Beige Book – October 2009

From the Federal Reserve:

Beige Book – October 2009

Second District–New York

The Second District’s economy has shown scattered signs of a pickup since the last report. The labor market has given mixed signals, with some signs of strengthening in manufacturing, but ongoing weakness in hiring in other sectors. Manufacturing sector contacts report increased activity and remain optimistic about the near-term outlook.

Consumer confidence, though still low, has moved up moderately since the last report.

Commercial real estate markets–in both the office and industrial categories–have been steady to moderately weaker since the last report. Residential real estate markets have been mixed since the last report, but generally weaker, especially at the high end of the market. Home sales activity reportedly rebounded a bit from depressed second quarter levels, but prices, as well as rents, have continued to decline. Finally, bankers report rising delinquency rates–particularly on consumer and commercial mortgage loans–along with ongoing tightening in credit standards; loan demand continued to decline, except for residential mortgages, where bankers report some pickup in demand.

Housing markets remain sluggish across the District, though sales activity has picked up in certain areas. A New Jersey contact indicates that resale activity is inching upward, though prices continue to be depressed due to a substantial volume of foreclosures and short sales. New home sales remain flat in northern New Jersey, though the inventory is gradually diminishing, due to a lack of new development. In western New York State, home sales activity reportedly slowed in August and remained relatively sluggish in September, while prices generally remained steady; contacts express concern that the upcoming expiration of the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers will adversely affect sales and prices. Manhattan’s apartment sales market remained weak in the third quarter. Sales activity rebounded moderately from the prior quarter but remained lower than a year earlier; prices continued to decline and were estimated to be down 18 percent from a year earlier on a per-square-foot basis. The inventory of listings declined modestly, but the average number of days on the market continued to climb. Manhattan’s rental market slackened further in September, with average asking rents continuing to run about 10 percent below a year earlier; in addition, landlords are reported to be offering increasingly generous concessions–waiving fees and offering one or more months of free rent. Vacancy rates are reported to have edged down seasonally, but this is expected to reverse in the upcoming (typically slower) winter season.

For all loan categories, respondents indicated a tightening of credit standards, ranging from 24 percent in the residential mortgage category to 30 percent for commercial mortgages; virtually no banker reports easing in credit standards. Respondents report widespread decreases in average deposit rates. Finally, bankers note increased delinquency rates for all loan categories, most notably in the consumer loan category.

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

26 Responses to Beige Book – October 2009

  1. safeashouses says:


  2. grim says:

    Hat tip lost!

    Bubble Hill… So perfect..

    From the NY Daily News:

    Eddie Murphy slashes price of $30M New Jersey estate, Bubble Hill, to $15M

    Funnyman Eddie Murphy won’t be joking over this.

    Nearly five years after his posh seven-bedroom Englewood, N.J., mansion went on the market for $30 million, the actor has slashed $15 million off the asking price.

    And still no buyers.

    The lavish gated estate, known as Bubble Hill, comes complete with a bowling alley, theater and recording studio.

    It also has a full-size racquetball court, indoor pool, elevator and a carriage house with gym.

    Annual taxes alone are $197,723.

    “It’s a beautiful house and 10 minutes from Manhattan,” said real estate broker Dennis McCormack, of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International.

    When the 32-room house first hit the market in 2004 with a $30 million price tag it became the most expensive single-family home in the Garden State.

    The “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Shrek” star is hoping for the more modest sum of $14,990,000.

  3. chicagofinance says:

    Some comment on Steve Phillips….

    10/21/2009 3:49 PM

    Looking at the picture I can only guess that this chick is like a moped – fun to ride, but embarrassing to be seen on.

  4. Just me says:

    far from over, more to com…

  5. safeashouses says:

    #3 chifi,

    Maybe she reminded him of Mo Vaughn?

  6. james says:

    Obama’s ties to Baxter in addition to Chicago HQ
    February 22, 2005

    “Less than two months after ascending to the United States Senate, Barack Obama bought more than $50,000 worth of stock in two speculative companies whose major investors included some of his biggest political donors.

    One of the companies was a biotech concern that was starting to develop a drug to treat avian flu. In March 2005, two weeks after buying about $5,000 of its shares, Mr. Obama took the lead in a legislative push for more federal spending to battle the disease.”

