Weekend Open Discussion

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

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

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112 Responses to Weekend Open Discussion

  1. grim says:

    From Crains:

    NYC economy’s 1-year anniversary

    One of the most striking facts about the downturn of the late 1980s and early 1990s was how uniformly severe it was throughout the region. The city, Long Island, the lower Hudson Valley and the adjacent counties of New Jersey all lost about 10% of their jobs.

    In contrast, the short recession of 2001-03 left the suburbs virtually unscathed, while the city lost 225,000 jobs. In fact, the term “Manhattan recession” might be a better description, since the other boroughs had only small job losses.

    As we approach the one-year anniversary of the most recent employment peak, which occurred last August, a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics makes clear how current economic woes mirror those of 1987-93. The inevitable if unwelcome conclusion is that the pain will be as severe.

    No one wants to hear that—or believe it. Aren’t the experts and many in the media arguing that the recession is easing? A commercial real estate brokerage company has suggested that Manhattan office rents will begin to recover sometime next year. Residential brokers claim a pickup in apartment sales traceable to first-time homebuyers. Statisticians note that the contraction on Wall Street has been far less severe than expected.

    More instructive is the new BLS report, which shows how pervasive this recession has become. Significant job losses in retail—and related activities like wholesaling—as well as in construction, have hit every part of the New York region. Manufacturing jobs are being eliminated in any area that has any remaining pockets of activity.

  2. grim says:

    That last thread was getting a bit too long.

  3. Barry Henson says:

    Good morning all.
    Does anyone know how I can find out the tax assessed value of a home I’m buying in River Edge?

  4. grim says:

    Got to repost these from the bottom of the last thread. Some comp killers from ww4b:

    For all the comp killer fans – Hunterdon County Comp Killers!

    24 Willow Brook Ln, Clinton Twp NJ
    Purchased: 2/1/2006
    Purchase Price: $725,000
    MLS# 2637608
    Listed: 1/27/2009
    List Price: $675,000
    Sold: 7/1/2009
    Sale Price: $590,000
    18% under the 2006 sales price

    6 Manning Ct, High Bridge NJ
    Purchased: 7/28/2004
    Purchase Price: $419,000
    MLS# 2673988
    Listed: 4/15/2009
    List Price: $399,900
    Sold: 7/8/2009
    Sale Price: $390,000
    7% under the 2004 sales price

    40 Kentworth Ct, Raritan Twp NJ
    Purchased: 8/25/2004
    Purchase Price: $350,000
    MLS# 2646673
    Listed: 2/11/2009
    List Price: $344,040
    Sold: 7/2/2009
    Sale Price: $324,000
    7% under the 2004 sales price

    35 Lance Rd, Readington NJ
    Purchased: 12/15/2004
    Purchase Price: $730,000
    MLS# 2512084
    Listed: 4/26/2008
    List Price: $760,000
    Sold: 7/1/2009
    Sale Price: $691,000
    5% under the 2004 sales price

  5. grim says:

    #3 – Ask your real estate agent. Or look it up yourself using any of the tax record searches.

  6. chicagofinance says:

    The end is nigh….
    ‘The King of Pop’s going to lick your lollipop.’


  7. x-underwriter says:

    German Restaurants in NJ (from Zagat)

    Black Forest Inn
    249 Rte. 206 N.
    Stanhope, NJ

    Fritzys German American Restaurant
    2200 US Highway 9
    Howell, NJ

    German Restaurants in NY (from Zagat)

    Zum Stammtisch
    69-46 Myrtle Ave.
    Queens, NY

    Nurnberger Bierhaus
    817 Castleton Ave.
    Staten Island, NY

    Blaue Gans
    139 Duane St.
    Manhattan, NY

    Zum Schneider
    107 Ave. C
    Manhattan, NY

    Hallo Berlin
    626 10th Ave.
    Manhattan, NY

    Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn
    4254 Arthur Kill Rd.
    Staten Island, NY

    7 Rivington St.
    Manhattan, NY

    1648 Second Ave.
    Manhattan, NY

  8. grim says:

    From the NYT:

    Looking for the Lenders’ Little Helpers

    IT is hard not to be dismayed by the fact that two years into our economic crisis so few perpetrators of financial misdeeds have been held accountable for their actions. That so many failed mortgage lenders do not appear to face any legal liability for the role they played in almost blowing up the economy really rankles. They have simply moved on to the next “opportunity.”

    And what of the giant institutions that helped finance these monumentally toxic loans, or arranged the securitizations that bundled the loans and sold them to investors? So far, they have argued, fairly successfully, that they operated independently of the original lenders. Therefore, they are not responsible for any questionable loans that were made.

    But this argument is growing tougher to defend. Some legal experts point to a number of cases in which plaintiffs contend that firms involved in the securitization process, like trustees hired to oversee the pools of loans backing securities, worked so closely with the lenders that they should face liability as members of a joint venture. And these experts see a rising receptiveness to this argument by some courts.

    “As we are unpeeling what was happening on Wall Street, we may see that Wall Street didn’t find the safety from litigation risk that it hoped to find in securitization,” said Kathleen Engel, a professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University. “I think there is potential for liability if borrowers can engage in discovery to see exactly how much the sponsors were shaping the practices of the lenders.”

  9. x-underwriter says:

    grim says:
    For all the comp killer fans – Hunterdon County Comp Killers!

