Back to Work

From CNBC:

New York City is getting closer to the tipping point in return to office work

Jamie Dimon may have been off by a year, but New York City’s offices are finally starting to fill up.

In May 2021, the JPMorgan chief executive predicted that the percentage of workers in offices in the city would be back to normal by the following fall. “Yes, the commute, you know, yes, people don’t like commuting, but so what?” Dimon said in his not-so-empathic way at the Wall Street Journal CEO Summit.

As a Covid wave prognosticator and expert on worker psychology, the bank CEO failed. But his view of bringing workers back is getting closer to reality.

Nearly half of office workers (49%) are back in New York City on an average weekday, up from 38% in April, according to the latest data this week from the Partnership for New York City, which has been tracking office occupancy as a vital sign for New York’s economy. Fully remote office worker levels are now down to 16%, from 28% in April.

But as far as making that unwelcome commute again, only 9% of office workers are doing it full time, according to the survey.

Hybrid work is the expectation, and that is not a new finding in the organization’s research, with 77% of employers saying it will be “predominant post-pandemic policy,” due to employee feedback. But the latest data shows that the largest share of employees on a hybrid schedule are in the office three days a week — 37% three days; 12% four days; 15% two days; 11% one day.

Public transit data is showing the increase in returning workers as well. The 3.7 million subway riders daily this week was the most since March 2020, and commuter rails also hit levels in recent weeks not seen since the pandemic began.

If the Partnership’s data proves correct, more than half of all office workers will be back either three days (42%) or four days (12%) per week by January. And the percentage of those fully remote will decline further, to 12%.

Wylde conceded it isn’t easy, and worker resistance remains. “Old habits are hard to break, and for two and a half years, people have been working at home, working remotely, and we’ve have had four false starts in getting back to the office.”

This entry was posted in Economics, Employment, New Jersey Real Estate, NYC. Bookmark the permalink.

102 Responses to Back to Work

  1. dentssDunnigan says:


  2. Hold my beer says:

    It is the workers patriotic duty to get back on them trains and buses. They need to support the transit workers OT and pensions, buy unhealthy food from
    Local businesses, and giver muggers more chances to earn a living.

  3. grim says:

    The unpredictability of hybrid work with variable schedules will mean the trains and buses will run far under capacity. Transit workers love it, taxpayers hate it, traffic is going to be a wildcard.

    Parking probably going to be harder as well, unless you are willing to pony up for a monthly pass that you only use a handful of times. If I’m remembering correctly, the Wayne park and ride here is mostly monthly and that up-front premium, with a far smaller number of daily spots.

  4. grim says:

    No reason to rush the tunnel, from the Real Deal:

    Gateway tunnel pushed back again

    The Gateway train tunnel is further away from arriving at Penn Station than previously thought.

    The commission that is managing construction of the planned passenger conduit revealed more delays and cost increases on Wednesday, the New York Times reported. The news pushes completion of the tunnel, to connect New Jersey and Midtown, back about three years.

    he tunnel is now expected in 2035 — bad news for Vornado Realty Trust and other office property owners around Penn Station, not to mention for the New York metro area economy as a whole. The commission also said that the existing two-way tunnel, which will close for repairs when the new one opens, won’t be fixed until 2038.

    Should either tube of the old tunnel fail before the Gateway tunnel one is ready, it would severely reduce passenger rail access to the city from New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

    Expenses are also growing. The tunnel, which is part of a larger Gateway project, is now estimated to cost $16.1 billion, $2 billion more than recent estimates. Half of that jump is being attributed to inflation.

  5. Chicago says:

    2Y 393
    10Y 350

    Highest rates since 2011

  6. Libturd says:

    There is definitely an orchestrated campaign to get workers back on mass transit. I think their pandemic supplemental ends at the end of this year (if I recall correctly). After that, it will be up to the states to make up the shortfall. I always check all of these pro return to the office articles and none of them ever tell you how far down current ridership is today as compared with prepandemic numbers. They only list percent increases over the pandemic ridership lows. I drive by my old Walnut Street lot frequently since it’s so close to my home. I have not seen it even close to 25% full. This was a lot with a 6 or 7-year waiting list to get a permit for.

    Rest assured, it’s going to get ugly this Winter when NJ Transit MUST cut train service. When the MTA, must get back to closing in the overnight hours. Etc.

  7. Chicago says:

    I had to drive home from Hackensack at 4:30PM last Thursday. It took 2 hours via 80/95/GSP. No accidents. All just volume.

  8. Libturd says:


    I guess Chris Christie was correct? It was projected to cost $14.7 billion. It’s now up to $16.1 and they haven’t dug a hole yet. This will be a 25 billion dollar project before it’s done. NJ would have been on the hook for that extra 10 billion. How much would that be in tangible cost? 7 billion is what the state must pay into the pension annually to keep it whole.

  9. crushednjmillenial says:

    Abbot and DeSantis should coordinate to send migrants to Vermont.

    There are only 650,000 people in Vermont, and only 200,000 in its biggest metro area, Burlington. Vermont was the bluest state in the 2020 presidential election (66% of votes for Biden), so DeSantis isn’t winnign that state when he runs for POTUS in 2024 or 2028, no matter what.

    By the time they send 20,000 migrants to Burlington, the migrants will literally compose 10% of the metro area population. Vermont will likely inevitably need to send the migrants by bus OUT-OF-STATE (unlike the Marthas Vineyard thing where the people involved had the cover of “only” sending the migrants to a different part of Mass.). Vermont is something like 95% white, so the migrants will be visibly-noticeable to local residents (unlike when migrants are bused to NYC and then promptly moved to shelters in the Bronx, which is a 40 or 50% Hispanic county).

    Finally, while Delaware would be a more-natural choice in some ways as Biden’s home state (and with DE only having 1M population, you can also substantailly effect the demographics with not that many migrants), the problem with Delaware is that if you drop migrants at Rehoboth Beach, it is easier and more natural for them to quickly get themselves to DC, Baltimore, or Philly.

    Then, DeSantis and Abbot hit the Dems on the following talking points:

    -the people of Vermont elect a socialist to the US Senate. Great, now it’s their turn to re-distribute some of their wealth to these migrants and share in the burden
    -Bernie can see and hear, first-hand, what wonderful things socialisim did for Venezuela
    -if Bernie doesn’t like it, he should talk to Biden. VT voted 66% for Biden, though, so I guess they support an open border
    -anyway, let’s all not forget that the Dem party screwed Bernie over in 2016 and 2020 by rigging it

    Lots of leftists saying the “cruelty is the point.” I find it hypocrtical because the Biden Admin’s refusal to take action to stem the flow of migrants to the border just means that this exact set of problems (cruelty?) is heaped onto the Texas border towns and the migrants that are raped, robbed and killed trekking to Rio Grande. To be clear and simply put, a liberal bastion like Burlington hasn’t been forced to confront the simple reality that there is a number of new arrivals that causes strain to a locality. Maybe Vermont can handle 6K migrants (~1% of pop.) or 60K migrants (10% of pop.), but it cannot handle 600,000 (nearly 100% of pop.). The Biden administration is not regulating how many people are crossing the border, so they are not regulating how many people are in each border town. Seems hypotcritical for the left to implictly assert that it is natural and normal for the border towns to need to deal with this issue while MArtha’s vineyard does not.

    Finally, before anyone jumps to call me a xenophobe or racist . . . I criticize the Biden admin from the left for only processing abotu 30K refugees this fiscal year, when the target is approx. 100K. They are way short. Further, my solution to the border crisis would be (1) remain in Mexico, (2) tighter border controls, but (3) US-funded refugee camps in Southern Mexico for Central Americans and in Colombia for Venezuelans, then orderly admission based on a much higher-cap of refugee admissions (say, 500K or 1M per year compared to typical 100K); and (4) from a ring-wing perspective, I’d admit refugees based on Canada-like characteristics – educated 20 or 30-year olds are prioritized.

    But, who cares what I or any other single individual thinks – the people vote in 50 days, so we’ll find out what the people think.

  10. Libturd says:

    I don’t disagree with any of your points. It is unfair for the border states. Noone ever said it wasn’t. How you go about fixing it is where the cruelty came in to play.

  11. crushednjmillenial says:

    The Dems should have stuffed big funding for the Gateway tunnel into the infrastructure bill. The bill has spending over $1T.