    “But he put $50,000 to $100,000 into an account at UBS, which his aides say was recommended to him by a wealthy friend, George W. Haywood, who was also a major investor in both Skyterra and AVI BioPharma, public securities filings show.”

    “Within two weeks of his purchase of the biotech stock that Feb. 22, Mr. Obama initiated what he has called “one of my top priorities since arriving in the Senate,” a push to increase federal financing to fight avian flu.”

    “His first step came on March 4, 2005, when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved his request for $25 million to help contain the disease in Asia; the full Senate later approved that measure. And in April 2005, he introduced a bill calling for more research on avian flu drugs and urging the government to increase its stockpiles of antiviral medicines.

  7. Shore Guy says:

    If Bush or Clinton had pulled something like that, they would have been impeached.

  8. Shore Guy says:

    “Watch Obama tell Holder to release the hounds on a few more banking execs come next Fall just in time for Mid-Term elections.

    Bread and Circuses….”

    Circus or not, it seems there are many who deserve to be rounded up and convicted, including, one might argue, at least one tax writer in congress

  9. yo'me says:

    Washington Post Is on the Anti-Deficit Warpath: Leaves Truth Behind

    Not to be outdone by the NYT’s anti-Japan tirade, the Washington Post lectured its readers on why the country will just have to learn to enjoy double-digit unemployment rather than run higher deficits. Needless to say it misrepresents a few facts to advance its agenda.

    The main point is that the country should not get the idea that we can endure high levels of debt, just because we have endured high levels of debt. It tells readers that it was easy to turn the high deficits from World War II into a surplus because most public spending was on defense. It notes that the plunge in defense spending following the war allowed the budget to swing from a deficit of 22 percent of GDP in 1945 to a surplus of 1.2 percent of GDP in 1947. Yes, there was a large swing, but defense spending soon swung back upwards because of the Cold War and the hot Korean War, which put the government in deficit through most of the rest of the next three decades.

    More importantly, it contrasts the war driven deficit with spending driven by government social programs. It tells readers that social programs “are not only hard to cut quickly; they also have a way of growing unexpectedly.” Really? Are there examples of spending on social programs growing unexpectedly? CBO’s projections for spending on Social Security and Medicare have been pretty accurate and in fact it overestimated the growth of Medicare expenses back in the 90s.

    The Post then warns us that:

    “The government met its World War II borrowing needs out of U.S. domestic resources, including the sale of $185 billion in low-interest war bonds. … Today, foreigners hold nearly half the $7.5 trillion U.S. public debt. As a result, the politics of deficit reduction are not only extremely difficult, they are extremely difficult and international. Inflation could trigger a global run on the dollar and a nasty interest rate spike.”

    Are you scared yet? If so, you need to learn a bit more economics.

    First, the reason that much of the borrowing is from foreigners is because the United States is running a large trade deficit. The reason that it has a large trade deficit is that the dollar is over-valued. With the dollar at its current level, the trade deficit would be the same size, assuming the same level of GDP, even if the budget were balanced. If the Post actually had the concern about the well-being of future generations that it often claims, then it would be determined to get the trade deficit down, reducing the drain that future flows of capital income to foreigners will pose to the country.

    In fact, the Post has never once run an editorial calling for a decline in the dollar and actually warns against allowing the dollar to drop, the only plausible mechanism for correcting the trade deficit. The run on the dollar that it shrilly hypothesizes is absurd on its face. If the dollar were to a fall a large amount (e.g. 50 percent) against other major currencies, the rest of the world would see its markets in the U.S. evaporate and U.S. exports become hyper-competitive. (imagine the screaming over the “buy American” policy in the stimulus multiplied by a hundred thousand.) They would have no choice but to intervene to prevent a plunge in the dollar.

    As far as the risk of inflation, foreigners who hold U.S. debt understand the risks of inflation (if not, maybe we can send them Post editorials), so there is no obvious complication if inflation reaches modest levels. Investors are used to losing money on their dollar holdings. The dollar has been falling against the euro and most other major currencies for most of this decade, so it’s not clear why they would suddenly be concerned about losses associated with domestic inflation.

