Monday, July 17, 2006

Parsippany The 17th Best Place To Live

From the Daily Record:

Parsippany makes Money's Top 100

Parsippany is included in the Top 100 of Money magazine's annual "Best Places to Live" list.

The magazine named Fort Collins is the "Best Place to Live" in America for 2006, in a list that also included five New Jersey cities.
...
Five Garden State cities were also listed in the top 100: Parsippany, Cherry Hill, Edison, Middletownand Wayne.

New Brunswick was also ranked second on a separate listing of cities with the most singles and, with a median age of 24.6, the city also came in third in a ranking of cities with the youngest populations.
...
Cities are ranked on a series of factors, including cost of living, employment markets, median income, property taxes and housing prices. Crime, congestion, public schools and climate also go into the mix, executive editor Craig Matters said.
...
The annual "best places to live" feature has appeared in Money for many years, Matters said. Last year the magazine focused on prime suburban areas. The rankings and associated data available online proved so popular editors decided to expand to small cities.
...
National attention doesn't necessarily attract more people or businesses to those communities, Matters said.

"We are not a leading indicator, we are following," he said. "People already know these are great places to live."

34 Comments:

Blogger Metroplexual said...

Do you notice how the list changes from year to year. Yet do things change in these towns that rapidly? The methodology for this list is suspect.

7/17/2006 12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous UnRealtor said...

A NJ realtor comments on the current market:


----------------------
Friday, July 14, 2006
How are you going to make your house stand out in this buyer's market?

Hope you're enjoying this S-L-O-W summer real estate market. It feels like the whole market is overpriced right now, and when something IS priced right & shows well, it really stands out ... so if you're selling, its wise to NOT base your price on homes that have already sold like everyone else is doing. Interest rates & supply of homes are up, so how are you going to make YOUR house stand out in this market? Pricing, staging, marketing & followup systems are all key in a market where things don't happen instantly.

Fortunately, I've been lucky though. I closed a record breaking $7,480,000 in real estate the past 2 weeks!

http://sueadler.blogspot.com/

------------------------------


How does skimming off $7.5M of others' wealth and hard work look?

$448,800 @ 6% commission

$374,000 @ 5%

$299,200 @ 4%

$224,400 @ 3%


In two weeks. It's time to take these "money-grubbing" (as Bob would say) middle-men out of the equation.

How many hours does it take to sell five houses? 100? Does anyone else here make $2,000 to $4,000 an hour?

7/17/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger skep-tic said...

realtors who are smart and don't just blow smoke up their clients' *sses will close sales.

there is still a decent level of transactions happening despite the sharp dropoff from last year.

personally, I think that anybody can sell his house quickly if he prices it well and can figure how to place an ad with the NY Times, but some people undoubtedly benefit from having an outside, professional perspective on their home's value, and/or are just too lazy to do it alone.

however, this sort of advice is not worth tens- or hundreds-of-thousands of dollars, no matter how valuable or "unique" the home is.

a la carte service would reveal the true value that realtors add to equation. if people could chose to pay for pricing advice, marketing services, clean up and "staging" services separately, realtors would be forced to justify the particular values that each of these services bring.

7/17/2006 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger X-Underwriter said...

What a crock!!!!!
Parsippany is not the best town in NJ

7/17/2006 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Metroplexual said...

x-underwriter,

I am with you. But it is actually an agglomeration of towns in the area that are lumped in with the town when money does its top 100 list. Last year Hackettstown was in the 79 (I think) this year it is not even on the list.

7/17/2006 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger Space Ghost said...

Unrealtor,

In a slow market, any realtor who can close 6 houses in 2 weeks (obviously its not just her, she has an office and a staff of assistants) is worth her weight in gold.

We used a buyer side broker, and she spent 4-5 months showing us houses practically each weekend and helping us close the deal. I think the buyer side cut she got was very fair.

7/17/2006 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger Space Ghost said...

Parsipanny is an OK town, not too expensive, but the schools are just average, the town is pretty crowded except for a few areas.

Now neighboring Montville is a top notch town, but with prices to match

7/17/2006 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Space Ghost said...

About the other towns:

Cherry Hill is certainly a nice town though, and is near to Philly and while not cheap, is cheaper than North Jersey towns.

