Sunday, October 16, 2005

Bubblewrap?!?!?

The Northern NJ bubble made the front page of The Record this Sunday with the first in a four part series on the housing market. Writer Prashant Gopal took, what I thought, was a slightly anti-bubble stance on the issue, however, with 3 more parts to go, we'll see if Prashant is an unbiased journalist or just another real estate cheerleader.

Boom or Bubble

I only have a single comment on the article, I'll hold back until I can read the entire 4 part series..

Tkacz and other agents interviewed by The Record believe North Jersey home prices - which were up roughly 15 percent over the 12 months ended June 30 - are protected by a sort of "bubble wrap." These factors include proximity to New York City, a shortage of undeveloped land, environmental regulations that restrain development, a steady influx of immigrants and a strong, diverse job market.

This kind of argument is currently being used in every bubble market. You can say the bubble won't pop here because of the weather, because of the proximity to certain metro areas, because you think jobs are there, because of this, because of that, you can come up with 100 excuses for this area being different, but the truth of the matter is that there is a bubble.

The fact that Northern NJ is a part of the NYC metro area has always been reflected in house prices here. Go out into the midwest, why does a house 3x the size on 10x the property cost a quarter of what a home here costs? It's no secret, we've been paying a premium for a long time. All of these factors were priced-in long before the bubble and will still exist post bubble. The boom pushed our already high home prices even higher. The same article goes on to say NYC is a cooling market. Interesting, we stay hot because of our proximity to NYC, but NYC itself can cool? I don't get it.

Caveat Emptor,
Grim

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAHHAHAHA NYV apartments fall 13% in price.

Now it is hapening here.
Just ask some from Bostone. 15% drops are the norm last 3 months.

The crash has began.

10/16/2005 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Bergen county prices are ridiculous. Everyone that lives there is drinking the koolaid, and the only newcomers are those in the senior management ranks wealthy enough to join the delusional. As grim said, the premium was built into the prices long before the bubble. The excuses used by the author are commonplace. We seen this script before. If you can, sit tight for 18-24 months and see how this plays out. The likelihood of prices getting further out of reach compared to flattening or going down are slim.

10/16/2005 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger bubble disciple said...

I went to four open houses today (in West Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Clifton, and Bloomfield). It had been about a month since my last time.

I didn't sense any sign of a cooling market. The prices seemed as inflated as ever and there were a lot of visitors. Of course, one can never be sure until the closing prices are known. But, I'm still disappointed that nothing has changed yet.

10/16/2005 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

>>But, I'm still disappointed that nothing has changed yet

it'll take some more time. now isn't the time to look as things are just starting to cool down. inventory is building, more prices are being reduced but places are still selling briskly. give it another 6-12 months before resuming your search. me thinks end of 2006 will be alot more of a buyers market than today.

10/16/2005 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Grim Ghost said...

It takes a while for prices to come down. I've been to several open houses in the last month or so. Most were quiet, and many seem to keep repeating themselves.

The one open house that I went to that seemed to have a lot of traffic (in Nutley) still hasn't sold -- the agent called me back later to ask if I was interested.

10/16/2005 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

I still can't get over that "bubble wrap" comment. I'm sorry, while I do agree it's got a clever kind of twist to it, it's making light of a very delicate and somewhat dangerous situation. God I hope I don't start seeing this term elsewhere, it's almost as bad as "bubblettes" and "froth". It just makes me angry to hear that kind of nonsense.

-grim

10/17/2005 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger grim said...

I went to one open house this weekend. The open house was in Cedar Grove, near the reservoir, I believe asking was somewhere in the low/mid fives. Overpriced? Absolutely, it really did belong somewhere in the mid fours, but it was a nice place. In fact, I thought it was a much nicer place for the money than alot of others I've seen in that price range. Did I think about making an offer? Heck no, you'd have to be crazy.

I did a few drive-bys up near Chester and Mendham as well. Nothing spectacular and all significantly overpriced.

