2012 – Year of the bottom in housing?

From the Star Ledger:

The new year could bring opportunities for home buyers; market expected to improve by mid-year

Are we at the bottom of the housing market?

It’s the primary question on the minds of real estate agents and analysts. Have we hit bottom yet? Are we close? Or are we rebounding by now? It could be months or years before the numbers from home sales and prices prove any conclusion, but by that time the buyer-friendly market could be shifting back to the sellers’ favor, experts said.

“My read is, several years from now we’ll look back at 2012 as having been one of those rare homebuying opportunities that comes along once or twice in a generation,” said Jeffrey Otteau, a real estate analyst and president of Otteau Valuation Group in East Brunswick.

Prices and interest rates are low, and job creation is starting to look more positive, he said. Home sales could regain their footing somewhere around mid-2012 and begin to build from there, he said.

“The buyers’ lament will be, ‘I wish I had bought then,’ ” Otteau said. “By then, those buyers will be looking at higher prices and higher interest rates for the same houses.”

Various economic indicators released in recent weeks show a housing market that will face a bumpy recovery.

All the figures are making buyers wonder when is a good time to make a move.

“Buyers face this dilemma of ‘how long do I wait,’ and if they think prices are going down, ‘do I wait at all?’” said Gary Large, president of New Jersey Association of Realtors and branch manager of Prudential New Jersey Properties in Morristown.

“Trying to time the market,” Large said, “is very difficult and not a wise strategy.”

From a buyer’s perspective, that means understanding that “cheaper is not always better,” Otteau said. Houses listed at a bargain price will not hold their value as long as or rise as quickly as those that are near employment centers or transportation corridors, and the buyer will end up paying the difference in gas and commuting costs.

The trick to sell, industry leaders said, is to price a house properly. If the listing price is too high, offers could come in significantly lower or the house could stay on the market so long buyers think something is amiss.

“Sellers really have to be aggressive to get their homes sold,” Large said. “The buyers have so much information at their fingertips that they can spot an overpriced listing a mile away, and so they don’t want to look at it.”

Recovery will happen once buyers are confident again and decide that prices won’t drop any further, experts said.

That could happen as soon as mid-2012, and appreciation could start — slowly — by 2013.

“That’s really why people are on the sidelines,” Otteau said. “Prices have corrected, interest rates are cheap, job security is better than it was, but now the next question is, ‘Is the value of this asset going to go lower?’’”

“And by the time the public gets comfortable with that,” he added, “prices will have already started rising.”

From CNBC:

Housing’s New Hope

I’m not sure if it’s that usual New Year’s Eve optimism evoked by the generic philosophy that the grass is always greener on the other side of the calendar year, or perhaps the emotional need to dig ourselves out of what has surely been one of the more lugubrious periods in the U.S. economy, but there is some hope in housing.

A few positive readings in home sales and housing starts recently, topped off by today’s 7.4 percent monthly jump in contracts to buy existing homes, are fueling what I dare say is a spark, albeit not a fire. They are also managing to trump what was a particularly opposing reading in home prices from the number crunchers at S&P/Case-Shiller this week.

Then there is a big story in the Wall Street Journal today of hedge funds putting their money back in housing, suggesting that while the numbers aren’t all there for a big win, these funds are usually ahead of big market shifts, so the housing surge must be on its way. I’ve spoken to some of these hedge fund types as well, and they seem to be playing on the surging rental market for now, getting the bargains but not expecting any big “flipping” returns any time soon.

“Bottom line, whether due to even lower prices, historically low mortgage rates, falling inventory and a better tone to the labor market or a combination of all, the housing market is showing signs of stabilizing,” says Peter Boockvar at Miller Tabak. “I say stabilize instead of bottom, as its too early to make that claim just yet with still a huge amount of foreclosures that hasn’t worked its way through the judicial system and prices that haven’t likely stopped going down as a result.”

It’s all relative. Are things getting a bit better? Probably. I heard (or read…can’t remember) someone today say that housing has gone from a negative to a nothing for the U.S. economy. So when we tout and rave about today’s pending home sales numbers, we mustn’t forget where we’ve been:

“It’s not going to keep 2011 from being the worst on record for new home sales, for single family permits and single family housing starts. Next year is going to be better, but that’s not saying much because this has been the worst year, probably since 1945,” said IHS Global Insight’s Patrick Newport. In other words, housing ain’t exactly fecund, but it’s at least inching off life support.

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121 Responses to 2012 – Year of the bottom in housing?

  1. grim says:

    From Jeff Otteau’s December report:

    New Jersey Home Sales Rise Again, Up in 6 of Last 7 Months

    Evidence is quietly mounting that the housing market is transitioning toward recovery in New Jersey where pending contract-sales have now risen in 6 of the last 7 months. This trend began all the way back in May when home sales rose for the first time in more than a year following the expiration of the home buyer tax credits in April 2010. Since then, contracts signed to purchase a home have risen at an average monthly rate of 6%. That this average monthly increase matches the November data suggests that the trend is not weakening and is therefore likely to continue into 2012.

