Have we hit a sales volume (not price) bottom in North Jersey?

Based on the contracts volume for June, I’m very tempted to make a bottom call with respect to volume (but not prices) for Northern NJ.

History buffs will note that this blog started in September of 2005, with my call of a market top. While I was darn close on the volume and inventory predictions, the price prediction was off. While some areas saw price peaks during the Summer of 2005, many other areas saw prices continue to rise well into 2006. That said, take my calls with a grain of salt.

Based on the behavior we’ve seen in this area, it is clear that price and volume are not correlated. Therefore, just because we may be forming a volume with respect to sales, doesn’t necessarily mean we’re forming a bottom in prices. Remember what happened in California months back, prices cratered as contracts jumped. Seller capitulation? Large levels of low-priced distressed inventory hitting the market? Who knows, but we need to be vigilant.

The reason I’m hesitant to call a bottom is because my gut is telling me we may be seeing a late surge of buyers who held out for lower prices earlier this year. Recent fence sitters who sat out the Spring market hoping that prices would drop, but eventually making a move as Summer came.


First quarter Northern NJ contracts (GSMLS) were down 21.8% year over year, a very strong decline. The first month of Q2 saw some improvement, a smaller decline of 5.1% YOY. The final two months of Q2 saw good year over year gains, 6.1% and 14.4% (May and June respectively). My hesitation is because year over year contracts in the first half of the year were still negative, down 6.6%. So if I had to sum up my thoughts about this year, I’d say the Spring market started very weak, and finished very strong, but was still down on the year. So even though contracts are up sharply in June, we’re still seeing fewer buyers than last year.

If we see strong contracts again in July and August, I think it will be clear we’ve hit the bottom from a volume perspective. Barring some kind of significant economic dislocation (sharp spike in unemployment, significant credit event, etc), I think we might be close to the volume bottom.

It is worth noting that if we are bottoming, we’re bottoming at a volume level that is significantly under peak levels. Frankly, I don’t see volumes rebounding anytime in the near future. In my opinion an echo bubble in housing is extremely unlikely.

Also worth noting that many areas that saw increases in contract volume also saw significant drops in price (as defined by the last list price at the time of the contract).

The biggest contract jumps in June were in Sussex County, with contracts up 43.5% and in Passaic County, with contracts up 35.2%. Contract prices in Sussex were down to $274,922 in June 2009, from $359,405 in 2008, a decline of approximately 23% year over year. Contract prices in Passaic County were down to $334,737 in June 2009, from $386,827 in June 2008, a decline of 13% year over year. This behavior of increasing contracts along with declining prices is similar to what other states have been reporting.

Do not mistake my post as a sign that it is a “good time to buy”. Frankly, I don’t believe that to be the case and expect prices to continue to fall through the remainder of the year.

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134 Responses to Have we hit a sales volume (not price) bottom in North Jersey?

  1. dolphinbeater says:


  2. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Hamptons Home Sales Plunge as Wall Street Cuts Jobs

    Home sales in the Hamptons, the oceanside summer getaway for Wall Street financiers and celebrities, plunged 58 percent in the second quarter as the recession sapped demand for second homes.

    Across 11 Eastern Long Island markets, 175 properties sold in the three months ending June 30, marking the second biggest decline in records dating to 1982, broker Town & Country Real Estate said. Median prices dropped 4.4 percent to $950,000.

    “When times get tough, the thing you do is cut out the non-essentials,” Town & Country President Judi Desiderio said in an interview. “We’re a luxury item.”

    New York City unemployment climbed to 8.7 percent in May as Wall Street losses and asset writedowns topped $1.47 trillion worldwide. City Comptroller William Thompson expects the number of unemployed New Yorkers to hit a 15-year high in 2010, he said yesterday.

    Prospective Hamptons buyers who own Manhattan property are also being hit with falling home values. Apartment prices dropped last quarter for the first time since 2002, falling 18.5 percent from a year earlier, according to appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and broker Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

    More than half the Hamptons homes sold in the second quarter cost less than $1 million and 35 properties went for less than $500,000, the broker said. Just 12 properties worth $5 million or more sold, a 61 percent drop.

  3. grim says:

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking the high-end towns are driving this, they aren’t.

    Big winner in June?

    Vernon, Sussex Co.

    Contracts jumped almost three-fold in June, up to 42 from 15 the year before. At the same time, median contract price fell 26%.

  4. dolphinbeater says:

    Even better news, as a resident of a decidedly not-high-end town.


  5. sas says:

    sounds like someone needs a refresher:



  6. sas says:

    “very tempted to make a bottom call with respect to volume”

    sounds like some RE agents are being aggressive. # of commisions vs. price of commision?

    looks like that NAR campaign and Omama tax credit helped a tad.

    but, too many fundamentals all over, its all coming down.

    I hope you know how to speak Mandarin and hope you never need healthcare.

    and kiss your pension goodbye.

  7. Shore Guy says:

    Perhaps we have reched the point where sellers are losing 20% on each sale, and the agents are trying to make up the loses on volume.

    If so, it works for us.

  8. PGC says:


    Before you make a call on Vernon, can we check if there is any activity from Intrawest. I always assumed that the activity in that area in the last 5-10 years was tied to the expansion of Mountain Creek. If thy have dumped a condo block at firesale prices, it might skew the numbers. Does MIkeinwaiting have any feedback?

    On a side note my mother enjoyed the Bruce concert Sunday night. As a dutiful son, I had to stifle the laughter. I still think it has been downhill from “Born to Run”

  9. Shore Guy says:

    Sherry Darlin’ in Dublin, that also works for me.

  10. Shore Guy says:


    Be a good son and treck down to the Stone Pony and get Mom a tee shirt.

  11. DL says:

    “Under one idea being discussed, delinquent homeowners would surrender ownership of their homes but would continue to live in the property for several years, the sources told Reuters.

    Officials are also considering whether the government should make mortgage payments on behalf of borrowers who cannot keep up with their home loans, tapping an unused portion of a $50 billion housing aid kitty.”

  12. DL says:

    Phillies announcer Harry Kalas’ home on the market. Some pics at the link.

    “It’s been three months since he died, and Eileen Kalas, who is planning to move first to Delaware and then out West, has put their 41-year-old brick-and-frame rancher in Upper Providence Township on the market for $625,000. Real estate types visited yesterday for the first time; they were greeted with Phillies franks, soft pretzels, beer, and bottled water.”