    If you are looking for economic impact, I’d think the Gateway tunnel actual pencils out pretty good as far as public transit infrastructre goes (compare usage/$ compared to some random light rail in an auto-oriented city somewhere). They should have thrown in an extra subway tunnel to connect the 7 line to Secaucus Junction (stops in North Hoboken, Jersey City Heights along the way), which would give North Jersey train commuters a transfer that gets you access to all of 42nd Street in Manhattan, lots of stops in North Queens, and a public transit commute to Citifield.

    Finally, they should have funded big the subway link from the 7 to Laguardia, which would knock down how much CO2 from the taxis and ubers going to the airport. And, a LI to CT tunnel so truck traffic to and from LI and New England doesn’t need to pass through the Bronx.

    Lots of signature projects were possible with $1T, but you don’t hear much about this. One of the biggest critcisms I have for Trump is that he ran on infrastructrue, in part, with a FOCUS on signature projects, but he never followed through even though it could have been a bi-partisan issue from day 1 in January 2017.

  12. Bystander says:

    “US-funded refugee camps”

    ..and how much will this cost in your easy, great solution crushed since right has it all figured out. Sounds like infrastructure, housing, hospitals, food, equipment. How do we force this down upon all these Central American countries as well? Can we just get to the shooting gallery at border? That is what gun-nut party really wants.

  13. BRT says:

    Thursday was the worst traffic day I’ve seen in 3 years. The morning traffic was atrocious. At 3 pm, it took me 1 hour to get 2 towns over, should have been 15 minutes. No accidents either, all traffic.

    Lib, on 78, the sign says “Gridlock alert in NYC, use mass transit”

  14. Libturd says:

    Trump ran to enrich himself through grift.

    Dems ad Republicans run to enrich themselves through campaign finance, gifts, etc.

    Neither party cares about you and me. All that matters is that they can stay in power to continue to enrich themselves. This is why it is so important to turn every policy into a wedge issue. How would it benefit any of them if both sides agreed on what was best for the country? Which party gains from it besides you and me?

  15. crushednjmillenial says:

    Bystander . . . I’m a leftist on immigration.

    It costs less to house, feed and secure people in refugee camps than in the US. This is an undeniable fact.

    I’m also whacky-left about how the US should spend to raise the standard of living around the world. My frame of reference is what is good for all humankind (rather than what is good for all Americans), so I am leftist on that front, too.

    The US can absorb 3M migrants/year; it probably can’t absorb 30M/year. Recognizing that you need some order on that process isn’t advoacting for killing border crossers, man.

  16. crushednjmillenial says:

    9:01 . . . sounds like you want to vote against the Establishment.

  17. Juice Box says:

    Some mass transit is approaching about 70% of pre-pandemic levels. LIRR and Metro north commuters from the burbs. Subway in NYC is still 63.0%…

  18. BRT says:

    The gateway tunnel argument is a joke. Obama was in office and running bills for hundreds of millions of dollars in “infrastructure upgrades”. No money for NYC/NJ for that project though. And the stupid states didn’t even try lobbying for it. The way they make it rain in Ukraine, you could upgrade the entire Northeast infrastructure.

  19. Libturd says:

    And yes, traffic is simply out of control lately. This is the result of full employment and an overheated economy. It shouldn’t last too much longer. The housing collapse will induce the much needed recession and economic slowdown.

  20. Libturd says:


    “Some mass transit is approaching about 70% of pre-pandemic levels.”

    It took NJ transit a decade to raise rail ridership by 10%. If they don’t get back to 90% prepandemic levels, they are dead in the water. They lost money hand-over foot at 100%. How much are they going to lose at say 75%? Could you imagine if they had to cut 25% of their budget. First thing to go would be extra trains since they’ll claim they need the full number of maintenance and rail operation people regardless of the number of trains on the schedule. The trains themselves are the easiest to cut. I studied NJ Transit for years. When they cut service, more people take the bus. A 10% cut in rail service will cause a 20% drop in ridership (estimated, but you get the gist of it). People need the flexibility of train availability. If you have to wait from 6:10 to 7:10 pm for the next train, you’ll take the bus.

  21. Libturd says:

    Just looked it up. NJ Transit is down 35% still. Good luck.

  22. Bystander says:

    Ok crushed but maybe you could have skipped the two paragraphs on how to hurt the libs in VT.


    I am curious why Pura Vida and CR would not be overrun. Lots of international money as vacation and retirement destination. Would think lots of jobs. Do you see it down there? Guessing you would not wan to move to area where hospitals are waiting lines for refugees.

  23. 3b says:

    Biden on 60 minutes last night said if China attacks Taiwan the US will defend it. China pissed this morning of course. I wonder if Biden’s aides will walk back his statements today?

  24. Phoenix says:

    The Pentagon has ordered a sweeping audit of how it conducts clandestine information warfare after major social media companies identified and took offline fake accounts suspected of being run by the U.S. military in violation of the platforms’ rules.

  25. Phoenix says:

    One fake account posted an inflammatory tweet claiming that relatives of deceased Afghan refugees had reported bodies being returned from Iran with missing organs, according to the report. The tweet linked to a video that was part of an article posted on a U.S.-military affiliated website.

    Centcom has not commented on whether these accounts were created by its personnel or contractors.

  26. Old realtor says:

    Recently it was said here and I paraphrase…to compromise is to lose. Without compromise there is no solution to immigration. Time to grind out a compromise and get the problem under control. This is what grownups would do.

  27. Libturd says:


    The pandemic killed the tourist trade down there for the last nearly three years. It is recovering nicely. Though inflation is hurting them greatly now. Housing costs increased faster down there (at least on the mid to high end) than up here. Prices have essentially doubled since ExPat and I went down. Though, it will probably nearly halve again with the recession.

    CR has a lot of debt. Not nearly as high as us as a percentage of GDP per capita, but still too high. The Pandemic was very expensive for them. Nonetheless, things were getting back to normal when we went down earlier in the year and the people are as happy as ever.

    People want to come to America for the same reason people always have since revolutionary times. For freedom and economic prosperity. I still think it’s possible for us to be able to afford it, but we should attack government corruption and the lack of accountability in the public sector before we close the doors on immigrants and tell them we got ours, too bad for you. CR has tough immigration laws, though they have loosened them lately. Still, they don’t want more poor. If you have any type of middle class income, you can get citizenship there.

  28. Bystander says:


    Exactly. This crisis has been going on for decades and it was exacerbated by pandemic, inflation and economics. Angry rhetoric and BS penetrable vanity wall projects won’t stop the problem nor will Biden’s hand off laziness. It seems like, as crushed mentioned, we need to start focusing Central American control flow and Panama seems like natural blockage point. No administration has taken that seriously for 40 years. You have to wonder why? Again, businesses want cheap labor. You can’t ignore this massive point.

  29. Phoenix says:

    I guess CR is going to be the new Florida.

    Well, not this Florida.

  30. Fast Eddie says:

    For today, Monday, September 19, 2022, the current average 30-year fixed-mortgage rate is 6.33%, increasing 25 basis points compared to this time last week.

    Stinky Mary doesn’t care. She wants top dollar. Gimme your final and best by 5:00 PM today!

  31. Juice Box says:

    Lib – where is the writeup on the sale, or are you still waiting for the wires to clear?

  32. Libturd says:

    For what it’s worth, during the Evian conference of 1938, put together by FDR to look for an international solution to the sure death of millions of Eastern European Jews, only Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic were willing to increase their quotas. The rest of the world played the same selfish game desired by the right today.

    Did anyone here watch the first part of the Ken Burns film last night. Man did I learn a lot. I had no idea that the Germans modeled their non-Arian laws after America’s designation of Blacks as non-citizens of the United States. I knew Henry Ford was an anti-Semite, but had no idea he was supplying trucks to the Nazis during their period of rearmament prior to the start of WW2 and was awarded multiple honors by Hitler. I also had no idea New York City was 25% Jewish during the 1930s. I can’t suggest enough how informative and well done the first part was. I can’t wait for the next two. They are currently at 1938 and Hitler just reunited Germany with Austria.

  33. Libturd says:


    I’ll write it today. Believe it or not, I have to work too. We have mid-term elections coming up and would you believe we are printing truckloads of ballots for California in Moonachie since California can’t handle all of the job?

