Bad Vibes

From CNN/Money:

Housing market is a ‘crapshoot’

The housing market is a “crapshoot” now, according to one of America’s leading real estate experts.

Karl “Chip” Case is an economist whose name is synonymous with home prices. He is co-creator of the much watched S&P/Case-Shiller home price indexes with Bob Shiller, who won the Nobel Prize in economics last year.

“You’ve got much more negative vibrations in the housing surveys about homeownership than we ever had before,” Case told CNNMoney. “I think it’s because people got hosed. They thought that housing prices will never go down. That’s just bull — you know what.”

At age 67, Case still rattles off housing data with the kind of enthusiasm that most people use to recite popular song lyrics. For Case, the key metric to watch is housing starts, a measure of new residential home construction.

The housing starts figures have been “unbelievably regular” for 50 years, oscillating between a million a month (annualized) in not so great times and two million during peak economic times.

“Every time it’s gotten below a million in the past, it’s come right back,” Case says. Every time except the Great Recession.

He calls the real estate market “segmented” these days. It’s no longer a guarantee that housing prices will go up across the country. That only happens in some places at some times.

The demand side of the equation will also be key. Will millennials actually purchase homes? Will foreign buyers keep coming?

“The Chinese are coming over here with millions and billions of dollars, and they want to spend it on assets that tend to hold their value. And at least the theory is that housing does. But it is far from what it was in 2004,” Case notes.

The advice Case gives to first-time homebuyers is familiar to most. Be sure you can afford the house and don’t expect a quick profit.

“If you’re not buying it for the long haul, don’t buy because there’s a good chance you’ll have to sit through some down cycles. But when it goes, it’s very nice,” he says.

But even Case doesn’t always call housing trends correctly, at least in the short-term. He estimates that another property he owns lost close to half its value in the downturn. For now, he’s keeping it.

This entry was posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, Housing Recovery. Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to Bad Vibes

  1. Mike says:

    Good Morning New Jersey

  2. Case is a bagholder. Meh.

    “But even Case doesn’t always call housing trends correctly, at least in the short-term. He estimates that another property he owns lost close to half its value in the downturn. For now, he’s keeping it.”

  3. “With lakes, swimming holes, rivers, and pools beckoning, I went to a sporting goods chain store at the mall — where else? — seeking a new bathing suit (pardon the quaint locution). The store was curiously named Dick’s. All they had were clown trunks. By this I mean a garment designed to hang somewhere around mid-calf, instantly transforming a normally-proportioned adult male into a stock slapstick character: the oafish man-child.

    This being a commodious warehouse-style store, there was rack upon rack of different brands of bathing suits, all cut in the same clown style. I chanced by one of the sparsely-deployed employees and inquired if they had any swimming togs in a shorter cut.

    “What you see is alls we got,” he said.

    Even the Speed0 brand had gone clown — except for the bikini brief, which I wore back during 30 years of lap-swimming, but which I deemed not quite okay for an elderly gentleman on the casual summer swim scene. So I left Dick’s without a new suit, but not before having a completely unsatisfying conversation with one of the managers.

    “In the old days,” I explained, “bathing suits were designed to minimize the amount of cloth one dragged around in the water. These clown trunks you sell not only make a person look ridiculous, but they must be an awful drag in the water.”

    “That’s what they send us,” he said. “It’s alls we got.”

    The Fourth of July rolled in just in time to celebrate the disintegration of Iraq following our eight-year, three trillion dollar campaign to turn it into a suburb of Las Vegas. Me and my girl went over to the local fireworks show, held on the ballfield of a fraternal order lodge on the edge of town. The fire department had hung up a gigantic American Flag — like, fifty feet long! — off the er@ct ladder of their biggest truck, in case anybody forgot what country they were in. Personally, I was wondering what planet I was on. It was a big crowd, and every male in it was dressed in a clown rig.

