Like clockwork, with spring comes optimism.

But is it founded in logic, reason, and data? Or is it nothing more than the same hopeful cheerleading we’ve seen for at least the past 3 spring seasons?

From the NY Times:

Optimism About the New Year

SO is it over? The three-year period of unrelenting home price declines: has it stopped? And is it possible that sales prices will go the other way in 2010?

Excited by brisk business in some locales even during the traditionally slow holidays, a few real estate brokers began blurting out such hopes.

Statistically speaking, there are grounds for modest optimism that prices will trend upward in the near future, said the market analyst Jeffrey Otteau, whose Otteau Valuation Group continuously tracks sales data in 21 counties for real estate companies.

Mr. Otteau cited one recent report indicating that New Jersey was one of a half dozen “breakout” states in which prices had already begun to creep up in the second half of 2009. That report came from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which indexes purchase prices of homes with mortgages guaranteed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Looking at data from the entire period of the slide — the start of 2006 through the third quarter of 2009 — Mr. Otteau concluded that the state’s residential market “didn’t get hammered all that bad” compared with the nation at large, and was likely to recover faster.

The median home price declined 12.4 percent statewide over the three years, to $289,275 from $330,331, by the Otteau Group calculations. Two northwestern New Jersey counties, Sussex and Hunterdon, got hit much harder than the average, both experiencing declines of more than 20 percent, which various analysts have ascribed to sparser development, smaller population and greater distance from job centers.

Back when home prices were at their highest, buyers had started to “push west” to those counties, trading longer commutes for affordability, said James Bednar, who writes a blog on state real estate at With the general decline in prices during the past few years, “demand to move to those western counties has dropped,” said Mr. Bednar, whose online self-description is “Grim.”

In Hudson County, by contrast, median purchase prices fell just 2.6 percent, peak to trough. The pace of sales pace slowed sharply over the three-year period, even as thousands of new, high-end condominiums came on the market. But Hudson’s proximity to Manhattan jobs bolstered values, as it has for the 30 years, since waterfront area redevelopment began west of the river. ****

In Essex, Somerset, Mercer, Camden, Atlantic and Salem counties, prices declined 5 to 10 percent.

In Bergen, Union, Monmouth and Gloucester counties, the decline was 10 to 15 percent.

Besides Sussex and Hunterdon, the hardest-hit counties — with declines between 15 and 20 percent — were Passaic, Morris and Warren, in the northern part of the state; Ocean and Burlington in central Jersey; and Cape May at the southern tip.

In general, Mr. Bednar said, “it’s that lower end that is taking the biggest hit.” On the other hand, it is his view that those same lower-priced areas saw “the biggest speculation, and biggest run-up” in prices during the boom years before 2006.

Mr. Otteau suggested that it was best not to obsess over home values in the short term.

According to the housing finance agency, he noted, New Jersey’s median home price rose nearly 6 percent when measured over a five-year period, 2003 to 2009. Going back all the way to 1991, when the agency started keeping its statistics in their current form, the median home price has risen 129 percent.

“If you bought in the last five years and need to sell your house today,” Mr. Otteau said, “then the short-term cycle is relevant. But only about 1 out of 10 homeowners are in that situation. For the rest of us, it doesn’t really matter what home prices are doing right now.”

**** I’m not sure exactly where the pricing data came from, but some of those appear to be off a bit, for example:

According to the NJAR, for Hudson County

2008 Q3 to 2009 Q3 – Down 9.7%
2007 Q3 to 2008 Q3 – Down 6.9%
2006 Q3 to 2007 Q3 – Down 0.3%

Median Price
2006 Q3 – $366,000 (rough peak)
2009 Q3 – $306,000 (current, not trough)

Down 16.4% peak to current.

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

175 Responses to Like clockwork, with spring comes optimism.

  1. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    New Jersey towns face crash diet of budget cuts

    The furloughs are business-as-usual in Maplewood, so much so that they wind up listed under “Events” on the suburb’s official website.

    There will be 12 more of the monthly unpaid days off this year. There’ll be rolling summer library closings, too. Add those to the 22 staffers laid off — 10 percent of the municipal work force — and its pedestal on Money magazine’s list of “one of the best places to live in America” looks frayed.

    The crash diet in this Essex County Township isn’t likely to end anytime soon after Gov.-elect Christopher Christie on Wednesday warned New Jersey’s already cash-strapped municipalities that state aid would be reduced in the coming fiscal year. The sobering reason: The state could run out of money as early as March.

    The cuts — coupled with the fallout from as much as a 25 percent rollback in state spending — are likely to force towns to reconsider what services they can provide.

    “We have been living far beyond our means — living a lifestyle of municipal and educational services beyond our economic capacity,” said James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. “There is no painless silver bullet to get back on track. The question is not, ‘When will things get back to normal?’ but rather, ‘What will the new normal be?’

    “There may have to be significant service downsizing in adjusting to this new normal,” Hughes said.

  2. grim says:

    From the APP:

    Housing slump slams brakes on construction

    Anthony Nicosia’s savings and dreams are in three lots in a housing development off Clarksburg Road in Millstone.

    With the market for new homes still suffering, now is not the time to take chances. Two lots on Stone Tavern Road are empty with overgrown weeds. The other has a 5,000-square-foot, five-bedroom home on it, just about ready for a would-be buyer to move in.

    Builders have hunkered down waiting for a housing recovery that is still going to take some time. The result: Housing developments with blank spaces or roads leading to nowhere.

    The downturn in the housing market has hit new construction square on the chin.

    New home starts, as shown by building permits, through November fell to 801 in Monmouth County and 813 in Ocean County, down from 1,526 and 1,527 in 2008, according to U.S. Census figures compiled by housing economist Patrick O’Keefe. In 2005, when the industry first started to see a statewide decline, the number of permits issued were 2,584 and 2,904, respectively.

    Flush with an inventory of homes as the crisis began, builders cut back on new construction, said O’Keefe, director of economic research at J.H. Cohn LLC. By 2007, they had really put their foot on the brakes, he added.

    The downturn in the resale home market put a damper on builders as homeowners couldn’t sell their homes to buy new ones.

    “Their bottom lines have been deeply in the red for the last couple of years,” said O’Keefe, former chief executive officer of the New Jersey Builders Association. “It has just been a disaster from a business perspective.”

  3. grim says:

    My my, how things have changed.. From the NY Post:

    Don’t buy a house based on $$ return

    Dear John: The wife and I recently purchased our first home. We put $100,000 down on the $250,000 asking price. It was a short sale. The former owners said that a few years ago the value of the home was $360,000. It’s a three-bedroom Nantucket-style Colonial in New Bedford, Mass.

    The home is located near a major highway. There’s talk of a commuter rail station being build about 1½ miles away, providing access to Boston. Do you foresee a value jump? S.F.

    Dear S.F.: Here are the only things you should be asking yourself: Will my wife and I be happy in this house? Will it keep us warm and dry? Will our friends and family enjoy themselves when they come here? Will any kids we have feel comfortable in the house and will they be educated well in the school system?

    To hell with thinking about the investment possibilities of a house!

    But whether or not your house appreciates in value over the next 10 years has a lot more to do with whether you paid a good price for it and the things that happen in the world economy.

