Weekend Open Discussion II

Now Open, Part II!

Prior weekend thread closed due to comment overflow

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205 Responses to Weekend Open Discussion II

  1. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Many Shore rentals are left for the taking

    There was a time real estate agents could count on booking most of their Jersey Shore summer rentals before their clients had even stowed their skis away.

    Now, just a week before the unofficial start of summer, there are plenty of summer homes waiting to be snapped up.

    “You can’t tell what your year’s going to be until it’s over,” said Ron Giordano, president and owner of Atlantic Beach Realty in Cape May County’s Stone Harbor. “It’s a whole different ballgame.”

    Still, with a sagging economy and rising gas prices, agents and others dependent on the tourist season are predicting a robust summer.

    Rick Reynolds, executive direc tor of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, is betting many people will want to stay closer to home to save money.

    “We think people are going to take advantage of staying right in their own backyard,” he said.

    Jeffrey Otteau, president and founder of East Brunswick-based Otteau Valuation Group, a nationally recognized expert on New Jersey’s real estate market, said slower economic times usually re sult in vacations spent closer to home.

    “Many who would have considered vacations in foreign countries or the Caribbean will make the decision to stay close to home and spend a week or a month down at the Shore,” he said. “However, at the same time, some New Jersey residents won’t be taking any vaca tions, so that will have an effect on reducing rentals at the same time.”

  2. grim says:

    Otteau Junior? Who knew?

  3. grim says:

    From the NY Times:

    A Buyer’s Market, a Seller’s Pain

    WITH a laser measuring device clipped to his belt and a reel of yellow tape tucked under one arm, Christopher Otteau roamed around a tidy house on a corner lot in Ridgewood, preparing to deliver the unwelcome news to its occupants.

    They, like many other homeowners whose property Mr. Otteau has appraised lately, were hoping to hear that their special house in their special neighborhood in their special town was immune to the gravitational force that has been pulling down home prices from coast to coast. Mr. Otteau’s oft-repeated response: Sorry, but we are all in this housing slump together.

    These days even a well-kept house like this one, in a desirable town like Ridgewood, is likely to sell for a price that disappoints its owners. The five-bedroom ranch with a swimming pool was listed for more than $1.1 million, but Mr. Otteau, who is usually hired by the lender holding the mortgage, was just beginning to hunt for flaws.

    “In a tough market, nothing is overlooked,” he said as he examined a shallow hole near the front door where a tree had been planted. “In a good market, lots of things are.”

    Clipboard in hand, he assessed everything from the topography of the lot (“slightly sloping”) to the type of street it bordered (a “main feeder”). He gave it extra points for its curved stone walkway, which, he said, “enhances curb appeal.”

    He would have to find out how much other houses in the neighborhood had sold for recently before he could fix a value on the home.

    But one conclusion was inescapable: On the section of the appraisal form that describes the condition of the local housing market, he would check the box for “declining.”

    The sooner sellers let go of their dreams of cashing out at prices they once might have gotten, the sooner the market will stabilize, Mr. Otteau said.

  4. SG says:


    As Goes the Rest of the Nation, So Goes Connecticut

    “It’s terrible,” said Ms. Wilkins, 78, of Branford. Her house has been on the market 1 ½ years, the first six months with an agent. Now she’s trying to sell what she considers her biggest retirement account on her own so she can move to North Carolina to live near her family.

    “There is money out there — but people are very afraid in this present economy,” Ms. Wilkins said. “They don’t want to be tied to a big mortgage.”

    Statewide, first-quarter sales were down more than 27 percent from the same period last year and median prices were down nearly 6 percent.

    “The mantra used to be location, location, location,” said Kenneth DelVecchio, president of the Connecticut Association of Realtors and a broker at RE/MAX Heritage in Westport. “The mantra now is price, condition and location, and the houses that are priced right are selling.”

  5. Pat says:

    “The stark truth about managing our money these days is that we are mostly on our own…

    So as I take on the Your Money column (and later this year, a companion personal finance site at nytimes.com), I want to devote some space to treating the subject in much the same way that this newspaper’s critics treat new films or restaurants. Important new offerings — whether mutual funds or a shopping search engine — will merit a review. And one by one, we will figure out what is worth using and what is best to ignore.”
    Rutro. Another indexer. Now we have the Zweig AND Lieber. At least there’s something to chi-t chat about over the next year as nobody buys houses….again.

  6. SG says:

    Get used to weak real estate market

    DALLAS — If it was gloom you wanted, there were second and third helpings to be had last week when the National Association of Real Estate Editors met in Dallas.

    Speaker after speaker, expert after expert, predicted: Wait till next year, or longer. It ain’t over.

    “We’re 18 to 24 months away from a real recovery” in the housing market, said Debbie Dunn, executive vice president at CTX Mortgage, the lending arm of Centex Homes.

    “There’s a confidence crisis,” Dunn said, with “declining home values . . . at the core.” Buyers are still sitting this one out, she said, until they’re sure the home they buy this month won’t be worth less next month.

    Charles McMillan, the new president-elect of the National Association of Realtors, complained that home buyer relief measures enacted by Congress a few months ago are taking too long to trickle down to consumers.

    “There’s no national market,” McMillan said, although his 1.2-million-member association routinely reports national sales figures. “All real estate is local. It’s our job to restore confidence in the market.”

    A questioner in the audience asked about an NAR promotional campaign that started a few years ago, just as the market was going into free fall — “There’s never been a better time to buy a home.” If someone had taken that advice and bought a home, the questioner said, in some markets that house is worth less today. Why should people listen to NAR?

    McMillan dodged that bullet. “Realtors can’t guarantee a property will ever increase in value,” he said, and started talking about mortgage fraud.

    Typically 25 percent of tenants move out each year to buy a home. During the go-go times a few years ago, that jumped to 28 to 32 percent. Now only 16 percent are leaving to buy homes, she said.

  7. SG says:

    What do “flat” real estate numbers really mean?

    rea home prices declined only 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2008 from the same period a year ago, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday. The median price for an existing single-family home in Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex and Somerset counties was $361,200, down $2,300 from a year ago.

    Some Realtors are hailing that as proof of a “stable” market, but sellers waiting to get their price don’t see it that way. Ten to 20 percent of the market now is estimated to be “short sales,” where homes are sold for less than the mortgage balance and the lender writes off the difference.

  8. pretorious says:


    I think the comparison of NAR and S&P/C-S numbers at the end of yesterday’s thread.uses the NAR numbers incorrectly.

    The NAR median sales price numbers are seasonal, but they aren’t seasonally adjusted. S&P/C-S and OFHEO numbers are seasonally adjusted. The NAR’s 1q and 4q numbers tend be lower than the 2q and 3q numbers.

    So the numbers that are relevant to the 1q result are previous 1q numbers, not previous full-year numbers.

    The 2q08 and 3q08 numbers for NJ metros will probably be higher than the 1q08 and 2006 numbers. It will reflect seasonality, not a genuine rebound in home prices.

  9. pretorius says:

    WTF! Why does chifi’s name keep popping up in my posts?

    I wrote post #8.

  10. SG says:

    From earlier link I posted,

    joe201 wrote:

    In all of the discussions I’ve seen and heard about home pricing, I have not seen any mention of the costs of building. I’m a contractor in Neptune, and I know that the average building cost of an average house in our area ( with a reasonable profit for the contractor) hovers in the $ 140.00 per square foot range. With the ‘average’ ranch or colonial at approx. 2,400 sq. ft., plus garage, that’s $336,000.00. Add the land cost, say a quarter-acre (now minimum building lot size in most towns for new construction without a zoning variance) at somewhere around $ 250,000.00 in a good neighborhood, and you’re at close to $ 600,000.00 before you put a key in the door.

  11. njrebear says:

    Is it because you also post under his name?

  12. grim says:


    You are correct, I was under the impression that the NAR numbers were adjusted, they are not, thus my comparison isn’t valid. Thanks for making the point.

  13. gary says:

    The sooner sellers let go of their dreams of cashing out at prices they once might have gotten, the sooner the market will stabilize, Mr. Otteau said.

    In that case, it’s going to take a long time for the market to stabilize.

  14. gary says:

    A questioner in the audience asked about an NAR promotional campaign that started a few years ago, just as the market was going into free fall — “There’s never been a better time to buy a home.” If someone had taken that advice and bought a home, the questioner said, in some markets that house is worth less today. Why should people listen to NAR?

    McMillan dodged that bullet. “Realtors can’t guarantee a property will ever increase in value,” he said, and started talking about mortgage fraud.

    Hey, Mr. McMillian, you s*ck.

  15. SG says:

    WSJ Article,

    Bernanke’s Bubble Laboratory

    Princeton Protégés of Fed Chief
    Study the Economics of Manias

    The study of bubbles was left to economic historians sifting through musty records of 17th-century Dutch tulip-bulb prices and the like.

    The dot-com boom began to change that. “You were seeing live, in action, the unfolding of lots of examples of valuations disconnecting from fundamentals,” says Princeton economist Harrison Hong. Now, the study of financial bubbles is hot.

    In housing and the credit markets, the innovation was slicing and dicing loans in novel ways. As investors bought the resulting mortgage securities, they provided abundant capital for home buyers; buoyed by this and falling interest rates, house prices surged.

    Betting against house prices is hard; only a few sophisticated investors found roundabout ways to do it, in derivatives markets. Most skeptics about the housing boom just sat it out; the optimists were unchecked.

    At some point in a bubble, optimists’ enthusiasm runs its course. Prices turn down. There’s an expectation that at this point, investors who were skeptical may see prices as more reasonable and start buying. If they don’t, that’s a signal that prices had gotten way too high — and then they tumble.