  2. grim says:

    From the Record:

    Property tax hikes ease

    Property tax collections in Bergen and Passaic counties rose again in 2011, but by some of the smallest rates in the past decade.

    The latest tax bills that went out in the fall — the first since the state enacted a 2 percent cap on communities’ overall tax levies — reflected levy increases that were less than half of what homeowners absorbed throughout most of the 2000s in a majority of the municipalities in Bergen and Passaic counties.

    And in a few communities, the total amount paid for municipal, school and county taxes actually went down, according to an analysis by The Record.

    No doubt, property taxes continue to soak up more and more of North Jersey homeowners’ incomes, with the median residential bill in Bergen County now at $9,203, and the median bill in Passaic County at $8,619, the analysis found.

    But the overall amount to be raised by taxes in 2011 was up by only 2.6 percent in Bergen County, from $3.28 billion to $3.37 billion. The property tax levy in most of Passaic County rose from $1.06 billion to $1.09 billion, a hike of 2.7 percent; that number does not include Paterson, which saw a double-digit jump due in part to a loss of state aid.

    A year earlier, the increases in Bergen and Passaic — Paterson included — topped 4 and 5 percent, respectively, and were well over 6 percent earlier in the decade.

    The slower rate of growth in 2011 coincided with the new 2 percent cap on property tax levies that went into effect statewide on Jan. 1, 2011.

    The new limit — the result of a law enacted in 2010 by Governor Christie and the Democratic-controlled Legislature — cut in half the 4 percent cap that had been in place and also eliminated many exceptions. Only rising costs tied to debt and capital projects, public employee benefits and public emergencies are now outside the cap.

    “You’re definitely seeing the impact of having that standard established,” said Jerry Cantrell, president of the New Jersey Taxpayers Alliance. “You’re seeing progress.”

    A recent statewide survey of mayors by the New Jersey League of Municipalities found nearly 70 percent of those who responded reported tax levy increases of 2 percent or less in 2011.

    In North Jersey communities in 2011, increases in the property tax levy in 28 towns came in under the 2-percent limit — and the levies actually dropped in Carlstadt, Englewood, Norwood, Teterboro and Passaic, The Record’s analysis found.

    The only North Jersey municipalities, in addition to Paterson, where the tax levy went up by at least 5 percent were Alpine, Edgewater, Hackensack, Northvale, Rockleigh, Saddle Brook and Westwood.

    But in most years during the past decade, the majority of communities were recording annual increases of that magnitude.

  3. grim says:

    From the Press of Atlantic City:

    Prices and sales of homes expected to rise in 2012

    Real estate industry professionals won’t feel any nostalgia for 2011, which saw the double dip in home prices continue and sales fall more than 4 percent.

    But at least the year ended with numerous indicators showing prices stabilizing again and sales picking up.

    Forecasts by Fiserv and the National Association of Realtors say prices will start rising in early to mid-2012. The NAR reports sales already have turned around with a dramatic 17 percent gain in the third quarter.

    The Economist magazine, which tracks prices of homes globally and since 1975 has estimated their fair value based on incomes and housing rents, says U.S. home prices “now look cheap.”

    So 2012 looks fairly certain to be an improvement over this year for the existing homes market – once the still fairly dismal current conditions pass.

    Fiserv, whose Case-Shiller home price indexes show the second dip began in 2010, expects U.S. home prices to fall another 3.6 percent by the second quarter of 2012 – but then rise 2.4 percent in the following 12 months.

    Fiserv’s chief economist, David Stiff, said prices could stabilize earlier if economic growth has picked up more than expected toward the end of 2011.

    The National Association of Realtors similarly expects existing home prices to increase 1.2 percent in 2012.

    NAR expects the annual pace of home sales to rebound to 5.2 million, after falling to 4.9 million in the second and third quarters this year.

    The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Home Price Index – based on purchase and refinancing prices of particular houses – shows a 7 percent decline in Atlantic County for the 12 months ended Sept. 30. Cape May County prices fell 8 percent and Cumberland County 10 percent.

    Figures from the New Jersey Association of Realtors, which looked at any home sold in the third quarter, show a 4 percent price decline for the past 12 months in Atlantic County, a 5 percent drop in Cape May County and a 4 percent decline in Cumberland.

    NJAR also breaks out data for Ocean County (not a federal Metropolitan Statistical Area and therefore not included in other surveys), which also saw prices fall 4 percent.

    A third survey from CoreLogic, a private provider of business information and services, had Atlantic County home prices falling 6 percent from October 2010 to October 2011. In Cape May County they fell 5 percent and in Cumberland County 4 percent.

    The NJAR survey also showed a small increase in home affordability, which was already very good. In the third quarter, New Jersey home buyers needed to put just 17 percent of their income toward paying the principal and interest on their mortgages.