Wayne has OK to good schools, but a lot of the town (not by the reservoir) is highly crowded what with the mall and all.

Edison is extremely crowded (except for a few areas). North Edison schools are good, the others are average.

7/17/2006 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger njresident286 said...

Parsippany is not even the nicest town in morris county

7/17/2006 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

surveys are some of the stupidest things out there as they are easily manipulated and represent some watered down general consensus. who really cares about consensus when you're making a decision for yourself?

7/17/2006 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Space Ghost said...

Parsiappny is not even in the 10 ten Morris county towns.

Chatman, Madison, Mendham, Mountain Lakes, Washington, Long Hill, Florham Park, Harding, Montville and probably more that Im not familiar with are generally better towns.

7/17/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger skep-tic said...

space ghost,

couldn't you just as easily have looked through all of those houses if you'd been given the addresses and the seller's phone numbers?

seems to me that most of the value buyers' agents bring derives from their hoarding of basic information such as addresses

7/17/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Anonymous MaryanneNJ said...

Are they kidding? Wasn't this the list Chatham was on last year? Parisippany can't compare to most places in Morris County or throughout the state for that matter. No offense to anyone, but isn't Parsippany primarily blue collar? And Edison? What are these people smoking?

7/17/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Space Ghost said...

Skep-tic

I had access to the addresses even without the agent. But to directly approach a listing agent would have cost the same anyway, only the listing agent takes it. And we did look at a few FSBOs, but they were actually much more highly priced.

As first time buyers, we learned a lot from the agent and her comments on each house (which amounted to a mini-inspection of each house) as well as a description of the neighborhood.

Would I prefer not to use an agent ? Maybe next time, not the first time.

7/17/2006 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...

You've heard me rail against Money Magazine in the past.

Look at these results, and now extrapolate your reaction to finance and investing, and you can better understand why I am revulsed by what they publish.

Wasn't Moorestown NJ #1 last year? Are you not allowed to make the list twice?

Publicity hounds and excuse for circulation = McMagazine

7/17/2006 03:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MaryanneNJ,

That is exactly why Parsippany is in the list - the fact that it is blue collar (or more precisely, has some large blue collar sections). It is still possible to buy a detached SFD in Parsippany for around $350K (not a large section though). For about $500K, you get a house with a 0.33 acre lot. Many parks and very good transportation. Property taxes are some of the lowest in Northern NJ (more because of the office buildings, not so much because the town spends any less). Finally, if you look through dice or monster, you will find more job listings in Parsippany alone than in many states put together.

CNS

7/17/2006 03:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my earlier post, please read -

it is still possible to buy a detached SFD in Parsippany for $350K, not a large SELECTION though.

CNS

7/17/2006 03:43:00 PM  
Anonymous UnRealtor said...

"We used a buyer side broker, and she spent 4-5 months showing us houses practically each weekend and helping us close the deal. I think the buyer side cut she got was very fair."


I have a hard time calling $2,000 to $4,000 an hour "fair" for someone who isn't performing brain surgery or curing cancer.

7/17/2006 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger skep-tic said...

check out this brilliant strategy from a Westchester realtor:
***************
"You must forget
expectations of six or nine months ago.
You are living in the past. In this market
you might sell low, but you should expect
to be able to buy low to accomplish your
goal of moving up the food chain. Example:
If you were to sell a property that
was once thought to be $700,000 and
your goal was to move up and buy a property
for $800,000 with more room, then
the logic would dictate that you would
have been contemplating increasing your
mortgage $100,000 and moving to a superior
property. Now the reality is, your
sale price is not $700,00 but $675,000. I
put forward that you should try making
your buy for $775,000 and not $800,000.
Buy low, sell low. The effect is the same.
In fact better. When rates become low
once again, which they will, eventually
you will ride your property value to a
higher level. At that time you will be able
to refinance your loan to a lower rate and
thus benefit with a lower payment and
higher value."
***********************

so all you sellers out there, here's what you need to do:

(1) cut your selling price by 3-3.5%;

(2) sell quickly and "lowball" on your next purchase by the same amount;

(3) don't worry about your "high" 7% mortgage--- in a few months, interest rates will come down again and you can refinance at a rock bottom rate. We realtors call this "magic."

7/17/2006 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous MaryanneNJ said...