    Right now, there are 88 properties in Readington alone that are priced $500,000 and higher on GSMLS.

    I don’t know how may properties in total there are in Readington, but I can’t imagine it’s that many. That’s a really scary number. I really don’t know who the hell is going to buy all these places. Must suck to be a bagholder in that town

  10. BB says:

    Can someone look up the address for
    MLS ID #2605706? Thanks!

  11. willwork4beer says:

    #9 x-underwriter

    Clotpoll could give you the view from the trenches, but just looking at the data, the whole county is tanking fast. And its picking up speed.

    Grim – thanks for the repost.

  12. willwork4beer says:


    BTW, the house in Readington listed above originally hit the market in 2007 @ 860K.

  13. Essex says:

    2. Too ‘Epic’ you mean….too epic.
    No ChiFi…I am not sure I know which post re: movie you mean.

  14. x-underwriter says:

    willwork4beer says:
    Clotpoll could give you the view from the trenches

    He already has numerous times….Armageddon is approaching.

    I think every place in the country that was bubble-ish is going/went through a correction curve. Different places started earlier and are actually showing signs of nearing the bottom.

    We really haven’t seen a huge downturn in many north jersey counties but I think it’s hitting now as we speak. I’ve only been posting on this blog for 3 years waiting for this to happen LOL

  15. frank says:

    It seems that Westfield prices are down about 30% from 2005?
    Can anyone confirm it with some comp killers??

  16. 3b says:

    #1 grim: a commercial real estate brokerage company has suggested that Manhattan office rents will begin to recover sometime next year.

    Based on what I would ask?

  17. House Whine says:

    Readington feels like the country to me –
    but I was always hesitant to move to Hunterdon County. Other than one or two major corporate headquarters I didn’t think there would be enough employers w/in a reasonalbe commute just in case I or my spouse lost our jobs. And we weren’t interested in long commutes. Now I am glad we didn’t go for it.

  18. freedy says:

    bergen county , closter demarest,norwood

    still holding their own . according to sources,, bidding wars

  19. 3b says:

    #3 barry Welcome, but be prepared for continuing ugly tax increases down the road,and some incredidly bad decesions by our elected officials.

  20. x-underwriter says:

    House Whine says:
    Readington feels like the country to me –

    That’s the beauty of it…country feel without being too far from civilization. With the consolidations going on in pharma, who knows what the local job market will be like in the future. It’s not really NYC commutable on a long term basis.

  21. 3b says:

    gary: I have found your dream home for you. This gem in the rough last sold for 690!!!! in Sept of 2005. Previously in May of 2005 it sold for 570k.

    It can be yours right now (bank owned) for an incredible 257K!!! There appears to be some issues as to whether it is habitable or not, but who cares at that price. The taxes are just under 11K!!!

    I know this is not upper haughtyville enough for you, but hey blue ribbony, Bergen Co. and close to train. And close to the high school;real close.

    If you look at the picture to the right, you will see a fence which seperates the property from an entrance to the high school.

    No need to provide your kid with a car to drive to school. Do not miss this wonderful opportunity to live in a lower upper haughtyville town today.


  22. chicagofinance says:

    They are coming after you…..



    WASHINGTON—House Democrats plan to pay for their health-care legislation with a big tax increase on wealthy households, aiming to raise $540 billion over the next decade with a package of surtaxes on families making $350,000 or more.

    The tax increase is the financial cornerstone of legislation that seeks to make good on President Barack Obama’s call to expand health-insurance coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans, while attempting to offset the cost and avoid expanding the federal budget deficit.

    The House bill, expected to be formally unveiled as soon as Monday, is likely to cost $1 trillion overall. About half the cost of the bill will come from budget savings from ratcheting down payments that health-care providers receive through programs like Medicare, which covers the elderly. The balance will come from revenues generated by a graduated surtax that would begin in 2011, said New York Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

    Upper-income families currently face a top income-tax rate of 35%, though that is scheduled to rise to 39.6% in 2011. Under the Rangel plan, married couples making $350,000 would also be subject to a 1% surtax to cover the health plan. The levy would rise to 2% for those making above $500,000 and 3% for those with incomes of $1 million or more. Around 1% of U.S. households filing tax returns make more than $350,000, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

    Congressional aides said the surtax rates would go higher as soon as 2013—to 2%, 3% and about 5% for each of the three levels. They added, though, that the higher rates might not kick in if other ways to pay for the health plan were found by then.

    Mr. Rangel offered details of the financing plan Friday after emerging from a daylong caucus of Democrats on the Ways and Means panel. House Democrats aim to convene three key committees next week to formally consider the package. The legislation, which would create a public health-insurance plan that competes with private insurers, is expected to be brought before the full House by the end of the month.

    But even as details are coming together, Democratic leaders are scrambling to win support from fiscal conservatives, rural Democrats and politically vulnerable freshmen who have all raised objections. Some worry the public plan will tilt the marketplace against private insurers. Others worry about the cost of the package, and fear having to vote on a bill that includes such substantial tax increases.

    “I’m not persuaded any sort of tax increase is needed,” said Rep. Gerald Connolly, a first-term Democrat from Virginia. He suggests Democrats should focus more on finding budget savings. “The jury is still out on what, if anything, we have to do for revenue enhancement.”

    The struggle for unity among Democrats dramatizes the larger challenge facing the majority party: whether rank-and-file Democrats are willing to stomach higher taxes in the pursuit of expanding access to health care.

