Realtors begin to doubt NAR statistical reports

From the Press of Atlantic City:

Real estate agents debate local statistics

The latest positive numbers for home sales and prices have divided real estate agents, ordinarily a group uniformly upbeat about the housing market.

Some doubt the numbers, even though they’re from their own association, and say it’s making it tougher to get home sellers to reduce their prices to more realistic levels.

Kevin Dawe, a real estate agent with Balsley Losco Real Estate in Northfield, said last week’s report that the median home price in the Atlantic City area rose 4.8 percent in the first quarter didn’t match what he’s been seeing.

In particular, Dawe said the figures from the National Association of Realtors, and other information gathered from state and local Realtor groups, seemed to disagree with what the Multiple Listing Service showed.

“As we talk to our sellers about the declining market we are actually facing and the fact that they have to be aggressive in pricing their homes if they expect to find a buyer, the statistics in your article are baffling and impact our credibility with customers,” Dawe said.

Bruce E. Breunig Jr., broker at Century 21 Alliance in Margate, admitted that “we Realtors remain part of the problem. We blame the media for fueling the downturn and try to counterbalance it with our own positive spin.”

Breunig had a theory as to why the NAR survey shows rising prices locally that real estate agents aren’t seeing.

The Realtor survey tracks median home prices, the price at which half of all sales were for more, half for less.

The subprime mortgage crisis and subsequent credit crunch have made it far more difficult for low-end buyers to get a mortgage, he said, which has reduced the number of low-end sales. The homes that sell are then disproportionately from the upper half of the market, artificially raising the median price.

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227 Responses to Realtors begin to doubt NAR statistical reports

  1. grim says:

    From the ABC 6:

    Summer shore homes targeted by thieves

    Authorities at the Jersey shore say they’re seeing a spike in thefts of copper and other metals, right from people’s homes. The metal bandits have been having a field day during winter and spring, since few people live at the Shore during the off season.

    When Robert Bell, of Langhore, Bucks County began getting his Ocean City condo ready for Memorial Day, he discovered the copper pipes at his outdoor showers had been pilfered. And the copper crooks knew exactly what they were doing.

    “They just took it right out,” said Bell, “cut the clamps with some kind of clipper. They didn’t just come down here to try to pull it by hand. They had tools with them.”

    Bell has now replaced his missing copper pipes with plastic ones. Authorities say Bell is one of at least 10 victims in Ocean City alone. There are many more cases reporter in Atlantic and Cape May counties.

  2. grim says:

    From the APP:

    Get Asbury work on the fast track

    The redevelopers of the Asbury Park oceanfront are getting antsy.

    They have sped up the clock on the renovations to the boardwalk pavilions and the restorations to Convention Hall and Paramount Theater.

    But they are disappointed they will miss their Memorial Day target date for completion of three of the pavilions, which will house 40 retail tenants.

    And they believe city officials could do more to accommodate their tight timetable.

  3. grim says:

    From the WSJ:

    UBS Rights Issue Priced at Discount
    May 22, 2008 2:18 a.m.

    ZURICH — UBS AG Thursday set the terms for its 15.97 billion Swiss francs ($15.50 billion) capital increase at a steep discount to the current share price, reflecting that the Zurich-based bank remains a tough sell to investors because of its subprime-debt holdings.

    Switzerland’s UBS said it will sell new shares at 21 francs a share, 31% lower than the stock’s 30.64 franc closing price Wednesday. Shareholders will receive one subscription right per share held, with 20 of the rights entitling the holder to buy seven new shares.

  4. grim says:

    From the AP:

    Senate to consider adding money to state jobless fund

    The Senate is poised to act Thursday to avoid a tax increase on employers — at least for now — by pumping $260 million into the state fund that pays benefits to out-of-work New Jerseyans.

    Democratic and Republican legislators and governors have diverted $4.7 billion from the fund over the last 14 years to help hospitals pay for treating the uninsured. As a result, the fund is close to falling below the level that would trigger an automatic $350 million increase in employer payroll taxes as of July 1.

    The money was diverted before Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine took office in January 2006, and Corzine proposed putting in the $260 million in surplus money to avoid a tax increase.

    The fund has currently $977.3 million.

    Legislative staff estimate the cash infusion proposed by Corzine would put the balance at $1.05 billion by March 31, 2009, again leaving it close to the threshold for the tax increase. So depending on factors such as economic conditions and new unemployment filings, an employer tax increase could be triggered starting July 1, 2009.

  5. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    TrimSpa distributor files for bankruptcy protection

    The distributor of diet supplement TrimSpa, promoted by Anna Nicole Smith before her death last year, filed for bankruptcy protection today.

    Goen Technologies, which had been based in Whippany but listed an East Hanover address in court filings, said it had $1.4 million in assets but $30 million in debts. Among the largest unsecured creditors are Fox Cable Networks, owed $3.4 million, and E! Entertainment Television, owed $477,063.

  6. grim says:

    From the Philly Inquirer:

    Jevic closure raises layoff-notice concerns

    This week’s shutdown of Jevic Transportation Inc., which put more than 1,000 employees out of work on less than a day’s notice, is raising questions over whether the company violated a New Jersey layoff-notification law.

    Employment-law experts and a state senator pointed to a recently passed state law known informally as the New Jersey WARN Act, which requires firms to inform employees and the state government 60 days in advance of a mass layoff.

  7. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Oil Rises Above $135 After Unexpected Drop in U.S. Inventories

    Crude oil rose to a record above $135 a barrel in New York after U.S. stockpiles unexpectedly dropped and traders closed losing trades on bets that prices would fall.

  8. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Proposed building permit extensions have green activists seeing red

    A legislative proposal that would extend for six years the life of building permits for stalled commercial and residential development projects has been introduced in the Assembly, and environmentalists are fuming.

    Called the Permit Extension Act, the proposal would extend for six years all permits and approvals given developers — even those that have expired — by the state and or local governments. It would enable projects permitted in past years but stalled for financial reasons to avoid having to comply with subsequent changes in environmental law, public health standards, building codes, or local zoning.

    “This is part of an economic stimulus package,” Greenwald said yesterday. “We want to be more competitive with neighboring states like Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, where business is going to. This is no different than other permit extensions in the past when we faced similar recessions. It is designed to help stimulate the economy and vital to the financial recovery from the doldrums we are currently in.”

    Greenwald said the bill is the result of meetings with business leaders and developers, who complained to legislators the permitting process is one reason business and builders are leaving New Jersey. He said requiring builders to face a new round of permitting could cost them millions of dollars.

    Environmentalists don’t see it that way.

  9. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Cerberus Rues ResCap as Mortgages Put Brakes on Plans

    Cerberus Capital Management LP’s $7.4 billion purchase of General Motors Corp.’s finance arm in 2006 also won control of a mortgage unit supplying a steady stream of cash to finance the auto lender. Then the home-loan money disappeared in a flood of subprime losses.

    Now the GMAC LLC unit, Residential Capital LLC, is fighting to avoid bankruptcy. ResCap has been forced to stop making loans to borrowers with poor credit histories after losses of $5.3 billion during the past six quarters.

    ResCap’s problems have sucked time and money from what has become a $15 billion bet on selling cars and providing loans to the buyers. A year after it bought the 51 percent GMAC stake, New York-based Cerberus paid $7.4 billion for Chrysler LLC, including the carmaker’s profitable auto-loan and leasing unit. Cerberus founder Stephen Feinberg now has to decide whether to inject more money into ResCap or let it die.

    “At the time the deal was done, ResCap was the good part,” said Tom Flaherty, a Philadelphia money manager at Aberdeen Asset Management Plc, which oversees more than $30 billion. His team owned ResCap bonds and sold them before they were cut to below investment grade. “They’re in an unexpected mess.”

  10. Clotpoll says:

    “Some doubt the numbers, even though they’re from their own association, and say it’s making it tougher to get home sellers to reduce their prices to more realistic levels.”

    The thing we should expect to start seeing now are more and more RE offices closing. Cendant, another LBO superstar, is bleeding out…so there go ERA, Coldwell Banker and Century 21. Two Re/Max offices near me have either sold or gone out of business. I’m pretty sure at least five more are on the ropes (if they all go out of business, I welcome it…Re/Max oversold franchises in NJ during the boom years).

    A big hope for the RE market’s recovery hinges upon the number of agents being slashed to a point where only the competent can survive. On that front, we have a ways to go.

  11. Cindy says:

    Grim – regarding your original posting – A front page article in the Fresno Bee yesterday – Sanford Nax – says “April sales of existing homes in Fresno County edged up 2% from last year.”

    The figures were provided by DataQuick Information Systems out of La Jolla, California.

    “Similar trends are being seen around the state: While home prices are down dramatically, sales numbers are up. Sales in Kern, Merced, San Joaquin (Stockton) and Stanislaus counties also experienced year-over-year increases.”

    “Statewide, sales climbed 27% from March to April with more than one-third being foreclosed properties.”

    “DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage said the sales were greatest in regions where home prices have fallen the most, such as the Central Valley. These are the places where the houses are more affordable. In Fresno County, the percentage of households that can afford an entry-level home climbed to 56% in March, up from 44% a year previously, the California Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.”
    “Only the high desert region of Southern California and Merced County – where existing home sales doubled and the median price tumbled 39% in a year – had higher affordability rates.”