    And forget what the previous owner told you about the long-ago price. If he was so smart he wouldn’t have overpaid for the house when he bought it and given you such a wonderful opportunity.

  4. Essex says:

    Whoa….is it monday already?

  5. I’m sorry I spent close to two years here defending Otteau.

    After reading this, I can now pretty much say he’s turned into a $5 trick. Guess the conspiracy finally got to him.

    My agents who go to his seminars tell me he now also spouts this inane drivel to Realtors. I wouldn’t give .01 USD to listen to this mindless cheerleading.

  6. freedy says:

    here, i’ll say it , the guys a whore

  7. Speaking of butt-pirated:

    “An interesting observation emerges when one analyzes the various holders of non-revolving consumer credit. While the traditionally largest players in non-revolving consumer credit provisioning, commercial banks and finance companies, have been actively curtailing their lending of auto loans (the primary form of non-revolving credit, which also includes student loans, as well as boat and trailer loans) with their combined holdings declining by 5% year over year (from $989 billion to $940 billion), another actor has jumped in to take their place at the margin. It should not surprise anyone, that with a 68% increase in non-revolving credit holdings over the past 12 months, this entity is none other than the Federal Government.

    While in the domain of revolving, or credit card, credit, the government is still a non-existent entity in direct lending (not so indirectly if one accounts for major governmental holdings in bailout recipient banks such as GMAC, Citi and BofA, and all of them if one adds the TLGP and the various other Fed’s alphabet soup backstop programs), in non-revolving credit, the Federal Government has long been an actor. And while the drop in revolving credit over the past year has been dramatic, in non-revolving credit the situation has been much less dire. The reason: the massive pickup in government lending, as the Feds have become a lender of first and last resort not only to banks but to the troubled U.S. consumer. Where in November 2008, the Government accounted for $110 billion of released credit, last month this number was a whopping $184 billion.”

  8. frank says:

    Where’s the recession???

    Record bonus pot at JP Morgan

    JP Morgan’s pay-out looks set to be the highest ever offered by the bank.

  9. frank says:

    Nice 31.3% raise. Recession my &ss.

    “JP Morgan’s 220,861 employees are on average set to earn $131,300 for the year, against $100,000 in 2008. However top performers in its investment banking arm will be much more highly remunerated.”

  10. Simon says:

    What is the median earnings of those 220k JPM employees???? Average is a bit misleading I think

  11. Soccer bubble collapse, today’s installment:

    “Rafael Benitez has admitted Liverpool could consider an offer for Fernando Torres if they fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

    Liverpool’s financial issues have been well documented and it has been suggested that Benitez will only be given a small percentage of the funds raised from selling his fringe players this month.

    Nonetheless, Benitez had previously been adamant that Torres would not be sold under any circumstances, saying earlier in the season that he was “not for sale at any price” and that he would leave the club if forced to sell his star striker.

    However, with Liverpool’s hopes of finishing in the top four still in some doubt, the Spaniard has admitted that – should they fail to reach their target – they would have to consider allowing Torres to leave if Manchester City came in with a £100 million offer.”

  12. frank-

    Fix me a sandwich, bitch.

    And get back to the mall. There are heads to be counted.

  13. frank says:

    Hey jerkof&, get back to peddling REOs in Newark, there are few more you need to sell today before you can pay for your breakfast.

  14. leftwing says:

    The ‘Are you totally high?’ entry of the day.

    GSMLS 2700703.

    Or better.

    If the Bing link works you will see this gem is located off the busy county road. Behind the municipal building. Once the road turns to dirt. After you pass under the power wires. Next to the standing water. In the swamp.

    But hey, as the award winning realtor says IT’S PRICED BELOW ASSESSED VALUE!

    All yours for a mere $569k.

  15. Frank, you’re gonna make a nice wife for a prison mandingo someday.

  16. grim says:

    From the AP:

    For the Unemployed, New Job Often Means a Pay Cut

    Unemployed for nearly a year, David Becker was relieved to land a new job in information technology last summer.

    The offer carried a price, though: It was a lower-rung job than the one Becker had lost. He had to uproot his family from Wisconsin to Nevada. And, like many formerly jobless people who find work these days, Becker is now paid far less than before — $25,000 less.

    It’s one of the bleak realities of the economic recovery: Even as more employers are starting to hire, the new jobs typically pay less than the ones that were lost.

    In the government’s data, a job is a job. More jobs point to a growing economy. But to people who used to earn $60,000, a new $40,000 job means they’ll spend less — and contribute less to the recovery.

    ”In most cases, it means a subdued expansion, for sure,” said Marisa Di Natale, director at Moody’s

    Worse for those affected, people hired at lower wages in a tight job market tend to lag behind their peers for years, sometimes decades. For example, workers laid off during the 1981-82 recession earned 20 percent less than people who remained in a job — even 20 years after they were rehired, a Columbia University study found. The study examined pay for white- and blue-collar workers, managers and hourly workers.

  17. frank says:

    I may be going to jail, but you’re going to hell for selling all those homes that people can’t afford.

  18. frank says:

    He should have gotten a job a JPM.

  19. leftwing says:

    Re: 14 above.

    Oh, this only gets better.

    The Bing link isn’t accurate because the dirt road doesn’t have a name. If you follow the road linked all the way to the end to ‘Swamp Road’ that is where your half a million plus dream home is actually located.

    Values can continue to go down, I don’t really care. But I really feel sorry for anyone trying to seriously shop for a home in this market.

  20. leftwing says:

    Or, the ‘They built me an OK home but I forgot to notice it was at the intersection of two major county roads where homes are priced at 1/3 the value so I’m going to take a hit’ award.

    GSMLS 2736243.

    Ripe pickings from todays weekly summary of MLS changes.

  21. leftwing says:

    And the perrenial favorite “I’ll tinker with the listing each week on this 703 days on the market pig as the carrying costs on my $2.0m construction loan rapidly outpace my nominal price reductions” nominee for the Rearranging the Chairs on the Titanic Award.

    Better known as GSMLS 2486866

    I mean, I can’t even try to ask ‘what the heck are you thinking’ with straight face. I get the first few syllables out and then burst into uncontrollable laughter in people’s faces. My wife won’t let me go to open houses any more. She’s afraid I’ll come home with a high heel impaled in my head.

  22. Mr Hyde says:


    from yesterday, Re the m14.

    you can still get the original style M14, you can also get the M1A which is the modern version of the m14.

    an M1A in .308 is a great option as .308 will turn most cover into concealment. Its also easier to find .308 the .762

    This weapon will be an heirloom you hand down to your kids if you take care of it.

  23. MR Hyde
    Did you see my posts yesterday?

  24. leftwing says:

    And, I’m only half way through this week’s GSMLS changes.

  25. Mr Hyde says:


    sorry i must have missed it. i just checked, i will e-mail you abotu the outback.


  26. Mr Hyde says:

    Wag, MIke,

    had a good time last night, great to meet you wag!

  27. yikes says:

    gary says:
    January 9, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    If you purchased a house today for $550,000 and put 20% down, your total payments for a 30 yr. fixed @ 6% and 10K in property taxes would be $1,294,688.03.

