to a domestic partner.

    Information pertaining to the estate and inheritance tax may be obtained by calling 609-292-5033 or 609-292-5035 or by clicking here.

    A special section on information for seniors can be accessed by clicking here.

    For further information, visit the New Jersey Department of Taxation site.
    * The tax brackets reported are for a single individual. A separate schedule is provided for married households filing jointly which ranges from 1.4% under $20,000 to 8.97 for income over $500,000.

  142. John says:

    Re 151, I call first dibs on Playboy’s girls of the milatary edition!!!

  143. kettle1 says:

    actually john

    “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are three of the aspects listed among the “inalienable rights” of man in the Declaration of Independence.

    notice it is the “pursuit” not the attaining of happiness.

  144. grim (36)-

    Wake me up when there’s a sports book- of the quality of a Vegas one- at Xanadu.

    I want to bet against the Jets, toss back a few drinks, then walk over and boo them like crazy.

    That’d be my idea of a fun Sunday.

  145. kettle1 says:


    do you think the current version of COAH would be successful, and not end up a deteriorated undesirable set of housing???

  146. Shore Guy says:

    # 150 The U.S. Constitution says nothing about education. The N.J. Constitution requires a “thorough and efficient” education — a term that is malleable enough to mean anything the legislature wants it to mean.

  147. CB (117)-

    I will now draw myself a nice bath…then jump in with a toaster oven.

  148. John says:

    Re 154, I heard that in a cadilac commercial

  149. grim says:

    What evidence do you have that leads you to believe that COAH will result in deteriorated homes/communities?

    We’re not talking about building rental projects here, owners will have a vested interest in their homes and their communities. What better way to execute this than to build these homes *IN* new and existing communities.

    Are you telling me that 10 COAH units in a 40 unit luxury condo/townhome development are going to lead to the downfall of the entire community?

  150. Nom Deplume says:

    [107] Grim,

    This is simply a move by state regulators to keep their state charters competitive. Once a bank wanted to go interstate, it had to get a federal charter in order to do so (post Reigle-Neal anyway). The article notes that NJ has only a few state charters left. The others were picked off by expanding national banks and thrifts looking for branches (cheaper to buy than build, which was Commerce’s problem. That and Mrs. Hill’s decorating fees). It really does nothing but insure the viability of the state charter and props up some of the state chartered banks by allowing expansion. In this environment, I don’t see any sort of consolidation beyond what might occur naturally, and I don’t see this making the institutions any more attractive to buyers unless, for reasons I cannot fathom, they want to keep the state charter.

    No, this is simply about trying to make their hometown banks competitive and preserve the state charters. It is completely separate of any merger or consolidation considerations. And if they keep exam fees reasonable, it may prevent institutions from rechartering as nat banks or thrifts.

  151. kettle1 says:

    grim 160,

    i may be overly pessimistic, but have little faith in the states ability to actually pull of COAH without ruining it through graft and greed.

    Your points are good ones and sound reasonable to me. But i would still pose the question of whether this makes sense when many areas of NJ are already overbuilt and we have near record inventory

  152. Nom Deplume says:

    Ouch. And she has been too right to ignore. This is gonna hurt, folks.

    NEW YORK – An Oppenheimer & Co. analyst said Monday Citigroup Inc. may have to slash or even eliminate its dividend as the bank struggles with massive losses on certain kinds of investments.

    Oppenheimer analyst Meredith Whitney said Citigroup faces “seriously constrained earnings” because of the turmoil in capital markets and the pinched consumer. She expects Citigroup, which has lost $15 billion in the past six months, to lose money this year.

    With the bank’s profit under duress, Whitney said it may be tough for the company to pay its dividend. Citigroup this year cut its quarterly dividend to 32 cents from 54 cents.

    The company also sold $7.5 billion of stock to Abu Dhabi and a $12.5 billion stake in itself to investors including Singapore, Kuwait, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, and the state of New Jersey.

    Whitney said the bank may have to cut its dividend again, or eliminate it entirely, to preserve cash.

    Citigroup’s stock slipped 87 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $24.24 in morning trading Monday. The shares are down 17 percent in 2008 and 53 percent in the past year.

  153. kettle1 says:

    THE END IS NIGH!!!!!
    BELLEVUE — Beautiful weather, no river, no stream and yet hundreds of residents are flooded here.

    No sudden thunderstorms or drenching rains can explain it. For some reason, the earth in Bellevue continues to heave up millions of gallons of water to the surface.

    Against gravity and against logic, the flooding continues day after day. Homes and barns suddenly turned into islands trapped in muddy water.

    No one knows why it began or when it will end. It is a disaster for every homeowner for miles around Bellevue. The residents north of town on state route 269 have especially been hit hard.

  154. SS says:

    Refi question:
    I’m helping my Mom with her housing situation. She owns her house outright (no mtg, primary res, single fam) but she does have an adjustable rate equity loan (currently about 7.5% – I think) with about 70K outstanding. I would like her to get into a 15yr fixed for a refi on the 70K – no more. Does this make the most sense? As I’ve never purchased a house before – what are the items I should look out for when applying for a mtg? Fees, etc. Should I stick with a bank or go directly to a mtg company? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

  155. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Ket Cats & dogs living together, floods in area with no open water,no soap in the bathrooms at Citi. Next thing you know they will cut back on congress talking flights all over the world on our taxes,then you know its all over.

  156. Mikeinwaiting says:

    SS Try hudson city bank 15 year wiil come out to about 465 a month,that ok for her.Low fees,have worked with them before, was happy. Funny thing it was for my Mom too.

  157. Shore Guy says:

    # 162 It is probably caused by some guy pumping hazardous waste into the ground someplace else, thus displacing the water. Either that or the ghost of Jimmy Hoffa stirring things up underground.

  158. kettle1 says:

    Shore, Mike

    Apparently there was a very small earth quake on some fault in the midwest recently and events such as these have been know to shift underground water sources and cause flooding.

  159. grim says:

    Interesting snippet from Calculated Risk:

    Standard & Poor’s said delinquencies on home-equity lines of credit issued in 2005 and 2006 shot up in March, underscoring continued trouble in the U.S. economy.

