Friday, August 04, 2006

Weekend Open Discussion

Observations about your local areas, comments on news stories or the New Jersey housing bubble, Open House reports, etc. If you have any questions you wanted to ask earlier in the week but never posted them up, let's have them.

For readers that have never commented, there is a small link on the bottom of each new message that reads "# Comments". Go ahead and give that a click, you might be missing out on a world of information you didn't know about. While you are there, introduce yourselves to everyone.

For new readers that have only read the messages displayed on the main page, take a look through the archives, a substantial amount of information has been put online in the past 6 months. The archives can be found at the bottom of the right hand menu and are categorized by month.

As always, anything goes!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the recent (ever so slight) decrease in the number of homes on the NJMLS is due to sales activity vs homes taken off the market due to inactivity at this time of year?

8/04/2006 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

There is typically a drop in active inventory at the end of the month. Listing contracts expire and there is a 'rush' to close sales by the end of the month.

8/04/2006 01:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 2:18. Check back in two weeks.

Same think happened over here in Bucks County, PA about 3 weeks ago.(It's a very school year-oriented market.) Big inventory drop, like 20% in July.

Now, inventory is even higher than it was before. 20% higher in my price range than in May.

I noticed about 10 homes under come off that look like they were going to just rent [ten out of 125].

I'm celebrating this weekend. The first single family home in my target school district [IN A LONG TIME] that was listed a few weeks ago UNDER $200K is still on the market. Can't even sell that one.

Where is Reinvestor when I need some schadenfreude insults?


8/04/2006 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

Here is an older piece I never got a chance to post online. From Exit Weekly magazine:

Flipped off
Housing market no longer path to easy money

House flipping is like playing a game of Russian roulette. And lately, it can be a shot to the head at the first trigger. By definition, flipping is the process of buying a home, holding it until the market appreciates, and then selling that home to gain a profit.

It's considered a gamble in today's market. Some considered it genius a few years ago.

Around 2003, the market was flourishing with a limited supply of homes and buyers in need. Sellers inflamed home prices and buyers snatched them up at low interest rates, and in record time.

Now, supply is greater than demand, interest rates are rising, and house flippers are in a fix.
Although acknowledging a fluctuating market, Moloney said this doesn't mark a real estate burst as heavily reported.

"There's a seasonality in household buying patterns. In the fall and winter months you have higher ratios of singles and childless couples generally buying lower cost homes," he said. "Ever since the record keeping began in 1968 the median prices dropped in the fall and every year someone says, 'This is the sign of the bubble popping.' Nonsense. They don't know what they are talking about."

Others aren't so sure. "I expect that by the summer of 2008, the average person on the street will tell you that real estate is the worst investment you'll ever make," said James Bednar, creator of the blog Northern New Jersey Real Estate Bubble (

He expects a market burst comparable to the dot com bust last decade where a flurry of investment in tech companies raised interest rates, ultimately killing the craze.

"The rise in home prices we've seen over the past six years is due in part to psychology," said Bednar. "People saw home prices rise, saw the television shows, heard stories about real estate flippers making lots of money. So then these people bought into the scheme, pushing prices ever higher."

Flippers were willing to pay higher prices in hopes of higher appreciation later, he explained. But soon, the sobering truth will soon settle in that the rates of appreciation from the early 2000s were an anomaly.

"My own estimates put Northern New Jersey home prices overvalued by as much as 30 to 40 percent," said Bednar. "We've already begun to decline from the peak set late last summer, but don't expect prices to fall overnight. This isn't the stock market, the movement in real estate markets is much slower."

8/04/2006 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger thatbigwindow said...

My sister still thinks that houses will continue to appreciate at levels consistant with the past 4 years. I gave her the link to this blog, but she doesn't want to even click on the link.

If I can't see it, it isn't true!

8/04/2006 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger RichInNorthNJ said...

"My own estimates put Northern New Jersey home prices overvalued by as much as 30 to 40 percent," said Bednar.

Yea, but who's the Bednar guy?

