We got the “Real Story” right here.

Nice jab at the NJAR from journalist Kevin Post. I’ve been waiting for someone to call out this propaganda in a public forum. You want to know who has the “Real Story”? We do, right here, on this blog.

From the Press of Atlantic City:

N.J. realtors need to get real about their market

The New Jersey Association of Realtors about a year ago started offering online what it calls “the real story on real estate” – as opposed to what the group feels are the overly pessimistic stories about the industry in the media.

On the association’s site www.realstorynj.com, a headline cheerfully asserts that “New Jersey continues to offer tremendous opportunities for buyers and sellers.” A happy buyer says, “It’s an investment,” oblivious to the consensus among economists that thinking of houses as investments instead of places to live is a big part of what got us into this severe recession.

The association and many Realtors believe that if people were given a more upbeat view of real estate, they would be more likely to buy houses and get the economy growing again. Agents call me and strongly urge me to find something positive to say about real estate.

Unfortunately, anyone who bought a house a year ago based on such optimism almost certainly would have seen its value decline significantly.

That’s why it’s good to focus on sales and price data. But data is a bit cold and doesn’t give a robust view of what’s going on in the market.

This entry was posted in Economics, Housing Bubble, New Jersey Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

99 Responses to We got the “Real Story” right here.

  1. safeashouses says:


  2. grim says:

    From the NY Times:

    A Mixed Forecast Down the Shore

    ALONG the shore, the weather report for the real estate market is cloudy with some brightening, according to the barometer of recent sales statistics, although more severe conditions prevail at the sand line.

    An analysis based on fresh data from the state’s four shoreline counties shows the following, according to the housing trend analyst Jeffrey Otteau:

    In Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May Counties so far this year, the inventory of unsold homes remains close to what it is statewide (about a year’s worth on the market).

    At the same time, the median sales price in the shore counties typically declined less than it did statewide, though this did not hold true in communities possessing an actual beachfront (“sand markets,” as Mr. Otteau dubbed them).

    In Long Branch, in Monmouth County, for example, the median price for the first four months of this year was $327,875, or 25 percent below the number for the same period last year. By comparison, the county as a whole had a price decline of 11 percent.

    In Asbury Park, also in Monmouth, the median price dropped 24 percent, to $205,227.

    “This is sand markets’ outstripping the county by better than two-to-one with their rate of price decline,” said Mr. Otteau, who does not routinely separate data in this fashion, but sampled statistics for 10 individual shoreline communities at the request of a reporter.

    One reason, said Mr. Otteau, may be that a bigger part of the shoreline market is second homes, which don’t generate as much interest in a recession.

  3. grim says:

    From the NY Times:

    Sales Suffer in a Wealthy ZIP Code

    As if it were needed, here is more proof of how hard the downturn has hit the luxury market. According to a report by Prudential Douglas Elliman, it was the North Shore submarket — from Kings Point to Laurel Hollow, north of the Long Island Expressway and Route 25 — that showed Long Island’s largest decline in the first quarter of this year. The number of sales fell 40.3 percent, to 216 units.

    Old Westbury is the heart of the North Shore. Its ZIP code, 11568, is ranked as the 10th most affluent in the country. From Jan. 1 through May 1, it had two home sales; last year over the same period, there were seven.

    Dottie Herman, president and chief executive of Prudential Douglas Elliman, said there was a backlog of homes priced at $2 million to $4 million. Some belong to people who lost money in the Ponzi scheme constructed by Bernard Madoff, Ms. Herman said, while others are either casualties of the financial crisis or simply seeking to downsize.

    Looking more broadly at Nassau County, the Multiple List Service of Long Island found that from Jan. 1 through May 6, four homes sold at $3 million or above, versus 24 a year earlier. In the $2 million to $3 million range, 16 homes sold in the first four months of this year, versus 46 in that period last year. Of homes priced at $1 million to $2 million, 67 have sold so far this year, versus 140 last year.

  4. safeashouses says:

    #2 for Long Branch and Asbury, could also be the collapse of subprime?

    Go 2- 3 blocks inland from many parts of the beach in North Long Branch and you will see squalor. (I grew up in Long Branch)

  5. grim says:

    From the Daily Record:

    As home values fall, more try tax appeals

    A soured housing market churned up nearly 3,000 residential tax appeals in Morris County this year, as falling values sent homeowners scurrying to the potential protection of the Morris County Tax Board.

    he county tax board reported on May 1 that 2,975 residential tax appeals were filed this year, up 964 from the number filed in 2008.

    The 2009 totals are significantly higher than the number filed just five years ago, when 800 were filed in 2004, but represent less than 2 percent of the more than 180,000 homes in Morris County

    “It’s the housing market, especially the high end,” Chester Township tax assessor Maureen Kamen said.

    Home values peaked in 2004 and 2005, Kamen said, and the 2009 tax appeals are based on sales made between Oct. 1, 2007, and Oct. 1, 2008.

