Fed: NJ home prices “flat to declining modestly”

From the Federal Reserve:

Beige Book – January 2011


Real Estate

Activity in residential real estate and new home construction remained slow across all Districts. A majority of the Districts, including Boston, New York, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas, and San Francisco characterized local housing markets as weak and sluggish with little change from the previous reporting period. Kansas City noted further weakening, while Richmond received reports of both flat activity and further declines. The St. Louis District saw additional declines in existing home sales, but also cited increased new home construction permits. All Districts attributed slumping activity to concerns about the pace of economic recovery, especially in employment, while the Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Chicago Districts mentioned difficulty obtaining credit as another constraint on demand. High levels of existing home inventories continued to damp the pace of new home construction in most Districts reporting on construction, although Boston, Richmond, Dallas, and San Francisco mentioned pick-ups in multifamily construction within their Districts. Home prices generally declined or held steady in the New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and San Francisco Districts; the New York, Atlanta, Chicago, and San Francisco Districts mentioned distressed properties placing downward pressure on prices. Boston reported rising median home prices across most states in the District, but contacts attributed those increases to relatively higher sales of more expensive properties rather than a general upward movement in home prices. Outlooks for residential real estate in the coming year were mixed, with contacts in most Districts described as expecting continued weak conditions.

Second District–New York

Construction and Real Estate

Housing markets across the District have been sluggish but generally stable since the last report, while new construction activity has remained exceptionally weak. The housing market in western New York State was described as “dead” in November and December. A contact in New Jersey’s housing industry reports that market conditions have stabilized but have yet to improve, weighed down by a large inventory of unsold existing homes. Single-family home construction has picked up slightly but remains at a very low level, while multi-family construction has fallen. Transaction prices in northern New Jersey are reported to be flat to declining modestly, though the underlying market is hard to gauge because a disproportionate number of recent transactions are distress sales. New York City’s co-op and condo market was relatively stable in the fourth quarter, while the rental market has shown signs of picking up.

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113 Responses to Fed: NJ home prices “flat to declining modestly”

  1. grim says:

    I guess if you can’t win, bury them in paper…

    From the Star Ledger:

    Court postpones hearing for six banks to defend foreclosure practices

    The state has postponed by one month a hearing for six of the country’s biggest mortgage lenders called to defend their foreclosure processes.

    Edward Dauber, the attorney appointed to represent the state in the case, requested the extension “to permit him sufficient time to respond to the voluminous filings,” according to court documents.

    The banks, which include Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, now must appear in New Jersey Superior Court on Feb. 14, instead of next Wednesday. At that point, Judge Mary Jacobson will decide whether all foreclosures in the state should be suspended, unless the case is settled out of court earlier.

    The move comes after the banks filed motions last week, totaling hundreds of pages, that argued their practices were up to standards or had already been remediated.

  2. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    More than 60 percent of moves in N.J. are people leaving the state

    A national moving company found more people left New Jersey in 2010 than moved to the Garden State, at a ratio that outpaced the rest of the lower 48 states.

    United Van Lines, the nation’s largest private moving company, tracked the 146,837 cross-state moves in 2010 and New Jersey had the most disproportionate amount of out migration.

    The company found 62.5 percent of the moves in New Jersey were residents leaving the state, while only 37.5 percent were people entering the state. Washington D.C. ranked the highest on the opposite end of the spectrum, with 64.3 percent of moves going into the district.

    A 2009 study by the Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy found that between 2004 and 2008 New Jersey lost $70 billion in wealth as affluent residents moved elsewhere.

  3. grim says:

    From the WSJ:

    New Roll of the Dice for Atlantic City

    Atlantic City is hoping a new tourism district will boost downtown investment and development. Some in real estate say they see business interest generated by the district but it’s too soon to place bets on the effort.

    A bill approved by the New Jersey Legislature this week creates a tourism district along Boardwalk and other sections of the city where the state will oversee various functions, including making zoning changes, the power to demolish buildings and some police and sanitation duties.

    The new district, part of a turnaround plan pushed by Gov. Chris Christie, is intended to boost Atlantic City’s declining fortunes and lift state tourism. The measures now are awaiting the governor’s signature.

    Backers say the legislation should encourage development in the nation’s second largest gambling market.

    “If you’re looking to walk down the block and all you see are vacant lots and some beat-up buildings, you’re probably not going to take that walk,” said state Sen. Jim Whelan, one of the bill’s sponsors and a former Atlantic City mayor.

    “This whole effort is an attempt to confront that issue,” he said.

    But some major developers in the city for now are saying publicly only that they need to know more about how the district legislation will be implemented.

    “A dedicated tourist district has merit, but exactly how it should be orchestrated we have not studied,” said Danielle Babcock, director of marketing for Cordish Co., which is a partner in running the Walk, an outlet shopping area in Atlantic City.

  4. grim says:

    From CNN/Money:

    1 million homes repossessed in 2010

    Foreclosures were at a record high in 2010, and more than 1 million people lost their homes, even as notices started leveling off during the end year.

    In total, there were nearly 2.9 million foreclosure notices filed during the year, according to report released Thursday by RealtyTrac. That was a record high, but just 1.7% above 2009.