    S&P said that 9.19% of lines issued in 2005 and 11.45% of loans issued in 2006 are delinquent, up 6.49% and 6.51% from February.

  160. SS says:

    I’ll look into that Mike – thanks. She lives out on LI so I’ll have to see if they write mtgs in NY, more specifically out there.

  161. scribe says:


    NY mag has a cover story this week on Gossip Girls:

  162. galgon says:

    Hey Clot,

    What do you think about the Manville area? There seems to be a large number of semi-affordable starter homes there. Besides the flood zone, is there a reason why these houses are that much cheaper than surrounding areas?

  163. lisoosh says:

    Kettle – When interspersed, affordable housing does not deteriorate.

    I know a very low income lady – around $20k a year. Her husband walked out and left her alone with a young son. She works as much as she can while still being there for him when he gets out of school. She bought a low income condo in East Brunswick. Her home is absolutely spotless. One building in 8 there is low income, the rest market rate. The low income condos are smaller and simpler on the inside, but from outside there is no discernable difference, and they are equally well maintained.
    For that person, and others like her, the COAH program provided her with an affordable home, safety and much needed stability for her son, and that is at the very low income end of the scale. If she had been forced into a slum in New Brunswick, her life would have been pretty miserable and her son potentially one more statistic.

  164. SG says:

    Smaller Banks Begin to Pay Price
    For Their Boomtime Expansion

    Rising Losses Seen On Distant Loans; Sovereign’s Car Mess
    By ROBIN SIDEL April 21, 2008; Page A1

    Concentrating on auto loans, Sovereign offered some of the best terms around to car buyers in Arizona and eight other states far from Sovereign’s home branches. “They came on like a tidal wave,” says Steve Dancy, finance director at Mel Clayton Ford here. “It was a car dealer’s dream.”

    Now, two years after its expansion push, Sovereign has quit making auto loans outside the Northeast because too many borrowers fell behind on their bills. Losses on the bank’s loans ballooned. In January, to conserve cash as it wrote off more bad loans, Sovereign eliminated dividend payments. On Tuesday, the bank is expected to announce a 40% drop in first-quarter earnings.

    Overall, profits at the 8,533 banks backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. dropped 84% to $5.8 billion in the fourth quarter, a 16-year low. Fewer than half of all banks posted a rise in net income for the full year. That hadn’t happened since at least 1984, according to the FDIC

    Despite the glum outlook, few analysts are predicting a repeat of the savings-and-loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s, which led to the failure of more than 1,000 U.S. banks and cost taxpayers about $130 billion. Many of today’s problems are occurring at small banks: The average asset size of the 76 financial institutions on the FDIC’s “problem list” of banks getting extra regulatory scrutiny was $292 million as of Dec. 31. By comparison, Bank of America Corp., the largest U.S. bank, has $1.72 trillion in assets. Bank of America reports earnings Monday.

  165. Hard Place says:

    COAH affordable housing.

    Couldn’t this be compared to affordable housing created under Mitchell Lama that allowed homeowners to buy/rent in NYC. Now some of these homeowners/renters or their descendants are selling these apts after they have privatized at market rate. So therefore we are subsidizing housing currently for the poor to live in a more prestigious area, but eventually if they get to buy their units isn’t it a transfer of wealth (progressive tax)? So this state run program eventually turned out to be a boondoggle for the poor.

    Just rambling, but that is how I see it currently.

  166. John says:

    So we want to pay extra taxes to support govt. programs to create cheaper housing in a market where we also have govt. programs designed to increase housing values? Why?

  167. kettle1 says:

    I think john may have hit the nail on the head….

    So we want to pay extra taxes to support govt. programs to create cheaper housing in a market where we also have govt. programs designed to increase housing values

  168. kettle1 says:


    I fully support the end result of your friend. I question the method

  169. spam spam bacon spam says:

    [118] Al

    You said: But still what is the actuall number of car catching flames while standing???

    According to the NHTSA, just this one problem (cruise control switch) caused 1500 fires. THEY WERE PARKED, AL. Shut off. Cold engines. People sleeping. It has caused deaths.

    As you can see most causes of fire are problems with fuel lines… In many cases – defects in manufacturing and assembly…

    Not true. Please don’t spread rumours that are untrue. People need to be concerned when their vehicle is recalled and they need to have the recall completed. Telling vehicle owners it can’t happen and allowing them to become complacent is a disservice, at best.

    Ford had already set the record for the largest recall, which also involved a potential fire hazard. That was for 7.9 million vehicles with ignition switch problems.

    Al, don’t believe everything you think.

  170. spam spam bacon spam says:

    [171] gaigon,

    I work next to Manville.

    The “flood problem” IS THE PROBLEM.

    Fear the rain clouds! :)

  171. Young Buck says:

    Quick question. Does anyone know how to find an old picture from the Star Ledger? I have a friend who came out in the Union County section of last Wednesday’s (April 16th) paper, and I would like to print it out. I’ve checked with a few local stores, but they don’t keep any old hard copies. Any suggestions are much appreciated. Thanks!

  172. Al says:

    According to the NHTSA, just this one problem (cruise control switch) caused 1500 fires. THEY WERE PARKED, AL. Shut off. Cold engines. People sleeping. It has caused deaths.


  173. Al says:

    Manville – last years there was about 3 days when ALL roads out of manville were flooded No way to get in or out of town.

  174. Sybarite says:

    Re: Manville

    I would stay away. I looked at a rental property there a few months that claimed to be out of the flood area, and did not claim to have flood insurance. Looking at google maps seemed to show that the raritan river was far enough away.

    However, I searched google for that particular street, and found images from some rainstorm in spring of 2007 where that street was underwater. And that was from just a heavy rain, not even any kind of tropical storm or hurricane.

    Bottom line is, buyer beware. There are usually very good reasons why properties are cheaper in certains areas.

  175. grim says:


    Try your local library.

  176. SG says:

    So we want to pay extra taxes to support govt. programs to create cheaper housing in a market where we also have govt. programs designed to increase housing values? Why?

    From what I understand towns have 2 choices.

    One Join COAH, and hence build affordable housing for lower income folks. They can either pay for it themselves (using taxpayers money) or allow builders extra permits and they will pay for building it. In second case, the idea is Towns are spending taxpayers money.