    “Even if this is the beginning of a rebound, prices aren’t likely to rise soon. About 3,800 houses are for sale in Fresno and Clovis and more than 400 foreclosures are coming on the market each month, keeping the pressure on sellers to offer discounts.”

    “The median resale price of an existing house in Fresno County last month was $220,000, a drop of 18.5% from April 2007 and 4% from the previous month, according to DataQuick.”

    The article goes on to say that “real estate agents say the price decreases appear to be leveling off. From January to April, the median price in the cities of Fresno and Clovis fell from $241,000 to $237,000, a dip of only 1.6%, said Sandy Darling of Guarantee Real Estate in Fresno.”

    But to get to this point – we underwent HUGE discounts – 30 to 40% over the last two years….in some places – even more.

    With only one month of statistics to go by, I wouldn’t exactly call it a “trend.” That being said, we may have reduced our prices enough to start seeing positive sales data here…

  12. Rich In NNJ says:

    From The Record

    Wayne backs housing for sports dome site

    The Township Council introduced an ordinance Wednesday night that would allow for housing at a site where a developer now proposes an 80,000-square-foot sports dome and recreation center.

    The council voted 5-0 to introduce the ordinance to change the zoning on the 17-acre site off the Valley Road extension to allow for about 10 houses.

    The Midland Park-based Wayne Sports Dome LLC is seeking approval to build a 71-foot-high dome and recreation center that would have artificial turf fields, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a fitness facility and a school for handicapped young adults. But that project doesn’t fit the current zoning for research or office buildings, so it has come before the Board of Adjustment seeking zoning relief.

    The council’s proposed zone change to residential does not come out of the blue. The township’s 1994 master plan recommended that type of zoning for the property, and a 2003 reexamination report upheld the recommendation. But the zone change was never adopted.

    The developer isn’t happy with the proposed zoning change. Gregory Allen, a member of the LLC, has said the company would consider suing the township if the ordinance were adopted.

    So instead of getting the zoning changed from research or office building to allow the “sports dome” the developer will now end up with land zoned for housing.
    Too bad for the developer that it’s not 2005.

  13. njpatient says:

    So – how’s the awl bidness this mornin’

  14. cooper says:

    # 10 Clot- I know of 3 or 4 ReMax offices that closed in Bergen Co. in the last few weeks, all the same owner. I agree, there are still way too many incompetent agents but that will thin… sooner the better!

  15. John says:

    Times are getting tough. NYSE just announced a voluntary early retirement package for all employees whose years of service and age equal 65 and Goldman just froze all new hires and is doing a firmwide look at current employees to see where the fat is. Even stranger times of the times are refridgerators. Turns out on Wall Street historically hardly anyone brings lunch to work. A lot of firms are buying fridges left and right to deal with the large amount of employees bringing lunch to work. Crazy times when a 250K a year worker has to brown bag it every day.

  16. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    U.S. weekly initial jobless claims fall 9,000 to 365,000

    U.S. 4-wk. avg. initial jobless claims up 5,000 to 372,250

    U.S. 4-wk. avg. continuing jobless claims rise to 3.05 mln

  17. grim says:

    Hat tip to CR for this link, from the Fed:

    Charge-off and Delinquency Rates

  18. Richie says:

    Trimspa- HAH. Just proves that these products are all gimmicks.

    I remmeber seeing one of their cars (can’t remember what it was, maybe a Caddie) with the TRIMSPA license plate. Guess that license plate is part of their $1.4m in assets.


  19. Frank says:

    People brown bag because the food is expensive and sucks in the City, not because they are broke.

  20. Frank says:

    Grim, where’s the recession I ask? Claims should be way above 400K if things are so bad.

  21. mark says:

    lets see, record oil, social security broke,medicaid running out of money,retirement rasied to 67, i could go on.but’s its ok… al’s on top of global warming. we only have ourselves to blame
    for these low life pols who will do nothing until we have a crisis.

    imagine dragging the oil execs to washington yesterday,,, nothing more than a photo op.

    and jimmy owes his boyfriend a couple of hundred grand. is this what it’s come to?

  22. grim says:

    Good lord, another acryonym is going bust. I think I’m noticing a trend, use an acronym to describe a security, and it’ll go bust. Congress needs to pass a resolution requiring a moratorium on acronyms.

    From Bloomberg:

    Citigroup’s `Last Roman’ CDO Spotlights Banks’ Enron Accounting

    Citigroup Inc. created a $2.5 billion mortgage-backed security called Bonifacius Ltd. in August as capital markets seized up and panic swept Wall Street.

    The issue took the name of a general, called by historian Edward Gibbon the “last of the Romans,” who fought and died for a fading empire. The bonds were created from subprime home loans as demand evaporated. Within six months, Bonifacius collapsed as homeowners fell behind on their payments in record numbers.

    “They never got the real problem fixed after Enron,” said Lynn Turner, the chief accountant for the Securities and Exchange Commission when the Enron scandal was exposed. “When people find out how little FASB did, they’re going to be shocked. FASB needs to be taken out behind the woodshed and given a good whoopin’.”

    Variable interest entities, or VIEs, are a post-Enron version of special-purpose vehicles, the term for the investments Citigroup created that led to the demise of the energy-trading company. The lack of disclosure about VIEs is adding to concern among investors after financial institutions reported $382.6 billion of writedowns and losses from subprime-contaminated debt since the start of 2007.

  23. Clotpoll says:

    Richie (18)-

    My favorite of these idiot products was Enzyte. Those TV commercials were creepy, tasteless and funny…all at once.

    Enzyte’s owners also have been found guilty of various frauds and money laundering, so they’re way beyond what you’d simply call a failed company.

  24. grim says:

    It is no wonder we’re seeing bailout bills from Congress when Congresspeople themselves are facing foreclosure.

    From Capital Weekly:

    Foreclosure tale shows that nobody is immune from crisis

    As the real estate market softened in 2007, the new owner of a three-bedroom, 1,600-square-foot house in Sacramento’s Curtis Park neighborhood ran into trouble. The house that was purchased for $535,000 in January had lost equity. The owner fell behind in her payments, and eventually, the bank seized the home.

    What makes this story different from the thousands like it is that the owner of this house was a member of Congress.

    The story of the foreclosure of Long Beach Democrat Laura Richardson’s Sacramento home is a tale of a real estate market gone sour. It is also an illustration of how far many candidates will go to seek elected office, even if it means quite literally mortgaging their own financial future.

    Richardson’s decision to let the house slip into foreclosure was set in motion by an unlikely chain of events, only some of which had to do with Sacramento’s crumbling real estate market. Richardson was elected to the Assembly in November 2006, and purchased her new capital home two months later. But in April 2007, Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald succumbed to cancer, creating a Congressional vacancy in Richardson’s district.

  25. Clotpoll says:

    grim (22)-

    I guess this is what Prince meant when he said “keep dancing”:

    “Citigroup Inc. created a $2.5 billion mortgage-backed security called Bonifacius Ltd. in August as capital markets seized up and panic swept Wall Street.”

    What smashing stupidity. I’m beginning to think these guys may actually bite the dust before WaMu.

  26. Clotpoll says:

    grim (25)-

    Talk about f*ck up and move up…

  27. RentinginNJ says:

    Kevin Dawe, a real estate agent with Balsley Losco Real Estate in Northfield, said last week’s report that the median home price in the Atlantic City area rose 4.8 percent in the first quarter didn’t match what he’s been seeing.

    I don’t think this is a matter of the NAR lying about the numbers. A 4.8% increase in the median price of a homes actually sold in AC during the first qtr. is probably a factually correct statement. The problem comes in extrapolating this data point to say the price of homes in AC increased by 4.8%, which is highly doubtful.

    AC has seen a lot of new construction at the higher end of the market, which will bring up median sale prices, even if home prices are actually falling. This is largely due to the mix of homes getting sold.

    For example, Stinky Pete’s used car lot sells Chevys & Fords. Last weekend the median price of the cars sold on their lot was $10k. This weekend they decide to add BMWs to their inventory and to promote the change they hold a 10% off sale for all cars. This weekend, the median price of cars sold goes to $15k. The price of cars drop 10%, but the addition of the BMW’s drive up the median price of cars actually sold. Additionally, even buyers in the market for a Chevy or Ford now have the option of pocketing the 10% savings or using it to get something a little nicer than they could previously afford. Many will chose to buy at their budget level. This will show up in the median statistics as a flat or even rising median sales price.

  28. grim says:


    I did work for the owner. Can’t really say more than that.

  29. grim says:

    I’ll just say that nobody ever made a fortune overestimating the intelligence of the American public.

  30. 3b says:

    #19 frank: The food on the city sucks? yes it is expensive, but sucks? As far as claims, unfortunatley they will get to that 400k level and higher.

  31. mark says:

    the american public , morons ,but hey
    rutgers gave 10k degrees yesterday.

  32. Young Buck says:

    19. 3b Says:
    May 22nd, 2008 at 9:07 am
    #19 frank: The food on the city sucks? yes it is expensive, but sucks?

    Manhattan pizza sucks. It has nothing on Jersey pizza. My theory is that pizzerias here have such a high volume of customers everyday no matter what, that they don’t need to worry about taste/quality.

  33. grim says:

    Lack of differentiation causes commoditization in the market. Commoditization increases pricing pressures, and the quality falls across suppliers.

