Development hits new lows in Morris

From the Daily Record:

Morris County NJ development dips to historic lows

The new towers in Morristown are up, awaiting restaurants and residents.

The New York Jets are ensconced in their shiny new headquarters in Florham Park awaiting the arrival of new playmates from BASF when that company’s latest U.S. headquarters is built.

And in 2009, just 33 single-family house lots were registered with the Morris County Clerk’s Office.

That number of recorded house lots is a record low, according to the Morris County 2009 Activity Report issued recently by the county planning board.

It took 10 years to reach that bottom, the report said, 10 years of land-use restrictions, water-use concerns and an economic slowdown that rivaled the Great Depression and doubled the county’s unemployment rate in a year.

It’s not all gloomy.

“I think our timing is right,” said Mayor John Sheridan. “I think the economy has bottomed out.”

That’s also the opinion of Rutgers University Deans James W. Hughes and Joseph Seneca in a recent report on the state’s economy.

“Real estate development will probably hit its cyclical bottom in 2010,” Hughes and Seneca wrote. They warned “the industry will still continue to be constrained by a lack of demand in its many dimensions, tepid private-sector employment growth, corporate cost-cutting and efficiency efforts, small business stuck in survival mode, stifled household formation, and consumer retrenchment following an era of overconsumption.”

But “even in distressed economic environments,” they said, “new opportunities always emerge.”

No matter how it’s reported, 2009 was a slow year for development in Morris County:

— New preliminary subdivision plans reviews by the county planing board dropped to seven, down from 16 in 2008 and down 58 from 2000.

— The number of new townhome or multi-family units contained in plans before the county board dropped to 243 last year, down from 427 in 2008 and 2,371 in 2000.

— The number of new site plans for commercial development dropped to 81 in 2009, down from 88 in 2008 and from 113 in 2000.

— Thanks only to one Mount Olive subdivision that calls for 232 units did the number of residential building lots contained in new subdivision applications hit 256. Without that one project, the number would have been 22.

“After two years of growth starting in 2002,” the report said, “there has been a slow decline (despite fluctuations in the economy) in new development applications from 2004 to 2009.”

While Morris County has the most vacant office space in the state — 28 million square feet, of which 15 million square feet is considered Class A — Peters said all is not lost. Her agency’s latest newsletter said that more than 1 million square feet of that space has been leased since January, including 677,405 square feet since March.

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

46 Responses to Development hits new lows in Morris

  1. grim says:

    From the Press of Atlantic City:

    Fewer boaters take to New Jersey waters as economy slumps and costs rise

    The number of boat registrations is on the decline in New Jersey, despite an abundance of waterways that support a thriving marine culture. The state in March had about 170,000 registered boats — down 28 percent from 10 years ago, says the state Motor Vehicle Commission, which records boat registrations.

    The last time boating interest declined so sharply was in 1991, when New Jersey passed a luxury tax on yachts. That tax was so unpopular and devastating to the boating industry that lawmakers repealed it two years later.

    Now the recession, stricter licensing requirements and even the federal banking crisis have contributed to fewer boats on New Jersey’s waters, experts said.

    “For a guy who lost his job and is struggling to feed his family, a boat is a luxury,” Hiros said.

  2. grim says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Cigarette Sales Drop Points to $12 Billion Tobacco Bond Defaults

    Declining cigarette sales and disputes over how much tobacco companies owe to U.S. states may cause more than $12 billion of defaults on related bonds issued by California, New York City, New Jersey, Ohio and Virginia.

    Defaults on securities that are backed only by the tobacco- company payments and were issued in 2006 and 2007 “could start occurring as early as 2030,” according a report by Richard Larkin, a senior vice-president at Herbert J. Sims & Co.

    Bond defaults may come sooner than 2030 if states lose an arbitration hearing in Chicago, in which tobacco companies are seeking a $1.1 billion refund of payments. The companies claim states didn’t do enough to collect payments from smaller cigarette makers who aren’t part of the 1997 settlement with states. If the arbitrator rules against the states, they may eventually face losses of $6 billion, Larkin said.

