Thursday, March 02, 2006

State unemployment nearing national level

Some more news for NJ's economy, we're losing more jobs and hitting the national unemployment level..

State unemployment nearing national level

Between January 2005 and January 2006, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent from 5.2 percent, while unemployment in New Jersey rose to 4.6 percent from 3.9 percent.

This surely is not good for NJ's economy or the housing market. That's a pretty big increase in unemployment over a year that was fueled by consumer spending and a growing real-estate market.

According to the report, most jobs were lost in transportation, utilities, and retail trade. I find that hard to beleive with all the increases in my electric & gas bills.. Where was the greatest increase in jobs? Construction...

-Richie

PS: Grim Come Home!

53 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note that the US economy is at "full employment" between 4.8% and 5.2%.

Anything that varies outside this range, is abnormal and will correct itself one way or the other.

3/02/2006 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's start something fun: What's the funniest thing you've read on recent listings?

"Basement: *CRAWL STORAGE W/CONCRETE FLOORS"

- wow, what a bonus to have concrete basement floors on a $579,900 POS in Washington Township,Bergen County.

3/02/2006 11:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a house right on Route 208 in Franklin Lakes... look out your windows and watch the cars whiz by

http://newjersey.craigslist.
org/rfs/138257540.html

3/02/2006 12:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Rich In NorthNJ said...

And if high home prices in NJ aren't enough, you get to pay more in property taxes each month!!

http://tinyurl.com/syyqo

Rich in Bergen County

3/02/2006 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4% doesn't seem like a drastic price reduction to me, and what's that animal hide doing on the floor? Or is it a child's costume?

http://newjersey.craigslist.
org/rfs/136920280.html

3/02/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rich in Bergen County, any thoughts on Ridgewood? Does this town warrant paying a higher price?

I like the older architacture, and the schools are apparently very good. But other than that, I don't know much.

Is it essentially a northern Short Hills?

Any info and opinions you can share would be great!

3/02/2006 01:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Rich In NorthNJ said...

Anon 1:04 PM

I don't know Short Hills, but this is what I can tell you about Ridgewood. Great schools, turn of the century & colonial revival houses, fantastic downtown with the same great old architecture and community feel.
BUT the house prices are still way out of line with y-o-y increases close to 20%! And then there are the taxes! Not as high as Glen Rock to south but still… It’s an area I only dream about now. I’m not sure if the taxes for Ridgewood are the same for the different neighborhoods within the town? But the area w/older homes that I like seem to be higher.
FYI: Houses in Glen Rock are turn of the century & colonial revival as well and not as expensive but the taxes are SUPER high.

Rich in Bergen

3/02/2006 01:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Rich In NorthNJ said...

Interesting quote from the North Jersey.com article about Tuesday’s existing home sales report:

The NAR does not break out data for the New York metro region in its monthly reports, but properties in the area typically sell for more than twice the national average.

Maria Rini, a Realtor with Re/Max Real Estate in Oradell, said that of the approximately 3,000 single-family homes on the market in Bergen County, 26 percent are listed for $1 million or more, and only 1.8 percent of the inventory is listed for $350,000 or less.

But she added that, at those prices, homes are taking longer to sell. In some Bergen County towns where it once took 45 days to sell a house, it now takes 90 days, she said.

"Sellers are still asking for a lot of money and they are still being unrealistic with some of the numbers they are asking," Rini said.

"On the plus side for the buyer, they can take more time to make a decision."


Whoa!
26% are listed over $1 Mill and only 1.8% listed at or below $350k!! Looks like this realtor is in line with my (our?) thoughts saying sellers are unrealistic about pricing.

Rich in Bergen

3/02/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info on Ridgewood/Glen Rock Rich.

Are the taxes high in Bergen county to subsidize the depressed Paterson area?

How else can they justify these taxes of $12K on small homes, on small lots?

Subsidizing Newark keeps the taxes high in Essex county...

3/02/2006 01:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding taxes in Ridgewood vs Glen Rock, I thought Ridgewood was the 'better' town of the two? But the taxes are 'cheaper' in Ridgewood?

3/02/2006 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger Richie said...

Ofcourse. It's the green envy they get when they saw that another home on their block sold for much higher over the summer.

There's many stages between denial and acceptance. In terms of housing, it's going to be quite a while before people accept what's happening. It will really set in when the entire industry starts shedding some jobs.

When inventory hits a certain number and people realize that there are a lot less buyers; thats when buyers & sellers will really be put to a test.

During the "peak" of the market; there were only 20 homes for sale in my town. Right now, there are 80.

-Richie

3/02/2006 01:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Rich In NorthNJ said...

Anon 1:35 PM

Paterson is not a part of Bergen County. The very competitive school system and excellent town services in Ridgewood are what cause the high taxes. It’s an “exclusive” area of have and have-not with no real middle.

