NY Metro Home Prices Continue Falling

From the Record:

Home prices in NY Metro area down 2.4 percent from last year

Home prices in the New York metropolitan area, which includes North Jersey, declined 2.4 percent in March from a year earlier, the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller index said today.

Nationally, home prices rose 2.3 percent from a year earlier.

Case-Shiller does not break down price data by county, but Bergen and Passaic counties saw small increases in home prices in March. According to the N.J. Multiple Listing Service, the median price of a single-family home in Bergen County was $395,000 in March 2010, up 2 percent from a year earlier. The number of sales rose 41 percent, to 342.

In Passaic County, the median price was $295,883, up 3 percent from a year earlier. The number of sales rose 70 percent to 202.

The volume of home sales was boosted by an $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time home buyers, as well as a $6,500 credit for repeat buyers. Both credits expired April 30, and analysts say demand for homes may drop as a result.

“The housing market may be in better shape than this time last year; but when you look at recent trends, there are signs of some renewed weakening in home prices,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s. “In the past several months, we have seen some relatively weak reports across many of the markets we cover.”

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327 Responses to NY Metro Home Prices Continue Falling

  1. jp says:

    Singing the tune of “let it snow” with “let it fall” in my head as I read that article

  2. frank says:

    NY/NJ RE market on fire, buy a home now, before it’s too late.

    “Strong Markets Pump Up Home Sales”

    Sales of existing homes in New York City and its surrounding suburbs posted a 39.6% gain in April, the fourth-largest rise in sales activities in the country.


  3. Final Doom says:

    Weak reports? How about no friggin’ buyers, no sales, no demand, no interest, no jobs and oblivion upon us?

    RIchard Russell is correct. By this Winter, the US will be unrecognizable.

    “In the past several months, we have seen some relatively weak reports across many of the markets we cover.”

  4. Final Doom says:

    frank (2)-

    Great. Let’s come back in a few weeks and compare that number with the sales volume after the tax credit expiration.

    I’m assuming that giving people gubmint incentives to do something they were going to do anyway is something even a Mexican quant would approve. Or, perhaps, you’re a fan of pulling a couple of out-years’ worth of housing demand forward.

    I am truly glad that outlets exist for your retarded outbursts. It will be useful to have you on record when the bottom falls out.

  5. Final Doom says:

    Things are tough all over.

    LOS ANGELES (AP) – Comic Jon Lovitz and others are being sued by the Los Angeles Dodgers over claims they failed to pay nearly $100,000 for season tickets for the 2010 baseball season.

    Delaware-based Dodger Tickets LLC filed the breach-of-contract lawsuit Monday in Los Angeles.

    The lawsuit claims Lovitz and 100 other individuals entered into a written agreement in March 2008 to buy three dugout club seats for all baseball games played at Dodger Stadium in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

    The lawsuit alleges the group refused to pay $95,400 for the 2010 season.

    The company is seeking $95,400 and other unspecified damages in the lawsuit

    Attempts to contact Lovitz were unsuccessful.”

  6. Simply Ravishing HEHEHE says:


    What are you talking about the OECD just came out and said the world economy is in tip-top shape. The Fed said expect 3-4% GDP yesterday. These people are sharp as whips, they never miss anything.

  7. Al "Fat Thumbery" Gore says:

    “•Eventually, there will be war and one will want physical commodities “not paper from UBS or JP Morgan”
    •In war, cities will not offer safety because one can get bombed, water may be poisoned, electricity shut off; instead, one should buy a house in the middle of nowhere/on the countryside.
    •There is no means of avoiding a total collapse in the West; at the first train station in 2008, the financial system went bust but didn’t die, at the next station nations will go bust (though this could take 5-10 years or less), but first they will print money as this is the most politically tenable option, and ultimately the world will go to war.”

    Marc Faber

  8. Mr Hyde says:


    the titanic has reports of weak bouyancy. Analysts expect bouyancy to increase in the near future. Next we’ll report on the bands playlist and the controversial new arrangement of deck chairs

  9. frank says:

    I have been waiting for years for your wacky predictions to materialize, until then I need to pay $300/sqr ft for a crappy house or $500/sqr ft for a shoe box condo in NJ. Where’s the recession?

  10. frank says:

    Banks in NJ are on fire as well. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    Central Jersey Bancorp (CJBK) +128.9% premarket on news of its acquisition by Kearny Financial Corp. (KRNY).

  11. Mikeinwaiting says:

    All markets green except the Mex Bolsa, they better get with the program. Now lets get on that deck chair issue. Yes controversy is building & we should form a blue ribbon committee to explore the problem.

  12. safeashouses says:

    Laugh of the day.

    Montclair to hide cell phone tower by building a fake smokestack around it.


  13. Cindy says:


    The Last Hold Out: Senator Blanche Lincoln Against 13 Bankers

    “Business as usual” is the abiding legacy of the Obama administration with regards to the systemic risks posed by the financial system. Treasury and White House let us down repeatedly and completely in the last 18 months on financial sector issues – just as they did (as decision -making bodies and as some of the individuals) at the end of the 1990s.

    At one point in early 1998, Larry Summers called Brooksley Born – the last person who really tried to rein in the dangers posed by derivatives (and it was a much lower level of danger than compared with now). Summers reportedly said, “I have thirteen bankers in my office, and they say if you go forward with this you will cause the worst financial crisis since World War 11.”

    We seen to have come full circle to exactly the same people saying exactly the same things – no doubt top people in the administration are now calling Senator Lincoln and impressing upon her a version of the same point made by Summers to Born.

    The 13 bankers have won. Completely. Here we go again.”

    I’m pretty sure at this point I will be told to “embrace the oblivion.” While one person stands for the fair and just cause, I am a holdout as well. I understand that everybody and his brother has come out in favor of gutting the derivatives language from the Senate version of the bill.

    So “O” Jangles wants to dance to the tune of the banksters. I hope all of these jerks lose their jobs. How dare they jeopardize our country like this.

  14. Shore Guy says:

    Let me see if I understand this correctly. Prices were declinind due to soft demand so the USG put in place a tax credit to spurr demand, thus causing prices to stop falling or rise.

    Unless I misread the article at the top of the page, demand in NNJ soared, and was up between 40 and 70 percent; however, prices fell.

    When are the policy makers going to get it? The problem is not falling prices but rather overpriced assets. They can pump as much helium into a balloon made of lead but it is not going to rise.

  15. NJGator says:

    Let’s make a deal:

    REM: Unbelievable Opportunity-Adorable Cape-totally done and decorated. Pristine & Tasteful- owners are offering 2 options:

    ADD REM: Option 1 fully furnished including 2 cars, all furniture, all appliances,lawn tractor,rugs,lamps, and snow blower for $859,000-or-Option 2 If you choose you may buy the property without the extras(2 cars,furniture,snow blower,lawn tractor,rugs,lamps) for $799,000 – YOU CHOOSE!!

    Hmmmm…sounds like someone’s in a little bit over their head? Everything must go!

    Purchased 7/20/06 for $825k


  16. Shore Guy says:

    “The Last Hold Out: Senator Blanche Lincoln Against 13 Bankers”

    Intrestingly, BO has done virtually nothing to help Blanch achieve reelection. He stumped for Spector, and Corzine, and others but he has left her to twist in the wind.

  17. homeboken says:

    As a member of the “I’ll be paying off government debt forever generation” I am totally fed up with boomers that keep trying to “fix” our problems and only succeed in making it exponentially worse. To all boomers and older: You pretty much suck at life and continually refuse to realize it. You are not the genius you think you are, you are in fact,a time bomb filled with horrible choices for future generations. Please step aside and at least give the next generation a chance to solve the disaster you and your parents created, we are footing the bill anyway so let us steer the ship.

  18. frank says:

    Citi just announced that they will securitize their REOs.

    People never learn. Where’s the recession??

  19. Shore Guy says:


    It sounds like Let’s Make a Deal:

    I wonder, if the potential buyer has a harmonica inhis or her tote bag, or maybe an apple peeler, will the sellers kick in lawnmowing for nextyear?

  20. Mr Hyde says:


    A turn-of-the-century smokestack, he said, is a brilliant approach to hiding the tower in plain sight because “there probably was one in public works back in the day when everybody burned their garbage, so it seems totally appropriate and natural.”


    Wouldnt the fake pine tree look be better then a smokestack?

  21. NJGator says:

    Come on Shore, $800k for a cape in Florham Park? At that price shouldn’t you buy 2?

  22. NJGator says:

    Hyde – This is eco-friendly Montclair. Real trees, fake industry…and lots of bike racks.

  23. chicagofinance says:

    Last line of a review for Sex and the City 2….

    “Despite its “Lawrence of Arabia” length, this film — the Sexless and the Self-Pitying — is as unfunny and shapeless as another famed desert epic. Just think of it as “Bitchtar.”

  24. Shore Guy says:


    Ideed. It seems a perfect way to dispose of pesky cash.

    Speaaking of Let’s Make a Deal, what ever happened to Carol Merrill?

  25. Shore Guy says:

    speaking, too

  26. onthebrink says:

    Frank (2): That report reflects what Ive been seeing in Ridgewood. Houses are in fact selling, and selling at prices higher than last year. Way overpriced houses are sitting, and anytime a house comes on the market, you can see people driving by days before showings begin.

    Final Doom – Honestly, I have been hopeful that your prediction will come true and soon. We’ve been in the market for a year now and just been told by our landlord that we need to be out by end July ( he sold the place). Now Ive pinned my hopes on the general opinion that prices will go down Q3 and we can buy then, before school starts because if we cant buy then, Mr. Brink is determined to buy elsewhere and move the kids to new schools etc.
    However, at least as of yesterday I dont see this.