  3. grim says:

    From the WSJ:

    Jobs: The Most Important Housing Market Driver

    Friday’s weak jobs report is more bad news for the housing market, which has been in a funk following the expiration of the federal tax credits for home buyers at the end of April.

    In June, just 71,000 private-sector jobs were added while 143,000 temporary workers on the 2010 Census were let go. Overall, nonfarm payrolls fell by 131,000, which was nearly double economists’ forecasts. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.5%, largely because some workers stopped looking for jobs.

    “Non-census payroll growth has averaged just 12,000 in the latest three months, which, no matter how you might try to spin it, is just plain lousy,” writes Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc.

    Jobs are the key ingredient for housing in two ways: They boost demand, and they limit supply.

    Without steady job growth, it’s going to be tough to convince folks to buy a home. Following the expiration of the tax credit in August, applications for home-purchase mortgages plunged by 45% over two weeks, but they have rebounded modestly since then. Applications were up 1.5% last week from the previous week, and are up 7% over the past four weeks.

    The summer plunge in purchase activity is particularly surprising given that mortgage rates have fallen to what are likely their lowest levels in two generations. Freddie Mac’s weekly survey showed that rates on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.49% last week.

    The other reason jobs are so important: without them, more homeowners will fall behind on their loan payments and could lose their homes to foreclosure. That keeps the supply of homes that hit the market over the next two to three years at a high level. With jobs, more homeowners are able to stay current, or catch up on missed mortgage payments.

  4. Mocha says:

    when will Americans wake up and realize that affordable home prices are the key to the recovery? We are so f*d.

  5. frank says:

    Need a job? Head South to Mexico or Brazil.

    “Brazil Unemployment Rate Slides As Job Seekers Take Holiday”

  6. Final Doom says:

    grim (2)-

    What fools these states are. Everybody knows that you should base your state’s economy on lotto and casino revenues, not the discounted sale of future income streams from lawsuits.

    [sarcasm off]

  7. NJGator says:

    Yikes – re your comment last thread – Not certain. The police didn’t tell me, and I haven’t seen the neighbors yet. However, if they did leave the doors unlocked, they are friggin idiots. Their bedroom is on the second floor and their kids sleep on the first, so I highly doubt the doors were left unlocked.

    We also have 2 other friends that live on main roads in Essex County that were robbed within the last few months – one in Montclair and one in Roseland. In both cases the recommendations of the cops for extra protection was to go out and get a dog.

    BTW – our dog DJ really enjoyed his walk into town yesterday to get special treats at the Montclair Feed & Pet Supply. The salmon strips have gone over really well.

  8. Juice Box says:

    Over here in Ireland there have be organized gangs robbing homes when people are out usualy during they day. People have been getting house sitters to watch their homes when they are away because big dogs and alarm systems aren’t deterring the robbbers. My aunt put up iron gates that are locked at night. Going to be a long walk home.

  9. Mocha says:

    I welcome the opportunity to welcome a home invader with my small cache of firearms.

  10. Mocha says:

    please allow myself to introduce ……myself……doh!

  11. NJGator says:

    What people do seem to do around here is leave their cars unlocked. Last police blotter I saw someone left their car unlocked and in it their GPS, iPhone, iPod and keys to their other car which was also parked on the driveway. All the electronics and the other car were taken. Morons or insurance fraud? You make the call.

  12. Cindy says:

    It is Sunday after all…here is what I found in the way of comics.

  13. a mad as hell reinvestor101 says:

    The damn commies are up to it again. China has decided to threaten us by developing a damn missile that can take out one of our carriers. Stinking commies. We can’t stand for that and that’s the damn reason why we can’t afford to have any stinking health care jammed down our throats. We need to put our damn money into developing a damn defense that can counter this crap. Hell, they might give that damn thing to North Korea and Iran and change the damn balance of power. What? We don’t have to worry about the missile if we keep our fleet away from China? Shut the hell up, we need to go anywhere we need to go in the world, even if we have to roll up into the damn port of Shanghai. That’s our right and we don’t need their damn threats.