  34. grim says:

    I believe Commoditization-Differentiation is a key factor in why condo and townhome prices fell more dramatically during the last real estate bust, when compared to single family homes. Single family homes tend to have a larger number of differentiating factors, unlike condos and townhomes, which can be looked at as just a commodity. The greater competition among the commoditized/undifferentiated units led to greater and faster price declines.

    You can probably apply this same theory to the large scale SFH communities as well.

    But yeah, the pizza sucks.

  35. Duckvader says:

    YoungBuck says:

    “Manhattan pizza sucks.”

    But nothing is more atrocious than the tasteless cardboard pizza served as “snacks” at kids birthday parties.

  36. Rich In NNJ says:

    Frank (15),

    “People brown bag because the food is expensive and sucks in the City, not because they are broke.”

    What have you been doing, eating from a cart?

  37. RentinginNJ says:

    Grim, where’s the recession I ask? Claims should be way above 400K if things are so bad.

    I don’t have any links offhand, but I’ve read in a few places that:
    1) Companies are slowly laying off workers over time rather than making large numbers if cuts at once, but the end result will be the same
    2) Many people are getting hours cut or are taking temp or lower paying jobs and are therefore not showing up in jobless claims

  38. grim says:

    Ritholtz takes a look at the 400k meme this morning:

  39. Frank says:

    I tried everything these days, but unless I spend $20 on lunch it’s all heart attack specials.

  40. grim says:

    I take it back, at 3am, *any* pizza is good.

  41. Frank says:

    My friends that got laid off from Merrill and Cit are happily employed already.
    My phone keeps ringing from recruiters looking to fill hedge fund spots.
    At 5% unemployment things are not bad. Talk to the French and Germans they manage in 10%+ unemployment rate.

  42. Sybarite says:

    The US is not France or Germany.

  43. Rich In NNJ says:

    Whos says unemployment is the hinge pin to the economy and more specifically housing?

    People may still be in their jobs but apparently wages aren’t keeping up with inflation (and debt) to keep the economy chugging.

    Housing was (and is) dying before unemployment numbers started creeping up.

  44. Hard Place says:

    Yeah like the food is so great at the Olive Garden or Applebees in insert name mall. I think the places in Manhattan with not great food eventually die. The places by where I work that have good food are jam packed.

  45. Hard Place says:

    As for pizza, the variance is wide in quality. Some excellent places, but you have to no to avoid the bad places. I don’t quite understand how there are so many of the Ray Bari pizza’s. Those are horrible.

  46. Hard Place says:

    I tried everything these days, but unless I spend $20 on lunch it’s all heart attack specials.

    I spend usually about $10 a day for food. That’s lunch & dinner. The food is probably a little over salted sometimes, but you can usually get a decent sandwich that’s healthy for $8 or less.

  47. GetAClueNJ says:

    Glad to see that I’m not going nuts. When this report came out, I almost messed my pants when I saw that prices had increased in areas of the state.

    I find the end of the article to be interesting where it says high end sales are skewing the numbers. Can we take this as more proof of the erosion of the middle class?

  48. Frank says:

    Hard Place, I am an old timer, I still think $3.5 for a sandwich is too much. I guess I need to adjust my expectation for inflation.

  49. 1987 Condo Buyer says:

    #35…I agree. Condos are the ultimate commodity….however, even on my block of 3bdr ranches, people decorate the insides, have different exteriors and different size back yards and landscaping and location which may appeal to a particular buyer.

  50. bairen says:

    I thought AC had some luxury condos come on line recently. I think that would skew th eprice upwards, especially if the lower end’s volume and prices have dropped.

  51. Shore Guy says:

    # 32 “rutgers gave 10k degrees yesterday.”

    What was it the Wizard of Oz said to the straw man? Some thing like:

    Why, anybody can have a brain. That’s a very mediocre commodity. Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the Earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain. Back where I come from, we have universities, seats of great learning, where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep thoughts and with no more brains than you have. But they have one thing you haven’t got: a diploma.

  52. Shore Guy says:

    # 42 “Talk to the French and Germans they manage in 10%+ unemployment rate.”

    This is true, but they count differently than we do. If we used the same method of counting the unemployed, I suspect we would be just as high as they are.

  53. thatBIGwindow says:

    Mr Bruno’s in Lyndhurst has excellent pizza/dinners. But you really can’t get bad Italian food in Lyndhurst.

  54. jafo says:


    I am not sure if its due to erosion of middle class, or even that higher end buyers are less effective by tight credit. Many of the most expensive homes were purchased with exotic mortgages, even if the buyer wasn’t a typical subprime borrower. Hence, they may have less ability to hold-out for peak prices than folks one tier down with similar incomes and credit. So, I suspect you seeing a shift in mix between what were 500-650k peak price homes and 650-900k peak price. Even if the 900k peak houses are selling for 750k, the average price will go up if 2 of those are selling for every 1 650k now at 540k house, vs the opposite more typical split. Bottom line median price is sort of useless, unless its attached to “median house” for comparison purposes.

  55. 3b says:

    #42: frank:My phone keeps ringing from recruiters looking to fill hedge fund spots.

    That statement sounds very suspect to say the least. As far as your friends who were laid off from Citi and Merrill, where are they happily employed now? Goldman, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, perhaps E-Trade? (oh wait they are laying off too)

  56. grim says:

    OFHEO numbers due out any minute now.

  57. lostinny says:

    53 Shore
    What’s the difference in methods of counting the unemployed?

  58. OFHEO – Prices down 3.1% y/o/y

  59. Njkiwi says:

    Grim I have a couple of questions about NJ real estate license but I don’t want to bore the blog- any chance I can email directly?

  60. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    U.S. Q1 OFHEO home prices down 1.7%

  61. grim says:


    No problem, jamesbednar at gmail dot com.

  62. That’s 3.1% y/o/y for the first quarter.
    Down .4% in March from Feb.

  63. Shore Guy says:

    I have heard some economists discuss this before, and do not have all of the details at hand but as I understand it they, and the Canadians, take the number of people who are employed at the level of employment they seek (so a person who wants part-time employment who wants to work part time is fully employed and a person who wants full-time employment but only can get part-time employment is counted at some fraction of employment) by the number of working age people in the population.

    We stop counting people after awhile, we count people as employed if they do any work for pay during the survey period, etc. We overestimate our employment figures and undercount the unemployed.

  64. Frank says:

    Hedge funds, insurance companies, pharma, accounting firms. Wall St is only hiring consultants these days.

  65. lostinny says:

    65 Shore
    Thanks for the info.
    It’s amazing how you can make numbers look any way you want them to. So much for math being factual.

  66. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    U.S. Q1 OFHEO home prices down 1.7%

    In the first quarter U.S. home prices fell a seasonally adjusted 1.7% — the largest quarterly price decline on record, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight reported Thursday. Prices fell 3.1% in the past year. In the prior quarter, prices declined 1.4%. For March, prices fell 0.4%. The OFHEO index is based on repeat sales of homes mortgaged through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    (emphasis added)

  67. Will V. says:

    I don’t know if anybody has asked this but why don’t I see any more “Lowball” postings? The last one was January.

  68. dblko says:

    #15, #19
    Somehow I’ve been skipping lunch lately. Works out pretty cool. Get more done at work at mid-day, save around $50 per week, avoid the lunch hour crowd, can eat all I want for breakfast and dinner and still end up losing some weight.

  69. Frank says:

    Do OFHEO and Case-Shiller indexes include REO and short sales?

  70. grim says:


    It takes me something on the order of 3 or 4 hours to pull the data together to do that post, which usually means dedicating an entire Saturday or Sunday morning to the task. Custom programming, scripts to scrape HTML pages, an incredibly frustrating amount of tedious cut and pasting, etc. I wish I could do it with a single click, but I can’t. The answer? I’m lazy.

  71. Will V. says:

    I did not know that and now I understand. That’s tough getting all that together. Do you think if someone here knew how to do custom scripting with perl could possibly create something that is almost automatic or do you think it takes a lot of manual sorting through things no matter what? The reason why I ask is because I use perl for a lot of reporting tasks on my servers and I have grown to love working with it but some things just can’t be done and I bet this is one of them, but I’m asking just in case.

  72. Shore Guy says:

    For what it is worth:

    The Spring RE Guide

  73. Shore Guy says:

    # 74 I figured it would heve one item “Duck and cover.”

  74. Clotpoll says:

    Shore (52)-

    Everything you need to know about America is explained by The Wizard of Oz.

    It is our country’s Orlando, Beowulf, Niebelungenliede, etc…all rolled into one.

  75. Shore Guy says:


    Who was it that the character Frasier Crane listed as Americans’ greatest philosophers? I believe it was Larry, Curley, and Moe. Which also explains much about this country. That and the fact that 80-odd million people can recite, in great detail, vast amount of information about the various American Idol or Dancing with the Stars participants, but cannot say anything meaningful about the public policy positions of their current congressional representatives or the current crop of presidential candidates.

  76. Rich In NNJ says:

    Grim (72),

    I think your time estitmate will continue to increase as it seems most sales are low balls these days.

    I find the flat or loss of value compared to previous sales to be more tellling.

  77. Shore Guy says:

    The wizard of Oz certainly explains the Fed.

