“The housing market should improve but it probably won’t.”

From Time:

Housing Market: What’s Ahead?

Are housing prices near a bottom? It’s not just policymakers, realtors and bankers who yearn for the turn. Anyone who owns a house, a condo or coop is surely wishing for some modest improvement. Not the least of these hopefuls is homeowner-in-chief Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, who just this past Friday lamented the heavy toll that tumbling housing prices are having on residential investment. Here’s what Bernanke had to say about housing in his speech to economists at Jackson Hole, Wyoming:

“Household finances and attitudes also bear heavily on the housing market, which has generally remained depressed. In particular, home sales dropped sharply following the recent expiration of the homebuyers’ tax credit. Going forward, improved affordability–the result of lower house prices and record-low mortgage rates–should boost the demand for housing. However, the overhang of foreclosed-upon and vacant housing and the difficulties of many households in obtaining mortgage financing are likely to continue to weigh on the pace of residential investment for some time yet.”

That’s a polite way of saying the housing market should improve but it probably won’t.

The bottom line for housing is that the bottom will be long–perhaps very long– and bumpy. Even in cities where the numbers are starting to improve slightly, such as San Diego, the inventory of unsold homes never seems to decline. What’s more, we haven’t yet seen the legions of Baby Boomers who are planning to unload their McMansions in favor of some cute bungalo by the beach. They, of course, are just waiting for the market to improve.

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110 Responses to “The housing market should improve but it probably won’t.”

  1. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    For Newark, it’s come to this: Selling city buildings

    Newark is scrambling to plug a monstrous budget gap that threatens to force huge tax hikes, hundreds of layoffs, and deep cutbacks in a police department that has helped turned this city around during the last four years.

    How desperate? The city is trying to sell off its buildings to win a cash windfall today, a move that will force it to make rent payments in years ahead. It’s like selling your house to grab the equity, and then renting it back from the new owner.

  2. Essex says:

    A true patriot would understand that both parties have dragged this country to second world status. I am talking to you “jamil”.

  3. Essex says:

    Good for Newark! They made some nice strides in a 10 block area. But then again. Didn’t we all?

  4. grim says:

    From PropertyWire:

    US real estate foreclosures fall marginally but mortgage delinquencies increase to bring more gloom

    As financial experts warn that falling property prices in the US could affect economic output and create a double dip recession there is more mixed news for the country’s real estate sector.
    Although figures shows that the number of foreclosures decreased nationally in the second quarter of 2010 compared to the first three months, mortgage delinquencies increased, suggesting that foreclosures could rise again by the next quarter.

    The delinquency rate for a prime adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) increased 47 basis points to 9.3% while the rate for a fixed rate mortgage (FRM) increased 8bps to 4.75%, according to the latest figures from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

    Foreclosures for both types of mortgage loans remained relatively flat quarter on quarter, ARMs dropping only 4 basis points to 3.92% and FRMs increasing 1 basis point to 1.11%.

    But for subprime mortgages, ARM delinquency rates jumped 114bps points to 30.9% and foreclosures fell 113bps to 10.6%. Subprime FRMs followed a similar, less drastic, trend, with delinquencies climbing 56bps to 22.5% and foreclosures falling 24bps to 4.8%.

    The length of time these loans are staying in the foreclosure process is increasing as well. The average number of days a loan spends delinquent before it is finally forecloses reached 469 days in July, about a year and three months. In July of last year, the average was 351, more than three months shorter.

  5. grim says:

    From the NYT Dealbook blog:

    2 New Federal Programs to Help With Mortgages

    The Obama administration plans to take two new steps in the next few weeks to help struggling homeowners pay their mortgages, said Shaun Donovan, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Bloomberg News reports.

    The administration will begin a Federal Housing Administration refinancing effort to help borrowers who are struggling to pay their home mortgages, and will start an emergency homeowners’ loan program for unemployed borrowers so they can stay in their homes, Mr. Donovan said on “State of the Union” on CNN.

    “We are going to continue to make sure folks have access to home ownership,” he said.

    Home prices fell 1.6 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier as record foreclosures added to the inventory of properties for sale. The annual drop followed a 3.2 percent decline in the first quarter, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said last week in a report.

    Mr. Donovan said that it was too soon to say whether the administration’s $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers, which expired April 30, would be revived.

  6. grim says:

    From the LA Times:

    Time to let home prices fall?

    You can’t force someone to buy a house.

    But as a society we’ve long tried to make homeownership an offer you couldn’t refuse.