    The complete outfit, which has (oddly) not changed in quite a few years (suggesting the tragic trajectory we’re on), includes the ambiguous long-short pants, giant droopy T- shirt (four-year-olds have proportionately short legs and long torsos), “Sluggo” style stubble hair, sideways hat (or worn “cholo” style to the front), and boat-like shoes, garments preferably all black, decorated with death-metal band logos. You can see, perhaps, how it works against everything that might suggest the phrase: “competent adult here.” Add a riot of aggressive-looking tattoos in ninja blade and screaming skull motifs and you get an additional message: “soci0pathic menace, at your service.” Finally, there is the question: just how much self-medication is this individual on at the moment? I give you: America’s young manhood.

    Does it seem crotchety to dwell on appearances? Sorry. The public is definitely sending itself a message disporting itself as it does in the raiment of clowning. Here in one of the “fly-over” zones of America — 200 miles north of New York City — the financial economy is mythical realm like Shangri-La and the real economy is somewhere between the toilet and a rat hole. Under the tyranny of chain stores, there really is no true local commercial economy. The few jobs here are menial and nearly superfluous to the automatic workings of the giant companies.

    I don’t have the statistics but I suspect a lot of the males around here are on federal disability payments, and probably in the psychological categories including “depression,” “learning disabilities,” “ADHD, and so on.” In such a situation, wouldn’t a person benefit from presenting himself as child-like, with a dash of menace? And wouldn’t it be advantageous to look that way all of the time, in case one was unexpectedly visited by a government employee?

    Down in Brooklyn, a world away, the young men go about in their hipster uniforms: Pee Wee Herman cut casuals. They’re still role-playing “the smart kid in the class” even though they’ve been out of class for a decade. Their computer dreams of IPO glory are formulated with the tunnel-vision of science fair projects. Left out are the realities of the greater unraveling.

    Women are not at the center of this story. Theirs is another story. Let some woman tell it before I get to it.

    Never has a society entered an epochal transition with such unpreparedness.

    Never has a society appeared so childishly decadent.”

  4. phoenix says:

    Here come the foreign buyers, purchasing with money earned by DeepPanda.
    More and more hardware/software exploits.
    Gonna get interesting when they shut off the power grid here.
    Light a candle and sing Kumbaya

  5. phoenix says:

    With a Wink we can unlock your doors and come in. No need for the giant battering ram anymore… WoooHOO.
    For Joyce..,news-19111.html

  6. Pine Valley says:

    Ever play Pine Valley?

    Most men of ambition would kill for the chance to play a bracing game at Pine Valley, the most celebrated, and exclusive, golf course in the world. And in the summer of his 30th birthday, Jeff Carpenter gets his chance.

    Trouble is, Jeff isn’t exactly a man of ambition, having put his literary dreams on hold 10 years ago for a soulless back office job. Nor did he ever master the art of the swing farther than once making par on the giant dinosaur hole at his local childhood mini golf.

    But a chance encounter with the son of Pine Valley’s most senior councilman at a Philadelphia gay bar, sparks a clandestine romance that plunges Jeff into a web of intrigue that threatens Pine Valley’s very existence.

  7. Essex says:

    7. Meh

  8. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    [7] Domestic spambot?

  9. Juice Box says:

    Pine valley meh. I will be playing Metedeconk National this weekend. I heard even scratch golfers do very badly here. I plan on hitting it softly and sweetly all day.

  10. Ragnar says:

    Sounds like “Pine Valley” has done some data mining on the posts of this board’s trolls and identified them as likely purchasers of this e-book.

  11. Libturd in Union says:

    Domestic spambot is a hell of a writer, though the story wreaks of mangravy.

  12. Juice Box says:

    Pine Valley had someone who could get you on the course for $. He was a former steward who was given some type of honorary membership for his long years of service when he retired. Well the old codger passed away this year at 105 yrs old, he also tried to make a buck selling the snapper soup the place is famous for.

    Snapping Turtles are from NJ and are damm ugly but are apparently tasty when simmered with butter for a few hours.

  13. Fast Eddie says:

    The housing starts figures have been “unbelievably regular” for 50 years, oscillating between a million a month (annualized) in not so great times and two million during peak economic times.

    “Every time it’s gotten below a million in the past, it’s come right back,” Case says. Every time except the Great Recession.