  78. grim says:

    From CNBC:

    Home Prices Post Record Declines In First Quarter

    The US housing market continued to weaken in the first quarter, with home prices falling a record 1.7% from the previous quarter and a record 3.1% from a year earlier, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight said.

  79. Shore Guy says:

    # 80 Which makes this ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  80. Shore Guy says:

    A great time…………………………………

  81. Clotpoll says:

    Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

  82. grim says:

    From the AP:

    Gov’t home price index posts largest drop in 17-year history

    The government says U.S. home prices posted a first-quarter decline bigger than any other in the 17-year history of tracking the data.

  83. Shore Guy says:

    C’mon, everybody. You know how to end that statement.

  84. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    First Quarter U.S. Home Prices Tumble 3.1 Percent, Ofheo Says

    U.S. house prices fell 3.1 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to a government report.

    Prices for previously owned single-family homes also fell an average of 1.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, known as Ofheo, said today in Washington.

    Potential buyers are waiting for falling prices to hit bottom, causing the inventory of unsold properties to swell. People who are ready to buy face difficulty obtaining financing as lenders have tightened lending standards and cut back on the number of mortgages they are writing.

    “It’s a dismal picture, there’s no way around it,” said Paul Kasriel, chief economist at Northern Trust Corp. in Chicago. “A complicating factor is the fact that so many homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their houses are worth. This is a financial crisis. You can’t put lipstick on this pig.”

  85. Rich In NNJ says:

    From MarketWatch

    U.S. home prices down 1.7% in first quarter: OFHEO

    U.S. home prices fell a seasonally adjusted 1.7% in the first three months of 2008 — the largest quarterly price decline on record, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight reported Thursday.

    Prices fell in 43 states, according to the agency. Prices were down 3.1% between the first quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008, OFHEO’s data showed.

    “For homeowners and financial market observers, these declines spell further erosion in home equity levels and potentially more trouble for mortgage markets,” said James Lockhart, OFHEO director. “To prospective home buyers who have been shut out of homeownership because of affordability constraints, these declines may be welcome news, as are continued low mortgage rates.”

    On Wednesday, trade groups representing realtors and architects reported that commercial real-estate markets should weaken in the months ahead.

  86. grim says:

    While I prefer to describe the market in terms of the inability to polish fecal matter, the ol’ “lipstick on the pig” works just fine.

  87. Shore Guy says:

    # 80 #85 or floods, pestilence, economic chaos, personal bankruptcy, nuclear winter, entering hospice, it does not matter. Every disaster is just a good opportunity to……………….

  88. grim says:

    Pay a commission?

  89. Rich In NNJ says:


    …eat pizza?
    …buy a stroller?
    …shout out my stock/bond/commodity gains?
    …ramble on about my personal political choice?

  90. grim says:

    …complain about the fact that it cost me $70 to fill my tank this morning. Even worse knowing that it’ll all be gone by this evening. No skeeball for me down at the shore this weekend. I hope the shore businesses weren’t banking on a strong Memorial Day weekend this year.

  91. Rich In NNJ says:

    You can afford to go to the shore?!

    Why not just flaunt the gains you’ve made on your coral holdings too!

  92. RentinginNJ says:

    OFHEO purchase only index for NJ

    Down 2.45% YOY
    Down 1.45% Since last Qtr.

    The OFHEO home price index includes a large number of refi’s. These tend to “kinder” to home prices than actual transactions. The “purchase only” index strips out the refinancings.

  93. still_looking says:

    #67 lost,

    old story of lies, darn lies and statistics.

    #84 What curtain, clot? I don’t see any curtain…

    off to work…catch you folks later.


  94. still_looking says:

    oh right, I forgot… fill *my* Pathfinder with gas to get there… grim, I feel your pain. :-(


  95. grim says:

    Afford to go down the shore? Heck no. I’ve got inlaws. But yeah, I guess I don’t have a right to complain.

    Did I mention they make me do illegal construction for my bunk? I’m dreading the next bathroom remodel. Although, I’m looking forward to playing with PEX and a tankless water heater.

  96. Frank says:

    To answer my own question.

    Do OFHEO and Case-Shiller indexes include REO and short sales?

    “Subsequent sales by mortgage lenders of foreclosed properties are included if repeat sales pairs, because they are arms-length transactions”

  97. RentinginNJ says:

    …complain about the fact that it cost me $70 to fill my tank this morning

    Just be happy the warm weather is here.
    M 08 Heating Oil popped $4/gallon on NYMEX this morning. If these prices hold, we are probbaly looking at $5/gallon retail heating oil by winter.

  98. spam spam bacon spam says:

    56: 3b Says:

    #42: frank:My phone keeps ringing from recruiters looking to fill hedge fund spots.

    That statement sounds very suspect to say the least. As far as your friends who were laid off from Citi and Merrill, where are they happily employed now? Goldman, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, perhaps E-Trade? (oh wait they are laying off too)

    They are now at MickDees, WhinDees and WaiteKhastel…

  99. Pat says:

    Free pinball (no skeeball money needed) and coupons for coffee.

    There. Who needs the shore, anyway?

    If only Mickey Dee could figure out how to beam sunshine out of my monitor and I could convince the boss to let us wear swimsuits to work.

  100. grim says:

    What will happen to oil prices during hurricane season?

    From MarketWatch:

    NOAA: Near or above normal Atlantic hurricane season seen

    NOAA expects 6 to 9 hurricanes, 2 to 5 major hurricanes

    NOAA sees 60%-70% chance of 12-16 named storms

  101. kettle1 says:

    renting ,

    watch the price of natrual gas as winter approaches….. oil will hurt, but a large % of peopl ein the northeast use natural gas. Guess what all the recently built power plants run on ….. natural gas…. look for a respectable price spike/ supply issues

  102. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Trucker group backs NJ toll, gas-tax hikes

    A truck-drivers association today endorsed a proposal to raise tolls and the gasoline tax in New Jersey.

    The Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers backed Assemblyman John Wisniewski’s plan to pay for transportation. Its president, Jeffrey Bader, saids the plan is sensible and responsible.

    Wisniewski proposes increasing New Jersey Turnpike tolls 25 percent, Garden State Parkway tolls 50 cents and Atlantic City Expressway tolls 75 cents, with more increases in later years.

    The Assembly transportation panel chairman also wants to boost the 14.5 cent per gallon gas tax by 18 cents over three years.

  103. thatBIGwindow says:

    Just for giggles, I searched on the MLS for a similar house to the one I bought in 2006 (at 20% under comps). Seems like I am about 10k away from breaking even on the amount paid in my 2006 purchase.

    I don’t regret buying yet…

  104. Hehehe says:

    Grim unmod 108

  105. Frank says:

    Note: Using the S&P/Case-Shiller weighting method, but excluding the increased impact of foreclosure sales on that index, our 2008 expected home price decline would be 10-13% (vs. 7-9%); our expected peak-to-trough decline would be 20-25% (vs. 15-19%). The S&P/Case-Shiller Index is value-weighted, whereas the Fannie Mae index is unit-weighted; hence the S&P/Case-Shiller index places greater weight on higher cost metropolitan areas. In addition, the S&P/Case Shiller index includes foreclosure sales; foreclosure sales are excluded from the Fannie Mae index and from this forecast. Foreclosure sales tend to depress the S&P/Case Shiller index relative to the Fannie Mae index.

  106. jcer says:

    Grim, avoid the tankless, my folks put one in down the shore after 2 months of boiling hot/freezing cold showers it went to the curb and a tank was put back. I don’t know if it was just the brand(bosch) but many people had the same complaints.

  107. Hehehe says:

    There’s a relatively new ETF with a ticker of DBE. It’s 1/4 natural gas, 1/4 gasoline, 1/4 heating oil, 1/4 crude. Only bad thing is it’s not that well known so its volume is not that high so you may not be able to enter and exit at the price you want.

    Personal opinion is that’s the one major problem with these ETF’s, the volume, firms are coming out with better products but if there’s limited volume you cam have hard times getting in and out. I’d reccommend before anybody invest in any of them that they keep that in mind and also what the weighting is if it’s modeled on an index. Some of them you are basically buying 3-4 stocks as 50-75% of the ETF.

  108. Hehehe says:

    Ps. I am not an investment advisor, I do not know anything.

  109. Hehehe says:

    Layoffs ’08: Bloodbath in JP Morgan’s Structured Finance Group

  110. Hehehe says:

    DJ US Energy Secy: Tight Mkt, Not Speculation, Driving Oil Prices

    Take that Congress!!!

  111. RaggedJohn says:

    Re: eating lunch in NYC

    I can’t resist the $5 footlongs from Subway, but I’m cheap and not terribly picky about food. Being right across the street from the office helps too.

  112. njpatient says:

    93 grim

    “No skeeball for me down at the shore this weekend. I hope the shore businesses weren’t banking on a strong Memorial Day weekend this year”

    did you catch the bit on CNBC this morning where reps from Hershey Park and Busch Gardens etc. were being asked about the effect of high oil prices on the tourism industry? They all maintained that it would be beneficial since people would vacation in the Yoo Ess of Ay instead of traveling abroad, but my favorite bit was this:

    CNBC HOST: “Is there any level at which the cost of gas becomes prohibitive enough that it could affect your business?”

  113. Pat says:

    Boomers love chocolate.