  34. leftwing says:

    Oh my misdirected friend…to correct the record

    “There is a lot about Gator and me that you don’t know. Especially our volunteerism. Be careful getting up into our grill, for you will certainly get squashed like a bug. I am not going to brag about taking in a poor black kid. I prefer to be a little more humble about such things…”

    Absolutely. Which is why my post yesterday and sharing had zero ‘brag’ or ‘lack of humbleness’. It was, if you read it without your own biases and insecurities, about the ‘lack of humanity’ in YOUR town who wrap themselves in the perceived righteousness of their liberalism and then project bad intentions on others who take a different view all while – AS YOU SAY – having no knowledge of those others’ actions. You literally prove my point with your response.

    I would assume everyone here is generous toward their preferred charities given our backgrounds and demographics. I don’t question that.

    But since you seem to have beer muscles after popping your blue pills I will respond to your point there to say I will put my Schedule A against most others AGI so if YOU want a dick measuring contest on the topic of charitable activities (not my point or fight) you be forewarned I have a hard exoskeleton and I’m hung like a porn star (in this category at least lol). And I do it mostly anonymously btw…

  35. leftwing says:


    “This is not how humans are supposed to behave.”

    You seem to be fond of (pretty radically) forecasting a ‘Holocaust’ from the views of the Right.

    I would make the historical note that the first step toward those atrocities customarily begin with dehumanizing the others. You may want to metaphorically look in your own house on that one…

  36. No One says:

    One really interesting book about the making of Nazi Germany is “The Ominous Parallels” by Leonard Peikoff.

    “Almost everyone acknowledges that Nazism was one of the greatest horrors of the 20th century, yet few understand its deepest cause. How did a supposedly civilized country— the “land of poets and philosophers”—degenerate into a murderous, totalitarian dictatorship? What made the Nazi campaign of murder possible? Can we be sure it won’t happen here in America?

    Leonard Peikoff answers these questions in The Ominous Parallels, a study of the alarming similarities between America today and Germany just prior to and during the Nazi era. In essence, Dr. Peikoff’s answer is that the ultimate cause of Nazism was philosophy. Nazism, he argues, was made possible by a long line of German philosophers who advocated unreason and self-sacrifice.”

  37. leftwing says:

    “You sound so conflicted my friend.”

    Ex, not at all.

    I am among the most straightforward, most easy to understand and predictable people you will find…

    I believe what I believe. I state it clearly. I follow those beliefs.

    My ethics and morals are not situational…I think that is what mostly confuses others (especially the Left).

    Those with situational ethics – especially those most loudly professing virtue – don’t understand. I don’t change my views based on the impact to me personally or my family, and certainly not according to some political dogma.

    Very easy for me to hold what appears to the virtue signalers to be two conflicting views at the same time…

  38. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Nah, he cost us big time, but people like you still don’t realize it. This was an investment in our economy that would have been completed by now, but instead we are not going to be paying a lot more for it. We had low borrowing rates when christie killed this, all because he wanted to look like a hot shot republican in his bid to run for president that never happened. F;ing never trust a fat politician…but you ate it up….all because he hurt teachers.

    Libturd says:
    September 19, 2022 at 8:31 am

    I guess Chris Christie was correct? It was projected to cost $14.7 billion. It’s now up to $16.1 and they haven’t dug a hole yet. This will be a 25 billion dollar project before it’s done. NJ would have been on the hook for that extra 10 billion. How much would that be in tangible cost? 7 billion is what the state must pay into the pension annually to keep it whole.

  39. leftwing says:

    chi, watching markets today and tomorrow, if there is a moment of weakness (and yes it is a ST timing type trade) I will likely hop in for a low cost, high payout option trade bullish on the SPX for Wednesday….

    Everyone leaning very hard to one side…I think JPow’s presser (not necessarily the action or the release) will alleviate some fears…

    May try to really bank the eight ball and do the above trade using the beaten down homebuilders…LEN and KBH report after the bell on Wed….

    Seems like that may already be getting played though, both up today in flat/slightly down market….

    Separately, got run over on one trade last week…stepped in front of a very low probability train that was rocketing down the tracks, headlight off…wiped out my last four trades’ profits…it is what it is, still up strongly (hanging within a few percentage points of ATHs) but frustrating nonetheless…

    If you sit at the table long enough the dealer will eventually one time pull a six card 21 to top your 8/2 double down 20…..

  40. The Great Pumpkin says:

    The office is not dying, and I told you so…but you just mocked me as if I didn’t know what I was talking about because I don’t work in a corporate office…how that work out? I nailed it.

    Libturd says:
    September 19, 2022 at 9:03 am
    And yes, traffic is simply out of control lately. This is the result of full employment and an overheated economy. It shouldn’t last too much longer. The housing collapse will induce the much needed recession and economic slowdown.

  41. Phoenix says:

    I take it you met my ex-MIL

    Stinky Mary doesn’t care. She wants top dollar. Gimme your final and best by 5:00 PM today!

  42. The Great Pumpkin says:

    It’s a needed service… when will you look at it from the big picture? How can we function without public mass transit? We can’t….so cry about the cost all you want, but we need it.

    Libturd says:
    September 19, 2022 at 9:09 am

    “Some mass transit is approaching about 70% of pre-pandemic levels.”

    It took NJ transit a decade to raise rail ridership by 10%. If they don’t get back to 90% prepandemic levels, they are dead in the water. They lost money hand-over foot at 100%. How much are they going to lose at say 75%? Could you imagine if they had to cut 25% of their budget. First thing to go would be extra trains since they’ll claim they need the full number of maintenance and rail operation people regardless of the number of trains on the schedule. The trains themselves are the easiest to cut. I studied NJ Transit for years. When they cut service, more people take the bus. A 10% cut in rail service will cause a 20% drop in ridership (estimated, but you get the gist of it). People need the flexibility of train availability. If you have to wait from 6:10 to 7:10 pm for the next train, you’ll take the bus.

  43. Libturd says:


    I would stay out of that Wednesday trade. Just not worth the risk of “pain.” I don’t see any reason Powell will soften the message based on recent economic numbers. 8.3% or whatever it was is not even close to enough and this is after a lot of quick and large FRR increases. Just my two cents to save you two cents.

  44. leftwing says:

    “The rest of the world played the same selfish game desired by the right today.”

    Give it a rest already. No groups are being rounded up for camps in Venezuela.

    These people are not seeking political asylum. They are economic migrants. They state such. PUBLICLY.

    Did your documentary get to Joe Kennedy yet, or is it Left authored and glossing over that inconvenient history of America’s ‘First Family’?

  45. Libturd says:

    You nailed nothing Pumps. That article was a puff piece. And it still revealed how likely Hybrid is here to stay, which we mentioned would be the end result. Did you even read it?

    Get ready for some scary pension numbers after this years market pullback. How long before the IOUs come out?

  46. No One says:

    If you don’t think this is perfectly normal, then you’re a transphobe.
    I wonder if this shop teacher is just trolling to get fired and then to win a multi-million discrimination lawsuit. Like Mr. Garrison on South Park.

  47. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Hybrid is not WFH. Let’s make that clear. I always argued that WFH would not last and it is pretty much dead.

    “And the percentage of those fully remote will decline further, to 12%.”

    Libturd says:
    September 19, 2022 at 10:30 am
    You nailed nothing Pumps. That article was a puff piece. And it still revealed how likely Hybrid is here to stay, which we mentioned would be the end result. Did you even read it?

    Get ready for some scary pension numbers after this years market pullback. How long before the IOUs come out?

  48. The Great Pumpkin says:

    And soon enough…hybrid will turn into 4 days a week, just like it was before the pandemic. Why? Because this is how companies work efficiently. This model has proven successful for decades. No boss wants a fully remote worker…why would they?

  49. Libturd says:

    Most immigrants come to America for economic reasons. This has always been the case.
    All cases of xenophobia have occurred during times of recession/depression. This country was built on open immigration. Should it be better organized? Absolutely. Should we close the borders? Not unless we want to change what America has represented to the rest of the world since our founding.

  50. leftwing says:

    TY Lib…but rates have been parabolic and the response – inordinate in my view – to the Jackson Hole quip have us near interesting levels.

    Remember, JPow is a dove…it’s why he did no commentary or took no questions at JH…just read off a script looking all the part like a hostage with a gun to his head immediately off screen…right down to stumbling over major parts of the prepared comments even…the last reactions on prior Fed meetings have all occurred on the presser, and I’ve got a dove dressed in hawk’s clothes who will be given 45-60 minutes of open mic time….