    And since the real estate mega-bubble burst three years ago, the government has tried even more tricks to get people to sign home purchase contracts.

    Now, a grim reality has set in: Despite the still-rich basket of tax breaks for residential property owners, and the lowest mortgage rates in a generation, the pool of willing or able buyers is dwindling.

    The housing market’s new woes expose the limits of government’s ability to end the real estate bust, while also raising the odds that policymakers could resort to more dramatic moves to try to support the market.

    Though government intervention may be well-meaning, each new effort “completely clouds whether there has been any fundamental improvement in the housing market,” he said.

    Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research in Washington, believes home prices still are overvalued by 15% to 20% in many areas.

    For government to stand in the way of a further price decline is unfair to the next generation of buyers, he said. “The people who get hurt the most are those who are overpaying for houses today,” he said.

    Robert Shiller, co-creator of the S&P/Case-Shiller price indexes, said that although he doesn’t forecast prices, “I think the scenario of declining home prices for years to come is underemphasized by people.”

  7. crossroads says:

    where does the fed/state/city/town governments cut? it seems like everyone is talking austerity ( which should win word of the year ) but where are we going to find it? SS medicare and pensions seem to be easy targets but NJ hasn’t made a pension payment in years and we’re still short on the budget.

  8. Final Doom says:

    Blind (from yesterday)-

    Now you see why I’m long Armageddon.

    “Hey Doom, et al,
    I understand from you and others that most properties are not for sale. What is it going to take (besides Armageddon) to break the call/bid spread on NJ homes? I’ve sold several properties over the past 5 years and I dropped my price until I found that sweet spot. (Yes, I wanted to sell. No, I didn’t need to sell.) I will live in a tent in my backyard, so my 3 kids can have their own room, before I pay these still ridiculous prices!”

  9. Mike says:

    NJ Coast- Hey if I’m not prying how did you get the mortgage history on that MLS in yesterday’s number 66. Thanks

  10. Final Doom says:

    Stench of oblivion is overwhelming this AM.

  11. Final Doom says:

    It’s game over, folks.

  12. Cindy says:


    Grim @ 6
    “The Answer to a Housing Recovery: Lower Prices”

    @ 5 – Holy Moly Donovan. Leave it alone and announce there will be NO further programs so prices can fall and we can get on with clearing up this mess.

  13. Simply Ravishing HEHEHE says:


  14. Final Doom says:

    cindy (13)-

    The charade will continue until the banks and the gubmint have robbed us all blind.

  15. BeachBum says:

    #13 – I’m with Cindy. The big steal is from the people who want to buy and who want to be sensible at the same time – no government aid for them…Where was my handout when the dot com bubble burst and my portfolio took a hit – what about the 2008 crash. The ultimate bag holder will be the one who was responsible and reasonable all this time and finally caves to the latest government blandishment to overpay for a house now. The music will stop – and they’ll eat cat food in retirement.

  16. BeachBum says:

    NJCoast – thanks for the information on that MLS – so they thought the house was worth $1 million bucks – looks like the banks believed it too. Now I just wonder who exactly is selling it.

  17. dim says:

    So foreclosure is taking longer than a year… unemployment benefits last over 2, and we’re going to introduce new programs to help these same folks stay in their homes (aka “access to home ownership”). It hurts my brain to try and make sense of this.

    Unemployment is certainly a terrible thing for someone to experience – but what sense does it make to keep applying bandaids to a gaping wound? How long are we going to play Yossarian to the recesion’s Snowden before we realize we’ve missed the point?

  18. Shore Guy says:


    I took a gander at that disaster in Spring Lake (next to the tracks, on the stagnent portion of Wreck Pond, and a lovely view of the DPW yard) and the plaace was crawling with contractors. Igot tthe feeling it was going to be an attempted flip (just a gut feeling). Between the worst possible location in town and what seemed to me to be overpaying for what sure seemed to me to be a decaying wreck of a house, I am sure everything will work out for the buyer after they account for renovation costs.

  19. Final Doom says:

    Market not happy that Japan is buggering its currency slowly rather than quickly.

    The USD may be re-taking the lead in the race to the bottom.

  20. a mad as hell reinvestor101 says:

    “It pays to walk away! http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2010/08/email-from-morally-conflicted-one-year.html?”

    I gotta get this in quick while Dr. Meanie is still asleep or at work. I refuse to post this damn board under the threat of her harassment.