    Believe me when I tell you naïve little cats and kittens how truly f.ucked up is the current state of housing market in our area. The multiple listing sites are nothing more than a place holder for the unwanted, red-headed step children. The number of underwater, financially s.crewed bagholders is bibl1cal.

  14. Godzilla knows corruption says:

    I figure this was one this from the beginning.

    From business insider link

    Politics More: The XX Committee Cuba Intelligence Community Robert Menendez
    Here’s How Cuban Intelligence Successfully Smeared A US Senator
    The XX Committee

    John Schindler, The XX Committee

    Senator Robert Menendez

    One of the hardest things for normals – meaning those uninitiated to the world of espionage – to grasp is just how devious and nasty some intelligence agencies actually are, particularly if they are Russian or have been trained by Russians.

    For years, I’ve contended with uninformed people who simply cannot believe that the Kremlin’s special services, as they call them, actually do espionage, propaganda, sabotage, subversion, and terrorism, despite there being mountains of evidence that they do exactly that, most recently in Ukraine. And it’s not just the Russians doing these sorts of things.

    You may recall the scandal that ensued back in the fall of 2012 when The Daily Caller, a right-wing news website, published sensational allegations that Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) had been cavorting in the Dominican Republic with underage prostitutes. The bombshell dropped just days before the senator faced reelection.

    In the months that followed, the story — which Menendez firmly denied — began to fall apart as sources recanted their accounts, and the mud began to sling inside the fishbowl of Washington, DC reporting. The damage to the senator’s reputation, however, had been done.

    Some people smelled a rat from the start, and it seems that such doubts were well placed. A detailed new report in The Washington Post, which is based on solid research, makes clear that the effort to smear Sen. Menendez was actually a Cuban intelligence operation. What Havana, specifically its powerful Intelligence Directorate (Dirección de Inteligencia — DI), did here is a classic case of an Active Measure, to use the proper Chekist term.

    The Russians trained Castro’s spies, and their modus operandi is similar at many points, particularly in the dirty tricks department. Havana’s spies excel at espionage and political warfare, and they have successfully smeared many foes abroad over the decades, and the DI’s dislike for Sen. Menendez, a strong opponent of the Castro regime, is well known. So they engineered a complex propaganda operation to damage an enemy.

    As elaborated in the Post‘s account, U.S. counterintelligence for some time has known that Cuban spies were behind the Menendez smear, which bears the hallmarks of a classic DI operation. They created a fake tipster, “Pete Williams,” who “told FBI agents and others he had information about Menendez participating in poolside sex parties with underage prostitutes while vacationing at the Dominican Republic home of Salomon Melgen, a wealthy eye doctor, donor and friend of the senator.”

    None can say the DI, which as I’ve explained before is a very competent spy service that has customarily run rings around U.S. intelligence, didn’t work hard at this operation:

    According to the former U.S. official familiar with the intelligence, the information suggested that Cuban operatives worked through business allies and lawyers in the Dominican Republic to create the fictitious tipster. The former official said the U.S. intelligence community obtained information showing that Cuban operatives allegedly attempted to lend credence to the timeline of the prostitution allegations by tracking flights on Melgen’s private plane that Menendez made for visits to the elite Casa de Campo resort, where the eye doctor has a home.

    How this all got started is a textbook case of an Active Measure, using anonymous sources and cut-outs:

    The FBI’s Miami field office began its probe into the Menendez prostitution allegations in August 2012 after receiving copies of e-mails that “Pete Williams” sent to a liberal watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. CREW said the tipster began corresponding with its investigators that spring, but they told the FBI they were unable to meet Williams in person or corroborate the claims.

    “My duty as a US citizen obligates me to report what I consider a grave violation of the most fundamental codes of conduct that a politician of my country must follow,” the tipster, identified as Williams, wrote to CREW in an April 2012 e-mail, claiming “first hand information” about Menendez’s participation in “inappropriate sexual activities with young prostitutes.”

    The FBI investigated these allegations for months, particularly after they exploded in the media in November 2012, only to find there was nothing to them. Instead, it bore the hallmarks of a DI operation, as was obvious to those who are familiar with their tradecraft.