CNS said: It is still possible to buy a detached SFD in Parsippany for around $350K (not a large section though). For about $500K, you get a house with a 0.33 acre lot.

But who would want it? I also don't think Parsippany is on the NJ Transit line, which to me makes it very undesirable. I know there is a lot of business there, like some pharma, etc., but that doesn't make up for the school system. Still think there's much better places that could have made the list.

To answer, yes Moorestown was number #1 last year.

7/17/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MaryanneNJ.

I am not arguing with you about the school system - I am merely putting forth the best value for money arguement for a large cross section of the people. If you can afford it, by all means Montville or Mountain Lakes is a better option.

Yes, it is not on NJ transit line but Boonton, Denville & Morris Plains (which are) - are within a couple of miles of Parsippany. Many commuters find it more convenient to drive to Harrison for the PATH train (Route 280 begins in Parsippany). Also, Lakeland bus stops all over.

CNS

7/17/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Space Ghost said...


I have a hard time calling $2,000 to $4,000 an hour "fair" for someone who isn't performing brain surgery or curing cancer.


You don't know how much time she spent on marketing the house, furthermore you don't know how many houses she showed people as buyers agents that they didn't go for. In our case, our agent spent 4 months or so, 5-6 hours every Saturday just showing us houses and more time after that closing the deal. That amounts to a lot of time.

And for selling, any agent who can move a house in this slow market is definitely doing a great job

Fairness doesnt come into pay at all. Salaries are decided largely by the market, and clearly there are people who think this realtor is worth her money.

7/17/2006 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger skep-tic said...

"Fairness doesnt come into pay at all. Salaries are decided largely by the market, and clearly there are people who think this realtor is worth her money."

I don't think anyone disputes that some realtors really are worth it. But relying on the "market" to reflect value here is really suspect, since the market is so rife with information assymetry and outright anticompetitive practices that prevent it from being efficient.

I would be much more inclined to acknowledge the value that realtors add if they charged by the hour, like lawyers. that way, the really top performers could name their price and distinguish themselves from all the hangers-on who really aren't worth the high fees

7/17/2006 04:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fortunately, I've been lucky though. I closed a record breaking $7,480,000 in real estate the past 2 weeks!


Do you think Sue Adler tells her clients that they hae a POS and they need to clean it up; otherwise, she would not take their listing? Or is Sue Adler a real blonde?

7/17/2006 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Space Ghost said...


But relying on the "market" to reflect value here is really suspect, since the market is so rife with information assymetry and outright anticompetitive practices that prevent it from being efficient.


Fair enough. But bear in mind that information assymetry is a part of a vast number of market transactions, so its not anti-market in itself.

As far as the MLS setups go, I can see how they are anti-competitive. However, nothing stops people (in most states) from creating their own MLSes and allowing broad access. That is what the FSBO sites are in a way.

To put it more clearly, restrictive MLSes are anti-competitive, but they're not anti-market, since a true free market would not put any restrictions on the ability of different RE firms to create a restrictive MLS.

7/17/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Anonymous UnRealtor said...

Fairness doesnt come into pay at all. Salaries are decided largely by the market, and clearly there are people who think this realtor is worth her money.


With the realtor cartel, people don't have much choice.

Having a high school grad (for example) making more than a brain surgeon for doing a job most anyone can do, because of said cartel, doesn't sit right with me.

Anyone can be a parasite and sell someone else's $5M house for a $300K commission, few can cut into someone's brain to successfully remove a tumor.

And with the Internet, all these parasite realtor middlemen will fade away soon enough.

Hopefully they will have saved their skim, for when that day comes.

7/17/2006 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger Space Ghost said...


Anyone can be a parasite and sell someone else's $5M house for a $300K commission, few can cut into someone's brain to successfully remove a tumor


If it thats easy to sell $5 Million house and get that 300K commission, why don't more people do it ? The answer is that its not easy in the most instance to sell a $5 Million house, it often requires months, even years of marketing and tons of work. There may be a realtor cartel, but nothing precludes you from a) joining that cartel or b) forming your own cartel in response.

Not to mention that a $5M sale will very likely be able to bargain that house commission way downwards.

I will add too that top notch neuro surgeons in Canada and Britain make around 40-60% as much as one in the US, and those in India make 1/10th as much, so the skill of person can often be irrelavant in how much they're paid.