  114. schlivo says:

    RentinginNJ Says:
    May 22nd, 2008 at 10:52 am
    “OFHEO purchase only index for NJ

    Down 2.45% YOY
    Down 1.45% Since last Qtr. ”

    So where’s Pret?

  115. pretorius says:

    schlivo Says:

    “So where’s Pret?”

    Right here. So what’s your 2008 NJ home price prediction?

  116. lostinny says:

    109 Grim
    The best part is the fighting in the comments after articles like that.

  117. grim says:

    From Reuters:

    Subprime, Alt-A mortgage delinquencies rising: S&P

    Delinquencies in U.S. subprime debt and higher-quality mortgages known as Alt-A securities are continuing to increase, Standard & Poor’s said on Thursday.

    Delinquencies for Alt-A mortgages rated between 2005 and 2007 are climbing, with total delinquencies rising as high as 17 percent in some cases, more than 6 percentage points higher than previous estimates, the ratings agency said in a report.

    Lower-quality subprime mortgage delinquencies soared as high as 37 percent for mortgages originated in 2006, 4 percentage points higher than previous estimates, S&P said.

    Subprime mortgages originated in 2007 saw delinquencies climb to almost 26 percent, 6 percentage points higher.

    “The 2007 issuance year continues to be the worst-performing vintage in terms of cumulative losses,” S&P said, regarding subprime mortgages. “Serious delinquencies” of payments 90 days late or more and foreclosures also are rising, S&P said.

  118. grim says:

    From CNBC:

    S&P And The Staggering “New” Home Foreclosure Numbers

    Whenever I see the word “traunches,” my eyes tend to roll backwards in my head because the world of mortgage backed securities and how they are rated is positively mind numbing.

    But I can’t ignore a report from Standard and Poors today that puts some staggering new numbers on the mortgage crisis.

    Delinquencies for Alt-A mortgages (these are the low-doc, no-doc loans where you don’t have to prove your income, etc.) rated between 2005 and 2007 are continuing to climb, with total delinquencies now as high as 17 percent in some cases. That’s 6 percentage points higher than previous estimates.

    And of course it’s worse for subprimes. Subprime delinquencies are now as high as 37 percent for mortgages originated in 2006, that’s four percentage points higher than previous estimates. And the 2007 issuance year, according to S&P, “continues to be the worst-performing vintage in terms of cumulative losses.”

    That leaves me to wonder why the estimates were off? Did S&P expect home prices to stabilize or lender/government programs to save more folks from falling behind on payments? Clearly things aren’t improving, and the more folks I talk to, the more I hear that we are not really near the end of the foreclosure crisis.

    I know the Realtors, when they report existing home sales tomorrow, will likely say we’re bumping along the bottom with sales beginning to rebound.

  119. RentinginNJ says:

    watch the price of natrual gas as winter approaches….look for a respectable price spike/ supply issues

    Typically over the summer months the U.S. refills storage with imported LNG. However, LNG worldwide demand is high right now (as are prices) and most of these shipments are not coming to the U.S. As a result, we are likely to start next winter without full storage.

  120. John says:

    times are so tough my boss is staying at his pied a tier coops in NYC a few nights a week to stay on commuting costs. it is tough at all levels.

  121. WaitingInRent says:

    Does anybody have a link to the mortgages in Bergen County?

    I have the link for Morris, but I can’t find Bergen.

  122. NJLifer says:

    #87 “You can’t put lipstick on this pig.”

    Looks like the NAR is going into cosmetics soon.

  123. Rich In NNJ says:

    From MarketWatch

    GSEs seek extension in new loan-buying authority

    Congress should make an increase in the conforming loan limit in certain areas of the country permanent, mortgage-buyers and realtors argued Thursday, saying such a move would help the housing market.

    Executives from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the National Association of Realtors and other organizations testified before a House Financial Services Committee about the increase in the loan limit, approved in February by President Bush.

    The prior limit was $417,000. The new limit ($729,750) expires at the end of the year.

    But lawmakers said the new limits aren’t working as quickly as they’d like to get the nation’s mortgage market back on its feet.

    Several members of the committee said they supported a permanent increase in the loan-limit, but a bill passed by the Senate Banking Committee would reduce the limit to $550,000.

    Executives from Fannie and Freddie, so-called government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs, that buy mortgages and package them for sale as securities, said they are beginning to see results and urged lawmakers to allow them to buy bigger loans indefinitely.

    Patricia Cook, Freddie Mac’s executive vice president and chief business officer, told lawmakers that it would be up to Wall Street to fund mortgages after the higher limits expire at the end of the year.

    “As we have seen over the past year, however, Wall Street is not nearly as reliable as the GSEs in times of market disruptions, and at some point the jumbo market could revisit the dislocations of 2007-2008,” she testified.

    More “testimony” at the link above, Rich

  124. chicagofinance says:

    Hehehe Says:
    May 22nd, 2008 at 11:20 am
    Where are all the Oil profits are going?

    H: I don’t want to pick a fight, but this article is a specious pile of patent idiocy that may just as easily be funded by private equity with huge investments in wind and solar.

    The U.S. oil companies are completely screwed. They are buying back stock, because they have tied hands in terms of gaining access to fresh oil supplies. In the long-run, the state-controlled/sovereign-influenced oil companies of other nations are going to crush our guys. Additionally, oil prices are pure value destruction at this juncture, not an unlimited bankroll.

    Look at the prices of these said companies…are they flying through the roof? NO! In fact, it the most recent quarter, these companies underperformed because ultimately, they actually need to buy more oil that they personally own.

    Please do not misunderstand me. There is a large amount of factual assertions in the release, but it is about 60% facts and 40% political grandstanding. Do you want to attack corporate america? fine….but don’t single out these guys. Further, in the long-run we are in a lot of trouble if such easily supported and attractive philosophies take hold to the detrement of global competitive and strategic control of our own destiny.

  125. njpatient says:


    “The world’s premier energy monitor is preparing a sharp downward revision of its oil-supply forecast, a shift that reflects deepening pessimism over whether oil companies can keep abreast of booming demand.

    The Paris-based International Energy Agency is in the middle of its first attempt to comprehensively assess the condition of the world’s top 400 oil fields. Its findings won’t be released until November, but the bottom line is already clear: Future crude supplies could be far tighter than previously thought.”

  126. njpatient says:

    “The U.S. oil companies are completely screwed. They are buying back stock, because they have tied hands in terms of gaining access to fresh oil supplies. In the long-run, the state-controlled/sovereign-influenced oil companies of other nations are going to crush our guys.”

    In the long run, all oil companies that do not diversify out of oil are screwed.

  127. Jamey says:


    Chi: I know oil stocks are due to underperform. How? Jim Cramer this morning advised viewers to load up on them.

  128. chicagofinance says:

    njpatient Says:
    May 22nd, 2008 at 1:12 pm
    In the long run, all oil companies that do not diversify out of oil are screwed.

    njp: are you one of the Rockerfeller trust babies?

  129. jcer says:

    I have an idea for the oil companies, pump those profits into high lipid content algae farms, because presumably with oil at $130 it now makes sense to get diesel equivilents from non-food, high growth rate plants.

  130. jcer says:

    I meant research algae farms.

  131. chicagofinance says:

    Jamey Says:
    May 22nd, 2008 at 1:14 pm
    131: Chi: I know oil stocks are due to underperform. How? Jim Cramer this morning advised viewers to load up on them.

    Define….which and what….
    (1) by county
    (2) by step in the production chain…

    For #2:
    Buy oil directly
    Buy owners of oil reserves
    Buy oil explorers for (a)land or (b)sea
    Buy builders of exploration equipment
    Buy suppliers to the builders of equipment
    Buy maintenance companies for existing oil sources
    Buy construction companies that build wells (a)land or (b)sea
    Buy maintenance companies for existing oil sources
    Buy transporters of oil
    Buy refiners of oil

    as an example…the last step in the chain has gotten killed – why? They buy oil, but refined product prices have not kept pace so their margins are squeezed. XOM has the whole thing covered except “oil reserves” so they are getting hurt more than you would think.

    It is really very complicated….

  132. NNJ says:

    Maybe I should buy the company that makes the barrels that hold the oil. Now who will notice if the barrel price doubled when oil is at $135.

  133. schabadoo says:

    Sexy espresso

    Anyone notice a leering gentleman with NC plates?

  134. 1987 Condo Buyer says:

    #109..grew upon SI…maybe it was the time….I remember when our roads got paved for the first time! had neat little mini bike trails to ride our “sting ray” bikes on, biked to the waterfront, played in the woods…wasn’t bad…no ballfields though (20 minute car ride)….

  135. Jamey says:

    That’s more parsing of a Cramer screed than I had anticipated, but:

    2) ExxonMobil, etc. The US-based “blue chips,” or at least that’s what I inferred from Cramer’s breathless declaration.

    1) Bergen. Always Bergen.

  136. Nom Deplume says:

    [134] Jamey,

    Good enough for me. Cramer is a contrarian signal for me too. Will be entering sell XOM.

  137. F Moore says:

    Who could blame the realtors? There is a lot of conflicting information and opinions on improvements in the real estate market.

  138. make money says:

    10yr is aproaching 4%.

    Is this a resul tof yesterdays feds minutes on inflation?

    get we get rates to double digits and crush this housing bubble and return to business as usual?

    it would be nice to save the dollar.