    Fiserv’s Stiff said that affordability has reached record levels nationwide, with mortgage payments accounting for just 13 percent of median family income.

  4. serenity now says:

    Hey Grim I have noticed your position on housing has become noticeably less
    bearish, is this a result of more positive data points or a self centered change of
    change of heart now that you are an owner?
    If I had to guess who on this Blog was most likely to “nail” the bottom I would have
    expected it to be you. BTW Happy New Year.

  5. funnelcloud says:

    Happy New Year !!!! Good Morning Mike
    Buyers Lament?
    Where’s all the money coming from to buy these houses? Is there Job creation that”s going to help revitalize housing?
    Just don’t see it.

  6. grim says:

    Numbers finally made sense, so I bought. I wouldn’t have bought if I thought prices were going to continue to plummet. You can say I put my money where my mouth was. Seems pretty silly though, given my background, to pigeonhole me into the “I bought, so housing hit a bottom” troll camp.

  7. grim says:

    I don’t claim to have “nailed” the bottom though.

  8. serenity now says:

    Re#7 I know you are above making such a claim even if it was painfully obvious
    you had nailed it. That being said ….I hope you did!

  9. Dissident HEHEHE says:


    You may have nailed the bottom. Problem is unless things change the bottom is likely to be 2012-2025.

  10. Extinction before recovery.

  11. No stabilization, when your local Politburo can tax you into oblivion.

  12. gary says:

    Prices and interest rates are low, and job creation is starting to look more positive, he said. Home sales could regain their footing somewhere around mid-2012 and begin to build from there, Otteau said.

    Star light, star bright…. Why do heads continously pound heads like a bunch of nillys in a funny farm? Toll hikes, property tax hikes, a decade long wage freeze, zero job creation on top of zero job security and they just keep wheeling out the same f*cking ridiculous blanket statements every week for the past five years. It’s f*cking exhausting.

  13. War before recovery.

    “As expected yesterday, when the US went out full bore with a Japan-lite approach of McCollum-like strategy of leaving Iran no option but to keep escalating until finally the US has enough public support grounds for a response, in under 24 hours Iran has launched a second missile, this time not a medium-range SAM to a long-range shore-to-sea missile. Needless to say, the US 5th Navy is watching these quite welcome developments with great interest. From Reuters: “Iran said on Monday it had successfully test fired a long-range missile during its naval exercise in the Gulf, flexing its military muscle to show it could hit Israel and U.S. bases in the region if attacked. The announcement came amid rising tension over Iran’s disputed nuclear programme which Western powers believe is working on developing atomic bombs. Tehran denies the accusation and last week said it would stop the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz if the West carried out threats to impose sanctions on its oil exports.” At this point it is glaringly obvious to all but the most confused that the US is consistently pushing Iran to escalate further and further, until such time as the US ships stationed in Bahrain say enough and decide it is time to sink some boats.”


  14. gary says:

    No doubt, property taxes continue to soak up more and more of North Jersey homeowners’ incomes, with the median residential bill in Bergen County now at $9,203, and the median bill in Passaic County at $8,619, the analysis found.

    Think real f*cking hard now! What happens when property taxes sky-rocket on top of a meteoric rise in house prices? Think! Which one is more likely to plummet? You think property taxes will drop? LMAO!!! How often does @sshats like Otteau and his house tour guide cronies talk about taxes? It’s the same f*cking mantra over and over.

  15. gary says:

    Giants 31 – Cowboys 14

    Any questions? B1tch?

  16. yo says:

    I think home prices are stabilizing.The key will be how long interest rates stays low.A $230,000 home today with a 20% down at 4% rate,mortgage is $878.If rates goes up 300 basis points at 7% mortgage at $1224.A big jump.Buyers realize that interest rates will not stay low forever,this will create a temporary stabilization on housing.When rates start going up and reach an increase of 100 basis points all buyers will panic and create a temporary sellers market.The Fed promised low rates until 20013,this will help stabilize home prizes while rent is going up 5% annually.

  17. gary says:

    When rates start going up and reach an increase of 100 basis points all buyers will panic and create a temporary sellers market.

    Sell? Sell to whom?

  18. gary says:

    A $230,000 home today with a 20% down at 4% rate

    1) How many have an 800+ FICO with assets to spare in order to get a 4% rate?
    2) What does a $230,000 house look like in the state of NJ?
    3) Is it still “affordable” when we factor in $800 per month in property taxes?

  19. freedy says:


    good luck with that house you want to buy in NJ with a value of 250k and a 11k tax bill in a shit town like bergenfield, garfield, dumont,riveredge,but your in Bergen county

  20. Barbara says:

    there can be a slowly stabilizing market while listings are still over priced. the two are not mutually exclusive. I think it will flat line for 4 years, like it did last time.

