Friday, March 24, 2006

At A Glance: Mendham, NJ

Mendham Boro & Twp., NJ - Morris County
Mendham from City-Data

Listings As of 3/24
Total Active Listings: 129
Up To $500,000: 6
$500,001 - $1,000,000: 45
$1,000,001 And Up: 78

Listing Activity Since 3/1
37 Added
3 Back on Market
19 Price Reductions
18 Under Contract
14 Sold
8 Expired
5 Withdrawn
2 Temporarily Withdrawn

February Sales Activity
Up To $500,000: 1
$500,001 - $1,000,000: 1
$1,000,001 And Up: 7
Sales Prices were 8.84% below Original List Prices
(All data from GSMLS)

61 Comments:

Blogger grim said...

Please start a new list for the towns you'd like to see featured here. Yes, I know it's a pain for you but it makes my life easier.

grim

3/24/2006 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mahwah - condos/townhouses

3/24/2006 11:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hanover Township

3/24/2006 12:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To play devil's advocate... I don't think that prices in Mendham will drop in the next 12-18 months. Can anyone tell me why I'm wrong. PS I don't really believe this, but I need some reassurance. As always, fantastic blog you got here Grim

3/24/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger njresident286 said...

New Providence
Florham Park

3/24/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hoboken

3/24/2006 12:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sparta (lake mohawk)

3/24/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Morris Plains, please.

ASA

3/24/2006 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

Doubting Anonymous,

Isn't it true that a rising tide lifts all boats?

The same forces that pushed prices up over the past five years will have the same effect on the downside.

When the tide goes all all the boats will fall.

As other areas fall, their value in comparison will rise, thus making them more attractive.

Demand will fall in the areas whose prices remained elevated. Thus, sellers there will need to drop prices to sell.

The cycle is viscious and the market works to push prices in both directions..

I've heard that argument made for just about every town in NJ save for Paterson or Newark..

grim

3/24/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Mendham prices will drop before they do in towns like Summit, Short Hills and Upper Montclair. Mendham does not have as many NYC commuters (who are more willing to shell out the big bills), and thus less demand. Also seems like there is always more inventory in Mendham, and you can always get more for your money there relative to the towns I mentioned previously). Just my 2 cents. Cheers.

3/24/2006 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

(cont)

Appreciation in the past 5 or 6 years was not due to market imbalances and changes in local markets.

Here is an example of what I mean.

Town X borders on town Y. Town Y has a train station, and is seen as being more valuable than X.

Town X decides they need a station as well, and they build one. Home prices increase in town X as a result of being seen as more valuable. Values in Y may fall due to the fact that the advantage was removed.

What happened in Mendham over the past 6 years to increase prices?

Nothing. It was speculative mania and liquidity that caused the price increases there.

grim

3/24/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grim and Chicago - you too are geniuses...thank you for giving me a lesson on economics...

I would love to see Waldwick featured...relatively affordable compared to it's surrounding towns - Ridgewood and Upper Saddle River...also has a NJ transit train station

3/24/2006 01:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parsippany/Troy Hills Please..

3/24/2006 01:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Montgomery,Princeton & south brunswick

3/24/2006 01:34:00 PM  
Anonymous db said...

Grim,
I would like to see Berkley Heights and Princeton (though I think you said before that you can't get data on Mercer County).

By the way, I'm been reading your blog for the last couple months. Before that I couldn't figure out how people could be living so large in NJ. Everywhere I looked people had expensive clothes, cars, families, homes, etc. My fiancee and I together make well over the median income >150K & we are renting until things come back down to Earth. I have smart, well educated friends who still believe real estate always goes up.

PS excellent analysis on your blog

3/24/2006 01:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for Mendham we have been looking there for a couple of years now. There is a great deal of speculators there and we think that Mendham will be reducing faster than other locations. Also, we have some friends there and they all have the interest only deals and they cannot really afford the houses they are in at this time. So I think you are going to see it actually drop faster

3/24/2006 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger njresident286 said...