8/04/2006 01:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following from Peter Schiff, Euro Pacific Capital Inc.;

"In my opinion, the relative calm created by the long, slow, and utterly predictable series of ¼ point rate hikes over the past two year has lent primary support for the U.S. dollar and the bond market. Once this prop is removed by a Fed pause, despite a knee-jerk bond rally, I expect both bonds and the dollar to be sold. But what the Fed giveth on the short end, the market will likely taketh away on the long end. Ironically, when the Fed finally stops notching up short-term rates, the market will likely start pushing up long-term rates. This will frustrate the Fed and Wall Street bulls who had hoped that a pause would breathe life into the stagnating economy.

A surge in long-term rates will immediately translate into higher mortgage rates, putting the final nail in real estate’s coffin. The bubble is finally dead, may it rest in peace. Unfortunately the same can not be said for those who bought into it, and those who financed the speculation. For them, and the entire nation for that matter, the real estate nightmare is just about to begin."

All have a great weekend,
BC Bob

8/04/2006 01:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I am may propose a question to this board...

What in your minds is the SINGLE factor that started or sparked RE bubble?

I know one thing leads to another, (cascade effect) but, there is always that one factor that sets things in motion.

Curious to see peoples opinions.

I am not asking for a debate, just whats on your mind as the single factor.

For me, in my opnion, I think the single factor is loss of decent paying manufaturing jobs which supported the middle class. This loss of job base was replaced with lines of credit.

So for me, I feel that started the bubble. Basically, credit has replaced a decent paying job for most of america.

Let me hear what you brillant people here think.

I mean that too, there are alot of brillant people on this blog.


8/04/2006 01:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Stan said...

Loose credit. It boosted prices, which then got the speculators going which then boosted prices, etc.

8/04/2006 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

The easy money bubble mentality created by the dot com bubble.

Everyone was a day trader, everyone was a stock broker, the money flew fast and easy. Landscapers would use the words "series 7" in casual conversation. It wasn't a dinner party or bar-b-que without at least 2 hours of stock picks.

It was hard to forget the taste of easy money after the bubble burst. It was impossible to resist the "next big thing".


8/04/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It's simple to me. The fed decided what to do next after 9/11 and the dot com bust. They knew it wasn't coming from the corp sector. Look how many jobs were lost on Wall Street when the market tanked and the trading volume tanked. Between these two events the fed decided to open the spickets, RE was the only option at that time to save the economy from a deep,deep dive.
They turn up the presses and printed to oblivion. Banking regulators turned away and bingo the economy was saved for the past 4 years. Now comes the hard part, the presses are turned off, for now,the kegs are empty and the beginning of a long dry spell/hangover sets in. Now the fed is trapped; do they continue to raise and slaughter this industry or do they allow inflation to raise its ugly head. No easy answer, the reprecussions are severe either way. Strictly a fed induced bubble, at least my perspective.

BC Bob

8/04/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

I don't think the real estate bubble was intentional from a Fed perspective. There is no way anyone could have known it would manifest itself this way.

Liquidity + Psychology


8/04/2006 02:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're killing me, SAS. It's Friday.

Asking for one SINGLE factor that sparked the RE bubble is like going to Harrah's buffet and eating only a piece of cheesecake. It's good and tempting. But you just know you can't do it.

You gotta start way back with the soup and shrimp. Then pile on all the other stuff.

Low rates were cheesecake. But they weren't what made us too sick to gamble.

Confidence with a dose of greed.


8/04/2006 02:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

grim..right on. Beat me by while I was proofreading. [Which, as you know, I don't normally do!]


8/04/2006 02:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear ya Pat, but I was just curious.

Looks like people in this country better get use to a lower standard of living since this one is just a prop. This lower standard of living is going to really hurt NJ and NYC.

Also, some many people are really clueless too.


8/04/2006 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...

RichInNorthNJ said...
"My own estimates put Northern New Jersey home prices overvalued by as much as 30 to 40 percent," said Bednar.
Yea, but who's the Bednar guy?
8/04/2006 02:43:29 PM

I've seen that guy Bednar quoted before....he's like that other blowhard Boroson. A big bag of hot air...just ignore him....


8/04/2006 02:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8/04/2006 02:18:03 PM,

Some houses are off the market due to withdraw, expired, and some of them are still on sale by their agents, but not listed online!