    Gary, are you sure about these #’s? We had a similar purchase (less sale price, more down, lower rate, lower taxes … higher monthly #) and i think your bottom line needs to be doubled

  28. leftwing says:

    Lastly, this week’s nominee for the ‘Am I Too Late to the Party Award’ by Golden Shower, oops, Golden River Builders, who spawned this brickface, generic, hardiplank gem on an irregular lot right next to the high school on one of the most highly travelled roads in town for $1.8m.

    See you later. Need to do something productive like take my kids ice skating.

  29. yikes says:

    regarding some of the Barbara-Clot talks from yesterday …

    yes, most of my comments are doom and gloom, gun-related, etc.

    But in reality, I don’t see that happening. I don’t want it to happen, obvs.

    We bought a house about a year ago. We have purchased some long term food supplies. we have a weapon and will be buying another. we still max out our 401k.

    i think the gun/end of days/martial law talk is funny and yes, mostly fantasy.

    (that being said, a friend has a very secluded cabin less than 2 hrs away and we do talk about establishing a hard perimeter should we need to bunk there for weeks/months/years)

  30. leftwing says:

    Re: 29 above, GSMLS 2716163 for all the home gamers.

  31. yikes says:

    this JP Morgan/Goldman bonus talk is hilarious. 3-4 companies giving massive bonuses somehow signal real estate is going to be saved and the recession is over.

    what a laughable premise.

  32. leftwing says:

    Re: 29 again.

    The adjacent high school and busy street equal ‘great location’ and some what inexplicably ‘lots of privacy’ to this award winning realtor. So 450 kids looking in your back window and cars lined up in front of your house each day for pickup is private relative to some neighborhoods (in Beijing, I guess).

    The car is running, the kids are in the driveway with their skates, and I can’t stop reading. These listings are like a bad Stephen King novel. You know they’re terrible, you feel weird reading them, and don’t know want your neighbors to know you’d even consider it but once you start reading you can’t stop.

  33. yikes says:

    who is planning a princeton gtg?

    grim, do you ever come down this way?

  34. frank says:

    Just this week, 2 job offers, one at Goldman, one at HF, both mortgage related. Mortgage market is dead, long live the mortgage market.

  35. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    Kettle 26 Yes good time & ditto Wag. Good place for a GTG loud enough so people don’t hear us. We might scare them or get locked up. Don’t rouse the sheep for their slumber.

  36. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:


  37. SG says:

    Is there any way to do reverse auction on multiple homes? Basically pit one seller against other one? I can see 3 to 4 homes where I can make offer, but would like to make sure I get the best deal.

  38. safeashouses says:

    #30 yikes,

    I doubt the doom and gloom scenario will happen either. I think people will simply have a lower standard of living. They’ll take a cruise every 3 to 5 years instead of every year. If they buy a new car they’ll have to keep it 5+ years instead of only 3, they won’t be able to have 30 pants and 100 shirts, they’ll be able to eat out once or twice a week, etc. Not exactly the end of the world if we become less obsessed with consumption.

  39. crossroads says:

    Miw, Ket and Wag

    sorry I missed you all at the gtg. I just couldn’t pull it together. Too much to do this weekend with a B-day party at the house. Honey-do list was long. I’ll make the next one for sure and I’ll bring my pitchfork for the revolution talk and maybe a torch. Did they still have xmass ale special? mmm.

  40. Wag says:

    Ket, Mike,
    A true pleasure to meet you both.
    We must do it again, soon.
    Crossroads, you were missed.

  41. Wag says:

    Cross (41) – Had a few oatmeal stouts. Not Guinness, but the company more than made up for the beer.

  42. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    Cross 41 couldn’t tell you about the ale, went with Scotch. Ket & Wag were doing their oatmeal stout I believe no comments on it so I guess it was just OK. We were hoping you could make it ,next time. Have to finish my honey-do list today cleaning out garage have a dumpster being picked up tomorrow so I better get motivated.

  43. safeashouses says:


    Sounds like a bromance is brewing. :P

  44. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    45 “You scuchen me buddy.”
    In my best Hudson County for flavor!

  45. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    Sg 46 at least it looks clean & modern.

  46. Outofstater says:

    Why we all need fully stocked pantries and freezers: Here in metro Atlanta, we had a little snow and cold on Friday. Schools were closed, trash was not picked up but the mail was delivered just fine. Yesterday, the local grocery store was out of hamburger. The truck didn’t show up on Friday. I was able to get some at another store but I realized how fragile our just-in-time delivery system is. Then I watched that History Channel movie about the aftermath of the flu and felt like drinking myself into a stupor.

  47. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    Just spoke to Mom in Naples FLA 32 degrees not a happy camper.

  48. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    Outofstater 49 How much snow, they get all f ed up over the littlest bit of snow down south. We would starve to death up north with there way of doing things & we don’t. Just a matter of what you get used to.

  49. Veto That - aka 'The Operation' says:

    “who is planning a princeton gtg?”

    Yikes, count me in for that one.

  50. Veto That - aka 'The Operation' says:

    “The median home price declined 12.4 percent statewide over the three years, to $289,275 from $330,331, by the Otteau Group calculations.”

    Sorry all, i know i’ll make myself an outcast here if i dare agree with anyone who doesnt claim prices are down 30% or more, but Otteau’s fuzzy math seems accurate to me. In quality towns by me, we are still at mid-late 2004 price levels. thats about 10% decline fro peak. As much as i want to believe in the case shiller 20% decline, im just not seeing it in the comps. Maybe in the inner cities and slum towns you can get the 20-30% discounts but not the decent towns as far as i can tell. Also, the deep discounts may exist with foreclosure sales, which i dont know much about and am not willing to engage in so regular home sale comps that are not distressed are the only comps that are worth anything to me.
    Im still holding out hope that we’ll get our 20% discount eventually but just havent seen it yet. Thats just from what i see in my town and my county which is central nj – mercer. It maybe different in NNJ.

  51. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    Veto come to my area I’ll show 30% down no sweat.

  52. crossroads says:


    In Lake Mohawk iI feel like prices are around 2005 which isn’t far off the peak. The hi and lo end have suffered the most but the middle has hung on maybe a %10 drop. I’ll say location and quality definitely counts now.

  53. Veto That - aka 'The Operation' says:

    Mike, you are in Sussex right?
    you should post some comp killers if you get the chance.
    imo there is no better past time than looking at comp killers.

  54. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    Veto the GSMLS links expire so I can’t. Just was on GSMLS looking at them they are there in abundance.
    Need someone with Realtor access to do it.
    Maybe there is a way but I don’t know it.

  55. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    That is Vernon by the way Sussex is also A
    town up here. Crossroads is in Sussex CTY also but Sparta it is holding up better. Haughty vil by Sussex standards.

  56. Outofstater says:

    #51 Mike – We get a light dusting of snow maybe once a year so it doesn’t make sense to invest in a lot of snow removal equipment or to stockpile lots of sand and salt. Friday was unusual in that the ice melted then re-froze. My point was that there are many things that could interrupt the just-in-time system and we should be ready for that.