    Bullspit. This is the story of a damn wuss and a freeloader. The real estate terrorists love this because they’ll get someone’s damn house on the cheap; something these damn stinking vultures love to do. I’m no punk and I don’t give a crap about being under the damn water because I can swim. I’m not giving my damn house away to the bank or anyone else. I will get my damn price. When you see my house, you’re gonna want it.

    I won’t retreat, but will reload to quote a great American-Sarah Palin. BTW, I went to DC this weekend and I’m ready to elect Glenn Beck and Palin as president and vice president or vice versa. I don’t give a shlt about which one is president, either will do in the effort to reclaim America from the damn scourge of real estate terrorists and other vultures lined up at the damn government trough. We need low taxes and a strong damn defense. Other than that, all other government functions should cease.

  21. Yikes says:

    jamil says:
    August 29, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    November is the last chance for this country.

    it is comments like this that make me thankful to the big guy upstairs that i have normal parents and normal friends and quasi-normal neighbors.

    i really do feel for jamil. he’s just so utterly misinformed. i hope that his bluster on here is just a “web persona” and he doesn’t believe half the garbage he types.

    get help, son.

  22. Essex says:

    22. Thanks. Comedy Gold.

  23. Cindy says:

    @16 BeachBum – AND if they include a tax credit for new construction – adding to the inventory – it will make matters even worse.

    Back away Donovan – Do us all a favor – Just Say NO!

  24. Final Doom says:

    Cindy (25)-

    As good a definition as I’ve ever seen. It also beautifully explains- and accounts for- outlier statistics, such as quarters of rising GDP and stock market rallies.

  25. a mad as hell reinvestor101 says:

    “November is the last chance for this country.

    it is comments like this that make me thankful to the big guy upstairs that i have normal parents and normal friends and quasi-normal neighbors.

    i really do feel for jamil. he’s just so utterly misinformed. i hope that his bluster on here is just a “web persona” and he doesn’t believe half the garbage he types.”

    November is the last damn chance for this great country. We’ve been wandering in the damn wilderness and have allowed the damn government to get too damn socialist and too damn big. It’s doing way the hell too much. The tea party revolution will help cut the crap. The government needs to protect us and that’s it, but even that’s at threat because of all this entitlement crap and healthcare, while the military budget goes wanting. There are too many threats out there from the damn commies in China, that idiot in Venezuela and the muslim terrorists. We need to bulk the hell up for the long fight and shut down the damn government trough for everything else.

  26. Final Doom says:

    JPM/Chase does not “help” anybody. I deal with them more than any bank, and there’s always, ALWAYS a dear price to be paid in exchange for the crumbs of forbearance they dispense by the thimbleful.

    JPM/Chase also runs buyers through a gauntlet of harassment and bait/switch attempts to collect the full balance in arrears before they relent and begin legitimate loss mit efforts. JPM/Chase routinely “loses” short sale files and makes intimidating calls to delinquent borrowers, threatening summary evictions and lifetime destruction of credit scores. If they sense a borrower is not educated or speaks English poorly, they ramp their efforts accordingly.

    My wish is that if I live to see this crisis end, I get to see Jamie Dimon hanging from the highest tree in the public square…or hanging upside-down from a streetlight, a la Mussolini. He is the proverbial Shylock, without any of the mitigating character traits.

  27. Final Doom says:

    Typical Chase (kings of the bait-and-switch) behavior:

    “After more than a year in the trial period, Ward received a final loan modification agreement. But she soon realized she had been shifted from the president’s program to an in-house Chase modification with “horrible” terms. Her loan was being amortized over 40 years at a 5% interest rate with a $197,500 balloon payment due at the end. She must now pay a little more than $2,000 a month.”

  28. Jill says:

    crossroads @ 7: I don’t know about YOUR town, but there is PLENTY to be cut in my Republican-run town. How about: no-show jobs, no-bid landscaping contracts for maintenance of ball fields given to friends of the council while DPW guys stand around smoking cigaretes all day. How about the health insurance that one newly-elected council member wants at taxpayer expense for himself and his family. How about the $38,000 settlement plus legal fees due to a Korean church that contracted to buy the VFW hall and then the town decided to take it over via eminent domain. How about money paid to maintain the town’s web site when the high school is full of kids who could be enlisted to do it for free. How about 25 full-time cops in a town of less than 10,000 people. Need I go on? Local governments in this state are run as patronage mills…and the saps who live in these towns keep voting for them. I don’t, but then it’s a rare year when these people even have opposition on the ballot.