    Data from the National Association of Realtors said that in Morris County the median sale price of a home in fall 2008 was 10.5 percent lower than it was in fall 2007.

    In the fourth quarter of 2008, the median sale price was $421,000, a drop of $49,000 from the fourth quarter of 2007.

    The median price in the fourth quarter of 2007 was, in turn, 8.7 percent lower than the median price of a home sold in the fourth quarter of 2006, a drop of $45,000 — from $515,300 in 2006 to $470,300.

    “I have not seen a market like this since 1988-89, ” Lenhardt said.

  6. grim says:

    From Crain’s:

    Tax revenues fall in New York

    New York suffered a decline in first-quarter tax revenue larger than that in every state except Alaska, Arizona, Oregon, Georgia and New Jersey, according to a study by Rockefeller Institute. New York’s drop was 17.1%, led by a 36.8% plunge in corporate income tax. Personal income tax fell by 20.8%, and sales tax by 5.6%. The overall decline for 47 states was 12.6%.

  7. grim says:

    An oldie but goodie turned up in my search this morning, Seattle Times reprinting a Bloomberg piece.

    Home prices may be lost for a generation

    We might be looking at a lost generation for U.S. home values.

    Far too many analysts are calling a bottom to the housing market after home prices in 20 metropolitan areas declined at a slower pace, according to the recent Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index.

    Don’t be blinded by the glint of optimism in headlines about rising consumer confidence and slowing price declines. Demographic and market realities tell a more sobering story.

    You won’t see a widespread housing rebound in an economy in which 600,000 jobs a month are lost and foreclosures ravage the most overleveraged areas. These are just the visible barriers to a recovery.

    Mortgage lending has also been unusually tightfisted of late. Lenders are demanding a 20 percent deposit for home purchases and want impeccable credit ratings.

    About 45 percent of banks surveyed by the Federal Reserve said they had “tightened their lending standards on prime mortgages.” I suspect that number is much higher.

    Then there’s the reality that the market is glutted with homes. A record 19 million homes stood empty at the end of 2008.

    What you can’t see in the most recent housing numbers is the least-visible driver of home prices today: demographics.

    The baby-boomer generation, the largest in American history, will be buying fewer single-family homes.

  8. NJGator says:

    Um sorry Mr. Lenhardt, but short sales are not ‘creating a
    perception of a falling market’. If the market were well, these homes would not need to be sold short.

    ‘Montville tax assessor Thomas Lenhardt said the increased number of tax appeals this year — 86 in his town compared with 45 in 2008 — reflect an inconsistent housing market. He said that homes were staying on the market for longer periods of time, some up to 120 days, and the resultant effect of short sales — where a homeowner accepts a sale price that’s lower than the mortgaged amount, just to sell the home — created the perception of a failing market.’

  9. 3b says:

    #8 NJGator: I wonder how he would define the perception of a rising market?

  10. poor guy says:

    First: the main article is absurd. A house is partly an investment. During the bubble it did not make sense to be in it long term. It was “pump and dump” and those who bought because it is not an investment and just wanted it a house they are now screwed.

    Second: I am not sure that credit is hard. FHA loans are easy to get and jumbos for NJ is 700K. Not to mention that the bailouts is a sort of easy credit that affect NJ housing as well. There is a mini bubble going on otherwise housing would have crashed.

  11. House Hunter says:

    Just when I thought I heard everything…front page of the Trenton Times real estate page “PMC announces reverse mortgage home purchase” It appears that a new buyer age 62 and above can now buy a home with a reverse morgtage. You put money down from your own funds, and then the balance is in a “reverse mortgage” you only pay property taxes, insurance and any association fees if required…you pay no mortgage payment. Of course..they go on to say “It isall the our job to make sure the senior and their family understand all the nuances”
    On another note…they are still printing “no money down” deals ….what a mess

  12. yome says:

    Ripoff: Social Security and California Teachers

    If my spouse died do i get her social security plus mine?NOT.Eliminate Government Employees Pension,put everybody in social security that is how you solve the problem.We are over taxed already.

  13. morpheus says:


    Getting ready to make another bid on a house (here we go again!). I have pulled comps on this house via zillow and homegain. Using this and tax records, there is a comp for much less and almost 8X the lot size. The tax records also indicate that “improvements/buildings” of this comp are accessed at about $20K more than the property we wish to buy.

    Question: based on the different accessed value for the “building/improvements” can I argue that the comp was in better condition or nearly the same condition as the house we wish to buy? The argument would be why would pay XX for your house when this comp sold for less and had greater acreage?

    The house we wish to buy needs a lot of work. Both are in the same town (according to the tax records) and the comp is younger by 21 years.

  14. Cindy says:


    Elizabeth chatting with Bill Mauer.

    John and others who doubt her sincerity to make a difference, I believe she is going on these shows because she has been virtually ignored by MSM. Finding a bit of humor and getting the word out in this way is the best she can hope for at this point. Basically, appealing to the people to pay attention.