I think we need to talk about how overated "good schools" are when buying a house. maybe not for resale value, but in general. If your kid is smart, the school he goes to will not make that much of a difference. I think paying an extra 75k for a similiar house in a town good school is crazy

3/24/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Anonymous db said...

njresident286,

I fully agree with your comments about overrated schools. I have friends and have seen others that get obsessed with living in areas with the "top" schools and high test scores. As an ivy league graduate, I did not come from a top high school at all. I fully believe that actual intelligence and parental involvement (of both parents) is far more important. And you don't have to go to an ivy-league university either to be successful. I don't believe that my classmates were brillant. By the way, my fiancee teaches in one of those "top" blue ribbon districts and she agrees too.

3/24/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Anonymous db said...

BTW, I didn't mean to imply that I was brilliant either. In fact, I think my ivy-league mba was probably a poor investment.

3/24/2006 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger NJGal said...

You know, I wonder, if you are at the top of your class at a less well known high school, do you actually have a BETTER chance of getting into an Ivy League school? All these people who move to towns with excellent schools are simply throwing their kids into what are ultra-competitive environments, making their chances less. Or logically, that's what one would think would happen.

Besides, coming from a town like that, the parents are really annoying:)

3/24/2006 02:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think paying an extra 75k for a similiar house in a town good school is crazy"

It's worth $75K to me that my kids have a lower probability of getting involved with drugs, and a higher probability of going to a good college.

3/24/2006 03:04:00 PM  
Anonymous db said...

NJgal,

You may be right.

And Anon @ 3:04, don't assume there are not drugs in "good schools." My roommate in college came from a very "good" district & $$$ town in NJ and I was surprised when he told me about drug use there. But then again, after all, who can afford expensive drugs?

3/24/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger njresident286 said...

DB i could not agree with you more. I grew up in springfield, and had manby friends from Millburn, livingston and montville. The amount of drugs at those schools were staggering compared to springfield. Drugs are everywhere, they are just kept on the down low in rich towns by the parents so that it does not hurt the kid down the line.

As for doing better and a school that is not highly ranked, I think that is the best way to get into a good college. My mom teaches in Newark, and every year the top student in her highschool gets into an Ivy league school. Smart kid, horrible school where the end result is an ivy league education.

I also have a really close friend who does college adminssions for a state school. he said that if 25 kids from one highschool apply, they will only take the first few kids. So say they take the first 5, #6-25 are rejected. Now take a kid from another highschool who is the only one to apply. His grades may be lower than student #6 from above who did not get in, but he will get in to increase the demographic.

And when it comes down to it, after highschool and college, does a degree from rutgers really carry more weight then deleware? Or does it matter how you can perform at the job, regardless of education. There are people with Doctorate's who are idiots, and people with a higshcool GED who run million dollar companies. It's a crap shoot. I am sure everyone wants to give their kids the best, but I am not sure buying in a town with the best schools does that.

Also, what is a top school now may not be a top school by the time your kids make it to highschool an beyond. At one time, union was the place to move and live, and now it is slowly being sucked up by newark and elizabeth.

3/24/2006 03:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

njgal - I know you mentioned you are from LI. So am I, from what has always been considered to be a cra ppy school district (Hicksville) but many of my fellow students turned out to be highly successful. A friend of mine is from Valley Stream said her high school was unbelievably lousy with lots of drugs, but yet it ranked quite high in the rankings. She said it was because the school had a high Jewish population and the parents there were very involved and had tutoring, etc for their children to make sure that their kids did well. And db at 3:15, that's another excellent point. Rich kids definitely do drugs since they can afford it. Parent involvement is the key on all of these issues!!!

3/24/2006 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger skep-tic said...

a few kids from crappy schools do get out and have some success, but there is a reason everyone wants their kids to go to the best schools.

I was the first person ever to get into my Ivy League college from my rather crappy high school, and not a day goes by that I don't realize how lucky I was, given that most of the people I went to school with are pumping gas for a living.

contrast this with my friend who went to a particular high school in Mass which sends at least 30 kids to Harvard every year. I'm putting my money on the kid from that school vs. my high school any day of the week

3/24/2006 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Shailesh Gala said...

Bridgewater & Flemington & Hillsborough

3/24/2006 04:03:00 PM  
Anonymous db said...

njresident286,

I agree that a great deal of luck is involved with one's career success. If you look at a big corporation with a lot of driven, well-educated employees, it takes a lot of things including a bit of luck to rise to the top. There was a recent study that showed over the last 20 years the educational pedigrees of forture 500 CEOs contained far less ivy league and similar schools. Sometimes we focus too much on the wrong things. I am guily of that too.