  139. make money says:

    10yr is aproaching 4%.

    Is this a result of yesterdays feds minutes on inflation?

    get we get rates to double digits and crush this housing bubble and return to business as usual?

    it would be nice to save the dollar.

  140. GetAClueNJ says:

    Where can I find housing inventory statistics for New Jersey, and Somerset county in particular?

  141. Hehehe says:

    Grim unmoderate me man

  142. 3b says:

    #145 fmoore: on improvements in the real estate market.

    I do not think anybody can maintian that we are seeing anything that could be called an improvement in the real estate market.

  143. Confused In NJ says:

    Nom Deplume Says:
    May 21st, 2008 at 7:07 pm
    [258] confused,

    Tell me more about the 9/4/2 split in NP. Any intelligence I could use?

    I sold a house two doors away in 2003, by owner for $520K, (no commissions), with a sign in the dirt for two days. I know that house, it’s larger then mine was, located on Brookside Drive, walk to SaltBrook school, NP train, downtown and Lyons Park. Yards are private with SaltBrook behind them, no water problems. Owner is retiring, moving to NY where his daughter lives. There is another one priced at $599K, same house on Grant Ave with the train behind it.

  144. #147 – Make Money – It has been flirting with 4% for a few weeks now, hitting the mid 3.9xx region and then dropping back again.
    I am not a bond trader so the intricacies of the market are unknown to me, I was chalking it up to a lack of demand for a variety of reasons.

  145. Hehehe says:

    Top banks call for relaxed writedown rules

    The world’s leading banks have stepped up pressure to relax controversial accounting rules with a new plan aimed at breaking the “downward spiral” of huge writedowns, emergency fundraisings and fire-sales of assets.

    I like the word “controversial”. I do not believe the rules were controversial when they were making record profits the past several years.

  146. Pat says:

    Well, accounting is a controversial activity to begin with.

    After all, there haven’t been THAT many Enrons.

    Why should we need accounting rules that help investors value assets, anyway.

  147. Rich In NNJ says:


    I think “fmoore” threw out a comment just to get his link posted.

  148. chicagofinance says:

    chicagofinance Says:
    May 21st, 2008 at 12:27 pm
    Again posting…
    Does anyone have access to the Monmouth County MLS?

    njcoast Says:
    May 21st, 2008 at 12:56 pm
    I do.

    There is a small subdivision of eastern Middletown called Locust. I think it shares a zip code with Rumson.

    I assume there are very few listings. Do you have a breakdown of all listings that may have expired and also transactions since last summer?

    If it is more than a few, maybe I could ask to take this offline.

    Please let me know, and thank you much in advance.

  149. chicagofinance says:

    chicagofinance Says:
    May 21st, 2008 at 12:27 pm
    Again posting…
    Does anyone have access to the Monmouth County MLS?

    njcoast Says:
    May 21st, 2008 at 12:56 pm
    I do.

    There is a small subdivision of eastern Middletown called Locust. I think it shares a zip code with Rumson.

    I assume there are very few listings. Do you have a breakdown of all listings that may have expired and also transactions since last summer?

    If it is more than a few, maybe I could ask to take this offline.

    Please let me know, and thank you much in advance.

  150. njcoast says:

    #157 chicagofinance

    I’d be glad to help you. You may get my email address from Grim.

  151. F. Moore says:

    Since you did not post my last comment (a reply) could you please delete my first comment. Thank you.

  152. jafo says:

    On energy prices.

    The producers blame the speculators. The investors blame demand and the dollar. The reg agencies say supply is fine, and are mum on the dollar. As dollar sinks further, they get on the demand band wagon. The refiners/distributors say they don’t set price and are only making a percent on the carry. Bottom line, all of these groups have a vested interest in one explanation of another.

    Lets try to answer this in the near term – Putting aside longer term issues, as such dollar devaluation, peak oil, and global warming.

    Was there an increase in demand porpotional to price increase, given the marginality of oil?

    Was there at any time insufficient supply, before run up?

    Did the rise in prices reduce demand, or even growth in demand?

    Was the run in price, proportional to dollar slide against euro – given above factors?

    What precentage of long interest are non-consumers or producers?

    What percentage of consumer, distributor, and refiner purchases are stock piling to hedge against future increases vrs. near term needs?

  153. njpatient says:

    f moore

    is that a name or a recommendation?

  154. Shore Guy says:

    406 Error?

  155. Shore Guy says:

    406 Error?

  156. RentinginNJ says:

    Get ready to pay…

    Low returns on state pension accounts bode ill for taxpayers

    Ten months into the state’s fiscal year, investment returns on the account that bankrolls pensions for teachers and government workers are below 1 percent, managers of the account told state officials today.

    “It’s still been a tough market,”

    How much the fund gains or loses on Wall Street has expensive implications for taxpayers.

    Experts who calculate how much the state needs to deposit in the fund each year assume the funds in the pension account will earn 8.25 percent in investment returns each year. If returns over five years average less than that, taxpayers must make up the difference.

    As of April 30, the pension fund, which bankrolls about $6 billion in pension payments each year, held $81.5 billion. That is just short of the $82.2 billion that was on hand at the start of the budget year last July 1.

    The lagging results are a stark turnaround for a pension fund that actuaries say is already underfunded by more than $28.3 billion.

  157. Rich In NNJ says:

    SLD 820 BELLIS PKWY $579,000 8/1/2005

    2740576 Withdrawn
    ACT 820 BELLIS PKWY $599,000 10/5/2007
    PCH 820 BELLIS PKWY $579,000 10/26/2007
    W-U 820 BELLIS PKWY $579,000 2/2/2008
    2804619 Sold
    ACT 820 BELLIS PKWY $575,000 2/2/2008
    PCH 820 BELLIS PKWY $549,000 3/13/2008
    ACT* 820 BELLIS PKWY $549,000 3/31/2008
    U/C 820 BELLIS PKWY $549,000 4/11/2008
    SLD 820 BELLIS PKWY $535,000 5/22/2008

  158. Rich In NNJ says:

    SLD 504 OLDWOODS RD $745,000 7/16/2007
    Mortgage $596,000 7/16/2007
    Deed $745,000 7/12/2007
    Mortgage $68,000 12/4/2007
    Mortgage $652,000 12/4/2007

    ACT 504 OLDWOODS RD $874,000 5/1/2008
    PCH 504 OLDWOODS RD $849,000 5/22/2008
    No physical updates
    A lot of praying after the “re-fi”… but no updates

  159. BklynHawk says:

    To the art buffs who love industrial NJ…really interesting NJ urban landscape pieces by Valeri Larko…

    Here’s her bio:

    Valeri Larko has had numerous solo and group exhibitions of her paintings throughout the New York metropolitan area. Notable solo exhibits include The New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, Safe-T-Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, Bronx River Art Center, Art Guild of Rahway, NJ, Johnson and Johnson Corporate Headquarters Gallery, New Brunswick, NJ and the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit, NJ. Notable group exhibits include The Jersey City Museum, The Morris Museum, The National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, Aljira, a center for contemporary Art, Newark NJ, William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ, MB Modern in New York City and the Bruton Street Gallery in London, England.

    In the fall of 2000 Valeri Larko was awarded a major mural commission from New Jersey Transit and the New Jersey State Council on the arts for the Secaucus Transfer Station. She painted four murals for their north mezzanine. Completed in August of 2003, the Secaucus Transfer Station is the largest train station in the state of New Jersey. Valeri Larko was awarded another public art commission in 2004. This time by the city of Summit to create two Fragmented Glass Murals for the Bus Shelter located in front of the city’s train station. Other honors include grants from both the George Sugarman Foundation for painting and the New York Foundation for the Arts Strategic Opportunity Grant in 2006, an Artist in Residence Fellowship from the Newark Museum in 2002, a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship Grant in 1992 and several awards from the National Academy of Design in New York City. Ms. Larko’s work is in the collections of the Jersey City Museum, The Montclair Museum, The New Jersey State Museum, Johnson and Johnson, Rutgers University and a number of other significant organizations.

    Educated at the Du Cret School of the Arts, Plainfield, NJ and the Arts Students League, New York City, In 2004, Valeri moved from her long time residence in Summit, NJ to an artist loft building in New Rochelle, New York. Presently she holds the position of Director of the Tomasulo Gallery at Union County College, Cranford, New Jersey, a position she has held since1996. She is also a painting instructor at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit, NJ and teaches international landscape painting

  160. njpatient says:

    Interesting discussion of projected fall in previously “i-banking-esque” profits-per-partner at NYC Biglaw:

    By this time next year there will be a lot less money in the city.

  161. Nom Deplume says:


    Thanks for the info. Seems attractive enough but wife hates splits and is focused on small CHCs. Looks like it needs major updating, and with a retiree, I can expect that.

    Query whether you can walk to train/town/Salt brook sch. Seems like a hike when I look at it on satellite. Glad to hear about brook–was concerned when I saw how close it was. Also, tracks not that far away (but I suppose in a train town, you deal with train noise).

  162. Nom Deplume says:

    [169] patient,

    Surprised that Skadden wasn’t well ahead of the rest. That is telling b/c Skadden has a much lower ratio of partners to associates/counsel than other firms, so the PPP is typically much higher. Not to say that their year sucked, but I noticed that other firms were nipping at their heels, and if the ratios were less skewed, Skadden would not be on top.