    Saw a house where EVERY surface needs to be replaced/refinished with an oil tank for 850k. 850K!!Another house is what we want, but miniaturized ( living room will accomodate only 1 sofa and a chair, family room 10×14..etc)- went into attorney review when it dropped price to 899K.For everything that you say and I want to believe, Im seeing a ground reality that doesnt yet match.

  27. Mr Hyde says:

    Boken 17

    Re-insitute dueling and allow people to challenge politicians by duel. It should drop the % of boomers in political positions in fairly short order.

  28. onthebrink says:

    “However, at least as of yesterday I dont see this. ”

    By ‘this’ I mean- prices coming down or buyer demand decreasing or inventory improving

  29. NJGator says:

    Barbara – did a little more digging on that house. We opted out because the taxes on the place with a 60×110 lot were already over $16k. The place is easily 100k+ over assessed and the owner has not appealled their taxes this year.

    Turns out the place has been listed on and off since Oct 2008 and the asking price has the asking price has only been reduced by less than 10%. This is one of the handful of properties that did not sell in GR during the tax credit mania and the listing agent told ours that her client would only be happy with an offer within 15k-20k of current ask.

    A little googling turns up this article from the NYT last fall that mentions the house. Turns out the listing agent is the owner’s daughter. I guess that explains things a bit.


  30. Shore Guy says:

    On the brink, given the circumstances, why not buy a vacation home tw or do hours away and rent your primary space? That way you “get the benefits of owning” and also benefit from lower rents relative to selling prices that currently exist.

    Just a thought.

  31. onthebrink says:

    Gator (15):

    >20,000 sq. foot lot with a half decent house? Not kidding – if I saw this house in Ridgewood, I would buy it!

  32. meter says:

    @15, Gator –

    How much-a for-a your wife?

  33. NJGator says:

    Yes, Brink, but would you buy it in Florham Park? There’s no there, there. Although this place does have great proximity to Trader Joe’s.

    And they bought it for $825k in 2006 and did all that work.


  34. Anon E. Moose says:

    ChiFi [yesterday];

    Lambertville and/or New Hope are nice for wandering the antique shops, the waterfront, a cafe, etc. Depends on what it will take to keep the 10-yo interested — the infants are pretty much along for the ride.

  35. Juice Box says:

    Cindy – The real problem with this financial reform bill is that Congress is ignoring two of the major causes behind the financial crisis.

    The first is the bond-ratings agencies. The top three rating agencies made $3.6 billion last year on fees and they did not suffer from their misdeeds rating all those CDOs and other junk bonds AAA. They are also somewhat insulated from lawsuits because the courts treat them like they are the “Press” and their ratings count as protected speech.

    The second failure is America’s greatest economic liability Fannie and Freddie who are gushing losses like the busted oil well in the gulf is spewing crude.

    Unless Congress fixes the rating agencies and Fannie and Freddie the financial reform they speak of is a failure.

  36. Fun times in FiDi, and with such a good bonus season this year too.

  37. Cindy says:

    35 – Juice

    I’m pretty much convinced at this point that it was all rhetoric. The politicians will tout this joke as financial reform to appease the masses. The panels and commissions put in place to root out the causes have produced and/or done nothing. The bill does nothing. I’m one disappointed American.

    Remember when I was so excited and following every decision – so much hope?

    Now I hear only the final line of Johnson’s article – “The 13 bankers have won. Completely. Here we go again.”

  38. jamil says:

    sastry from prev thread:
    “For AZ’s SB1070 supporters:”

    Nice try. First, the guy was apparently arested in Chigaco, not AZ. Second, he was not deported or came nowhere near deportation (so the system worked, as it should). Third, the guy was arrested for suspicion on stealing a car.
    You could make similar arguments for any law or idea. It is possible that gay bars will discriminate so maybe all gay bars should be banned?

    AZ law is common sense, and that’s why 70% of Americans support it. Fringe-left/marxists/liberalElite is another story, of course.

  39. Cindy says:

    I have made so many lame arguments here over the last few years: Arguing that creative destruction would pave the way for new jobs, supporting leverage limits and the supposed reworking of the rating agencies, getting excited about having our own “Pecora Commission.” I am to be laughed at – for real. I really believed Americans would do the right thing.

    Maybe the politicians didn’t earn their pay this year but the lobbyists did.

    Have a great day all.

  40. jamil says:

    I’m starting to paraphrase Michelle Obama: First time in my life I’m proud of NJ.

    Gov Christie’s Op-Ed:

    “As you all know, we have a fiscal crisis in New Jersey: a $10.9 billion deficit on a $29.3 billion budget.

    At 37 percent, it’s the worst budget deficit percentage in America-worse than California, worse than New York, worse than Illinois-and we need to take bold steps to deal with it.

    On March 16, we put forward a budget with $10.9 billion in reductions against proposed spending of the Corzine administration.

    This was not easy to do, so I want to start off by saying that while I stand firmly behind the cuts we proposed, please don’t take my firm stance in favoring those cuts as meaning that I don’t know how painful they are.

    Everybody would love to be governor in a time when you can just give things away and make everybody your friend and make everybody happy.

    That’s not the time that I’m getting to be governor.

    I feel an obligation to stand up and do what the people elected me to do, which is to get our government under control, and to start to reduce the amount of money that people have to pay to the government in taxes.

    But if all we do is cut, and we don’t get at the underlying problem, we’re just going to be back in this spot year, after year, after year.

    New Jersey Is On An Unsustainable Fiscal Course

    Over the last ten years, municipal spending has grown by 69 percent, and property taxes have grown by 70 percent, until New Jersey property taxes are now the highest of any state in the nation.

    This is an unsustainable course.

    We can’t increase municipal aid, increase aid to school districts, and increase property taxes without end. At some point, the people’s ability to pay runs out.

    And now we’re there.

    With property taxes up 70 percent in ten years, people in New Jersey are now voting with their feet, and they’re leaving.

    So how do we fix it?

    The Centerpiece of the Solution: Cap 2.5

    First and foremost, we have to impose discipline on every level of the political system. I propose that we start with Cap 2.5, a constitutional amendment to cap property tax increases at no more than 2.5 percent per year.

    Cap the Spending Side, Too

    Fundamental fairness dictates that the other part of the constitutional amendment has to be that discretionary state spending-state spending outside debt service or aid to municipalities or school districts-has to be capped at 2.5 percent as well.

    The private sector shrank… while the government grew. That’s exactly backwards from how it’s supposed to be.

    The leadership in the State Legislature in New Jersey believes that the solution to this problem is to increase taxes again-for the 116th time in the last 9 years. They passed a bill to raise taxes to 10.75% on those who make $1m per year. I vetoed that bill, literally, one minute after the Senate President handed it to me. I vetoed it because New Jersey does not have a revenue problem; it has a spending and debt problem. I vetoed it because it does not work. Look at the numbers.

    In Fiscal Year 2009, the state collected $10.476 billion from our income tax, with no surcharge on small businesses and the wealthy. In Fiscal Year 2010, with Governor Corzine’s surcharge of 10.75% applied to small businesses and individuals, the state collected $10.243 billion. $233 million dollars less than the year without the surcharge. Higher taxes will continue to drive citizens and businesses from New Jersey and keep our private sector job growth at zero, which it was for the entire first decade of this new century.

    We must change course.

    We must cap the property tax increases. We must cap discretionary spending. They go together.

    But that’s still incomplete, because mayors still have to provide services and education.

    If they have to operate under a cap, then they deserve the tools to help control the underlying expenses.

    That’s why this reform package is not only a cap on property tax increases, not only a cap on discretionary spending-it also contains a toolkit of 33 specific legislative reforms on collective bargaining, civil service, health care, education, and pensions.

    Let me take you through these.

    The Toolkit: Collective Bargaining Reform

    First: Nearly 75 percent of every municipal or county budget is driven by personnel and labor costs. We need to level the playing field on those costs through collective bargaining reform for our public sector unions.

    I stand foursquare in favor of arbitration to resolve the disputes with our public employees who do not have the ability to strike-police, fire, and teachers. Arbitration is there to be sure that these things are fairly resolved-and the key word there is “fair.” More often than not these decisions are favorable to labor, but they’re not always fair to the taxpayers who have to pay whatever the arbitrator decides.

    So under collective bargaining reform, every arbitrator will have to take into account Cap 2.5. They will no longer be allowed to award a benefit that’s larger than that. For the first time, arbitrators will have to consider not only who’s sitting at the table in front of them, but also who pays the bills.

    Municipalities, and mayors, and budgets, and taxpayers… shouldn’t be at the mercy of unelected arbitrators who can effectively impose a property tax increase at will. And under this reform, we won’t be.

    The Toolkit: Civil Service Reform

    We also need reform of the civil service system. Civil service was set up over a century ago to protect against political patronage, but collective bargaining has procedures to protect against that as well. We should have one system or the other.

    Candidly, I think labor is best served by collective bargaining, so we should give mayors the ability to opt out of civil service, and to manage like a business. If someone isn’t doing their job, or that job isn’t needed anymore, the mayor ought to be able to get rid of it, and save the taxpayers the expense. Civil service reform will give them the tools to do that.

    The Toolkit: Teachers’ Fair Contribution to Health Care Costs

    When we’re taking into account what we spend and how we give raises, we can’t act as if health care expenses and pensions aren’t a part of it. This has been my big argument with the teachers union over the last number of months. You may have heard something about that….

    Everyone values the hard work teachers do. And teachers should be able to have good medical benefits for themselves and their families. That’s just common sense.

    So this is not about a fight with individual teachers.