    Throughout 2008, Mr. Obama himself signaled a readiness to raise taxes on wealthy individuals as a way to pay for his priorities. In his budget unveiled in the spring, Mr. Obama assumed the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy would expire at the end of 2010. Those higher rates would fall on couples with incomes above $250,000. Mr. Obama also proposed to limit tax deductions taken by the wealthy to help pay for heath care.

    A White House aide speaking on background said the majority of the funding for the health-care overhaul should come from budget savings, such as cuts in wasteful spending in Medicare and Medicaid, which provides care for the poor. The White House aide added that “Congress is making good progress” in looking for addition revenues beyond budget cuts. “There are several good ideas on the table,” the aide said, pointing to the president’s proposal to limit itemized deductions for the wealthy.

    Democratic leaders argued Mr. Obama’s efforts have made raising taxes on the wealthy an easier political gambit than such alternatives as taxing health benefits. Broadly, they hope to steer debate away from the cost of the bill and how to finance it. “The big debate is going to be between those who want to protect the status quo, and those who want to reform our health-care system,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.).

    Curtis Dubay, a senior tax policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, said the Democratic plans to raise taxes on the wealthy could backfire politically. “There certainly will be a steep price to pay,” he said.

    Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) criticized Mr. Rangel’s proposal, underscoring the Republican line of attack. “In the middle of a serious recession, with unemployment nearing double digits nationwide, the last thing we need is a tax increase on small businesses, which will cost the American economy even more jobs,” he said.

    Even if the House does embrace the higher income taxes, that doesn’t guarantee the levies would be part of a final health bill. Senators are separately deliberating on their own versions of a health plan, and higher taxes are likely to face more resistance in the Senate.

    After discarding a proposed tax on health-care benefits as too politically risky, Senate Democrats are considering a range of alternatives, including possible levies on pharmaceutical companies and insurers, as well as a surtax on wealthy individuals. Details of the Senate bill are not expected to be nailed down until later this month.

    Party leaders argue taxes on the wealthy are more easily defended than other levies, such as the proposed tax on health-care benefits. The issue of financing has produced a sharp debate among Democrats, in part because the issue is exposing the party to political attacks from Republicans.

    GOP leaders have pounded the Democrats for proposing to raise taxes during a recession, which they argue would further stunt economic growth. The Republican National Committee swatted at Democrats again Friday, saying their plan to pay for health-care legislation “would hit small businesses hard,” since small-business owners often pay their business taxes as part of their personal income taxes.

    Under the emerging House bill, the second increase in surtax rates wouldn’t kick in if budget savings exceed expectations and cover the cost of the bill. That was a nod toward House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.), who suggested that putting a trigger on the surtax could mollify restive Democrats.

    “What I’m talking about is not unprecedented,” Mr. Clyburn said in an interview. He noted that other lawmakers are proposing a trigger for the public plan, in case other provisions in a health-care overhaul don’t lower the number of uninsured Americans as rapidly as planned.

  23. Victorian says:

    In Attempt To Jump-Start Economy, Obama Declares Tuesdays Ladies’ Night
    WASHINGTON—As part of his administration’s continued efforts to stimulate the economy and liven up a slow weeknight, President Obama announced today that, effective immediately, Tuesdays will be half-off for ladies nationwide. “It is imperative to our economic health that we inject capital wisely and get some blondes in here, preferably hot young ones,” said Obama, who submitted a proposal before Congress to increase tube-top usage by 200 percent. “We can only escape this recession with the full cooperation of the American people—so ladies, please, bring your girlfriends. When did this country turn into such a sausage fest?” According to estimates by the Department of the Interior, the first national Ladies’ Night will be attended by an estimated 117 million men and one bachelorette party.

  24. chicagofinance says:

    13.Essex says:
    July 12, 2009 at 9:30 am
    No ChiFi…I am not sure I know which
    post re: movie you mean.

    224.chicagofinance says:
    July 10, 2009 at 2:38 pm
    more WSJ

    for Essex and anyone else interested…

    JULY 10, 2009, 12:16 A.M. ET

    The Axemen Cometh

    Thomas Tull, head of Legendary Pictures, wanted to write a cinematic love letter to the electric guitar. So he called Davis Guggenheim, who had just won an Oscar for his global-warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” The two crafted the outline for the movie “It Might Get Loud,” due out this August.

    The goal of the film is to explain the cultural importance of the electric guitar through the eyes of those who have appreciated it the most—musicians. “I rail against documentaries that are stories you can basically download on Wikipedia,” says Mr. Guggenheim.

    For “It Might Get Loud,” Mr. Guggenheim and Mr. Tull made a list of guitarists as potential subjects before settling on Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, the Edge of U2, and Jack White of the White Stripes. Part of the appeal was the multiple generations represented by the three men—a point that’s amplified in the film’s various clips of musicians who have shaped how the guitar has been used. The hardest part of making the film for Mr. Guggenheim was convincing the three principles to take part.

    “There was a good six months of just talking to these guys and talking through the process,” he says. “And, of course, a little bit of begging.”