  16. SG says:


    Housing Mandates Will Kill Economy and Small Towns

    Hackensack – The New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing’s Round 3 regulations requiring municipalities to build more so-called affordable housing, must be opposed to protect the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of Bergen County residents, say Republican freeholder candidates.

  17. grim says:


    How about year over year comparisons with the most current datapoint?

    NAR Median Pricing

    New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA
    2007.q1 – $463,700
    2008.q1 – $445,400 (current)
    Down 3.9%

    S&P Case Shiller NY Metro HPI

    2007.Feb – 212.52
    2008.Feb – 198.46 (current)
    Down 6.6%

  18. pretorius says:


    Thanks for posting the numbers. It makes sense that they move together. That’s what my chart comparing OFHEO, NAR, and S&P/C-S price changes showed. These indices don’t produce identical results, but they’re close enough so that none should be dismissed.


  19. grim says:

    Still trying to get my hands on the underlying EHS survey data, as well as historic MSA data.

  20. commercial real estate consultant says:


    Forget Construction Costs…The highest and best use of the land is probably to hold it for future development, not to build on it. You may need to wait until it becomes financialy feasible…maybe as long as a decade in NJ.

    You dont build something that is not financially feasible. Anyone builder constructing a home today is stairing market risk right in the eye.

    Unfortunatly holding land can become expensive in NJ due to the carrying costs.

  21. BC Bob says:

    “Looking at it that way, the gov. could be cheating multitudes of people out of one of life’s most important lessons..HOW TO DEAL WITH LOSS!”


    You can’t win until you experience what it is like to lose.

  22. Clotpoll says:

    Pat (5)-

    When the NY Times advises a particular course of action, I’ll do the exact opposite.

  23. gary says:

    Here you go, kids. Look at the banner scrolling across the page referencing the event sale. Sure. Hey, can I still get this at the sale price even though I missed the “sales event”? Pretty please, Mr. home seller? LOL!!


  24. BC Bob says:


    Here’s a property for you, under 200k in BC.


  25. commercial real estate consultant says:


    Do you have a large parcel of land, can u get it assessed as farmland. It is much cheaper to carry it in terms of real estate taxes.

  26. Clotpoll says:

    SG (6)-

    “It’s our job to restore confidence in the market.”

    Funny, but I always believed that an honest, free market could find its own equilibrium and attract its own confident buyers and sellers.

    Silly me. Why allow that to happen, when you can rush into the breach and suck people in with hucksterism and manipulated statistics?

  27. Can someone tell me if MLS#2514339 is under contract?

    I was outbid on it two weeks ago. Just wondering why it’s still in the MLS.


  28. Clotpoll says:

    BC (28)-

    I wonder if Russian IBs have kidnap and hostage extraction departments.

  29. BC Bob says:

    Clot [29],

    Not sure. However, I do know they have vaults and they are aggressively filling them up.

  30. BC Bob says:

    Not too encouraging on this side of the pond;

    “Leveraged buyout firms stepped up the pace of takeovers in the past five years, aiming to cut costs at businesses ranging from newsprint makers to crane purveyors and then sell them to the public. Now they’re turning to special-purpose acquisition companies as demand for IPOs sinks to a three-year low and tight credit markets make it harder to borrow money to finance LBOs.”

    “We’re definitely seeing private-equity firms talk to SPACs as possible exits for their portfolio companies,” said Thomas Ivey, a partner in the Palo Alto, California, office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. “The M&A market for traditional private-equity purchasers is closed. The other piece is that the IPO market is closed.”


  31. rhymingrealtor says:


    As of two weeks ago 19% of single family homes for sale in my town- keep in mind all folks in trouble may not be for sale- And 25% of Multi-familes in my town are in some form of short sale or are foreclosed.


  32. rhymingrealtor says:

    That’s 25% of Multi-familie -that are for sale-


  33. rhymingrealtor says:


    That is showing under contract now.


  34. cooper says:

    #25 commercial-

    What is the min size req. for it to be considered farm land? Don’t you have to grow/sell a certain amt of crops annually?

    #14 Gary-

    “Realtors can’t guarantee a property will ever increase in value,”
    They forgot to tell us that after that statement he winked and laughed…
    Mr. McMillan i have a question, when did you become such an A-Hole or were you always that way?

  35. Cindy says:

    (21) BC

    “You can’t win until you experience what it is like to lose.” absolutely…

    Where’s the life lesson in win-even-if-you-messed-up-and-don’t-deserve-to, here, let me hand this to you, don’t suffer,…please don’t cry… let ME help you out of this mess you created for yourself….

    Maybe the booms and busts come along to harden a population and enable them to handle adversity – we may very well be shooting ourselves in the foot by bailing out a generation that was going to benefit mightily from that “hardening.” How is America going to be known for its resilience if we have created a bunch of mamby pambies…..

    The depression era folks sure ended up knowing how to save a penny…

    Man, I feel so opinionated today!

  36. Pat says:

    Okay, Cindy. I try to look on the bright side of the bailout.

    Maybe the lesson right now, this decade, would not be enough of a spanking, even if 25% of mortgages fail, as well as half of the investment banking sector. We are simply too slimy of a culture.

    Maybe the divine plan is a true and harsh spanking for our kids because of our behavior.

    They will suffer and get angry and blame and learn. And maybe make the decisions that we can’t make, even absent a bailout.

    Terrible way to look at the bright side, isn’t it?

  37. Cindy says:

    (37) Pat – True true…
    “They will suffer and get angry and blame and learn.”

    Good friend’s 28 year old son just bought 2 acres – repo 3 bdr. -plans to have a garden!

  38. gary says:

    BC Bob,

    That’s prestigous Garfield. Remember, it’s in Bergen County.

  39. CAIBC says:

    Gary 23 et all,

    realistically, what does everyone think that ranch in wayne (home event) should fetch? forgetting that the last few years were unreasonable prices and the bubble and all that?

    my opinion (not knowing exact location) is around 400K to 450K? lower? just want to know what everyone is thinking…


  40. Shore Guy says:

    “Clotpoll Says:
    May 16th, 2008 at 11:37 pm
    CIndy (407)-

    Nothing is more demeaning to a human being than taking away his right to fail.”


    Any parent (or anyone who has supervised junior employees) can attest to the importance of allowing people to fail and to learn from those mistakes. When one fails to suffer from errors, one never learns. So much more knowledge is gained in a failing effort than in a successful one.

  41. grim says:

    A place that my wife and I were interested received a lis pendens this past week.

    A few days ago, they dropped the price by an by an additional $60k, now listed as a short sale, they are probably $150k underwater.

    Sitting on a 4% trendline from the late ’90s. I thought it was priced well prior to the cut, but it is the kind of place that will only appeal to a very, very small minority (ultra-Cali/NW contemp).

    Man, I’m tempted. But I don’t want to deal with a short that won’t close.

    Wife won’t jump, even though the current ask is within $25k of her “bloody street price”. She says she’ll wait until the bank takes it, and deal directly with them.

    She’s a tough one.

  42. 3b says:

    #14 gary: Of Course. I get flyers all the time, that say not only is it a great time to buy, but it is the BEST time to buy.

    And there are people buying now, who will be under water before they move in.

    It amazes me that through all the inventory that is sitting out there, there are still transactions that raise the qustion: they paid that, with all the better homes offered out there at lower asking prices?

    So yes there are people who will be overpaying right until the end if you will.

    The only problem with that is it gives other sellers out there hope that if they just hang on, they can get a fantasty price too, and the long slow grind down continues.

  43. grim says:

    Ok, this is insane.

    A second house we were interested in also received a Lis Pendens this week.

  44. grim says:

    No bids from me, I’ll take these from the bank.

  45. 3b says:

    #24 BC Bob: It is described as a good starter home. Gee, I thought it was a good starter shed.

  46. grim says:

    Both properties Cash Out/HEL’ed themselves into foreclosure.

  47. lostinny says:

    It’s not insanity- not for you anyway. They were insane in paying those prices. You and your wife were smart.
    I wish I could say the same here. There is no blood in the streets. I think someone might have a scratch on their arm but that’s about it.

  48. 3b says:

    #48 Its coming. It gets louder everyday.

  49. alia says:

    49: sometimes i feel like i’m going by faith, rather than data. the data around here is people are still paying over 600k for 2.5 bdrm row houses with no backyard. gr.

  50. 3b says:

    #50 alai: At seom poin the faith will be backed up by the data.

  51. Shore Guy says:

    # 20

    “You dont build something that is not financially feasible. Anyone builder constructing a home today is stairing market risk right in the eye.

    Unfortunatly holding land can become expensive in NJ due to the carrying costs.”

    Again, it is time to let the market come back to sanity. If builders do not build on lots and they sell off the lots at a discount to avoid the carrying costs there will be downward pressure on building lot prices. Building lots only achieved the current price levels because there was a sucker willing to buy the finished house later on. Now that the suckers are gone, or unable to get financing, the pressure on housing imputs (e.g., land, lumber, etc.) will reduce thus lowering the price of those inputs. The same is true of the labor inputs. When demand for building trades was high, wages could rise because contractors would pay them; to assume that yesterday’s wage will be tomorrow’s wage, ignores the fundamental economic forces at play.

  52. Shore Guy says:

    # 42 She sounds like a smart woman. Just be prepared, if her “bloody street price” were determined some time ago, she may have a new price target in mind.

  53. R Patrick says:

    BC –

    Aww that’s really cute, thats MY SFH idea basically in a nutshell when I move upstate one more land.