  13. grim says:

    From the APP:

    N.J.’s millionaire ranks down; we’re still No. 3

    The sagging economy has helped dunk more than 20,000 well-to-do New Jersey households below the $1 million mark, but the state remains a top spot for the rich.

    The Garden State ranks No. 3 among the states with the most millionaires as a percentage of overall households, according to an annual study by Phoenix Affluent Marketing Service, a Rhinebeck, N.Y., research firm. New Jersey ranked third in 2008 as well, after dropping from No. 1. in 2007.

    “New Jersey has certainly been in the top rankings of states with millionaires for a number of years,” said David Thompson, managing director of the Phoenix Affluent Market.

    But there has been a decline. New Jersey’s millionaire population, measured as a household with $1 million or more in investable or liquid assets, such as cash and stocks, but not real estate or 401(k) plans, fell to 197,694, or 6.22 percent of the state’s households this year. That’s down from 220,372, or 6.89 percent, in 2008, a 9.7 percent rate of decline, Phoenix said. Overall, millionaires declined at a rate of 8.7 percent in the U.S.

    Millionaires made up 7.12 percent of the state’s households in 2007.

    Why the decline? New Jersey’s a wealthy state in part because of its high number of Wall Street workers.

    Then came the economic crisis, which wiped out $13.9 trillion in household wealth in America between the third quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2009, Hughes said. New Jersey’s wealthy status meant it took a big share of the hit.

    “The sheer wipeout, wealthy wipeout, nationally is unprecedented,” Hughes said.

  14. grim says:

    From the WSJ:

    Home Prices Play Big Role in Americans’ Decision to Move

    Housing affordability has played a greater role in prompting residents to leave one state for another over the past decade, according to a study released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

    This is a change from the past, when jobs were the primary economic driving factor behind state-to-state migration. The study helps explain why migration has fallen off so sharply in this recession — with the drastic fall in housing prices, many people are staying put not for work but because they are tied to a home they either cannot sell or refuse to sell at today’s prices. Some economists, including urban theorist Richard Florida, have used this slowdown in mobility to argue against government policies that subsidize home ownership — the argument being that increased home ownership hampers economic flexibility by making Americans less mobile.

    The FRB study focuses on New England, which for years has seen a net outflow of residents to other states. The author, Boston Fed economist Alicia Sasser, shows that job growth (or lack thereof) and housing prices played equal roles in New England’s out-migration between 1997 and 2006. Between 2001 and 2006 about 100,000 additional people left Massachusetts either for a job or to seek lower housing prices, according to Ms. Sasser’s research. Roughly 60% of those people left for housing affordability. “People in these high cost areas were finally saying ‘I’ve had enough,’” said Ms. Sasser in an interview.

  15. grim says:

    From the APP:

    In faltering economy, more retirees have to work

    William Parker retired in 1996 after working for 33 years at a Newark chemical company, but his dreams of carefree days on the beach or the golf course didn’t last long.

    He quickly saw his expenses from taxes to gasoline prices soar. His income from a pension didn’t keep pace. And he had two options: Leave New Jersey or return to work.

    “I just decided if I wanted to stay here, I’d better find a part-time job,” said Parker, 73, of Manchester.

    Retirees, who have watched their expenses rise and their assets dwindle, are returning to the work force. It’s a sign that the recession has rewritten the expectations of retirement.

    With the massive Baby Boomer generation reaching retirement age, the trend is only expected to intensify, particularly since more workers are skeptical that they can save enough to retire in comfort.

    “A lot of retirees are realizing their savings aren’t going as far as they had expected,” said Richard Johnson, a senior fellow specializing in retirement issues for The Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

  16. grim says:

    From USA Today:

    Upscale home sales lag as jumbo loans are hard to get

    More than four months after the Obama administration launched its housing rescue plan, scores of lenders are focused on rewriting mortgage loans to make them more affordable.

    But one demographic is being largely ignored: homeowners with higher-price loans.

    They don’t qualify for mortgage modifications under the Obama plan. They can’t get today’s low interest rates if they try to refinance. And with newly cautious lenders warier about who they lend to, just try to sell a home that costs $730,000 or more these days. In many cases, finding a buyer who can get financing takes far longer than for lower-price homes, because banks want as much as 30% down and six months of mortgage payments in reserve.

    The result is a housing market in which sales and purchases of higher-price homes have come almost to a standstill, and it’s a predicament that could undermine the housing recovery. Move-up buyers (homeowners who want to buy larger, pricier homes) are getting locked out by lack of financing. Too many unsold homes in the top tier of the market also can push down prices for homes in the midprice range.

  17. yo'me says:

    “Under one idea being discussed, delinquent homeowners would surrender ownership of their homes but would continue to live in the property for several years, the sources told Reuters.

    Officials are also considering whether the government should make mortgage payments on behalf of borrowers who cannot keep up with their home loans, tapping an unused portion of a $50 billion housing aid kitty.”

    Who really is the motivated seller?
    People that bought before 2003 and below that still has remaining equity or even on a sale.But are their homes for sale in this environment?Only the ones that needs to move,getting divorce or retiring moving to another place.This people have the luxury to cut down the price.But most of this homeowners are not selling except for the ones that took cash out equity.The underwater homeowners are the sellers but this sellers most don’t have the luxury to cut down the price.Their choices is huge.They can live in the house stop paying the mortgage,make a deal with the bank for a short sale or go to foreclosure.The bank foreclose but don’t put the house on the market(shadow inventory).If there is only 10 for every 100 homes in the US are underwater 60 or 50 per 100 don’t have a mortgage and the foreclosed ones are being held by the bank.There is no indication you can make a really good deal if you are a buyer.

    Who really is the bagholder?It is obvious it’s not the homeowner.The bank and the tax payer is the real bagholder.

    Back to my hole.

  18. confused in NJ says:

    Under the House Democrats’ plan, the federal government would be responsible for ensuring that every person, regardless of income or the state of their health, has access to an affordable insurance plan. Individuals and employers would have new obligations to get coverage, or face hefty penalties.

    The legislation calls for a 5.4 percent tax increase on individuals making more than $1 million a year, with a gradual tax beginning at $280,000 for individuals. Employers who don’t provide coverage would be hit with a penalty equal to 8 percent of workers’ wages, with an exemption for small businesses. Individuals who decline an offer of affordable coverage would pay 2.5 percent of their incomes as a penalty, up to the average cost of a health insurance plan

    Interesting, Obama will put you in Debtors Prison if you refuse Obamacare. God Bless America.