    Maybe she’s thinking, if the folks are watching American Idol, Bill Mauer, and Dave Stewart – I’ll go there and tell them what they must hear.

  15. NJCoast says:

    #6 Grim

    Speaking of Crain’s, there is an article and picture of my daughter in the Gotham Gigs section. She creates the classes at Murray’s Cheese in NYC. I highly recommend them. I know shameless plug from proud mom.

  16. NJCoast says:

    #4 Safe-(grew up in Long Branch)

    Windmill hotdogs?

  17. Cindy says:

    (12) Yome – I will attempt to explain the inequity of the CA teacher/ social security problem. There are two issues – I am only familiar with one: the windfall elimination provision.

    I have worked since I was 16. I paid into SS for 35 years – various jobs part-time while in college and when raising my children and 12 years in banking then as a teacher in OR. So I paid in monthly, from my earning, and my employer paid as well.

    When I became a teacher in CA in 1997, I was assured I would still receive SS because I only planned to teach until I was 62 and needed to make one normal retirement check by combining resources. Come to find out, SS only considered 20 of my years of payment to be when I made “substantial earnings.” I was a hundred or two off from qualifying for different years so those years were tossed out.

    In the end, I paid $120,000 over the substantial earnings benchmark – just not in each year that they subscribe to in their formula. You receive zero credit for a year unless you hit that benchmark – no percentage for the year so you can combine years. Plus, in some years I paid on three times the substantial earnings amount but only received one year’s credit.

    For 20 years – you get 40% of the SS benefit 21 years – 45% – 22 years 50% etc. until you have 30 years @ 100% of your benefit.

    So, someone who paid in less than I did, but managed to hit the mark on an annual basis, receives their total benefit. For those years I was off by $100 and lost credit for the year, I lose 5% of my benefit – for life.

    I am often chided for earning a defined benefit. But were I to retire now in CA @ 60, I would receive just under $1400. a mo. The SS might have made it possible to retire.

    I paid in that money for 35 years, someone else will benefit from those payments. Not me. That is the argument.

  18. jerseycityguy says:

    I could use some insight.

    We made a bid on this bank-owned property–MLS ID #2673848. I’m thinking of withdrawing it, regardless of whether the bank decides to work with us, the other offer I know of, or some third or fourth offer.

    If we went through with it and purchased this house, we’d be stretched, stretched, stretched, for the next two years, as day-care costs would be the kicker on what would be tight budgeting anyway. We’d put 10% down, get a 4.9% 30-year, and have no play in the budget, but we’d have a house to grow old in.

    The house seems very well priced, and the wife really wants it; she’s dying for it. Can’t tell whether or not we’d be lifers in Maplewood–can’t see the long term.

    Is it well-priced? What’s the collective wisdom on where things will be in Maplewood in 2-3 years? I’ve got a good rental in Jersey City that we can stay in another couple years before its just too small for the kids and us.

    Many thanks for insight in advance.


  19. confused in nj says:

    The president of Brazil says “opposing” homosexuality makes you a sick person, and he believes such thoughts need to be criminalized.

    It was only a few decades ago when the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a mental disorder, before it succumbed to a pro-”gay” campaign to discontinue that definition.

    Now Brazilian chief Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who won a narrow re-election following a cash-for-votes scandals, has held the First National Conference of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Transsexuals to condemn the biblical belief that homosexuality is wrong.

    Lula, on June 5, not only officially opened the event to promote homosexuality across his nation but also issued a presidential sanction for the conference.

    Calling for “the criminalization of homophobia,” he said opposition to homosexuality is “perhaps the most perverse disease impregnated in the human head.”

    He said “prejudiced” people need to “open their minds and clean them.” Other speakers encouraged homosexuals to claim to be part of a civil rights campaign that already has brought reforms for treatment of blacks, the elderly and the disabled. They also announced the nation’s public hospitals soon would begin to perform sex changes on people.

  20. Herring123 says:

    The guy in the nytimes article sounds like a great candidate for bankruptcy. Low FICO, more credit card debt than can ever be repaid, and mortgages that can never be repaid. Given that his wife can’t hold down a job and his nytimes salary and all their kids, they could probaby qualify for chapter 7 and knock out all their debt in one fell swoop. Their only valuable asset (the retirement plans) would be exempt.

  21. Jonny boy says:

    (17) Cindy, re: “someone else will benefit from those payments”.

    It does suck. I’ve paid into SS my entire life and expect to see *0*.

    Heck, i’ll be pleasantly surprised to see some semblance of medicare by the time the boomer’s finish picking the bones clean.

    My work offers retirement health benefits and I doubt i’ll see that also (Anheuser Busch and Chrysler just pulled the rug out from their retiree’s for similar benefits).