  57. safeashouses says:


    If you want to do some legwork go to zillow and look at the recently sold for the towns you are looking in. It will give you the price, address, # of bed and bathrooms, sometimes even the picture of the house.

  58. Veto That - aka 'The Operation' says:

    thanks safe, i do the comp research all the time for my county using zillow, trulia and the tax database.
    I know its a lot of work and time to pull the data so i understand.
    If i see any good ones around me i’ll be sure to post.

  59. Veto That - aka 'The Operation' says:

    thanks safe, i do the comp research all the time for my county using zillow, trulia and the tax database.
    I know its a lot of work and time to pull the data so i understand.
    If i see any good ones around me i’ll be sure to post.

  60. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    Outofstater 59 Agreed.

  61. Veto That - aka 'The Operation' says:

    Holy cow, you are not kidding mike.
    This is the first comp i pulled for vernon:

    2 Wack Wack Apt #1, Vernon NJ (nice street name bye the way)
    Nov 2009 – Sold 206,000
    Oct 2003 – Sold 223,000

    Judging from this comp alone, you guys are down to late 2002 levels.
    That blows me away.
    I guess Grim’s explanation quote in the article above is right on.
    I would love to be able to buy something in my neighborhood for 2002 levels.

  62. crossroads says:

    58 MIW

    “Crossroads is in Sussex CTY also but Sparta it is holding up better. Haughty vil by Sussex standards.”

    someone on this blog described sparta as an extension of Morris county which I think best describes it. A lot of Morris, Bergen… people move here because it was less expensive then where they’re from

  63. Veto That - aka 'The Operation' says:

    Here is another

    72 east shore, vernon
    Dec 2009 – 276,000
    Mar 2004 – 320,000

    this one seems more like early 2003 prices. still a great discount.

  64. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    Veto just to give you an idea a house that would have sold 285 to 300 now 185 just saw it this morn & that’s asking price. Buddies 799k monster house now 639 no takers. Waiting for the revision to non bubble trend line which we should get up here with a little over shoot, 98 99 pricing.

  65. Veto That - aka 'The Operation' says:

    This one is unbelievable.

    5 spyglass hill #1, vernon
    Sold history
    nov 2009 – 80,000
    jun 2006 – 197,760

    Mike, you are not kidding. vernon is a fire sale.
    That comp is 60% from peak!!!!!

  66. safeashouses says:


    You’ll see similar hits in Warren, Bedminster, and Basking Ridge in Somerset County and West Orange, Livingston, Roseland, and the Caldwells in Essex. Westfield, New Providence, and Berkeley Heights in Union. Prices seem to be back to 2004, sometimes 2003 levels.

  67. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    crossroads 65 Yes correct & just a short ride to 80. But try it in traffic on 15.
    Rush hours are not pleasant either way.

  68. safeashouses says:

    #68 and 69

    Well not 60% off, more like 20 to 30% off.

  69. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    Veto I bought in 98 4 bd 2 ba 132k taxes 3300
    sold 297k taxes 5300 in 7/06. So considering that the wages for my area are the same or less inflation adjusted only one way to go. We ain’t done yet by a long shot.

  70. Veto That - aka 'The Operation' says:

    Safe, the comp in #68 is 60% drop from the 2006 peak.
    Im not trying to say that is the average for that market because i dont know that market but that is the real comp for that house.

  71. Fiddy Cents on the Dollar says:

    Guys, come on. Those are a couple of condo-shacks at Wack-Wack, and Spyglass. The condo/townhouse market always gets decimated in a downturn.

    There are plenty of comp killers out there without having to cite the boodbath going on in the condo market.

  72. Veto That - aka 'The Operation' says:

    “The condo/townhouse market always gets decimated in a downturn.”

    Fiddy that is not true at all in my town.
    Here is the absolute worst condo comp i can find in my town.
    396 Andover,
    Date Price
    11/12/2009 183,000
    11/18/2005 219,000
    3/19/2004 175,000
    7/26/2002 135,000
    10/24/2000 98,000
    5/3/1996 81,830

    As you can see it did get a nice hair cut from the 2005 peak but that was the absolute peak for this market and at the same time it still most recently sold at the 2004-05 level.
    Definately a totally different story in vernon. I guarantee you that there are nowhere near 60% off peak condos in my town. I search the comps all the time.

    But if you are making the point that 60% off peak is not representative of the market the with that i agree.

  73. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    Veto 68 like I said they are in abundance
    & some major declines. House down the block from me sold at 1.3 06. Guy across the street with a much bigger,nicer home lot, blah blah blah. Can’t get 799. My guys did the wood floors in both so I know them inside out from doing the jobs, nothing wrong with them, maybe the taxes over 20k on that 799 one.

  74. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    Fiddy Cents on the Dollar 74 I ain’t talking condos. The house sited in my #67 is a 4 bd bi-level which I sold for 297 in 07. The one at 185k is in a better area than mine & a little bigger. The other is brand new construction over 4000ft monster in one of the nicest sections in town.Been sitting 3 years.

  75. ruggles says:

    sort of posted this yesterday:

    40 Guinea Hollow, Tewks, hunterdon

    sold 1,090,000 5/07
    listed a month or so ago 889,000
    201k drop
    Several similar properties sitting between 850-900k. all priced (not sold) last year in the 1 mill to 1.2 mill range. first one to go under $700k might make a sale. might. oopsies.

  76. danzud aka D-Train says:

    Time to file

    In a typical year, debt-strapped New Yorkers don’t trek to a bankruptcy lawyer until December credit card statements hit — usually at the end of January, when folks finally realize they overindulged over the holidays. But the recession is changing things, and New York bankruptcy lawyers tell The Post their early January business is up sharply.

    Read more:

  77. I wish the condos and townhouses around here would show some realistic pricing. They’re still priced like it’s 2006. Unreal.
    On and btw, I think it was Frank that posted a NYT article about what kinds of homes sold in different price ranges. They listed a condo or coop in the Bay Street Landing complex in Staten Island. It was listed as on the market for 4 weeks. I watched that listing expire and re-list. It was more like a year and 4 weeks if I remember correctly.

  78. danzud aka D-Train says:

    One legal eagle, Jay Fleischman, of Shaev & Fleischman, is not only seeing a pick-up in early-year traffic but his new clients are of the six-figure-income variety.

    “The higher-income consumer who previously thought themselves impervious to financial difficulties is now finding that is not the case,” said Fleischman. “We’re seeing a significant uptick in the number of people making in excess of $100,000 a year who are availing themselves of the bankruptcy process, and that wasn’t the case two years ago.”

    The early 2010 traffic comes on top of a 20.6 percent spike in New York State personal bankruptcy filings last year.

    “If you got into a financial problem in 2003 or 2004, most of the time you could borrow money on a credit card or get home equity, [but now] if you get laid off and try to put $5,000 on a credit card for three months to sustain yourself, you’re going to get cut off fairly quickly,” Ronald Mann, a professor at Columbia Law School, said of the noticeable increase in filings.

    “It’s a different economy — money is very tight now, and it’s a different profile of people in financial distress using the [bankruptcy] system.”