    Second don’t join COAH. In that case, they are open to litigation from Builders for exclusionary zoning regulations. I believe almost 50% of towns currently are not part of COAH.

    So if town down want to join COAH they have option. So I don’t think they can be called state subsidized housing, but I bet Hard core conservatives would make it look it that.

  177. Jill says:

    OK, all you ex-poits out there: I’ve been helping a friend do preliminary research into a house or condo. Mostly what she’s trying to do is go to open houses to see what’s out there in her price range and decide whether she wants a house or condo. The realtors are ferocious right now if they see anything remotely resembling a “live one” but she doesn’t want to be pressured.

    There is a house in Rockland County that she wants to look at, but there’s no open house scheduled and having called off her NY and NJ realtors and said she’ll call them when she’s ready, how should she go about looking at this house?

  178. kettle1 says:

    flood maps….

    gone here

    and click on the “map search” button on the top red toolbar

  179. kettle1 says:


    you could always nave a friend act as the “sacrificial lamb” and setup the showing and have the real interested party “just tag along”

  180. John says:

    I am officially offering my services as a Faux Buyer. Realtors for a mere $500 can claim to the owner that they have a qualified interested buyer prepared to look at the house. Once you obtain the listing I will attend and be very anxious to buy but since there is a flaw in the house as a result of a poorly planned owner project I shall decline to purchase.

  181. Sassy says:

    # 183 Call the paper, they will usually send you back copies, for a fee.

  182. Pat says:

    When you go to an open house and the agent asks you for the name of your agent, “to avoid any issues,” what is the appropriate response:

    a. Raise eyebrows/wide eyes: I don’t HAVE an agent.
    b. Narrow eyes, clench teeth: I don’t have AN AGENT.
    c. Smile: If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you.
    d. Tilt head sideways and begin to use pretend sign language. Walk away.

  183. Sean says:

    re: (192) John

    “anxious to buy” please elaborate on what kind of acting we would expect to see for $500.

  184. gary says:

    Weekend Observations: I drove around a few sections of the ‘desirable’ towns this weekend. Open houses had activity in most of them from what I could see. A few cars parked in front of the homes and people talking outside as they were looking at the houses. All in all, it appeared to be busier than not.

    As for the so-called trade up or next tier homes, anything that doesn’t need a roof immediately or has the siding peeling off pretty much is still listing in the high 500’s. If it’s a colonial type home with 4/2, it’s over 600 and mostly closer to 650. If you draw a 25 mile radius from midtown Manhatten that’s pretty much what you’ll find.

    Again, tack on the 8% YOY rise in property taxes and I’m astonished that these prices are holding pretty much near peak. As somebody once said, there’s a sucker born every day. I couldn’t agree more. Add the ~3% raise in salaries YOY combined with the change in lending standards and all logic goes out the window. As an engineering student and programmer/analyst, I can’t figure out how a $180,000 home and a $60,000/yr salary is proportional to a $360,000 home on a $74,000/yr salary. It must be that new math the West Haughtyston school district is using.

    Every time I try to do a calculation attempting to figure out a way to handle the monthly expenditures if I decide to move, I find myself moving three assets this way, borrowing from two assets over here, throwing in “what ifs” and after all that head scratching, finally saying, “why am I going through this?” Why the f*ck would anyone want to subject themselves to this lunacy?

    Again, we’re not talking about 4,000 sq. ft. homes in Essex Fells, we’re simply talking about a piece of quietness with a piece of shade thrown in. If I didn’t have family here, I…… would……. be……… gone. This state has become so f*cked up and so f*cking corrupt, it’s beyond dizzying. I’m old enough to remember when a CHC in northern Rivervale was about 2.5X the median salary because I remember when my cousins moved there. I’d say it’s about 12X median salary now. I’ll say it again: I think people are absolutely blinded to give in to these prices.

  185. Hard Place says:

    What he said ^^^^^

    Gary – Hallelujah…

  186. 3b says:

    #197 gary: Agreed. I have to throw in the towel and buy by around this time next year, as that is when my rental is up.

    But I have to say I am amazed, with all that has transpired over the last few months, and still, thes insane prices, that at least some people are paying, or will pay if they get the financing.

    And I lived through the last real estate down turn, and evey day there were big price reductions, that is the way it was, market boomed, market dropped and corrected

    Here we are as nation and a state in much worse financial condition, and yet, the madness seems to persist.

    I must admit I am befuddled at this point.

  187. kettle1 says:


    perhaps the bigger the drop the greater the resistance????

    we are a grain silo waiting for the spark of static electricity. no one wants to be the spark….

  188. Sybarite says:

    #197- 199

    Just wait and watch as people try to buy homes. I think many people out there are in for a rude awakening when they try and obtain financing. That is one big wild card.

    I must say, however, that good deals are popping up here and there, at least in the towns I watch.

  189. tol says:

    to add to above.. compkillers notwithstanding, i am surprised how well prices are holding up in my area given all that’s happened over the last 9 months and outlook for future.

    This blog had the right call on RE for some time. However, prices did not behave as expected SO FAR. We have gone through the blood in the streets stage. If subprime shutdown, massive layoffs, bear bust, losses in hundreds on bns, oil at 115, etc do not qualify i dont know what will. I also think it is oversimplifying to write it down on suckers, financial slaves, etc. What are we collectively missing?

  190. gary says:


    I’m simply going to wait. It’s as simple as that.

    I’m willing to bet that the net worth for a lot of these households in the upper scale towns isn’t as high as one would think.

  191. gary says:


    It could be fence sitters jumping in at once. Maybe a dead cat bounce. The chnaged lending standards are not going to open any flood gates, for sure. Perhaps it’s still early in the game? Maybe late in 2008 and 2009 will tell us more?

  192. John says:

    Just ask them for money, that always makes them go away. Or make them take you out and run small errands and make them wait.

    For my Faux Buyer services I will include shoplifting of gold etc. to be split with the realtor. Plus will bring a smile to the ladies who lunch club.