Anon 1:37 PM
Yes, Ridgewood is “better” than Glen Rock. Further from route 208 and a cohesive downtown with out being split by TWO sets of R/R tracks.
It took me a long time to find an answer as to why the taxes were SO high in Glen Rock. It seems to be the school system. Most towns have regional middle or high schools to split the costs. Glen Rock does not regionalize but it does have an excellent school system… but it’ll cost you in big taxes. And it has no real industry or large shopping to tax businesses to take some of the burden.

Rich in Bergen (hoping for a SLOW spring RE market)

3/02/2006 01:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks again Rich for the Ridgewood/Glen Rick insights.

3/02/2006 02:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing worth remembering is that sometimes towns have large commercial or office centers in town that pay a lot in taxes, and hence allow lower taxes. Of course, there is some disruption because of these centers, but not always. Some towns have the best of both worlds --- a large commercial center in an area of town that doesn't disrupt town activity, but pays taxes

3/02/2006 02:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Some towns have the best of both worlds --- a large commercial center in an area of town that doesn't disrupt town activity, but pays taxes"

Short Hills has a large mall, but that doesn't seem to help the taxes much.

:-(

3/02/2006 02:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Soterios said...

Taxes are very town specific. My father lives in Oradell and constantly tells me if he lived in the same exact house across the street, in Paramus, his tax bill would be practically cut in half.

3/02/2006 03:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A hilarious photo-filled look at the bubble in San Diego:

http://www.capitalstool.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=7644

3/02/2006 03:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Rich In NorthNJ said...

Ahhhh, Paramus! Town of the Malls.
Great low taxes with 4 malls and all the stores on Routes 4 & 17.

Except the only time you can back out of your driveway is on Sundays.

I LOVE Bergen County's "Blue Laws"! It's finally quiet around here on Sundays and besides, how much do people NEED to shop!

3/02/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon at 3:56p.m.

Nice job, I checked out the link about the condos starting at 399k (studio) and I was soooo impressed that I contacted my realtor to have him reserve a unit for me..LMAO
YEAH RIGHT PICTURE THAT!!!

3/02/2006 07:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at this house in Warren!!!

http://www.realtor.com/Prop/1054708861

Are they for real?

3/02/2006 11:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon at 11:39p.m

Oh I believe that these people are serious. About 300k for a 1bedroom shack. The sad thing is someone will buy it.

3/03/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a steal in Chatham for a 1 bedroom condo. $389k, you can't beat that price....HA

http://www.realtor.com/Prop/1055694343

3/03/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or better yet in Chatham a 1 bedroom condo for $440k???

http://www.realtor.com/Prop/1055161850

3/03/2006 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Richie said...

These real estate agents REALLY need to get a spell check.

Absolutey adorble cottage type single family home. Fee simple ownership as an alternative to condo/townhome living. Recent updates inc. Roof 2004, frunace/HWH 2003. 27' x 13' outbuilding/studio.

To call that adorable is ridiculous as well.

-Richie

3/03/2006 09:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding Ridgewood:
There are lots of houses in the 500-650 range available right now. I've been told that the real snobs live west of the RR tracks. I do know that the town does have great recreation activities, an amazing library (which I've used during college years) and supposedly great schools. But depending on your social status (ie what car you drive etc) I'd be afraid that middle class kids in the high school would have a tough time dealing with kids who get brand new BMW's handed to them on their 17th birthday. But that's what its like in almost any town in Northern Bergen County.

3/03/2006 10:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure how the general tax rates are different from the effective tax rates, but
here's a good website to compare tax rates by town, by year and by county.

http://www.state.nj.us/
treasury/taxation/index.
html?lpt/taxrate.
htm~mainFrame

3/03/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

a 2 bedroom condo in chatham's sutton woods complex sold after 1 week on the market for $480k. try not to compare the top tier towns with the rest of the market as there are always people willing to spend whatever it takes to have an address in these places. that 1 bedroom in Chatham for $440k? betcha it sells for above $400k.

i was out the other day looking for houses in new providence. let me tell you the prices sellers are asking for their properties is actually laughable. i saw 4 properties and actually laughed out loud with my broker there when i saw them. now the broker can't laugh but you can tell they're caught in a bad place with sellers asking ridiculous prices and buyers laughing at them all meaning declining transactions and declining commissions

3/03/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Looking said...

Morning Edition, March 3, 2006 ·

Economist Steven Levitt talks to Renee Montagne about the future of real estate agents. Levitt says their standard six-percent commission may become a thing of the past. The Internet is putting pressure on the fees that agents have become accustomed to.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5243410

3/03/2006 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger grim said...

NJAR Fourth Quarter data has been posted, don't know if anyone saw this already:

NJAR Q4 Stats

Significant drops in median and average prices across NJ in Q4. Likely the reason you haven't heard anything about it.