  163. njpatient says:

    Nom – Skadden wasn’t tops in PPP. The chart at that link was as to gross revenue (although there was prose discussion of PPP).

  164. njpatient says:

    Here’s the flip-side on the legal employment issue:

  165. njpatient says:

    Since it’s still going:

    See D!ck go to the FHA housing blog contest.

    See D!ck vote for some whack blog like the Title Insurance Blog.

    See D!ck cost grim some money.

    See D!ck cry when he realizes he could have voted for

    Don’t be a D!ck – VOTE GRIM!

  166. Sybarite says:

    #174 looks like a solid spanking.

  167. Sybarite says:

    Low post volume today, eh? People on vaca?

  168. njpatient says:

    or looking for jobs

  169. grim says:

    Please vote if you haven’t yet, I think we may be falling behind. Only 9 days to go, and that Orlando blog is catching up!

  170. oil addict says:

    There’s a tremendous opportunity before us, we shouldn’t be wasting time on distractions like ceo pay, big oil profits, etc.

    I for one welcome peak oil. As a nation we’ve had over thirty years to create an alternative. If the only solution will be a market-driven one, and if it takes $5/gallon to get us there, then let’s get on with it.

    Complaining about our dealer’s cashflow is not the solution if we are the oil addicts. It just makes us look more pathetic. No one has forced us to behave this way, so let’s grow up and face the problem.

    Time to buck up courage and innovate. That’s what our country does best. Now, which way to the Betty Ford Clinic.

  171. grim says:

    Time to buck up courage and innovate.

    I’m on it sir, I’ll have our boys in Bangalore on the line in just a few moments.

  172. Sybarite says:

    I think it’s gonna take more than $5 a gallon to cause real pain. Don’t get me wrong, $5 a gallon will sting but real stimulation is going to come when we HAVE to carpool to get to work, or when we have to choose between gas or merchandise.

  173. Sybarite says:

    By the way, has anyone noticed many gas stations are returning to the days of separate prices for cash vs. credit? Up to 10c a gallon difference.

    Still cheaper to use the AMEX though, for the 5% cash back bonus.

  174. Jim says:

    More problems for NJ, Taxpayer will have to pick up the slack. You all thought real estate taxes were high now, wait until this mess is over.


  175. njpatient says:

    hey kettle, looks like the IEA agrees with Shell’s CEO (from WSJ via Kevin Drum):

    PEAK OIL WATCH….Why have oil prices doubled, doubled again, and then nearly doubled yet again over the past six years? Hedge fund speculation? A “risk premium” due to the Iraq war? Or genuine supply restrictions caused by the declining output of old oil fields?

    I’ve long thought it was the latter — though I admit that the most recent doubling, which took place over a mere 12 months, looks so much like a bubble that it’s given me pause. Today, though, the Wall Street Journal reports that even the International Energy Agency is getting gloomy. In the past, they’ve simply projected demand and basically assumed that OPEC could keep up, but now they’ve decided to take a closer look at that assumption:

    The decision to rigorously survey supply — instead of just demand, as in the past — reflects an increasing fear within the agency and elsewhere that oil-producing regions aren’t on track to meet future needs.

    ….The IEA’s pessimism over future supplies has been building for some time. Last summer, the agency warned that OPEC’s spare capacity could shrink “to minimal levels by 2012.” In November, it said its analysis of projects known to be in the works suggested that the world could face a shortfall by 2015 of as much as 12.5 million barrels a day, unless there was a sharp drop in expected demand. The current IEA work aims to tally the range of investments and projects under way to boost production from the fields in question to get a clearer sense of what to expect in production flows.

    “This is very important, because the IEA is treated as the world’s only serious independent guardian of energy data and forecasts,” says Edward Morse, chief energy economist at Lehman Brothers. Examining the state of the world’s big oil fields could prod their owners into unaccustomed transparency, he says.

    The IEA’s concern is with both the absolute condition of the world’s oil fields and the amount of investment being made in new projects. Either way, though, a shortfall of 12.5 million barrels is huge. If that’s an accurate assessment, prices are going to have to double another couple of times to bring demand into line with supply. $500 oil, anyone?

  176. kettle1 says:


    very few people realize the real implications of peak oil. the cost of gasoline is one of the least concerning implications…..

    we can look forward to lots of news articles about speculators and evil dictators causing the problem of the moment

  177. kettle1 says:

    nj patient

    if you want to know where peak oil will really hit hard look into fertilizer.

  178. kettle1 says:

    oil addict, nj patient

    we should have a chat at the next GTG we could have a very interesting discusion on the implications of less oil

  179. njpatient says:

    “if you want to know where peak oil will really hit hard look into fertilizer.”

    That’s a load of BS.


  180. sas says:

    “discusion on the implications of less oil”

    who says there is less oil?

    maybe less oil on market, to artifically inflate the prices to pay the oil producing countries, whom then in turn buy our debt, and the World Bank plays the middle man and makes alot more than any oil company.


  181. Cindy says:

    Board – Is there any truth to the story that Cuba – backed by India and China – has plans to drill for oil even closer to the US than we do?

  182. njpatient says:


  183. sas says:

    “Is there any truth to the story that Cuba – backed by India and China – has plans to drill for oil even closer to the US than we do?”

    Its true, backed by China.

    although, I don’t think its a large slant drilling field.
    It is right off the coast of southern FL and I am wondering how Cuba will denominate the oil transactions.


  184. sas says:


    what sources telling you that?
    my sources are conflicting.

    we need to examine this.

    or did you just take a guess? ;)


  185. njpatient says:



  186. sas says:

    google it.
    u will get alot of links.

    also I’ve talk to someone last June said it was true. I can always call him.


  187. oil addict says:

    I think I know where you’re going with the fertilizer, but we’ll just have to ask how we did it “B.M.” (before Monsanto)

    When pressed, we actually have a remarkable ability to innovate, adapt, and overcome. Unfortunately, we’ve been so spoiled by our own success that we are going to pay dearly for this addiction.

    I guess some tough love is on the way, filler up?

  188. bairen says:

    Peak oil will have zero effect on north Jersey. We are all rich, live in mcMansions, drive SUVs, and shop at Whole Foods with canvas bags to feel green.

    / sarcasm

    I think the Mcmansion developments filled with people who have to drive 80 miles or more round trip to work are toast if gas stays at $4 a gallon for a few years. The only quick solution that could save them is lots of telecommuting.

  189. sas says:

    u blokes talking about fertilizer & Monsanto… you should read some of Vandana Shiver writings.


  190. njpatient says:

    Not sources, sas. I can’t prove a negative, but that’s not the sort of item that stays off the front pages of the dailies.
    That would be a major international incident (drilling in US territorial waters, that is). And for PR reasons, it is impossible for me to believe that Bush would keep quiet about it.

  191. bruiser says:

    mark said:
    the american public , morons ,but hey
    rutgers gave 10k degrees yesterday.

    Mark, every state university gave out thousands and thousands of degrees this week. What makes you single out Rutgers students, other than it is your own state U? There are plenty of idiots at UVA, UMD, Wisconsin, Penn State, etc.

  192. bairen says:

    Most people are clueless about oil other then their gas and utilities are going up. they have no idea all the things its used for, how high oil increases the price of goods due to higher utility and transportation costs. All thye know is it now costs them $60 or more a week in gas to fill up their SUV for thier 30 mile commutes.

  193. bairen says:

    #199 njpatient,

    Don’t worry about pak oil. You live in a train town, real estate can only go up in train towns, right?

    / sarcasm off

  194. sas says:

    “And for PR reasons, it is impossible for me to believe that Bush would keep quiet about it”

    Agreed. I think there is a fair amount of economic blackmail going on.

    THere is more than meets the eye with this one.


  195. sas says:

    I have a connection at the U.S.-Cuba Trade Council.

    I will send him an email now to try to get some skinny.


  196. HEHEHE says:

    Wachtel Lipton is always tops in PPP.

  197. sas says:

    To switch gears somewhat:

    you blokes see the price of new tires?
    I need some tires for me buga..

    when I saw the price, I almost collapsed.

    Between tires and paying for my grandkids schools, I think I will never retire.


  198. Cindy says:

    Sas and njpatient – I heard a blip about it on a radio show but when I Googled it the info was dated so I just wondered…had something happened recently??

  199. sas says:


    not that I know of… but its been under my radar.

    keep in mind too that media & Americans attention span is 20 seconds.

    I will do my best to look into it further, other than just using the google.


  200. sas says:


    I never could tolerate Janet Kelly.


  201. Cindy says:

    (208) Thanks SAS

    I just figured if it was for real…

    someone here would know about it.

  202. kettle1 says:

    oil and fertilizer…

    fertilizer increases the yield of a given crop by about 10 – 20% depending on the crop and the soil conditions on average. Fertilizer also allows the same fields to be continually used by replacing nutrients and minerals.

    without fertilizer th best modern crop rotation methods would not prevent soil from being drained of essential nutrients and minerals in a handful of growing seasons.

    fertilizer generally consists of NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium).

    The nitrogen in created using the haber process and then processing the ammonia additionally with phosphorus or as applying directly as ammonia.

    the cost of N fertilier is 90% natural gas as natural gas is the feed stock used in the haber process and is also used as the energy source for powering the haber process..