A physics Phd from a good school arguably does far more vital and important and skilled work than a former physics Phd now working on Wall Street. The former makes 50-70 K a year, if lucky, the latter several million if lucky.

7/17/2006 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger skep-tic said...

check out the graph partway down this page on the rising number of realtors nationally:

http://bubblemeter.blogspot.com/

now, in a truly competitive market, wouldn't you expect that such a great influx of supply would drive down the cost of the service?

why is it that even with a vastly greater number of realtors than a few years ago the price of realtors service hasn't come down, but rather has risen dramatically, along with house prices?

answer: because realtors function as a cartel that artificially fixes the price of the service they provide.

again, I am sure there are a few star realtors who fully deserve the money they make, but there appear to be many, many realtors who make a living only by the grace of this price fixing scheme

7/17/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

space_ghost,
unrealtor & skeptic do have a point. You are making a lot of arguements based on theory. You have to know the industry up close to know how many realtors (& how often) use underhanded tactics and work against their client solely to increase their commission.

Of course, there are good realtors but there are far too few. I am sure ryming (who visits this board) is a good one.

CNS

7/17/2006 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

the RE industry is a cartel, plain and simple. to argue otherwise shows a lack of understanding on the business mechanics. the only other competition to this cartel has been the for sale by owner crowd with their centralization FSBO.com. unfortunately for everyone but the cartel it seems the majority of the FSBO crowd seem to be those living in dreamland listing prices that are in fact higher than realtor listings even without the commissions! smells to me like most FSBO folks either need a certain amount of cash or just aren't that motivated but if a greater fool will throw them the $ they'll take it.

7/17/2006 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

Cartel

A combination of independent business organizations formed to regulate production, pricing, and marketing of goods by the members.

A small group of producers of a good or service who agree to regulate supply in an effort to control or manipulate prices.

7/17/2006 08:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anybody didn't know, the Star Ledger has a lookup on prices and taxes, but it is not current yet for 06.

http://www.nj.com/news/housingboom/
http://tinyurl.com/kuwyz

http://www.nj.com/news/propertytaxes/
http://tinyurl.com/esc87

New Jersey's Housing Boom
"The most common measure of real estate prices is a quarterly survey published by the National Association of Realtors. But that report only breaks sales data down to the regional level -- which isn't helpful if you want to see what's happening in your own town.

Every year, The Star-Ledger analyzes home sales data from another source, the Division of Taxation inside the state's Department of Treasury. As part of its regulatory mission, this agency collects information on every real estate transaction in the state, and its annual "Useable Sales" database is available to the public through the State's Open Records Act.

Because the state uses the data to determine the market value of real estate in each New Jersey town, all home sales are classified to show whether the transaction took place under fair market conditions, or whether there was another circumstance that impacted the price -- such as a transaction among family members.

The town by town data in this report is based on these transactions -- sales of residential property that are denoted as fair-market. Other sales listed in our neighborhood search tool are tagged with a "*". For more information on this topic, see page 7 of this Treasury Dept. document.

Because of the vast quantity of raw sales data that flows through this system, there are occasionally errors -- sales of vacant land, for example, are sometimes denoted as residential sales. Since these errors are few and far between, and since there is no way of finding every error without researching each transaction individually, the Star-Ledger analysis is based on the information contained in the database -- no records have been altered.

Also, in towns that are about to undergo a tax roll revaluation, all sales that take place in the final six months of the year are marked as "unusable", even if they were conducted under fair market conditions. For this reason, the annual sales averages for every town are based on the first six months of the year only -- this method provides a better apples-to-apples comparison of the market.

However, on parts of this site that list individual transactions, all sales are included.

Please e-mail any other questions or comments about this project by clicking here."


Pat

7/17/2006 08:09:00 PM  
Anonymous UnRealtor said...

parasite

An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.

One who habitually takes advantage of the generosity of others without making any useful return.

One who lives off and flatters the rich; a sycophant.

http://dictionary.com/search?q=parasite

7/17/2006 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger peaknic said...

According to Money, I may be one of the most blessed people in the US!
I grew up (ages 3-20) in Moorestown (very good school system, if you're college bound) and I've lived in Parsippany the last 7 years!
I just hope the hype helps sell my townhouse now!

7/19/2006 04:07:00 PM  

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