  19. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Refinancing applications up last week as rates drop: MBA

    Mortgage rates fell last week, leading to a 17.7% rise in applications filed to refinance existing home loans, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported on Wednesday.

    For the week ended July 10, the volume of applications for mortgages to purchase homes was down a seasonally adjusted 9.4% from the week before, the MBA’s latest survey showed.

    Total application volume increased a seasonally adjusted 4.3% compared with the week before, according to the survey, which covers about one half of U.S. retail residential mortgage applications. The four-week moving average for filings was unchanged, the Washington-based MBA said.

    Application volume for last week was down an unadjusted 2.7% compared with the same week in 2008.

  20. I’m very tempted to make a bottom call with respect to volume (but not prices) for Northern NJ.

    I’ve been thinking about the very same thing for the past few days. I don’t have a way of gauging how much volume the varying stimuli (tax breaks, low rates, etc) are adding to the volume but sooner or later they have to end. What about the possibility of a double-dip? A leveling off now with another fall once rates climb back up and the tax credit goes away?
    Any thoughts on the idea posited at calculatedrisk that distressed sales are artificially inflating volume? CR has said it would be reasonable to expect sales volume to fall again once this limited pool of buyers is sated. He was focused mainly on SoCal but the idea is interesting.
    Finally, Wall St. hasn’t stopped laying people off. The numbers aren’t as big as they were in Sep and Oct but they’re still going on. I can’t imagine this not reducing the number of potential buyers.

  21. Laurie says:

    NW Bergen county has a ton of homes in the 850k+ range that are languishing with NO sales. Prices still way to high for 45 YEAR OLD almost POS. Saw one sale in Allendale that got my attention…4 bedroom, pool, excellent neighborhood which sold for 770k or so…WAY below what it would of sold for in the bubble days..I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the house…maybe the kitchen was old but the house and the bathrooms and the property/location were top notch…hhhmmmnnn…

  22. chicagofinance says:

    370.dolphinbeater says:
    July 14, 2009 at 11:22 pm
    leftwing, your point was that ‘promoted DMV employees’ would decide your health care in a government-run plan. The implication being that governments don’t employ highly skilled people. The organizations I named all do.
    Don’t try to change your point after the fact. It’s very unseemly.

    A Tuna with teeth? doh!

  23. grim says:

    I don’t have a way of gauging how much volume the varying stimuli (tax breaks, low rates, etc) are adding to the volume but sooner or later they have to end.

    I believe the stimulus is having an effect at the low end. The $8,000 stimulus is an additional 4% off the price of a $200,000 home, but only 1.6% off a $500,000 home. I think this may be driving some mix shift towards lower priced homes in lower priced areas. Add this additional benefit to the price declines already seen in these areas and we might be getting back to an affordability sweet spot.

    What about the possibility of a double-dip? A leveling off now with another fall once rates climb back up and the tax credit goes away?

    Very possible, although realize we’re significantly under peak volumes. Heck, we’re significantly under volumes most would consider normal.

    Any thoughts on the idea posited at calculatedrisk that distressed sales are artificially inflating volume?

    This isn’t artificial, this is real. Dramatically lower prices will attract buyers, period. The market is the market.

    CR has said it would be reasonable to expect sales volume to fall again once this limited pool of buyers is sated.

    Agree, we saw buyer exhaustion at the peak of the bubble, as homeownership rates hit peak levels (how many homes does one family need?).

    We could be in a situation where this short-term peak causes another short-term exhaustion as, dare I say it, “pant up demand” is satiated.

    Finally, Wall St. hasn’t stopped laying people off. The numbers aren’t as big as they were in Sep and Oct but they’re still going on. I can’t imagine this not reducing the number of potential buyers.

    This thing isn’t being driven by the high end, at all. Sussex as a driver? Huh? We’re seeing more activity in places like Plainfield, Newark, Paterson, Passaic, Dover, Raritan, than in towns that are considered “desirable”.

  24. BC Bob says:

    “I still think it has been downhill from “Born to Run”

    Based on tour tickets, the world disagrees.

  25. freedy says:

    and how overpriced are the homes in Closter, Norwood, Demarest, Tenafly?

  26. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    “It’s hard to understand markets emotionally sometimes. When volume is low, it’s easy to push things around for those who can. I don’t see any vast conspiracy as some have suggested I do, just the facts. Whether the financial media has the guts to call things like they are or not is another story. The AP headline today read: “Goldman Sachs’ $2.7B profit shows the firm’s prowess.” Good Grief! You have to hand it to Da Boyz, they know how to bedazzle Main Street. Anyone with a HAL 9000, their bad debts taken off their books, billions in public money to trade and most of their competitors (Bear Stearns and Lehman Bros.) eliminated should do just dandy. “Prowess”? My okole!

    Retail sales were “better than expected,” they tell us, and below is a portion of the news release; but, you should read between the lines. If gasoline prices are higher then so too is that major component of retail sales. Duh! As for car sales, they’re being dumped onto the markets.

    “Outside of gasoline and motor vehicles, sales were mixed but mostly down. Notably, building materials & garden equipment fell 0.9 percent. Consumers are eating at home more as food services & drinking places also declined 0.9 percent. General merchandise slipped 0.4 percent. On the positive side, gains were led by electronics & appliance stores and by sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores, both gaining 0.9 percent.

    Overall retail sales on a year-ago basis in June were down 9.0 percent, improving from down 9.8 percent in May. Excluding motor vehicles, the year-on-year rate slipped to down 7.9 percent from down 7.6 percent.”
    Nevertheless, markets were sold early and then rebounded as conditions today are easily propped. After the close, Intel (INTC) reported earnings that beat lowered estimates and stocks are taking off in extended trading.”


  27. House Whine says:

    Maybe we should redefine what is desirable. Raritan is a walkable town, with good access to major roads, with a train to Newark/NY. But it’s not a fancy kind of place with high income workers.

  28. A.West says:

    I think you’re right on the volume call. Volumes have been falling so long in NJ, while inventories are staying high, that at some point, supply & demand need to start clearing via price declines. I suspect that when the holdouts see price declines continuing, then the sellers start to panic. And what if price starts to bottom in places like Florida or Arizona – these folks in NJ need to sell and go ahead and buy their cheap homes down there.