    Pat Says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 3:02 pm
    When you go to an open house and the agent asks you for the name of your agent, “to avoid any issues,” what is the appropriate response:

  193. John says:

    Well for starters there are a lot of people with more money than you and I. I am starting to lose conviction that house prices will fall a lot. I saw two 1.4 million dollar homes go on the market last month, both was exactly what I wanted and I figured I would watch them go staler and staler as prices fall throughout the year and then contact the owners directly after the listing expired. Guess what both sold at near market within two weeks of being listed. Bottom line there are a lot of late 30, early 40 couples who bought pre 2000 where the wife and husband both work and both are professionals each with 20 years working experience and young kids at home with a need for a bigger house. They are rolling 600K from sale of current home and their double income and trading up and not worrying about the bad market like you and I.

  194. grim says:

    From HousingWire:

    Alt-A, HELOCs Proving Problematic; Are Prime Jumbos Next?

    Two hundred and fifty-seven percent.

    That’s how much higher cumulative losses to date on 2007 vintage home-equity lines of credit were during March, when compared to the same time frame for the 2006 vintage. It’s an increase that comes despite a surprising month-to-month decrease in delinquencies for 2007 HELOCs, according to a report released Monday afternoon by Standard & Poor’s.

    HELOCs are proving increasingly problematic for lenders, S&P said — and, in particular, the 2006 and 2007 vintages. For example, 11.45 percent of 2006 vintage HELOCs were delinquent at the end of March, with 6.34 percent of the aggregate pool balance categorized as seriously delinquent. (Serious delinquencies refer to loans 90+days in arrears, in foreclosure, or in REO.)

    Serious delinquencies, often a direct harbinger of pending losses, rose more than 8 percent for 2005 and 2006 vintage HELOCs during March, according to the report.

    While HELOCs are generating much of the attention this earnings season, Alt-A mortgage performance continues to tumble — at a rate that is now faster than the descent being recorded in the subprime RMBS space. More than 10 percent of remaining 2007 vintage Alt-A mortgages reached the delinquency bucket during March, S&P said, an increase of 7.5 percent since February alone.

    Serious delinquencies reached above 10 percent for 2006 Alt-A mortgages during March, as well — meaning that the 2006 vintage is likely the first Alt-A pool on record with delinquencies and severe delinquencies north of 10 percent, simultaneously. And while losses are accelerating for the 2006 vintage, they’re moving even faster for 2007 Alt-A pools: delinquencies rose 12.2 percent in March, and serious DQs by a stunning 18.9 percent.

    It’s clear at this point that the 2007 vintage will go down across the board as perhaps the worst vintage in modern securitized mortgage history, something Housing Wire first speculated on way back in August of last year.

    While losses are now both noticeable and relevant for both HELOCs and Alt-A mortgages, S&P’s data also shows potential trouble brewing in prime jumbos — the name given to securitized mortgages north of the traditional $417,000 conforming lending limit, and without the exotic features that define Alt-A mortgages.

    S&P said that total delinquencies for prime jumbos originated in 2006 rose 15.4 percent during March, while the 2007 vintage saw DQs ratchet upward by 15.5 percent — keep in mind, that’s on a monthly comparison basis, to boot. Serious delinquencies rose even higher, to 22.6 percent for the 2006 vintage and 18.8 percent for the 2007s.

  195. John says:

    Re 203 I am willing to bet you the next income of those towns are a lot higher than you think.

  196. spam spam bacon spam says:

    184 Al:

    AFTER six recalls to correct problems with millions of Ford Motor Company cruise-control switches blamed for almost 1,500 fires, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took an unusual step. In February, it issued a consumer advisory urging owners whose vehicles had not yet been fixed to have the switches disconnected immediately.

  197. Hard Place says:

    What is difficult about being right on not wanting to buy a home during this run-up has been watching and discussing with my friends about the insane prices and still having them jump in to buy.

    A friend on the west coast bought early last year and was saying how he can afford the home by taking out an interest only loan. He knew it was a stretch and saw houses renting for less than home payments, but he still wanted to own. Don’t know why he didn’t see the logic of renting and saving the extra cash was better than building “equity” and using the home mortgage deduction. His wife and his two young kids should be alright they do make decent money. Unfortunately he’s already underwater though he can afford it.

    A friend in DC who bought in 2005 with an ARM so he could afford payments on a home that would always hold it’s value because home prices have never dropped. His wife and his two young kids are now negotiating with the bank about a forebearance or possibly a short sale. They do everything to save the extra couple dollars, right down to splitting napkins in two to save from waste. Luckily he works for the govt so there is some job stability there, but they are in dire straits.

    Numerous friends in NYC who bought apts in the last several years, many on ARMs. The ones who bought in the outer boroughs are barely keeping their heads above water for now. The ones in Manhattan have some equity, but funny thing is house payments are still above cost of rent. Hopefully the ones that are talking of selling will get out with a nice chunk of change, but sales commissions, flip taxes and realty transfer tax will eat into any equity they have.

    Me, I’m just sitting here renting. I can afford to buy a home, but don’t want the albatross of being a debt slave when renting still costs less. In the end I still have a place to call home, even though I don’t own it.

  198. ithink-ithink says:

    to all you t-shirt authors, keep your eyes open for grim

  199. mr potter says:

    Realtor Talking Points

    I spoke to 3 different realtors in the last 24 hours and all three of them at one point in the conversation stated “its not as bad as what you are reading in the paper”. sounds like some NAR talking points………

  200. ithink-ithink says:

    unmod #213 please

  201. spam spam bacon spam says:

    why do people still buy?

    It’s a function of something similar to the overton window, IMHO.

    They are so aghast at the highest prices houses commanded that anything less than top dollar looks like a steal….

  202. BC Bob says:

    “What are we collectively missing?”


    Absolutely nothing. Unfortunately, we live in an instant gratification society. We watch the internals of this market crumble, probably too closely, and ask why have prices not crashed?

    We must remenber, the credit crisis just hit in August, 2007. We are not even one full year into the end of the biggest credit bubble in our history. The ship does not right itself in 7-8 months. It takes years and years.

    We escaped the recession in 2001-2002 with the blueprint of the housing bubble and the beginning of the debt/credit bubble. Ask yourself now, what do the wizards have in store, to escape this present day mess? The consumer is buried in debt, credit is tightening, real wages are falling, food and energy costs are rising and housing prices continue their decline, along the sloping downward curve. Their home ATM lines are shutting down and cc lines are being adjusted lower.