  21. yo says:

    As per Grim’s Stat the other day.NJ residents are still making money and have more buying power today.

    grim says:
    December 30, 2011 at 11:11 am
    More on the stratification/change of buyer:

    Income Level/2010 buyer breakdown/2004 buyer breakdown

    $0-$44,999k / 8.5% – 14.2%
    $45,000 – $64,999 / 14% – 21.6%
    $65,000 – $84,999 / 15.9% – 15.4%
    $85,000 – $124,999 / 29.5 % – 26.6%
    $125,000+ / 32.1% – 22.2%

    (non adjusted)

    In 2010, 32% of buyers had an income of $125,000 or more, versus 22% in 2003.

    This is huge.

    Heck, $200k and greater made up 14.2% of all 2010 sales vs 9.9% in 2003.

  22. gary says:

    If there’s still any doubt here, ask Clot or 30 yr. realtor to describe what the market looks like and where it’s headed. Ask Grim how many times he used his credit card or wrote a check in the last 12 months being a new homeowner. You want to get nauseous this morning?

  23. yo says:

    If property taxes can be capped at 2% and rent goes up by more than 5%,figure which will be unsustainable

  24. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Yo the rent can be capped as no one takes the bid. Taxes you pay or they take the house.

  25. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Go Gary!

  26. gary says:

    1) Property taxes
    2) Food
    3) Electric
    4) Gasoline
    5) Heating Oil/Natural Gas
    6) Lending Standards/Means to Leverage

    Got buying power?

  27. gary says:

    17 years, two houses, multiple property tax rate hikes; ask me where house prices are headed.

  28. yo says:

    2 income middle tier family will have sufficient extra money left after paying housing,At an interest rate of 4 to 5% housing is affordable at todays home prices.If one loose a job,one income be able to pay for housing if buying at the low range homes.Ofcourse,I am not talking about the location of homes most here wants to buy.

  29. Barbara says:

    Playing the mve out card with a landlord looking to increase based on the allowable % works well for the single or dinks, however throw a couple kids and all your furniture and then price out a moving company for just a cross town move. $1200 is a pretty fair estimate. Also once your friends hit their 40s with kids of their own, move out Saturdays with pizza and beer aren’t so cute anymore.

  30. gary says:


    How long have you owned your home?

  31. Mikeinwaiting says:

    YO 230k house where then what location? Grim is in Wayne not Brigadoon how much was his plus all the work. Maybe the war zone with diversity that would make the UN proud & sh*t schools. Up by me in Vernon yes, but we are very far out there.

  32. grim says:

    Ask Grim how many times he used his credit card or wrote a check in the last 12 months being a new homeowner. You want to get nauseous this morning?

    Grass is really expensive, really really expensive. Dirt too, don’t get me started on dirt.

  33. Barbara says:

    If you are living in a train town to go into manhattan for your 40 k job, maybe you need to rethink your career or your location. I know I did.

  34. Barbara says:

    I wish houses would crash further and everyone became tenants, my lord I would be making some serious. You know that water finding it’s own level thing? That.

  35. yo says:

    let us look at actual numbers.

    I know somebody that owns 2 houses one bought in 1995 and the other in 2006.Both houses in NJ.Refinanced the 1995 home and took $290k to pay for the 2006 home.Mortgage is $1657 at 5.6%.Took $100k loan for the 2006 home mortgage at $567 at 5%.Property tax is 1995 home is $5600 and 2006 home is $6500. All utilities and food can be paid with one income of $120k.No car mortgage,paid in cash.Pays for college in rutgers lives at home.Another income for spouse will just be extra money.

    Bring all this numbers to todays home prices,this friend will be vacationing like JJ

  36. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Barb 30,34 I am in Vernon NJ no train town! I am well over 40 3 kids sold 06 moved 3 times last move 680 bucks ( saved bill to show landlord increase I roll), moved 4.5 miles. Never left my town daughter in same school, pain in a** yes but we are real pros now, no big deal. My last move saved 275 a month from 2000 sq ft town home to larger house, yard, shed, garage, central ac etc. No one has pot to p*ss in up here so I can do well as I pay a year up front.

  37. Barbara says:

    Mike, sorry when I said “you” I meant anyone in that situation, not specifically you.

  38. Mikeinwaiting says:

    No biggy Barb, where I am it is just sort of different demand for sure ability to pass a credit check ,references, enough money to pay in general ,nope.

  39. Barbara says:

    I would say to any buyer, only make multiple offers with short expiration dates and don’t blink.

  40. funnelcloud says:

    A friends kid just bought a house in the Charlotte suburbs,,,, paid 270k, Got all closing fee’s covered, Brand new all brick, 3400 sq ft, 5/3, granite, stainless kitchen 1/2 acre a block off lake, a real man “whore” cave for a single guy,,, oh yea tax bill $2600..yr….
    I know, I know,,”but it ain’t New Jersey”

  41. freedy says:


    Atlantic City searching for ideas .

    lease post for the Commission

  42. Barbara says:

    The big difference from bubble to bust is that people are finally determining value based on what is actually inside. For years, I was expected to pay for a property’s potential, now buyers are only paying for what is in front of them in the real.