  29. SG says:

    Housing Secretary: Homebuyer tax credit on the table due to ‘concern’ for industry

    Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, said Sunday that the housing market’s July woes were “worse than expected” and that the administration may support a new homebuyer tax credit.

  30. NJCoast says:

    I got the onfo on the Belmar house from the Monmouth County MLS. The mortgage history looks different on the public records- I don’t know which one is correct.

    The guest cottage cannot be rented due to conditions on a variance for an addition and renovation some years ago. You can read it on the public records.

    The house on Prospect sold in May for $470,000. Short sale.
    I’m sure , due to the excellent location, it will flip in a flash! Sarcasm off/

  31. Mikeinwaiting says:

    SG 32 Been waiting for this to rear its ugly head again. Self for filling, now everyone (few looking to buy now) puts on the brakes in hope of a gimme. Wait a few months as we go into the slower traditional selling months, they will be clamoring for it. What a cluster f**k.
    Going to do it forever, these excesses in price, supply, foreclosures will take years to unwind. 8k a house ain’t going to do it , lets double down at 16K that will do the trick. Print & borrow away boys, Hi-ho silver away, literally.

  32. A.West says:

    Jill (31),
    Most people are so busy working to make money to pay the mortgage and tax bills that they don’t take the time to notice that the town political establishment is stealing them blind. I plead guilty.

  33. Confused in NJ says:

    Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers, Study Finds
    By JOHN CLOUD John Cloud – Mon Aug 30, 5:45 am ET

    One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don’t drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.

    But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that – for reasons that aren’t entirely clear – abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one’s risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers’ mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers. (See pictures of booze under a microscope.)

    Moderate drinking, which is defined as one to three drinks per day, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies. Moderate alcohol use (especially when the beverage of choice is red wine) is thought to improve heart health, circulation and sociability, which can be important because people who are isolated don’t have as many family members and friends who can notice and help treat health problems.

    But why would abstaining from alcohol lead to a shorter life? It’s true that those who abstain from alcohol tend to be from lower socioeconomic classes, since drinking can be expensive. And people of lower socioeconomic status have more life stressors – job and child-care worries that might not only keep them from the bottle but also cause stress-related illnesses over long periods. (They also don’t get the stress-reducing benefits of a drink or two after work.)

    But even after controlling for nearly all imaginable variables – socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, number of close friends, quality of social support and so on – the researchers (a six-member team led by psychologist Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin) found that over a 20-year period, mortality rates were highest for those who had never been drinkers, second-highest for heavy drinkers and lowest for moderate drinkers. (Watch TIME’s Video “Taste Test: Beer With Extra Buzz.”)

    The sample of those who were studied included individuals between ages 55 and 65 who had had any kind of outpatient care in the previous three years. The 1,824 participants were followed for 20 years. One drawback of the sample: a disproportionate number, 63%, were men. Just over 69% of the never-drinkers died during the 20 years, 60% of the heavy drinkers died and only 41% of moderate drinkers died.

    These are remarkable statistics. Even though heavy drinking is associated with higher risk for cirrhosis and several types of cancer (particularly cancers in the mouth and esophagus), heavy drinkers are less likely to die than people who have never drunk. One important reason is that alcohol lubricates so many social interactions, and social interactions are vital for maintaining mental and physical health. As I pointed out last year, nondrinkers show greater signs of depression than those who allow themselves to join the party.

    The authors of the new paper are careful to note that even if drinking is associated with longer life, it can be dangerous: it can impair your memory severely and it can lead to nonlethal falls and other mishaps (like, say, cheating on your spouse in a drunken haze) that can screw up your life. There’s also the dependency issue: if you become addicted to alcohol, you may spend a long time trying to get off the bottle.

    That said, the new study provides the strongest evidence yet that moderate drinking is not only fun but good for you. So make mine a double.

  34. #28 – Re: i really do feel for jamil. he’s just so utterly misinformed. i hope that his bluster on here is just a “web persona” and he doesn’t believe half the garbage he types.”

    I lol’d.
    /golf clap

  35. Mikeinwaiting says:

    36 Ah so that bottle of red was good idea last night.

  36. J. says:

    A. West #35: That’s what gadflies are for. The problem is that most people in a town tend to have the same reaction to gadflies as the cronies in power do. Look at what just happened recently in Teaneck, whose gadfly was murdered in her own home and then her house set afire. I’m sure the cronyocracy there is sighing with relief. My own town gadfly is seriously ill. It takes GUTS to do what these people do, because of the consequences of opening the door into the cesspool of local government. Most of us are too frightened. To THAT, I myself plead guilty.