    I’m still bearish in that we will go below where we currently are before November…just think where ever we are, absent a runup today/tomorrow, sets up with good probabilities that the market is calmed re: further raises by JPow’s commentary on Wed.

  51. Libturd says:

    I just don’t think this one is worth the risk. It feels more like a guess than evidence based, like your trades are usually based on.

    I see it this way. The economy is still way too hot. Very few businesses are actually suffering (yet), though they are finally at least admitting that future earnings are uncertain. Employment is still red hot and the long cold winter (of stupid domestic drilling policies) of expensive heating fuel is coming up. When inflation gets down to 6 or 5%, then I think Powell will soften the message. Until then, people are hurting with this inflation. And the collapse in housing is a coming.

  52. Bystander says:

    Blumpy, yes, there are definitions here. Remote will continue to grow but will offer less pay as some people will take that trade off. The 3 day in-office will be norm. The 4-5 day in-office is dead but it is not stopping companies from trying. I have seen more attempts in last three weeks than any time this year. They will fail to attract talent with that arrangement or can expect heavy turnover. The main problem is that banks want to offer same pay as remote. You will have to pay ALOT more to get someone is NYC office 4-5 days and they are not coming to this conclusion yet. The labor market is not desperate. How will NYC survive with 40% less weekly economic activity from commuters?

  53. Chicago says:

    No news until earnings. Market moves on incremental news only. To left’s point, the floating conditions are likely upward, but it is a fool’s errand without strict trading discipline. Look at FedEx. At any time between now and the end of next week you can get bat guanoed.

    Bear in mind, the book closing on positioning is going to have one flush either up or down. You could argue it was option expiry this past Friday. I am not going to really fuck around here. The gains to be had are too minimal.

    We are really starting to move into juicy rates. Get some 4 handles on things. Booya.

  54. Fast Eddie says:

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens when layoffs occur en masse like around the 2008 levels. Inevitably, recessions occur. We’re already getting warnings about 2023 so will companies insist on greater office presence and less WFH? Leverage will turn and I feel I will be purchasing monthly train passes again.

  55. Phoenix says:

    Immigrants also don’t demand to WFH.

    They work on your home, so their boss can WFH, so you can WFH.

  56. The Great Pumpkin says:


    Give it some time…understand WFH was short term trend reflective of the pandemic. It will never last long-term….competition says so. Unless our businesses stop running on competition, there is no chance companies will embrace remote when their competition is at a competitive advantage using in person workers.

    It worked during the pandemic because everyone was remote…you had no “in person” competition to worry about. We now see the huge hit to productivity in the data…and I’m sorry, remote is dead except for cost saving off shore positions that are usually low paid and not really valuable or important to the company.

  57. leftwing says:

    “Most immigrants come to America for economic reasons. This has always been the case.”

    Agree, for about the last approximately 400 years. But, for the last 100 years, we have not had open borders for economic immigrants. Economic immigration is controlled. You apply, wait in line, and then get accepted. Or not.

    “This country was built on open immigration. Should it be better organized? Absolutely. Should we close the borders? Not unless we want to change what America has represented to the rest of the world since our founding.”

    Again, economic migration has historically been limited for quite a while. And centuries old historical practices have no rational bearing on today…over a century ago you could travel west, throw a stake in the ground, and own land. Should we revert to those times?

    Asylum is reserved for those being persecuted. It is an abomination to this country – and those internationally who truly need asylum – that economic immigrants are piling in by the millions claiming this status.

    To put it in terms the Left may understand, it is as if the graduating class of Glen Ridge all applied to colleges as impoverished, transgender, minority students…taking ‘slots’ where deference may be given to students actually possessing those attributes…

    Admitting and giving free run of the US and its systems to millions – annually – of people making patently false claims of persecution is morally and ethically reprehensible…both by the perpetrators (the immigrants and their enablers) and the country, the US, allowing it happen…

    And it diminishes the claims and experiences of those actually experiencing persecution…

  58. 3b says:

    Bystander: Hybrid and WFH is here to stay, in spite of some peoples dreams to return to the old fashioned way of 5 days a week in the office, that won’t happen. The next generation is driving that train. Friends of mine who have returned to the office 2 days a week are doing the same thing they were doing at home, and management knows it. One friend of mine a senior manager told me it’s just for appearance sake. The old coots like Dimon and Solomon, will be gone at some point, and the older Millenials/ younger Gen X will be calling the shots. The younger generations have the work like issues, that we did not have in our day; almost all of our spouses were home while the kids were young. That is gone today. High housing costs including property taxes, no pensions , benefits including health insurance, dramatically cut, it takes two incomes today. The old boomers can’t be bit@hing about wanting their employees in the office, when what I just mentioned is what they created in many respects. My friend also told me, his firm and others will be dumping real estate when the leases come up for renewal. People can yell and scream, but that won’t stop where corporate work like is ultimately heading.

  59. Phoenix says:

    ” But, for the last 100 years, we have not had open borders for economic immigrants. Economic immigration is controlled. You apply, wait in line, and then get accepted. Or not.”

    It is organized. It is controlled. If the American Government did not want them here they would not be here. We can eliminate almost anyone, anytime, anywhere around the world.

    It’s what we do best.

  60. The Great Pumpkin says:


    Can you actually picture our economy working on a fully remote product? It will destroy our economy. You continue to only look at this from the view of the worker….not the view of the business owner or economy. You associate this with old school thinking when in reality, this is what works. Why do you think IBM and Yahoo had to abandon remote work? If it was such a competitive advantage, why did they have to abandon it after years of trying it? Why? It pretty much killed those companies. They never recovered because of it.

    Instead of thinking of an office as a cost, think of it like Apple does. Why do you think they created that massive headquarters? It’s what makes their business work. It is what enable creativity to transpire at an accelerated rate. Our brains were built to work together in person, not over some video screen.

  61. 3b says:

    Fast: You can just as easy argue it the other way. Recession and dump more real estate, it’s a cost savings and cheaper than dumping a bunch of employees. Or, it can be a combination of both, dump employees and dump office space, corps now have two tools to cut costs. I would not assume layoffs equals everyone back in the office.

  62. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Your problem, you don’t see the value of “in person collaboration.” You write it off as nothing, when it is the most valuable aspect of a company. Sure, make every employee remote and isolated, sell off the real estate, and then die a very quick death as your company falls apart over time.

    3b says:
    September 19, 2022 at 11:09 am
    Fast: You can just as easy argue it the other way. Recession and dump more real estate, it’s a cost savings and cheaper than dumping a bunch of employees. Or, it can be a combination of both, dump employees and dump office space, corps now have two tools to cut costs. I would not assume layoffs equals everyone back in the office.

  63. leftwing says:

    “I just don’t think this one is worth the risk. It feels more like a guess than evidence based, like your trades are usually based on…When inflation gets down to 6 or 5%, then I think Powell will soften the message.”

    It is a mathematical certainty that YoY CPI will be 4% by 2Q23 provided monthly CPI increases remain at about 0.3% or less…any increases lower than that – or outright monthly decreases – brings that timeline forward.

    And, icing on the cake, that analysis is being done with CPI. Remember, Fed prefers PCE. And while annual CPI is 8.3% current PCE is lower to begin with, at 6.8%

    Only hole I really see is that core is being sticky and PCE is moving directionally outside CPI…but not all arrows can align, otherwise the trading opportunity would not exist, right…..

    Also, I would not underestimate the support at 3800-3900…I do feel we will test through those levels but they have a ton of support from any market measure.

    “Look at FedEx. At any time between now and the end of next week you can get bat guanoed.”


    Damn, no crossing gates at that intersection…..

  64. Phoenix says:

    None of that matters. America is becoming less of a “quality” or “customer always matters” country.

    No one cares if you don’t like it. We don’t build anything designed to last. MP3’s are good enough, no need for higher quality. Sit and wait in your doctor’s office for an hour past your appointment. Teacher sucks, so what-who you gonna replace them with?

    There was a time.

    “Quality goes in before the name goes on.” Can you guess the company?

    No wonder you buy a fridge today only to have it break two years later.