    As explained by Enrique Garcia Diaz, a senior Cuban intelligence defector to the United States, “From the moment that article about Senator Menendez was published, I suspected that it was an invention of Cuban intelligence, because that is the way they work. It is their modus operandi … They fabricate lies. They look to create intrigue.”

    Sen. Menendez has been briefed on the Cuban intelligence operation waged against him, and he is pressing the Department of Justice for a full investigation of the matter, and I hope DoJ does due diligence here. In response to the realization that he got played by Havana’s spies, Tucker Carlson, editor in chief of The Daily Caller, expressed skepticism: “I really can’t assess it without more information … It’s bizarre on its face, but also fascinating.”

    If he’s waiting for a personal brief by the DI on how they smeared Sen. Menendez, Mr. Carlson will be waiting a long time. In the interim, he should read up on the real world of espionage and learn the term Active Measure.

    Read more:

  15. JJ says:

    One unusual thing about housing is I recall parents beating into their kids from 1998 to 2008 dont throw you money away on rent buy something. To the point people would gladly pay more to own the same unit they could rent for less.

    Now Condos near me and we are talking two bedroom 1,200 square foot with parking could be bought for like 285K yet people are renting them for 2,300 a month. One neasr my house has 400 maint and 7k a year taxes. At 2,400 a month sure a short term rental makes sense. But folks are paying realtor fees, moving trucks and signing two year leases that is a lot of coin. That shows how fearful some folks are of buying.

  16. Juice Box says:

    re # 15 – Yes the Cubans made him forget about 60 grand worth of private jet flights to the DR.

  17. Juice Box says:

    Life now imitates art ala Wally-e people. 60 inches wide seats in the movie theater.

    “AMC Entertainment Holdings is spending $600 million to remodel its theaters with larger, fully reclining seats.

    AMC, which is the nation’s second-largest theater chain, plans to install “La-Z-Boy-type seats” that fully recline in its theaters, according to the Wall Street Journal. The new seats will be 60 inches wide vs. the current 44 inches.”

    – See more at:

  18. I would love to teach in film school. I could sum up the entire human experience with the following four movies:

    La Grande Bouffe
    The Human Centipede
    Last Tango in Paris

  19. Oops…left out Hobo with a Shotgun…

  20. Fast Eddie says:

    Meat Cadaver [19],

    What? No Caligula? ;)

  21. Libturd in Union says:

    Blazing Saddles is a must see too.

  22. Suddenly, everyone here is Siskel & Ebert…

  23. …although how could I leave out Life of Brian?

  24. Libturd in Union says:

    “Suddenly, everyone here is Siskel & Ebert…”

    I bet those two don’t look so hot these days.

  25. Essex says:

    25. they dint look so good when they were hot.

  26. Libturd in Union says:


  27. 1987 Condo says:

    #25..because they are dead?

  28. Bystander says:


    Nice list…add Rashomon though.

  29. Libturd in Union says:

    Why yes.

  30. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    [20] Hmmm… now the seats will be 5 feet wide, up from just under 4 feet wide? I know that’s what the article says, but something is surely amiss numerically. 60 cm, OTOH, would be just under 2 feet wide.

    The new seats will be 60 inches wide vs. the current 44 inches

  31. Juice Box says:

    re # 31 – Nope 60 inches. See the graphic at the WSJ.

  32. painhrtz - whatever says:

    clot you left out requiem for a dream

  33. You can’t discount the social relevance of the early Linda L0velace movies, either.

  34. 1987 Condo says:

    They are adding in the arm rests, etc

  35. grim says:

    Overpriced pastry bubble has burst.

  36. grim says:

    Yogurt bubble to burst next.

  37. grim says:

    Go long potato salad.

  38. NJGator says:

    Grim 39 – Even the Boba can’t save it?

  39. Libturd in Union says:

    Yet foams lives on.

  40. Godzilla and college says:

    For yesterdays post about how boomers really had it easier in college.