  37. Hell is Frozen says:

    Confused, may we assume that the gubmint should begin subsidizing our red wine consumption – perhaps in the form of including it on the health care bill?

  38. SG says:

    NPR has stories from the folks stuck with a home !!!

    Your Stories: Stuck With A Home You Can’t Sell

  39. Final Doom says:

    Jill (31)-

    The good news is, when these parasites are finally forced off the public teat, they’ll overthrow the gubmint for us.

  40. Final Doom says:

    confused (36)-

    Anyone with sense knows that heavy drinking is the proper response to the current madness.

  41. Final Doom says:

    OT, our club played a pasty, shiftless and unmotivated Wyckoff 11 yesterday. Sent the little Graydons back to mama with a 6-0 licking.

  42. SG says:

    Mortgage brokers are becoming a vanishing breed

    Most of the mortgage brokers that seemed to populate every office building and commercial street in cities nationwide just five years ago have vanished.

    Ken Blaudow, owner of Indy Mortgage had 85 employees originating home loans in 2003. Now he has three and is about to give up his leased office in Castleton, Ind., and move his company into two bedrooms of his house.

    “It takes five to six times the work to get a loan to close than it did two years ago,” Blaudow said.

    Credit histories must be dutifully compiled for all borrowers. And any number of new criteria can lead to a refusal to lend. One new practice closes the door on loans to anyone who’s done a short sale — a way of selling a house when the sale proceeds fall below the balance on the mortgage — in the past three years.

  43. Mr Wantanapolous says:

    “The housing market should improve but it probably won’t.”

    Headline shoud read; Idiots at the fed and simpletons in DC should step back and allow market forces to attain real price discovery, but won’t.

  44. dan says:

    Did anyone read the NY post article yesterday on 100 houses in Rumson are available for over a million?


    In this economy, it’s not uncommon for whole neighborhoods to be on the market. But Rumson, NJ, a leafy bedroom community of 7,200 residents, nonetheless stands out: It has 100 homes for sale — all for more than $1 million.

    “The streets are filled with distracting ‘for sale’ signs,” says one resident. “Lots of husbands are hanging out at the bagel deli. They used to be working and now are picking up bagels. There’s a new class of Americans in Rumson: the formerly rich.”

    Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/town_is_down_on_its_luxe_h2KfL1RTRUF68NNBtb04IL#ixzz0y6CrT7qQ

  45. Mike says:

    Confuse – That’s an interesting article but disagree about the part that says “those who abstain from alcohol tend to be from lower socioeconomic classes, since drinking can be expensive” Can’t you still get a bottle of Thunderbird wine for a couple of bucks?

  46. All "H-Train" Hype says:

    “The streets are filled with distracting ‘for sale’ signs,” says one resident. “Lots of husbands are hanging out at the bagel deli. They used to be working and now are picking up bagels. There’s a new class of Americans in Rumson: the formerly rich.”
    This si the perfect example what the modern depression looks like. No food lines, just people hanging out in houses watching their cable TV, not paying their mortgage and waiting for the next gubbmint bailout.

  47. Mr Hyde says:


    How about this:

    “Guinness is Good for You”
    A pint of the black stuff a day may work as well as a low dose aspirin to prevent heart clots that raise the risk of heart attacks.


  48. Xroads says:

    How many people in your town know any of that info? The voters are never informed with that much detail. No opposition at election time or a challenger who is just as dirty! I live in a republican run town that doesn’t have a spending problem just a revenue problem! Ha!

  49. dan aka soon to be the formerly middle class says:

    I have a friend waiting for the Obama modification plan to kick in. In the meantime, he hasn’t made a payment on his Toll McMansion for two years. Freaking genius. Meanwhile, my landlord sends me a letter informing me of 9% rent increase. I’m better off buying a house for 5% down and then not making mortgage payments.

  50. Mr Hyde says:

    51 Xroads

    Sparta eh? Perhaps a new town ordinance that all town representatives see 2X the change in tax rates as is imposed on everyone else. I wonder how quickly you see tax increases then.