  29. A.West says:

    Those real estate signs that advertise the $8,000 rebate are so misleading when put in the yard of an overpriced $1.15mn colonial on a half acre lot in Basking Ridge. What are the odds that the buyer of such a property would be 1) a first time homeowner, and 2) have income under $150k? That promotion is just as delusional as the asking price.

  30. safeashouses says:

    I am a mushroom laying cloud. We looked at a few rentals last night and they were atrocious. How the hell can a house be 40 years old and never have anything done to it? How? And how can people live like such pigs! And how can houses have furnaces from the 1950’s or 60’s still!

    No wonder so many people in NJ are so stressed out and obnoxious. Commuting 2 to 3 hours a day to live in a dump. And then they brag about great NJ is compared to other states.

    Must be all those superfund sites damaging everyone’s taste and common sense.

  31. BC Bob says:

    As volume increases prices will continue to fall. The market peaked, volume, in 2005. Yet prices continued higher for well over a year. The same will occur on the downside.

    In all markets, approx 40-50% of the total price moves occur in the last 10-20% of the time period of the bull/bear run. There is one guarantee, the majority will be selling when the underlying fundamentals are improving and getting stronger. Unfortunately, they don’t have a clue. They loaded the boat at the top, they will be capitulating at the bottom.

    Fun times ahead.

  32. SG says:

    Grim –

    Is bottoming in Volume on YOY basis or from prior month.

  33. SG says:

    Got the answer, did not see the data in detail earlier.

  34. cooper says:

    “Broad Unemployment Across the U.S.

    Under a broader definition of joblessness, some states have rates higher than 20 percent. This rate includes part-time workers who want to work full time, as well some people who want to work but have not looked for a job in the last four weeks.”

    nice interactive map


  35. safeashouses says:

    There are houses for sale in our price range, but they are too small for us. I don’t want to buy a 3 bed/1 bath ranch on a slab. I think that is simply to small. If it had a basement I’d be interested, then you could refinish it and have a lot more living space relatively cheaply.

    But what if my MIL comes to visit us in a place with 1 bath and spends an hour or 2 at time in the bathroom. My kids will have to pee in a bucket or something.

  36. #23 – This thing isn’t being driven by the high end, at all. Sussex as a driver? Huh?

    Point taken, however my thinking was going to back-office support. Each trader = X support positions (I’ve heard anywhere from 8+) which certainly would be the customers for the price ranges in question. I probably should have been a bit clearer.

  37. BC Bob says:

    Way to go Aussie. No cuts. In addition to this, they clearly state that the next moves would likely be to tighten, not cut. Wonder why capital is fleeing the dollar?

  38. NJGator says:

    Shore – re your comments to Stu previous thread – must make note to self to have Stu consult with you before buying birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day gifts.

  39. Shore Guy says:


    Just doing my part for marital harmony everywhere.

  40. gary says:

    I don’t understand what is meant by “volume” here. Are you talking about number of sales? Are you talking about inventory lows vs. highs? Can someone please define what “volume bottom” means?

  41. A.West says:

    Gary, volume = transactions.

  42. #40 – Gary, I took volume to mean the number of sales.

  43. BC Bob says:

    “Can someone please define what “volume bottom” means?”


    The # of time the Gints put Tom Brady on his #ss in the SB?

  44. Shore Guy says:

    But in all seriousness, about 18 months ago we were taking a trip to blue water, tropical fish, and drinks with little umbrellas and at first it looked like about 8 of us would be traveling down and back at around the same time. At that point, it was about breakeven between chartering a business jet and all of us paying first-class fares, and there would be no airport hassles withthe charter. As things turned out, schedules changed and we ended up traveling on 3 different flights, so we all went commercial.

  45. Shore Guy says:


    Wow! Look at RI. It makes one wonder whether this will tend to depress housing prices there more than in surrounding areas.

  46. d2b says:

    So I need life insurance advice. I want to get out of a bad variable life policy into a 20 year term.

    A call to my accountant led to a transfer to one of his peers who thinks that I may need a whole life policy instead. He thinks that when I’m 59 and the term policy expires I will probably want insurance but it will be impossible to get.

    He says that the cost of insurance on a term and a whole life policy are the same but the investment portion of the whole life is better because it’s based on the insurance company and not individual mutual funds.

    At 38 I have no problem getting a term policy. What’s it going to be like at 58?

    I’m middle class with no special tax requirements. Assuming that I will never be uber-rich is there an upside to whole life that I don’t see?

  47. grim says:

    Can someone please define what “volume bottom” means?

    Number of sales

  48. Shore Guy says:


    Burce fan and Giants fan. Good taste you have there. Add the Yankees, and all is right with the world.

  49. Shore Guy says:


    If you are 58, the house is paid of, and the kids are out of school and on their own, you don’t need much insurance besides defraying burrial costs (as long as your retirement savings have been decent). I have never heard anyone say good things about whole life. Perhaps Chifi has an alternate (and better-educated)view.

  50. Comrade Nom Deplume says:


    Shore Guy says:

    “Add the Yankees, and all is right with the world.”

    Death Before Dishonor.

    So much for separated at birth.

  51. 3b says:

    #23 grim: If I am reading the charts correctly, Bergen Co June contracts look tepid at best.

  52. Shore Guy says:


    Someone had to be the black sheep of the family.

    Besides, mom always liked you more.

  53. Shore Guy says:

    of=off, at least it does today

  54. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    Another Fly In The Ointment?

    Bombshell: Orders revoked for soldier challenging prez
    Major victory for Army warrior questioning Ojama’s birthplace”


  55. 3b says:

    #36 toshiro: No need to really consider office support in NJ, many of those postitions are headed to PA, nd North Carolina, also Buffalo NY

  56. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [45] shore

    R.I. and the surrounding portion of Mass. has always lagged the state, even during the boom years.

    I had a friend from Warwick who called R.I. “a suburb of Boston.” Some of us used to refer to R.I. as Massachusetts’ penal colony.

    Fact that Providence city gov. was incredibly corrupt, and the N.E. mob was heaquartered there, probably did not do much for state’s image.

  57. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    Re: Insurance-

    I question the Insurance Salesman’s claim that Whole Life costs the same as Term. Tell him to “Show you the numbers”

    You can find good Term quotes on the Internet. His commish on Whole Life is what he’s selling.

    By the time you reach 58, your assets should make you self-insured.

  58. Shore Guy says:


    It always amazed me the amount of LCN activity in Providence. Perhaps it was just far enough from Boston to provide freedom from entrenched Boston interests, while being close enough to exert profitable influence. Being a port and a bit of a rail hub, and sitting on 95, must have helped.