    Bear has imploded, the fed has accepted $250b of trash for cash, the financial sector is getting hammered, housing starts and H-B’s are in the dumps and housing related businesses are going bankrupt. Do you actually believe that the homeowner will be the only party to escape this bust?

    Nobody truly know what an asset, that is not priced to the market, is worth until that asset is monetized. Well, if the market is shut down, on a realtive basis, what is the value of that sitting/decaying asset? The sellers, marked to fantasy, asking price?

    This is not the stock market nor the commodity pits. Prices don’t crash and V out in a single day, week, or month. It’s Chinese water torture. Either accept it and be patient or don’t and step up and buy.

  203. 3b says:

    #208 John: I bet they ar not.

  204. 3b says:

    #218 BC: Agrred. Just venting.

  205. Hard Place says:

    BC Bob – like 2001-2002 telecom blow up. We’ll need a couple major co’s to go under and some executives in jail. Bear Stearns was just a start. Still need more firms to go under and some guys behind bars. Hopefully we are still employed after this happens…

  206. gary says:

    BC Bob,

    I agree with you. But the fact that, despite all the rumblings around us, one of the very few things still holding up is house prices in this area. And because of that, it just makes you wonder. It’s frustrating. As 3b said, maybe it’s just venting.

  207. Sybarite says:

    Apologies if already posted.

    Brigadoon REO

    Asking $525k

    Last sold in 1998 for $315k

  208. BC Bob says:

    Gary [222],

    I don’t agree. Houses are not selling,[yoy #’s], what’s holding up? If they were selling for their asking, inventory would not be thru the roof.

  209. Hard Place says:

    gary/3b – Venting

    If it wasn’t for the ability to vent, some of us may be in a quagmire of debt right now, or holed up in a padded room.

  210. John says:

    That $525K foreclosure is overpriced.

    1999 …… $324k @ 3% – $331k @ 5%
    2000 …… $334k @ 3% – $347k @ 5%
    2001 …… $344k @ 3% – $365k @ 5%
    2002 …… $355k @ 3% – $383k @ 5%
    2003 …… $365k @ 3% – $402k @ 5%
    2004 …… $376k @ 3% – $422k @ 5%
    2005 …… $387k @ 3% – $443k @ 5%
    2006 …… $399k @ 3% – $465k @ 5%
    2007 …… $411k @ 3% – $489k @ 5%
    2008 …… $423k @ 3% – $513k @ 5%

    Pay no more than $513k for this house unless some major upgrades have been done.

  211. Hard Place says:

    How about this for a business idea…

    markets work with a bid/ask spread. The MLS is an ask system. let’s create a bid system, where people can post what they would pay for the house. Than we have a market and we do not have to look at these ridiculous asks all the time and not have an idea what is the bid.

  212. Pat says:

    On the street observation:

    Yesterday, our priest asked us to pray for builders and those in the construction industry to make it through this “housing downturn.”

    Hear our prayer.


    I don’t remember any prayers for little families looking for a house but who were getting outbid by those same builders who wanted the cr@ppy lot so they could tear down the house and build a monstrosity that the little family could never afford.

  213. hughesrep says:


    The families didn’t have as much money to drop into the box as the builder did.

    The priest was really just praying that the builder would be able to cough up some more scratch.

  214. scribe says:

    Young Buck, #183

    Is this the story you’re looking for on “coming out”?

    If not, go to and search under your friend’s name.

  215. Jill says:

    Pat #228:

    “Yesterday, our priest asked us to pray for builders and those in the construction industry to make it through this “housing downturn.”

    Hear our prayer.”

    You have just demonstrated why I think organized religion is a load of cr@p. Even if you believe that there is a great white alpha male who lives in the sky and moves us around like chess pieces, what on earth makes anyone think he has a soft spot for those in the construction industry? What, does he have a thing for faux stucco and palladian windows?

  216. PeaceNow says:

    As I type this, my house is being power-washed…by the owner of the house across the street, who’s becoming desperate to sell his over-priced spec house. Maybe in another couple of months I can get him to rework the landscaping….

  217. Pat says:

    Jill, I have two theories.

    Our priest ist ein kluger Mann.

    Either he’s guilting some of the normally big donors (also, telling the rest of us they haven’t been chipping in lately to embarrass them a little), or he’s really been getting petitions from some of the local families of builders.

    The other possibility is that some free mason/garden/sidewalk work for the parish has been cut off.

  218. Hobokenite says:

    The End of Shopping:

    Transfixed by turmoil in the financial markets, we may be missing the year’s biggest economic story: the end of the Great American Shopping Spree.

  219. RentininNJ says:

    I agree with you. But the fact that, despite all the rumblings around us, one of the very few things still holding up is house prices in this area

    Asking prices are holding up.
    But what we are really seeing is a widening of the bid/ask spread.

    The occasional lowball bid gets hit by a distressed seller
    The occasional ridiculous offer gets lifted by an impatient buyer
    But for the most part, homes just sit and sit. It’s become very illiquid.

    If, as Hard Place suggests, we had an MLS system that showed a bid stack, you probably would not come away with the opinion that house prices were holding up.

  220. John says:

    2008 TOP 25 Restaurants in the World

    1. El Bulli Spain
    2. The Fat Duck U.K.
    3. Pierre Gagnaire France
    4. Mugaritz Spain
    5. The French Laundry U.S.
    6. Per Se U.S.
    7. Bras France
    8. Arzak Spain
    9. Tetsuya’s Australia
    10. Noma Denmark
    11. L’Astrance France
    12. Gambero Rosso Italy
    13. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay U.K.
    14. L’Atelier de [bn:PRSN=1] Joel Robuchon [] France
    15. Le Louis XV Monaco
    16. St John U.K.
    17. Jean Georges U.S.
    18. [bn:PRSN=1] Alain Ducasse [] au Plaza Athenee France
    19. Hakkasan U.K.
    20. Le Bernardin U.S.
    21. Alinea U.S.
    22. Le Gavroche U.K.
    23. Dal Pescatore Italy
    24. Le Cinq France
    25. Troisgros France

  221. Hehehe says:

    The End of The Empire Continues

    More convicted felons allowed to enlist in Army, Marines By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer
    45 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON – Under pressure to meet combat needs, the Army and Marine Corps brought in significantly more recruits with felony convictions last year than in 2006, including some with manslaughter and sex crime convictions.