  43. yo says:

    My point with this numbers is, this friend has a mortgage $390K @ $2100 a month and a property tax of $12K bought in 2006 and can afford to pay at 2006 prices at an income of $120k.Prices of homes have lost 30 to 40% if you look hard and mortgage can be cut in half.that is an extra $1000 of disposable a month.

    yo says:
    January 2, 2012 at 9:18 am
    let us look at actual numbers.

    I know somebody that owns 2 houses one bought in 1995 and the other in 2006.Both houses in NJ.Refinanced the 1995 home and took $290k to pay for the 2006 home.Mortgage is $1657 at 5.6%.Took $100k loan for the 2006 home mortgage at $567 at 5%.Property tax is 1995 home is $5600 and 2006 home is $6500. All utilities and food can be paid with one income of $120k.No car mortgage,paid in cash.Pays for college in rutgers lives at home.Another income for spouse will just be extra money.

    Bring all this numbers to todays home prices,this friend will be vacationing like JJ

  44. SX says:

    Oh Babs you are the optimist today! For realz.

  45. gary says:


    That house has been listed for at least 8 months. Just imagine the “goodies” waiting to be uncovered within the envelope of that dwelling.

  46. Barbara says:

    There are a lot of 40 k jobs to be had in manhattan, and it’s the post graduates who can afford to work them while chasin’ their dreams on mommy and daddy’s credit. manhattan is in many ways an adult Disney World, a playground removed from economic and social realities for the many that use it.

  47. Barbara says:

    Still, nj housing stock is 80% the suck. you know it, I know it.

  48. Fabius Maximus says:

    #47 Gary

    Ok, Waldwick and you have 30K spare for repairs.


  49. Barbara says:

    Fab, why even consider that house when suicide is still an option?

  50. gary says:

    Budget calculations are great in theory, aren’t they? It’s sort of like communism; it looks good on paper until you actually implement the plan and realize it can quickly turn into a f*cking disaster. Over the years, I’ve learned many valuable lessons and came away with some minor nicks and bruises. Today, it’s a whole different story. Young fawns are being led to slaughter saddled with tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt being convinced they’re just doing what everyone else is doing.

    One spouse loses a job but we can still scratch by with one salary. Oh, but wait… we didn’t calculate the loss of benefits. Tack $1000+ on to your monthly nut just to avoid medical catastrophy. Sh1t, didn’t calculate that one. Roof started leaking really bad after the last rain storm? Need a new roof? Sh1t, I calculated that it was going to last another 4 years. You catch my drift.

    When resistance becomes too great, something’s gotta give. House prices still have a way to go…. top of the 5th inning folks.

  51. Deb says:

    Gary #19, you are completely correct. Mikeinwaiting, be careful about prepaying rent…it is ILLEGAL in the state of New Jersey, and if your landlord should decide to “forget” that you have already paid for a year, you would have NO legal recourse. You could lose it all.

  52. gary says:


    That one is better but it’s on a double yellow road. And I love when they try real hard not to disclose last years property taxes. Just a mere technicality.

  53. Barbara says:

    55. Grim,
    Photoshop called, it wants its soul back.

  54. gary says:

    Speaking of calculations:

    Tebow < Romo < E.Manning

    Any Questions?

  55. grim says:

    If you thought BC was expensive, try Hong Kong for some laughs.

  56. chicagofinance says:


    Subway gun nut

    Last Updated: 5:43 AM, January 2, 2012

    Posted: 2:54 AM, January 2, 2012

    More Print Cops busted a turnstile jumper yesterday — and found he was armed to the teeth with enough firepower for a mass murder.

    Reggie Allen, 39, of Columbia, SC, was allegedly carrying two fully loaded weapons — a handgun in his waistband and a machine gun in a bag — as well as an ammo clip for the machine gun.

    More than 30 bullets were in the guns and clip.

    Allen — who sports a tattoo on his neck saying, “Me Against the World’’ — was caught at 5:25 p.m. at the busy station at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue. He faces a variety of weapons charges.

  57. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Deb 53 I have a signed contract that he accepted the year up front. Let us go before a judge with contract & copy of cashed check think I will lose?

  58. Anon E. Moose says:

    Chifi [60];

    Continues to amaze me how many idiot criminals get popped for jumping a $2.25 turnstile in the subway.

  59. Anon E. Moose says:

    Here’s what it takes to sell luxury real estate these days:


  60. Fabius Maximus says:

    #51 Barb,

    Is this more to your taste?

    The more I look, more keep popping out of the woodwork.

  61. grim says:

    Median property tax bill fell 7.9% in Englewood this past year…

    Still, wouldn’t want to live there.

  62. Gifter says:

    You’d need a small arsenal to defend that POS living in that shit hole. Perhaps Reggie Allen was on his way home .