    It is interesting, I was in Providence recently and everyone I met raved about the former (and formerly-imprisoned) mayor, who, is now the manager of my favorite hotel in Boston.

  59. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    This took way longer than I expected:

    “Calpers Sues Agencies Over Ratings of Securities
    July 15, 2009, 5:30 am The nation’s largest public pension fund has filed suit in California state court in connection with $1 billion in losses that it says were caused by “wildly inaccurate” credit ratings from the three leading ratings agencies, The New York Times’s Leslie Wayne reported.”


  60. BC Bob says:

    Shore [48],

    Bleed blue.

  61. BC Bob says:

    he [59],

    I agree. I thought we would have seen this sooner. The first of many. Goodbye rating agencies.

  62. Gman says:

    Has anyone looked at the price of homes is Sussex county? Super affordable. No wonder why sales have increased so dramatically.

  63. SG says:

    New Jersey Dems fear economic backlash

    New Jersey
    Gov. Jon Corzine is trailing his Republican opponent Christopher Christie 53 percent to 41 percent, according to a new Quinnipiac poll — stoking fears among Democrats about a recession-fueled backlash against their party heading into the 2010 midterms.

    That compared with a June 10 Quinnipiac poll that saw Christie leading Corzine 50 percent to 40 percent. In a three-way matchup among likely voters, Christie leads Gov. Corzine 47 percent to 38 percent, with 8 percent for independent candidate Christopher Daggett.

  64. Shore Guy says:

    Bleed blue, whilst singing Crush on You.

    Well, off to earn some revenue for Obama to squander in myriad ways.

  65. PGC says:

    #10 Shore

    Do they have one that says

    “My son went to the Stone Pony and I got was this washed out T-Shirt!”

    …. :*)

  66. Sean says:

    The Rating Agencies are like CNBC, they simply exist for entertainment purposes only. The courts have been treating them very favorably like they are journalists.

    For example the Rating Agencies were sued over Enron. A federal judge in Texas dismissed ALL of the claims, saying the ratings analysts deserved the same kinds of First Amendment protections that shield journalists because their work was in essence opinion and not a guarantee.

    The rating agencies also use the Journalism shield laws to prevent discovery.

    The rating agencies will survive in one form or another unless Congress decides to label them differently.

  67. Stu says:

    On whole life versus term…I agree with the answers given here. At 58, you should have enough assets and savings that insurance is not necessary. Why continue to pay the middleman for something you won’t need?

    Shore guy, I need the address to send you the bill for my spouses exorbitant future gifts?

  68. dolpinbeater says:

    By the time you reach 58, your assets should make you self-insured

    Operative word – should.

    If everything happened exactly as they should, there would be no risk and we wouldn’t need to protect ourselves from that risk. IOW, we wouldn’t need insurance.

    Without going into specific personal details, personal fortunes don’t always pan out as expected. As you financial gurus like to surreptitiously whisper or type in really small font, the past is no predictor of future results. Put another way, chit happens.

    My advice, don’t pick insurance based on it being an investment or in hope for returns if the risk being protected does not actually occur. Identify the risk you wish to protect yourself against, identify how much you’re willing to pay in premiums to protect yourself against this risk and shop based on that. JMHO. The financial gurus in the house will disagree.

  69. BC Bob says:

    Identify the risk you wish to protect yourself against, identify how much you’re willing to pay in premiums to protect yourself against this risk and shop based on that.

    Flipper [68],

    Talking sense?

  70. dolpinbeater says:

    BC Bob, my mail order says hi. She’s fondling herself and humming the tune “Can’t touch this”.

  71. Secondary Market says:

    you spoke too soon bc

  72. leftwing says:

    Great work Grim, thanks.

    I track my small microcosm pretty closely, including the basis of the sellers in their properties.

    Today’s clearing price locally is c. 2005 for a prime property and c. 15% off 2005 for quality but not prime. Most sellers, particularly those that purchased this decade, don’t want to acknowledge this fact. However, the number of sellers accepting this level is increasing, driven almost entirely by people with a low basis (e.g. even a few that bought in the mid 90s).

    There is definitely depth among buyers at the prices mentioned above. The market is beginning to clear at these levels as serious sellers are now marking to this market. It’s approaching a critical mass where even sellers who have recently purchased will have to acknowledge and re-price or withdraw. We have enough activity that a market has formed.

    Most interesting, I think continued malaise will push volume even higher. As the market continues to clear at this price the hopes of the fence sitters become more remote – for sellers that there will be strong rebound economically and in prices; for buyers that an economic shock will give another leg down. A significant economic change either way will skew these expectations and choke the market again until the new clearing price is established.

    I’m very interested in what the Sept/Oct numbers will look like for the ‘we need to be in there for the holidays’ crowd. I’m not sure what July/Aug will tell us given the low nominal volumes historically in these months.

    I’m on board with you, we are near enough to call a volume bottom. Biggest variable for me is an interest rate increase not connected to economic activity but to the dollar or credit markets.

  73. Shelly says:

    The silliness in Chatham continues:

    MLS#: 2678356 at 38 Stafford Road in Chatham.

    These owners have a second house in upstate New York where they want to retire. They listed the house on Arpil 29, 2009 at $1,165,000. After three months and multiple open houses, they finally get a dose of the market reality and lower their price; by only $20,000.

    Typical of today’s Chatham home owner. So-so house, horrible backyard and ignoring comps that show that they should have accepted a $900K offer that was made during the first two weeks it was listed. Sometimes your first offer is your best offer.

  74. SG says:

    I am contemplating putting an offer on house. I see significant variation on 2 online valuation site. I would like expert confirmation on what you think of values suggested by these sites




    If you have a house in mind and price that you will be willing pay for it, can you do few things. See the value at these sites and post whether the price on which site was closer to the price you had in mind.

    Thanks in advance.

  75. dolpinbeater says:

    Sometimes your first offer is your best offer.

    Sometimes, even when it doesn’t look it.

    My neighbor recently sold her home. She ended up selling for $14,900 more than her very first offer. The first offer was made after 1 week on market. When she finally accepted an offer, her home had been on the market for 8 months. In the intervening months, every offer she got was between 5k below the first offer and 5k above the final (accepted) offer.