  51. Xroads says:


    Hmm what gave it away? I Thought we were 1 of many towns with a revenue problem

  52. homeboken says:

    SG – The first story on the NPR site is amazing:

    Buyers are demanding too much without putting into consideration … the situation of the seller. I did not buy my home as an investment property. I wanted a home of my own and not to cover someone else’s mortgage. But due to the greed of others, that is where I am. I put 20 percent down, I got pre-approved for a mortgage and did not buy outside my means, yet I’m being punished. If I drop the price any lower, any buyer will demand a lower price in hopes of flipping the property …

    How delusional can you get? Your having problems financially so you expect someone else to take on the centerpiece of your problem for you? Get real lady

  53. Mr Hyde says:

    Boken 55

    But who will feed the squirrels? Cant someone think of the poor squirrels?

  54. Essex says:

    I am finally starting to understand the whole scenario and it scares the hell out of me.

    Make mine a triple.

  55. Ben says:

    Heh, my wife and I have been getting all kinds of snide comments that come along with the counteroffers of sellers. The latest one was “I have a loan to payoff”. We wanted to send a comment back with our new counter offer. “Sell the Corvette”. These people who are underwater just don’t get it. That’s why they are in their 50s and 60s and have a retirement account of zero dollars.

  56. homeboken says:

    That NPR article has everything we discuss here, Unemployemnt, Divorce, worthless graduate degrees, baby-boomer downsizing, etc.

    Another favorite –

    In July 2009, my ex-husband lost his job,…Recently he left for China for 10 months to do missionary work….but as Jeff has no formal income, this (a refinancing) will require him to use his savings, which he would prefer to avoid.

    So you lose your job, run away to China, and are complaining that you have to use your savings to refi?

  57. Essex says:

    58. Ben, it’s a huge wake-up call — habits must be changed. Big time.

  58. Mr Hyde says:



  59. Clotpoll says:

    homeboken (55)-

    Natch, NPR is the source of such idiocy. They inhabit the “everyone gets a pony” world of unicorns and magic dust.

  60. Clotpoll says:

    When I run away to Chile, I’m going to stiff everybody. And I’m never coming back.

  61. Juice Box says:

    re #63 – A few scammer flippers have been doing the same thing. Scam, Flip and flee.
    This guy was caught at the Canadian border with with $1.1 million in gold certificates and $70,000 stuffed in his boots and four ounces of platinum.


  62. Clotpoll says:

    Figures the schmuck was carrying gold certificates. Maybe he demanded delivery of his physical, and the guys in London gave him paper instead.

  63. Clotpoll says:

    Obviously, this Chinese financial official has defected. He probably likes having his head attached to the rest of his body, and the Chinese gubmint has a unique way of dealing with failures such as his.

    “Today’s stunning-if-true news comes from Stratfor which has just issued a blast notifying of circulating rumors “in China that People’s Bank of China (PBC) Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan may have left the country.” If proven true, this will be the proverbial first rat bailing on the sinking ship. It gets scarier vis-a-vis prospects of US bonds: “The rumors appear to have started following reports on Aug. 28 which cited Ming Pao, a Hong Kong-based news agency, saying that because of an approximately $430 billion loss on U.S. Treasury bonds, the Chinese government may punish some individuals within the PBC, including Zhou.” Um, $430 Billion in losses? Hopefully this explains why next month’s TIC report won’t show any incremental increase in Chinese holdings of Treasuries (and most likely quite the opposite). Stratfor continues: “Although Ming Pao on Aug. 30 published a report on its website indicating that the prior report was fabricated by a mainland news site that had attributed the false information to Ming Pao, rumors of Zhou’s defection have spread around China intensively, and Zhou’s name has been blocked from Internet search engines in China.” Even if Zhou is safe and sound in Beijing, the fact that China has experienced nearly half a trillion in losses on its UST holdings is shocking, and means that the US Treasury bubble may be approaching the popping phase.”


  64. ozerna says:

    trying to figure out what is the fair offer for this house, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
    655 Witthill Rd Ridgewood Village, NJ 07450

  65. All "H-Train" Hype says:

    Clot (66):

    He may have already received his “sentence” in private. The Chinese will play this out for a few years and act like they have no idea where he went.

  66. still_looking says:

    Ozerna, 68

    need to know more info…. buying for school system? can you wait? open to other areas? time frame to stay in house? willing to play hardball on bidding? contingencies like selling current home to buy there?

    Folks here can guide you to a sale that will leave you feeling like a winner not a bagholder.