    This has me pissed off enough to call for a ban on any Chinese investment anywhere in America. If they want to show their damn asses like this, we don’t need their stinking money. They can take their damn money and stick it where the sun don’t shine as far as I’m concerned.

    China is developing an unprecedented new missile that is designed to be launched from land with enough accuracy to penetrate the defenses of even the most advanced moving aircraft carrier from a distance of more than 900 miles, sources say.

    Initial reports on the new missile suggest it could reshape conflicts at sea, but U.S. weapons experts told that it’s no game-changer, nor a revolutionary threat to America’s aircraft carriers — which are the center of U.S. Pacific defense strategy.”

  14. morpheus says:

    where the hell have you been for the past 2-3 years. This is old news. I guess if Fox does not report it, it does not exist.

    possible game changer? Yes.

  15. Mr Hyde says:


    From cindy’s link. a video you might enjoy!

  16. Yikes says:

    NJGator says:
    August 7, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Just got a knock on the door from the Montclair PD. Someone entered the next door neighbor’s house last night and stole their laptop.

    Our crazy dog was barking up a storm around 4AM. Looks like he saved us from the same fate.

    1) Did the neighbor leave their doors unlocked?
    2) How, in this day and age, do people NOT have burglar alarms? They aren’t expensive.

  17. Yikes says:

    whoops on the repost.

    NJGator says:
    August 8, 2010 at 8:26 am
    We also have 2 other friends that live on main roads in Essex County that were robbed within the last few months – one in Montclair and one in Roseland. In both cases the recommendations of the cops for extra protection was to go out and get a dog.

    scary stuff. i’ve told this story before, but we bought in a nice neighborhood and the owner said they never locked their doors, not even at night (they had 2 dogs, though). the day AFTER we bought, an alarm company came and installed an alarm.

    the owner came a couple days later to pick something up and heard the beep when the door opened. he was stunned we moved that quickly.

    hey, we were in NYC for the last 5 years (never robbed, though), you think we’re going to mess around?

    despite the alarm, I sleep with a sig sauer nearby.

  18. gary says:

    Non-census payroll growth has averaged just 12,000 in the latest three months.

    And of those 12,000 jobs, 85% have been contract, per diem or some type of temp work. You want to make some money? Invest in companies like Manpower and Kelly Services.

  19. Yikes says:

    so … delfation?

    Amid weak job and housing markets, consumers are saving more and spending less than they have in decades, and industry professionals expect that trend to continue. Consumers saved 6.4 percent of their after-tax income in June, according to a new government report. Before the recession, the rate was 1 to 2 percent for many years. In June, consumer spending and personal incomes were essentially flat compared with May, suggesting that the American economy, as dependent as it is on shoppers opening their wallets and purses, isn’t likely to rebound anytime soon.

  20. Thank you very much for sharing this. Please keep up the good work.

  21. Nomad says:

    Make sure the house alarm has a cellular backup – in case the phone line goes out or it is cut (because you mounted it on the side of your house vs putting it in the air or ground).

    Backup battery power of course.

    2nd floor windows should also have sensors. You all know about motion detectors and the glass break sensors too I am sure.

    Floodlights on the perimeter with motion detectors anyone & glass block on the basement windows.

  22. still_looking says:

    NJ Real estate, comics- funny pages, home security and doom report :)


    (studying for boards recert and having the occasional mental meltdown in the interim.)

  23. speedkillsu says:

    A friend of mine has a sign in his window “BEWARE OWNER IS ARMED AND WILL SHOOT ANY UNINVITED PERSON” ..He really believes this will protect his right to kill a robber ….

  24. a mad as hell reinvestor101 says:

    morpheus says:
    August 8, 2010 at 10:21 am

    where the hell have you been for the past 2-3 years. This is old news. I guess if Fox does not report it, it does not exist.

    possible game changer? Yes.