    This is about a union that has decided that everyone they represent is entitled to free medical, dental and vision benefits for themselves and their families from the day they’re hired until the day they die.

    You may think I’m exaggerating.

    I’m not.

    The union does not pay a penny toward the health care of its own members.

    That’s a pretty sweet deal. I can’t think of any other job where your employer says, Well, don’t worry about your health insurance. We’ll just throw that in no matter what it costs. Yet that’s what the union has right now, and their leaders don’t seem to feel any need to pay like the rest of New Jerseyans and join the real world on this.

    It’s a question of fairness. We don’t want them to pick up 100 percent of the premiums. We don’t want them to pick up 50 percent. Not 25 percent-which is what I paid when I was a federal employee. Not 10 percent.

    You know what we ask for? One-point-five percent of their salary.

    One-point-five percent.

    It’s not unreasonable to ask people in public employment to pay 1.5 percent toward their own medical benefits.

    If the average teacher makes $55,000, we’re talking $825 annually for full family medical, dental and vision coverage. Less than $69 a month.

    Now in the private sector, this is a deal employers would run to line up to get.

    But the other side on this says this is an attack on public education. I have to tell you, I don’t understand why my child would learn better in school if their teacher was paying nothing toward their health benefits as opposed to paying 1.5 percent of their salary.

    Candidly, it’s still a great deal, so this idea that we won’t attract people to teaching because they have to pay 1.5 percent of their salary towards benefits, as opposed to nothing, is just foolish. It makes a mockery of teachers’ commitment to their profession and to their students.

    Most people become teachers because they find it so rewarding. Of course they want to make a good living, and have financial security like all the rest of us. But the difference between zero and 1.5 percent is not going to cause a dedicated teacher to leave the profession, or stop somebody who wants to teach from doing it in the first place.

    I think when the union makes that argument, they’re selling their members short.

    They may, but I’m not going to.

    Also, we need to get away from this one-size-fits-all straightjacket about coverage. We need to give mayors the ability to negotiate with the private sector to offer a full menu of benefits that can lower the cost for municipalities, and give workers the choice to pick the health plan that best fits their needs.

    This is not revolutionary. This is happening in the private sector every day. It is also happening with employees of the federal government. Why should state and local government workers in New Jersey have a better deal?

    This is restoring a little common sense to the way we spend our tax money.

    The Toolkit: Pension Reform

    On pensions, I want that pension to be there for every police officer, for every fire fighter, for every teacher who’s counting on it.

    But our pension system is $46 billion in deficit.

    Don’t let anybody tell you that is caused by the failure of the state to stand up to its commitment to fund these pensions. That’s part of the problem, but it’s not the whole thing.

    If the state had contributed every dollar it was supposed to over the last ten years, our pensions would be funded at 74 percent of value, instead of 64 percent, which is where they are today. That’s only 10 percent difference.

    So what does that tell you?

    What it tells you is that the benefits are too high and the contributions being made by many of the public sector unions are too low. We need to buttress the pension back up, make it strong for the folks that are in it now, so that it’s there for them when they come to retire.

    A Real-Life Example of What’s at Stake

    Now, I’ll end with this so you can really understand what’s at stake here.

    Last week, I had a town hall meeting in Hoboken, and I talked to a family-a husband and wife and three boys-who had a property tax increase last year of $2000. That’s an incredible financial hit for any family to take, especially in one year. It’s not as if you can go to your employer and say, Hey, I need another $2000.

    If Cap 2.5 had been in place for Joe and Jennifer and their three boys, their property taxes would have gone up only $213, not $2000.

    For the first time, Joe and Jennifer’s property tax bill rose about the $10,000 mark.

    Instead of paying the mortgage, or a making a down payment on a car, or saving for college, or taking a vacation, or just keeping up with what it costs to live, another $2000 of their paycheck got sucked up in that ten-year, 70 percent increase in property taxes.

    We’re long past the point where politicians in Trenton can justify that kind of ever-increasing drain on a family’s income.

    With Cap 2.5, there’s only one out if you want to raise taxes higher than 2.5 percent, and that is to put in on the ballot and let the voters decide. That’s what they’ve done in Massachusetts, and about half the time, the voters say, You know what, it’s worth me paying an extra point in taxes this year to have this new program, or to hire more police officers.

    The other half of the time, they say no. But the control is in the hands of the people, not the politicians.

    New Jersey Needs Cap 2.5

    Skyrocketing property taxes hurt seniors, they hurt middle-class families trying to make ends meet, and they hurt young families trying to buy their first home.

    Cap 2.5 will cap property tax increases at no greater than 2.5 percent a year for everything: municipal tax, county tax, and school tax.

    For 30 years, the politicians in Trenton have failed the people of New Jersey. In the last ten years, those politicians have raised property taxes 70 percent.

    We can no longer afford it, and the politicians in Trenton have refused to solve the problem.

    Cap 2.5 will allow the people of New Jersey to control property taxes and keep them at no more than 2.5 percent a year, unless the people vote differently.

    To fully address the problem, I’ve matched Cap 2.5 with a toolkit of 33 specific legislative reforms to reform collective bargaining, civil service, health care, education, and pensions.

    After three decades of passing the buck, we’ll cap increases in property taxes that are wrecking people’s lives and driving people out of our state, and we’ll give local leaders the tools they need to help control the underlying expenses.

    We’re going to build a solid fiscal foundation for our state. We’re going to say “No” to those who refuse to understand that the days of something for nothing are over and the days of shared sacrifice are here. We’re going to stand up to the entrenched, special interests that are unused to having the truth told to them without regard to the political consequences. We’re going to stand up for the future of our children and grandchildren-a future in New Jersey that is hopeful, optimistic and full of opportunity and prosperity in a private sector that is growing and a public sector that stops the annual grab for the taxpayers wallets.

    The legislature needs to put Cap 2.5 on the ballot this November as a constitutional amendment, and let the people do what the politicians in Trenton have refused to do for 30 years: get out-of-control property taxes under control and, at long last, fix this perpetual fiscal crisis, once and for all.

    Thank you.

    Chris Christie is the Governor of New Jersey.

  41. NJCoast says:

    Sheeesh. The president of the Central Jersey Bank lives across the street from me, you’d think he would’ve been a nice neighbor and given me a clue.

    10.frank says:
    May 26, 2010 at 8:39 am
    Banks in NJ are on fire as well. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    Central Jersey Bancorp (CJBK) +128.9% premarket on news of its acquisition by Kearny Financial Corp. (KRNY).

  42. Mr Hyde says:


    Buck up there lass! American political institutions may have failed as of late, but its not the end of the world, just the end of the world as we know it. We need at least 1 optimist around :)

  43. Mr Hyde says:


    appropriate for the current mess


    Well our souls are all mistaken in the same misguided way
    We all end up forsaken, we’re just choosing our own way
    The future now incinerates before our very eyes
    And leaves us with the emptiness of no more tries

    (Well our) visions of our glory now have spiraled down the drain
    The best of our intentions have come crashing down in flames
    The depths of our despair we are unable to contain
    It’s shallow living

    The noose is falling
    And all my friends are crawling
    The noose is falling
    And enemies are rising
    A truth appalling
    Our maker comes a calling
    The noose is falling
    And enemies are rising

    (Well the) tracers from a yesteryear are burning in the dust
    Your bruises are reminders of naivete and trust
    You’re only feeling stronger cause your body’s getting numb
    Now I lay you down
    Put the coins in your eyes
    And blow the candles out

    The noose is falling
    And all my friends are crawling
    The noose is falling
    And enemies are rising
    A truth appalling
    Our maker comes a calling
    The noose is falling
    And enemies are rising

    No more! (No more!)
    No more! (No more!)

    No more! (No more!)
    No more! (No more!)
    No! (No!)
    No! (No!)

    The noose is falling
    And all my friends are crawling
    The noose is falling
    And enemies are rising
    A truth appalling
    Our maker comes a calling
    The noose is falling
    And enemies are rising

    The noose is falling
    And all my friends are crawling
    The noose is falling
    And enemies are rising

  44. Simply Ravishing HEHEHE says:

    Bruce Shore, Unemployed Philadelphia Man, Indicted For ‘Harassing Email’ To Jim Bunning


    Ain’t that America baby, Little Pink Houses and all that sh*t. The morons running this country just slip more and more out of touch with each passing day.

  45. Simply Ravishing HEHEHE says:

    I wonder if they check Congresspeople’s email for lobbyist’s threatening not send in the campaign check unless they do what the lobbyist wants?

  46. make money says:


    Now you know why I store shiny down under.

  47. Anon E. Moose says:

    [47] in mod…

  48. Anon E. Moose says:

    As I was saying…

    Re: [45] –

    “Congress shall make no law… abridging… the right of the people… to petion the Government for a redress of greivances.” U.S. Const., Amend. I.

    Bunning is a R, with whom I am inclined to agree, and I specifically agree with pulling the perpetual t!t-suckers off the n!pple, but this…

    Wow. Just… wow.

  49. Simply Ravishing HEHEHE says:

    I like Bunning in that he hates the Fed. Other than that, I don’t know what you prove not continuing unemployment benefits as there’s few jobs out there unless you were politically connected enough to get one with the Census.

  50. NJGator says:

    There have been Bunning is senile rumors all the way back to his last race against Dr. Dan in 2004.


  51. Final Doom says:

    frank (9)-

    105 foreclosure filings in Somerset Co in the past business week. My database lady informs that it’s the most she’s seen since this whole mess started.

    Last I checked, Somerset Co is one of the top 10 wealthiest in the US.

    Go ahead, Frank. Spend hundreds now per sf for some rat-ass shitbox. RE only goes up.