Skep-tic,
I would put my money on the Mass school kids too. I didn't mean to get into a bad/good school discussion. I just meant that maybe there isn't that much a difference between ok and excellent schools to a really smart child, especially when it comes to learning the basics.

I hope I didn't throw off Grim's original focus too much. Back to real estate, all my fiancee and I are looking for is a 3 bedroom 2 bath home in a town with a train station, but as everyone here knows, the price is not right (yet).

3/24/2006 04:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chatham

3/24/2006 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Shailesh Gala said...

Grim Wrote: Town X borders on town Y. Town Y has a train station, and is seen as being more valuable than X.

I feel in NJ towns it seems that situation is reverse. The towns that do not have Train station, or have less urban areas appreciates more. I feen Towns with Train station are not preferred in long run as they have higher density. Town like Mendham, Chester, Montclair, Bedminster etc... are very expensive compared to most others.

I feel that is because, the towns have strict zoning restrictions, hence controls the amount of houses that are allowed to be built. This also helps improve school district, as there are less children per class, hence more individual attention.

3/24/2006 04:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: train stations

I wouldn't count Ridgewood, Mahwah, Ramsey, Glen Rock and Ho-ho-kus in that analysis

3/24/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger NJGal said...

So I guess it's who knows with the high school thing. It can happen either way I guess. There is something to be said for good schools, though, I suppose - my husband came from one of the best in the country - only the "dumb" kids went to my college (a very competitive liberal arts school) and the smart ones went Ivy (don't worry, hubby did not mean to insult - he did not go Ivy!). But again, who knows - that was a school that was head and shoulders above any other in the tri-state area. One thing for sure is true - if you're from Montana, you have a better shot of getting into Harvard than if you're from NJ.

Yes, I grew up on LI, but went to private school. However, my local school district was excellent (not too far from Valley Stream) and had as many issues with drugs and drinking as any other school.

While one could argue that poverty leads to drug selling, one could also argue that money leads to drug abuse - mommy and daddy buy you a new car (SUV of course), give you all the material goods in the world, but something is still lacking, so with the cash they give you, you and your white hat buddies snort some coke, smoke some weed, etc. I've seen it, and I bet many of you have as well.

3/24/2006 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger NJGal said...

PS, I vote for Maplewood again. Pretty please?

3/24/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shailesh Gala said...
Grim Wrote: Town X borders on town Y. Town Y has a train station, and is seen as being more valuable than X.

my two cents....
mendham and chester will have a vastly different landscape in the next decade. I think because of the build out of train stations, light rail etc is the reason many people started moving and increased developments. The new trend seems to be transit village downtown scapes and the return of boutique shopping etc. Ridgewood and Westfield have similar downtown areas... i'm at work... just blabbing

-TM

3/24/2006 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger Shailesh Gala said...

NJGAL: if you're from Montana, you have a better shot of getting into Harvard than if you're from NJ.

Why you feel that way? Wouldn't folks from NJ better prepared for future, as they live close to many businesses and are with folks who are more competitve?

3/24/2006 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger skep-tic said...

the school question is very relevant to the real estate discussion. there's a recent book by a bankruptcy prof at harvard law school which argues that the reason so many families are so financially strapped is because they're all striving to get the best educations for their kids (e.g., move to the best school district, pay for expensive college, etc).

there is value in living in a community where all of the kids are expected to and expect themselves to succeed. simply living in such a community is not a sure path to success, but it is definitely worth something.

I also think the premium paid to have access to good schools is only going to increase in the future.

The reality is that most public schools these days flat out suck. Taxes are high everywhere in the northeast, even in areas that lack good schools.

and the value of your average college degree is diminishing-- the income of people with bachelor's degrees has been declining in real terms for several years now. people realize that the competitive college admissions game has real economic consequences in most cases.

to me, all of this points to increased premium to get into the best school districts

3/24/2006 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger RentinginNJ said...

Grim.

OT...Do you get the Clifton Journal (the free Clifton paper)? If you do, check out the front page article. It starts off..."One of the oldest houses in Clifton is for sale, and no one is buying".

3/24/2006 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Shailesh Gala said...