    It most certainly would have been higher had notices not plunged in November and December as banks halted tens of thousands of foreclosures in the face of the robo-signing scandal.

    “Total properties receiving foreclosure filings would have easily exceeded 3 million in 2010 had it not been for the fourth quarter drop in foreclosure activity,” said James Saccacio, RealtyTrac’s CEO. “Many of the foreclosure proceedings that were stopped in late 2010 — which we estimate may be as high as a quarter million — will likely be re-started and add to [foreclosure] numbers in early 2011.”

  5. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Anyone know a good toyota mechanic in the general morristown/mendham area? I am looking at a used sequoia i want them to look over for me.

  6. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    My current car doesnt burn enough gas and i am trying to help the economy

  7. 30 year realtor says:

    Depression seems the appropriate term for the real estate market. I can see many reasons for the market to remain bad or get worse. Can’t think of any reason for transactions to increase or for price to rise.

  8. xroads says:


    you want to help the economy? stop paying your mortgage! I wonder how much this adds to GDP?

    “Total properties receiving foreclosure filings would have easily exceeded 3 million in 2010 had it not been for the fourth quarter drop in foreclosure activity,”

  9. Nice to see everyone in AZ is rushing to buy more guns.

    BTW, I am all on board for all 535 members of Clowngress packing heat in the chambers. That could rocket C-Span to being the #1 network.

  10. Tonight on C-Span:

    Pelosi-Boehner Showdown: Duel at Ten Paces

  11. freedy says:

    Atlantic City is now at the point,if its closed alltogether would it be missed? I think no

  12. gary says:

    United Van Lines, the nation’s largest private moving company, tracked the 146,837 cross-state moves in 2010 and New Jersey had the most disproportionate amount of out migration.

    The company found 62.5 percent of the moves in New Jersey were residents leaving the state, while only 37.5 percent were people entering the state.

    Sell? Sell to whom?

  13. gary says:

    Dear Sellers,

    Please read 30 year realtor’s post above. Any questions?

  14. the still_lookings says:

    I wanna leave NJ… and we aren’t even home yet…

    44 degrees in Boca and I’d still rather be here…

    At least the pool is 80 degrees…


  15. Schrodinger's Cat says:


    all representatives should be required to carry a single shit muzzle loaded pistol when in chambers.

  16. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Single SHOT pistol

    fat fingers and mobile keypads don’t mix

  17. grim says:

    Big jump up in jobless claims

  18. freedy (12)-

    They blew up the chicken man in Philly last night.

  19. gary (13)-

    Methinks NJ is about to be in a head-to-head race with IL in the one way Penske Express game.

  20. JJ says:

    I might as well ask a real estate question for a change. I have a house my wife and I really like, just a matter of cat an mouse until he capitulates on price. Anyhow have to raise my lowball offer a bit. Question is I have comps to compare it too but he is asking like 100K more. However, since he was not planning to move and he is original owner of house built in 1976 around 2007 he put on new siding, new roof, all new anderson windows and new.boiler. Everything was 31 years old in 2007 and he planned on retiring in house so he did it. House in 4,000 square feet colonial with an attached three car garage. To me it sounds like a lot of money. How much ball park does it cost to vinyl side and replace windows in a five bedroom, house? He also at same time took space above three car garage and added an upstairs den complete with a separate staircase down to kitchen, he said wife wanted upstairs den and since he was doing siding, windows anyhow it was a good time. That upstairs den is a good 25 by 25 room. Sounds to me like a lot of money, the comps are all identical homes priced a decent amount less and in good shape, but all have 30 year old siding and windows and boilers and have nothing above garage. I was guessing 200K for what he did in 2007, but who knows.

  21. cat (17)-

    Thanks for the clarification. A shit pistol would be redundant, as all Clowngressmen already pack a shit cannon, in the form of their mouths.

  22. grim (18)-

    That jobless count would be much better if they counted squeegee guys and drug dealers.

  23. JJ says:


    Cops: Brett Favre’s sister arrested at meth lab
    About nine grams of the drug is recovered from Miss. condo, officials say

  24. chicagofinance says:

    repost from lat night…..

    chicagofinance says:
    January 12, 2011 at 11:18 pm
    I bow to clot…all knower of that which is noble and true…..

    ‘Golden-voiced’ homeless man Ted Williams to enter rehab

    Ted Williams, the “golden-voiced” homeless man who became a media darling, is entering rehab for drug and alcohol abuse, People magazine reported Wednesday.

    TV psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw was influential in the decision after Williams appeared on his talk-show Wednesday, admitting he still struggled with alcohol addiction.

    Williams’ admission comes two days after he was detained by Los Angeles Police following an alleged yelling altercation with his daughter.

    “If Ted is ever going to get better, he’s got to be honest with himself and admit he’s addicted to drugs and alcohol,” said McGraw.

    “I’ve told him it’s not going to be easy and it’s going to take a lot of hard work. It might be a long journey for him, but this is a big step in the right direction,” he added.

    Williams was inundated with freebies, bookings and voiceover gigs after he was discovered by Doral Chenoweth, the web producer for the Columbus Dispatch, while Williams was panhandling on the side of a highway with a sign saying he had the God-given gift of a radio voice.