    Ronald Reagan stuck it to millennials: A college debt history lesson no one tells
    Dramatic, awful changes occurred on my generation’s watch — and it amounts to a fiendishly successful conspiracy
    Peter Lunenfeld

    That nostalgic time of year for newly minted college grads and their professors has now concluded. I admit to being affected by the academic robes I pull out for commencement, not to mention the students I’ve taught for the past four years, who are finally ready to make the leap into the “real” world.

    This spring was a bit different. It marked the 30th anniversary of my own graduation from college. And as I headed east for my reunion, I thought about how my daughter (a sophomore) and the rest of her millennial cohort have inherited a radically different academic world than the one I toasted with my friends from the Class of 1984. The changes — and they were dramatic — occurred on my generation’s watch, and were not just a series of unrelated misfortunes. On the contrary, the new world is the end product of a fiendishly successful conspiracy.

    During my first semester of college, John Lennon was assassinated 40 blocks south of my freshman dorm, and Ronald Reagan, the former governor of California, was elected president of the United States. I was devastated by both of these events. At the time, I had no idea that the Great Communicator had cut his teeth on campus protests during the 1960s, using long-haired Berkeley students as perfect foils. Reagan assailed the Free Speech and antiwar movements, promising the taxpayers that if elected, he’d get college kids off picket lines and back in class. With comments like, “They are spoiled and don’t deserve the education they are getting” and that the state “should not subsidize intellectual curiosity,” he won in a landslide. Fourteen years later, Reagan was elected president, running against a host of mythical foes from “welfare queens” to an omnipotent “Evil Empire,” but he and his administration never shed their antipathy toward “elitist” campuses and the young people who dared question the system.

    The students Reagan loathed were the beneficiaries of a consensus that paired the GI Bill with the post-Sputnik explosion of higher education to offer no- to low-cost access to public institutions, and aid to those who needed it to make private college possible. Students were not expected to shoulder the burden of their educations alone, and this freed them to explore who they wanted to be and the kind of America in which they wanted to live. There were many adults, of course, who despised them for just this freedom, and powerful forces terrified of the changes they saw coming.

    By the time Reagan was elected to the nation’s highest office a decade and a half later, these powers had devised perfect tools to make sure the spirit of 1960s protest would never again erupt on campus. During Reagan’s two terms as president, dedicated funding for outright grants-in-aid decreased, federal guidelines pushed individual loans, and private bill collectors were brought in to ensure that the hardest kind of debt to escape was whatever you took on for your education. Even more important was the shift in tone and expectation. Public goods became private services, and by the end of the 1980s, the anti-tax, infra-structure-starving, neoliberal Weltanschauung meant that as states cut their budgets, support for higher education was thrown into a cage match with every other necessary public good.

    Had anyone at my reunion complained about the complacency of today’s students or bragged about how they got through school without taking on staggering debt, I could have reminded them that the class of ’84 was the last to have a higher percentage of grants than loans. Today’s imbalance leads too many students to buy the lie that the humanities are exclusively for rich kids. They worry that those in the 99 percent studying Aristotle or Virginia Woolf are destined for permanent residency in their parents’ basements and, if they are lucky, positions as baristas.

    These same students are pressured to major in “practical” subjects like business or the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), even though this year, more than 80 percent of all students, regardless of major, didn’t have a job lined up a month before graduation. Worst of all, these students’ sense of the future is constrained by planning for and then paying down their student loans, often for decades. Economists are waking up to the fact that when young Americans enter the workforce burdened with over a trillion dollars in cumulative debt, they become risk averse, unwilling to move, less able to make major purchases, and slower to become homeowners. Not coincidentally, they don’t feel safe enough to register any major protests against the society that’s done this to them.

    As we progressed in our careers and raised our families, the Class of ’84 acquiesced to a world in which students who wanted to better their situation chose between private colleges that built staggering debt into their aid packages, and public institutions that have had their state funding slashed to the bone, incentivizing them to make up for shortfalls by raising tuition and, just like their private counterparts, piling on the loans.