  54. Shore Guy says:


    Right now, the only blood in the streets is from peoples’ noses from the prices going too high. The next blood will be from buyers’ noses as sellers punch them for making insulting offers. The time to buy will be when the blood is from sellers performing sepuku (hari kari to the gaijin amongst us) when they realize how far under water they are and that they do have to accept those “insulting” offers, and less.

  55. Joeycasz says:

    Morning all. We’ve been pre-approved today and i have a quick question.

    We have excellent credit, a down payment and we’re first time buyers. We were approved at 6.125% and were told that we won’t be able to get that lower because “all first time buyers are being approved at this rate”. I’m sure we can buy points but i really thought because of where we stand with everything i thought 5.75% would have been easy. Does this sound right?

  56. grim says:


    How many lenders have you talked to?

  57. Shore Guy says:

    I would bee leery about paying points to lower the interest rate without doing an analysis of the two loan options. In part, it will depend on the cost of the points. It may make mors sense to take the higher interest rate and then, with your first payment, make an extra principal payment equal to what you would have paid in points to get the lower rate. Without more data, I don’t know that anyone can offer good advice as to which is best.

  58. Joeycasz says:

    So far just the one.

  59. Joeycasz says:

    Actually we did call the NEA(through my wife) as they do mortgages and gave them info over the phone and they said 6.125% as well. Sorry that i forgot that.

  60. Shore Guy says:

    You would probably not walk into a single car dealer and buy a car without looking at other dealers to see if you can get a better deal. Look around a bit.

  61. Shore Guy says:

    It could be a good use of a Saturday to phone around and see what is available. And, to even say, I have an offer of zero points and 6%, can you do better.

  62. Joeycasz says:

    You would probably not walk into a single car dealer and buy a car without looking at other dealers to see if you can get a better deal. Look around a bit.

    That’s absolutely correct. If it is in fact true that first time buyer’s can ONLY get 6.125% then there is no need to go anywhere else as we’ve been approved for amount we wanted. Need to search.

  63. BC Bob says:

    JC [64];

    Take a look at HSH;


  64. Joeycasz says:

    We have friends of a friend who are searching now as well. They’re also first time buyer’s. I think i’ll ask them what % they got and start calling around.

  65. SG says:

    pretorius: What are you trying to prove from all those comparisons? It seems there are 3 main believers, one Bulls, one Bears, one saying RE prices will remain flat for many year.

    In any case, thorough analysis would state a position and prove it using data. You have not stated your conclusion, just pointed variations in data points.

  66. Shore Guy says:

    Some breaking news that could have an affect on control of the Senate, and thus, on housing bail-out bills:


    Kennedy Falls Ill; Airlifted To Boston Hospital
    BOSTON (CBS) ― U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy was airlifted to a Boston hospital Saturday morning after falling ill at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport, Mass., the Cape Cod Times reported.

    He was first rushed to Cape Cod Hospital, and after being in the emergency room for two hours he was transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital, according to the Times.

    It’s unknown what the 76-year-old senator’s medical condition is.

    Kennedy was first elected in 1962 to finish the final two years of the Senate term of his brother, Senator John F. Kennedy.

    Kennedy, who is the second most senior member of the Senate, has since been re-elected to seven full terms, representing Massachusetts for 43 years.

  67. Shore Guy says:


    Good luck. With fewer qualified buyers out there, it is worth a shot working to find a lower rate.

    If you can’t find it, do a careful analysis of the total costs of both a loan with points and one without. If you do not know how, there are people who frequent (or run) the board who can walk you through it.

  68. Joeycasz says:

    It’s $100 difference a month from 5.750 to 6.125 but i know me, if i don’t find out it will kill me.

  69. grim says:

    Do not post links to lenders or lead aggregators.

    I’ll charge you an advertising fee if you do.

  70. Joeycasz says:

    Thanks everyone for all your input, greatly appreciated.

  71. Sean says:

    All that’s needed to force house prices down in New Jersey is an event that serves as the psychological catalyst.

    Even the professionally optimistic housing economists employed by the real-estate industry are now admitting that the good times are over, and doom and gloom is nearly everywhere in the Media.

    Sellers who are loss adverse will have no choice but to lower prices. Soon EVEN time will no longer be on their side.

  72. Shore Guy says:

    # 74

    Not bid, nor plane, nor even frog. It is just an ugly dog.

  73. Shore Guy says:

    # 70, and how much do you need to pay to save this $100 per month?

  74. sas says:

    I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.

    -Thomas Jefferson, Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin (1802)
    3rd president of US (1743 – 1826)

  75. jamil says:

    shore guy 68: sad news, but it has nothing to do with the control of senate or bailout.

  76. spam spam bacon spam says:


    It’s a barn, silly!

    Those arched holes? The horsies go in there.
    And where the window A/C unit is? That’s where they store the milk from the cows. “REFRIGERATION STORAGE”.

  77. Shore Guy says:

    # 78 It does indeed. The Dems cannot lose a seat because it makes nearly every vote 50/50. This gives Cheney the tiebreaking vote and the Republicans control of the body. Kennedy is also a respected voice amongst the lefties and can easily get press when he sets forth his views. If he is silenced, due to illness or death, it takes away one of the more effective voices for intervention.

    Thus, Jamil, it has everything to do with both the bailout and control of the senate.

  78. spam spam bacon spam says:


    “Interior features: […] Window air conditioner”…


    What a …ummm…selling point.

  79. Shore Guy says:

    81 Floor, walls, indoor plumbing…

  80. Shore Guy says:

    # 81 I hear it also “Has a very nice personality.”

  81. Joeycasz says:


    # 70, and how much do you need to pay to save this $100 per month?

    I haven’t looked into buying points yet but for a measly $100 i will go out on limb and say it’s not going to be worth it.

  82. jamil says:

    shore guy: gop has 49 seats and in most cases dems get at least some gop votes. That dem idaho senator was hospitalized for months last year and it did not change anything.

  83. Shore Guy says:


    I appreciate your ernestness, but, inasmuch as my work frequently involves work on The Hill, I will defer to my own judgement on this, especially since you forget about Lieberman, who is Republican in all but name.

  84. Joeycasz says:

    Just somw simple searching shows me that i’d have to buy approx 3 points and would cost us around $10,000. Amortization difference between to two interest rates is about $40,000. It’s too much taken away from the downpayment for it even being an option.

  85. pretorius says:


    I’ve stated several times that I expect the last boom in NJ home prices to end like the one before it – in a long period of stagnant prices. In other words, the line on a NJ home price chart will move sideways for several years. Annual home price changes will -5% to +5%.

    When I’ve made similar comments before, some readers went hyperactive, so I was happy to see grim challenge people on 12/31/07 to make 2008 forecasts. Importantly, grim asked that these forecasts be linked to specific benchmarks, a request that was widely ignored as most people prefer to make a forecast then search for a fitting benchmark afterwards.

    I chose the 2 most appropriate, measurable benchmarks and made point estimates that are consistent with the conclusion I explained above.

    This is the forecast:

    “pretorius Says:
    January 8th, 2008 at 2:57 pm
    Here is my 2008 forecast for New Jersey home prices. The numbers are 4th quarter 2008 numbers for New Jersey.

    OFHEO – 575
    NAR median price of existing single family homes – $355,000″

  86. jamil says:

    gop has more dem leaning senators than other way arnund, ie in amnesty, iraq, bailout. Lieberman is ultraliberal exept in iraq. If gop wants to stop something, eg bailout, all it need is bush veto, or 40 senators and kennedy is certainly not in that group. As said, last year we had this kind of situation, with zero effect.

  87. afe says:

    Grim – Many thanks! afe

  88. Shore Guy says:

    ok bi, i disagree with yo, but in the final analysis, it doesent matter.

  89. Shore Guy says:

    I meant jamil, not bi

  90. 3b says:

    #74 gary: Damn Ugly??

  91. Arr Elle says:

    #74 Gary

    A shanty town?? At least for the 574k price tag you have central air.

  92. 3b says:

    #88 pret:I’ve stated several times that I expect the last boom in NJ home prices to end like the one before it – in a long period of stagnant prices.

    But that is how how it ende. You left one part out. Prices dropped dramatically and stayed flat/stagnamt for years. I and many others lived through it. I do nto care what your data from that period says.

    Condos/coops at 50 to 60% off peak prices, and houses 30% off peak prices.

    Those that could take the hit, took it, others who could not or would not like my self, stayed. In may case I paid off the mtg over 10 years.

    For instance my first house, peak price purchase 185K, they were selling after the decline in the 140’s, and in many cases, bigger nicer houses.

    So there is your 30% off peak prices. And 10 years later, they were selling at jsut around what they were at the peak.

    That is my data, I lived it.

  93. Tom says:

    Sale but of wages …40% off peak wages!!!


  94. jafo says:

    There is a lot of debate about current and historic declines, in terms of median sale price from various sources. However, don’t we really need to look at median price of the “median house” – in order to account for fluctuations in the mix, especially as exotic financing may actually force more large/expensive home owners to sell?

  95. Frank says:

    ‘Kennedy Falls Ill; Airlifted To Boston Hospital’
    He is drinking again.

  96. Frank says:

    Are these rents kind of high for Secaucus?

    One-bedroom units with 752 to 793 square feet will rent for $1,800 to $1,900 a month, said Jeremy Halpern, who heads Fraternity Meadows, a subsidiary of the Atlantic Realty Development Corporation, which is led by his father, Jack. Two-bedroom units with 1,067 to 1,222 square feet will go for $2,150 to $2,250, and three-bedrooms with 1,427 to 1,527 square feet are $2,450 to $2,550.


  97. Shore Guy says:

    Some things one can’t make up. So, if any of you have a spouse, who is filling up the house with their collections, here is evidence it could be worse:


  98. NNJ says:

    The link I had posted I think is a non-for-profit site that links local NJ banks to local NJ buyers. Anyway, sorry if it is against your rules.