    While financially strapped people may be seeking the shelter of bankruptcy court sooner than usual, the number of Manhattan residents filing is actually down slightly, to about 325 filings per one million households last month. It’s the opposite story in Staten Island, where filings soared to about 800 per million households, the highest in the city.

    Queens finished the year at about 550, just over the Bronx, at about 540, but well ahead of Brooklyn, which saw the rate of filings rise to about 425 per million house holds.

    As 2010 kicks off with a booming business for local bankruptcy lawyers, forecasts call for continued increases in filings both here and na tionwide. Total US filings could hit 1.7 million this year, according to Robert Lawless, a law pro fessor at University of Illinois College of Law — the highest total ever except for an unusual rush of filings before the bankruptcy law changed in 2005.

    Though New York State has fared better than the rest of the nation in terms of bankruptcy growth and overall filings, this year may show New York has not been immune so much as behind the curve–and is now catching up.

    “New York is vulnerable to seeing an increase in bankruptcy filing rates; it’s something to look for this year,” said Chris Lundquist, president of LCI, which publishes National Bankruptcy Research Center statistics.

    Catherine Curan

    Read more:

  79. grim says:

    Here is 20% in haughty Franklin Lakes:

    268 Woodside Ave

    Purchased: 10/26/2006
    Purchase Price: $3.3m

    Sold: 12/9/2009
    Sale Price: $2.6m

    Close to a $900k loss factoring in commissions, expenses, etc.

  80. grim says:

    Here is 40% off in Franklin Lakes (guess this street ain’t so haughty):

    103 Greenfield Hill

    Purchased: 6/5/2007
    Purchase Price: $3.4m

    Sold: 12/11/2009
    Sale Price: $2.0m

    $1.5 million loss. Can’t go wrong in high end Bergen.

  81. Mikeinwaiting "Bicep" says:

    Grim 83 That is got to hurt no matter how deep your pockets are.

  82. grim says:

    And another 30% in Upper Saddle River..

    22 Cherry Lane

    Purchased: 2/7/2005
    Purchase Price: $1.7m

    Sold: 12/8/2009
    Sale Price: $1.2m

  83. scribe, The Princess of Paramus says:

    From Trulia – closed sales:

    This Single-Family Home located at 60 West Edward Street, Iselin NJ sold for $263,000 on Dec 7, 2009. The property has a lot size of 5,998 square feet and was built in 1948. This property previously sold for $263,000 on Dec 7, 2009, $452,000 on Jan 11, 2006, and $125,600 on Feb 29, 2000.

    This Single-Family Home located at 110 Grand Avenue, Iselin NJ sold for $175,000 on Nov 10, 2009. The property has a lot size of 5,001 square feet and was built in 1947. This property previously sold for $175,000 on Nov 10, 2009 and $336,000 on Aug 24, 2005.

  84. D says:

    Sorry I missed the Krogh’s GTG last night! I completely forgot until this morning & was at a friendly football watching neighborhood gathering.

    I did speak to a realtor at said gathering. She told me of a million $ foreclosed, bank owned home whose pipes burst a few days ago. Obviously going to make it much more difficult to sell. Otherwise, Sparta is holding up, but there are a number of foreclosures also.

  85. Veto That - aka 'The Operation' says:

    grim, scribe,
    i like it.
    significantly reduced prices indeed.
    it gives me hope.

  86. freedy says:

    bergen county haircuts,,, can’t be possible .

  87. A.West says:

    That smells like fraud. Nobody could be that clueless. Maybe they’re afraid of it selling, need to keep it for sale at a super-high price.

  88. crossroads says:


    ” Otherwise, Sparta is holding up, but there are a number of foreclosures also.”

    it use to be on yahoo real estate that Sparta would have about Mid 40’s in the foreclosure search. It now stands at 120 foreclosures. I don’t know how acurate the site is but either way the number has almost tripled in a year

  89. Watch the rich people lose it all this year. Hardy har har.

    All the wealth of the US is being transferred into the hands of 1% of the population. Folks, once they have it, they ain’t gonna give it back.

  90. Cindy says:

    The Disposable Worker – Businessweek

    “Pay is falling, benefits are vanishing, and no one’s job is secure. How companies are making the era of the temp more than temporary.”

    “Employers are trying to get rid of all fixed costs.” Cappelli says. “First they did it with employment benefits. Now they’re doing it with the jobs themselves. Everything is variable.” That means companies hold all the power, and “all the risks are pushed on to employees.”

  91. Cindy says:

    “For Unemployed, New Job Means a Pay Cut”

  92. Shelly says:

    Leftwing: re #14:

    “But it’s CHATHAM” as the realtors say.

    Translation: home of unrealistic underwater sellers.

  93. House Whine says:

    94- Cindy thanks for posting that link. There is a lot to digest in that article.

  94. gary says:

    Did you folks not believe me when I said all the jobs are going to temp/contractor jobs with no benefits and lesser pay? What are you going do, sue someone? Scream and cry? Look for another job? They don’t f*cking care. Clot said it right, 1% of the population will have all the money. What’s to stop them? You? Us? BWAAAHAAAA!!!

    The Packers/Cardinals game is a wild one, BTW.

  95. gary says:

    Did you folks not believe me when I said all the jobs are going to temp/contractor jobs with no benefits and lesser pay? What are you going do, sue someone? Scream and cry? Look for another job? They don’t f*cking care. Clot said it right, 1% of the population will have all the money. What’s to stop them? You? Us? BWAAAHAAAA!!!

    The Packers/Cardinals game is a wild one, BTW.

  96. njescapee says:

    Our employment and compensation issues in the US shouldn’t be a surprise. I recall back in the very early 90s before NAFTA in a 60 minute interview the CEO of Caterpillar predicted that the US workers will be forced to wage parity with the global economies hence the race to the bottom. Wonder if it is available on Youtube.

  97. PGC says:

    #100 gary

    And at some point health care reform is going to look a lot more attractive when you are squezing premiums and copays out of that smaller nut.

  98. cobbler says:

    1% of the population will have all the money. What’s to stop them? You? Us? BWAAAHAAAA!!!

    Well, this is the inevitable result of globalization and free trade. RE and finance bubble are just allowing us to get there sooner. Healthy dose of protectionism applied right now could still stanch the bleeding and set us on a slow clog to the middle class recovery. It will not be applied, though, as the Walmart shoppers would be hurt.

  99. Cindy says:

    @94 “The trend toward a perma-temp world has been developing for years. Bosses are no longer rewarded based on how many people they supervise, so they have less incentive to hang on to staff. Instead, the increasing use of bonuses tied to short-term profit performance gives managers an incentive to slash labor costs.”

  100. House Whine says:

    I know little about economic policy so can someone please explain to me how we are going to afford to buy the services and products that our American companies do sell if we no longer have the money in our wallets to afford them? If it’s a race to the bottom who’s buying? Is it that 1% at the top?

  101. njescapee says:

    there is no US economic policy. It is all special interst i.e., politicians work for the highest bidders

  102. njescapee says:

    there is no US economic policy. It is all special interst i.e., politicians work for the highest bidders

  103. gary says:

    I know little about economic policy so can someone please explain to me how we are going to afford to buy the services and products that our American companies do sell if we no longer have the money in our wallets to afford them?