    Proposed gigs include a five-second appearance in a Super Bowl commercial and voiceover work from NFL Films, while producers for the BBC, “Opie and Anthony” and “The Colbert Report” were also begging to book him, reports suggested.

    It was announced later in the day that Williams had be subpoened to appear at a hearing scheduled for February 11.

    Madison County sheriff’s deputies say Williams was a passenger in the car of a woman who was accused of drug abuse after being pulled over in May. Williams’ presence at the hearing is being requested to help determine if the search of the vehicle was legal.

    WIth Newscore and AP

  25. Juice Box says:

    re # 25 – He should Play Barry O in a made for TV movie.

  26. Nation of Wussies HEHEHE says:

    I think we need another census or Christmas

  27. Nation of Wussies HEHEHE says:

    Layoffs Watch ‘11: Barclays Makes Jobs Cuts Extra Special

    Yesterday we reported that BarCap US IBD had kicked off a new round of cuts, affecting all levels, with the Global Finance target thought to be around 10% of the headcount. We’re also told sacked employees were sent packing with quite the parting gift.

    Apparently everyone who was told yesterday that their services were no longer necessary– a week or so ahead of those being allowed to keep their jobs hearing numbers– will be receiving no bonus for the work they did in 2010.


  28. Juice Box says:

    re: #28 – “will be receiving no bonus for the work they did in 2010.”

    Not Everyone Gets a Trophy?

    How can this be? How will the corporate world which is desperate to recruit and retain worker in this age group survive? The Horror!

  29. Bystander says:

    Hey Lib,

    You appear to be the resident gas mileage expert. Moving out of the city soon. Any thoughts on Tdi/diesel engines from Audi/VW? Passat wagon looks decent but not sure about VW rep. It is spotty at best. Thanks.

  30. #30 – Passat wagon looks decent but not sure about VW rep

    I believe the Passat TDi wagons imported to the US are ones manufactured in Germany (if that matters). I looked at them for a bit, but import numbers are low, only around 5k per year of the diesels are imported to the US so they have a tendency to sell out quickly and for over sticker.
    I haven’t heard or read anything bad about the engine reliability.

  31. Juice Box says:

    BMW 335d Sedan
    3.0-liter Diesel inline 6-cylinder engine with TwinPower Turbo technology
    265 horsepower
    Rear-wheel drive
    36 mpg hwy*

    * Starting at $44,150 MSRP
    36 month lease well
    equipped at $559 /month Build Your Own

    3.0-liter Diesel inline 6-cylinder engine with TwinPower Turbo technology
    265 horsepower
    Rear-wheel drive
    36 mpg hwy*

  32. JJ says:

    I doubt it was really a lay-off. Today’s mantra is “pay for performance”. Bonus pool is smaller but talent needs to be paid. Lets say you have 10% low performers, can them before bonus time give whatever bonus they were going to get to top talent. Win Win. Lay-off is a nice work for your fired.

    Juice Box says:
    January 13, 2011 at 9:59 am

    re: #28 – “will be receiving no bonus for the work they did in 2010.”

    Not Everyone Gets a Trophy?

    How can this be? How will the corporate world which is desperate to recruit and retain worker in this age group survive? The Horror!

  33. leftwing says:


    With all your bond hits you ask that sort of question. The answer is who gives a **** about his basis, the bid is what the asset is worth to you now.

    Unless this guy is a data miner I would advise against negotiating with him in this manner. You need to find his hotpoint and sell him that. Kind of like your ladies – for one it’s the car, for another the lane in the Hamptons, for the other which velvet rope you get through. What’s the bling that gets him?

    In all seriousness, he probably radically overpaid for that work. Old guy putting up lower end stuff like vinyl siding is going to get screwed. My flooring guys make more money (better than Harvard educated Wall St lawyer pay if looked at hourly) doing half a basement in engineered brazilian cherry than 5,000 ft2 of bubinga or wenge. The high end material cost is almost $10 ft2 and their labor markup is small. The engineered junk costs $1.25 ft2 and when they quote $7.50 ft2 installed for that stuff (which looks reasonable compared to the high end installed quote) they’re taking the dude for a ride.

  34. Bystander says:


    Waiting my turn for a tap on the shoulder at my IB. Our “visionary” leader for BO financial systems was canned recently. New bosses not so keen on our group. No projects have been funded this year as of yet. Without a project, many here are toast. Hey, but I heard how IBs are exiting treasuries so now ready to invest and hire. Good times.

  35. JJ says:

    This guy who owns the house still works and buys and sells stuff for a living like chains of carwashes, entire large business and big deals all with his own cash.

    Guy even put in a new kitchen 20o1 all new granite and subzero and a huge master bath in 2006 with a tub that could fit six, huge walk in shower, dual sinks huge picture window. He instalated basement via foam you squirt in the outside in 2008. Guy seems to keep it all new. Only thing old was on bathroom which is in back. Guy is a busy 70 year old. Weird part is realtor took one low ball offer from me and relayed it, Owner said through realtor I like the terms, good credit big downpayment, flex closing non contingent. I was told go back and view house again, he has an inspection report from a few months ago where deal fell through and passed with flying colors. I was told go see house again with my family while he and his wife are home and then man to man we meet in den to work out a possible deal.