    The only thing you can truly count on is what you yourself have. Everything else can be taken away with the stroke of a lawmakers /businessman’s pen. Not the kinda folks you want to count on for anything of significance…

  22. Jonny boy says:

    (re:20) Oop’s make that Delphi, not Chrysler, they still have their health benefits, for now…

  23. still_looking says:

    herring 19

    Sounds like he is just too naive (or stupid) to even get legal advice.

    Look how the mortgage guy managed to finagle his refi, etc. Heck, even the original note was asinine!

    And this guy is supposed to be smart (writes for the Times, etc)

    How can the not-as-smart masses have a fighting chance?

    I keep harping on my friendly optimists about the Alt-A tsunami that’s coming. The last person I talked to about it said, “Oh O’bama will help folks keep their homes…”

    I did the usual, “Just smile and wave boys, smile and wave…”


    Above link sums it up nicely….


  24. BC Bob says:

    “There is a mini bubble going on otherwise housing would have crashed.”


    Mini bubble in housing? I agree, absorption rate, foreclosures, short sales and tax appeals.

  25. jim says:


    “In Atlantic City, Construction Momentum Stalls”

    They should bulldoze about 90% of the city and then rebuild it all. Having casinos in a ghetto is never a good idea. Also, what bonehead decided to made the sand barriers so high you can’t see the water while walking on the boardwalk.

  26. RobGilpatric says:

    JerseyCityGuy (18) ~ Those Maplewood taxes ($12K) work out to $1K per month. Will those taxes go up? You betcha. If you’re sweatin now, picture what those taxes will do in three years. Maplewood taxes = toxic (if you can’t swing it).

  27. Roy G Biv says:

    Thank you, as so far not any profanity or clever #@! inserted in words we all know, but clearly refrain from as we all hope to be considered Big People here. {Adult has sunken to the gutter level unfortunately}

  28. RobGilpatric says:

    JerseyCityGuy (18) ~ Zoom in on the foreclosures shown in Cindy’s (26) post and take a look at the foreclosure activity in the region nearby your house.

    Then ask yourself, “Will all these foreclosed houses nearby impact my taxes?”

    Then ask yourself, “Can I afford $150 tax increases per *month*, year over year?”

  29. Firestormik says:

    make money says:
    May 15, 2009 at 11:49 am
    Crysler and Gm are closing dealerships to save cost.
    My thoughs were very close to that, the guy made my day.

    I though of
    You question about Chrysler dealers

  30. Shore Guy says:


    With prices flat or declining and a place you are currently happy with, why stretch, stretch, stretch?

    If youhave no play, you are in no position to buy. If all you have is 10% down, you are in no position to buy. If, after putting down 20%, you do not have 6 months worth of savings and the ability to pay increased property taxes and gas at twice it’s current price, you are in no position to buy.

  31. Shore Guy says:

    About the Shore:

    If one’s town is not within walking distance of the beach, or at least a marina, one is not living Downthe Shore, one is living Down the Parkway.

  32. poor guy says:

    BC Bob [23]

    Imagine absorption rate, foreclosures, short sales and tax appeals and prices are still 20-30% off. Ordinarily it would be 60-80% off. This is what I call a mini bubble. People who buy now they will get screwed.

  33. Shore Guy says:

    poor guy,

    And they will not get a single kiss inthe process.

  34. Shore Guy says:


    “chic Pier Village residential and retail complex.”

    Chic? Long Branch? Putting those words together takes chutzpa, and a sick sense of humor.

  35. poor guy says:

    “Then ask yourself, “Can I afford $150 tax increases per *month*, year over year?””

    My thoughts exactly. A middle class house should go for much less (~300K) if they ask $12K/year.

  36. Shore Guy says:

    Reminds me of something I have seen on the Parkway from time to time:


  37. yome says:

    It is August. In a small town on the South Coast of France,

    holiday season is in full swing, but it is raining so there is
    not too much business happening. Everyone is heavily in debt.

    Luckily, a rich Russian tourist arrives in the foyer of the small local hotel. He asks for a room and puts a Euro100 note on the reception counter, takes a key and goes to inspect the room located up the stairs on the third floor.

    The hotel owner takes the banknote in hurry and rushes to his meat supplier to whom he owes E100. The butcher takes the money and races to his supplier to pay his debt. The wholesaler rushes to the farmer to pay E100 for pigs he purchased some time ago. The farmer triumphantly gives the E100 note to a local prostitute who gave him her services on credit. The prostitute goes quickly to the hotel, as she owed the hotel for her hourly room use to entertain clients.

    At that moment, the rich Russian is coming down to reception and informs the hotel owner that the proposed room is unsatisfactory and takes his E100 back and departs. There was no profit or income.

    But everyone no longer has any debt and the small town people look optimistically towards their future.


  38. crossroads says:

    # 16 nj coast

    max’s no?