    See you at the ramparts. You’ll probably be one of the people who turns and hauls ass the minute the shooting starts.

  52. Final Doom says:

    brink (26)-

    Don’t mind me. I just work around RE every day of my life. Go ahead and commit financial suicide. I’ll send flowers to your sheriff sale.

  53. Final Doom says:

    No one will be spared. No one.

  54. Final Doom says:

    The real problem with financial reform is that the financial indsutry owns Congress.

  55. Final Doom says:

    Cindy (40)-

    Let the oblivion wash over you. Don’t fight it.

    After a while, it feels like mama.

  56. jj says:

    Wow big deal, these are same folks doing cash outs, buying PSLs, timeshares, SUVs etc. God Forbid they spend 2k to support their town and schools. Better off spent on a downpayment on a new car!

    Last week, I had a town hall meeting in Hoboken, and I talked to a family-a husband and wife and three boys-who had a property tax increase last year of $2000. That’s an incredible financial hit for any family to take, especially in one year. It’s not as if you can go to your employer and say, Hey, I need another $2000.

    If Cap 2.5 had been in place for Joe and Jennifer and their three boys, their property taxes would have gone up only $213, not $2000.

    For the first time, Joe and Jennifer’s property tax bill rose about the $10,000 mark.

    Instead of paying the mortgage, or a making a down payment on a car, or saving for college, or taking a vacation, or just keeping up with what it costs to live, another $2000 of their paycheck got sucked up in that ten-year, 70 percent increase in property taxes.

  57. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [12] safe

    Wow. That’s ludicrous. Replace one eyesore with another.

    I smell kickbacks.

  58. Shore Guy says:

    “Sheeesh. The president of the Central Jersey Bank lives across the street from me”

    Not for long, I suspect. Ocean view here he comes.

  59. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [45, 49]

    There had to have been something in the email beyond “you don’t get it” that sounded like a threat.

    Otherwise, if the email is simply annoying or harassing, that suggests a void for vagueness defense in the offing.

    Now, by sending multiple emails, while purporting to be a constituent, I could see annoyance or harassment. It is possible. But geez, these guys get thousands of crank emails that they routinely disregard. Where is the objective sense of annoyance?

  60. Libtard says:

    Cindy (38):

    “The 13 bankers have won. Completely. Here we go again.”

    Of course they did. The sooner you realize that your government doesn’t represent you, the better off your life will be. Let the brilliant Jamil’s of the world play sheep. As long as lobbyists exist and corporations can finance campaigns, then you will not be represented.

  61. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [10] frank

    There’s a saying in Bank M&A circles: Banks aren’t bought; they’re sold.

    So someone wants to retire. That means banking is en fuego?

  62. NJGator says:

    What Christie doesn’t mention about Hoboken is that a state monitor was actually the one who imposed the 47% municiapl tax increase. Not that it wasn’t a municipal clusterf*ck….


  63. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [7] Al

    So now Faber is endorsing the Nompound? Damn, that trade is gonna start getting crowded.

    On a related note, I went to a talk by Andrew Friedman, formerly of Covington and Burling, on the future of estate taxation, but also on fiscal crisis and taxation generally.

    He pretty much confirmed everything I have been saying.

    He also posited a definition of “sophisicated” that I somehow managed to meet. As Bill Murray as Carl said “now I’ve got that going for me.”

    I asked him a question about SS means testing, which he agrees will happen. Specifically, I asked he thought it would include lookback periods. He said that he hadn’t thought of it, but he thought that it was quite possible, and indeed likely.

  64. safe as houses says:

    Hyde and nom,

    Seems Montclair will pull in almost 2.5 million in revenue over 20 years from leasing town land for the tower. I didn’t see who is going to pay for the construction of the olde smokestack, or how much money the town spent thinking up that idea.

    But hey, 2.4 million can build a lot of bike racks over 20 years.

  65. Al "Fat Thumbery" Gore says:

    On the brink,

    I agree with Shore. Dont marry yourself to an overpriced, over taxed sh_tbox.

    What kind of rent are you paying now?

    Lock in some long term debt somewhere else and buy bullion and bullion shares with the extra liquidity.

    The 2 most dangerous places to be are.

    1. Homeowner with equity and no other assets.
    2. Renter with a pile of Federal Reserve Notes and no other assets.

  66. poor guy says:

    gator and rest of GR crowd
    heads up
    a new $599K house came up on 11 FOREST AVE. what do you thing of the location? Let me start by saying I don’t like corners (corner w/osborne) however taxes are not that bad 15K but I am afraid it needs work.


  67. Mr Hyde says:


    I am with Nom, this stinks of kickbacks and probably to multiple parties.

  68. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Bankster Thought of the Day:

    “”When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes… Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.”

    – Napoleon Bonaparte, 1815

  69. chicagofinance says:

    Final Doom says:
    May 26, 2010 at 11:04 am
    No one will be spared. No one.

    so wrong you clownshow…..

  70. Qwerty says:

    Doom, one thing you may be overlooking is the virtually unlimited supply of Greater Fools.

    In the “high end” Northern NJ towns people are still tripping over themselves to pay near-peak prices.

    I’m convinced if you put granite counters into a leaking barn there will be a line of morons at the open house clamoring to make an offer.

  71. Mr Hyde says:

    HOLY $HIT!!! Meter was right! BIKE PATHS ARE THE ANSWER!!!!

    We can revitalize camden by turin git into an extreme mountain bike park!!!


  72. chicagofinance says:

    Here is someone practicing to live in NJ and getting hooked up on the public dole……

  73. Al "Fat Thumbery" Gore says:

    Cross the Carribean exit plan off the list.

    Jamaica: state of emergency and riots
    Gulf oil spill
    Now Costa Rica volcano erupts

    Its Canada or bust.

  74. Shore Guy says:


    Not that it could happen here for in the US of A we have the Federal Reserve System, which is owned by the….

    Say it with me, people.

    C’mon, I know you know the answer.

  75. implosion08 says:

    Brink (26) – I see similar things on Long Island (except the properties are even cruddier and the taxes may be even higher). But it just shows me that this will take longer to play out than I had expected. The people buying now at those prices with those property taxes (IMHO) are making emotional decisions that will prove to cripple their futures. Or have sold overpriced homes and are putting the $ back into another one.

    It always comes back to supply, demand, assets and income. The govt can try in the short term to pull forward demand with tax credits or offer mortgages to people who don’t have the assets or income for a traditional downpayment or mortgage. But the market will find its equilibrium at some point. And that should be sharply lower. Your belief in how certain that outcome is will determine your ability to stay the course.

  76. Shore Guy says:

    The Congress?


  77. Shore Guy says:

    The people?


  78. Shore Guy says:

    Carol Merrill, what do we have behind Door Number One?

    The banks!

    What a system where the banks own the central bank.

  79. safe as houses says:

    #75 Al,

    This is getting ridiculous. First I had to cancel my vacation to Iceland, so I switched it to Bangkok. Well I wound up switching that to Athens. After a bit of rioting wifey says lets go to Kingston instead. Well now we had just moved that to Costa Rica. Looks like i’ll have to go to Seoul instead.

  80. Shore Guy says:


    I hear LG may be having a liquidation sale any day now, so stock up when you get there.

  81. Shore Guy says:

    I have never really gotten the appeal of Jamaica. There are so my nicer places in the general vacinity.

  82. Al "Fat Thumbery" Gore says:



    Holy crap thats a lot of bad luck.

  83. Final Doom says:

    qwerty (72)-

    The supply of greater fools is running dry. I can remember the time- about three years ago- when everybody in my local “sea of wealth” was saying that the supply of monied buyers was endless. We had Lucent, Avaya and all kinds of high-tech, .com and drug companies piling into Hunterdon & Somerset.

    Now, we are at 105 fk filings per week. Most of the companies that came here in the late ’90s have left or gone bust. They have been replaced with nail salons and pet shampoo shops.

    Eventually, all fools and their money are parted. It’s as close to a law of nature as one can find in economics.

  84. NJGator says:

    Poor 68 – No pics yet. We weren’t sure if it was the corner, or the house next to the corner.

    Decent square footage – 2400….no central air, and looks like there is no ground floor bathroom (from the listing it seems like one full only on both the 2nd and 3rd floors).

    We’re sitting this one out and waiting for something in the south end, I think. Happy to put in a low ball for you.

    Doom – will you be our official rock, paper scissors agent for low balls?

  85. NJGator says:

    Poor 68 – Also from the listing “Charming side hall Colonial on the market for the first time in 45 years! ” Possible translation – has not been renovated or redecorated since 1965.

  86. NJGator says:

    Poor – Did you see this awful place on Hillside that came back recently? Asking $449, but overassessed and taxes of $14.6k.


  87. poor guy says:

    thanx Gator but I will be waiting this one out too as I don’t like corners. Also it might need updates which makes the asking somewhat ridiculous. again. let me see pics and come back on that

    why south end? is it nicer over there? more neighborly? like friendly neighbors (without guns)

  88. Final Doom says:

    The fun in reading anything by Bill Gross is doing it with the understanding that it’s only meant to serve Bill Gross:

    “How much debt is too much? How little growth is too little? No one knows for sure. Economic historians such as Kenneth Rogoff point out that at debt levels of 80-90% of GDP, a country’s real growth becomes stunted, and the sixteen tons become more and more difficult to bear. Greece is well past that standard, which is one of the reasons why lenders are balking at extending a private-market helping hand. When not only government but corporate and household debt is included, the waters become murkier, because historical statistics are less available, and corporations are more multinational than ever before. Common sense observation tells you, though, that the debt super cycle trend in the U.S. shown in the following chart is reaching unsustainable proportions and that the “growth” required to service it if real interest rates were ever to go up instead of down would be insufficient. That is why lenders balked 18 months ago during events surrounding the Lehman liquidity crisis and why they’re beginning to balk once again. Too much debt/too little growth makes for a “three will get you two” moment, and they refuse to extend credit under those circumstances.”