    When these students graduate from college, and even worse, if they don’t, they will have taken on burdens that are almost impossible to negotiate much less erase, no matter the shape of the economy the day they leave campus. If they aren’t protesting about this, it’s not because they’ve been bought off by rock climbing walls in the gym and fresh pesto in the dining halls, or because they all want to be investment bankers. The terror of decades of loan payments is a far more potent silencer than any police baton. Since 1997, the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project has made its mission to have at least one thing named after the 40th president in each of the nation’s 3,141 counties. Too bad there’s nowhere to mount a plaque with Reagan’s name over the debtors prison without walls he built for the nation’s young.

    Peter Lunenfeld is a professor in the UCLA Design Media Arts department. He is the co-author of Digital Humanities and recently published The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine

  41. grim says:

    Look, I thought smashing ice cream along with other crap on a cold table was about as good as business models got, but alas, I was wrong, yogurt is due to die.

    I’ve got to hand it to these guys, they went a long way to outsource the actual work done in their stores to their customers, who seem overjoyed to pay extra for the benefit.

    Got so used to it that the last time I was in McD’s, I walked behind the counter and started to make my own burger. Hmm…

  42. grim says:

    43 – Art professors don’t have any credibility.

  43. Anon E. Moose says:

    Grim [38];

    Saw that comming when the owners cashed out via IPO in ’09 after SATC went off the air. Their icon, Carrie Bradshaw, was gone — no more free ads via TV show, no more movies.

    Really, there’s only so long people will pay $30 for a six-pack of crappy overzied over-decorated cupcakes.

  44. Go long whiskey. Short Brazil.

  45. Ragnar says:

    I tried to watch “Last Tango” but it was just too gross, and Brando’s character too big a crybaby.
    I’d suggest a Brando movie set in NJ, “On the Waterfront” as an investigation of unions and corruption.

  46. nwnj says:


    You forgot about the chanting while smashing cold stuff.

  47. Michael says:

    Wow!! Germans putting on a clinic!

    Tell you what, this goes to show you how good silva really is. He might be the top defender in the world.

  48. Juice Box says:

    Should be a fun night in RIO

  49. Ragnar says:

    Right, the US is going down the drain because the government isn’t adequately subsidizing liberal arts majors and grievance protestors. According to a government employee who makes a living from fulfilling that dream.

  50. The top defender in the world doesn’t get a yellow card that puts him out of a WC semifinal by interfering with a punt, shit-for-brains.

  51. Brazil exposed on the pitch as a Third World fever swamp. Watch the protests and riots start forthwith.

  52. chicagofinance says:

    Godzilla and college…….the cost of college is Reagan’s fault?!??

  53. chicagofinance says:

    I swear I thought this was certainly clot adopting a new name until subsequent posters identified it as a spambot……

    Pine Valley says:
    July 8, 2014 at 7:39 am
    Ever play Pine Valley?

  54. chicagofinance says:

    Transfuse the Cadaver says:
    July 8, 2014 at 12:01 pm
    Suddenly, everyone here is Siskel & Ebert…

  55. Obviously, the key to success in baking lies in hustling treacly-sweet pastries filled with chemicals, coloring agents and HFCS.

  56. Michael says:

    Lol…can’t argue that

    Transfuse the Cadaver says:
    July 8, 2014 at 6:06 pm
    The top defender in the world doesn’t get a yellow card that puts him out of a WC semifinal by interfering with a punt, shit-for-brains.

  57. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    Private college tuition, room and board = $50,000 per student for 8 months of education, cot, and feed. Multiply that by 20 and that’s $1,000,000 for Sept thru mid Dec and once again late Jan through early May. I could set up a better program, teach it, and hire a couple minions to administrate it and still net $500K personally for my efforts. I just might.

  58. Comrade Nom Deplume, a.k.a. Captain Justice says:

    [61] gator

    Good thing I have a JJesque constitution because that was hurl material.

  59. Comrade Nom Deplume, a.k.a. Captain Justice says:

    [58] grim

    That’s another empty storefront on Broad St in the Brig.

  60. Comrade Nom Deplume, a.k.a. Captain Justice says:

    And I’m betting that things are quiet in the Ironbound tonight!

  61. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    [66] Ironbound is Portugese not Brazilian. They’ve been crying in their clamato and beer for a couple weeks now;-)

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