    Great f*cking question and one I’ve been asking since the collapse started over a year ago. The innovaters and great thinkers who once made America have turned into fat, bloated wh0res with zero incentive, no ideas, no integrity and no b@lls.

  104. cobbler (103)-

    Born yesterday? Ever hear of Smoot-Hawley?

    Protectionism makes things even worse.

  105. Whine (105)-

    We won’t be able to afford anything but the most absolute of necessities (and, natch, those necessities will trade at inflated prices, even though we’re in a deflationary crisis). That’s why we’ll be able to look back in a few years and identify 09-10 as the years in which everything began to fall apart.

    Notice how- no matter the increased level of bleating from TV dunces- things just keep getting worse? It’s going to relentlessly keep getting worse.

    “…how we are going to afford to buy the services and products that our American companies do sell if we no longer have the money in our wallets to afford them?”

  106. cobbler says:

    In Smoot-Hawley’s time America was a net exporter, like China is today. So, when the trading partners set up retaliatory tariffs, the U.S. suffered disproportionately.
    I agree that the average per capita consumption will drop if we suddenly start high tariffs on imports. We will see however much less unequal society when we the actual production of goods comes back, mostly by pushing income from the top 1% to the middle class. Don’t forget that 30 years ago foreign trade was only 4% of GDP, and large part of it actually was oil.

  107. njescapee says:

    Clot, I hope you’re wrong. your outlook is like reading a sort of modern Dickens.

  108. It took everything Andrew Jackson had to strike down the Second Bank of the US, which was roughly attempting to do then what the consortium of big banks is doing to us now. He put everything at his disposal- including his reputation and career- on the line in that battle…and he barely won.

    Not only is O completely owned by the enemy, he has employed a liar and cheat (Eraserhead) and an academic, know-nothing egghead (Bergabe) as his lieutenants in a battle that is, IMO, non-existent.

    Don’t even ask about Congress. The House & Senate chambers should just be named after banks, like stadiums.

    We are so f-ing f-ed.

  109. escape (112)-

    I leave my house 5-6 days a week and am immersed in modern-day Dickens.

    Hard Times are here, pal.

  110. The smart guys always have a great argument for why protectionism will work “this time”…and how “this time” is different than “last time”.

    Let’s see how the UST market fares when we put up a big trade wall around ourselves.

  111. BTW, cobbler, you will get your wish. O’s crew of dunces have already started us into a tariff war with steel and tires.

    There’s another thing that gonna end really well.

  112. gary says:

    And to all the stup1d b@stards who maxed out every financial vehicle pushed in front of you, I have one thing to say: f*ck you, I’m not paying for your m0ronic behavior. Even a monkey knows when to stop pushing the button for another banana. You’re in hock up to your eyeballs, that’s your f*cking problem. P1mp a family member or sell your kidneys, I’m not paying for your size 48 pants, b1tch.

  113. At least we can take solace in the fact that when China’s Ponzi economy crashes, the mess it leaves will dwarf ours tenfold:

    “Notably, in December China’s crude-oil imports hit a record 21.26 million metric tons, or 5 million barrels per day. It is good that at least for one country the “great recession” never happened. In 2009, China imported 14% more oil than in 2008, for a total of 204 million tons. But the real kicker was in iron-ore imports which was 62.16 million metric tons in December, 22% more than November, and an unbelievable 80% more than a year earlier, and the second highest ever recorded. For all of 2009 628 million tons of iron were imported, 41.6% higher than in 2008. Those empty cities apparently really need more peers. And one wonders why Australia’s (5.4% more imports in 2009) and Brazil’s (5.3% less) economy are humming: it takes a lot to provide the raw materials to build the biggest bubble in the world.

    The simple observation is that instead of having to finance the US consumer’s continued spending binge by buying hundreds of billions in Treasuries in 2009, China was let off the hook by the Federal Reserve, which did all of its mandated purchase instead. So with all the excess money China went and stockpiled, stockpiled, stockpiled. Now the only question of whether the required end-consumer demand will ever materialize will determine who is correct in the China bubble debate: Chanos or Rogers. As the US consumers are tapped out (save for some Spanish tourists who apparently can’t wait to purchase g-strings at A&F), China better hope its own middle class will use its savings to buy everything the government has already made and built, and counted (hopefully not double or triple) in its GDP calculation.

    On the other hand, despite having a savings rate that Americans could only dream of, China is also gripped by gambling fever: who really knows what the domestic balance sheet looks like. Yes, having cash is great, but if the liability side of the consumer balance sheet has 0 equity (or only equity in a massively inflated stock market) and the rest are cheap loans, which the government handed out freely in 2009 to the tune of 11 trillion renminbi, then all bets really are off when the profit taking inevitably begins (as it always does).

    Here are some more charts that demonstrate why the traditional Chinese model of an export-led economy may be in trouble if the US and EU consumers don’t come back (as a reference point, exports to the EU dropped 19.4% or $236 billion, while those targeted at the US sank by $221 billion or 12.5%).”

  114. safeashouses says:

    If you guys think this is a gloom and doom board, think again. I come here to cheer myself up after spending fruitless hours searching job boards.

  115. crossroads says:

    105 house

    “I know little about economic policy so can someone please explain to me how we are going to afford to buy the services and products that our American companies do sell if we no longer have the money in our wallets to afford them? ”

    we haven’t been able to afford them for years we’ve been borrowing against our houses, credit cards, 401k’s…

  116. I want to be the only resident in one of those empty Chinese cities meant for 1,000,000 people.

  117. BTW, Chanos is right; Rogers is wrong.

    Never trust a guy who wears a bowtie.

  118. crossroads says:

    113 code red

    “Don’t even ask about Congress. The House & Senate chambers should just be named after banks, like stadiums.”

    that could be the 2010 quote of the year. lol that was great.

  119. cobbler says:

    In actuality, society doesn’t really need most of the white-collar jobs that came into the existence during the de-industrialization march beginning in the early 80s. “Services” that consist of pushing paper (or e-mails) from one level in the company to the other make the managers look good but do nothing for the sales or profits. We saw a doubling, I think, of the number of lawyers in the U.S. in 30 years. We have probably 5 times more people with MBA, while actual production workforce more than halved. We are ranting about banks and financial services shameless profiteering – but they are almost the only business left around. Again, I don’t believe the congress will ever find strength to create conditions for bringing the manufacturing back (cries of Smoot-Hawley, industrial policy, socialism, whatever), but without it the only direction is down till we reach the labor costs of our Chinese and Indian colleagues.

  120. njescapee says:

    Clot, Saw the writing on the wall in 2003 when real estate and gas prices startd to escalate. I used to commute from Belle Mead to the Meadowlands everyday. Couldn’t wait to get off that treadmill. Sold our jersey home in 2005 and moved into our vacation home a 900 sf townhouse. I can tell you that the quality of life is so much better not having to pay / worry about the cost of living in NJ. Given the challenge to increase / maintain reliable income, I think the main thing to ensure survival is to lower one’s fixed costs to as low as possible.

  121. gary says:


    What’s amazing is that everyone here is simply calling it as they see it. We’re merely giving the play-by-play to the game.