Can't wait to be back in the states. It's damn cold out here.

Caveat Emptor,
grim

3/03/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Regarding Ridgewood:
There are lots of houses in the 500-650 range available right now. I've been told that the real snobs live west of the RR tracks."


West of the RR tracks is where we've been looking, but not for the 'snob factor' but because the lots are larger. Gotta have a good-sized yard!


"I do know that the town does have great recreation activities, an amazing library (which I've used during college years) and supposedly great schools. But depending on your social status (ie what car you drive etc) I'd be afraid that middle class kids in the high school would have a tough time dealing with kids who get brand new BMW's handed to them on their 17th birthday."

The peer pressure thing is an excellent point to consider. Though on the other hand, you try to reduce the likelihood your kid will get into drugs/the 'wrong' crowd, etc. And surrounding your kids with lots of academic achievers headed to college is generally a plus.

Hopefully we'll raise our kids not to be a**holes, even if they're surrounded by them!

3/03/2006 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Shailesh Gala said...

Today's Business week has article titled, Gaps and Puzzles in Housing Data

http://www.businessweek.com/investor/content/mar2006/pi20060303_865853.htm

According to that, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, among others, have had strong housing markets in spite of below-average income growth. Economists like Edward Glaeser of Harvard University say those disparities have a lot to do with zoning -- relaxed in Texas and tight in the Northeast. That drives up the cost of building lots and hence the price of houses.

I have always believed above rational. In NJ, the Zoning laws are more responsible for Price increases then Interest rate changes. In last 10 years, NJ has more Immigrants (including myself) with higher income (Tech sector) move in. The towns have become so restrictive in allowing construction that there is severe demand / supply distortion.

Please don't use this comment to do Immigrant bashing. I think NJ lawmakers are way behind in understanding real issues and need reality check.

3/03/2006 11:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding Ridgewood,the west side is not a bunch of snobs. Comments like this are just stupid. You're probably the type who puts down people from Paterson.

3/03/2006 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shailesh Gala, the zoning laws in Texas are a disaster.

Many new developments have giant 4,000+ square foot homes spaced as close as 15-20 feet apart. It looks awful.

Looking for a lot there where there's a decent amount of space between you and your neighbor is not an easy task (unless you move out to nowhereland).

3/03/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 11:53
"You're probably the type who puts down people from Paterson."
Not quite, my father grew up as a poor imigrant in Passaic.

Because we've considered moving there I asked someone who I work with about the snob factor in Ridgewood. The comment was a direct quote from someone who already lives there. And I do know people in Ridgewood who have purchased brand new cars for their kids just to take to automechanics class.

Anon 11:16
I agree and hope I can do the same thing. But I already see the jealousy factor in my 5 year old daughter who's friends live in McMansions in Mahwah.

3/03/2006 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Grim Ghost said...


i was out the other day looking for houses in new providence. let me tell you the prices sellers are asking for their properties is actually laughable. i saw 4 properties and actually laughed out loud with my broker there when i saw them.


Did you see the 630K bi-level that had a rail line at the back and the 679K colonial that had a rail line at its back yard ?

On the other hand, good properties, reasonably priced,are still selling. I saw a nice colonial last weekend in New Providence. Very nicely maintained, best area of town, close to bus line. Listed at 739K, went into contract in 2-3 days.

3/03/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I agree and hope I can do the same thing. But I already see the jealousy factor in my 5 year old daughter who's friends live in McMansions in Mahwah."

Guess there is no 'ideal' solution to the problem, there are always pros and cons.

That said, I'd rather let my kid deal with some jealousy issues, than get involved in drugs, or drop out of High School, etc.

3/03/2006 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Grim Ghost said...

I should add -- I consider Berkeley Heights to be a better deal than New providence. Real estate prices are a hair lower, but taxes are definitely lower, schools are as good.

3/03/2006 12:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like New Providence has a quicker commute via NJ Transit:

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

3/03/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Grim Ghost said...

Berkeley Heights is the next station over after New Providence. To be more precise, its NP, Murray Hill (which is in NP too), then Berkeley Heights. So the commute is a little faster, but its fairly marginal (5-7 minutes each way, I think).

3/03/2006 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

grim ghost, i did see both of those houses. the $679k one that's owned by a RE agent dropped their price to $650k. still not a deal.

i know the $739k one also. while it's fairly priced in comparison to the other POS sellers are hoping buyers will pay, it's still way overpriced. a few years from now it won't matter what people paid today as they're all overpaying. if you made money from a prior sale then you're playing with house money and it isn't so bad. however if you're using your own hard earned saved up cash for a downpayment you could be in trouble. in my opinion 2008 and 2009 will be tough times for those looking to sell. interest rates are heading up and will stay up and with all the higher risk mortgages everyone seems to have these days you can be sure inventory will be plentiful and deals can be made. i expect non-inflation adjusted prices to be 10-15% lower come then.