  99. jamil says:

    frank: “He is drinking again.”

    hope he does not kill again, use his Washington connections and get away with murder. Someday, the family of Mary Jo Kopechne gets justice.

  100. NPG says:

    Can anyone provide me with experienced real estate agent/broker in Middlesex & Monmouth area who deals in Short-Sale and foreclosures.
    My motivation to buy right now is to find a deal on both house price and mortgage rates.

    Thanks in advance

  101. jafo says:

    I also see an on-going debate on “wall st” compensation and lay-offs.

    I think we need to be more precise on what is being discussed by “wall st” jobs.

    Do you mean all financial services jobs tri-state area, or just capital market jobs?

    Do you mean “front-office” (brokers/traders/bankers) or all jobs (ops, tech, legal, marketing, hr)?

    Do you mean bulge bracket or any firm?

    The number of jobs and comp vary dramatically based on these questions.

    You also have to conside the effect of the run up in bonuses and profits over last 5 years on current median/mean comp for a job, vs expectation going forward.

    There is the very real possibility of people keeping their job, but seeing dramatic reduction income.

    This happened after the dot.com bubble burst. Bulge bracket all in comp for top front office performers went from 100k+ analyst level, 400k+ associate, and 500k+ vp, to 60-80k analyst, 150-200k associate, and 200-300k vp. The run in bonuses was even higher this time around.

    This was along with large layoffs. At VP level and above a good chunk (20-50 percent) of comp is in stock that vests over several years. There is also much more variation in comp at vp level and above – by performance and group. In sales/trading that variation starts at even senior associate level.

    These positions are also a relatively small portion of the total jobs at even bulge bracket firms – 10-20 percent. Smaller firms will have higher tooth to tail ratios, but usually less comp (smaller deals, less capital).

  102. jafo says:

    A bit more on wall st jobs…

    For any of this to be relevant, these people need to be buyers, sellers/holders, or prospective buyer of NJ real estate.

    There are a few wall st enclaves in Suburban NJ. However, NYC, CT, Weschester remain destination of choice the for bulge bracket types and highest earners. These folks don’t even want to come to JC/Hoboken for work. Goldman wound up putting “back-office” folks in their new JC tower, becauses traders resisted the move.

    No one below VP level in front office at even these firms would be looking to buy a suburban home anywhere. They are single and work 70-100 hour weeks.

    Now there are plenty of people who are employed by these firms that live in NJ. They are usually back-office or middle-office folks. They do very well, but these are not 500K a year average comp jobs. A better benchmark would be 100-200k all in. Base salary is lock step at each level. So back office VP would make the same 120-150k in base salary as front office guy. However, bonus would be more like 20-75 percent of base – not 100-400%. It also take a lot longer to get to that level in the back office – figure 12-15 years experience. There are also proportionally fewer people at a given level. A level down, associate pay is 85-100k base, with same 20-75 percent bonus.

    Likewise there are also plenty of retail brokers working in the wealth management groups of big banks or small firms in NJ. However, their median comp is more like 100k – with 80 percent of folks well under 200k or even 150k. The same goes for raders at small firms – with 2 standard deviation pay being more like 250k.

    The bottom line is you need to look at income data for specific community, plus consider overflow dynamics.

    This is where a bigger portion of the “wall st” world becomes relevant.

    Big hitters push out smaller fish from the city and destinations of choice in good times. Who in turn, push out folks not in finance, technology, or law.

    And all of this only relly applies to maybe top 10-15 percent of market.

    The top 20 percent of HOUSEHOLDs in nj make 100K+. 500K+ all in is top 1 percent.

  103. 1987 Condo Buyer says:

    #95, lived it as well..paid $132,000 in 1987, sold after renting it at loss for 6 years and 12 years of mortgage payments) in 1999 for $92,000…ouch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (Guess I may have gotten a decent deal on our house in 1993)

  104. BC Bob says:

    “I stated several times that I expect the last boom in NJ home prices to end like the one before it – in a long period of stagnant prices.”

    Pret [88],

    You forgot one item. First there was a major bust. Co-Ops in prime uptown NY locations, declined 20-40%, from 1988 peak to 1993 trough. Not until approx 1998 did nominal prices return to 1988 levels.

    During this time, early 1990’s, approx 2,000 lending institutions went under. The RTC was created and cost taxpayers close to $200 billion.[Stagnant?] This bailout probably laid the foundation of moral hazard and helped encourage,[like they needed assistance] today’s lenders to take excessive risks.

    The present day bailout, when the dust clears, will make the S&L crisis look like a walk in the park.

  105. RelievedinFlorida says:

    I know I live in Florida but I really enjoy reading through the posts on this blog…you guys are spot on! I’m very impressed with a lot of the insight I see on here. With soaring insurance costs down here on top of the astronomical millage rates on our property taxes is it ever going to make sense to buy? I just lost about 100,000 dollars on a house that I HAD to dump. I bought it in early ’05 and after a divorce I couldn’t sit on the ghastly mortgage payment any longer. Now I’m in the hunt for a home I can make some money on. I found a very cool little house in a great location in downtown St Petersburg. The asking price is 199,000. The only problem is that taxes on the house will be around 4,000 a year and the insurance runs 3,000. So that balloons my payment to nearly 1,700 a month. For a 1,000 square foot house that’a a shame. I’m renting now for 600/month…it just doesn’t seem to make sense to buy a home any more????

  106. Cindy says:

    (95) 3b – Your personal experience – I think I am living it now…..

    bought $115,000. – 1999
    comps selling at peak $325,000. – 2006

    could sell on the market today @ $225,000
    but could still go lower …..

    Time I expect it will take before I see $325,000 again?…..

    10 years maybe – that would be about 4% growth a year…a return to what it was before the accelerated pace of 2000-2006.

  107. sas says:


  108. njrebear says:

    What’s the best place to find rentals in Somerset?

  109. jamil says:

    sas: http://angryrenter.com/

    over 50,000 signatures so far (but I don’t think congress will listen).

  110. ADA says:

    In Westchester, Many Seem Able to Wait Out the Storm


    Published: May 18, 2008
    THE real estate troubles that have been plaguing the rest of the nation are now hitting hard in Westchester, with markedly fewer sales, according to a report released last month by the Westchester-Putnam Multiple Listing Service.

    In Westchester, there was a 31 percent drop in the number of sales during the first quarter of this year, to 1,340 from 1,927 during the same period last year. That is the largest year-over-year decrease since the listing service began keeping records in 1980.

    Still, the median price of a single-family house in Westchester remained fairly steady — down 2 percent, to $622,500, for the first quarter of this year, compared with $635,000 a year ago. The comparisons with the first quarter of last year were in contrast with the national trend. In the first quarter of this year, the median price of existing single-family homes nationwide was down 7.7 percent from the first quarter of 2007, the National Association of Realtors reported.

    The relative stability of prices in Westchester may be linked to a decrease in inventory, which, at 5,903 houses on March 31, was 14 percent below 2007’s first-quarter level, the Multiple Listing Service said.

  111. jamil says:

    #114: A colleague of mine bought in Westchester in 2004 for 790k. In 2006, he moved out of the country and has been trying to sell ever since. First, olp 850k, then 840, then 830, then 799. No luck. It is being rented out.
    Similar houses in the area are listed for 650k (similar or better school district).

  112. Frank says:

    AngryRenter.com is a Republican propaganda, don’t get sucked into it.

    “Angry they may be, but the people behind AngryRenter.com are certainly not renters. Though it purports to be a spontaneous uprising, AngryRenter.com is actually a product of an inside-the-Beltway conservative advocacy organization led by Dick Armey, the former House majority leader, and publishing magnate Steve Forbes, a fellow Republican. It’s a fake grass-roots effort — what politicos call an AstroTurf campaign — that provides a window into the sleight-of-hand ways of Washington.”


  113. jamil says:

    Frank: do you have a life? You been writing this nonsense in every thread (at least 10 posts on the same topic). Move.org (voter fraud group ACORN and pretty much every far-left organization) is funded by sick billionaire George Soros who has an agenda. Most grassroots organizations are usually funded by somebody, as they need money. Angryrenter site has a comment about that article.

    The idea is great: Stop the bailout. If you believe otherwise (support bailout) please free not to sign. Just leave us alone with you nonsense. We have heard you.

  114. Frank says:

    The only reason prices have not dropped in NY and NJ as hard as in CA, NV, AZ is because of the foreclosure laws. There are thousands of foreclosures stuck in the court system where in the West they already have been dumped on the market by now bankrupt mortgage companies.

  115. Frank says:

    Jamil: Do you have a life? It looks like WSJ articles posted on this site give you a headache. Are you Karl Rove’s best friend?

    The idea may be great, but government bailout is coming weather you like it or not. Just admit it.

  116. jamil says:

    I will do everything in my power to stop the bailout. Maybe angryrenter helps, or at least minimizes the bailout. It helps to counter the pro-bailout image in drive-by media.

    Apparently, you are in love with the bailout. I’m not.

    Anyway, you don’t like republicans. We have heard the message.

  117. lisoosh says:

    The pair of you are tedious.

  118. 3b says:

    #106 1987in 1999 for $92,000…ouch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I hear you. Just think how little. you would have gotten had you sold it before 99.

  119. Frank says:

    You got it all wrong. I am more conservative than Republican’s, I support the Libertarian movement, I want the government out of my life for good. Also I hate to see my money wasted on people that can’t control their finances, but I also see the big picture, without a bailout Fannie, Freddie and hundreds of banks will be gone, resulting in millions of lost jobs. Even more depressing will be the tent city in Hoboken.
    What really bothers me when someone like
    Dick Armey or Steve Forbes pursues their hidden agenda. So don’t take this the hard way, it’s just free speech.