    Only thing in my favor is wife is in love with her house and does not want to move. She appears would be horrified to sell it to someone who would rip it apart. However, dealing with a expert wheeler dealer who has been doing this for 50 years one on one with no lawyer or realtor in room on a handshake is not something I like. Yea I did it with the dope with a HS degree I bought my house off, I did it when I sold my place to a 29 year old, I did it when I sold my Moms place to an immigrant off the boat.

    But I get a bad feeling this is like buying bonds from Bill Gross or Stock from Warren Buffet, if they are selling and you are buying I don’t care how smart you are there is a very very good chance you are getting screwed. My success in life is partial from ability to know who is smarter than me and not get screwed by them. Old saying if you don’t know who the fool in the room is it is most likely you. He aint the fool.
    leftwing says:
    January 13, 2011 at 10:40 am


    With all your bond hits you ask that sort of question. The answer is who gives a **** about his basis, the bid is what the asset is worth to you now.

  36. jj (38)-

    Didn’t know Lenny Dykstra had a house on LI.

    “This guy who owns the house still works and buys and sells stuff for a living like chains of carwashes, entire large business and big deals all with his own cash.”

  37. I predict that “butt dialing” will enter the OED in 2011.

  38. Anon E. Moose says:

    JJ [33];

    If someone wants to work in a field where their pay is never fully owed to them and largely beyond their ability to manage or control, I suggest they take up waiting tables. Professionals don’t work for tips.

  39. Juice Box says:

    # 38 – JJ re: “he has an inspection report from a few months ago” & “I was told go back and view house again” Who is in the drivers seat here JJ? You sure you aren’t getting taken for a ride with that used inspection report?

    Go back and hit on the wife in her new garage/den she won’t love the place so much after that and then tell the old carwash 70 year old seller he has maybe 7-10 good years of waiting for that tide to come back in if he thinks this current real estate market will lift all ships.

    Old Bathroom could mean a half finished remodel. Carwash cash seller seems like he cut corners on the remodel and did it piecemeal. Ask the guy for receipts and warranty paperwork on the siding work that was done. If he is an all cash kind of guy there may be none.

  40. Juice Box says:

    1970s NYC coming back faster than I thought.

    Loose Rat in New York City Subway Car Crawls on Man’s Face

    Loose Rat in New York City Subway Car Crawls on Man’s FaceThis video will make you think twice about dozing off on the subway.


  41. Anon E. Moose says:

    JJ [38];

    Look at it this way: How much will it cost you to “play the fool”? Meaning, if you’d got it at your inital offer, you’d think you were getting at least a fair deal. Now put a price tag doing something stupid like overpaying, then decide if you’re willing to pay the price.

    And consider the flip side. Apparently you won’t be upset if you don’t get the house for his asking price. Will you be upset if you passed to save $50k? No? Then no more than $50k below his ask. $30k? $10k? Whatever that number is, figure it into your lowball then make your last/best/final offer. I’m also suspicious that he didn’t counter with a number. Does he really expect you to come up to full ask? Tell his agent you want a counteroffer on the table before you drag your family out there to see the place again.

  42. Anon E. Moose says:


    You know “Nails”?

  43. ricky_nu says:

    ok folks – if I see a house that is listed as a short sale – listing states ” CONTRACTS,COMMISSIONS SUBJECT TO LENDER/3RD PARTY APPROVAL”

    is there a way, knowing the address etc, that I can find out which bank owns the note (ie who has to do the approving)?

  44. grim says:


    Look up the mortgages, they are public records.

    However, that may not be the approver, depends on if there is a servicer involved.

  45. ricky_nu says:

    do I look it up at town hall or something? or is there some online resource?

  46. rn (49)-


  47. JJ says:

    This guy has lots of cash. My math states that he was 41 when he built house and his wife is 12 years younger at 29. So he build a huge house on two acres in the 1970s when Whip inflation now buttons were rampent. Guy is a nut for spending. For instance, his kid who lives out of state comes once a year to stay with him for a week or two with the grandkid. He has one grandkid who is like two. Nut does a nursery, complete with new floors, mural, top of the line crib and furniture, then buys expensive huge toy sets all for a kid coming once a year. Total insane waste of money. I know houses and he pissed a lot of money into it in the last 10 years alone. For instance a top of the line subzero that I looked up retails for 10K. What older couple buys a $10,000 fridge? I am interested as no way is he getting back what he put in. His new master bath alone is the size of one of my bedrooms. House has been on market for almost a year and he has been cutting prices. His pool alone he put in has to cost at least 100K, almost a 60,000 gallon solar heated pool with diving rocks and a blue stone tile and an outdoor bar. Pool is designed to look like a lake and is a special type that requires no cover so in the winter it looks like a lake. Guy even had a carpenter build a little matching house to hide pool pump, the attention to detail is amazing. The waste of money also. No pool or a simple rectangular pool with vinyl siding would do for me. This

    I may not buy this one, but I really want a bubble house, meaning someone who from 2000-2007 drank the home improvement jungle juice doing projects that would only increase the value, now to realize you will be lucky to get 30 cents back on a dollar. Getting a house someone poured 600k worth of renvoations into for an extra 150K is a good deal. But hard to find.