  63. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    I’m so conflicted. I really wanted to see the Meadowlands dark, but Cruz is from my alma mater

  64. SX says:

    58. Finally we agree on something….which Manning though?! (Joking)

  65. SX says:

    58. oh I see the “e” there. Nevamind

  66. SX says:

    49. Big time! I think between Gulag Chic Concrete block and wooden frame POS we have more crappy shacks here prices too high to believe that anyone that truly moves here has a special type of mania. I once went to see a place where they had a pink room filled with barbies. One room. It was pure comedic gold.

  67. gary says:

    Moose [63],

    lol! I’m speechless!

  68. gary says:

    grim [72],

    Somewhere in mid 2010, an attempt was made to resuscitate the body to no avail. The victim slipped into unconsciousness and ultimately, death. The aftermath is observing the corpse as it slowly decays.

  69. Anon E. Moose says:

    Redux [60, 62];

    I remember years back in Rochester (NY) the cable company ran a TV ad campaign promising “amnesty” to any people stealing cable service by splicing off a neighbor’s line or whatever. I imagine it got them about as many new customers as any other more common ad campaign (3 free months of HBO, etc.).

    I think the MTA should launch an ad campaign directed at criminals who jump the turnstiles — “Jason Bourne pays his fare, and he hasn’t been arrested yet”. Then they can list all the other criminal masterminds who were popped because they tried to get out of paying $2.

  70. 3b says:

    gary: according to the article we better hurry and buy or we will be facing higher prices and higher interest rates. Same old krap every year.

    As far as NJ buyers having more to spend because they make more, is any one factoring in the student loan debts these younger couples are paying? I know quite a few and the amount of loans they have are staggering, add that to the mtg payment every month. I also know quite a few mid to late 20’s living in Manhattan still with 2 sometimes more room mates. Rent every month, student loan payments, and Manhattan expensive social life. These people are not buying any time soon,and they dont want to.

    I was in my mid 20’s when I bought my first house, my friends too all around the same age, I don;t think you have very many 25 year olds buying houses today.

  71. NJCoast says:


    Keep the condo…but how much for the pool boy?

  72. Sell? Sell to whom? Take a look at homebuying patterns among the young in Third World countries if you want to get a preview of the next 20 years here.

    Hell, take a look at post-boom homebuying patterns in Euro-periphery countries (you can probably start and end with Italy and Spain). Not too much taste for homeownership with collapsing credit markets, 25%+ UE, crippling taxation, austerity and outright destruction of fiat underway.

    There will be people in the current generation who live at home until they’re 40. Welcome to the US version of the Japanese girly-man.

  73. 3b says:

    #80 Meat: What happes when rates go to 7 or 8%, which they will at some point?? just saying.

  74. 3b (81)-

    Rates can go to 0% or 12%. In a deflationary credit collapse, it doesn’t matter.

    Housing demand is not a function of money rates anymore. It is, however, a gauge of solvency and confidence in the future.

    All the world over, fiat is dying. Perhaps when the corpse begins to bloat and stink, someone will take notice.

  75. SX says:

    83. And don’t forget, the desire to contribute to a “community”. (LOL)

  76. I’d like to contribute to my community by burning down a couple of abandoned FKs where the bank has refused to maintain the properties.

  77. Yes…in prestigious Hunterdon County.

  78. Shore Guy says:

    crank up the prices in the midtown direct train towns:


    What a bad jump-start to the new year for motorists.

    Drivers are furious over the hefty new 50 percent toll hike on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway.

    “I come into town 22 times a month. That’s $88 more dollars I have to cough up,” fumed Hackettstown, NJ, store manager Joe Kaiser, 57.

    “I’m not getting an $88 raise,” he said of the hike that went into effect at 6:30 a.m. yesterday.

    Combined with the Port Authority’s September toll hike at Hudson River bridge and tunnel crossings — cash payments went from $8 to $12 — Kaiser said he’d soon go broke.

    “The George Washington Bridge, that’s about $1,000 a year. Add the turnpike, and you could have to cough up $2,000 a year just to get to work,” Kaiser griped.

    Other drivers said they faced a similar dilemma: either pay the sky-high tolls or not go to work.

    Del Tinuowe, 32, a travel consultant who lives in Jersey City, spewed: “It’s definitely upsetting. I come into the city for work every day, and it’s already a big hit. But if I don’t pay it, I can’t work.”

    The average passenger- vehicle toll rose from $2.20 to $3.30 on the turnpike and from 70 cents to $1.05 on the parkway, according to NJ Turnpike Authority officials.

    The average truck toll increased from $7.95 to $12.15.

    Here’s one breakdown of how the hike will affect motorists’ pocketbooks: It will now cost commuters $4.60 instead of $3 for a 16-mile toll trip from Exit 12 in Carteret on the turnpike to the Lincoln Tunnel.

    That means a round-trip cash or E-ZPass commute from Carteret to the city that once cost $14 is now a whopping $21.80.

    The average truck toll jumped from $7.95 to $12.15 on the turnpike and $1.40 to $2.15 on the parkway.