    (then again, Reinvestor has a bridge house to sell you…. :)


  67. Essex says:

    71. Re is skeeered of U S_L.
    Perhaps he fears needles.

  68. Mr Hyde says:


    Purchase history on the house

    Date Description Price
    8/21/2008 Sold $749,000
    9/13/2004 Sold $590,000
    1/15/1996 Sold $280,000

    If we assume that we will revert to long term mean values ( 2-3% annual ave appreciation) then that house is probably worth about $360K – $420K. The current asking price is about 30 – 40% overvalued from the price base don historical trends and where it is likely to end up. Grim, the blog host took part in 2 sales in Bergen county recently where the homes were purchased for values close to the 2-3% historical trend line

    2% Annual Appreciation
    1996 $280,000
    1997 $285,600
    1998 $291,312
    1999 $297,138
    2000 $303,081
    2001 $309,143
    2002 $315,325
    2003 $321,632
    2004 $328,065
    2005 $334,626
    2006 $341,318
    2007 $348,145
    2008 $355,108
    2009 $362,210
    2010 $369,454

    3% Annual Appreciation
    1996 $280,000
    1997 $288,400
    1998 $297,052
    1999 $305,964
    2000 $315,142
    2001 $324,597
    2002 $334,335
    2003 $344,365
    2004 $354,696
    2005 $365,336
    2006 $376,297
    2007 $387,585
    2008 $399,213
    2009 $411,189
    2010 $423,525

  69. chicagofinance says:

    A nice tune to clear your head….
    it starts in a meandering way, but it kicks in around 0:50 and takes off at 1:45….

  70. 1987 Condo Buyer says:


  71. Clotpoll says:

    hype (70)-

    When can the secret executions begin here?

  72. still_looking says:

    Essex, 72

    Aw, I just wanna canoodle with my hunny bunny ReI — those rock ribs! those gasoline soaked boxers! such patriotism!

    It makes me weak in the knees….my aching heart… yearns. (aw, heck… I just wanna jump my REinv hottie!) :P


  73. ozerna says:

    I personally have been following this blog since 2005, learned a lot (thanks Grim). I was actuaaly trying to get info for my friend, she is currently working with the realtor that is trying to pressure her to make an offer on the house in Ridgewood. The realtor mentioned that there are five offers on the table over the asking price. the friend sold her place two years ago and she has been looking since, a good school system is important too.
    thank you

  74. homeboken says:

    78 – Step one, tell your friend to fire her realtor and find one that doesn’t pressure her clients to make impulse buys in the 3/4 million dollar range.

  75. Mike says:

    Ben 58 Come on cut them a break look at all the upgrades to their bubbleloved home they made over the last four years the granite tops, ss appliances crown molding, porcelin fountain maybe a birdhouse too. By the way if the Corvette was a 71 or newer it’s not going to pay for much either they had they’re own bubble.

  76. DL says:

    Every listing our realtor sends us is at least 100k over priced. No one is selling a house in this market, they want you to buy their mortage or replenish their IRA.

    Anyone have an opinion about Lambertville?

  77. still_looking says:

    79 ditto


  78. jcer says:

    DL, I agree unless you are buying from a bank, sellers are not realistically selling, they are rather looking for a sucker.

  79. A.West says:

    I cannot imagine how the Chinese could have lost money on US Treasuries in the past. Not hard to imagine them losing money on them going forward. Maybe someone decided to start playing hedge fund, and start doing hedging/exotic stuff. But seems like gains on plain vanilla bonds would have offset any smaller side-losses. I think a better guess is that someone stole the money, probably indirectly.
    In general, Chinese know how to save, but their investment skills are primative.

  80. A.West says:

    If everything is listed at $100k over fair value, put in a lot of offers at $150k under list and see if anyone bites. There are a few people who can and will sell. Or you can just wait. Some listings get pulled when school starts, others drop the listing price again, because they really do need to sell. Now that there’s talk of further falls in housing prices, sellers will be a bit more nervous and willing to negotiate, I imagine. Any seller that refers to their cost basis or how much they owe as a justification for a given price should probably be bypassed as a waste of time.

  81. Final Doom says:

    dl (81)-

    Visit Lambertville; don’t live there.

  82. Final Doom says:

    west (85)-

    Yeah, that’s why I’m about to spend the afternoon enjoying Inter vs. Bologna. Deals don’t get done in this market until the seller is bleeding and in the street. I know people whose packages are running out/no job prospects/massive obligations who still think the market will come back in spring ’11.

    “Now that there’s talk of further falls in housing prices, sellers will be a bit more nervous and willing to negotiate, I imagine.”

  83. nj escapee says:

    Bergen County collects 700 firearms in gun buyback program


  84. yo'me says:

    I cannot imagine how the Chinese could have lost money on US Treasuries in the past
    In general, Chinese know how to save, but their investment skills are primative.