  48. ricky_nu says:

    JJ – what town is this place in?

  49. leftwing says:


    You found the bling that gets him. Wifey’s desire not to see it torn down.

    No Bill Gross here, just the opposite. He just let you into his office with his books wide open and went out to take a leak. Use it.

    Screw the numbers, have them in your back pocket but let him go down that road.

    You’re schtick – just a hometown boy, looking to buy a nice place to live in near the area you grew up. Something well kept, you think it’s crazy all these knockdowns and mansions and people living beyond their means. You’re an old time type of guy, buy a house that works for you, live in it through your twilight years. That’s why you L-O-V-E this place and you can just see raising a family here and having your grandkids come back to visit. You wouldn’t dream of touching a stud.

    Wife will be eating out of your hand. Hubby will have NO say, because we all know who makes the final decision and it ain’t him. She’ll take a haircut to be able to sell the house to YOU. No realtor there to try to play badass and screw it up.

    Dude, it doesn’t get easier than this.

  50. Shore Guy says:

    Boy oh boy. Illinois is starting to make NJ and NY look like paragons of fiscal prudence:


  51. Shore Guy says:

    From that article:

    Holding the Line

    The fiscal package includes what Senate President John Cullerton called “an unprecedented spending cap.” The first year will limit spending to a 10 percent ncrease that will include an estimated $4.5 billion payment into the state’s retirement systems. The state has been borrowing money to make payments.

  52. JJ says:

    Don’t want to reveal exact town, but my house hunting is limited to Upper Brookvile, Old Brookville, Cove Neck, Laurel Hollow, Oyster Bay Cove and Cold Spring Harbor.

    Figure two acres close to city rich towns good schools will have good value long term, issue is trying to time entry point so I don’t catch the falling knife too hard, don’t mind getting in withing 100k or 200K of bottom, but god forbid you buy a home that falls 600K in value when you put down 600K. Ouch.

    ricky_nu says:
    January 13, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    JJ – what town is this place in?

  53. Schrodinger's Cat says:


    The only responsable course of action for Illinois at this point would be to declare bankruptcy and restructure its debt.

  54. Schrodinger's Cat says:


    That is, the only responsable action if one is acting in the interest of the taxpayer. The first state to BK is probably the best off in the long run.

  55. scribe says:

    I thought that the states couldn’t go BK, just the towns?

  56. scribe says:

    from the WSJ:

    The Housing Slump Has Salem On a Witch Hunt Again
    Buyers Worried About Bad Vibes From Foreclosed Homes Seek a Cleansing


    SALEM, Mass.—There’s a certain look and feel to a foreclosed home, and 31 Arbella St. has it: fraying carpet, missing appliances, foam insulation poking through cracked walls.

    That doesn’t faze buyer Tony Barletta since he plans a gut renovation anyway. It’s the bad vibes that bother him.

    So two weeks before closing, Mr. Barletta followed witch Lori Bruno and warlock Christian Day through the three-story home. They clanged bells and sprayed holy water, poured kosher salt on doorways and raised iron swords at windows.
    Cleansing Foreclosed Homes of Bad Vibes

    “Residue, residue, residue is in this house. It has to come out,” shouted Ms. Bruno, a 70-year-old who claims to be a descendant of 16th-century Italian witches. “Lord of fire, lord flame, blessed be thy holy name…All negativity must be gone!”

    The foreclosure crisis has helped resurrect an ancient tradition: the house cleansing. Buyers such as Mr. Barletta are turning to witches, psychics, priests and feng shui consultants, among others, to bless or exorcise dwellings.

    Sellers, too, are adopting the trend to help move a property stuck on the market.

    In recent months, foreclosure and other distressed sales have represented about a third of all home sales, according to the National Association of Realtors. With so many foreclosures riddling the market, some buyers find that a coat of paint is hardly enough to rid a house of its creepy quotient.

    “It’s not entities or ghosts that we’re dealing with anymore,” says Julie Belmont, a so-called intuitive who works in Orange County, Calif., where 40% of home sales last year were distress sales. “With foreclosures, a lot of it is energy imprints from past discussions, arguments, money problems. All of that is absorbed by the house.”

    More here:


  57. leftwing says:


    I’ve lost more money over 1/8 of a point….

    Buy. Of course the value is going to go down. As long as it is somewhere you are willing to stay longer term, who cares?

    Let everyone else try to time the exact bottom and then catch it in the rear view mirror. I personally have never bought an asset at the absolute bottom nor sold at the absolute top, let alone for the same asset as some seem to want to do. Still I’ve done OK.

    S&P at 800? Oops, down 15% pretty quickly out of the chute. Damn. Cool 50%, need some losses.

  58. Anon E. Moose says:

    Scribe [59];

    Thay can’t. All tied up in double sovereignty theory (State declaring bankruptcy would be subject to the orders of a Federal BK judge). Municipalities have their own chapter in the code, and were at one time too small and infrequent to be concerned about the balance of power.