  65. Bystander says:

    Well dufus, you seem to be welcoming a recession to cause this competition that you crave. You think it will be smooth sailing and Fed will just print another 5T to bailout businesses again? You had a decade of 0 % interest rate and wage suppression followed by insane 2020 bailout with rampant housing bubble as result. This will be not a recession but a depression. You think it will be BAU shortly but this is not situation. Fed has to do everything to keep labor competition hot to drive up wages. Anyone getting 10% inflation raise in white collar America? I thought not. Understand the precipice here. The Fed has no controlled inflation and you think adding trillions next year (if a recession) will help?

  66. crushednjmillenial says:

    Any suggestions on an index fund (SHV?) if you want some yield from capital that you would otherwise be holding as cash in a brokerage account, because you anticipate a market decline over the next 6-12 months? And, you would deploy that capital back into broad market index funds after some price capitulation?

    I’m not a market-timer most of the time, but I actually want to sit out with new capital for a little while as higher rates and high inflation work their way through the system.

  67. 3b says:

    Bystander: Exactly, this has been brewing for a decade, the Covid spending was the final straw. Knowledgeable people were warning about this for a decade. Zero interest rates destroyed the economy, and there were people out there cheering this madness on. Debt matters, deficits matter, inflated asset values are not good.

  68. Ex says:

    10:54 depends actually firms looking for ways to save $$ during a downturn are likely
    to start by closing regional offices / expensive leases.

  69. 3b says:

    Larry Summers advises the Fed to keep on hiking to kill inflation, otherwise we face an economic disaster. Also says Europes energy issues will impact US inflation.

  70. leftwing says:

    crushed, throw me two or three larger cap and liquid (highly traded) names you would buy on a pullback.

    Safe names, not CW shit-cos….

  71. Bystander says:


    Large NYC corp buildings are now also tied to retail sitting on bottom level. That is the problem. You dump corp sites then retail sales and rents plummet. The Jamie Dimons are invested with Vornado. You also have major tax implications by not having real estate write offs. This will be a ugly battle and why they will force 5 days in office. They don’t give a sh%t about Blump’s collaboration BS.

  72. 3b says:

    Bystander: Some will try and force it, but in the end, they won’t get it. As for collaboration, that’s just a buzz word, the reality , and of course only those who work in corporate or did can understand that.

  73. Bystander says:


    Lots of articles on LinkedIn about RTO. The recruiters are jolly at thought of recession and “re-balancing” candidate demands. There is no thought with these as%holes that they will be out of a job too. The arrogance of Fed at work. People are so accustomed to a recesision that will be bailed out shortly and it will only impact other people, not you personally.

  74. 3b says:

    Bystander: You would think these recruiters would understand that, too much complacency all around. The Fed can talk the soft landing nonsense, which history shows is rare, but they will continue to hike, and there will be no bailouts this time. The party is over.

  75. Bystander says:

    What upcoming recession?

    Two family-owned real estate companies presented plans to the Harrison Planning Board on Wednesday to transform a shuttered hotel site into a residential mixed-use community.

    Renaissance Harrison is the proposed $500m transformation of the 28 acre-former Renaissance Westchester Hotel site into a vibrant residential community, including retail and cultural venues available to the public. Sponsored by long-term friends and partners, Rose Equities and Garden Communities envision a connected and thriving Teardrop neighborhood in Harrison, with Renaissance Harrison as its crown jewel.

    Renaissance Harrison will add to the emerging “live work play” environment of the Teardrop, which is surrounded by I-287, the Hutchinson River Parkway, and I-684.

  76. No One says:

    Interesting observation from Bloomberg’s Matt Levine:

    In the stock market there are market makers. A market maker is in the business of buying stock from people who want to sell and selling stock to people who want to buy. Those people could just trade with each other directly, sure, but that would be inconvenient. You might want to sell now, and I might want to buy in 10 minutes. Rather than wait around, you sell to a market maker now, and she sells to me in 10 minutes. You and I get “immediacy.” In exchange, we pay the market maker a bit of money, in the form of a spread between the price she pays you now and the price I pay her in 10 minutes.
    Being in this business, the market maker is exposed to market prices: If the stock goes up over those 10 minutes, she makes a bit of extra money; if it goes down (by more than the spread) she loses money. But in fact the market maker is not necessarily long a lot of stock. For one thing, she trades pretty rapidly — market makers in the US stock market are often called “high-frequency traders” — and so doesn’t hold too much stock for too long. For another thing, she can sell stock before she buys it. This is called short selling. If you want to buy now, and I want to sell in 10 minutes, the market maker will sell you some stock now and buy it from me in 10 minutes. If the stock goes up over those 10 minutes (by more than the spread), she loses money; if it goes down, she makes money. Over the course of a day, the market maker will sometimes buy before selling and other times sell before buying; she will be long some stocks at some times and short other stocks at other times. Overall she is probably close to flat, meaning that she won’t make or lose much money if the stock market jumps up or down.
    People want to apply the market-making model to homes. This makes sense. Buying or selling a home is a long slow uncertain annoying process. The value of immediacy is high, especially for a seller. If you decide to sell your house and go to a website and spend 10 minutes filling out a form and then someone wires you cash for the value of your house, that is much much much better than hiring a broker and listing the house and holding open houses and so forth. You’d be willing to pay a market maker a lot for that immediacy. (By selling your house to the market maker at a discount.) And if the market maker is good at acquiring houses, then it will have a lot of inventory, which will make it a good seller of houses. If you want to buy a house, you will naturally go to the market maker’s website, because it’s where the houses are.
    We talked a few times last year about Zillow Group Inc., which got into this business, and then got out of it in a hurry after losing a bunch of money. There are two problems with the market for homes, as opposed to the market for stocks:
    1. It can take months to flip a house. You buy it, maybe you spruce it up a bit, you re-list it, you do showings, etc. So you have months of inventory risk rather than minutes.
    2. You can’t really short houses.
    If the market is rising, the market-maker model is very simple:
    1. You bid the going price — maybe even a bit more than the going price — for houses.
    2. You buy a lot of them.
    3. You spruce them up or whatever.
    4. You sell the houses a few months later, at the going price.
    5. Meanwhile the price has gone up so you make money.
    6. I suppose there is also a spread in here somewhere.
    If the market is falling, though, it’s bad:
    1. You bid the going price for houses. You can’t bid less than the going price. Then you wouldn’t get any houses, so you wouldn’t earn any spread, so the whole business wouldn’t work.
    2. You buy a whole ton of houses, because in a falling market people are going to be more likely to hit your bid. The more houses you buy, the more you regret it.
    3. You spruce them up and sell a few months later at the going price.
    4. Meanwhile the price has gone down so you lose money.
    Now, if you can correctly predict that the market will go down, then the trade you will want to do is:
    1. You sell some houses at the going price.
    2. You wait a few months.
    3. Then you buy the houses back at the going price and deliver them to your buyers.
    4. Meanwhile the price has gone down so you make money.
    But this trade does not work for houses. In the stock market, you can provide immediacy to a buyer by borrowing stock and selling it short. In the housing market, you can’t. People looking to buy a house from you today will not want to wait months for you to buy it. It is fun to imagine workarounds — you rent the house and deliver it to the buyer, then you buy it later at a lower market price? — but they don’t really work either. (The buyer will want title immediately, the seller won’t want to rent it to you, etc.) The market-maker-for-houses model involves a lot of long inventory risk that is hard to hedge. [1]
    The [housing] slump has been especially harsh for Opendoor Technologies Inc., pioneer of a data-driven spin on home-flipping known as iBuying.
    The company, which sells thousands of homes in a typical month, lost money on 42% of its transactions in August, according to research from YipitData. Opendoor’s performance — as measured by the prices at which it bought and sold properties — was even worse in key markets such as Los Angeles, where the company lost money on 55% of sales, and Phoenix, where the share was 76%.
    Yeah if you are in the business of buying houses and then selling them months later, and house prices go down, you will lose money. This seems hard to avoid

  77. Juice Box says:

    Is it safe to come outside now? Is that old broad in the ground yet?

  78. Fabius Maximus says:

    “I will put my Schedule A against most others”

    I’m sure you lead us all in Jan 6th Defense Fund donations. Those poor patriots.