  120. John says:

    That name Jamil is pretty cool – does it stand for “Just Ate My Italian Loafers” or something else cool like that.

  121. Firestormik says:

    Just google it
    Jamil = “beautiful” in Arabic.

  122. Frank says:

    Is Jamil’s real identity Mohammed Omar? Is he trying to block the bailout to save Taliban’s stake in residual subprime bonds?

  123. Frank says:

    More reasons why government bailout is certain. From Robert J. Shiller is professor of economics and finance at Yale and chief economist of MacroMarkets LLC.

    “The pain of this reverse movement could leave a psychological scar that will be with all of us for the rest of our lives.”


  124. Sassy says:

    #114 and 115
    My mom sold her Westchester apt, on the market a couple of weeks and only a handful of lookers, but luckily for her the right buyer walked in. Within a few thousand of asking too. She had a great layout, everything recently renovated, and beautifully decorated. Def showed way better than the competition, which were asking same price, not renovated and been on the market for months.

    I do have to say I was so worried about her not selling, since she’s forced to sell due to change in circumstances. The last time the folks tried to sell in Westchester (excellent schools, extremely prestigious town) it took 4 years and lost 50% value – during the last big down turn. Nice to see it work out for her this time, when she needed it the most.

  125. Everything's Hobroken says:

    re 108

    I used to winter in Tampa/St.Pete. The area just south of the downtown was very ‘interesting’ then. Has it changed?

  126. rhymingrealtor says:

    I am taking a copy of “Buyer’s market Seller’s pain” to a listing appt tommorow evening. Hope it works !


  127. CAIBC says:

    i am not even going to open houses anymore….just looking at the listings to see when the prices start to become affordable…no sense in wasting gas to drive around to sellers that havent come to realization yet….

  128. Pat says:

    Robert Shiller. Calling Robert Shiller.

    You make very heart-wrenching and broad paternalistic assumptions about the “worth” placed by Joe on trauma avoidance.

    I’m not saying you’re not correct – but maybe not for the right reasons.

    Joe’s in it for himself. Always. I know – I’ve been there; done that. I wanted to be you, but couldn’t afford it. So, I’m Joe.

    And I’m telling you, you’re putting money in the wrong basket.

  129. Pat says:

    Anyways, I look good with scars.

  130. Everything's Hobroken says:

    Question for realestate agents here. It appears that the standard fee for rentals through an agent is 1 months rent. Doesn’t this severely hamper that part of the business?

    It seems likely to me that a fee this large would meet very high customer resistance and makes it much less likely that owners who are having difficulty selling will be able to rent successfully.

  131. stu says:

    So I spent the entire day working in and around my house. Besides planting the garden, I primed my new bathroom, mowed the lawn, fertilized, painted a wall of my bedroom and spackeled a huge hole in a soffet in my kitchen. Oh the joys of home ownership! I went light on the garden this year. 12 tomatoes, 3 cucumbers, 6 eggplant, 3 squash. Peas go in next week. That oil based primer is worse than cutting onions. My shirt became my tissue, it was so rough.

    Nice to see the Mets beat the Chokies for a change.

    My 12 year old Civic was parked in the street in front of my home. As I was mowing my lawn, a guy in a huge SUV waved me down and asked if I would sell my Civic. He said he wanted to save gas. I told him to buy a Honda Fit.

    Gosh people are hurtin!

    I would go to sleep, but I have to wait a while longer for the paint to dry in the bedroom. I hate not having a backrest on the bed. My pillow constantly falls off the bed otherwise ;)

    And I know what Jamil stands for:


    G’night friends.

  132. Clotpoll says:

    Frank (127)-

    “The pain of this reverse movement could leave a psychological scar that will be with all of us for the rest of our lives.”

    Except…people’s memories of housing busts lasts about ten years. Then, another run-up ignites, and the whole cycle repeats itself. Just wait; in about 6-7 years, you’ll start to hear people say things like “real estate never goes down”.

    Same as it ever was.

  133. lostinny says:

    Clot 136
    You couldn’t be more right. That and the fact that people doling out information as if they were experts are too young to remember the last downturn.
    Oh and we can’t leave out the mathmatically challenged either.

  134. grim says:

    From the LA Times:

    The open house as a home-selling tool? No sale

    Some home sellers view open houses as a right. If their agents balk at sitting in the living room for four or five hours on a nice spring Sunday afternoon waiting for prospects to come bouncing through the door, they feel cheated.

    Others see them as a necessary evil. Even though they’ll have to make the beds, clean the kitchen and get put out of their homes, lock, stock and family pet, many sellers believe it is absolutely imperative that agents hold their houses open so anyone and everyone can come traipsing through.

    But according to the National Assn. of Realtors’ latest profile of buyers and sellers, only 7% of all buyers visited open houses as a first step in their safari for a new house. Most people start their hunt on the Internet.

    That’s not to say that open houses don’t work. They do, but not necessarily for the house in question. Rather, they help turn up new clients for your agent in the form of possible sellers of other houses. They also produce potential buyers of other houses that also are listed for sale.

    But as a true selling tool? According to the association, few buyers found the place they bought at an open house.

  135. grim says:

    From the NY Times:

    Lenders Raise the Bar

    If you have a mortgage, consider yourself lucky.

    That is the upshot of the most recent survey of mortgage lenders by the Federal Reserve Board, which found that banks’ lending standards were significantly tighter in April than they had been in January, when credit was already tight.

    Some prospective borrowers who just a few months ago were considered easy bets for mortgages are being turned away with the slightest credit blemishes — or even with stellar credit scores.

    “Standards are getting a lot tighter,” said Bob Moulton, president of Americana Mortgage Group, a brokerage firm based in Manhasset, N.Y. “For every 20 calls I get, I might close four or five loans. Two years ago, it’d be 18.”

    Mr. Moulton said that one recent client sought to buy a $2.5 million home on Long Island with a $1.5 million down payment and full documentation of his income. The bank refused the loan because the borrower’s credit score was 672. A single recently missed credit card payment can sometimes be enough to drop a borrower’s score below 700.

    “It’s all about the credit score now,” Mr. Moulton said. “I’d say 700 is a minimum score now. Some banks are requiring 740, particularly for interest-only loans,” in which the borrower pays only interest for the first 5 or 10 years of the loan before starting to pay down principal.

    Brokers and bankers in the greater New York area said that stated-income loans — typically used by the self-employed or workers paid on commission who cannot document steady streams of income — are all but gone. (Mr. Moulton said he had recently found only two lenders who would write such mortgages.) The same is true for subprime loans, offered to high-risk borrowers.

    James Bremm, a senior mortgage banker with Atlantic National Mortgage, a brokerage firm based in Westport, Conn., said borrowers with credit scores between 680 and 700 can still find loans, especially from regional savings banks, which have been more active in marketing mortgages in recent months. But that threshold was 20 points lower until a few months ago, he said.

    Those with slightly lower credit scores have to make significantly higher down payments, Mr. Bremm and others said, and they must endure longer reviews. “If you’re self-employed, you might need a letter from your C.P.A.,” he said, “or if you’re a landscaper for a family company, you might need to show two full years of tax returns.”

    Mortgage industry executives say they expect even further tightening of lending standards in the coming months, as banks protect themselves from the possibility of a deepening recession and stabilize their own financial situations.

  136. grim says:

    From the NY Times:

    Next Stop: A Commuter Village

    TWO contentious plans for the Meadowlands area are already on the radar screen: Xanadu, the giant retail and entertainment complex going up in East Rutherford; and EnCap, a now-canceled project that was to clean up several large former landfills in marshy sections of Rutherford and Lyndhurst and turn them into residential sites and golf courses.

    Now comes the Secaucus meadowlands’ turn at transformation — this one perhaps less fraught. Within several weeks, the first 300 units of Xchange at Secaucus Junction, a 2,000-unit rental housing “village” planned for 60 acres beside the regional train transfer station here, will be put on the market.

    Developers are creating a “mini-Central Park” as part of the complex, in addition to a river walk (already partly built), a boat launching area and an array of amenities that the builder, Fraternity Meadows, says will rival those of Manhattan apartments while costing roughly half as much.

  137. Clotpoll says:

    lost (137)-

    “Oh and we can’t leave out the mathmatically challenged either.”

    You mean Pret?

  138. Cindy says:

    (136) Clotpoll (137) lostinny – Right on

    “Except…. people’s memories of housing busts lasts about ten years.”

    Good morning – Does it help to know where California is in the process or is it unrelated to your time line there?

  139. lostinny says:

    141 Clot
    I don’t feed the trolls.

    142 Cindy
    I think it’s always helpful to know what’s going on in other places. I don’t know to what extent our experiences will be similar though.

  140. grim says:

    “memories of housing busts lasts about ten years”


  141. Cindy says:

    (143) lostinny – We had such an influx of new builders that it has skewed our situation – I think. (You may have noticed that with some of the articles about Stockton and Modesto etc.)

    My builder friend who downsized from 30 employees to 7 said it is the worst he’s ever seen in California. But even he is still in business and just sees it as a storm to weather.

    Many investors are buying up improved land on the cheap with designs to hold onto it for 5 or 6 years then build again. Realtor friends are buying some properties to hold onto for resale down the road.

    I’m near 60 so these are friends who have seen down turns before and have the bucks to see the advantages.

  142. Shore Guy says:

    Rising taxes anyone?


    TRENTON — Same song, second verse: New audits of the Abbott school districts find more questionable spending. This time it’s to the tune of $83 million. What good are these audits if things never change while state bureaucrats turn the other cheek to waste?