    The film was originally composed as three separate pieces and only late in the process were the parts weaved together. The film looks at each guitarist’s relationship to his instrument. Mr. Guggenheim arranged for all three to meet on the biggest studio on the Warner Bros. lot, even charting out different entrances so they wouldn’t accidentally encounter each other along the way. Mr. White’s sometimes anachronistic approach to the guitar is shown at the beginning of the film, with the White Stripes singer creating an impromptu guitar from scratch. That approach is contrasted with the Edge’s affinity for electronic sounds and Mr. Page’s classic rock style. Mr. Guggenheim says he only has one regret about shooting the film. “I really wanted Jimi Hendrix, but he wasn’t available,” he says.

  25. Yikes says:

    Chi fi – do you have a link to 25 (‘coming after you’)?
    On phone, would Luke to send it around. Scary stuff.

  26. Firestormik says:

    From the previous thread,
    What sort of diet did you put him on (just cause I’m curious) and for what reason?
    Casein/gluten free + we are rotating type of food he is given each day.
    Our reason was “just in case”. Some kids cannot fully digest gluten and result is morphine-like poisoning.
    We finally found a reasonable doctor who didn’t push for MB12 shots right away and ordered some comprehensive blood\stool analysis for food allergies, etc. We’ll know next Friday what’s going now.
    Thanks for your input

  27. kettle1 says:

    feel free to call me a crack pot, but after the kettle families pulminologist was having limited success keep little kettles asthma under control and not being happy pumping a 2 yr old full of drugs, a combination of chiropracty, gluten free diet and choosing the medications used, judiciously, we are seeing an improvement.

    Note that this is being done in conjunction with the pulminologist, pediatrician, and chiropractor. we have been fortunate to find a set of doctors who are open to alternatives, but have had to search extensively.

    Alternative treatment have a place, in my mind the balance is a mixture of traditional medicine, and alternative treatments/ diet modification.

  28. Essex says:

    25. That sounds fascinating. A big fan of each guitarist. Gear heads….all I am sure!

  29. Jim says:

    The Democrats are going to kill us with the health care legislation. Property taxes are going up along with a host of stealth taxes that are coming into play. We also happen to be in the middle of a pretty bad recession. Why push this piece of social reform, sorry I mean health care reform at this time? We are already a third world country. Are these guys idiots? Where is Colin Powell when you need him?

  30. Barbara says:

    625k for home depot kitchens and vinyl tile in Montclair! 2005 prices still not budging. Anyone have anything encouraging to say?

  31. Barbara says:

    healthcare reform is no longer a liberal issue, no matter how hard the freepers try to make it one. You see, things like cancer, job loss, sick kids and deadbeat insurer’s do not discriminate.
    Get a new issue.

  32. Pol Clot says:

    whine (17)-

    Exactly. The jobs are gone, but the depreciating monster houses remain. Those who don’t see it now and get out will have their homes take them under.

    Deflation, Hunterdon-style.

  33. Jim says:

    I’m not against everyone having health care. I just don’t think now is the time to implement this. Not sure what the freeper is you reference. In Western Europe where everyone is insured they have Social Market Economies. The entire system is tied together with laws. We don’t have that. We would also need to reform the legal system to support this move. I don’t see it ending well.

  34. sas says:

    “Is US health really the best in the world?”

    answer: no

    most exspensive: yes (thank your local Dr. Cherrypicker)


  35. Barbara says:

    Jim “now isn’t the time” has been the excuse for 30 years. I’m not completely happy with the way Obama is approaching the issue, he’s too esay on insurers, but imo he’s the only politician/elected offical to truly understand the problems in detail. He gets the deductible “game” the shady contracts, etc. I would have liked to have seen a preliminary first week and office smackdown to insurers involving legislation that address a more fair deductible to premium ratio, a list of mandatory covered services (colonoscopy, mammogram, etc) full disclosure with regards to contracts.

  36. House Whine says:

    34 – I just don’t get it- our schools are government run, parks, libraries, etc are gov’t run. Granted, maybe not run the way we would like them to be but nonetheless they are at least available to everyone. I will never understand the refusal to have healthcare government run. I totally don’t get how the heck it came to be something to be obtained through work and have long thought that it stifles a lot of would be creative and entrepeneurs ability to create jobs because they have no way to have healthcare. Instead, they have to stick themselves in just “some job” in order to be sure they can see a doctor.
    I know I will sleep a lot better at night knowing that if I lose my job I will at least be able to get healthcare.

  37. PA Bound says:


    Scary stuff? What’s so scary?

  38. chicagofinance says:

    need WSJ subsciption….in Saturday’s paper

  39. chicagofinance says:

    26.Yikes says:
    July 12, 2009 at 11:42 am
    Chi fi – do you have a link to 25 (’coming after you’)?
    On phone, would Luke to send it around. Scary stuff.

  40. chicagofinance says:

    SX: someone posted the trailer to the movie….looks excellent

  41. chicagofinance says:

    38.PA Bound says:
    July 12, 2009 at 3:33 pm
    26, Scary stuff? What’s so scary?

    PA: because the simple answer is that there is no money for this initiative; instead, they are choosing to confiscate money from people that live in NY, NJ, CT, MA, MD & CA and hand it to people that are (in aggregate) making suboptimal decisions as to how to allocate scarce resources….at minimum it is f—ing unfair, and further it is a disgrace that it is being sponsored by a disgusting politician such as Charlie Rangol who is rich, but has no problem using 4 rent-controlled apartment in NYC through his use of quid pro quo and influence peddling…..hypocritical scum…

  42. chicagofinance says:


  43. chicagofinance says:

    42.chicagofinance says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    July 12, 2009 at 4:46 pm
    38.PA Bound says:
    July 12, 2009 at 3:33 pm
    26, Scary stuff? What’s so scary?