  79. Libturd says:

    Lessons in Landlording

    I had first discovered Montclair in 1989 at my freshman year at MSU. Why I went to MSU is a whole other story, but it worked out just fine. I lived up at the college and completed my undergraduate and some post-graduate work through 1995. Room. board and tuition were now free due to the plethora of positions I worked on campus (another long story), so I stayed in school for as long as I could. I eventually got the boot and found a job paying 18K a year in Manhattan. The economy blew at this time so I took what I could find. For living, at first, I shared a room with the brother of a Residence Life member I knew when I was back at MSU. He lived in Lincoln Park in a home that flooded nearly every time it rained. It was a terrible arrangement. Though I did learn something very interesting. If you threw furniture into the flood, you would get brand new furniture to replace the ones your neighbors through out on bulky waste day. Ahh, moral hazard.

    Next, I lived in a basement in a Clifton frat house located nearby the punk rock bagel joint for about the next year or so.

    I finally saved up enough money and rented a 3 BR apartment in Jersey City by the Grove Street PATH, which we dubbed the Moontower. I lived there for three years, and the apartment was sold from underneath us. This was probably 1998. I put in a bid on the place with all of my savings (much made from tech bubble stock profits), but it still fell about 5K short of the final selling price of around 180K. It listed at 150K. Not bad for a 3br/3bath with two off street parking spots and a small deck in the back. Still, I didn’t want to overpay so I didn’t.

    So, my roommates and I moved to 6th Street in Jersey City which was closer to the Newport/Pavonia PATH. This was the infamous Pinano Republic, where we became neighbors with the now deceased “Bebo.” This place was expensive, had a longer walk to the PATH, loud neighbors and no deeded parking. For the most part, it was a huge step down in comfort with a much larger rental cost. We moved out shortly into our second lease when Bebo nearly burned our place down. The fire in his Section 8 brownstone left us with a western wall with tons of holes punched in it to ensure the fire wasn’t spreading to our unit. Plus, everything of ours was destroyed by smoke. This was near the time I landed my job at the current employ which included a much larger paycheck, but an exit from NJ to a two-year stint in Los Angeles.
    I rented out there, loved every minute of it and nearly bought a property in Mt. Washington, a really cool hill just East of downtown where everything on the hill was hip and artsy, but the bottom of the hill was your typical LA ghetto. During those two years, I rented a place one block off Melrose in West Hollywood in a community that was half gay and half orthodox Jewish. What a strange mix, but it was very quiet and quite nice.

    In late 2001, my company transferred me from Los Angeles to New York and at this point, Gator and I decided to live together. I flew out about three weeks before the move and found an absolute steal in Montclair, the town I fell in love with when I was in college. The apartment was a 2nd floor walkup rental unit about a 4-minute walk to a commuter train which would express into Hoboken in 19 minutes. Then it was the PATH to Christopher Street and a ten-minute walk to the corner of Houston and Varick for me to get to work. Gator worked in the city too at Conde Nast, so it was an ideal location. The unit had three bedrooms, 1 and a half bathrooms, a small eat-in kitchen and a beautiful yard with a screened in gazebo, as well as parking for two, which did not require car swapping for all of us to get out of the driveway. The rent? $1,000 plus gas and electric. Best of all, the area had everything and was completely walkable. The only negative was that it didn’t have a clothes washer or dryer or a dishwasher. Our landlord lived in the main floor unit which was similarly equipped. She had grown up in the home and her family had converted it into a multifamily sometime in the 50s. We developed an excellent relationship with her and often helped take care of the property when things broke, as she was elderly and not handy. She developed cancer around 2003 and we helped her out frequently as her health declined. In 2004, she passed away and the home was left to her younger brother and older sister. This was late in the Summer of 2004 and Gator and I had been saving and had already began looking for a place of our own to buy. But we could not save quick enough to keep up with the price increases we were witnessing and really wanted to stay in Montclair. My parents had always told me to save at least 20% before you buy and make sure you have another 5 to 10% to pay for initial changes, upgrades. The single-family homes in Montclair all went from about 350K to 550K in the span of the last two years. At this point, we were probably paying $1200 a month or so in rent. The prospect of buying versus renting was waning. In a stroke of good Karma, the family of our landlord offered to sell us the place directly so we could avoid having to pay a realtor’s fee. We knew what we were getting and were happy to jump on the $480 selling price, which would have been $500K had it sold through their realtor. It was really supposed to be $485k but in an unintentional bout of early onset senility, I somehow convinced the sellers that they said $480 instead of $485. Gator thought I was being a shrewd negotiator. Sadly, but to my own benefit, my memory simply played a trick on me, and they didn’t want to argue.

    So, in October of 2004, we closed on the joint for $480K and put down $96K and took out a 6%, 30-year mortgage on the remainder. We immediately had to separate the electric utilities since there was only one circuit box for the two units and it was annoying to have to call the landlord in the downstairs unit every time a circuit blew, which was frequent since the home was so old. We also increased the capacity of the circuits. This was about a 25K job. We also had to add washer and dryer hookups in both units (we moved downstairs) and chose to remodel two ancient bathrooms. Figure in all, we paid about 50K to contractors to make the place a little less slummy. We added a wood picket fence to the backyard too, as we got a dog. Figure we were in for about 150K at this point. The only other caveat to our purchase was that the house had an oil tank that had been properly retired in 1999. We had the papers and the company that did it was still in business so were confident it wouldn’t be a problem.
    We lived in the bottom unit until early 2012. By living in an owner-occupied apartment, we calculated our out-of-pocket cost to pay the mortgage and basic carry costs worked out to about $1K per month over the 7 or so years we chose to live there. Back of the envelope math says we probably saved about $42K over renting if you figure we would have had to pay about $500 more a month in rent to live in a similar place. While living there, there really weren’t many repairs. It was once we moved out and weren’t living there when things of course started to break with greater frequency. Let this be a lesson to future landlords. By living in the same building as your tenants, they have a tendency to take care of your home. Once you move out, all bets are off. It is no longer your home. It’s just another rental.

    When we purchased our Glen Ridge home, in 2011, we refinanced the multi into a 20-year at 4.25%. With the drop-in rates, this cost us less than $100 more a month and cut around three years off of the original 30-year term. At the same time, we took out a 20-year loan on our Glen Ridge home at 3.5%. There is a half to 1% surcharge when you get a mortgage for an investment property, if you were not aware. For the record, we refinanced both properties into one 10-year loan a few years later when rates dropped to impossibly low levels. We paid off the mortgage on the multi and lobbed what was left over onto our primary to avoid the surcharge at an incredible 1.9%. We have less than 7 years left on this mortgage.

    Well from 2015 to 2022, the maintenance on our multi started to really shoot up. The most expensive hit came from our furnace. For years, the steam furnace had required the addition of too much water. I brought in three different experts to try to help me find the leak in the system, to no avail. A tight steam system should require no more than a few top offs every couple of months. This one would burn off a gallon of water a night. Well, it prematurely killed the furnace since fresh water has a lot of minerals in it and these minerals built up in the furnace causing premature wear. This caused us to have to replace the furnace for around 7K. About three years later as this new furnace too was requiring a ton of water replacement, we again had to replace the furnace, this time for about 8K. When you have repairs like these, you lose all of the profit in your property. All you end up with is the mortgage getting paid off. Well, shortly after replacing the second furnace, a large storm occurred and a very small amount of raw sewage backed up our main sewer running out of the house, into the basement where the main flush out was. The plumber said it was caused by too much crap being thrown down the toilet but also due to the fact that there were holes in the sewer pipe right outside of the basement where they used to attach the terracotta downspouts from our Yankee gutters. He said this was common in the 20s and 30s since there weren’t any laws which prevented homeowners from doing this. Once the laws changed, they rerouted the downspouts to the lawn or street, but they never patched the holes, which don’t present a problem as gravity will send your wastewater right past them to the city sewer. Well, that is, until the pipe gets clogged. Well, as I ripped up the click basement floor where the puddle of sewage occurred, I noticed that the entire subfloor was covered in black mold. The only cause of that would be a moisture leak. Sure enough, I brought an environmental cleanup team to do the mold remediation and we found where the leak was coming from. The return from some of the steam radiators was piped right through the center of the cinderblocks which walled the basement. Why? I have no frigging clue. Maybe to hide them? We ran a completely new return line on the interior of the basement, and this solved the missing water issue with the furnace. I put in an insurance claim for the mold remediation and pipe repairs, as well as floor replacement and it only ended up costing me about 3K out-of-pocket. We also had to do some roof and flashing repairs over the years as well, but that’s par for the course of a century-old home.