  122. yikes says:

    The Condition-Code Red says:
    January 10, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Watch the rich people lose it all this year. Hardy har har.

    All the wealth of the US is being transferred into the hands of 1% of the population. Folks, once they have it, they ain’t gonna give it back.

    so we take it back.

  123. still_looking aka Tan-Less says:

    gary, 117

    THANK YOU SO MUCH…. I laughed so hard I damn near split a side seam.

    I’ve had sucha a fu*cked up week and that brightened my day!



  124. escape (125)-

    Yep. Downsize & delever are the only two sane plays.

  125. cobbler says:

    clot [116]
    Steel and tire tariffs are the most ridiculous way to achieve very little v. U.S. jobs and at the same time to piss off China. We need tariffs on the 21st (or may be the late 20th) century goods, not 19th century. If we strategically want to have domestic steel and tire industry (in case of war or whatever), feds should just pay the companies to have the plants mothballed and not scrapped. OTOH, if we don’t build electronic assembly plants and fab factories and rely on China, in case of conflict we are dead meat anyway.

  126. Stu says:

    McCain aide: Palin believed candidacy ‘God’s plan’

  127. safeashouses says:

    #126 gary,

    I took a job in 2007 that had a base 10% less then I was making in 2003. I got laid off from that in August 08 when the compnay lost the contract (we were a vendor and the client outsourced it to Pennslyvania). We had 3 months notice we were getting cut. I picked up some lousy job that was even lowering paying 4 months after getting notified I was getting canned and 3 weekes into unemployment later just to avoid having another big gap in my work history. that job was salary + commission. Well by the time I had almost built up my ratables to the point I would be earning a living wage, we had the credit crisis and the company’s line of credit got slashed so out the door I went with 2/3ds of my coworkers in that office.

  128. House Hunter says:

    njescape…where did you end up?

  129. njescapee says:

    I’m in Key West where it is 48 degrees right now. :-(

    I was able to pick up a telework gig so no commute for now.

  130. Barbara aka B-Cat says:

    I look forward to the resurgence of the underground economy. Saw it in the early 90s, should be more substantial now. Humans will hustle for a dollar. Love hearing about former power couples taking out the copper pipes.

  131. safeashouses says:

    #135 Barbara

    Towards the end of my last job, I could make over 200 calls a day to prospective clients. I didn’t give a $hit if I got voicemail, told to eff off, or a sales order. I had turned into a coldhearted bastard who just focused on the process. Ironically not caring what happened when I called made me a lot better at the job. I had zero inhibitions and didn’t care if I got someone angry. I had reached the FU, I just want to get paid stage.

  132. Barbara aka B-Cat says:

    trash picking on big pick up nights, flea market hauls, bartering, sunday cooking clubs,camping, those were some of the best years of my youth.

  133. Barbara aka B-Cat says:

    I’ve been poor, sadly poor. I know how to work this. I can’t wait to do it again, this time well capitalized.

  134. njescapee says:

    I had a star ledger rural route about 20 yrs ago. made an extra 800 / month. killer getting up at 4am 7 days / week

  135. Barbara aka B-Cat says:

    136. safe
    sales? thats brutal, don’t think I have any talent for it.

  136. safeashouses says:

    #140 Barbara

    I was an IT reruiter. During a depression. ha! I think I would have been making 200k a year if I had gotten that job a few years earlier. I was getting more job orders then the experienced people. I told the manager that I could care less what happens when I placed a call, I just focused on the process. He was real excited and said that was the key to telesales, but reaching that stage is something you have to figure out on your own.

  137. Stu says:


    Our home Montclair:

    Purchased 9/2004: $480,000

    Peak revaluation 10/2006: $640,000

    1/2007 Improvements: $75,000, finished basement, modernized kitchen, refurbed 2 and a half bathrooms, upgraded electric and plumbing.(figure at least a $50,000 return as I did a lot of the work myself).

    Refi assessment 12/2009: $460,000

    You could honestly say 690 to 460 or 34% drop. Don’t count my improvements and it works out to 28%. Montclair is pretty haughty taughty as well don’t you think?

  138. Barbara aka B-Cat says:

    139. But you did it, got yourself a hot coffee and egg sandwich, listened to your favorite music while meandering down empty roads, watching the sunrise and thinking. Nobody breathing down your neck, no phone calls, no cubicle.

  139. njescapee says:

    Barb, oh yeah, good old Wawa portuguese roll and butter and a big honking container of coffee. Went back home, showered, shaved and was back at my day job in my cubicle by 8:30 everyday.

  140. Veto-

    My house, Hunterdon Co:

    paid $472,000 6/05

    dumped in another $25,000 in improvements that added dollar-for-dollar value.

    basis at that time: $494,000

    present value: appx. $370,000

  141. Of course, I can at least count on my tax bill rising.

  142. chicagofinance says:

    Ulqin Albani: Where the fcuk are you? You are G-d….Samvera kicks a%%…..

  143. What is the national dish of Albania?

    Please don’t tell me it is revenge…

  144. chicagofinance says:

    No fresh food = too much salt to be healthy

    JANUARY 11, 2010
    Food Makers Quietly Cut Back on Salt
    Companies Find Consumers Respond Better When Sodium-Reduction Isn’t Emphasized on Labels

    Amid rising government pressure and consumer concern, food makers are taking a new tack in their long-running effort to sell products with less salt. Instead of offering foods labeled as low salt that few people eat, they are gradually reducing the salt from some of their most popular items—and not making a big fuss about it on the label.

    By next summer, ConAgra Food Inc.’s Chef Boyardee canned pasta will have decreased its sodium by about 35% over the course of five years without a word on the package. Campbell Soup Co.’s original flavor of V8 100% vegetable juice also silently dropped its sodium by 32% over eight years.

    For decades, new reduced-sodium products often had dramatic reductions of at least 25% from their original version to meet government regulations on advertising sodium declines. Those products often tasted different, and sales typically were slim.

    So food makers in recent years have adopted a new strategy: decrease sodium so slowly that customers don’t notice it.

    “If you gradually move sodium down in products, the consumers that use those products get used to them still tasting good but at lower salt,” says Douglas Balentine, Unilever NV’s North American director of nutrition and health.

    Government health experts for years have been counseling people to eat less sodium, and now pressure is building to tighten restrictions on food makers.

    New York City, leading a group of cities and health organizations, is expected on Monday to announce voluntary sodium-reduction targets for restaurants and food makers. It wants to lower Americans’ salt intake by at least 20% by 2014. The British government initiated a similar program several years ago.

    Many food-industry executives also expect the U.S. government’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee this year to recommend that Americans consume less sodium than it recommended in 2005.

    Decreasing salt is one of the thorniest challenges in food science. Salt is an inexpensive ingredient that enhances sweetness and diminishes bitterness in flavors. It keeps packaged foods fresh longer, plumps up canned vegetables and helps hold together hot dogs.

    Reducing sodium can be expensive, often involving wholesale product reformulations. Salt replacements are “never cheaper than sodium chloride, unfortunately,” says Bob Eilerman, head of science and technology for Givaudan SA, a Swiss flavor company.