  39. Beach Bum says:

    NJ Coast, Shore Guy – so I’m still looking for a rental and/or a house to buy. My sister in law loves Allenhurst – she and my brother rented for years there before making it official having kids and moving to Middletown.
    I agree with Shore about the definition of being at the Shore – need to be able to walk to the beach (and I don’t count marinas). Long Branch does have pockets of squalor – and I looked in Asbury for a while, but then I started to do the math on the redevelopment plans – i.e. how many bodies per square inch of sand and thought that’s no vacation, that’s a parking lot for people rather than cars. So I’ve been looking at mainly Bradley Beach, not really know why – but Belmar is as South as I want to go (Mom’s in Middletown). There is a lot for sale in the South end of Bradley but it is still asking mid 550,000 without any building yet. I live abroad so it will be hard for me to oversee hbuilding. Maybe I’ll put Allenhurst back on my list…Any thoughts about how to play this market – I’d be happy to get them. Where do you find out about auctions, for instance?
    Hope you’re all enjoying Sunday!

  40. crossroads says:

    Beach Bum

    why not look in Sea bright Or Monmouth Beach? both are closer to Middletown. I’m not a fan of Long Branch or Asbury. I would say there are more then just pockets of squalor in Long Branch but I haven’t been there in a few years.

  41. Beach Bum says:

    Don’t want to get TOO close to Middletown ;-) Seriously I’m looking for a bit of a back yard (ideal lot 50 X 100) and that’s not available in Sea Bright. Monmouth Beach is a bit of an odd town and it’s not always convenient to get to the beach from a house in town (I’d like to be walking distance).

    I agree — I’m not at all crazy about Long Branch and Asbury, especially after what they’ve done to the water front. So that brings me to Deal (too expensive), Allenhurst- I’m putting them back on my list – prices seem to have come down ALOT there. Ocean Grove has houses that are too far apart and very crowded beaches (although the tent thing is a good place to go sightseeing). Bradley -actively looking, Avon, some houess have come down, Belmar and that’s all she wrote!

  42. Beach Bum says:

    Max’s has a small part of my family’s history – have to say – Schickhouse hot dogs on a grill – another taste of paradise!

  43. Beach Bum says:

    Oops meant to say that houses are too close together in Ocean Grove.

  44. Shore Guy says:

    Avon is a great town, as is Sea Girt. Belmar is okay. Bradley has its good points, but one needs to watch out ads well. Asbury? Fuggedaboutit! Loch Arbor and Allenhurst are also nice. Deal has an odd vibe, in addition to being pricey near Ocean Ave. In fact, there realy are two deals: Big Deal and Little Deal. Long branch? A step above Asbury — with a wall of condos ruining the landscape. Monmouth beach and Sea Bright are too flat and too low above sea level for anyone to dump cash without the ability to lose it and not care. Rumson also has a Big and Little split and one can find a decent place withoyt breaking the bank from time to time, and one can at least bike to the beach.

  45. rhymingrealtor says:


    Why are’nt you getting comps from your realtor instead of zillow or trulia, I don’t find either of those sites to be very accurate.


  46. 3b says:

    #36 poor: People keep voting yes for those school budgets every year, and approved insane referendums for construction/renovations, and that is why taxes in many north Jersey towns Not just Maplewood) are now approaching 10k a year.

    It was done for the children we are told, which is a bunch of krap.

    So now we have falling house prices with rising property taxes.

    And the higher the taxes, the lowere the prices is what I believe we will see going forward.

  47. jim says:

    38. yome


    It may very well be. The problem is we’re going to need a lot of prostitutes.

  48. yikes says:

    safeashouses says:
    May 17, 2009 at 7:38 am

    My wife decided that she doesn’t want to buy a house, she’d rather buy a townhouse so we don’t have to spend our weekends doing stuff to the yard and exterior.

    Sounds good to me since I’m the one who has to do that stuff anyway.

    i believe grim has stats – townhouses lose more value and take longer to regain their value in these downturns.

    also – if you have an end unit, you’ll have some yardwork. AND, if you’re sandwiched in the middle, you better hope those neighbors on both sides aren’t loud.

    also: pets?

  49. homeboken says:

    Cindy – Regarding SS payments and benefits: You could have it much worse. I have about 30 or more years of contributing to that system, of which I will never see a dime. Sorry you are losing your 5% due to some formula, but frankly, anyone under 40 won’t give a crap about your tale of woe.

  50. Cindy says:

    homeboken (50) It’s a 60% loss actually and it wasn’t meant to be a “tale of woe.” I was trying to use my personal experience to explain the argument against the windfall elimination provision featured in Yome’s article.

    I know I “could have it worse” – the system is obviously broken – my children are in the same boat – Now SS just feels like another tax so you have to plan retirement on your own.

    Were I under 40, I would be planning accordingly….what John Boy said… (20) “The one thing you can count on, is what you have yourself.”

  51. Shore Guy says:

    “My wife decided that she doesnt want to buy a house, shed rather buy a townhouse so we dont have to spend our weekends doing stuff to the yard and exterior…..”

    In a townhouse you have the negatives pointed out above and you are only free from maintenance and yard work because you are paying someone else to do it, plus the “association” has you by the short hairs with respect to use rules and costs of maint.