Did some research into how much NJ spends on schools. It turns out that NJ spends about $10K per student, highest in the nation. I could not find breakdown by cities. That would be helpful to find if there are still any towns with good schools but are affordable.

Anyway, came across a good (little old) article. The Town Planners in Washington NJ boast that based on their planning would result in less children !!!

http://www.newurbannews.com/Washington_0303.html

According to preliminary numbers presented in an initial proposal, the area developed using previous suburban zoning would have generated 2,282 children. Yet, that same area, using smart growth techniques, would generate only 805 children.

That’s a huge difference in a state such as New Jersey, where the entire burden of the school budget is placed on the local municipality, which relies mainly on real estate taxes to fund education and receives nearly no assistance from the state. With each child costing around $9,300 to educate, it’s almost impossible for municipalities with typical suburban zoning to reach equity.

With such planning, Its no wonder, towns with good school district are expensive !!!

3/24/2006 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger njresident286 said...

College is a buisness just like Microsoft and Cisco. They have people at the top who make a lot of money and they provide a service. The price of college is rising double digits every year for the last 5 or 6 years.

College degrees are not worth as much as the used to anymore because a lot of people who would not have went to college and maybe would have become facotry workers now go to college, so the product is diluted (college degree's being the product)

DISCLAIMER: i have 2 college engineering degree's. I also have done grant work at MIT for a year. I am not bragging, but I am stating that i still do not put to much value into a college degree

3/24/2006 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...

Shailesh Gala said...
NJGAL: if you're from Montana, you have a better shot of getting into Harvard than if you're from NJ.

Why you feel that way? Wouldn't folks from NJ better prepared for future, as they live close to many businesses and are with folks who are more competitve?
4:48 PM


No.

3/24/2006 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

No matter how I slice it or dice it, access to manhattan mass transit is one of the biggest selling points of a Northern NJ town.

http://www.njtransit.com/images/map_november2003.jpg

How do you argue with that?

grim

3/24/2006 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

Should have added the usual disclaimer:

That fact was priced into the area long before the current housing bubble was a glimmer in greenspans eye.

jb

3/24/2006 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger NJGal said...

Shailesh, a) I agree with Chicago in saying "no," that's just elitist, and b) it's well-known that colleges and universities strive for "diversity," one aspect of which is diversity of location. The Northeast is extremely competitive school wise and sends a TON of kids to college - by sheer number alone it's more competitive. If you're from Montana or a less populous state that sends less kids to college, you bring "diversity" to their student body that the college can brag about. So if I really wanted my kids at Harvard (which I don't personally) I would move somewhere that they had a better chance.

A silly thing to do, really, since you can't plan your kids' future, but it would technically give them a better shot against the numbers.

3/24/2006 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

I think keeping the private school option open is a smart play considering prices and taxes in the best rated school districts..

jb

3/24/2006 06:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From CNN/Money:


At long last, a new home sale slump

Sales in February drop more than expected, as median price falls and supply grows. Is the real estate bubble bursting?

http://money.cnn.com/2006/03/24/news/economy/newhome_sales

3/24/2006 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger lisoosh said...

Rich school district - expensive drugs, poor school district - cheap drugs + they get caught more often. I spent several months on a grand jury in Somerset and what is really interesting is that the "good" school districts were the one with all of the underage sex stuff going on (parties, involvement with friends parents, all sorts of stuff). Too much money and too much time on their hands leads to sophisticated kids who mature too quickly. The other disadvantage with the "premium" school districts is there is a lot of pressure on the kids to have the right clothes and the right car and the kids that don't really suffer.
I also had a friend who worked with social services as a laison to schools and the premium districts spend a lot of time and energy hiding their problems and their problem kids in order to maintain their status.
The best is to avoid the best and the worst, most impoverished ones and go with reasonable middle class districts. The schools are usually decent but not overhyped, the housing is cheaper, there is less emphasis on conspicuous consumption and aspiring parents are usually involved parents.

3/24/2006 07:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to see the North Hudson, lower Bergen County waterfront area, specially Edgewater with all that construction on the chemical landfill/ former superfund waste sites

3/24/2006 07:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Trish said...

Ok, my friend lives in Mendham, if you are planning to live there GET A RADON TEST. The city sits on some fault lines and Radon is all over the place. If you find it, make sure it's remeditated. Lung cancer sucks.