3/03/2006 02:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nysar STILL hasn't updated its figures -can't wait to see what they are...

www.nysar.com (hit media button)

3/03/2006 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger Richie said...

Many new developments have giant 4,000+ square foot homes spaced as close as 15-20 feet apart. It looks awful.

Take a look at any new development in NJ and this is common. It's all about meeting the minimum zoning requirements. Some towns (mostly in western jersey) have very strict requirements, such as one home per every acre. In eastern jersey, it's more like one home per every 7500 (75x100) lot. When you have minimum setbacks of 10-15 feet on each side of the house, developers will use every inch of that to build the biggest house they could on the smallest lot.

We went by a friends hose in Manalapan, NJ and saw a Hovnanian development which has the same roles. 3000-4000sq.ft. homes with 10 feet between them. Not to mention, all of this land has been leveled, so you don't see many trees. It looks completely out of place..

-Richie

3/03/2006 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger Richie said...

hose=house

3/03/2006 03:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When you have minimum setbacks of 10-15 feet on each side of the house, developers will use every inch of that to build the biggest house they could on the smallest lot."

I saw an episode of "Flip That House" where the guy had a 2-story house on a 50x100 lot, and after fixing up the house, he wanted to build a second 2-story unit right behind it on the same lot!

I think this was near San Diego, where you can build a duplex like that.

The neighbor next door also built a 2-story duplex, so you basically have these giant 2-story boxes with literally 10 feet of land between them.

What an eyesore...

3/03/2006 03:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Duplexes on a 50x100 lot is standard operating procedure in Palisades Park. The amazing thing is that people pay $600-700k per side. Easy commute to the city and if you like Korean food I guess it is the place to be.

3/03/2006 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger pesche22 said...

i was in palisades park today,,

aroun noon,,, its like a foregin
country.. what a sad state of affairs... we have been sold down the river.

3/03/2006 05:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The peer pressure thing is an excellent point to consider. Though on the other hand, you try to reduce the likelihood your kid will get into drugs/the 'wrong' crowd, etc. And surrounding your kids with lots of academic achievers headed to college is generally a plus"

What makes anyone think that rich kids don't do drugs? They certainly have access to a lot more money than so called "middle class" teenagers who don't grow up in McMansions!

3/03/2006 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger Grim Ghost said...

Richard -- yes, its certainly possible that we'll see prices down in 2008/2009. On the other hand, I have been amazed to see how some houses that been languishing for 4-6 months on the market were snapped up in the last month or so, some after being relisted.

3/03/2006 09:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the issue of Ridgewood and snobby kids-- I think any kind of community is going to offer challenges to parents. A town full of wealthy families is likely to have great schools, but will require more heavy lifting from parents when it comes to instilling proper values. You're going to have to be firmer with kids about material issues, wherever you are economically. If you're at the low end of that town, your kids may get a distorted view of your financial situation, feel "poor" compared with friends. Just means more talks, more support from parents to get them to view things in an undistorted manner so they don't grow up feeling resentful, less worthy than other people or with a chip on their shoulder. The trade off is that you get fabulous schools. And, yes, you get a lot of highly motivated kids and parents which cuts down SOMEWHAT on dangerous behavior. (That said, in rich communities, the kids just have more expensive drugs and crash more expensive cars when they drive drunk!) Move to a town where the schools aren't so great but there's more economic diversity and you'll have the opposite problem--you'll be spending more time and money supplementing their education. SO, I guess it's a "pick your poison" situation. There is no ideal town! The choice my husband and I made was to move to Montclair--true diversity (racial and economic), great schools...and it's all held together by the most shockingly, appallingly high taxes you could possibly imagine, because the town has to support the struggling families with all sorts of extra programs and busing, but also has to offer a gazillion AP classes to keep the high-end people happy. Plus, we're in Essex County so we have to finance Newark, too.

3/04/2006 10:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What makes anyone think that rich kids don't do drugs?"

I didn't say they don't, I said "reduce the likelihood your kid will get into drugs/the 'wrong' crowd."

Compare the stats from schools in Summit vs Morristown, for example. The difference is stunning.

When a school has 98% graduation rate, and 98% of the kids plan to attend college, that's a good start.

Hell, kids do drugs in college, but at least the odds are in their favor to become a productive member of society if they start out in good schools.

3/04/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"About the issue of Ridgewood and snobby kids-- I think any kind of community is going to offer challenges to parents."

Interesting post. All a parent can do is play the odds, and hope for the best. I think 'good schools', overall, are more of a plus than a minus.

3/04/2006 11:51:00 AM  
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