  89. NJGator says:

    poor guy – We like the south end because many of our friends are there, it’s a little less snooty and the asking prices and taxes are lower. Also portions of the south end are walkable to Bloomfield train station.

    But don’t listen to us. If your little one attends Linden Avenue School instead of Forest Avenue from K-2, he/she is pretty much done for life.

  90. Final Doom says:

    Leader Of Largest Italian Labor Union To Propose General Strike In June

    -Reuters, about 5 min. ago

  91. poor guy says:

    gator (88)

    yes I did — it needs tons of updates which will surely raise taxes plus location is urban-like with parking, pool and all

  92. Final Doom says:

    gator (86)-

    Better yet, give me permission to attach lowball offers to listing agents’ heads with a staple gun.

  93. poor guy says:

    are we (sellers) became too picky or what?

    NOT! there are tons of perfectly situated houses but for some reason not in the market

  94. Final Doom says:

    gator (87)-

    “Shitbox” seems like a much more economical choice of wording here.

  95. Final Doom says:

    gator (91)-

    Anyone who lives in Montklair is pretty much done for life.

    I feel like the guy at the edge of S0dom and G0morrah who’s waiting for it to end so that I can collect all that free salt laying around.

  96. poor guy says:

    gator (91)

    I don’t care about elementary although linden is ok I heard. what counts is middle/high and would like to avoid the montclair one

    also poor and not snooty

  97. beanbear says:

    Gator, poor,

    Hmmm, 11 Forest could be nice – it’s been a long time since there’s been anything under “6”. FWIW, 254 Forest (similarly 1 owner for decades) ended up closing at 570-ish b/c the finished basement needed be taken down to fix rotted sills, etc. 11 Forest is probably a hilly lot too, so it might need similar work.

    Gator – we saw that house on Osborne almost a year ago and really, really disliked the agent. She basically told us directly at the open, what she told your agent.

  98. NJGator says:

    Poor 93 – This was our biggest issue (well other than price) with 76 Oxford. Listing agent/daughter was either dumb as a brick or outright liar. When our agent said that we were uncomfortable with the current taxes given the updating needed, and that it was entirely possible the taxes could go to 18 or 19k after permits were closed out her two responses were “Welcome to Glen Ridge, town of the high taxes.” and then a feeble attempt at claiming that Glen ridge would not reassess for another 15 years, so we would not get hit up for additional taxes on the renovation for at least that long.

  99. NJGator says:

    beanbear 99 – She’s the owner’s daughter and grew up in the house. She’s not serving her mother well either. She pretty much made up a phantom offer and we were probably the only potential interest that place has seen in months.

  100. beanbear says:

    Gator – doh, I meant “Oxford” not “Osborne”.

  101. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [92] Doom

    If the italians went on strike, would anyone notice?

    (and yes, I’m a Guinea)

  102. NJGator says:

    Doom 94 – If that’s what we have to agree to for you to represent us, then sure.

  103. Final Doom says:

    gator (100)-

    You should not discount the possibility that she is both.

    “Listing agent/daughter was either dumb as a brick or outright liar.”

  104. NJGator says:

    Poor 98 – Linden is fine. We know lots of folks who have kids there now. Also all kids in GR are in the same one school from third grade through high school.

  105. Dink says:

    Gator, driving around I’ve seen at least 3 cars with “Forest Ave School” stickers. So far, none for Linden Ave.

    Speaking of GR, just noticed this today. House prices may have not tumbled there, looks like condos have/may though.


  106. Final Doom says:

    plume (104)-

    I wish the Italians around me who own restaurants would go on strike. I’d rather eat Alpo cloaked in Ragu that the $17 turds these crooks keep turning out.

  107. safeashouses says:


    I saw this article and thought of all the FBs who bought in Somerset/Hunterdon at or near the peak.

    Not for the faint of heart. Pretty nasty. Matador gets gored through his chin.


  108. poor guy says:

    gator (100)

    it might be true (a reassessment in 15 years) but only a fool would take it into account when buying.

  109. NJGator says:

    Dink 108 – I think this is the Reserve. There are 3 units currently on the market there, all below their 2007 purchase prices.

    I also noticed for The Reserve that they got assessment reductions of over 25% for every unit in the building for this tax year.

    This place must be short sale city. I guess the $15-20k/year in takes plus the $500-700/month in monthly maintenance was just too much for most of the original buyers.

  110. NJGator says:

    Poor 111 – True reassessment probably not for 15 years, however the town can and will get you for added assessments for improvements when their close out the permits. Taxes will go up on all of these places when you fix them up…unless you can sucessfully litigate a tax appeal.

    We have gone pro se 3 times versus Montclair. For Glen Ridge if we need to file, we’ll be hiring an attorney. They do not roll over and play dead. I have also seen them appeal when they lose at the County Board of Taxation and take a tax payer to State Tax Court. I would not consider any tax appeal against GR a slam dunk.

  111. Final Doom says:

    This is for you, brink. Think Ridgewood is somehow more resilient than Greenwich, CT?

    If not, read this closely…because this is what’s up in Greenwich right now.

    “Most if not all clients now ask for comps and stats to understand what’s going on in the market. I regularly give clients reams of info on the current market.

    These are sophisticated buyers and sellers with all the info now at their fingertips.

    Unrealistic sellers will tend to ignore the facts before them and most buyers are emotional anyway so the facts they see don’t always matter.

    Don’t blame the RE profession.

    I find that most clients who have a lot of money tend to feel that they know more than their realtor and act accordingly.

    That’s why you have overpriced listings and frustrated buyers.

    This spring I had 2 sellers (old clients)who wanted to list properties that they bought in 2007 for 15-20% MORE than they paid. These are highly educated Wall Street investors. The first client didn’t like my price opinion, eventually listed with another agent , got zero action and rented it to try again when the mkt goes down another 10%. The other I’ll just put on the mkt and play the multiple price reduction game because he won’t listen to reason.

    Again, don’t blame us. Most sales people will tell you what you want to hear..that is until the market tells you differently…2 years and 25%-30% later.

    The game goes on…the most successful agents in this town are the best liars..they will pump you up, telling you how great your property is and when it doesn’t sell in 12 months, they’ll explain how the market turned or some other BS excuse, rather than tell you in the very beginning that your original price was ridiculous.

    Every agent knows these overpriced houses – most of the listing agents will whisper that the listing price wasn’t their price…so we wait…and wait..for the owners to get real….and the game goes on…and on…and on…

    Unfortunately for a lot of sellers, they will have missed the market and end up losing 100s of thousands or millions.”


  112. NJGator says:

    Doom 106 – Touche

  113. sas says:

    “I’ll send flowers to your sheriff sale”

    nahh… it will never happen.
    the sheriifs make more money taking kickbacks from the low level drug dealers for allowing it to transport in interstates, acting as lookouts, and keeping out competition they don’t want (helps to keep the prices up).

    drugs.. what a scam.

    and pink floyd was a moron.


  114. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Want a voice in Washington (well, a very small voice)?

    In June, I will be interviewed for a spot on the Taxpayer Advisory Panel. This panel advises IRS on changes to its administration.

    Mind you, it is essentially the focus group for IRS, so it has little power. But I am hoping it burnishes my tax bona fides, and it is a way to help.

    (and had a very nice convo. with the person in Florida arranging the interviews. I know they have thankless jobs, but they are generally decent and helpful, at least to the practitioner community. They always open up to me and tell me lots of stuff, which will help with my clients and me in the future).

  115. sas says:

    “drugs.. what a scam”

    and you think its the damn mexicans bringing it in across the border?


    only thing they bring in is tortilla wrappers.

    Why would they need they need to do that, they have a whole barcode system & use the same logistics as the damn Walmart.


  116. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [109] doom

    From what I gather about your background and preferences, you would rather eat Alpo than dine at just about any place in New Jersey.

  117. Final Doom says:

    sas (116)-

    In NJ, the sheriff gets a 1% commish on every completed sheriff sale.

    With everything going back to the bank, it pretty much equals nothing, but every once in a while, they get a nice little vig.

  118. Final Doom says:

    plume (119)-

    Only bad Italian restaurants in NJ seem to be able to max out the rapport between execrable food and misguided appeals to incredibly bad taste.

    I swear to God, I will light ablaze the next pink tablecloth or 100% polyester tuxedo I see.

  119. Final Doom says:

    OTOH, I have to applaud the chutzpah of an industry that manages to convince people to fork over $17-$25 for a plate of flour.

  120. Sas3 says:

    Shore, thanks for the deer repellent info. I bought a deer repellent can from Home Depot — half a gallon or so cost close to $40. Can’t find the thing on the HD site. Deer Gard may be. How is that thing? Do you have links to the stuff you used? You can get my email from grim.

  121. jj says:

    Here are the basic Case-Shiller stats for the New York City commuter area* as of March:

    March 2010
    Month to Month: Down 0.6%
    Year to Year: Down 2.4%
    Prices at this level in: April 2004
    Peak month: June 2006
    Change from Peak: Down 21.5% in 45 months
    Low Tier: Under $281,772
    Mid Tier: $281,772 to $428,806
    Hi Tier: Over $428,806

  122. Pat says:

    Clot, when I go in an Italian restaurant, if I don’t see a marinara dish on the menu for under 15, we leave and I explain to the hostess that no amount of ambiance with a candle is worth it for me to spend 70 bucks with drinks for three plates of pasget.