  222. JBJB says:


    I hear you loud and clear. But I have seen selling prices starting to inch down in my area. I have been monotoring listings and closing now for about 6 months in a very small upp/mid class area of E. Monmouth where we want to buy. I am only watching a very specfific type of house (4br, 2.5 ba, Col, ~0.5 Acre, ~8-9K taxes, perhaps some minor updating needed). Since late last year, there have been about 40 active listings, 14 which met my specific criteria. There have been 6 closings in 2008 of the 14 that meet my criteria. The closing prices of these 6 averaged about 11% off of OLP (range was 23% off OLP on a redo/teardown to one that sold for OLP). Of the 6 closings, the DOM was about 60-70 days. The six closings have incrementally brought down the comps. It’s indeed frustrating that the pace is galacial but one must be patient.

    Of the 8 remaining, OLP prices either haven’t changed or they were reduced by a meaningless amount, or they were pulled. Of the remaining the DOM is averaging about 135 days. If these don’t get lowered, they simply will not sell. Anything that sells at OLP is 100% updated and immaculant, truely move in ready and then some. In the period since March 1st, 2 advertised short sales have come on (one a very beautiful property).

    I think when you chart it this way, you start to get an understanding for how slow the unwinding may be, and of course there will be different velocities for each area. It really takes a lot of time to get a good series of declining comps on comparable houses. I showed the data to my friend who is a realtor and she said it pretty much reflected the market. If a house comes on and is priced competitively (meaning slightly lower) based on comps, it will get sold relatively quickly (assuming it doesn’t need 50-100 k of work). If it is priced above comps, it may sell but there better be something special about the property. She commented that extreme lowballs (>20%) are not yet working, at least she hadn’t seen any go through sucessfully. But a 15% off OLP offer while DOM is > 40 or 50 days may get a counter and settle at 5-15% off OLP. She also said that a lot of her “sucessful” buyers are older trader-uppers and a few first timers that are coming in with 10-25% down where the money down often comes from a family gift (must be nice).

  223. Sybarite says:


    This is just a minor note, but technically the OLP will not change for a given MLS #. OLP refers to the Original List Price. Price reductions are applied to the LP.

    I just want to avoid any confusion.

  224. John says:

    Re 228, I hear you, money talks BS walks. The difference is the people with money are cherry picking while 4 years ago every piece of crap sold. Also unreflected in the prices that my pos split could have sold 3 years ago as is for $550 in a day, but now people who are selling them are still getting close to $550 but the difference is it is taking three months and the sellers are putting 20-25K into repairs before going to market. I am planning on selling in a year or two and I am replacing my cracked sidewalk, tearing down the old pool, and painting the 50% of room that were not painted yet. That cash in the house is not reflected in the selling prices we see. Prices look the same but they are not. My last neighbor to sell even put up a 5K fence to seal the deal to a family with kids. Resales are now like builders we are throwing in stuff. My friend who listed her house last week had to do 3K worth of repairs to get the realtor to accept the listing. Wow, the good realtor in her town won’t accept homes in poor repair.

  225. JBJB says:


    You are correct, I keep track of LP’s as well. My % off refers to actual sales price vs OLP. I’d have to check my numbers when I get home but the avergage drop from OLP to LP is quite small (at least on the homes I have been following). I don’t know why some sellers/realtors think that dropping the OLP 1-2% to a new LP works, but many do seem to do it.

  226. John says:

    CIT $11 a share in after hours, more dilution. I think that stock options, restricted stock and esops of local area firms like CIT, SOV, CITI etc. are geting raped as stock prices are in free fall are a big concern to high end homes. Many a VP has told me they live off base and use their stock grants to trade up, vacation, and cars. That is a big hit when 2009 and 2010 stock grants vest at a value of near zero.

  227. Young Buck says:

    scribe Says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 4:38 pm
    Young Buck, #183

    Is this the story you’re looking for on “coming out”?

    Very funny, no that’s not it. My friend is almost finished with the fire academy and went on his first call last week. His name is not mentioned in the article, but he came out in a picture. So his girlfriend has been trying to get a copy of the picture of ‘his first fire.’ Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I’ve emailed the Starledger to see if I can purchase a copy.

  228. chicagofinance says:

    JBJB Says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Can you put a price on those listings? It sounds like a general category that would be of eventual interest to me.

    I am living in a cream puff rental 3/2.5 CHC 2,000SF with landscaping included for $2650 a month in the Red Hill section of Middletown….

  229. grim says:

    You can post again after you send me an email with your real email address.

  230. Sybarite says:


    That’s simply a trick to gain a bump in exposure. I’ve seen price reductions of as low as $50, which is still enough to qualify the listing as a “Price Reduction” on Realtors’ Hotsheets.

  231. reinvestor101 says:

    On top of everything else, we have this dirtbag trying to wage economic war against us. This is why it’s important to support the real estate markets. The lack of support and the determined attempt to undermine the markets so you can get a house on the cheap allows this type of crap to gain currency.

    It’s high time that we do what we need to do and take Iran down hard. They have nukes, are a threat to its neighbors and a threat to us. The Iranians like the citizens of Iraq need their freedom also. The spreading of democracy will nip this in the bud.

    TEHRAN, Iran – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is urging OPEC members to form a joint bank and stop pricing oil trades in U.S. dollars.

  232. Sybarite says:

    What happened to your boycott?

  233. BC Bob says:


    Old news.

    AG has been invested in other currencies for years. I guess AG agrees with

  234. lisoosh says:

    Hard Place Says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 1:34 pm
    ” So therefore we are subsidizing housing currently for the poor to live in a more prestigious area, but eventually if they get to buy their units isn’t it a transfer of wealth (progressive tax)?”

    No, because they are only allowed to sell at approved prices to people who qualify under affordability ratings. It doesn’t put them in a position to profit handsomely, but it does give them the opportunity to live in an area they may not otherwise be able to afford.