    In short, the Post can’t really present much of a case to support its concern about deficits. But hey, that’s no reason not to support cuts in Social Security and Medicare and tax increases for the middle class.

    btw, it is also worth noting that we would not be facing these huge deficits if the WaPo and its friends in policy positions had not insisted on ignoring an $8 trillion housing bubble. It would be helpful if they could tell readers when they stopped being wrong about the economy.

    –Dean Baker

  10. Shore Guy says:

    In honor of where the current administration is taking the finances of the USA:

  11. Victorian says:

    Too small for insurance
    Embattled health insurance companies are taking a page from Goldlilocks. Last week, a 4-month-old child was denied insurance for being too heavy (the company has since changed its mind). Now the Web is buzzing about a toddler who was denied coverage for being too small.

    On Wednesday morning, “The Today Show” covered the story of 2-year-old Aislin Bates. Though she weighs just 22 pounds (in the third percentile range for kids her age), her doctor has described her as being perfectly healthy, never having been sick with anything more than a cold. Still, United HealthCare didn’t buy it, saying that the child didn’t meet height and weight standards. So, no insurance for Aislin.

  12. Dissident HEHEHE says:

    Goldman Sachs Salutes America’s Working Men and Women

  13. Shore Guy says:

    From the Goldman link above:

    New York, New York
    October 21, 2009

    Goldman Sachs today announced they would lay off 1500 U.S. Treasury Department employees and cut the salaries of another 52,000 federal workers in order to compensate for lower-than-anticipated bonuses for Goldman Sachs executives.

    In a bipartisan measure meant to reassure those federal workers affected, both the House and Senate passed by voice vote a “Fcuk it, What Are We Supposed To Do About It?” resolution to absolve themselves from any blame over loss of wages, jobs, or home.

  14. pricedOut says:

    #2 grim says:
    October 21, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Hat tip lost!

    Bubble Hill… So perfect..

    From the NY Daily News:

    Eddie Murphy slashes price of $30M New Jersey estate, Bubble Hill, to $15M


    What did he pay for it and when? I checked out DataUniverse and it returned no results for either Englewood (City) or Englewood Cliffs. #191 Brayton St.

  15. sas says:

    so, there was a little pickup with the stimulus. I thinking stimulus of the real economy wasn’t such a bad thing. However, were is the real growth & wealth? why are we investing in such things?

    what happens when the bailout runs it course? stimulus II.

    is that the new “recovery”, high unemployment & govt running printing press.

    Gold prices are telling you something.

  16. sas says:

    about my chelation therapy, i had some years ago. someone thought it would be cute to see me fold over like a chair.


  17. sas says:

    “Public must learn to ‘tolerate the inequality’ of bonuses, says Goldman Sachs vice-chairman”

  18. chicagofinance says:

    To the Desi on the board:

    I see a decidedly specific theme to this whole Galleon debacle. If this situation involved other ethnic minorities in the U.S., there would likely be some groundswell of charges of bias. What is being discussed if you don’t mind me asking? Is it too new and obscure for people to really be aware of it yet?

  19. chicagofinance says:

    OCTOBER 22, 2009
    Upstart Gains in New Jersey
    Independent Makes Case That Backing Him for Governor Wouldn’t Be a Wasted Vote

    TEANECK, N.J. — The independent candidate for New Jersey governor is primed to play spoiler in the Nov. 3 election. The question is which candidate he will hurt most.

    Recent polls show Chris Daggett, an environmental consultant, getting 14% support, while Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine and Republican challenger Chris Christie each are averaging less than 40% each, according to polling aggregator

    Voters’ mood this year is more anti-Corzine than it is pro-Christie, and most observers believe Mr. Daggett is siphoning anti-incumbent votes from the challenger. In a poll last week, Quinnipiac University asked Daggett supporters who their second choice would be. Forty percent said Mr. Christie and 33% said Mr. Corzine.

    Turnout is typically low in New Jersey’s odd-year gubernatorial election, and with the better-organized Democrats behind the incumbent, a key will be those who say they are supporting Mr. Daggett.