    In her case, she’d have been much better off selling early at $14.9k less. Why? Because each of those 8 months she was scrounging for money to pay PITI. She depleted much of her savings, not to mention the emotional stress (which has an actual physical impact) of the long wait.

  76. confused in NJ says:

    A New Hampshire man says he swiped his debit card at a gas station to buy a pack of cigarettes and was charged over 23 quadrillion dollars.

    Quite a Tax Increase in New Hampshire. Corzine will probably follow up on this.

  77. dolpinbeater says:

    SG, you know what the eggheads on here think of those sites.

    I will tell you this. The home sale I referred to in post #75 was valued by cyberhomes at 14% below what it actually sold for. The sale happened last week so this is pretty recent anecdata. I don’t know about zillow since it’s listed for sale there and the zestimate is gone.

  78. leftwing says:

    Shelley, see my post right above yours. I’m talking of Chatham.

    Sit tight for a while. If the current economic situation doesn’t change substantially either way my bet is that you will have a myriad of choices when the leaves are falling.

    Of course, all qualifications to this opinion apply. I am the rotund cleaning woman dressed in blue that comes to clean the bathroom fixtures after kettle1 has mopped the floor so take my opinion for what it is worth….

  79. safeashouses says:

    How long does it take to close on a house in NJ? Is it still 60 days or can it be done faster?

    Also houses listed as short sales needing 3rd party approval, do those take a long time to close? I haven’t seen any listed as being approved short sales.

  80. Doyle says:


    Laurie, agreed. I keep an eye on Wyckoff and everyone seems to think their house is worth $850k or more. There are even a few decent houses that have been sitting for long periods right around $850k. When those start to sell at $750k, everything will work it’s way down.

  81. Noah says:

    Re whole vs. term:
    Depends on a lot of factors. Based on what you describe (middle income, no plan to be wealthy), the only reason to buy whole life insurance is the tax-deferred long-term government bond rate of return. If you buy term and invest the difference, the common planning mantra, then determine what portion of your overall savings would be in municipal and/or government bonds. If the whole life premiums fit into that asset allocation, then it is generally a more advantageous tool to accumulate fixed income savings. Plus, if you end up wealthy, you could generally manuver the death benefit so it transfers estate tax free.

    You also need discipline and the ability to virtually guarantee you can put the premium into the policy for at least 15 years. There is no worse strategy than buying whole life insurance only to have it lapse in the first 10 years. That’s a huge waste.

    In my experience (as a financial advisor and accountant), those that buy whole life and keep it find it to be a great asset class. If it grows to become 10% or 20% of your total net worth, you will be happy. If it’s 30% or more, you will feel like you put your money in the wrong place.

    If you plan to accumulate $2,000,000 of total net worth at age 60 in 20 years (about equal to $1,000,000 in today’s dollars) and you’re buying a whole life policy of $500,000, I’d say you’re in the right ball park. Any additional coverage should be term.

    Full disclosure – I recommend and earn commissions on the sale of life insurance products. [I also earn fees from assets under management, and if I take it from a managed account and put it into life insurance, the net effect is 0 over the life of the client.]

  82. BklynHawk says:

    Grim, I’m holding off until q4 to see if volume has stabilized. What do you think about inventory?

  83. NJGator says:

    Glen Ridge went through a property revaluation for the 2008 tax year. Having learned some valuable lessons from what happened in Montclair the previous year, Glen Ridge was very conservative in their assessments. Even though the market has declined in the year since, the average ratio for GR for the 2009 tax year is 91.19 – which means that the assessment should be 91.19% of true market value.
    All well in the market for prestigious Glen Ridge? Check out these 3 Ridgewood Avenue listings. Remember, this is the premiere street in this prestigious, Upper Haughtyville, Top-5 school town.
    404 Ridgewood (GSMLS 2690928)
    OLP 749k LP 699K DOM 35
    Taxes – Reduced! New assessment 852,700. Taxes expected to be approximately 24,000 (What a deal! Last year they were 29,282)
    Original Assessment 1,089,800 which should translate to a value of 1,195,087. Taxes were successfully appealed to a new assessment of 852,700 which should translate to a value of $935,080.
    The house is currently listed at 25% below where the town values it. It is still not moving.

    499 Ridgewood (GSMLS 2692179)
    OLP 799k DOM 27
    Taxes – 22,189
    Assessment 825,800 which should translate to a value of $905,581.
    This house is currently listed at 12% below where the town values it.

    289 Ridgewood (GSMLS 2684303)
    OLP 929k LP 799,900 DOM 57
    Taxes – 27,203
    Assessment 1,012,400 which should translate to a value of $1,110,209.
    This house is currently listed at 28% below where the town values it.

  84. Outofstater says:

    #46d2b – I’d stay away from whole life and go with a longer term “term” policy. Even at 58 with the house paid off, you might still need life insurance, say, if you have a child still in elementary school. Funny how those things happen.

  85. Shelly says:

    leftwing, you mention that you speak of Chatham in your posts. I only say that because it seems like some towns, the Chathams, the bernardsvilles, even the Hardings, are small ecosystems in and of themselves.

    For example, in Bernardsville, there is more panic among sellers than one would expect. In Harding, you can have two homes on 6 acres, right near each other in similar size and condition and still have $500K-$800K price difference. In some of the better towns people all choose to look through their own rosey glasses.

  86. BeachBum says:

    NJC, Shore, Fiddy, et al,

    Ok,the NJ vaca approaches. Any GTG between the 25/7 and 9/8? We’re renting for two weeks in Belmar – hope we’ll have nice weather. While we’re there we’ll stop in see the sideways house and maybe a couple of others.
    So I think I noted something about the Sand shop and maybe another restaurant in addition to Moonlighting (sp?). Other tips to make the most of it (besides bussels of tomatoes and corn and drinks ont he beach…)?

  87. Cindy says:

    59 – HE – Thanks for posting. I bet Ritholtz (TBP) is ecstatic. McGraw Hill (parent company of Moody’s) backed away from “Bailout Nation” because he came down so hard on the rating agencies. He literally had to change publishers over it.

    Obvious to me. Conservative investors would have never knowingly been stuck with this crap. They did it because of the AAA rating. My outfit, CalSTRS, can’t be far behind.

    It would just be nice to see some accountability somewhere down the line.

  88. Stu says:

    “It would just be nice to see some accountability somewhere down the line.”

    Keep dreaming ;)

    Not only do we reward those accountable for the crisis, but we pay for it with YOUR offspring’s future!