    PA: because the simple answer is that there is no money for this initiative; instead, they are choosing to confiscate money from people that live in NY, NJ, PA, CT, MA, MD & CA and hand it to people that are (in aggregate) making suboptimal decisions as to how to allocate scarce resources….at minimum it is f—ing unfair, and further it is a disgrace that it is being sponsored by a disgusting politician such as Charlie Rangol who is rich, but has no problem using 4 rent-controlled apartments in NYC through his abuse of quid pro quo and influence peddling…..hypocritical jerk…

  44. chicagofinance says:


  45. 3b says:

    #31 barbara: Really?? Speak to Stu and NJgator, Montclair homeowners, with a completely different view of what is happening with Montclair home prices.

  46. Barbara says:

    to be fair, I think that prices have gone down but motivated sellers are far and few between, and I just don’t have the time to negotiate with people 100K overpriced and 100% in 2005 mentality

  47. Barbara says:

    its almost like we need 2 different mlses. I for the fantasy seller and one for the sellers who need to sell, now.

  48. yikes says:

    gary says:
    July 12, 2009 at 8:12 am

    I mean, seriously, do these sellers sit at the table in the morning with coffee and hope that someone makes an offer within the asking price? Really. It’s a shame that this realtor is even leading these people to believe that they’ll even sell this house. Geezus, it’s almost criminal. This house has to be reduced $250,000 to even get some action. I’m f*cking speachless.


    i might pay 4 for that. prices in that town must still have a far way to go

  49. Barbara says:

    49 re gary’s comment
    classic example. At 350-400 that house has some potential. With an addition and playing up the mid century vibe, it could be cool. Looks like a dink neighborhood, though. I sense a lot of above ground pools that are a little rusty.

  50. yikes says:

    clot, since the end is nigh, i scooped one of these at costco


    only $30!

    i imagine Nom would probably want to grab at least a dozen for the nom-pound …

  51. Barbara says:

    are that new host on HGTVs Real Estate Intervention?
    For serious.

  52. Barbara says:

    are YOU that

  53. gary says:

    Barbara [50],

    The “Montclair Heights” section of Clifton is one of those labels that the house pushers and pretenders throw around hoping to convince another idi0t that this is a “sought after” area. It’s Clifton, plain and simple, which is the same as trying to apply lipstick to Porky in attempt to disguise Porky.

  54. Barbara says:

    sounds a lot like WOHO! (West Orange)

  55. Barbara says:

    HGTV this afternoon was taunting me with a couple shows in Essex, 3 story Victorians, fabulous houses. Grrrr

  56. willwork4beer says:

    #48, 50 Barbara

    I can’t comment specifically on Montclair, but sales prices seem to be trending downward statewide. A seller can always list a house at a fantasy price, that doesn’t mean that anyone will pay that price. To quote Clotpoll, you can’t get yesterday’s price today. Conversely, you can’t get tomorrow’s discount today.

    I’ve been looking in Hunterdon County for several years now. Over the last year, its become very apparent that the bloodletting has begun. A few years back, most listings seemed to sell for at or over asking price. I looked at July sales to date this morning. Not a single completed sale went for asking or above. Most sales were folks who were selling after 10 or more years, with a reasonable appreciation over what they paid. The rest were distressed properties.

    Just my opinion, but I think we are going to see a big decline over the next year.

    Disclaimer: I’m in healthcare. I know nothing about real estate.

  57. Barbara says:

    58. interesting, I was just on zillow and there are very few houses that have sold in montclair within the last 4 months. I’m not sure how comprehensive their search it, gotta weed through surrounding areas.

  58. Pat says:

    x-underwear, I got a list from a local realtor of all houses sold in my zip for the last 60 days.

    I checked it against the franklymls site.

    Her numbers were higher on some sales prices. For example, she says $445k, the other site says $433. What do you think that is?

    Zillow doesn’t even show this as a recent comp for nearby homes, unless I specifically type in the address. One reason I don’t trust zillow comps.

  59. Barbara says:

    I think the only place you can trust is the tax assessors office. Zillow is weird for me too.

  60. Pat says:

    Sometimes zillow is O.K. on the comp list, as long as you know/track what has actually sold, and have the address, and then type in each address. Then zillow will show the sale. But it shouldn’t be like that.

  61. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    Zillow apparently grabs any data they can get their hands on, and spends no time scrubbing the numbers.

    So you get expired listings with fantasy asking prices which had no chance of ever selling. And you get the Sheriff’s Sales and Short Sales thrown into the data base. You may get a sales price that doesn’t account for seller’s concessions, which may explain the difference in Pat’s $433K example.

    Using Zillow for price research is like spinning the wheel and buying a vowel.

  62. x-underwriter says:

    Pat says:
    Her numbers were higher on some sales prices.
    Beats me. As Barbara said, the town’s tax office will be the place to verify. I would think your realtor is looking at the same MLS database that franklymls pulls from. I don’t know for sure though.

    Don’t bother with zillow or trulia if you’re seriously looking for some data to work with. It’s a national database and I’m sure its not up to date with recent and accurate numbers. It would be an impossible task to do that for every real estate transaction that happens in the U.S.