  123. Final Doom says:

    New level of idiocy in CA (and to think we used to joke about deposit-bottle borrowing schemes):

    “State Assembly Speaker John A. Perez on Tuesday outlined an alternative path to balancing California’s budget that would raise oil taxes, delay corporate tax breaks and borrow billions from the nickel-and-dime deposits consumers make on recyclable bottles — and would not require any Republican support.

    At the heart of the proposal is the idea of raiding the state’s bottle deposits for the next 20 years and then getting an $8.7-billion loan from Wall Street. The programs currently funded by bottle deposits would be reimbursed by a new tax on oil production.

    Perez (D-Los Angeles) called his budget plan a “unique and creative approach.” A spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called it “legal gymnastics.”

    Under his plan, the speaker would cast aside almost all the budget cuts Schwarzenegger proposed earlier this month. The state would use the borrowed money from the bottle deposits to fund programs this year.

    To pay back the loan in the future years, the state would then levy a nearly 10% oil severance tax.”


  124. jcer says:

    Doom, italian food is a good business, it is pretty easily production lined, and relatively cheap to make. Big issue is most places are pretty awful. The sad thing is if a restaurant was making their own pasta and serving fresh meat and vegetables they could cash in big time. Real italian food(As if it were one entity) is rustic and generally pretty simple, the faux Neapolitan crap is generally like pizzeria food, maybe ok if you want deep fried chicken drenched in tomato sauce covered with processed cheese. Done well it can be enjoyable, pan cooked in evoo, fresh breadcrumbs with fresh herbs, a nice tomato sauce, and good fresh mozzarella cheese(not all fresh mozz is good).

  125. Comrade Nom Deplume says:
  126. Juice Box says:

    re: #83 – Shore Guy

    Went to Jamaica once on spring break back in the day. Have and old video of myself cliff diving naked at Rick’s cafe in Negril.I think I also set the record for banging the most NY/NJ/LI JAPS in a week. This was back when people wore Body Glove shorts, I guess they liked the outline of my twig and berries in those shorts!

    Definitely one of those places where you need to lock up your tooth brush along with all valuables in the room safe. One of the other spring beakers was robbed by a local lady of the night and we had to take up a collection so he would make it to the end of the week.

  127. onthebrink says:

    Doom (114):

    I hear you!

    Thats exactly what it looks like in Ridgewood. Sellers set prices that more than 1 agent has disavowed any responsibility for, but the stunning part is, there seem to be so many buyers who are desperate and will jump on anything they can afford. The result is that in the 3 weeks after the tax credit was gone, at least 6 houses that looked good but were overpriced are UC.Yes, 2 dropped price 50K, one even dropped price 300K, but the rest all went pretty quickly. we’ve tried to make offers on a couple, but without success.

    Was it you who said “You cant buy a house at tomorrows prices or sell it at yesterdays prices”? I guess we are just going to have to wait till tomorrow.

    Will probably wait till July/Aug to see if the situation changes.

    Al Gore (67):
    I thought this boards concensus was that bullion has topped for a while? Is there any upside left to Au, physical or otherwise?

  128. Anon E. Moose says:


    Paesano de plume?

  129. SG says:

    Pretty straight shooting write up,

    The Housing Bubble Bottom

    That leaves housing basically on a knife’s edge where neither outcome is likely to be beneficial to the market.

    On the one hand, though the European debt crisis has lowered rates, the net effect will likely be a double-dip recession, putting even more people out of work and killing the confidence in the nascent housing rebound. That’s the rock.

    The hard place, meanwhile, is the higher rates that will undoubtedly come when and if the recovery really does take hold. In that scenario, higher rates are a given.

    That leaves housing with a Hobson’s choice: low rates and no jobs or many more jobs and much higher rates.

    Neither one of them is going to be enough to help home prices recover.

    Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention a third stomach-churning scenario: no jobs, no recovery, and much higher rates — courtesy of the same bond vigilantes that just pushed Greece over the cliff.

    As bad as that may sound, the devil is buried a bit deeper in the details. The serious delinquency rate or the percentage of loans that are 90 days or more past due or in the process of foreclosure was 9.54%. The cure rate for these loans is less than one percent.

    So out of a total U.S. mortgage debt of about $10 trillion, there is a contingent liability of nearly $1 trillion dollars hanging over the heads of the banks.

    And you wonder why the banks aren’t that eager to lend money…

    In fact if it wasn’t for the nationalization of the mortgage market, housing literally would have gone over the cliff by now.

    Instead, the FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac have been financing more than 90% of U.S. home mortgage after the collapse of the market for mortgage bonds without government-backed guarantees.

    What’s more, government-related entities backed 96.5% of all home loans during the first quarter — up from 90% in 2009, according to Inside Mortgage Finance. And for the first time ever, the FHA backed more loans that Freddie and Fannie combined.

    That, my friends, is troublesome — the FHA backs loans with down payments as little as 3.5%.

  130. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [132] moose

    Si, io sono Italo-americano.

  131. DL says:

    Homeboken; Re 17: As a boomer who grew up in the 60s, I’ll let you in on a little secret; although there are numerous exceptions and many well meaning people who truly wanted to change the world for all the right reasons, the truth is that the majority of us recognized an opportunity when we saw it and took advantage of the situation. Our underlying strategy for the last 50 years has been to use moral ruses for the purpose of pure self-indulgement. We had a moral justification for avoiding the draft, we ingested as many mind-altering substances as we could tolerate, and essentially shirked all responsibility for our actions in the name of some higher moral precept. We assumed the foundations of the republic were so unshakable that no matter what we did it would last forever. Our motto will be the same as the words I saw on the base of a statue of Karl Marx in East Berlin in 1990. It said: “Sorry, but I meant well.” The irony is that the only ones for whom we meant well were ouselves.

  132. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [131] brink

    I got out of gold and it dropped, but now it is back and above my exit point.

    I honestly don’t know what is holding it up other than generalized fear and the sucker trade.

  133. Yikes says:

    Al “Fat Thumbery” Gore says:
    May 26, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Cross the Carribean exit plan off the list.

    Jamaica: state of emergency and riots
    Gulf oil spill
    Now Costa Rica volcano erupts

    Its Canada or bust.

    what is the country’s weapons policy? can i carry my arsenal across the border?

  134. Anon E. Moose says:

    Brink [131];

    I think Grim said “you can’t buy a house today at tommorrow’s price”.

    I see the wisdom in it, but building future expected appreciation into the current selling price was exatly what happened in the run-up c. 2002-2005. Pricing in inevitable further declines is necessary to bring capitlation and healing to the market.

    Sellers need to come to Jesus with the fact that tommorrow they will be lucky that anyone has the financial capacity to give them anything for their shit box. You think it’s worth that much, Grandma? Strap it on your back and schlep it to Boca with you.

  135. relo says:

    126: Can’t wait to see the prospectus once this gets secutitized.

    At the heart of the proposal is the idea of raiding the state’s bottle deposits for the next 20 years and then getting an $8.7-billion loan from Wall Street

  136. meter says:

    “however taxes are not that bad 15K”

    Did you type that with a straight face?

    I guess everything really is relative.

  137. jj says:

    This has to be safest bond in world. Las Vegas is doing a new muni bond issue for water bonds.

    Balances from the competitive sale of $31,075,000 LAS VEGAS VALLEY WATER DISTRICT, NEVADA GENERAL OBLIGATION (LIMITED TAX) (ADDITIONALLY SECURED BY PLEDGED REVENUES) WATER AND REFUNDING BONDS, SERIES 2010B are now available for customers to place orders. To be eligible for an allocation of bonds, you must place a firm order on http://www.fidelity.com/newissuemunis or by calling 800-544-5372. For municipal bonds, your firm order represents an order to buy bonds. Orders may be accepted in whole or in part, or not at all by Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC. Please note that these are balances from a competitive new issue so there will be no increase in the offering price.

  138. SG says:

    From Economist,

    Horror story

    One of Mr King’s other themes that struck home was how governments emphasised the control of consumer inflation. If one can remember back to the period 1945-75, inflation tended to be at best second in the order of priorities; the main aim, given memories of the 1930s, was to keep down unemployment.

    But the monetarists argued there had been a false trade-off between inflation and unemployment. Official policy had simply succeeded in driving inflation higher with every cycle. The right policy combination was to control inflation along with labour market reform to make it easier to reallocate workers from declining industries to expanding ones. Inflation has indeed been controlled, to an extent almost unimaginable back in the 1970s. And yet we have just had the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. What went wrong?

    Mr King argues that one reason for the failure is that central banks did not take seriously enough the distortions to prices and wages stemming from the emerging world. When the Fed cuts rates, the central banks of emerging countries tend to follow suit since they have tied their currencies to the dollar. This boosted demand in the emerging world and thus commodity prices. It also pushed up foreign exchange reserves in the countries concerned, which were duly reinvested in western government bonds; the resulting low yields helped fuel the housing bubble.

  139. WaitingNow says:

    Do not go to Seoul … was there last week for work. It is a total DUMP!

  140. Simply Ravishing HEHEHE says:

    25 Questions To Ask Anyone Who Is Delusional Enough To Believe That This Economic Recovery Is Real


  141. House Whine says:

    145- I could only stomach reading up to like # 12 before I bailed. It’s a beautiful summer like day but apparently all is definitely not well. Whoever came up with the term “jobless recovery” should have not been allowed to print it. The media seems to love that one. We are saving all the money we can right now and we can’t believe that others aren’t doing likewise.