Buyer and Seller psychology doesn't change quickly. While I am definately seeing a shift, I'm still going to hold my ground and say it's going to take some time to play out. We probably won't start seeing pain in the market until February at the earliest.

-grim

10/17/2005 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger InvestorDavid said...

Whenever I talked to agents about the Bergen county RE price, this is the response.

When the price in Manhattan goes up, "since it's so expensive in Manhattan, people will start buying in Bergen County. So the price will go up."

When the price in Manhattan goes down, "it's still so expensive in Manhattan, they will buy houses/condos in Bergen County as an alternative. So the price will go up."

I guess RE agents have answers for every situation.

10/17/2005 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger Richie said...

Bubblewrap? That's justifiable if the economy was booming like it was in the late 90's. When companies were giving away cars to their employees, and people had jobs. Just because we're close to NYC doesn't mean the home prices should be super inflated.

If they feel that way; then why is property in far west Morris county worth more then land in Newark? Is that the deflated bubble in the bubblewrap?

I think there is a lot of ego surrounding home prices & RE agents.

As for open houses; don't be misled by the number of people. A lot of those people just want to see the inside of the home; and really have no interest in purchasing. If the RE agents are calling you back; then think of it from their perspective. They're not seeing a lot of callbacks and trying to fish out the most they can.

When times were "good" for the brokers, people would bid & overbid; they wouldn't have to call people back to see if they were interested, they knew they were.

-Richie

10/17/2005 07:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The tide is going out. Anyone can ask anything they want. But houses are sitting and are obscenely overpriced.
80-100% in 5 years is absolutely to much increase in such a short period of time.Similar houses 5 years ago sold for about $275k-$300k so this house with very little in terms of upgrades and about 35 years old deserves maybe a $385K bid. 5% compounded return over 5 years. about 38% overpriced.That's how insanely priced housing is.
Don't even bother looking.
One house I looked at about 2 months ago still sits.You can just see the seller desperation. When it first came on the market the yard was all neat and trimmed. Now the grass is getting long and looks a little messy.
Reality sinking in.
Does the seller have to sell? If so then he better start acting fast to lower price to find a buyer before the drop picks up steam. A token 5-10% price reduction will not be working soon.

10/17/2005 07:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife spoke with a friend whose brother is a weichert realtor.
He said things have really slowed.

10/17/2005 07:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am collecting names of realtors that are quoted in local NJ papers saying that there is no bubble and it's a great time to buy. Then when the bust is in full force will contact several journalist and give the quotes, papers and dates of articles to expose these greedy pros in public.

I hope everyone else does the same. If so called pro's give bad advice then they should be held accountable for their incompetency.

TC

10/17/2005 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger pascackvalley said...

The Realtor from Weicher in Wyckoff, is hiliarious, bubble wrap. However she did not mention that right door to Wyckoff, in franklin Lakes, one of the most expensive toens in BC, and NJ, that they have a years worh of inventory on the market right now, today, and that is from realtor.com

Bubble Wrap, too funny, if not so stupid.

10/17/2005 01:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

I'm hoping the ability for a buyer to add forced value after purchase, may help my home's marketability when the time comes to sell it, by providing built in protection to it's buyer.

I'm in West Central Jersey, Hunterdon County, about 4 miles off Rt 78. My home is one of the smaller ones, on one of the neighborhood's largest lots. (They lengthened the street and added bigger homes going for about 400k more than mine) My house is sound, about 30 years old, in good shape but needs updating. A renovator told me about $150k worth of additions (great room and master suite)and updates could bring my home closer in value to the newer larger ones. I'm not in a position to renovate myself, - am thinking of moving to an adult community.

If he's correct, a 546K base ($579K minus 33K in saved realtor commission) plus 150K could equal a current value of close to 900k, thus leaving a nice cushion if prices fall back.

Any suggestions?

11/13/2005 10:36:00 PM  
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