    Game changer my ass. Look, unlike the chickenshlt Obama administration, some of us have a damn set and know what the hell to do to show these damn commies that damn fat meat is greasy. Here’s what I support that we do in short order:

    1) Cut the damn healthcare that no one wants jammed down their damn throats
    2) Take the savings from (1) and spend it on a damn weapon that neutralizes the damn commies.
    3) Send the damn Pacific fleet right outside the port of Shanghai and conduct some damn war games.
    4) Tell those damn commies that’s it’s a privilege to invest in treasuries and they damn well better keep their damn money where it is until we say we’re done with it.

    Now this is the sort of robust diplomacy that gets some damn respect and you better believe you’d get the attention of those damn commies pronto. I wish I could be secretary of state for one damn day. There would be a lot of crap straightened out in a damn hurry

  25. Outofstater says:

    #26 NJ is not a “castle doctrine” state?

  26. Mr Hyde says:

    Outofstater 28

    Please tell me you are joking. NJ would have to be forced at gunpoint to become a castle doctrine state!!!!!

  27. Mr Hyde says:


    why is all text in italics?????

  28. grim says:

    re101 mucks up his html tags

  29. Outofstater says:

    #29 Hyde – Laughing! Just asking! Seriously, I don’t get why NJ has such strict gun laws. It’s not like they are keeping the bad guys from getting them. Why not let the good guys have them too to even things out?

  30. chicagofinance says:


    grim says:
    August 8, 2010 at 9:07 pm
    re101 mucks up his html tags

  31. Revelations says:

    Ket, Outofstater,


    Maybe not pure, but NJ seems to include “stand your ground”/”no duty to retreat” language for your dwelling. Have these been repealed or am I missing something?

  32. Revelations says:


  33. Thanks for a great time visiting your site. It’s really a pleasure knowing a site like this packed with great information.

  34. a mad as hell reinvestor101 says:

    chicagofinance says:
    August 8, 2010 at 9:33 pm


    grim says:
    August 8, 2010 at 9:07 pm
    re101 mucks up his html tags

    Watch yourself. I’ve been know to go off on far less of an infraction than this.


  35. still_looking says:

    re 37

    ooooh, I so love it when you talk dirty…


  36. still_looking says:

    italics off?

  37. still_looking says:


  38. Mocha says:

    In NJ you have a duty to retreat. if there are children in the house then all bets are off. I was told by my tactical instructor “never get between a bear and her cubs”. If you feel you or your family is in iminent danger then shoot first.

  39. Fabius Maximus says:


    I have no idea WTF is going on behind the scenes, but this is just a poetic take down and throws up one of the best quotes I have heard in a long time.
    “Most people use the term Judicial Activism to explain decisions that they don’t like!”

  40. a mad as hell reinvestor101 says:

    still_looking says:
    August 8, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    re 37

    ooooh, I so love it when you talk dirty…



    I’m outta here.

  41. Mr Hyde says:


    first note i am not an attorney and the following is my lay opinion….

    NJ 2C:3-4, 2C:3-5, 2C:3-6 are all still relevant. BUT, you are rolling the dice in any such situation and you can easily face civil actions after the fact. A true castle doctrine would remove the threat of civil liability assuming any action was legal. In general ask an attorney, the NJ codes and castle doctrine provide different responsibilities and liabilities per my understanding.

  42. reinvestor101 says:

    morpheus says:
    August 8, 2010 at 10:21 am

    where the hell have you been for the past 2-3 years. This is old news. I guess if Fox does not report it, it does not exist.

    possible game changer? Yes.

    You tell me where the hell I supposed to get my damn news from. MSNBC? Rachel Maddow? Chris (stuff running down his damn leg) Matthews? Keith Olberman? Bullspit. I’ll tune into Fox for my damn news and apparently everyone else is according to the damn ratings.

    Them damn commies ain’t changing no stinking damn game. We just have to do four things: 1) Cut the damn healthcare that no one wants and 2) take the savings and invest in a damn weapon to take out the chinese missile and 3) tell them we’re no longer going to give them the opportunity to invest in any more treasuries. 4) Position our damn ships outside of the port of Shanghai.

    It’s that kind of robust policy the chickenshlt Obama administration won’t pursue. We’ve got to show those damn commies that fat meat is greasy.

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