  59. Libtard says:


    Give the guy your Jet’s tickets when they beat New England this week. He’ll take your lowball after that.

  60. scribe says:


    I always thought the setup on state vs city BK was curious. Thanks for the explanation.

  61. Libtard says:

    As for VWs. The cars last forever, but the repairs are more expensive than all other imports (Asian) and there will be a lot of them. As for diesel, very smart, but not always that easy to find a station with diesel. Also, engine much harder to start in the cold of winter. If you plan to garage it, no problem, otherwise pass or make sure block heaters are installed. If you really want to save money, just buy a Fit Sport. 17K off the floor and be done. You’ll still be driving it in 2030 and it will still be getting 33 MPG on the highway. At any point, you can sell it for about 1/3rd of what you paid in the first ten years and buy another one. My Civic is still cranking. 16 years and looking beautiful.

  62. A.West says:

    The house is worth what someone is willing to pay, and no more. Cost basis doesn’t mean much.
    Ask to see all the town construction permits for all that extra work and new rooms. That often makes sellers sweat.
    The big question is whether this guy is really a seller, or hoping to make a buyer fall in love. This guy & realtor obviously is trying to get someone to “fall in love” by asking you to bring wife & kids.

    I assume this isn’t the same house as the one with the competing asian mom buyer.

    Getting a good deal on a house means walking away from a lot of sellers.

  63. Libtard says:

    “Getting a good deal on a house means walking away from a lot of sellers.”


  64. Schrodinger's Cat says:


    States cannot access chapter 9 bankruptcy but i do believe that there are other bankruptcy routes that they could in theory take. States have defaulted on debts before.

    here is an article discussing the issue


  65. Juice Box says:

    Tard – disagree completely Although cheap the newer VWs built in the last 10 years or so do not last forever. We had a 1999 Jetta for a few years and it was not reliable. Engine problems with emissions constantly, A/C broken compressor, windows fell in (defect), mirrors snapped of easily, Rims bent on NY/NJ roads and interior did not hold up well at all. The GTI was on the same platform and also did not do as well. The New Beetle? How many of those do you see anymore, unlike the orginal one engineered by the Third Reich which lasted decades? The Passat was also not very highly rated either for relaibiliy. Not sure how much has changed in the more recent years but I would not compare the late 70s and 80s to anything built after 1999 assembled in Mexico etc.

  66. nj escapee says:

    I agree with Juice’s assessment. VW has been crap for a long time. Got to go with Japanese or Korean autos now for reliability. I’m partial to Honda and Toyota.

  67. nj escapee says:

    70 continued… oh and all bets are off now as China manufactures parts for many of the automakers. That is a potential headache with their great quality assurance. not

  68. scribe says:


    interesting piece

  69. A.West says:

    Colleague bought an Audi A4 turbo 5-6 years ago, turbo, electronics are falling apart, off warranty, it’s not worth fixing, he’s selling it back to dealer for $3.5k. These things are only safe to lease then hand back. VW/Audi are consistently near the bottom on quality comparisons, are more expensive than US/Japanese comps, have below average resale value, yet they are gaining market share. I don’t understand it.

  70. Libtard says:


    I really shouldn’t be trusted for car recommendations, considering that I buy a new car once every 20 years or so. Honestly, my info is mostly from the late 80s early 90s.

  71. Libtard says:

    Now Audi’s…They were never reliable. My dad had one of them that would accelerate on it’s own (in the eighties). The battery under the back seat was strange as well.

  72. JJ says:

    Guy is getting motivated only as he is building a mansion down south to retire to instead of here, as that one gets closer to complete which is sometime in July he will have more motivation. The asians are gone. It was too much of a white person house.

    Libtard says:
    January 13, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    “Getting a good deal on a house means walking away from a lot of sellers.”


  73. Double Down says:

    JJ, not looking in Muttontown? Thought you were a player.

    Sit down with the guy, pay only what you’re willing.

  74. JJ says:

    Muttontown is a pain, they go to multiple school districts could never figure out if I could get a train pass, as there is no train in that town and also only people I know who live there are rich indians and rich jewish people who drive to work. Given the town is split among three different school districts, and it does not have its own train or its own school district kinda a very rich but odd town.

    Double Down says:
    January 13, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    JJ, not looking in Muttontown? Thought you were a player.

    Sit down with the guy, pay only what you’re willing.

  75. JJ says:

    As one of the equity owners of General Motors I highly recommend you buy one of their cars. Chevy Cruz is very nice. As a taxpayer Chrysler, GM and Ford make great products. Those Krouts you know will just use the money to fund our next war.

    Libtard says:
    January 13, 2011 at 2:56 pm


    I really shouldn’t be trusted for car recommendations, considering that I buy a new car once every 20 years or so. Honestly, my info is mostly from the late 80s early 90s.

  76. Essex says:

    65. VW lost a lot of their longevity ratings with their engine sludge debacle.

  77. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    There is gonna be a back door bailout, and it has to be one that all states can take advantage of. If the Fed starts buying Ill. bonds, conservatives will scream bloody murder, and if there is a direct bailout of state pensions or state treasuries, I fully expect some state legislatures or referendum groups will float articles of secession.