3/24/2006 08:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Trish said...

Whatever you do, get a killer Housing Inspector unaffiliated with your realtor. My realtor was shitting bricks when my housing inspector spent FOUR hours checking out my intended house, walked on the roof, checked every outlet to ensure the circuits were polarized correctly, spent an hour in the basement stabbing the foundation and checking for termites he took pictures of EVERYTHING.. He was FABULOUS (and not the cheapest-but it's worth it)! My Realtor wanted Johnny Idiot Inspector who takes a checklist and then checks off between 1 and 5. My guy delivers an actual report and lists every piddling thing wrong with the house. FABULOUS.

3/24/2006 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger Grim Ghost said...

trish -- who was your inspector and how much did he cost ?

I used H & J Freile myself once, the inspector was great.

Lots of NJ towns have radon, especially in Somerset and Morris. If you have a large basement, especially.

Be sure that your inspection includes a radon contingency, and get radon tested.

3/24/2006 09:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Sugee said...

Could you please include Iselin in the Middlesex county ?

Anyway, here's another asking atrocity. A home was listed at 339 and quickly brought down to 299 and sold. The house next door, same size, model etc. has come on market right after this sale asking for 359. I dunno what kind of upgrades they have in there - gold knobs for the doors perhaps, marble floors all over maybe, who knows. The attitude still seems to be like 'what is lost by asking afterall, let us simply ask away !'.

It will be several months before we get know the actual sale prices.

3/24/2006 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

can anyone comment on West Caldwell? people types, schools, etc. thanks.

3/24/2006 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

About 2 years back we were set on moving to Peapack & Gladstone, we visited a number of older houses. Almost every home we saw had a radon remediation system.

Let me just tell you, there is something very uncomfortable about seeing radioactive warning signs in your basement.

grim

3/25/2006 06:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trish, your fabulous inspector must have been the guy from Westfield (ACE) or Dover (Shelterworks), or Franklin Lakes (Foremost). They are real inspectors. The overpaid real estate tour guides cringe when they see their trucks coming! They actually have ladders and have real accredations.

3/25/2006 07:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's worth $75K to me that my kids have a lower probability of getting involved with drugs, and a higher probability of going to a good college.

There are a lot of drugs in those overpriced areas as well. A price tag and socioeconomics does not prevent drugs and other societal problems from penetrating those walls. I know more people in Bedford, NY and Greenwich, CT that have a lot of deep problems--they just hide them better behind there gated estates.

Don't fool yourself!

3/25/2006 07:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could someone elaborate a little further about why Mendham has Radon everywhere?

3/25/2006 09:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mendham radon- Not quite everywhere- Morris county in general is about 50-50 Tier 1 (High Radon Potential) and Tier 2 (Moderate Radon Potential) according to the NJ State Radon Map.
Radon is from the breakdown of naturally occurring uranium in the soil and rocks. Montclair has the added bonus of have been a radioactive dump area from a company who made glow in the dark watch dials years ago, I think it was called "The Radium Watch Dial Company". Many of the young girls who hand painted the dials with radium paint, sharpened the points of their brushes by wettting them in their mouths. Most died from mouth and digestive tract cancer years later.

3/25/2006 10:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There are a lot of drugs in those overpriced areas as well."

Many replies such as this confuse "probability" with "guarantee."

There's no guarantee your kid will be better off in a nice town with good schools, but there's a greater probability.

3/25/2006 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Weezer said...

I know that this is not northern NJ but I would like to see middlesex county in here. Like Woodbridge, Edison, Piscataway, etc..

3/25/2006 07:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Trish said...

Hi Grim Ghost - My housing inspector was Shelterworks (Dover). I really liked him and thought he did an excellent job. My Realtor is a dual agent for me and the seller so I didn't accept her choice of housing inspectors. My attorney (a legal pit bull in human form) has used him for the past 20 years and is very satisfied with his work. He may be too anal for some people, but if you are spending 400K on a house, you want to know that your investment is safe and that the foundation isn't going to crumble after the closing. Good luck!

3/26/2006 04:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for providing the name of the inspector... I also agree that most of them are idiots. 10 years ago mine didn't report that the roof leaked, there was no drip loop in the electrical wiring and that we had a wet basement.

3/27/2006 02:46:00 PM  
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