    It looks like I might be headed down your way afterall. I’m interviewing for two positions at FNMA in Herndon on Wednesday. We’ve toured around a bunch of neighborhoods in northern VA. I can’t say that I’ve really found any town I’m in love with yet that isn’t overpriced but we’ll probably rent first to get a feel for the area

  63. yo'me says:

    try propertyshark.com

  64. bi says:

    zillow estimate is the best i know. 2 months ago, the house i bought at the end of 2007 was appreciated 16% from what i paid. now it’s up 29%. by zillow, there is no housing recession at all.

  65. Pat says:

    There’s a lot of stuff out near Ashburn for rent – you’d have your pick. I was over there last night for a little get together. Beautiful new large townhomes…completely overbuilt. Tons of rentals.

    If the ferry weren’t so unreliable, I’d get a job over there as well.

    We live in an area with little recent building.

  66. x-underwriter says:

    If you’re looking for real estate in VA, I found an even better site for recent sold data.

    I had to register to view sold data but the info on there is incredible

    If a job does pan out, I’m renting as close to work as possible. I’ve heard so many stories about traffic. I think most of the really bad stuff is on 495 and going into DC though. 66 is backed up too

  67. bi says:

    37#, again the question is how to pay it after 14 trillion dollar of wealth evaporated. the congress is proposing a bill of surtaxing people making 350000 or more. I have a better idea: capping every individual’s net worth to $35M, which will certainly have less impact on their next re-election. (you don’t need 30m to leave confortably in the rest of your life with government-run healthcare. agree?)

  68. Pat says:

    x, I’ve met a lot of folks who work in McLean from Ashburn. You’d be fine working in Herdon..it’s like 10 miles.

  69. x-underwriter says:

    What planet are you from?

  70. x-underwriter says:

    Thanks for the info.
    I’ll see what happens with the job first.
    I do get the impression that that area is starting to hit bottom. The inventory figures a year ago were 3 times higher than they are now. In addition, some listings appear to be selling for slightly above asking. Then again, the sold/asking prices are $100,000 less than they were a year ago too. Sellers just foreclosed or accepted the reality…unlike here in Jersey where it’s still fantasy pricing

  71. Sean says:

    26% of home mortgage defaults ‘strategic’
    Would you, under any circumstances, default on your home mortgage, even if you could afford to make the monthly payments?

    That’s a trickier question than you might assume, according to new research from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

    The study found that 26 percent of the record numbers of home mortgage defaults across the country are “strategic” – that is, calculated economic decisions to bail out of loans by owners who actually have the money to make the payments but can’t handle the negative equity they’re carrying caused by local property value declines.

    Nationwide, according to data from Zillow.com, 22 percent of all homeowners were in negative equity positions during the first quarter of 2009 – “underwater,” with mortgage debts that exceed their home values.

    In some parts of California and Nevada, more than half of all households have negative equity. In a few localities, the size of the equity deficit is staggering: In the Salinas metropolitan area, for example, the median equity for people who bought their homes in 2006 near the peak of the boom is now a negative $214,305, according to the study.

    When researchers questioned two nationally representative statistical samples of households about strategic defaults, they found that moral and social beliefs play a constraining role, but negative equity and the frequency of defaults in local ZIP codes have significant contrary impacts.

    Co-authors Paola Sapienza, Luigi Zingales and Luigi Guiso used interviews with 2,000 American households in December and in March to explore the “moral and social” dynamics of strategic defaults. The two 1,000-person samples came from the Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index, which monitors the level of trust households have in the financial system.

    Their research not only represents the first attitudinal study of the phenomenon of widespread strategic walkaways from home loan commitments, but also has implications for federal policies seeking to limit the numbers of foreclosures – which are on pace for a record 3.1 million filings this year, according to RealtyTrac Inc.

    Among the study’s sobering findings:

    — Moral precepts keep large numbers of financially struggling homeowners out of default, but only to a point. Fully 81 percent of household heads said they believe intentional defaults on mortgages to be “morally wrong.” But that high percentage begins to crumble as negative equity grows increasingly larger.

    When negative equity rose to $50,000, 7 percent of those who consider strategic defaults to be immoral said they’d walk away. At $100,000 negative equity, 22 percent would do so. At negative $200,000, 37 percent of those with moral objections would nonetheless default, and at $300,000, 38 percent said they would.

    — Among those who had no moral reservations, the percentages were much higher. At $50,000 negative equity, 20 percent said they’d walk. At negative $100,000, 41 percent would do so, as would 59 percent at negative $200,000 and 63 percent at $300,000.

    — The researchers found that age, tenure of homeownership, the frequency of foreclosures in a person’s ZIP code and even politics influence an owner’s willingness to bail out of a mortgage. Owners under age 35 are less likely to have moral problems with strategic defaults, as are self-described political “independents,” compared with Republicans and Democrats.

    — An important factor in walkaways, according to the researchers, is the level of foreclosures owners observe in their local community and their personal acquaintance with owners who have defaulted. In the latter case, owners who know someone who defaulted strategically are 82 percent more likely to default themselves, compared with owners who do not know anyone in that situation.

    — The higher the number of foreclosures in a given ZIP code, the higher owners’ willingness to walk away, the researchers found, suggesting what they call a “contagion effect that reduces the social stigma associated with default as defaults become more common.” High numbers of foreclosures also appear to create a “vicious circle” that increases neighboring owners’ negative equity and greatly raises the probability of additional defaults, foreclosures and equity destruction in the area.