  235. lisoosh says:

    kettle –

    I get your frustration with the current system, but truth of the matter is that NJ has a plethora of little towns, all of which want to become enclaves of rich retired people with no children.

    Unless the entire state will become full of retired people, empty over 55 “communities”, wealthy people who don’t give a d@mn, and giant urban ghettos full of he truly poor, the state is going to have to step in. How to do that best? I don’t know, probably with some kind of mandated zoning rules or quota system.

    I do know that we can’t trust the towns, because we can’t trust them on anything – education, property taxes or any other issue. The attitude is “I got mine”, scr*w everybody else. So, scr*w them right back. Otherwise there will be NO middle class left in NJ within 10-15 years.

  236. Mikeinwaiting says:

    RE 101 Just how do you propose to take Iran down hard. We are spread a little thin in the troop department. With out boots on the ground it is pointless. It wouldn’t be politically acceptable to bomb them back into the stone age so to speak. Just think what a war with them would do to the price of oil. We are in quite a pickle.

  237. reinvestor101 says:

    We are America and we can’t allow some tinhorn Jihadist to talk about waging economic warfare against us. We would lose the world’s respect if we allow this to happen. I don’t care how it gets done, but Iran needs to be taken down a few pegs.

    Those people need freedom and democracy. Those two things are in our interest and will do us well against this threat.

  238. Sybarite says:

    Yeah, sure, idiot101.

    Makes perfect sense. Your strong talk will solve all of our problems. Look at all the great things our freedom and democracy has done for our country and the price of oil.

    Just shut your hole already, or go enlist in the Army.

  239. Sybarite says:

    MLS 2444271

    How did that place command that price? In today’s market? I guess I don’t get it.

  240. Mikeinwaiting says:

    RE 101 254 As far as the respect of the world that is wearing a little thin too. You don’t care how it gets done. It can’t be done with the present military situation. Stop talking sh*t. Nobody likes it but no sense starting trouble when it’s a no win scenario. Prudence is the better part of valor.

  241. Sybarite says:

    For those non-MLS folks, this place sold for $720k:

    Unbelievable, when for the same asking price you can get this:

  242. bairen says:

    reenlisted 101

    Go sign up and save the world.

  243. Sybarite says:

    Grim, please unmoderate harmless links in 258.

  244. kettle1 says:


    Those people need freedom and democracy. Those two things are in our interest and will do us well against this threat.

    we might want to work on freedom and democracy here in the US first. ever hear of a little place called GITMO

  245. kettle1 says:


    do you realize that Iran had a democratically elected government until we overthrew it because they would not give our oil companies sweetheart deals????

  246. bairen says:

    #263 Kettle1,

    Since when would 101 let facts interfere with theory?

  247. bruiser says:


    Time to dig up Billy Martin?

  248. lostinny says:

    I missed a lot the last few days.
    I was in Atlantic City. I am not a regular there so I cannot comment as to what has or has not changed as far as how busy it was or behavior of players. I can say that I did see quite a few people playing like there was nothing to worry about- no recession, no risk of job loss, etc. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to lose a few thousand and act like it’s nothing.

  249. Shore Guy says:

    # 197 “I’m old enough to remember when a CHC in northern Rivervale was about 2.5X the median salary because I remember when my cousins moved there. I’d say it’s about 12X median salary now. ”

    I do not disagree with you, Gary. The only question I have with respect to the prices in some of the higher cost towns is what are the prices relative to the median incomes of the people living in those towns?

  250. kettle1 says:

    William Volker, almost 100 years ago, said, “I’ve learned something about government..Government must be restricted to those activities which can be entrusted to the worst citizens, not the best.”

    His statement was in reaction to the way politicians took over private welfare activities of NGOs at that time. Ward heelers like Thomas J. Prendergast, and those leading the political machines in the big metropolitan centers, recognized the potential of welfare as an instrument of political power.

  251. sas says:


    who do you use to make your web page.

    I am thinking about starting my own webpage for people to read my writings.

    any suggestions? I’m not a member of the geek squad ; )


  252. sas says:

    or anyone have suggestions?

    what say you bubble bloggers..


  253. Bloodbath in Winter 2007 says:

    Does anyone else think that jerkoff re101 is Clot or ChiFi just pulling our chains?

    This guy can’t be real, and all of his senseless ramblings seem designed to push the buttons of this blog.

    Grim, any chance you could look into that

  254. Clotpoll says:

    John (236)-

    Where’d you crib that list? Michelin?

  255. Clotpoll says:

    bath (271)-

    Honest to God, I couldn’t dream up something like ReTard…even if I were alternating huffs of glue, hits of blotter acid and beer bongs full of malt liquor.

  256. Clotpoll says:

    John (236)-

    Three dishes at El Bulli cost more than your Sable. Fat chance we’ll see you there, dining on a $47 plate that has nothing on it but four drops of avocado foam.

  257. Clotpoll says:

    I’ve always maintained ReTard is Grim’s alter ego.

    Plus, every time that guy shows up, it’s good for another 15-20 hits per thread…

    Just saying. :)

  258. Clotpoll says:

    Could Grim be suffering from multiple personality disorder?

    Thank goodness Herschel Walker’s admission has removed the stigma from this awful illness:

    And all this time, I thought he just naturally turned into my grandma on third down…

  259. chicagofinance says:

    Bloodbath in Winter 2007 Says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 10:05 pm
    Does anyone else think that jerkoff re101 is Clot or ChiFi just pulling our chains?

    BBIW07: ain’t me

  260. chicagofinance says:

    Home Data
    May Inspire
    False Hope
    April 22, 2008

    The housing news has been so grim for so long that investors seize on any data that is less than disastrous as a sign of a recovery right around the corner.

    That is a risky bet based more on wishful thinking than common sense. With the economy teetering on recession, credit tight and the labor market weakening, odds are that housing will keep getting worse before it starts to get better.

    Tuesday’s National Association of Realtors’ report on existing-home sales in March will test investor thirst for good news. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones forecast that March sales will drop 2% from the previous month. If the report is better than that, expect to hear talk about more lights flashing at the end of the tunnel.