    After this mold and sewage headache, I decided I would sell the place because I was getting sick of dealing with it and we couldn’t seem to keep our downstairs unit filled for more than a year at a time. Plus, the insurance shot up for the claim. Turnover, is just a huge pain in the ass too. Between the escrow account opening and closings, utility switchovers, cleaning, painting, and unruly demands from every new tenant as well as an increased lack of handiness in the newer generation of renter, I had had enough. Right around this time, the realtor I use to find tenants suggested I sell the place. I told her if it could get $660K, we would sell it. But I also told here I did not have the bandwidth (sick kid) to lift a finger and she said it wouldn’t make a difference in the hot market. I told her she was wrong, but she tried anyway. I was right and we pulled it off the market after a month in May of 2018.

    Which brings us to current day. Reading the economic tea leaves, we sensed housing was turning. Especially after the last 20% increase In property values in less than 16 months. We put our home up for sale in February of this year at $879K. We heard of the bidding wars, watched the dump across the street from ours sell for way too much and again did not lift a finger to improve the place. The hassle of selling with tenants in place was a real pain in the ass too. The younger tenants downstairs even set up cameras to make sure no funny business was going on. Oddly, they offered me a $725K lowball and I told them no. Thankfully, the open house was well attended, but the oil-tank was the deterrent to a bidding war. We received three offers, but only one would allow us to leave the tank in place. The offer was at our list price. The buyer did an inspection and didn’t ask for any concessions. But he did want soil samples from under the tank to ensure it didn’t leak. We agreed and brought in a company to take samples for $400. Unfortunately, when they came to take the samples, we first found out that the oil tank was mainly under the house. In the 50s, during the owner’s transition of the house from a single family into a multi, they did an addition off of the back of the house right on top of the oil tank. Though they were able to pull some soil samples, it was impossible to tell if they were from under the tank or slightly off to the side or even from inside the tank. When the buyer heard this, they demanded we remove the tank. Of course, we still had tenants and removing the tank would require us to have to take apart and then rebuild the back of the house. Plus. the price for all of this? $40,000 and a huge time delay. Unfortunately, we had no choice.

    It’s now March and we are no closer to selling the house then we were in 2018. So, we decide pulling the oil tank is a necessity since no one is going to buy the place with the tank in place. We also decided to suggest to our upstairs tenant to leave because she will not be able to afford the new rent when the house is sold. This is the one I signed a lease with in 2018, didn’t raise the rent on in 2019 and then Montclair froze rent through April of this year. So she was paying well below market rent and really couldn’t afford not to. She understood and found a new place. The downstairs tenants decided to overpay for a place of their own in West Orange and planned to move out April 1st. This time, the weather was conducive to me putting in some sweat equity and we did the following (besides empty the home of all contents). Repainted the entire upstairs unit. Shampooed the carpeting, fixed all holes and cracks. Cleaned the crap out of it. The unit looked exactly liked it did when we rented it. In the backyard, I completely rescreened the gazebo, did a massive landscaping and cleanup of the yard including the trimming of the 50 foot long 10-foot-high hedge, destroyed and removed the old wooden swing set, replaced three outdoor movement sensing spotlights, power washed the driveway, painted the porch and the cement around the base of the enitre house. Fixed the garage door brackets and replaced any warped pickets as well as replaced 3 lengths of the fence. I did most of the work myself. On the exterior, I paid $3K for the landscaping I couldn’t do (tree pruning, monster hedge, etc) and about $2,500 for all of the painting. Once the downstairs tenants moved out, would you believe that the basement took on some more raw sewage as the pipe clogged again. This time we paid $3K to fix it right and the damage was minimal. Still annoying but it could have been worse. No mold this time either. We also paid $2K to do some asbestos removal from a few exposed pipes (even though it was in good shape). This time, the house was going to sell without any contingencies and quick. We could sense the market turning. We touched up all of the walls in the downstairs unit and it looked just like it had when we lived there. So, it took about a month for the back of the house to be unassembled. Of course, once the oil tank was removed, it had holes in it, so it would never pass the town inspection. Instead, you need to bring in an environmental company in to work with the NJDEP to do a site survey which involves more sample taking and a fancy report to be created. This worked out to around $2,000. Then the whole survey and sample results are submitted to the NJDEP with your check for $400 for review, and they hopefully issue an NFA (No further action). The lab results took about two weeks. The NFA and report acceptance took 5 weeks. Meanwhile, while waiting for the DEP, the back of the house was rebuilt, which took about two weeks. Once this was completed, I needed to patch the driveway. I lucked out with this one as I saw a driveway up the road being completely repaved. I asked the contractor there if he could do the 6 x 6 patch and he quoted me $500. Booyah, finally a cheap price for something. Once the patch was done, we relisted the house now for the third time.

    We listed at $879K again in early August and received a measly three offers after an open house. Keep in mind, back in February, a house right by ours received over 50 offers. Our first offer was at $900K but required an FHA loan and the buyer was only putting down 3% (so much for the end of subprime). She planned to owner occupy. The second offer was at $885K had 25% to put down and it was made by a realtor who was partnered with a mortgage broker. They begged us to accept their offer and promised us they would not be tough with inspection issues. The third offer was lower than these two. That’s all we received. This is after significantly cleaning the place up. We decided to go with the 25% down partnership as we were worried about the FHA loan being approved. We go under contract and the inspection report comes back from the realtor broker partnership with claims of $130,000 in repairs needed. Keep in mind. We had already received two inspections on the place that revealed no major issues and we had significantly improved everything that was questionable. This report was the most thorough thing you could ever see. The problem was, it was done as if the home was new construction. Everything, from our two-pronged outlets to the portable dishwasher, which was placed in the upstairs unit, was deemed unacceptable. This inspection report was nearly 400 pages of bizarre requests. I never saw anything like it. Worst of all, most of it was untrue. He expected everything to be done to code today. I mean, remediate lead paint from the plaster, upgrade all of the plumbing, etc. Sorry boss, but that’s not how it works. Clearly, the buyers wanted to back out and they did. We went back to the 3% down bidder and she was happy as a clam the home was coming to her. We went under contract, her inspection report revealed nothing wrong, and she was even willing to close before the NFA letter came. Though it did come the afternoon of the closing. We are guessing her rate lock was expiring, so she did a super quick close. The house transferred into her name on Friday.

    When it was all said and done, we paid about 235K into the joint. We pocketed a cool $837K, the net of the $900K purchase price. Do not forget to account for my 18 years of sweat equity and tears managing the joint. We received a return of about 256% or 7.31% annualized return. Had we invested 235K into SPY (the S&P500 fund), we would have had a return of 282% or 9.13%. That would have been without lifting a finger. And as we all know, housing it at the tippy, tippy, top of a long peak. The stock market, is far from it. If say I sold late last year, my SPY return would have been 10.3% annualized. Of course, there are other factors to consider, mainly tax write-offs which are significant, but these must be measured against your total gross income that your rental income drives upward. These made us ineligible for nearly every government program that came out in the past 20 years. That $50K of rental income is a real bitch, especially when what you took home after carrying costs and major repairs might have been negative for the year. Every program is measured in income. Not in net. A valuable lesson. We also got hammered by the rental freeze to the tune of around 20K in lost income. Meanwhile, both of our tenants benefitted from the pandemic and suffered no hardship.

    I hope you enjoyed reading this at least half as much as I enjoyed writing this. Hopefully, you learned something. The moral of the story? Stick with the sector-based funds and sleep well at night.

  80. chicagofinance says:


    My High School’s ‘Antiracist’ Agitprop

    Teachers tried to bully me into signing a $375 student government check for a group promoting critical race theory. I refused.

    By Sahar Tartak

    I was educated in the school district ranked by as America’s third-best. Immigrants from around the world come to Great Neck, N.Y., to raise their children. My best friend’s father was at the Tiananmen Square massacre. My classmates left behind their families in El Salvador. My mother escaped revolutionary Iran, and my grandfather escaped the Nazis.

    Lately, though, the area’s diverse and liberal-minded residents may have reason to think their local school officials aren’t as open-minded as they thought. In 2021 Great Neck North High School directed the student government to give $375 of student funds to a “racial equity” group to speak to the student body about “systemic racism.” I was the student government’s treasurer, and I felt we didn’t know enough about the organization and its mission to disburse the funds. So I refused to sign the check.