  79. Shore Guy says:


    They take your cash . . . in so many ways.

    Port Authority toll collectors not only grab your money at New York-New Jersey crossings, they’re now pulling down stunning six-figure salaries funded by the levies you pay at bridges and tunnels.

    Twenty-four toll collectors at the bi-state agency have made more than $80,000 so far in 2011 — payments pumped up by massive overtime. Seven of those workers took in $90,000 or more.


    But that’s chump change to the top toll taker.

    Warren Stevens has made $102,670 so far this year — $40,614 of it OT.

    With overtime paid at time-and-a-half, Stevens averaged about 20 hours of OT per week, or about 130 extra eight-hour shifts per year, an analysis of PA data shows.

    Karen DuPree is the No. 2 highest-paid toll taker, making $97,621 — more than a third of it from overtime pay of $37,470.

    The annual salaries will only swell since the figures released Friday for all 6,777 PA employees do not include December paychecks.

    Princesella Smith, 51, who has made $89,599 working the toll lanes at the George Washington Bridge this year, understandably loves her profession.

    “I’m blessed,” she told The Post. “I have a great job, and in this economy it’s great that I can cover everything with my eight hours a day and overs.”

    The driving public is a little less enthused, especially after the PA hiked tolls $4 this past summer at its six crossings.

    “Any commuter is going to be outraged,” said Cathleen Lewis, a spokeswoman for AAA New Jersey. “Any toll increase should be paying for infrastructure . . . It shouldn’t be paying for excessive salaries.”

    Toll collectors — whose ranks have dwindled to 147 as they are replaced by the electronic E-ZPass system — aren’t the only ones cashing in.

    Port Authority gardeners are raking in big bucks, too. At least 11 of them bring in annual salaries of more than $80,000.

    Michael Finlator has earned $94,106 in 2011 as a gardener. More than $24,000 of that comes from overtime.

    Fernando Ippolito, a blacksmith, took in more than $146,000.

    Louis LaCapra, the PA’s chief administrative officer, made the most of any agency employee, bringing in $324,940 so far.

    Kevin Cottrell, the agency’s top paid cop, made $265,059 in 2011.


  80. You think the gubmint hasn’t declared war on you? Re-read #87 and #88 until the understanding pierces your brain.

  81. I take the Pulaski every day. Only sheeple pay car ransom (er, tolls).

  82. Shadow of John says:

    “I take the Pulaski every day”

    I had my suspicions. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

  83. Shore Guy says:


    What were they selling again? Tennis skirts or something?

  84. Shore Guy says:

    Let the games begin:

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Flippers, the real estate investors who buy homes on the cheap and quickly resell them at a profit, just got a reprieve from the Federal Housing Administration.

    In an effort to help stabilize housing prices and unload some of the foreclosures that are flooding low-income communities, the mortgage insurer extended a waiver of its anti-flipping regulations through 2012.



  85. yo says:

    One test of affordabilty no one will question here is the PITI 30% of gross income.
    I will use Grims $125,000+ / 32.1% – 22.2% stat.

    A family buying a home making $125,000 annually.House is $260,000 today putting 20% down at 4% interest will have mortgage of $993.00 a month,taxes at $10,000,I think you can get a lot lower and insurance of $1300 a year will hae a total annual payment of $23,216.A PITI of 18.57%.And a family with an annual income of $100,000 will have a PITI of 23.21%.

    They still have a lot of buying power to get to 30% PITI

  86. Shore Guy says:

    “PITI 30% of gross income.”

    This is pronounced “Pity”?

  87. cobbler says:

    yo [95]
    Right now, for a $125K+ family buying is more an issue of confidence than of affordability. If one feels that he/she has >30% chance of losing a job within the next couple of years, and not finding another one paying anywhere close, buying is dumb unless one decides to default even before signing the mortgage (and then, if one uses a 20% down route, it is dumb as well).

  88. Shore Guy says:

    Given the current state of interest rates, is there any reason why one would use a 1034 exchange to buy a house right now?

  89. Shore Guy says:

    Hummmmm. Which of these things don’t seem to go together:

    “995 days on market”

    “SHORT SALE and owners are MOTIVATED!”

  90. yo says:

    I agree.It is more of a Fear factor but with this numbers a spouse making $50,000 annually will be able to pay PITI without defaulting and still put bread in the table

  91. Barbara says:

    Individuals are the new special interest. Take a moment to review every family/couple you know whereat least one is a govt employee or a private contractor working with govt contracts and/or is subsidized for any number of reasons. Do that now and know that you are beat.

  92. babs (101)-

    It’d be easier if all these people were in the Cosa Nostra.

    In a way, I guess they are.

  93. Gubmint is the new mafia.

  94. Fabius Maximus says:

    I wonder what my Turnpike toll will go to. I get on at Teaneck and ride all the way down to 15x for a quarter. I take the eastern spurr from 1&9 at 495 back up to Teaneck for free as there are no tolls.