    Economists also were expecting a drop in February. Instead, sales rose to a 5.04 million annual rate, a surprising 2.9% increase from January, the first uptick since July. Investors celebrated. NAR economist Lawrence Yun said the report is a sign housing is “stabilizing.”

    Investors looked past some unsettling data in the February report. While sales were up slightly from January, they were still 24% below a year earlier. More troubling, the median home price hit $195,000, down 8.2% from the previous year, the biggest drop on record.

    Don’t expect to see a meaningful pickup in sales until prices stop falling. Few buyers are going to leap into a new house if they fear its price will drop. Declining prices are a primary reason why economists at Global Insight don’t expect existing-home sales to reach bottom until the third quarter, hitting an annual rate of 4.35 million, a 13% decline from February.

    “The labor market is weakening, credit markets are very tight and home prices are dropping at an accelerating rate,” Global Insight economist Patrick Newport says. “Put those three together, and it doesn’t look like a good time for sales to bottom out.”

  261. chicagofinance says:

    Gold Coast is immune from the downturn….these postings are fictious and lies!

  262. reinvestor101 says:

    Push your bottons? Let me tell you something, no one’s buttons are being pushed unless you happen to be a liberal or some housing terrorist looking to undermine the real estate markets so as to make it easier for Iran to push OPEC into pricing oil in Euros.

    Look, I come here and state my damn opinions like everybody else. I can help it if you and your ilk can’t deal with it.

    As I’ve said before, there’s no ghost typing my posts. I’m as real as a heart attack.

    Bloodbath in Winter 2007 Says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 10:05 pm
    Does anyone else think that jerkoff re101 is Clot or ChiFi just pulling our chains?

    This guy can’t be real, and all of his senseless ramblings seem designed to push the buttons of this blog.

    Grim, any chance you could look into that

  263. RentinginNJ says:

    I found a video of RE101 in his previous job before he began flipping houses.

    You can see where his line of thinking comes from:
    It’s not weak fundamentals coupled with a credit crunch on top of a steaming pile of overpriced, unaffordable housing that’s the problem; it’s the fact that we “say” negative things about housing. If we just all agreed to talk sunshine, everything would be just fine!

  264. reinvestor101 says:

    You know, this is just another variation of saying that I’m not real and I just have to be someone else. You guys will sit here posting 200+ damn posts a day alternating between wringing your hands and wild celebrations over the supposed impending economic disaster. You damn sure don’t need me to spur any additional posts. You liberals are doing fine all by yourselves. Moreover, I don’t have any alter egos or multiple personalities.

    Face it, you guys have the problem and I’m just the poster you love to hate.

    Clotpoll Says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 10:18 pm
    I’ve always maintained ReTard is Grim’s alter ego.

    Plus, every time that guy shows up, it’s good for another 15-20 hits per thread…

    Just saying. :)

  265. Occasional lurker says:

    Did you just say “housing terrorist”?

    Housing terrorist!

    Housing terrorists are not undermining real estate markets. Real estate markets are undermining real estate markets.

    You know, capitalism, free markets, efficient markets, etc.? Ever heard of these things?

  266. reinvestor101 says:

    Here we go from the hate America first crowd. Here’s the translation: We picked on poor Iran so they have every right to send terrorists into the world, develop nuclear weapons and threaten us economically and with their weapons. Yes, they have every right to interfere in Iraq.

    That’s a bunch of crap. We need to take them down in the very near term.

    kettle1 Says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    do you realize that Iran had a democratically elected government until we overthrew it because they would not give our oil companies sweetheart deals????

  267. reinvestor101 says:

    Hey, I didn’t stutter. You heard me.

    I said that some here are housing terrorists who are undermining the real estate markets.

    Deal with it.

    Occasional lurker Says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 11:18 pm
    Did you just say “housing terrorist”?

    Housing terrorist!

    Housing terrorists are not undermining real estate markets. Real estate markets are undermining real estate markets.

    You know, capitalism, free markets, efficient markets, etc.? Ever heard of these things?

  268. reinvestor101 says:

    I wish I could have gotten here earlier. I had a late meeting and there’s so much crap here to respond to.

    Let me tell you something, you ingrate. Your country has given you the freedom to post your unpatriotic drivel on this board. Let me see you take your behind and Kettle’s over to Iran and do that.

    I really wish I could send people like you over to Iran for a month and let you try to pull the crap you pull here in this country.

    I bet you’d have a new found appreciation for your country

    Sybarite Says:
    April 21st, 2008 at 7:40 pm
    Yeah, sure, idiot101.

    Makes perfect sense. Your strong talk will solve all of our problems. Look at all the great things our freedom and democracy has done for our country and the price of oil.

    Just shut your hole already, or go enlist in the Army.

  269. Delicia says:

    I have a google alert to any news about the Ford Motor Co. cruise control Issue, and I received your comment.
    This issue is much bigger than Ford is letting on. They claim no deaths have occurred, well I have a box of ashes in my living room that begs to differ. My beautiful 22 yr. old son was driving his girlfriend home when fire started coming out of the hood of the car, when he tried to pull over, he had no brakes, he jerked the car to the left to try and miss a tree, but it wasn’t enough. the car slide to the right into the tree. The investigators stated, My son was only traveling 25-30 mph, he was in his seatbelt, the airbags deployed. The wreck did not kill him , the posionous gases killed him, the fire killed him. 7 months after this happened Ford recalled the car. Ford knew there was a problem alomost 10 years ago, yet they let my son die over a 20.oo part.

  270. AllentownNJLooker says:

    Can someone look up MLS Listing ID 20718784 and tell me any info you can find about this property, THANKS!

  271. AllentownNJLooker says:

    Hey, I am Really sorry to hear that Delicia, I didn’t read the bottom of this thread before leaving a comment.

  272. Well, I’ve been taking care of a couple of cats lately, for about a couple of weeks. It was great fun, even having a cat jump up and down on me while I was trying to sleep. I found that to get the cats to behave I had to split my affections fairly equally, even though one of the two was much more aggressive in her demands for said affection. I won’t miss trying to read my computer screen or pages of a book while trying to peer around a kitten’s face. But the apartment feels a little emptier.

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