  142. Final Doom says:

    jobless recovery = immaculate conception

  143. jj says:

    Jobless Recovery makes alot of sense. Lets say you own a business with 10 exempt employees and ten million in sales and you lay off three employees do to weak sales and they get cross trained, more efficient and work longer hours. The sales come back to ten million and since employees are working harder and longer you don’t have to hire more staff. With extra profits you give our bonuses to staff and you and the owners of company make a lot more money. Company now is more valuable and remaining staff and boss has more money to spend. Yet the three schmucks you got laid off are screwed.

  144. jj says:

    I know a greek girl who thought she had an immaculate conception, but her boyfriend just ended up in the wrong hole.

    Final Doom says:
    May 26, 2010 at 2:43 pm
    jobless recovery = immaculate conception

  145. Al "Fat Thumbery" Gore says:

    “I thought this boards concensus was that bullion has topped for a while? Is there any upside left to Au, physical or otherwise?”

    Gold isnt even close to a top and it isnt in a bubble. 30-50% devaluation of the dollar, bank holiday, war, and thats just for starters.

    Bank on it. I guarantee it.

  146. Al "Fat Thumbery" Gore says:

    Cash-strapped Rhode Island can’t pay state tax refunds
    PROVIDENCE — Thousands of Rhode Island income-tax refunds are being delayed longer than previously reported because of state cash-flow problems.

    Overall, the state has delayed payment of about 53,000 individual income-tax refunds — totaling about $36.3 million — to make sure it has enough money to pay off state borrowings that come due in June, said Paul L. Dion, chief of the state Office of Revenue Analysis.

    When the issue first arose earlier this month, state officials said they were delaying payment of refunds by about three weeks after the returns were processed. As of Tuesday, however, the delay had grown to between four and six weeks, state officials acknowledged.


  147. jj says:


    Funny Anne Q. Fomon is in default of her California home.

    She is the daughter of CEO of EF Hutton which was sold and became Shearson Lehman Hutton, she and hubbie used to be bigshots at Lehman too.

    Now I have more money than the daughter of my old CEO, aint america great!

  148. meter says:

    @152, Al –

    Might be a good opportunity to call HR and up the dependents on the ole W4. Not a good environment to be a net creditor to the state (or the federal) goverment.

  149. make money says:


    This guy is a terrorist. Shiny at $36,000?

  150. Pat says:

    Bond Of the Day has turned into “Where are They Now: former associates I couldn’t stand.”

  151. meter says:

    @155 –

    No, he’s just a moron.

  152. yo'me says:

    Turn negative last 30 min? Walk like an Egyptian

  153. Simply Ravishing HEHEHE says:

    Where is Belmar Johnny? Getting an early start D’jais?

  154. yo'me says:

    take profits off the table,30 min before closing

  155. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [137] yikes

    Possibly. I don’t know if that extends to permanent residents though. Will be part of my research.

    I would not x off the caribbean. It can be a useful source of immediate citizenship, even if you don’t live there.

    Under my dual exit strategy (I’d patent it, but those may go the way of the dodo), you apply simultaneously for PR status in Canada, and citizenship in a place like Panama or DR. Only after you obtain citizenship somewhere can you renounce your US citizenship.

    Thus, when you finally decamp for Canada, you walk into the US consulate there, ask to speak to a consular officer, hand over your passport and the completed paperwork (listing you as a citizen of Panama, and a resident of Canada), and tell him that, as of that moment, you renounce your US citizenship.

    Then you call Nom to handle the tax work, and you are no longer chained to the USG tax plantation.

    As for work in Canada, if the Levin-Doggett bills go through, there should be plenty of corporations following you across the Windsor Bridge.

  156. Pat says:

    I need to start a company that fixes listings by owner…vacation/rental/FSBO.

    How many of those things could I do in a day? 50?

  157. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [158] SG

    The anti-prostitution effort in Beijing is called the Strike Hard crackdown???

    Somebody cue John.

  158. Pat says:

    Is it illegal to redraw furniture so that Cindy Lauper 80’s look with mirrors and fake Italian plastic turns into Nantucket Stripes with Charm?

  159. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [163] Pat

    This is already a cottage industry. At some point, I expect it to get bought out by ServPro.

    If you are serious, the most important facet is targeted marketing and having the RIGHT agreements in place. Lot of potential for land mines here (I actually threatened a subcontractor for a home stager (I represented the stager) with a civil suit when his actions threatened a 7 figure house sale, so I know that there can be repercussions).

  160. yo'me says:

    does anybody remember the ticker for ted spread?

  161. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [161] yo’me

    You called it. Markets go negative.

  162. PGC says:

    “She is the daughter of CEO of EF Hutton”

    A friend of mine married one of those.

  163. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [167] yo’me

    No, but one of the original Dystopians, Howard Ruff, who was writing back in the 70’s when the first Doomer-Dystopia books started to appear, said that the Ted spread was a leading indicator for sovereign meltdown.

  164. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [150] Al

    Long term, I agree, however I am not sure what is holding it up now, since the dollar has strengthened.

    If the markets improve, I expect it to tank, and if it does, I will get back in.

  165. Pat says:

    Nom, I would NEVER, EVER do anything illegal or that wasn’t spelled out in a contract.

    That said, I’m thinking it’s NOT illegal to fix the Lauper look into the quaint look. Maybe with an asterisk.

  166. Yikes says:

    NJGator says:
    May 26, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Poor – Did you see this awful place on Hillside that came back recently? Asking $449, but overassessed and taxes of $14.6k.


    sorry to sh!t on north jersey, but damn. stuff like this makes me thrilled to be in bucks county. much more house, yard, & newer, at half the taxes.

  167. Pat says:

    My husband says my lower and upper moral limits are fuzzy and everything else is gray.

    Gray is in, I say.

  168. Sas3 says:

    AAPL overtakes MSFT in market cap!

  169. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [172] Pat

    Not what I was talking about.

    Hell, if you ever got sued for turning the Lauper/Mirrored Guido look into Nantucket, I represent you for free!

  170. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    I was just reading Howard Ruff’s biography (and he is still at it), and it reads like THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD.

    Almost like it was written by John.

  171. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    And while I was at it, I found PGC’s baby picture!!!!!


    I’d credit you sas3, but the complexion is off. And it really does look a little like PGC (not kidding this time).

  172. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    Rep. Barney Frank, June 27, 2005

    “We have, I think, an excessive degree of concern right now about homeownership and its role in the economy. Obviously, speculation is never a good thing. But those who argue that housing prices are now at the point of a bubble seem to me to be missing a very important point. Unlike previous examples we have had, where substantial excessive inflation of prices later caused some problems, we are talking here about an entity–homeownership, homes–where there is not the degree of leverage that we’ve seen elsewhere. This is not the dot-com situation. We had problems with people having invested in business plans for which there was no reality, people building fiberoptic cable for which there was no need. Homes that are occupied may see an ebb and flow in the price at a certain percentage level, but you’re not going to see the collapse that you see when people talk about a bubble. And so those of us on our committee in particular will continue to push for homeownership.”—

    Rep. Barney Frank, “Power Lunch,” CNBC, May 21, 2010

    “One of my biggest differences with the Bush administration, and even with the Clinton administration, was that they overdid that. I have always been critical of this effort to equate a decent home with homeownership. I think we should have been doing more to provide rental housing. My efforts have been to try and get affordable rental housing. I was very much in disagreement with this push into home ownership, and I think the federal government should not be artificially doing that.”–Rep. Barney Frank, “Power Lunch,” CNBC, May 21, 2010

  173. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [180] Bob

    Impressive, when one considers that Barney cannot physically speak out of one side of his mouth.

  174. Mr Hyde says:


    if god would be so kind as to rain down brimestone on the modern day Sodom&Gomorah, It would save all of us a lot of pain and suffering. One has to wonder if we are already n he’ll and the jokes on us.

  175. Juice Box says:

    re#183- The fluid that’s gushing out of the BOP looks much lighter in color now not like the dark oil perhaps it is working?

    Here is a better feed the BP one is flaky.


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  177. Mr Wantanapolous says:


    “It never was my thinking that made the big money for me. It always was my sitting. Got that? My sitting tight!”

    Jesse Livermore

  178. Final Doom says:

    Use Barney Frank as part of the top kill effort.

    His top was killed- and stuffed with kielbasa- long ago.

  179. Final Doom says:

    Where you sit is where you stand.


  180. Sal says:

    Can anybody know how big is the tax difference on a house with the pool or without? I am looking at the REO and the tax on the house is around 14k with the pool. Surrounding houses has more or about the same size of lots and tax is about 8k. I understand depends on the bdroom or bthroom counts make the difference, but they are not that different from this property.

  181. zieba says:

    It seems the live feed went to the SHTF intermission loop.

    The video bits of this presentation showing the ROV at work are very interesting:


  182. Yikes says:

    Simply Ravishing HEHEHE says:
    May 26, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    25 Questions To Ask Anyone Who Is Delusional Enough To Believe That This Economic Recovery Is Real


    wow, that’s negative. and terrifyingly accurate.

    Sal says:
    May 26, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Can anybody know how big is the tax difference on a house with the pool or without?

    i believe there isn’t one. insurance will go up, though.

  183. relo says:

    Long Hot Summer Dept: 700 foreslosures scheduled in BC through the end of July. 200+ of those owe more then $500k and there are 20+ over $1MM. Auctions seem to be ramping so maybe some banks are starting to push them through. Deutsche Bank and GSE’s seem to be overly represented in sales, where’s everyone else? Sitting on ’em I suppose?

  184. Final Doom says:

    FK filed yesterday on a 1.15mm mortgage in Wonderview Estates (ritzy neighborhood near me).