    I would suggest looking intp the costs of hiring a landscape company come out in the spring to do initial griwing-season work, and autumn servise and the cost of a lawn service to cut the lawn and tend the planted beds.

    Either way you are paying for it; one way with control and the other without.

  52. Cindy says:

    The joke should be “hey, you could have it worse, you could live in friggin California.”

    Oh wait – I do.

  53. grim says:

    #52 – My father grew up in communist Poland, he won’t live anywhere with a homeowner association.

  54. jim says:

    51. Cindy
    Were I under 40, I would be planning accordingly….what John Boy said… (20) “The one thing you can count on, is what you have yourself.”

    That is the main problem. You won’t be able to save anything yourself because we have become the India of the West. Most of the good paying jobs are gone or on the way out. Taxes will be going up. People won’t be able to save. The wealth just isn’t there. Most people can count on working their entire life. Retirement will be viewed as something for the rich.

  55. NJCoast says:


    There are actually 3 Deals- Deal, west of Norwood called “the Patch” and Deal Harbour.

    Beach Bum-
    There are currently 6 houses in Allenhurst listed under 1 million. All are in the 300 block (3rd block from the beach).

    Remember if you have children you’ll be paying tuition for school from preschool till 12th grade unless you send them to the Asbury Park schools. Although Red Bank Regional in Little Silver has a performing arts program that if your kid is accepted Allenhurst picks up the tuition.

  56. Shore Guy says:


    I won’t set foot near one either. It is a dealbreaker.

  57. Cindy says:

    (55) Jim – Good points.

  58. Cindy says:


    Bonds anyone – an interesting take…

    “Asia will author its own destruction if it triggers a crisis over US bonds”

  59. crossroads says:


    how is commercial real estate doing in NJ? I keep seeing this is the next shoe to drop and I’m wondering will it lag in NJ as residential re?

  60. Victorian says:

    Cindy (14) –

    “I believe she is going on these shows because she has been virtually ignored by MSM.”

    How could this be??!!? It has been proved beyond doubt on these boards that the MSM is liberal. /snark

    How long before *everyone* realizes that the government is run by the banks? That day won’t be pretty.

  61. jerseycityguy says:

    Thanks Poor Guy, Shore Guy, and RobGilpatric. I’d welcome other and further insights, too.

    It’s been difficult to pull back in the face of my wife’s sense that Maplewood is just THE place, that it’s time we owned (early 40s, two kids), and that I’ve been the motivator thus far on trying to find a home.

    We did find one; we just can’t afford it unless we take a risk, and I’ve been lurking here too long to believe it’s safe to take a leap of faith.

    Are these damn fine commuter town’s going to keep coming down? And how long are people thinking that interest rates on mortgages can stay so historically low?


  62. Sastry says:

    Anyone heard or read O’s speech at ND? It’s one of the most inspiring, positive messages I have seen. Even it is all “empty talk” and “teleprompter magic”, it still is very inspirational and appeals to the good in people. If a leader can inspire people positively, even with rhetoric, that leader is a great leader.

    My take home message from the speech was, “Be open minded. Do not demonize people that have irreconcilable differences with you. We can always find some common ground. We are all fishermen!”

    I do not practice some parts of that advice — I do demonize some people that advocate strongly against taxes and some people that advocate aggressively for military interventions. However, I think the message will influence me positively (if even by the smallest increment).

    Oh, and we are *this* close to closing on a home that is *way* beyond our wildest dreams — without taking much financial risks…


  63. Shore Guy says:

    ” I’ve been lurking here too long to believe it’s safe to take a leap of faith”

    When GM dropped from $60 to $30, people thought GM was a deal and it was safe to jump in.

    If you don’t have the resources, regardless of whether it is “time,” it is NOT time. Better to do so in a financially sound manner at 49 than an unsound .anner at 45.

  64. Shore Guy says:


    Congrats on the house. You will have to have us all over.

  65. BC Bob says:

    “Anyone heard or read O’s speech at ND?”

    Any talk of ND replacing Touchdown Jesus with a picture of O? Maybe O can teach Charlie how to pull the big one in?

  66. Sean says:

    re: #62 jerseycityguy – bear in mind the gov and the Fed are now the lender of last resort backing nearly all new mortgages. All of the other securitized junk (called legacy assets now) are still out there on the books and defaulting like crazy.

    There is a good chance we may see 2% mortgages, just like in Japan. The reason being we are going to see allot of additional forecloses and even less activity as access to credit continues to dry up. The government has yet too pull out all the stops and allowing interest rates to rise anytime soon will only make the economy burnt toast.

  67. Victorian says:

    Sean (67) –

    Don’t 30 yr fixed mortgage rates track with 30 yr Treasuries? IIRC, the auction did not go off very well last week. How would it be possible for the govt to bring mortgage rates down to 2% ?
    Of course, unless the govt is the sole buyer of treasuries, which means that they borrow long and lend short. Crazy!!