    Nothing could justify the outrageous spending in some of the 31 heavily state-subsidized districts, but what makes it even worse is they get more than half the state’s education budget. People far from offending districts pay for it and have no say in the matter.

    The “needy” district system needs to be examined and adjusted. Some of the 31 Abbotts probably won’t even qualify as needy now.

    What does the Corzine administration say? Education Commissioner Lucille Davy confirms the state isn’t withholding money from districts with questionable expenditures. Nor does she plan to get back the wasted money. Where is the incentive to clean up the mess?

    (By the way, when Davy’s husband, Jim, left state government in January 2006, the feds were looking into whether he used his office to promote a consulting gig he was starting. What happened to that, U.S. Attorney Chris Christie?)

    Sen. Steve Oroho, R-Sussex, noted that some of the Abbott districts will get budget hikes of as much as 16 percent under the new school funding formula rushed through the lame-duck Legislature four months ago.

    “These revelations make it clear the Legislature should revisit the school funding formula immediately,” he said. He says state funding should be based on children’s needs, not assigned on an outdated analysis of which districts are most needy.

    Hoboken, where Gov. Corzine lives, is an Abbott district.

    Also coming under the auditors’ gaze is the special municipal aid program. Oroho notes in six years that has grown from $38 million to $153 million. It is supposed to provide short-term support but some places have been getting it for years.

    Nickels and dimes: Lawmakers don’t want to deal with the spending problem, they want to look for new ways for the public to fork over more cash. Now, they’re talking about a bottle and can deposit fee, 10 cents for glass and aluminum beverage containers under 24 ounces and 20 cents for containers up to three liters.

    They present it as some kind of environmental savior. Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Bergen, said a quarter of the money brought in would go to help small business deal with demands of handling returned cans and bottles. More likely it will discourage small business in New Jersey. And the rest will be wasted by bureaucrats.

    Ten cents per container is too much for a deposit.

    More delays: The BPU whistle-blower suit that has been kicking around for nearly four years is delayed again. Now, they’re saying it may go to trial in September.

    The Attorney General’s Office has spent $1.4 million on politically connected outside lawyers to defend BPU chief and Corzine friend Jeanne Fox from harassment charges brought by BPU fiscal officer Joe Potena who found and reported an $80 million secret bank account.

    Battlin’ McGreeveys: In the soap opera that is the McGreevey divorce trial, former Gov. (and priest wannabe) Jim McGreevey explained he is so poor he had to buy furniture at a going out of business sale — and Depression-era folks thought they had it bad. New Jersey 101.5 FM’s morning ace Jim Gearhart said McGreevey probably will go door to door with a empty rice bowl begging for handouts.

    Suppose his priorities will change after the divorce is final?

    Mark your calendar: Candidates for the GOP nomination to the U.S. Senate go head-to-head Tuesday during a Gannett New Jersey newspapers joint editorial board meeting. For the first time the fireworks will be broadcast on the Internet. Go to http://www.app.com. Starts at 11 a.m.

  143. rhymingrealtor says:

    Stu (135)

    It was’nt free iced coffee day, did you get your hands on some vicodyn?? Thats a lot of work for one day (-:


  144. lisoosh says:

    Cindy – I love to hear clear-headed anecdata from other areas, always interesting and very welcome.

    I actually find the fact that investors are looking to buy an indication that there is still a way to go. To my mind, the fat lady will only sing when pretty much nobody wants to touch RE with a ten foot pole.

  145. lisoosh says:

    #127 – What Schiller has forgotton in his sojourn into psychology is that studies show that people ascribe much more value to things they actually work for and earn. Just giving a person a house (or a mortgage) without effort on their part doesn’t make them a “homeowner” heart and soul and so none of the “ownership society” benefits apply.

    The old adage always applies – “Can”t help those who won’t help themselves”.

  146. grim says:

    How will deposits work in towns with curbside recycling?

    Will deposit items be eliminated from pickup?

    Sounds like a big moneymaker to me.

  147. jamil says:

    “How a single mother in public housing got a million in mortgages”

    During the frenzied days of no-down-payment loans and cursory credit checks in the early 2000s, two out-of-state lenders gave more than $1 million in mortgages to a Dorchester woman who lives in public housing and barely speaks English, the Herald has learned.

    The loans, originated by New Jersey-based Equity One Inc.
    “These are very serious allegations – the public housing program is designed to provide affordable housing for poor and working poor families,” said BHA spokeswoman Lydia Agro in an e-mail. “If these allegations prove to be true, we would consider them to be a very serious violation of the public trust.”

    Of course, you won’t find the term “illegal immigrant” in that article.

  148. Cindy says:

    (148) lisooh

    In today’s Fresno Bee..Real Estate Section

    “As home prices fall, more people are being lured off the sidelines and into the housing market. Sales activity is picking up, and real estate agents say it is more than a seasonal boost.”

    “Since November, each month has seen an increase in sales. That is five months of an upward swing and it looks like May could be the best month in a long time.,” said Don Scordino, president of the Fresno Association of Realtors.”

    May figures looking promising because the number of “pending” sales (put in escrow but not closed) in Fresno and Clovis reported through the Fresno Association of Realtors was up 51% last month from April 2007, according to Guarantee Real Estate.”

    “Meanwhile the inventory of unsold homes has slowly been shrinking, from 4,350 last September to 3,798 today.”

    “Buyers are clearly back in the market,” said Guarantee Real Estate President Scott Leonard, whose company put 65% more houses into escrow than a year earlier.

    “Still, the real estate market is clearly struggling. Sales and prices of new houses in Fresno County were off 28.3% and 7.8% respectively in March from a year previously, according to the California Building Industry Association, and foreclosures continue to occur in unprecedented numbers.”

    “A recent projection by the California Research Bureau concluded that 5,317 houses in Fresno County were lost to foreclosure in 2005 and 2006 and that a total of 10,000 to 12,800 houses could be repossessed by 2010.”

    “The number statewide could reach 377,500 by 2010, the bureau concluded.”

    “Meanwhile, the number of housing permits issued statewide in March was down 65% from a year previously.”

    “If this trend continues, we could be at the lowest number of (contruction) permits since World War Two,” John Frith, spokesman for the California Building Association said in a visit to Fresno.”

    The article goes on and on but you get the drift. More buyers “off the fence” and inventory reduction…less new building…

  149. RelievedinFlorida says:

    Hobroken—-South St Pete is very sketchy, but the downtown is flourishing! The only problem is that the property taxes down here are completely out of control. I bought a house for 549,000 in 2005..waterfront home and I was paying $13,000 in taxes and $4600 in insurance. The dream of living on the water is dead for all, but the rich. I ended up selling the house 3 weeks ago for $450,000. I consider myself lucky. Things are dismal here and getting worse by the day. There are over 3,200 homes for sale in Pinellas county alone and there is NO movement.

    I just don’t see any point to buying a home anymore with the tax and insurance situation. Unfortunately, in my opinion, America as we knew it is dead. The average American will be forced to become a renter. The dream of owning a home and raising a family in a nice neighborhood will be reserved for the elite.

    I remember when I was a kid in the ’80s there were 4 very distinct classes. The rich, upper middle class, middle class, and the dregs. The upper middle class in my estimation is now extinct. The middle class is shrinking and pretty soon the dregs of society will become much more of the norm, which will give the government more of an excuse to abuse their power and start more socialized programs. So sad to see what has happened to our once great country.

  150. ADA says:


    Renters pay RE taxes and insurance. They just pay it for their landlord.

  151. RelievedinFlorida says:

    you’re missing my point—I don’t have to pay property taxes or insurance! I’m rooming with a friend for 600/month until I can figure out what I want to do. If I go out and buy a house the payment will be 1700 a month minimum for a very small house of about 200,000 dollars. Of that 1700 dollars …583 dollars of it is JUST tax and insurance. Tack on the cost of maintaining a house which is probably 3-400 dollars a month minimum, then ure looking at almost 1,000 dollars a month before you even start looking at your mortgage payment…then if you look at an amortization scale you’ll see that on a 30 year mortgage the bank applies about 50 bucks a month of that 1200 dollar payment to your principle. I think people need to wake up and realize that buying a house isn’t all peaches and cream anymore.

  152. RelievedinFlorida says:

    Freedom is so much better than a big mortgage payment…you can’t put a price on that

  153. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Mortgage crisis’ block of despair

    On a Newark block speckled with For Sale and For Rent signs, the men gather on a porch most afternoons and keep watch, just as they have been doing for decades.

    This is Norwood Street. And these guys are its unofficial protectors: the Williams brothers, who grew up playing stickball in the middle of this street; Ralph Wright and his son, Leonard, the first African-American family to move in 1971 to what was then an Italian part of town; Gene White and Thomas Dodd and all the others who raised children in this working-class neighborhood and remain here as they grow older.

    “It’s a good block,” said James Williams, 42, the middle of three brothers. “And we’re trying to keep it that way.”

    Yet while they can chase away the drug dealers, the vagrants and the gangs, there’s not much they can do about the scourge that has emerged more recently as the primary threat to the block’s stability: mortgage foreclosures.

    In the past two years, as Newark’s housing bubble experienced a messy burst, 11 of the 57 houses on the block have gone into foreclosure. This block is the hardest hit in the county, according to preliminary data from the Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, which is in the midst of a detailed study of Essex County foreclosures.

    The Star-Ledger spent a month studying Norwood Street, examining public records on the 11 foreclosures, analyzing eight years worth of real estate transactions and interviewing dozens of the people involved. What it found on this short, one-way block in Newark’s Vailsburg section is characteristic of what happened across urban New Jersey and the nation.