  89. 3b says:

    #72 leftwing: Nothinh new in this data. During the alst bubble burst, their was aburst of activity as prices fell 10-15% at the begining/middle stages of the decline, and those fence sitter buyers jumped in, only to realize too late that they missed the next leg down.

    There is nothing IMO out there to indicate that we have reached bottom as far as prices.

    And as I always say, this bubble burst and resultant recession is far worse than the one in the early 90’s.

  90. ricky_nu says:

    from the Telegraph.co.uk

    Goldmann caves in to Mike Morgan and golmansachs666.com

    Mr. morgn will be allowed to keep his site up and running and will “refrain from any action that interferes with Morgan’s use” as long as he continues to display a prominent disclaimer which states that the site has nothing to do with the bank.

    aside – I hope Mr Morgan has a food taster….

  91. leftwing says:


    Re: 38 Stafford

    Wickham Woods homeowners seem to have an inflated view of their home values at the higher end of the scale. Expectations may take a little longer to adjust there. Look in some other comparable neighborhoods anyway. I’ve never been enthralled with that neighborhood particularly with the swamp so close.

    On another note, did you see 8 Whitman listed today? Not for you to buy since you seem to be in a different price range but for listing price. At $530k ask it’s starting at 23% off assess (2005). Seller capitulation.

  92. Shore Guy says:


    My response, with an address for you, is in moderation.

  93. 3b says:

    #83 njgator: Just curious but do you know anyone that was aware of the property tax cap for state income tax deductions?

  94. Shore Guy says:


    The best place to send those invoices may be:

    Gift (Graft?) Support Division
    B.0.’s House of Handouts
    Northwest Gate
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
    Washington, DC o21oo

    Whatever gifts you bestow on your bel0ved will amount to a rounding error in the daily spending at the House of Hand0uts ( f/k/a White House f/k/a Executive Mansion f/k/a The President’s House) also d/b/a S0ci@!ist Hut.

    Ask for R@hm. He is an easy-going guy, no doubt he will be thrilled to help

  95. Stu says:


    How about Obama stumping for Corzine who endorsed Hillary when Obama appeared to have really needed the endorsement.

    Politics are a complete and utter joke.

  96. Shore Guy says:


    That war is over. O won so can afford to be “big” and reach out. Nothing personal, it is only business.

  97. Stu says:


    Corzine is going to lose big time and deservedly so IMO. Unfortunately, Jesus could descend from the heavens and take over the reigns and still couldn’t turn this sinking state around.

    I already discussed with Gator that if somehow we were both laid off, we too would be outta here like a used condom.

  98. Cindy says:


    #95 – Stu

    “Politics are a complete and utter joke.”

    Did you catch this a few days ago…

    “$260M Back Stab” – Thanks a lot, Hillary

  99. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    beach :86

    If you get tired of eating seafood that week, try the Ragin’ Cajun on River Road in Belmar. Just for a change of pace.

    It’s BYOB, but that shouldn’t be a problem.

    See what kind of bands are on the schedule and make an evening of it.

  100. Stu says:


    I can’t read the post for they make up half of their stories. Plus their audience is the Kennedy Fried Chicken crowd. I suppose I am an elitist, at least according to the post.

  101. Clotpoll says:

    Cindy (87)-

    It won’t happen…at least, not until enough of us decide to enforce accountability at the business ends of our carbines of choice.

    Until such time, the gubmint and criminal corporate enterprises will continue to bugger us silly.

    “It would just be nice to see some accountability somewhere down the line.”

  102. HEHEHE says:


    I agree there certainly were some pensions funds and other investors that were duped. There are also likely several others who were in on it. NY State had several people running their pension funds who were getting kick-backs from various hedge funds. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see some of these “fiduciaries” looking the other way for the right price.

  103. Clotpoll says:

    Cindy (98)-

    I suggest that NYC relax the security at the UN and then invite AQ in to drop the joint.

    Get all the freeloaders, spies and apparatchiks out of NYC. The UN is a corrupt, anti-Semitic joke of an organization, anyway.

  104. Stu says:

    “The UN is a corrupt, anti-Semitic joke of an organization, anyway.”

    You forgot to mention powerless.

  105. Sean says:

    Coalition to attack Obama’s plan for to give the Fed oversight of all large US financial groups.


  106. Shore Guy says:


    Having them here provides invaluable opportunities for NSA to gain easy access to diplomatic codes, for, other government agencies, to befriend and recruit diplomats to assist us, and a host of other unspoken but invaluable activities.

    As the taxes are in irritant to international relations, and international relations is a federal issue, just let the City send an invoice to State and let State pay the fee in lieu of taxes. The amount is small, so let’s not let it get in the way of intelligence gathering. We would be nuts to let such easy pickings leave U.S. soil.

  107. Shore Guy says:


    The financial services sector does not need oversight. Remember, they are largely responsible to where we are today. Cough, gag.

  108. Clotpoll says:

    Shore (106)-

    I would suggest that our emergence as a Third World nation should find us less concerned with obtaining intel and turning diplomats.

    A much neater trick will be figuring out how to sustain a population of 300mm+ on an economy that creates nothing other than debt and paperwork.

  109. veto that says:

    “an economy that creates nothing other than debt and paperwork.”

    clot, don’t forget missiles.

    we make awesome missiles.

  110. Qwerty says:

    RE: “breakeven between chartering a business jet and all of us paying first-class fares”

    Shore, flying 1st class strikes me as a colossal waste of money. If expensed fine, but out-of-pocket a few grand to eat a TV dinner with metal silverware instead of plastic?

  111. veto that says:

    Chevy may pick up the G8…

    GM’s Lutz Weighs Reviving Caprice
    Popularity of Pontiac G8 Sedan Presents an Unusual Dilemma to the Auto Maker’s Board

    General Motors Co.’s vice chairman is weighing bringing back the 40-year-old Chevy Caprice nameplate, applying it to the G8 performance sedan from its soon-to-be discontinued Pontiac brand.

    Bob Lutz, who last week agreed to stay at GM several months after announcing his retirement and now holds wide latitude over the auto maker’s vehicle choices, said Monday that the muscular, rear-wheel-drive Pontiac G8 is “finally being discovered” by consumers.


  112. veto that says:

    yeah, lets rename the g8 after our grandfather’s cop car…

    leave it up to gm to ruin anything good.

  113. Clotpoll says:

    I won’t buy an American car until somebody brings back this timeless classic:


  114. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [113] pol clot

    I’m holding out for the Vega and Maverick.