    Mr. Christie, a former U.S. attorney, had hoped to capitalize on dissatisfaction among unaffiliated voters and unhappy Democrats. Mr. Corzine, who was elected in 2005 after five years in the U.S. Senate, has suffered from the perception that he hasn’t addressed the state’s biggest problem — high property taxes — and festering resentment at his handling of high unemployment.

    The White House is on the case: Wednesday, President Barack Obama appeared at a rally with Mr. Corzine for the second time this year. In recent days, Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton also campaigned in the state.

    Mr. Daggett has no such star power backing him. At a grassroots meeting in the suburban New York City town of Teaneck Tuesday evening, Mr. Daggett tried to tamp down fears that a vote for him would be wasted.

    “I believe the indictment of the two-party system is strong across New Jersey,” Mr. Daggett told a group of about 30 people. “A vote for me is a vote for me. It’s time to take action on your beliefs.”

    Mr. Christie led in the polls until September. That’s when Mr. Corzine’s personal wealth from his Wall Street career began fueling ads that questioned Mr. Christie’s ethics and decision-making. Another Corzine ad seemed to highlight Mr. Christie’s girth while a voiceover said Mr. Christie “threw his weight around as U.S. attorney.”

    Mr. Christie has fought back by frequently reminding voters of Mr. Corzine’s wealth, which allows him to contribute to political and church groups.

    All the mudslinging has opened the door for the long-shot candidate. At a televised debate Oct. 1, the major-party candidates sniped at each other while Mr. Daggett presented a detailed plan that would lower property taxes by 25%. He said he would do so namely by expanding the types of services that are subject to the state’s sales tax. He also called for cutting pension and health-care benefits for public employees, a risky move in a state that is heavily unionized.

    Mr. Daggett’s message that voters aren’t getting what they want from either major-party candidate has played particularly well with some of the state’s 2.4 million unaffiliated voters, which make up about half of the total.

    .”What the Chris Daggett phenomenon is is a pox on both your houses,” says Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute in Long Branch. “We don’t like the job Jon Corzine has done, but we don’t think Chris Christie has leveled with us and told us what he will do, either.” Mr. Corzine says he has capped local property-tax increases and preserved rebates for middle-class taxpayers and favors property-tax credits or rebates in the future. Mr. Christie’s campaign says he has a plan to cut the state property tax by cutting items in the state budget.

    As the regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Ronald Reagan, Mr. Daggett played a role in killing a popular New York development project that he says would have harmed the Hudson River. He later served as the commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection and was recently picked by Mr. Corzine to help overhaul the state’s environmental-permit process.

    Mr. Daggett has spent about $1 million on the election. Mr. Corzine, formerly chief executive of Goldman Sachs, has outspent him by at least 17 times, while Mr. Christie has outspent Mr. Daggett by nearly six times.

    At the meeting in Teaneck, Mr. Daggett impressed on the group the need for them to elect someone willing to address the tax structure and an anticipated $8 billion state deficit.

    One audience member, Richard Karp, a professional artist in Teaneck, said he planned to vote for Mr. Daggett, even though he doesn’t believe he has a chance. “Realistically, people are not inclined to vote for an independent,” he said.

    Mr. Murray of the Monmouth polling institute agreed. “New Jerseyans are just so used to voting for a political party,” he said.

    The recent Quinnipiac poll found that only 39% of those respondents have made up their minds.

  20. james says:

    An internal congressional report questioning the ability of the Secret Service to continue fulfilling its duties was leaked to the Boston Globe. The report says the Secret Service is strained by a drastic increase in threats to President Obama, coupled with deep budget cuts. Some are speculating that the agency may need to relinquish all or part of its roles in protecting the country’s financial machinery in order to focus resources on the protection of the president and other high-profile leaders.

    The report, issued in August by the Congressional Research Service, claimed that if “an evaluation of the service’s two missions” were to be done at this time, there’s a good possibility that “it might be determined that it is ineffective…to conduct its protection mission and investigate financial crimes.” Additionally, an anonymously quoted government official said that many inside the halls of Congress and within the Secret Service itself are questioning whether or not the agency’s effectiveness wouldn’t be enhanced by transferring some of its responsibilities regarding the investigation of financial crimes over to the Treasury Department.

    The banks are gonna make Obama their fall guy.

Comments are closed.