    The US treasuries that the Chinese bought was earning yield,add to that the trading value of the US currency.If the dollar is up 5% and the yield on the treasury they are holding in the past is 6%. You are giving the Chinese 5% more buying power on a 6% yield.Can you imagine how primitive their investment skills are? And if they are earning yield on that treasury and the dollar goes down in value the yuan goes down with it.It is in their best interest to keep the dollar strong.In turn makes their export more attractive.A win win

  85. J. says:

    Xroads #51: Very few people know. If you don’t read our local gadfly’s web site (and he charges for it), you wouldn’t know. The alternative is to go to council meetings (at least the few that are public; most town business is done behind closed doors at closed meetings), but people who go to council meetings and ask questions tend to get harassed. So most of us keep our heads down and our mouths shut, because we just want to be left alone. The local papers ignore it all too.

  86. DL says:

    My fall back plan is to return to the Doylestown area and rent so we have time to work with a bank. I have no interest in funding someone’s retirement. Just had a friend who bought there; list was 475k, they offered 450k and it was accepted in a day. Sellers were divorcing and I suspect if my friend wasn’t in such a hurry he could have gotten a better price.

  87. homeboken says:

    If your bid is accepted quickly, without a counter, you overpaid. A little buyer’s remorse for you at closing

  88. Painhrtz says:

    Aaah gun buy backs where lawful citizens get rid of inoperable firearms for cash, and criminals don’t show up for fear of being pinched

  89. Final Doom says:

    Any sane person should be buying all the guns and ammo he can.

  90. joyce says:

    how many of the stories/question on here about a ‘friend’ are really about the person posting?

  91. willwork4beer says:

    #81 DL

    Longtime local to Lambertville area here. I guess it depends on what you’re looking for in a town. Are you talking about Lambertville City or 08530, which is mostly West Amwell Township? Lambertville can be a nice place to visit, but as Doom said, better to visit than to live there. If you have kids, the schools are not that great. Lambertville is currently going through a flap about absentee landlords and apartments being used as unlicensed rooming houses with illegals, ahem, I mean undocumented immigrants. West Amwell is very rural, not much to do other than watch the corn grow. Well, there was the 4H Fair last week, but that won’t come up again until next year. They do have a local celebrity, though. This year’s Hunterdon County Diary Princess is from West Amwell.

    I’ll bet Doylestown is looking better and better, huh?

  92. Final Doom says:

    Die market, die!!!!

  93. Mr Hyde says:

    Over the weekend i was repeatedly admonished for not buying now, “buy now the bubble has burst and prices are only going up, besides rates are at historic lows!!” Of course the same person just bought a house 6 months ago sure that they were catching bottom. Its a good thing drinking is good for you

  94. Final Doom says:

    Only thing better than drinking is drinking and firing guns.

  95. Essex says:

    102. Thomson. Very very nice.

  96. Essex says:

    make that ThomPson….

  97. ozerna says:

    decided to post so the “friend” could read herself what other people think about buying at these still ridiculous prices, after a while I feel like a broken record convincing her to wait for the prices to go down, even though she is not naive type- lived through colapse of Soviet Union, experienced rubles turning into worthless currency… at least, she agrees that her realtor has to go…
    back to lurking

  98. Final Doom says:

    ZH reporting that the 430 bn Zhou lost was all Phony/Fraudy crap. Of course, ZH then goes on to toss gasoline on the situation by posting the guy’s phone number.


  99. Mr Hyde says:

    How about hurricane Earl! some good/bad luck puts NYC in its sights


  100. gary says:

    ozerna [78],

    The realtor mentioned that there are five offers on the table over the asking price.

    Ask that realtor the following question: “Did your mother have any children that lived?” Tell the realtor Gary wants to know.

  101. Al Gore says:

    F_cking doom everywhere you look.

    Cavuto on tv predicting a credit downgrade for Uncle Sam by October. Flip the channel to a Cat 4 monster headed in our direction. The f_ckin post office is showing SDR to dollar conversion rates.

    Let the pain begin.

  102. Live Cams says:

    It’s 10:00 PM in St Thomas and Earl is still blowing like a… uh… well… it’s still real windy outside. Has been bad since about 5:00 PM. TV has been out all day but somehow still have internet access. Curfew until 9:00 AM tomorrow. If He makes landfall somewhere it’s going to be bad. Don’t take this storm lig

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