    So far, the food industry’s efforts on sodium don’t appear to have dented the amount of sodium in the packaged foods Americans most commonly purchase. Sodium in those foods has stayed flat since 1991 at an average of about 2,000 milligrams of sodium per pound of food, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of government data tracking a representative sample of foods Americans eat.

    Robert Earl, vice president of nutrition at the Grocery Manufacturers Association, an industry trade group, says that other government data on sodium per calorie consumed has stayed about level over time.

    Still, the world’s largest food makers continue to work on the problem.

    In October, ConAgra said that by 2015 it would lower the sodium level in about 80% of its products by an average of 20%. Sara Lee Corp. made a similar commitment in December.

    Campbell Soup, which has focused broadly on reducing sodium for at least a decade, says it has already reduced sodium in the top-selling products in all its categories by nearly 24% since 2001.

    Food company executives say that gradually lowering salt has helped ensure that consumers keep buying the products. Sales of V8 juice have held up well, says a Campbell Soup spokeswoman.

    Lingering Controversy
    Most medical experts agree that eating too much salt can contribute to high blood pressure, which is often connected with heart disease. There is still lingering controversy about how much salt directly contributes to heart disease.

    In the early 1980s, after public-health advocates began sounding alarms, Kellogg Co. launched Low Sodium Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and Low Sodium Kellogg’s Rice Krispies. They had no sodium per serving versus 300 milligrams in the original cereal—and few buyers. Kellogg scrapped the products after four years.

    Consumers thought the new products were “bland and devoid of flavor,” says Celeste Clark, who was then the cereals’ brand manager and today is the senior vice president of global nutrition.

    That experience helped push Kellogg to reduce sodium gradually while focusing on maintaining consumers’ acceptance of how the products taste. Kellogg’s All-Bran cereal shed three-fourths of its sodium over 20 years as the company simply added less salt.

    Consumers’ prejudices about reduced-salt products and taste are also complicating food-makers’ efforts.

    In one 2007 test in Holland, Unilever found that consumers expected to like one powdered-soup mix purported to be lower in salt less than another, even though they were actually identical, says Mr. Balentine, of Unilever.

    “Once you start saying you’ve taken salt down, it’s basically equal to, ‘It’s not going to taste good,”‘ he says.

    New technology is driving many salt reductions by helping maintain the saltiness of products with less sodium. Some companies are deploying new meaty-tasting compounds that boost saltiness flavor without sodium or cooling agents that make the tongue taste salt better. Others are using materials that smell salty without having any sodium, says Mr. Eilerman, of Givaudan.

    Popcorn Problem
    ConAgra’s food scientists had long struggled with how to cut salt from the Orville Redenbacher brand of microwaveable popcorn.

    Then several years ago the company developed a new way to grind salt into particles that are 60% smaller. The smaller, more numerous particles, a tenth the width of a human hair, contact the tongue in more places, producing saltiness with less salt.

    The smaller salt particles helped Orville Redenbacher to drop the sodium level by 30% in 2008.

    Most varieties did not announce the change, says Jane Anders, ConAgra’s vice president of research and development.

  145. Woo hoo!!! An old-skool Sunday night!!!

    “And the good old dollar pounding, gold spiking, futures gunning Sunday night action the we all know and love, is back.”

  146. chicagofinance says:

    Breaking the dish and shoving up a realtor’s a%%……

    148.The Condition-Code Red says:
    January 10, 2010 at 10:20 pm
    What is the national dish of Albania?
    Please don’t tell me it is revenge…

  147. chi (151)-

    Braised weasel snout?

  148. chicagofinance says:

    touche my friend

  149. safeashouses says:

    #149 chifi,

    I very rarily eat processed food. I had a can of soup for the first time in over a year and was shocked at how salty it was.

  150. Chi (153)-

    Detente. The culinary tradition of my forebears is pretty much confined to debilitating alcoholism.

  151. safe (155)-

    Try some ramen. You’ll probably trip.

  152. safeashouses says:

    #157 TCCR

    My wife eats that sometimes. I won’t touch it and I won’t let her feed it to the kids.

  153. Veto That - aka 'The Operation' says:

    Code Red, Stu,
    got it. i’m sorry to see you guys lose equity, even if its just on paper, but on the other hand im glad to hear affordability is showing reasonable improvement. Thats obviously a necessary stage of stabilizing and then recovering, however far off that may be.
    I think one reason mercer county is holding up so well by comparison is all the govt jobs nearby in trenton.
    Being that its the only sector in the whole state that hasnt laid off yet, and has actually been net hiring.
    Also, we dont have as many wall st commuters down here so we didnt get as severely affected by the finance layoffs. these are the only theories i can think of.

  154. It will be interesting when NJ finally has to cut state gubmint back to the level of, say, Arkansas…where the legislature meets like six weeks out of the year.

    Gonna be a lot of lard-ass civil service zombies shuffling around in a couple of years.

  155. lisoosh says:

    Gary says:
    January 10, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    ” Even a monkey knows when to stop pushing the button for another banana. ”

    Post of the week.

  156. lisoosh says:

    Gary says:
    January 10, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    ” Even a monkey knows when to stop pushing the button for another banana. ”

    Post of the week.

  157. njescapee says:

    watch oil and gas prices. if gas makes it back to 3.50 – 4.00 / gallon, we’ll be back into the depths of this recession.

  158. lisoosh says:

    Bairen – I’d rather knock on 200 doors and be told to fcuk off (though I won’t) than make 200 calls.

    Hate the phone. I think it is an accent thing.

  159. yikes says:

    Barbara aka B-Cat says:
    January 10, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    trash picking on big pick up nights, flea market hauls, bartering, sunday cooking clubs,camping, those were some of the best years of my youth.

    not happening here in Bucks … yet.

    post-xmas we put out an old computer chair and a sort of broken 12-bottle wine cooler (it was a dual zone temp; one zone could not be adjusted, and the warranty ran out).

    both were there in the AM.

  160. yikes says:

    i should add that those items would have been gone within an hour in our old brooklyn neighborhood.

    once, while cleaning in brooklyn, we were taking out “trash.” i brought down a load, went up to bring down another load, and by the time i came down, someone had already grabbed an old, small TV that we had.

    time span was less than 10 mins.

  161. Chris says:

    This is a major bummer. I thought Otteau was the man! But now he’s saying Hudson county is down 2% from peak? Try a minimum of 15%. I would post the comps but I know all the people on this forum already know the truth.

  162. Zackary Mech says:

    Hey just wondering how you went aout setting up your blog etc. I’m fairly new to the whole internet thing, Was the software easy to install

  163. Just got a new iPhone and your blog looks brilliant on it.

  164. Brant Hitson says:

    Do you have any advice for when I do use this?

  165. Hello, I just thought I’d post and inform you that your web site layout is really screwed up on the Firefox browser. Seems to work fine in IE however. Anyways keep up the good work.

  166. Pavelu Bento says:

    Great site! I absolutely LOVE the content on here. Be sure to keep up the good work and update regularly, I will check back quite often. Very informative!

  167. Wow! :o) You know plenty about this!!!

  168. Awesome! You had me chuckling the whole way.

  169. I always wondered about this. Thanks for clearing it up.

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