    The easiest, aside from a BAB renewal, is to liberalize the purposes for which tax exempt bonds can be issued. However, if that happens, and states can kick the can down the road by issuing bonds to prop up pensions or pay working capital, the bond vigilantes in the muni space will go bezerk, and munis generally will tank.

    At least I think they will. Any real bond vigilantes can weigh in, I won’t be insulted.

  78. JJ says:

    Fed can only buy muni bonds with a six month maturity or less. Short term munis have extremely low rates already. It is the ten year to thirty year new munis being issued at a high interest rate that is an issue. That is a towns bread and butter of funding. Since the Fed can’t buy that they need to do something else.

  79. Juice Box says:

    #81 – Comrade The Frank-Dodd legislation barred the Fed from from lending to insolvent borrowers or pursuing bailouts of individual borrowers, as well as tying their hands on the muni market to about 2% of total issuance out of what 3 trillion in Munis.

    The only solution for the States now with their budgets coming do over the next few moneths is higher taxes or cut the heart out from their services. We are seeing that in Illinois now which taxes were raised up the gazoo. They also want to raise the sin taxes through the roof.

    Remember the Feb 2009 Stimulus really just passed off the massive budget cuts until this year. I don’t see another bailout aka Stimulus coming down the pipe now with the new Congress.

    Hopefully the new Governator in NJ Christie will hold the line where other states like Illinois and perhaps NY won’t.

    It won’t be pretty either way with cuts and or raises in taxes the deficits are insurmountable, and we are headed for a new Norm like it or not.

  80. 30 year realtor says:

    JJ – Buying the biggest house on the block ain’t a good deal. Do you have any comps in similar condition, even if they are somewhat smaller? Sounds like a bit of a white elephant but you need a baseline on larger than average homes in good condition and similar location before you can gauge value.

    Most basic negotiating advice is don’t bid against yourself! Tell the agent you would love to come back with the family to look again, right after the seller makes a counter offer. No counter…have a nice life!

  81. Shore Guy says:


    Illinois is cutting to the bone with an unprecedented budget limiting spending increases to just 10%. 10%! How much more serious can they be than that?

  82. Anon E. Moose says:

    Back to Real Estate:

    Glass-walled box house featured in Ferris Beuler’s Day Off can’t sell at $1.65 MM after price cuts.


    Listing Broker says “We hope to have this sold in the next 30 to 60 days. Someone is going to be the lucky owner! I wish it would be me, I love this house, it’s a magical house, just sitting there, looking outside, the deer come by, it’s enchanted.”

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  83. Juice Box says:

    re: # 86 – The car featured in the movie 1961 Ferrari sold for $10 million. It was a better investment than the house.

  84. New in FL says:

    I can’t weigh in on modern era VWs at all from personal experience, but a quick look at Consumer Reports shows pretty respectable reliability for the Rabbit (as it was called from 2007 through 2009) and Golf (the same car from 2010 –>). This model has reliability similar to what is expected of Toyota or Honda. These Rabbit/Golf TDIs were ‘better than average’ in overall reliability, and the gasoline engined ones were ‘much better than average’.

    VW really lost their way for a few years in the 1990s continuing into the mid-2000s, though, so one would be advised to run from anything before about 2007 if looking for used.

    Even with comparable reliability, VWs will never match the economy of Hondas or Toyotas because of the cost to maintain and repair.

    The reliability for the post-2007 Jetta is just slightly worse than the Golf/Rabbit, and the Passat doesn’t look good at all.

    I drove a 1968 Beetle from when it was new until it was in a flood in 1985. I had the engine rebuilt after the cylinder heads worked loose at around 90,000 miles, and it had 130,000 miles on it when it got flooded. The flood water wasn’t really all that deep – I actually drove it home after that – but it did get some in the engine. I gave it to a mechanic friend of mine, who fixed it up, drove it for a while and then sold it.

  85. JJ says:

    I am buying one of the smaller homes. Lots of these towns have two acre zoning to keep our riff raff. Some homes are beach front or on ten acre lots. I see lots of multi million homes for sale. Seller already said he wants closer to 100k off list and I offered him 300K off list. I would say that means he is ok with 200K off list.

    Many Many years ago my old GF lived at home near this house. Her Mom bought her home in 1985 for two million and made a downpayment of one million dollars and had a one million dollar mortgage, back them rates were like 8% her mortgage was with taxes were like 100K a year. And that was 1985 when she bought it. Her house today is worth like six or seven million. That house makes this house look like a servants quarters. I remember my old GF saying she remembered when they lived in the little houses on the road to her house. Those little houses were 4 bedroom three bath colonials on two acres. Then again she had six acres, 11 bedrooms and a six car garage. She had bathrooms I found she used for storage. I like rich people. My starter mansion should be enough though. I recall that women spending $200 to have her driveway plowed in 1989.

    30 year realtor says:
    January 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    JJ – Buying the biggest house on the block ain’t a good deal. Do you have any comps in similar condition, even if they are somewhat smaller? Sounds like a bit of a white elephant but you need a baseline on larger than average homes in good condition and similar location before you can gauge value.