    Two of the foreclosures were the result of alleged flipping schemes, where houses were bought at low prices and then quickly resold without significant improvements for nearly twice their original value to unwitting buyers; another foreclosure came from a high-pressure predatory loan operation.

    But mostly there was greed: In a housing market overheated by the easy availability of subprime loans, where home prices were increasing nearly 50 percent a year, inexperienced and fiscally naive investors – many of whom were depending on rental income to pay their mortgages – jumped at a chance to make easy money.

    It all came crashing down when home prices stopped skyrocketing, the credit crunch hit and borrowers who got in over their heads no longer could refinance their faltering loans or sell to new buyers.

  154. jmacdaddio says:

    From previous thread..

    #212 Mitchell Says:
    May 16th, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Just curious but is anyone seriously considering buying a house in 2008?

    If so what are your reasons?

    Barring a surprise at the inspection, I will be buying something soon. When doing the analysis I considered several items. First, I bought a place where I plan to stay for 5 years and could stay for 10 if needed. Second, I was able to get into a town which historically has held its value in normal markets – the 04, 05, and 06 buyers who have to sell now are taking a bath but everyone else is ok. Third, I could rent the place out and reasonably expect to cover my costs if circumstances change. That was not true in my 03-05 housing searches. Those years I remember as quite frustrating – I would save $1000 in a good month only to see that condo prices had gone up by $5000 that same month.

    My personal situation is the main driving factor. I saved up a nice DP and I have excellent credit. I saw no point to putting more money into my landlord’s pockets while waiting for the market bottom – at this point it would be a break-even proposition. I also don’t think of home ownership as an investment or the path to neverending riches – to me it’s a financially sensible way to live. If you’re a normal buyer with money to put down, there are deals to be had. If you need to resort to creative financing, odds are it’s not a good time to buy despite what the NAR says.

  155. RelievedinFlorida says:

    I guess I just see things differently. I don’t see renting as putting money in my landlord’s pocket…I see it as a cost of living issue. I have to have a roof over my head. Therefore either I’m putting money in my landlord’s pocket or I’m putting money in a bank’s pocket…as well as my state government’s pocket and the weasel, insurance company’s pockets. It’s all relative.Yes there are tax advantages and I’m well aware of that. But after sitting down and analyzing my costs of owning a home I just don’t see an advantage.

    Mortgage payment on only a $200,000 house(including taxes and insurance).—$1700
    Power bill—$200-300 a month on average.
    Lawn service–$100 dollars a month
    propane—–about $75 dollars a month
    repair costs—–$1-300 a month(conservative)
    Water—-$75 dollars a month

    I don’t live up north so I’m not figuring in your astronomical; heating bills but I come up with a figure of—–$2550/month

    I think this is even a conservative number. Of that $2550 a month in living in a home, about 50-100 dollars is going toward your actual principle.

    That’s depressing.

    $30,600 a year just to own and maintain a $200,000 home…..now how many people own $200,000 dollar homes????? Not many…so double that number to 60,000 and that is what most people pay just maintaining a home.


    That is why so many people are on antidepressants. That is why so many people have to work so much they never spend time with their kids. That is why so many kids have ADD, that is why we are a fat country because noone has time to actually enjoy their lives anymore.

    I have reassessed my life and I hope you at least think about doing the same.

  156. jamil says:

    #158: “I saw no point to putting more money into my landlord’s pockets”

    You forgot “RE never goes down” and “they don’t make any more land”. Once you buy, you will be putting more money into the pockets of government and bank. There are a lot of good reasons to buy a house. This is not one of them.

  157. BC Bob says:

    “I am taking a copy of “Buyer’s market Seller’s pain” to a listing appt tommorow evening. Hope it works !”


    I’ll be happy to tag along.

  158. BC Bob says:

    “I guess I just see things differently. I don’t see renting as putting money in my landlord’s pocket…I see it as a cost of living issue.”

    Relieved [159],


    There is nodody, even our govt, that could come up with a spreadsheet which proves that it is more prudent to buy a 600K property, in today’s environment, while you can rent the same place for 2K a month. The argument doesn’t even deserve a seat at the table.

    I may be paying 1,500 a month that goes towards my landlord’s taxes and insurance. That’s OK with me. I haven’t had a rental increase in 2-1/2 years and zero bills for water. I can’t even begin to calculate the $ saved by not feeding the beast. Somehow, the cost of carry, is never included in the rental/purchase equation. In addition to this, my dp is growing while house price declines are intensifying.

    On a pos 500K cape, in NNJ, I would have to put down 350K to have a comparable payment, my current rent. Why entertain that idea? That pos cape will be 350K and lower when the dust settles.

  159. House Hunter says:

    Joeycasz, ask about current NJ state grants to first time homebuyers, I heard of a guy that was recently looking and noticed a phrase on the for sale sign about “grant available”. When he questioned what it meant, the realtor said people can qualify for up to $12,000 towards a down payment if they are a first time buyer…

  160. chicagofinance says:

    Q to the board:

    If you were going to buy/lease a new car, what resources would you use to collect information?

    Further, what “offer aggregators” would you use to get competitive bids?

    To be clear, there is plenty of obvious stuff, I just curious about other people’s recent experiences.

  161. lostinny says:

    164 Chifi
    I use Edmond’s and the internet to see what dealers will offer online. I also bring my husband in person. He does such a great job negotiating through dramatic means, that you could almost see the black and blues appear on the salespeople.

  162. jamil says:


    The price of crude oil today is not made according to any traditional relation of supply to demand. It’s controlled by an elaborate financial market system as well as by the four major Anglo-American oil companies. As much as 60% of today’s crude oil price is pure speculation driven by large trader banks and hedge funds. It has nothing to do with the convenient myths of Peak Oil. It has to do with control of oil and its price. How?

  163. D says:

    Over the past week I saw over 10 houses come up in my price range in Millburn and 4 of them on Whitney road, which happens to back to the mid town direct train. my broker would not comment why but it is very weird. Does anyone know whether there is a way to check it out? such as any construction plan or freight train running on mid town direct? I heard rumors but not sure where to check it out

  164. Pat says:

    CF, I used Edmunds, as well, when I bought the Civic. My husband bought a Toyota the year before using autobytel, I believe.

    The only issue I had was maybe TMI. Reading all the comments on there took a lot of time. Had to set up a dummy e-mail, because I was forwarned about the never-ending e-mails.

    Oh, and the dealers would not negotiate down, once I had the internet price, which was lower than the other folks on Edmunds were reporting in the blog section on “what did you pay?”.

  165. Jumbo says:

    Can anyone tell me if New Jersey is a recourse or non-recourse state (and, if possible, I would love to get the cite of the relevant NJ code)?

    Also, can anyone provide me with some intelligence on MLS# 20813948?


  166. jmacdaddio says:

    Relieved and BC Bob –

    I see it as a question of value. Like others here I believe the last few years RE prices got out of hand, and owning was not a good value. If I had bought in 2004 or 05, I was looking at crazy loans and a PITI + HOA commitment well in excess of half my take-home pay (no problem to get back then). My salary situation has improved, my DP stash has grown, and now my housing payment will be about 36% of take-home pay. I’ll have plenty of breathing room to enjoy my life and build up a new non-retirement nest egg, aka the FU Fund. I’m looking at enjoying a much bigger place for about 25% more than my rent while building equity, which should almost get me to break-even after the tax writeoff. If prices drop another 10% or even 20% I don’t care since I’m in it for the long haul. If I have to move sooner rather than later, the rent collected would easily pay my costs (I did my homework). I agree that paying $600k for a POS cape when one could be rented for $2000 a month makes no sense. That’s why I didn’t pay $600k for a POS cape. Instead I paid less than half that for a move-in ready townhouse where I could stay for ten years. Buying vs. renting depends on many things, first and foremost individual circumstances.

  167. jmacdaddio says:

    Jamil –

    I usually give the benefit of the doubt. For you I’ll make an exception.

    In a few years I might want to trade up from my townhouse. Track me down so you can rent it from me and line my pockets. Since you don’t want your money, I’ll gladly take it.

  168. jamil says:

    jm: (171): “while building equity,”

    I’m not sure you are building equity in the next 1-2 year..Anyway, I believe you have done your homework and have a good deal and, even if prices come down, you are fine (as opposed to those clueless speculators).

  169. PGC says:

    “Not sure. However, I do know they have vaults and they are aggressively filling them up.”

    I was working at an IB in London in the 90’s. They were moving into a nice shiny new building. On moving day, the security truck (with police outriders) pulled up to the new building. The driver asked the security team where the vault was. The reply was “What vault?” It turns out that in one of the revisions of the plans, the space for the vault was given over to a swimming poll for the Gym. The truck was sent back to the old building and they franticly searched for somewere to store the bonds. They ended up leasing an empty office building a few blocks away just for the vault.

  170. jmacdaddio says:

    Jamil –

    I apologize for my hostility in 171. I blame the weather. You are correct about the equity curve being negligible for several years of ownership on a 30 yr mortgage. Trust me, I wasn’t counting on the equity to fund my retirement or pay for a gently used Bentley.

    Regarding energy prices, I’m off to do my weekly grocery shop… not looking forward to it.

  171. House Hunter says:

    Looking for some feedback on a scenaro for my co-worker. If you could buy a house in a school district you wanted (already moved tow kids 2 years ago, they don’t want to move again.) And….it did need work….but compare the following:
    house cost 200,000 needs septic, testing of the well (not sure of the status)there may be an underground oil tank, at any rate needs a new furnace above the ground, kitchen and bath (but could get help that would not cost them what the open market would charge…no granite must normal,) maybe a couple of tree’s down. With down payment mortgage would be about 16001700. After 40,000 down they have 60,000 for repairs…would you take the dive?