  68. Sastry says:

    Shore… thanks. I’ll get in the next GTG and folks here are more than welcome to sample some veggie Indian or Indo-Italian fusion foods.

    I don’t want to jinx the thing since there are some dottings and crossings still to be done, but without this blog, it would have not had even a chance of getting this place. It’s an interesting story that I’ll share once the closing is done. I owe a lot to Grim and Clot.


  69. Firestormik says:

    I think you got it wrong. They borrow short and lend long :(

  70. safeashouses says:


    Congrats on the house.

  71. stan says:

    ND Speech=kumbaya. Would have preferred Gary.

    Guy brings nothing to the table. Will continue existing policies and just make everyone feel warm and fuzzy, has changed nothing. Tribunals same, wars same, bailout same.

    Same as it ever was.


  72. safeashouses says:

    yikes and Shore Guy,

    We used to own a townhouse. We were paying $140 a month for the association fees this covered garbage removal, landscaping, snow removal, the pool, and tennis courts. The assoiciation actually did stuff like change all the sidings, the picket fences for each unit, and all the roofs.

    If we could find something like that again it would be great. I’m not too interested in buying a place and paying $500 or a month and the exterior of the unit looks like a dump.

  73. Firestormik says:

    Have a friend who owns a townhouse at Westgate, N. Edison. Association fee went up almost 100 last year (I believe it’s $340 or so now), property tax went up ~$800, so think twice. It’s out of your control :(

  74. Sean says:

    re #68 Victorian – The Gov’t can do what it wants with the stroke of the pen, the margin is all the banks care about, especially if they aren’t the bag holder and in this case the taxpayer is the bag holder for new mortages, so far securitization of mortages is still very dead.

    Japan had 2% mortgages for a long time their housing prices have been declinging for about 18 years, to slow the decline the Bank of Japan held their interbank lending rate at 0% for six years! Does anyone here think that the FED is going to raise rates here anytime soon?

    You see at 6% interest a $1,500 monthly payment will get you a mortgage of $250,000. Yet at a 2% interest rate a $1,500 monthly payment will get you a mortgage of $400,000.

    Which one is going to support current inflated housing prices? There is pressure from the Home Builder and other lobbies down in DC to set the rates lower.

  75. safeashouses says:

    #74 firestomik

    That’s painful for your friend.

    We’re not planning on buying anything for at least another year. I’m not trying to time the bottom, we just can’t afford to buy anything we would want to own. If prices keep falling at their current rate, maybe next spring we can afford something. If prices fall at a slower rate or flatten out, we’re probably out of NJ next summer.

  76. Sastry says:

    JerseyCityGuy… I think the prices will still continue to decline and property taxes will continue to go up. My prediction is about 2 years or more of declines.

    The reason we have bought is because we have a gut feeling that we are ready, we can afford it, and it’s been long enough wait. We are also prepared for further significant drops in the prices — in the sense that we feel it shouldn’t affect us [like the drops in electronics prices do not bother us].


  77. confused in nj says:

    I am starting to see a number of Warren County homes listed below Assessment. Most are homes built since 1998 and are below purchase price.

  78. confused in nj says:

    MLS# 2661518 ($548K) Nice Townhouse in Berkeley Heights where they sold for ($700K) in 2005. 2008 Taxes are $8957, with montly association fee of $460 ($5520 annual), for total Nut of $14,477. To keep property values up, Berkeley Heights Teachers are more then happy to raise taxes annually. They even send your kids home with T-shirts which say “it’s for the children”.

  79. safeashouses says:

    #79 confused

    Is that off Valley Rd?

    Who can afford $1,200 a month in taxes and dues? Crazy

  80. Sara Altagracia says:

    Does anybody have any thoughts or comments about buying in West Orange? I keep getting so much negative feedback when I mention to people that I am interested in buying there,noticed many listings there on the mls.

  81. cobbler says:

    [79] confused
    This is a really ugly TH, though very large even fore a 3BR; back in 1991 this development was just being built, and they were already ugly (selling I think at 250 or 280K – we looked at one back then but decided that an older SFH is a better value and gives us more control). Association fees are set by the board, so besides $40 a month or so for garbage removal it is their own decision. $460/month sounds pretty outrageous – looks like some nice kickbacks from landscapers and maintenance contractors to the board members…

  82. Sastry says:

    Sara… We rent in West Orange, closer to border with Livingston. Nice, hilly area. Bad to OK schools. I think the border closer to Orange is not that great. Some of the recent townhomes are very highly priced (600k+ for 3BR THs).

    It is considered as a not so great area, though parts of it are beautiful.


  83. Sara Altagracia says:

    Sastry, thanks for the heads up. But it breaks my heart to hear about the schools :( such a pretty town…such a shame.

  84. Sastry says:

    Sara… On the schools front, I am not sort of sure but not 100% sure. If that is a big factor, you may want to get a second opinion.