    In response, the teachers who advise the student government berated, bullied and insulted me at our next meeting, which took place over Zoom for my parents to overhear. They began by announcing that my social studies teacher would be present. Together, the three adults told me that the principal himself found my stance “appalling.” I had made them and the school “look bad,” they told me. One teacher said the situation gave her “hives.”

    When I suggested that students might not need or want a lecture on systemic racism, my social-studies teacher asked whether I’d also oppose a Holocaust survivor’s presentation.

    I objected to that comparison, but she cut me off: “If you’re not on board with systemic racism, I have trouble with that, girlfriend.”

    When I didn’t back down, she made a bizarre accusation: “The fact that you think slavery is debatable . . .”

    I logged off Zoom and started crying. My parents comforted me, and I decided I wasn’t going to sign that check.

    That’s when I noticed how illiberal my liberal high school had become. I once expressed disagreement with the narrative of the “1619 Project,” and that same social-studies teacher snapped that I was opposed to hearing other perspectives. I had signed up for her class because it was described as “discussion-based,” but certain discussion seemed forbidden.

    Later, a friend showed me a lesson from his English class—a Google Slides presentation urging that students pledge to work “relentlessly” in the “lifelong process” of “antiracism.” According to these slides, America is a place where racism is “no better today than it was 200 years ago.” I disagreed but didn’t mind the debate. Yet this wasn’t about debate: Immigrant children were being told to “pledge” to defend a view many of them don’t hold.

    I doubt students could have comfortably objected in class. The lesson pre-empted criticism by imputing to them “white fragility,” which means they “close off self-reflection,” “trivialize the reality of racism,” and “protect a limited worldview.” The adult presenting this accusatory material was a teacher who had the power to grade them and affect their prospects of getting into college.

    When parents caught wind of this presentation, their group chats exploded: “I feel like I live under a rock.” “I did not realize the extent of this at all.” “If you too are troubled by this, join us at the upcoming school board meeting.”

    I decided to tell the school board about my treatment at the hands of teachers and school officials. I was nervous but I made my case. The response, to my shock, was a standing ovation. I also received many expressions of support from fed-up parents, from teachers who silently abhorred their one-sided “professional development” courses, and from students who had been punished by administrators for questioning the orthodoxy of systemic racism. (One of those students had been sent to the principal’s office for refusing to sign an “antihate” pledge.)

    That experience prompted me and a few like-minded others to look into our school’s curriculums. What we found was an arsenal of lopsidedly race-obsessed lesson plans. One was about the American Psychological Association’s “Apology to People of Color” for its role in “Promoting, Perpetuating, and Failing to Challenge Racism.” Another was titled “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” My favorite: “A Critical Race Theory Approach to The Great Gatsby.”

    The schools in our district had always followed the guidelines of New York state’s comprehensive social-studies curriculum, which included teaching about the pervasiveness and evils of slavery, mistreatment of Native Americans, discrimination against Chinese immigrants and so on. What we discovered was something else—partisanship and race essentialism, mixed in with administrative intimidation and bullying that our officials refused to address.

    District officials responded in the way school officials often do when criticized. They ignored us for as long as possible, then delayed taking action for as long as possible, clearly hoping everybody would forget the controversy and move on. They didn’t respond to my father’s freedom-of-information request until the day before a contentious school-board election. The board then promised to further investigate the curriculums, but we never heard anything after that. My school brought in a member of the state Education Department’s Board of Regents, to discuss curriculums, but that resulted in nothing.

    I graduated last spring, but no one has moved on. Students and parents across the country are finally asking tough questions about anti-American curriculums. Immigrants like my mother and grandfather found refuge in America because for all its problems, it’s a wonderful place full of generous and open-minded people. The nation’s schools have a duty to teach students that basic truth.

    Sahar Tartak is a freshman at Yale and a fellow at the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism.

  81. Libturd says:

    I think I found my son’s college essay.

  82. Libturd says:

    The weird thing about that Great Neck opinion piece is that I know Great Neck and it’s predominantly white and Asian. I imagine the faculty demographics does not match that of the students. This always leads to problems. Same reason why a white police department does not work well in a black city. Like Newark’s was.

  83. No One says:

    Congrats Libturd!

  84. Bystander says:

    Great read, Lib. You should teach real estate class at MSU. Send junior for free. Congrats on ending the agony. Lesson – buy in 2020, sell in early 2022 and make 40% without doing a damn thing.

  85. Libturd says:

    Timing the tops and bottoms are the key. It requires incredible diligence and discipline. Plus more patience than most have. We blew it in 2004. More than made up for it in 2011 when we got our Glen Ridge home. And this place is rock solid! Nothing ever breaks.

    I’ve only tried to time the stock market four times in my life. That kind of patience.

  86. Ex says:

    5:20 great read! Solid crib.

  87. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Agree. You don’t have the leverage bomb you had in 2007. These are strong positioned homeowners. Supply available will be tight. Don’t expect builders to start adding new supply till the rates come down.

    “90% of outstanding mortgages have a 3 handle or lower. 37% of all homes in the country are owned outright. Correction yes and a slowdown of new homes, but it won’t be anything like 2008.”

  88. The Great Pumpkin says:


    Nice story. Man, you have some bad luck. Two furnaces?!!! I would have lost it.

  89. Jim says:

    Congratulations Lib, without a doubt you fortunately got in under the wire. It is pretty assured the women who purchased the house will eventually lose it, almost a given. Three percent down is the give away. I am always amazed when people buy rental units who don’t know what the hell they are doing. Curious, did you ever go through a court eviction? That is the real test of owning rental properties.

  90. Jim says:

    The Great Pumpkin says:
    September 19, 2022 at 8:36 pm

    Correction yes and a slowdown of new homes, but it won’t be anything like 2008.”

    Time will be the judge of that Pumps, if it is anything like your deflation predictions it will be all poop.
    If Powell continues the Paul Volcker way it will be a lot worse than 2008.

  91. BRT says:

    3% and 5% down the past year is going to see a return to the “strategic default”. You can walk away and avoid a 150k in losses.

  92. 1987 Condo says:

    Lib, congrats!
    Did you account for the depreciation recapture in your final roi?

  93. joyce says:

    Christie looks a little drunk in the photo. Is Murphy no longer bald? Can’t believe the other guy isn’t in prison.

    The article is sparse on details. I’d like to know more details on the project’s funding.

  94. 3b says:

    Congrats Lib. I am glad it all worked out for you and your family, you guys certainly deserve it. And you are a great story writer. All the best!

  95. 3b says:

    Jim: A 20 percent increase in house prices in a year, which was unprecedented. That 20 percent will get taken back and then some. The cheerleaders will say, that’s not how it works in real estate, to why I would reply if they can increase 20 percent in a year, they can decline 20 percent in a year. We were told there was all this pent up demand and millenials blah blah, and how much money they make, and yet as soon as rates started to rise the demand declined and is declining more as rates increase. It was a bubble plain and simple, and now it’s bursting. The fundamentals don’t change.

  96. Libturd says:


    Never had to evict anyone. In all of those years, I never had a single day of vacancy except for one month, when I had to do some major upgrading. Never received rent even one day late either. Though I always read my tenants the riot act about getting my rent on time before they signed. I’ve shared it before. If I don’t get my rent on the 1st, you will find all of your belongings on the front lawn. I know it’s illegal. So is speeding.

    No the captured depreciation is not in the ROI. Let’s just say, I won’t be taxed too heavily on the gains.

  97. Libturd says:

    After we closed, I talked with my realtor and we simply could not believe people are paying this much. The buyer is so likely to jingle mail, it’s nearly an absolute. There is no way to make the math make sense. Even owner occupied.

  98. Very Stable Genius says:

    Insurrectionist who wore ‘Camp Auschwitz’ sweatshirt gets prison term.

    A Virginia man who stormed the U.S. Capitol while wearing an antisemitic “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt over a Nazi-themed shirt has been sentenced to 75 days of imprisonment.

    Robert Keith Packer, 57, declined to address U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols before the sentencing last week during a hearing held by videoconference. The judge noted the “incredibly offensive” message on Packer’s sweatshirt before handing down the sentence.

    “It seems to me that he wore that sweatshirt for a reason. We don’t know what the reason was because Mr. Packer hasn’t told us,” Nichols said.

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