    The rabbit hole goes significantly deeper! this is barelt the tip of the iceberg. the main point is that we are not talking about a 5% reduction in crop output. we are talking about number son the order of 20%.

    these sources for nitrogen can be replaced, but at a significant cost increase. you can either grow less ( if you cannot afford the N fertilizer) or your food costs significantly more!!!!

    do not underestimate the impact that peak oil will have on food supplies

  203. kettle1 says:


    dont worry about cuba, what do you think we are going to do when oil prices hit $300+ a barrel? Blame cuba for stealing our oil!!! you always want to have someone else to blame and who better then those dirty communist cubans who are stealing or oil

  204. njpatient says:

    204 sas

    China, India and others are drilling off the coast of Cuba (i.e., in Cuban territorial waters), but that wasn’t what Cindy asked. Her question was whether they’re drilling closer to the US coast than the US does. The answer to that is no.
    If Bush thought he could reasonably blame Communist Cuba and the Red Chinese for high oil prices, he’d never stop talking about it.

  205. njpatient says:

    211 kettle

    …absent that process, we’d have to fertilize with BS, like in the good ‘ol days.

  206. kettle1 says:


    from what i have read, it does appear that a spanish company is helping cuba drill new exploratory wells and have stated the possibility of significant reserves. however the whole “drilling right off of florida angle” is more of a political slant. cuba has been looking for oil for decades.

  207. Confused In NJ says:

    A pending $740,000 severance package for the departing Keansburg school superintendent yesterday drew a bipartisan chorus of outrage from lawmakers, with the chairman of the Assembly Education Committee urging Attorney General Anne Milgram to immediately freeze and investigate the payout.

    Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union) called the pending early retirement payout to Barbara Trzeszkowski a “crime against New Jersey taxpayers.”

    “This deal reeks of the insider dealing and disregard for taxpayers that has led residents to hold government in such low esteem,” said Cryan, also a member of the Assembly Budget Committee. “This is an obscene amount for any superintendent, and is especially offensive coming from a district that depends on the state’s taxpayers for the bulk of its funding. Not one penny of this payout should be released.”

    David Wald, spokesman for the Attorney General’s office, declined to comment. Kathryn Forsyth, spokeswoman for state Education Commisioner Lucille Davy, said Davy plans to examine the deal. “We are reviewing the contract to see what, if anything, can be done,” she said.

    The severance package for Trzeszkowski, who is retiring next month at age 60 after working 38 years in the Keansburg school district, includes $184,586 for unused sick and vacation days, and $556,290 in severance pay based on her salary. She did not return a call seeking comment.

    Keansburg, a Monmouth County school district of about 1,800 students, is set to receive $28.9 million in state aid, about 81 percent of its total school budget. It is one of 31 poor school districts eligible for heavy state funding under court rulings.

  208. njpatient says:

    Cindy – here’s the scoop:
    It turns out that the issue is not Cuba drilling in US waters (with the help of whomever) – in fact, quite the opposite: it’s about US companies wanting to drill in Cuban waters.
    Cuba is permitting oil companies from other countries (including China and India and, here’s the twist, the United States) to bid on the rights to drill in Cuban waters. US companies want to bid, but they are not permitted to under US law. Why? Because of the US embargo against Cuba. And this last point explains why we aren’t hearing a peep out of the Bush family on this issue: the Cuban embargo is preventing US oil companies from joining the drilling party in Cuban waters, but the Cuban embargo is the pretty much the entirety of the Republican policy aimed at Cuban ex-pats in Florida; without it, they no longer win Florida elections. And without winning Florida elections, they lose the White House. So Bush is stuck with the choice of sticking up for the US energy industry or winning elections in Florida. He’s choosing the latter.
    In short, it’s not an issue of Commies drilling in US waters, but it IS an issue of US companies losing out on certain drilling rights because of the Cuban embargo.
    Things don’t look like getting better for US oil companies on this front, given that it appears that their biggest advocate is Senator Larry (“Wide Stance”) Craig.

  209. njpatient says:


    two ells.

    You’ll piss off Herb.

  210. Cindy says:

    WoW! Do you folks realize how much you know? – I mean about everything???!

    I just asked a question and then I find out about: Kettle – Why my farmer friend sold his almond orchard earlier this year – he mentioned fertilizer but I didn’t really get it..

    njpatient – It’s an election year – AND oil prices are where they are – no wonder I caught that blip about others drilling off our borders…

    And that SAS has a connection at the US-Cuban Trade Council!

    Man, you just learn about a hundred new things every day…

  211. PGC says:


    I’ll have to review my fertilizer production methods. Where I grew up there are no Natural Gas supplies, but a lot of fertilizer production I think came from coal. I will have to review my Chemistry 101 to remind myself how they make it. The only piece I can remember is how the final stage where they use vortexes to turn the product into pellets. Very cool.

  212. PGC says:


    I’ll have to review my fertilizer production methods. Where I grew up there are no Natural Gas supplies, but a lot of fertilizer production I think came from coal. I will have to review my Chemistry 101 to remind myself how they make it. The only piece I can remember is how the final stage where they use vortexes to turn the product into pellets. Very cool.

  213. PGC says:


    I’ll have to review my fertilizer production methods. Where I grew up there are no Natural Gas supplies, but a lot of fertilizer production I think came from coal. I will have to review my Chemistry 101 to remind myself how they make it. The only piece I can remember is how the final stage where they use vortexes to turn the product into pellets. Very cool.

  214. oil addict says:

    211 – why not rotate crops? Didn’t we learn anything from the dust bowl?

  215. kettle1 says:


    there are 3 main components of fertilizer, NPK

    N uses the haber process

    methane(CH3SH) is cleaned, mainly to remove sulfur impurities that would poison the catalysts. This is done by turning sulfur into hydrogen sulfide:

    CH3SH + H2 → CH4 + H2S

    H2S + ZnO → ZnS + H2O

    CH4 + H2O → CO + 3H2

    2CH4 + O2 → 2CO + 4H2

    CH4 + 2O2 → CO2 + 2H2O

    CO + H2O → CO2 + H2 high

    K2CO3 + H2O + CO2→ 2KHCO3

    CO2 + 4H2 → CH4 + 2H2O

    N2(g) + 3H2(g) → 2NH3(g),

    This is done at 150 – 250 atmospheres (atm) between 300 and 550 °C,

    The Odda process is used to make nitrophosphates
    The process involves acidifying phosphate rock with nitric acid to produce phosphoric acid and calcium nitrate.

    Ca3(PO4)2 + 6 HNO3 + 12 H2O → 2 H3PO4 + 3 Ca(NO3)2 + 12 H2O

    2 H3PO4 + 3 Ca(NO3)2 + 12 H2O → 2 H3PO4 + 3 Ca(NO3)2.4H2O

    The calcium nitrate gives nitrogen fertilizer. The filtrate is composed of phosphoric acid with some nitric acid , this is neutralized with ammonia to produce a compound fertilizer.

    Ca(NO3)2 + 4 H3PO4 + 8 NH3 → CaHPO4 + 2 NH4NO3 + 3(NH4)2HPO4

  216. kettle1 says:

    223 oil addict

    crop rotation alone cannot hope to replenish the minerals and nutrients removed from the soil at the rate that modern industrial farming methods remove them.

    and consider that while americans might be bale to do with a little less food, the majority of the worlds population do not produce enough food to feed themselves, so any drop in food production in the main suppliers such as the US can and does have a devastating effect on other parts of the world

  217. jafo says:

    There are many uses of oil and natural gas, as industrial/agricultural inputs and energy beyond heating/transportation. However, transportation is where oil is the least substituble given current infrastructure. The same goes for heating, where public infrastructure is NJ.

    The US has sufficient coal to provide all non transport energy needs. Coal can also be refined into pretro and by-products – albeit on significant cost and environmental impact. However, their are cleaner more efficient methods coming on. Of course there is the issue of EREOI. However, that is only an issue if the the energy source for conversion is not sufficiently abundent.

    Its not pretty, but worse case you bring more nuke online for electricity, and use nuke to convert coal into oil or gas. Obviously this isn’t a sustainble solution. But the idea isn’t to run this way forever, its to buy you another 20-50 years. You also wouldn’t try to replace all conventional supply, just ease the pressure.

    Peak oil’s impacts are usually discussed in terms of socio-economic breakdown. However, the reality is no nation is going to accept this fate, and die easy. Especially not nuclear armed ones. A worse case peak oil scenario, is basically going to mean WWIII. So contigency planning, in terms of investments or real estate is sort of moot. You can’t just buy commodities, move closer to industry/food sources, or learn to garden.

    In terms of solution, I am big proponent of tele-commuting. Unless you job involves physically touching things or people – there is no reason for you travel to an office where you also burn additional fossile fuels via seperate electricity and heating/cooling.

    Electricity should be primarily nuclear near to mid term,with use of breeder reactors. Solar and wind should also be brought on for diversification and easing load on fuel cycle.

    Transport fuels should shift to bio and plug in electric, with conventional, shale, and gassification filling any near term gaps.

    It might be worth having the gov invest in shale and gasification capacity, even it sits unused. Just to take some of the risk/supply premium out of market, and provide protection against real disruption.

  218. Very well wriiten on realtors

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