  172. chicagofinance says:

    Lost & Pat: thank you

    Q Pat: what does this mean? The blog section is full of shills, and you must subscribe, get competitive bids, and that is a good moving forward price?

    Pat Says:
    May 18th, 2008 at 4:50 pm
    Oh, and the dealers would not negotiate down, once I had the internet price, which was lower than the other folks on Edmunds were reporting in the blog section on “what did you pay?”.

  173. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    Jumbo :169

    Is MLS# 20813948 refering to Monmouth County?

    If so it is 6 Parmly Street in Rumson. 3 bed, 2 bath, 1479 sq ft Colonial built in 1922. Nice size lot, also that’s a nice location.

    Check all the capital items (roof, furnace, et al). That looks like a lot of house for the money.

    Why are they asking such an odd price…$596,926? Could this be a short sale?
    Tax records say the current owner bought it in 2002 for $450K. Hmmm??

  174. BC Bob says:

    OUCH. Foot traffic worst ever. Here we go again.

    “BOSTON (MarketWatch) — The hoped-for rebound in home sales failed to blossom this spring, with the housing market caught in a downward spiral as falling prices continue to sap consumer sentiment and keep would-be buyers on the sidelines.”

    “The final nail in the coffin for the spring-selling period came this week after luxury-home builder Toll Brothers reported dismal sales figures for the quarter ended in April. The company’s chief executive, Robert Toll, said traffic levels at its communities were “the worst that we have ever seen.”

    “It appears the spring-selling season was a bust for Toll, just like all the other builders,” commented Morningstar analyst Eric Landry.


  175. Pat says:

    Hondas? They wouldn’t negotiate. They didn’t need to. The guy showed me the dealerships in-stock inventory list AND waiting list for options.

    If you’re looking to negotiate, I’d pick a car that nobody else is buying.

  176. bairen says:

    I just checked gsmls. There is a cape in Madison with hardwood floors and a finished basement for 375k. Also another cape in millburn for 450k. This one seems to be short sale or reo since it’s dependent on bank approval.

    Maybe this time next year there will be split levels in that price range. The capes last year in Madison were listing for 490k and up and anything under 550k was awful. I wouldn’t wish a neocon to live in it. Now pos capes in good shape (oxy moron) are showing up sub 400k.

  177. bairen says:

    I just got back from a weekend in Ocean County. Saw some nice houses for 300 to 350k. Then I walked into the local drug store and saw methheads, bikers, and toothless tattooed women.

    If I never had to leave the development not bad.

    I also saw an abandoned development on Rt 9 about 5 miles south of 72. About half the lots had been completed and sold. the rest had been made ready for building but the builder has stopped and put the model up for sale. Good luck to the current homeowners trying to resell. The houses looked nice, but what the empty lots were a huge eyesore.

  178. bairen says:


    Get prices from http://www.kbb.com before you walk into a showroom. Also check the web for the manufacturer’s rates. Print everything out to show the salesman when you get serious about making an offer. My friend got a lower price on the car by agreeing to finance it. When he got the first coupon he paid off the loan.

    Also buying in the middle of the month seems like the best time. Also look bored and act as if you could care less if you buy the car or a different make/model elsewhere.

  179. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    bairen :181

    That abandoned development might be one of the failed Kara projects.

    I imagine the early arrivers were not too pleased that the promised amenities never materialized.

    Was it on the left hand side of Rt 9 heading north??

  180. njcoast says:

    #169 Jumbo

    6 Parmly St. Rumson
    Orig. list-10/30/06-$674,900
    Present list- $596,926
    Block 54 Lot 1
    Last sale-3/20/02- $450,000
    Sold- 11/12/98- $228,000

  181. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    njcoast –

    The price on 6 Parmly is such an odd number….any idea why?? Short Sale?? Marketing Gimmick??

  182. njcoast says:

    #184-oops sorry fiddy already posted the info.

  183. bairen says:

    #183 fiddy,

    It was on the right hand side in a section called West end. It was one long street ending in a cul de sac. There were lots of woods to the east of the houses so maybe it was supposed to be even bigger. My father said it’s being built on the old Tuckerton railroad bed.

  184. bairen says:

    #187 that’s right hand side when you are heading north on Rt 9 from 539/Rt 9 junction.

  185. Jumbo says:

    Fiddy and NJCoast –

    Thanks very much for your help. The property is old (85+years) and needs a ton of work (pictures are a bit deceiving). Based on the comps, it is still significantly overpriced so we’ll have to see if the sellers are willing to listen to reason. As for the screwy price, I asked the same question and I was told it was basically a marketing gimmick (not a short sale).

    Thanks again for your help and wish me luck.

  186. PGC says:

    #43 grim

    Remind your wife that it is not “blood in the streets” she should be looking for but “blood on the closing table”.

  187. gefilte says:

    can anyone recommend a professional asbestos inspector (for a residence in clifton)?

  188. stu says:

    180 Bairen – That 450k cape in Millburn is certainly not anywhere near a “deal”. It’s right on Millburn Ave and comes with a tax bill of $9400. Ouch.

  189. njcoast says:


    Good luck to you Jumbo. It looks like the last mortgage on the house is $440,000.

  190. Ambrose says:


    I think you said at one point that you’re looking at Cranford and were considering renting for a year to try out the town. Do I have that right? We’re thinking of doing the same. Have you had any luck in finding rentals? Do you have an agent in the area you like? Also, how are you evaluating list prices? When we were looking in Metuchen, we’d use Property Shark for last sale info, but I’m not sure how to find that info for Union County. Any advice would be appreciated:-)

  191. bairen says:

    #192 Stu

    Ouch. i just saw the listing and was amazed there’s something at 450k in millburn. I thought a year ago there was hardly anything below 600k in millburn. We didn’t even consider Millbrnwith the high prices.

  192. bairen says:

    #194 Ambrose,

    Cranford is still a possibility for us. We haven’t really started looking yet. Our lease doesn’t end till October so we’re going to start looking more seriously in june or july.

    We don’t have an agent in that area yet.

    We actually don’t know that much about Cranford. We’re planning on spending sometime in its downtown and going to some open houses over the next few months to get a feel of the place.

    We’re going to start hitting open houses starting next weekend. We’re going to look at Green Brook, Warren, New Providence, Berkeley Heights, Cranford, Westfield, Summit, Madison, and Chatham. (Not in the same weekend though)

    I’d prefer something in Cranford or on the midtown direct line in case I go back to working in NY.

    I actually commuted to NY from the Metuchen station for a few years.

  193. NJGator says:

    Can someone with GSMLS access please give me the street address of MLS#2517313? It’s bank owned in prestigious Glen Ridge.

    Many thanks.

  194. Joeycasz says:

    House Hunter Says:
    May 18th, 2008 at 2:07 pm
    Joeycasz, ask about current NJ state grants to first time homebuyers, I heard of a guy that was recently looking and noticed a phrase on the for sale sign about “grant available”. When he questioned what it meant, the realtor said people can qualify for up to $12,000 towards a down payment if they are a first time buyer…

    Hmmmm, i’m going to look into this. Thank you.

  195. Ambrose says:

    #196 Bairen,

    We’re in a very similar position (lease up this fall, checking out Union County towns). Cranford is topping the list because we prefer a larger town and like its down-to-earth vibe. Although prices have come down a bit since last year, there are still many “motivated” sellers asking very unmotivating prices!

  196. Ambrose says:

    We were using Property Shark to find last sale info when looking at Middlesex County. Is there a similar site for Union County?

  197. Clotpoll says:


    Sorry I wasn’t in today to defend you from the hordes. I think many here, in assessing the rent/buy arbitrage, just don’t take into full account the needs, desires and circumstances of people not necessarily in the same position as they are.

    My gut- assuming the buyer isn’t subject to AMT- is that someone in your position… with great credit, a good DP and a 5+ year expected occupancy horizon…can make a good buy these days.

    The funny thing is, there aren’t a lot of folks out there like you right now. Ergo, you don’t see a lot of transactions happening.

    However, the fact that buyers like you are rare does not mean that you are wrong, or that your reasons for buying are not valid.

  198. Clotpoll says:

    BTW…I was out today, as my gang of thugs administered the latest in their biannual a**-whoopings to the Brigadoon 11.

    3-1, game never in doubt. The Brigadongs lay down and quit after we took the lead.

    Of course, we were able to play because the game was at Brigadoon’s state-of-the art turf field. However, the (mild) rain did not agree with them. They couldn’t get in all their yoga stretches before kickoff.

    Gary, you’ll be proud to know that we made Graydon, Trip (and a couple of others) cry.

    And, there’s no crying in soccer.

  199. Shore Guy says:


    I see a poem in this somewhere:

    …and there is no joy in Brigadoon, mighty Graydon’s designer cleats couldn’t save him from falling when Clot’s thuggish band failed tp use the subjunctive case properly when telling Graydon just where they intended to stick the ball.

    Well it needs some work, but I bet rhyming can get it in shape by morning.

  200. Shore Guy says:

    Islamist candidates won 24 of 50 seats in Kuwait’s parliamentary elections on Saturday, a gain of two seats over their total in the last round of elections there two years ago, according to official results released Sunday.

  201. Shore Guy says:

    This is from the NY Times (I can’t post the link from my handheld, but it can be found via Google news)

    Islamist candidates won 24 of 50 seats in Kuwait’s parliamentary elections on Saturday, a gain of two seats over their total in the last round of elections there two years ago, according to official results released Sunday.


    I wonder what our friends, whom we liberated, might be thinking about us in a year or two and whetherthis development will have any effect on our economy.

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