  85. Sastry says:

    I mean, I am sort of sure, but not 100% sure…


  86. Sara Altagracia says:

    I gotcha.

  87. Sara Altagracia says:

    When did purchasing a home become so difficult. Wasn’t there a time when you looked for a comfortable house in a good neighborhood to raise your children, made an offer and then moved in and that was the extent of the drama!

  88. james says:

    If you truelly want to experience the Jersey Shore look into Ocean County or at least southern Monmouth. You are still a benny if you havent walked to your boat and gone wherever the hell you want while everyone else sits in traffic. Then find parking and pay beach badges. I would take a house in Manasquan near the river over a house in Bradley beach anyday. Other nice towns are Brielle, Point Beach, and Wall. If you are willing to travel a few minutes more you will find great deals, less taxes, and more shore friendly living.

  89. james says:

    I lived in a townhouse for 5 years. I will never live in one again. When something goes wrong in one unit ie firewall everyone pays the legal bill.

    Homeowner associations are complete garbage. Its like living in cold war Europe.

  90. Sastry says:

    Sara: There isn’t much of a “neighborhood” in US anymore. Therefore, the shift is towards “good schools”.

    When I was young, in India, I could travel several miles on a bike or multi-bus-hop across the city, to buy some text books (govt approved books were available only in some places). I was about 8 or 9, used to carry cash (and at time lose it!).
    Now, if a 10 yr old kid takes the subway home in NY alone, it’s news. I heard it on the radio the other day.

    When I was 12, I’d go to a friend’s place [couple of miles away] and come home very late at night — about 11 pm or so, and the only question my mother would ask was, “Did you have your dinner over there or should I fix you the dinner”. Now, if a 12 yr old kid stays late at a friend’s place, there’d be all sort of alerts!

    Again, I may be totally off-base here since I am extrapolating late 70’s India to what I think would have been late 70’s US, and comparing with current US [where people are as paranoid as current India].

    Also, having a d!ck gives a lot of privileges in India. It would be have been unimaginable for a 12 yr old girl staying late at night and traveling alone for a few miles through dimly lit streets.

    I think having Nintendos and High School Musical is not better than walking aimlessly with a friend of two…


  91. DL says:

    Philadelphia luxury condo project heads to sheriff’s sale.


  92. BeachBum says:

    Thanks for the tip on the houses under $1 million in Allenhurst, but that is too rich for my blood on what is going to be a vacation house (and I have no kids). Although there is one on Hume St for 499.
    And I won’t travel “just a little more” for better pricing – that’s how people talked themselves into hour long + commutes. My mom isn’t getting any younger and travel time to be with her will turn into a hassle fast…I also like a train town to give options for getting places (although I think both Manasquan and maybe Brielle are on the North Jersey Coast Line…)

  93. confused in nj says:

    81.safeashouses says:
    May 17, 2009 at 11:07 pm
    #79 confused

    Is that off Valley Rd?

    Who can afford $1,200 a month in taxes and dues? Crazy

    Springfield Avenue! Couple of blocks from McDonalds.

  94. confused in nj says:

    83.cobbler says:
    May 17, 2009 at 11:55 pm
    [79] confused
    This is a really ugly TH, though very large even fore a 3BR; back in 1991 this development was just being built, and they were already ugly (selling I think at 250 or 280K – we looked at one back then but decided that an older SFH is a better value and gives us more control). Association fees are set by the board, so besides $40 a month or so for garbage removal it is their own decision. $460/month sounds pretty outrageous – looks like some nice kickbacks from landscapers and maintenance contractors to the board members…

    Corzine added 7% to Lawn & Snow in 2006 with Service Sales Tax. Also, Liability Insurance rose dramatically from 2004 on. Some complexes keep fees artificially low by underfunding Capital Fund for repairs.

  95. confused in nj says:

    91.james says:
    May 18, 2009 at 1:51 am
    I lived in a townhouse for 5 years. I will never live in one again. When something goes wrong in one unit ie firewall everyone pays the legal bill.

    Homeowner associations are complete garbage. Its like living in cold war Europe.

    Same with me 2003-2006. Newer complexes have affordable units which are mainly rented. We had two fires in such which jacked the insurance. Back in a Colonial with less headaches.

  96. Qwerty says:

    RE: “If a leader can inspire people positively, even with rhetoric, that leader is a great leader.”

    My goodness how embarrassing for you…

  97. Maplewood Home Buyer says:

    Re: Maplewood.

    I am also a first time homebuyer who has been looking in Maplewood. I called the tax assessor’s office and you should know that the whole town is due to be re-assessed in 2010. Home prices have come down in this town over the past year, but I can’t see how that would help the reassessment since I have never heard of taxes going down in that town. I agree with your wife that it is a great town. Not much has sold these past few weeks, but a lot of properties have gone under contract. I am watching to see what the sales prices turn out to be. Good luck with the home search.

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