    Though the authors offer no specific remedies – they are behavioral researchers, not policy advisers – they argue that the traditional assumption that borrowers default because they can’t afford their monthly payments needs to be re-examined in light of accelerating foreclosures in some markets combined with plummeting equity.

    The Obama administration appeared to take a step in that direction on July 1 when it allowed refinancings of Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-owned mortgages where owners have up to 25 percent negative equity. Previously the limit was 5 percent.


  72. Pat says:

    It’s depressing in NOVA bad commute areas. Renting is a dream right now.

    The townhome I was in last night was awesome. New, beautiful, with gourmet kitchen, lots of woodwork and architecture, garage, finished basement apt., 3 / 3/ deck.

    Cheap rent because it’s within a winter view of the Dulles toll road. She doesn’t care, though, she’s from NJ.

  73. yo'me says:

    #74 If NJ is a non recourse state i will consider walking away as a strategy.Companies do it all the time.
    Why not an individual?

  74. Happy Camper says:

    July 12, 2009

    Cheney Is Linked to Concealment of C.I.A. Project


    The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday.

    The report that Mr. Cheney was behind the decision to conceal the still-unidentified program from Congress deepened the mystery surrounding it, suggesting that the Bush administration had put a high priority on the program and its secrecy.

    Mr. Panetta, who ended the program when he first learned of its existence from subordinates on June 23, briefed the two intelligence committees about it in separate closed sessions the next day.

    Efforts to reach Mr. Cheney through relatives and associates were unsuccessful.


  75. chicagofinance says:

    Pat: That Herndon, Dulles, Reston area is a disaster in my book. I had a consulting project in there on/off for about 2 years. It is just sterile and DC area traffic is absolutely murder.

    Also, anyone who works for the federal government needs to be euthanized with their “we do the important work” delusions. That whole area is the most queer mish-mosh of humanity.

    To give you an anecdote, there was a guy about 10 years ago that qualified for the HOV lanes by placing enough dummies in his car to feign the appearance. Out of all the things for which someone could be a social pariah. This dude gets hammered like a serial pederist…..the whole town is cracked….

  76. Sean says:

    RE:#77 Remember John Pondexter’s Total Information Awareness (TIA) program?

    That program was killed by Congress back in 2003 but apparently went on anyway at the NSA.

  77. frank says:

    Where’s the recession??? And they are hiring big time.

    Goldman Sachs Likely to Post Huge Profits, Analysts Say


  78. Pat says:

    CF, you are correct about the mish-mosh. But if you need a job, it’s a job. And the ones I’ve met recently seem to know they are a mish-mosh. A few have their retirments programmed on countdown clocks.

    There are backroads which avoid the DC traffic if you don’t work inside the Beltway. IF X rents west of Herndon, and works in Herdon, he’s fine, and has more rental choice. There’s this road that cuts through all the overbuilding and never hits a main drag.

  79. Happy Camper says:

    RE:#80 I do remember JP’s program.

    so, where does that leave us? all these secret programs run by SAS without any public knowledge and/or accountability?


  80. x-underwriter says:

    SG says:
    Can you try http://cyberhomes.com

    I just put in the address of the place I’m renting. We could have bought it for $335,000 in early 2006.
    According to this site, It’s now worth $255,126.
    Change over last month:

    nah, no recession here

  81. x-underwriter says:

    My main issue with NOVA is just the overbuilding. Everything is on a postage stamp lot where you can touch more than one house at the same time.
    I’ve been looking out in Leesburg and west of there. It seems like in between the Greenway and the Potomac is just one big C.F. of Hovnanian and Toll Brothers profit making with no local gov’t manangement or thinking about what affect it will have on the quality of life

  82. Pat says:

    Oh, you’d love cycling through this little town. Bunch of guys from NJ.


    Every once in a while they have a community yard sale day.

    I went from yard to yard and said, “Hey, let me see your house, come on. Come on.” Every guy from NY and NJ let me in. It was great.

  83. bi says:

    79#, another bogus estimate. mine was off 10%. but my neighbor’s house was estimated 1% less than mine while their house is much bigger and they paid 30% more than what i paid at the same time.

    >SG says:
    July 12, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Can you try http://cyberhomes.com

  84. x-underwriter says:

    That does look nice out that way. It’s amazing in that area how it’s very built up and then then wham, you’re in the middle of the country.
    The wife and I were out in that area a year or so ago near Purcellville. The horse farms were breathtaking.
    On a different day we drove out to MD through Point of Rocks..thought that was nice too

  85. bi says:

    where are those people mocking buffett here when dow was at 6500?

    Warren Buffett’s Top Three Investment Rules for the Average American:

    If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

    Always look at how much the other guy is making when he is trying to sell you something.

    Stay away from leverage. Nobody ever goes broke that doesn’t owe money.


  86. BC Bob says:

    “zillow estimate is the best i know. 2 months ago, the house i bought at the end of 2007 was appreciated 16% from what i paid. now it’s up 29%. by zillow, there is no housing recession at all”


    Seriously, what idiot would post this BS? You own the only house in the world that’s up 29% since 2007. Does anybody have the link to the recent article, for this dolt, that mentioned South Brunswick prices off 20-25%?