    Most basic negotiating advice is don’t bid against yourself! Tell the agent you would love to come back with the family to look again, right after the seller makes a counter offer. No counter…have a nice life!

  86. Barbara says:

    I may be buying the new MINI 4 door. Take your shots, I love it :P

  87. JJ says:

    It is a nice chick car.

    Barbara says:
    January 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I may be buying the new MINI 4 door. Take your shots, I love it :P

  88. grim says:

    The Ferrari in Ferris Bueller was a fake.

  89. JJ says:

    Well I guess it now matches Jennifer’s Grays new nose.

    grim says:
    January 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    The Ferrari in Ferris Bueller was a fake.

  90. Juice Box says:

    Sure Hollywood Magic kit car several made for the Stunts etc but the 1961 is a real car too and did sell for $10 Million.


  91. Essex says:

    88. I had a 914 for a while in grad school. It was cute — had a 2.0 liter VW motor went over $1ook and then I had it rebuilt and it was well on it’s way to a second act. I traded it in though. The body rusted (Karmen coach works) continually.

  92. JJ says:

    one of my brother in laws had a pontiac sunfire and was running great with 180K miles and sold it to a neighbor cheap, figured something was going to break any moment.

    Well that was 14 years ago and four cars ago for him and the neighbor still has it with 400k with no problems. Guess that car was built on a good day. Maybe neighbor will sell it at 500K thinking this is it and next guy will drive it to one million.

  93. Cars will be a long-lost memory after the revolution. Those of us left will be riddled with radiation sickness and riding donkeys…until such time as we need to start slaughtering the donkeys for food.

  94. Hey, what’s a little 8.2 mm hit when your state is already face down in the mud?

    Chump change.

    “It has not been a good day for New Jersey. First, governor Christie dared to tell the truth (i.e., that the state could go bankrupt on increasing… yes you read that right – INcreasing – health care costs) which pretty much cost the state a successful bond auction as we reported earlier, and now we find that one of the casualties in today’s Coinstar collapse is none other than the State of New Jersey, which owns a (less than) whopping 460,000 shares. Granted the loss for NJ is only $8.2 million but it is never nice to kick a man down as he is on the very of insolvency. The table below shows all the biggest losers in today’s after hours wipe out in Coinstar. Notably, at position 4, is Jim O’Neill’s latest fiefdom, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, which continues to live up to its reputation of one of the worst asset managers on Wall Street.”


  95. Don’t look now, but the muni market is beginning to die.

  96. Nomad says:


    Now that the new year is hear, I expect to see more listings on GSMLS. Am I correct that you post new listings for the counties on this site that compare # units listed YTD vs LYTD? If so, do things in NJ typically start to heat up late Feb?


  97. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Q for the crowd

    If a deal offers a car at once price online and has a higher sticker price on the floor, are they required to honor the lower price as advertised???

  98. Outofstater says:

    #101 In theory, yes, but make sure you print out the online offer. I had an online offer from a Toyota dealer but when I went in to test drive the car and showed them the offer they had made me, they said that “someone made a mistake.” Yeah right. I got offers from other Toyota dealers and talked to several and they all said they couldn’t match the offer and couldn’t see how I got one so low so who knows. Check the USAA auto buying guide too. That will at least give you an idea of how out of whack a dealer’s initial offer is.

  99. Essex says:

    102. Cause it’s a Toyota. Why the hell anyone would buy one is beyond me. Seriously. Bland cars with zero appeal and another offshore firm.

  100. Essex says:

    97. The Revolution is over. The Realtors lost.

  101. ricky_nu says:

    so – a house is in pre-foreclosure

    question for the crowd – how might one proceed in pursuing such a house with a low-ball offer? what are the pitfalls etc?

  102. Schrodinger's Cat says:


    the online price was about 2k less then the floor price. The floor price is what I would have expected for this car, a used sequoia. The online price has been up for a week and I printed it out on 2 different days.

  103. BlindJust says:

    Bystander –
    I was in the same position Jan of last year. The budget for two of the projects I was managing was cut to 0. I reached out to other program managers and offered my team’s help; I was well received and kept all employed to this day.

    In parallel to that effort, I’d recommend updating and circulating your resume. There’s an abundance of consulting positions out there now.

  104. Schrodinger's Cat says:



  105. BlindJust says:

    Check the small print. There’s likely some disclaimer about availability or buyer qualification. Find out what the TMV is at edmunds.com. This is a decent guide for what others are paying.

    I typically will pay $250 over invoice. When the salesman moans about the offer, I ask them what the holdback is (http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/dealer-holdback/).

    Regarding this VW discussion, I’ll never buy another. Not that I ever wanted to initially, it was the wife’s decision. Lexus? No – too BIG.

    That car, still under warranty, had signs of transmission issues. Took it to the dealer and they said they wouldn’t fix it as the car still ran fine. So, I traded it for my desired price (X*1.07 sales tax savings).

    Get $250 over invoice, pay cash, sell at retail, and you’ll realize a substantial savings over leasing.

  106. Outofstater says:

    #107 Ket – then if it is the same vehicle, same VIN, same dealership, you should get it for the online price.

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