  95. Barbara says:

    I’ve seen first hand how to engineer a ghetto. First, make sure everyone’s bread us buttered just enough to stifle any restlessness.

  96. freedy says:

    At what point does anybody rebel? or to lazy and stupid

  97. cobbler says:

    fab [104]
    Our turnpike/parkway tolls are more or less in line with the rest of the country even after the increase – but bridge/tunnel tolls are totally out of whack, I think the only more expensive one is Chesapeake which is like 20 times longer.

  98. NjescaPee says:

    I pay 3.75 on the FL Tpk to travel 60 miles. We have no toll booths. Road is well maintained, NJ toll roads are just more patronage. You are getting reamed up there

  99. Barbara says:

    Nj I use the fla trnpk all the time when visiting my dad, very convenient and cheap.

  100. cobbler says:

    Well, FL Tpk needs zero maintenance except for the killed gators removal – no snow cleanup or frost damage. Tolls on NY Thruway, Masspike, PA Tpk (which is always in a terrible shape) are pretty similar to ours if not higher.

  101. Gooners spit the bit against Fulham. Bunch of girly-man wankers.

  102. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [112] meat

    After getting bounced by Liverpool, I ain’t in the stonethrowing mood. Too much glass around.

  103. nj escapee says:

    cobbler I guess I need to drive more. haven’t seen a croc or gator on the Tpk or any other road. Face it, northeast toll-payers support bloated payrolls. I can’t imagine a toll taker worth $100k / yr. That is insane! Same skillset as a Walmart cashier.

  104. spyderjacks says:

    111:cobbler – Right-on! Next Barbara will be comparing heating bills in NJ vs. Southern California.

    If you look at what they charge for tolls in Northern Europe and along with the price of gas – we are nothing but a nation of whiners paying about 30% as much as the rest of the world. Of course, they are all socialist… making healthcare mandatory, and Finland is out assuring equal access to education… and can make payments with their cell phones. And we are stuck on creating wars and beating Mexicans who only want the work that white-folks will not do (at any price).

    Old-man reinvestor101 probably supports the tolls – everybody should be staying home, cutting their own firewood, and holding to their price.. to the grave… and beyond!

    And yes, I should stop drinking Dr. Pepper after 10pm.

  105. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [112] meat

    And we have a tough 2 0f 3 games coming up. Man U and Fulham, gotta take at least one of those, and if we lose to QPR, well, might as well take the pipe.

  106. SX says:

    115. You are right man you should stop slurping on that Doctor’s pecker after dark, but that is another story. Tell ya what if you can find a mile or more of smooth pavement in this state and ask yourself “why” the neighboring states with similar weather and yes population have a smoother ride. Cars kick ass and in this crap hole they can’t seem to figure out how to build and maintain a decent road. I have a theory about it in that most of the jerk offs that grew up here are functionally retarded and now work for the DOT.

  107. spyderjacks says:

    Actually, truck traffic is the big difference. Look at PA, for the length of 80. I think you have a smoother ride in Iraq with IEDs going off! NJ truck traffic is insane and chews up roads as fast as the crap weather and salting. The money burned on the NJ turnpike would be better off spent on improvements to the rail network – but that would require more than 90 days of advanced planning… Again, not an issue in Europe – you can take a train pretty much anywhere. Apparently, they plan to be around after we flame out! ;-)

  108. Fabius Maximus says:


    Utd, with a point to prove and looking to go top tomorrow, maybe they’ll give you a reach around and keep it close.
    Blackburn will do the double on you on Saturday and then you can pretty much close the books on the Toon season. Back to the mid table mediocrity you’re so used to.

    But you do have some good news, with Ba going to the ANC, he won’t be out the door in the transfer window and Thierry will be back in Harrison before you have to face us.

  109. cobbler says:

    escapee [114]
    Money from the yesterday’s toll increase will be mostly diverted into the Transportation Trust Fund – instead of raising the gas tax which hadn’t changed in 20 years or so (while the cost of oil = asphalt quadrupled, and everything else going into the road repair at least doubled), they decided to put it on the backs of Turnpike and Parkway users. Lucky me – I pay tolls only a couple of times a month…

  110. Kevin says:

    2012 does seem likely to be a bottom, but just because its a bottom, doesn’t necessarily mean home prices are going to start rising at historical rates and become a safe investment again. If you keep up with the stats, most factors are close to historical levels, which is good. However, usually in downturns there is some amount of overshoot before things start bouncing back. The wackiness is over, but there are still a large number of foreclosures and short sales still in the works. Inventory levels in my area have stabilized- the new inventory from high rises has mostly been worked through, and it seems like late 2010 was the peak of foreclosure sales.

    I think housing this year is going to be driven mostly by general economic factors- unemployment being the biggest concern, but that seems to be improving.

    Disclaimer: I bought in 10/2011 after being a housing bear and renting my primary residence for years.

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