    No more writedowns, RE has bottomed, gold at $650, all predictions two years ago. The traders in my firm love you. They don’t even study charts. They fake right and go left.

    Keep it up. Oh, bring back Biluva.

  87. BC Bob says:

    Chi [44],

    I agree. However, no difference than saving GS thru the AIG conduit.

  88. BC Bob says:

    “Warren Buffett’s Top Three Investment Rules for the Average American:”

    He forgot #4; derivatives are akin to weapons of mass destruction.

    Do as I say, not as I do. Sorry WB, you were swimming naked!

    Explain this;


    Oh, by the way, one of Gartman’s favorite shorts.

  89. BC Bob says:


    Welcome to the 2nd half of 2009. Hope you are looking forward to 2010/2011. You are about to be buried.

    As a matter of fact, I hear that BOOOYAAA Bob is tap dancing at an establishment close to you.

    Can’t wait for the rally to 1,000, S&P’s. Actually the gap, August futures, around 1,075. Hopefully, the boneheads will get it there. I have a truck load of Round-Up. Can’t wait to put it into action. Not yet, let the delusional first buy on margin.

    Disclaimer: None needed, it will be a rout.

  90. bi says:

    92#, bob, welcome back. plz check my post #88. the moral is that all these estimates are bogus. the best estimate is the comp near you.

    fine. i was wrong on calling gold 650 and re bottomed 2 years ago. now please which one i miss for my prediction for 2009 at the end of 2008.

    1) srs under $30 (when it was over 60)
    2) oil over 65 (when it was under 40)
    3) gold under $650 (fine. i am wrong so far)
    4) 10 year over 3% (when it was near 2%)
    5) recession ends at the end of Q1 (let’s see Q2 numbers in a month)
    6) RE will see gain by June (again let’s see in one or 2 months)
    7) dow to 10500 (another 6 months to go)
    8) Euro/dollar 1:1 (ago, some magic may happen in 6 months).

    did you pass these predictions to your traders and keep notes on their performance?

  91. yikes says:

    so glad to have BC Bob bi*ch slapping the biggest clown in message board history.

    bi – look at a calendar, you imbecile. year’s only half over.

  92. bi says:

    94#, no big deal. year-to-day, it lagged S%P by 10% but it matches XLF. it is not terrible considering it’s high concentration in financial stocks. by the way, this week’s barron’s gives a nice review on brk in case you miss it.


  93. bi says:

    97#, have you figure it out how to get 0.02% yet?

  94. Shore Guy says:

    “22 percent of all homeowners were in negative equity positions during the first quarter of 2009 -”

    If 22 % of ALL homeowners are underwater and, what, zomething like 60% of all homes are paid off, what does that say about the percentage of mortgage holders that are underwater. THAT would seem to be THE story.

  95. sas says:

    “secret programs run by SAS without any public knowledge and/or accountability?”


    so, questions to ask yourself:

    -who is funding all this? and where is the money going? aka. billions missing (black budget)

    -with no information sovereignty or financial sovereignty. do you even have a govt? or a band in insider thugs?

    there is a hole in the bucket dear liza…dear liza…

    you & i and the rest of the forsaken saps put money in the bucket, but someone drilled a hole, and takes what they want.

    ok, now I gotta call Dr. Cheery Picker.
    we got a hot one with great health insurance, we can get a trip to Bermuda off this warm one.


  96. Firestormilk says:

    The sample of the first “test” currency from the international project for a new virtual global currency, given the draft name, “United Future World Currency – Eurodollar,” was presented as the exclusive gift to Heads of State and Government at the G8 Summit: Barack H. Obama, Dmitij Anatolyevich Medvedev, Gordon Brown, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, Silvio Berlusconi, Taro Aso, Stephen Harper, Josè Mauel Barroso, Fredrik Reinfeldt

  97. Firestormilk says:

    kettle1 says:
    July 12, 2009 at 12:04 pm
    feel free to call me a crack pot
    Ket, You are not a crack pot! You are just trying to do what ever it takes to make the kid feel better. Same with me. (My wife actually do most of the research)

  98. sas says:

    so, if a smart, friendly, intellectual bloke like kettle1 is a crack pot… that must make me so far gone.


  99. Firestormilk says:

    You are a classic “Conspiracy theory” maker :)

  100. Firestormik says:

    crap, cannot even spell my handle right :)

  101. mantalooker says:

    New to board. Any areas of Newark that suitable for commute to NYC, show some signs of progress, and can be gotten for a fair to below / fair price… oh yeah need to park a car..
    Serious… NYC out for me… moving from shore to Newark if I can find something. Looking for right place not budget minded.

  102. Firestormik says:

    Got a gun?
    I used to live in Linden 4 years ago, it was a quiet neighborhood back there on the border of Rahway\Clark. 15 years back from now it was a Jewish community.
    Now? Not so sure about it :( Scary

  103. mantalooker says:

    Re: Newark.. any high rises ? Central area, Had passed it from tpke many years, never looked… thinking there must be a safe, value area, even if downtown … if wrong.. then me doofus…I have friends in Hobok. and they are clamoring to get out ( taxes )

    Thanks for feedback

  104. RU says:

    Check out Lyndhurst. Trains for NYC run through the town so everything is walking distance. Taxes are stable b/c of the office buildings in the Meadowlands. Plus your 15 minutes from everything (airport, malls, NYC etc.)

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