  115. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [113] clot

    I had an uncle who owned a baby blue Gremlin. He loved that car. Eventually, it went to its reward. He replaced it with a Suzuki Samurai.

    These cars are now jokes, and doubtless John would not be caught dead in anything less than 7 series, but my uncle got his money’s worth out of these cars. He wasn’t hung up on status—he did well for himself as a welder after the Navy, and saw value in things that were just to get from point A to B. He took care of his tools and they took care of him.

  116. chicagofinance says:

    grim unmod

  117. Qwerty says:

    Nom, don’t overlook that driving can be FUN.

    Once you drive a car that accelerates, corners, and stops with finesse, you can’t go back. Increased performance translates into improved safety, too.

  118. RayC says:


    only a better driver really = better safety

    increased performance can mean more damaging crash as “it didn’t feel like I was doing 90”. Anyway, with GPS and texting, none of us are safe…

  119. veto that says:

    The only way that car should be driven is by feathering your hair back and then sticking a comb in the back pocket of the tightest dungarees you can find. Then playing an 8 track of the theme song to the ‘fall guy’.

    otherwise, dont even bother.

  120. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [117] qwerty

    I know, I know.

    But I also get sick of these feckada german cars that spend more time in the shop than in your driveway. Really fcuking annoying, not to mention expensive. John will say, if you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t own it. But for me, it’s like taxes—being able to pay it and being happy about it are two different things, and I just don’t see the performance differential as worth it when, like me, you aren’t in it that often.

    When it comes to cars, I am turning japanese again.

  121. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [119] veto

    or an 8-track of the Captain and Tennille. (sp?)

  122. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    It would appear that the Swiss might be the ones that are going to blink:

    “Swiss bank UBS could transfer client data to the United States and end a damaging tax litigation without breaching Swiss bank secrecy laws, a top Swiss judge told Reuters on Tuesday.

    U.S. authorities have asked UBS to disclose the identity of 52,000 Americans suspected of using secret Swiss accounts to dodge taxes. UBS has so far resisted saying a blanket request to disclose the names of the clients would breach Swiss law.

    But Christoph Bandli, President of Switzerland’s Federal Administrative Court which has the power to rule on data transfer, said U.S. tax officials can legitimately ask for unnamed client data as long as they set out a specific category of clients.

    “Knowing the names of the clients is not obligatory. One can request administrative assistance also wthout having the clients’ name,” Bandli told Reuters.

    “(But) you must define a specific category (of clients).”

    Bank data transfer are regulated by the so-called U.S.-Swiss administrative assistance process.

    Washington and Berne are in talks to find a way to pass on the data without breaching current Swiss law. A U.S. judge has agreed to delay a trial against UBS to Aug. 3 to allow the two governments to hammer out a settlement. . . ”

    This judge wasn’t speaking on an active case or controversy before him, so one wonders what his motivation was. Is he being used to give cover to the Swiss government? Are the Swiss that concerned about being blackballed by the U.S.?

    If it hasn’t been heard before, that giant sucking sound around Lake Geneva is capital quietly exiting the middle canton for other corners of the globe. Actually, more likely that the accounts designated as U.S. held, will likely become Irish-held overnight.

  123. Stu says:


    Smart move.

    2008 BMW M3: $82,000

    Distance to stop 60 to 0: 108ft.

    2007: Honda Fit Sport: $15,720

    Distance to stop 60 to 0: 123 ft.

    I’ll buy 5 Fits and will use the extra 4 grand to pay for reflex improvement training.

  124. veto that says:

    im with you nom,

    Most people sit in traffice 90% of the time anyway. im not into switching lanes every three seconds to get in front of two cars and possibly make it home 2 minutes faster.

    And if you do the cost benefit, its probably not worth the extra bucks to have a volume control mechanism that increases or decreases with your car speed. I mean, how much can stuff like that be worth?

    A car is transportation. nothing more. If you need to spend $40k more on a car to get laid, then you are probably doing something wrong.

    Then again, im a little bitter for driving a honda civic so dont listen to me.

  125. grim says:

    New thread, up!

  126. veto that says:

    i was making decent money at my old job three years ago but i’m not the type to blow it as soon as possible.

    So i kept driving my 10 yr old car.

    My assistant on the otherhand, who was making 1/4 of my compensation and had a half of college degree, goes out and leases a shiny new BMW.

    That was when i knew to sell all my stocks.

  127. Mikeinwaiting says:

    PGC #8 Grim, No big dumps by intrawest.
    As the numbers tell use sales are up, but looking at what I know of that sold, deep discounts. looked at a place 2 years ago 379 sold last week 260. Another closed yesterday (a friend of mine). Started out over 3 sold for 235 & he was one lucky SOB. By the way no money down they are in the red the day they move in ! REOs that sell will set the comp for the area forcing prices lower & there are more to come. I know of a few coming down the pike. This will play out for years as today’s bag-holder in trouble will milk it for a year then bank gets it so 12 to 18 monthes to market. As far as those buying in my area, most are getting a bad deal even on some REO’s, more pain to come.

  128. NJCoast says:

    #86 Beach Bum

    Sideways house in Allenhurst has been reduced to $699,00. Original list $999,000. When you look at the house don’t forget to ask the realtor about the school tax situation. If she says it’s a non issue you’ll know she’s either clueless or a liar. Property taxes are going up big time there.

    While in Belmar I would suggest Brandl’s for upscale dining. It’s pricy but good and BYOB (leave any small kids home). On Sunday they serve a 3 course “Lazy Lobster” dinner- $35.00. Langosta Lounge on the Asbury boardwalk is good too (kids menu). But don’t wander around west of the boardwalk. Ollie Kleins in Belmar is a no frills seafood place but has gotten pricy since they expanded. Mr C’s in Allenhurst has a bar that looks out over the ocean and al fresco dining on the deck (kids menu).

    Windmill hotdogs rule. There’s one on Rt. 35 in Belmar and one on Main Street on the Ocean Grove/Asbury border. Kelly’s is also a good family place for Reubens and bar fare. Vic’s in Bradley Beach for family pizza night.

    Beach Cinema in Bradley Beach has date night Monday nights- 1/2 price movies.

    Spellbinders Surf Shop on Main Street in Allenhurst for cool beach attire and surfing stuff.

    Fell free to get my email address from Grim. I’d be happy to have you stop by our beach for a martini or a “Pain Killer”

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