    Biggest growth area in fk filings in my area are vs 7-figure loans.

  185. Fabius Maximus says:

    #179 Nom,

    I think the caption on that picture should read

    Conservatives are for Abort1on as all kid should be made to fend for them self, cut them off from the public teat and they’ll soon become productive tax paying members of society. They’ll be responsible for their own actions and not an 18 year drain on tax payers. They won’t dip into the tax payers pocket to school them and look how many of them have the safety net of free healthcare on your dime. Not to mention the large amount of gvmt resource that gets wasted looking out for them.

  186. Al "Fat Thumbery" Gore says:

    Anyone with Google Earth punch in these coordinates.


    Look whats on the runway. If you dont think there will be a total collapse well your leaders dont agree.

  187. Mr Hyde says:

    Thats about 5,000 -10,000 white vans.

    What do you suppose they are for?

  188. Al "Fat Thumbery" Gore says:

    Me and you Hyde. Muhahaha!

  189. Mr Hyde says:


    just did some scaling measurements and its probably 8000-10000 vans

  190. Mr Hyde says:


    are the vans to carry the FEMA coffins?

  191. Fabius Maximus says:


    I think I’m starting to understand you…. :*)


  192. Final Doom says:

    Let some UN douche bag try to get near my house. He’ll get a full portion of the Kofi Annan “special” (00 shot, delivered by a Mossberg 500).

    It’ll be Black Hawk Down.

  193. Final Doom says:

    I think I can easily take out 10-12 Dutch peacekeepers whose rules of engagement don’t allow them to shoot until 8 of them are stone cold dead.

  194. Mr Hyde says:


    you want oil gloom and doom? check this out


    Oil Guru Matthew Simmons: It Could Be 24 Years Before The Deepwater Gusher Ends

  195. borat obama says:


  196. onthebrink says:

    Moose (138) : Unfortunately, at least right now, Ridgewood grandmas are commanding 930K for their houses and getting it within days! What are the buyers smoking these days?

    Just got to wait till this feeding frenzy dies down in June/July…

  197. Al "Fat Thumbery" Gore says:

    Im just watching this BP top kill effort and trying to understand the logic.

    So you pump in heavy mud against a high pressure leak. Would that not double the pressure on the surrounding pipe?

  198. LordJohnWarfen says:

    Doom, Black Hawk Down involved trained solders, not NJ realtors. Never met a NJ residential broker who could play paint ball well.

  199. Fabius Maximus says:

    Here’s a thought on the white vans. Any chance it is a back door bailout of the auto companies. Take a little D0D or FEMA budget and funnel orders to the auto companies. There hav been enough SUV’s, Chargers and Mustangs ordered from H0meland Security budgets for the auto and light truck side. A nice big order of vans can keep the cargo side ticking along quite nicely.

    Anyone asks w are prespariong for another Katrina sized d1saster.

  200. All "H-Train" Hype says:


    Get your arse down to the gulf and help plug that oil well with Barney Frank’ body.

  201. Fabius Maximus says:

    #206 onthebrink

    I have said that Ridegwood has been holding up for the past 9 months. 3b usually just laughs at me. Inventory levels have been constant with around 7 months with a turnover of about 4-5 sales each week. Inventor in the likes of Wyckoff, Glen Rock are up around 15-20 months.
    The Star Ledger did a piece about two months ago tht showed it was one of the few areas with a positive growth in housing.

  202. Juice Box says:

    Al – upward well pressure is likely to be about 9,000 pounds per square inch. At a depth of 5,000 feet, the water pressure bearing down on the leak is about 2,500 pounds per square inch.

    That leaves a difference of about 6,500 pounds per square inch of upward pressure at the wellhead, explaining why the oil and gas flowing upward can easily overwhelm the water pressing down on it and why the crude has continued to gush into the ocean.

    They have two 30,000 horsepower pumps sending the heavy mud or drilling fluid down into the well to reverse the flow.

    Here is a good explanation.


  203. Mr Hyde says:


    The idea in a topkill in to pump high density MUD ( amixture of polymers and other compounds called mud) down the hole at a higher pressure then the well head. There is a very real chance that they blow out the well casing in the process. SO yes, they may not double it, but to drastically increase it. The apparently ran some tests before hand to get an idea if the BOP could handle the pressure. They are also monitoring BOP pressure at all times and it they see issues, they can cut the flow. The other idea is that once you pump enough MUD down the well, the gravitational weight (its called the “head”) of several thousand feet of mud will be enough to counter the well pressure.

    It looks like part of the well casing is already compromised but they hope the mud will plug that leak as well.

  204. Al "Fat Thumbery" Gore says:


    It looks like a giant sand blaster. High density mud shot at 30,000 psi would make mince meat out of the cement casing no?

    Looking at it now it looks like the velocity of the flow has increased.

  205. Mr Hyde says:

    Cement, possibly, but most of the casing is steel. You will probably have abrasion losses in the steel, but for undamaged pipe that should not be a critical issue.

    note: not a drilling expert.

  206. Ben says:

    ““I thought this boards concensus was that bullion has topped for a while? Is there any upside left to Au, physical or otherwise?””

    Any more upside? Has the trade deficit or federal deficit reversed course?

  207. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    ““I thought this boards concensus was that bullion has topped for a while? Is there any upside left to Au, physical or otherwise?””

    If that’s the board’s consensus, I guess it’s time to add to longs. This board could not name the top 3 gold stocks, probably can’t name 3 gold stocks. Pundits? I have heard that gold was a bubble at 750, 850, 1K and now 1.2K, on this site. Why do you give a sheet regarding this board’s consensus?

    Dow/Gold is going to approx 2-1.[by the way, not the board’s consensus] Seems like some upside to me, no?

  208. onthebrink says:

    Fabius (211):

    So are you saying that Ridgewood is an exception to all the predictions made on this board?

  209. Fabius Maximus says:

    #218 onthebrink

    Yes, I thnk it is, but it may be an outlier. It does have it share of overpriced and last week there was a nice comp killer.

    339 Queens Ct
    Apr 2007 – $630,000
    May 2010 – $566,370

    But overall I think the inventory turnover has been pretty good an the median priceshodig the 2005/06 level.

    Grim, will any of your Ridgewood friends give us an honest view of the Ridgewood market? They can keep it anonymous.

  210. chicagofinance says:


    MAY 27, 2010
    Why I Don’t Trust Gold

    This is a very sad day for me.

    In Part One of this series, when I argued that gold might be about to go vertical, I made a whole bunch of new friends among the gold bugs.

    And now I’m going to lose them all.

    That’s because even though I think gold might be about to take off, I don’t recommend you rush out and put all your money into gold bars or exchange-traded funds that hold bullion.

    And this is for one simple reason: At some levels, gold, as an investment, is absolutely ridiculous.

    Warren Buffett put it well. “Gold gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace,” he said. “Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head.”

    And that’s not the half of it.

    Gold is volatile. It’s hard to value. It generates no income.

    Yes, it’s a “hard asset,” but so are lots of other things—like land, bags of rice, even bottled water.

    It’s a currency “substitute,” but it’s useless. In prison, at least, they use cigarettes: If all else fails, they can smoke them. Imagine a bunch of health nuts in a nonsmoking “facility” still trying to settle their debts with cigarettes. That’s gold. It doesn’t make sense.

    As for being a “store of value,” anyone who bought gold in the late 1970s and held on lost nearly all their purchasing power over the next 20 years.

    I get worried when I see people plunging heavily into gold at $1,200 an ounce. What if the price goes back to where it was just a few years ago, at $500 or $600 an ounce? Will you buy more? Sell?

    My concerns about gold go even further than that.

    Let’s step inside the gold market for a moment.

    Everyone knows the price has risen about fivefold in the past decade. But this is not due to some mystical truth or magical act of levitation. It is simply because there have been more buyers than sellers.

    Banal, but true—and sometimes worth repeating.

    If the price rises you’d think there must be a shortage. But data provided by the World Gold Council, an industry body, tell a remarkable story.

    Over that period the world has produced—or, more accurately, recovered—far more gold than anyone actually wanted to use. Since 2002, for example, total demand for gold from goldsmiths and jewelers, and dentists, and general industry, has come to about 22,500 tonnes.

    But during the same period, more than 29,000 tonnes has come on to the market.

    The surplus alone is enough to produce about 220 million one-ounce gold American Buffalo coins. That’s in eight years.

    Most of the new supply has come from mine production. Some, though a dwindling amount, has come from central banks. And a growing amount has come from recycling—old jewelry and the like being melted down for scrap. (This is a perennial issue with gold. I never understand why the fans think gold’s incredible durability—it doesn’t waste or corrode—is bullish for the market. It’s bearish.) So if supply has consistently exceeded user demand, how come the price of gold has still been rising?

    In a word, hoarding.

    Gold investors, or hoarders, have made up all the difference. They are the only reason total “demand” has exceeded supply.

    Lots of people have been buying gold in the hope it would rise. But the only way it can rise is if still more people buy it, hoping it will rise still further. And so on.

    What do we call an investment scheme where current members’ returns depend entirely on new money brought in by new members?

    A Ponzi scheme.

    Yes, as I wrote earlier, gold may well be the next big bubble. And that may mean there is big money to be made in speculation.

    But I don’t trust it as an investment.

    How can you square this golden circle? I’ll tell you in Part Three.

    This is the second part of a three-part series on gold, “The Gold, the Bad and the Ugly.” Next up: The way to play gold.

    Write to Brett Arends at brett.arends@wsj.com

  211. It is amazing that the prices keep heading south. I thought we were out of this mess a few months ago, but I guess we will have to deal with this downturn a bit longer.

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