8/04/2006 02:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GOSSIP.. "My neighbor just sold his house and guess what he got for it"... MOOO the herd mentality started the bubble which lead people to think they can make easy money because thier neighbor did.. That is what started this mess..

8/04/2006 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...

Anonymous said... like going to Harrah's buffet and eating only a piece of cheesecake. It's good and tempting. But you just know you can't do it.
You gotta start way back with the soup and shrimp. Then pile on all the other stuff.
Low rates were cheesecake. But they weren't what made us too sick to gamble.
Confidence with a dose of greed.
8/04/2006 03:25:05 PM

OT: Ever go to Ponderosa when you were young? It's the only place you can have steak, spaghetti, and chocolate pudding on the same plate for $2.99.

Also, I've been to a Shoney's in Michigan where 300+ ilb. people were eating chicken fried bacon scrapple covered in pancake syrup and powdered sugar.....

8/04/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't this "James Bednar" OUR "GRIM" Here?????????????????????????????


8/04/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ummmmm scrapple

8/04/2006 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger njresident286 said...

Grim any chance we can do a what would you pay this weekend? Maybe you should not make a pic that way people do not get confused like last time. I have a great one in springfield I would like to share with the group.

8/04/2006 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger X-Underwriter said...

This just out in

America's Most Admired Professions

Note that realtors are listed as dead last

8/04/2006 02:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I agree, I don't think the fed wanted to intentionally create a bubble. However, I do feel that they targeted this area as a savior to our sick/fragile economy at that time. They had no intentions of creating this monster, they just wanted to provide a stimulus to this specific area. Like Pat stated,there are too many other factors/ingredients that are a part of this equation to even mention.

I guess the saying is correct; be careful what you wish for, it just may come true.

BC Bob

8/04/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep eatting like that and you'll be dead before any bubble pops.

8/04/2006 02:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OT: Ever go to Ponderosa when you were young? It's the only place you can have steak, spaghetti, and chocolate pudding on the same plate for $2.99.

How about Brew Burger??? A friend of mine would be a regular there. He would pay .25 for a baked potato and drink free beer all night!!!!!!!

BC Bob

8/04/2006 02:50:00 PM  
Anonymous UnRealtor said...

"What in your minds is the SINGLE factor that started or sparked RE bubble?"


The economy was in tatters in October 2001, with a hole in the nation's Financial District larger than the combined office space of Cincinatti. Stock market shut down for the first time in history, with a massive sell-off upon reopening.

Add in that the economy was already under assault from the dot-com bust of March 2000.

Interest rates were dropped, taxes were cut, the economy rebounded, and here we are today.

They could have started raising interest rates earlier, but that's spilled milk. Today we're a long way from October 2001.

8/04/2006 02:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ponderosa. I remember Ponderosa.

Wasn't that the place where you took your red plastic tray down the line and picked out a steak?


8/04/2006 02:56:00 PM  
Anonymous UnRealtor said...

Sizzler used to have "all you can eat fried shrimp" and decent steaks.

I think the whole steak/shrimp deal was $9.99.

8/04/2006 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger RichInNorthNJ said...

I've seen that guy Bednar quoted before....he's like that other blowhard Boroson. A big bag of hot air...just ignore him....

I usually do Stanley, I usually do.


8/04/2006 03:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have a MISERABLE weekend Starving realtors. Now you know how some of these rational buyers feel like.




8/04/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wish all Board posters and buyers a wonderful weekend watching the empty open houses and misery index rising.



8/04/2006 03:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One last one and a cold one to boot!


8/04/2006 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger RichInNorthNJ said...

Here’s a little article from MarketWatch:

Second-quarter reckoning for home builders
Housing downturn setting in for investors and companies, analyst says

An ugly second quarter for home-builder earnings has killed any lingering doubts the U.S. housing market is facing a steep pullback as the bad news came like a "tidal wave" this reporting season, according to Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Stephen East.

But in answer to Grim's question, many things:
An improving real estate market at the start (it is cyclical)
Historically low rates
Money from the fallout
And then the whole snowball effect when everyone started hearing about the money being made in RE (Flip This House on TV!)
Then when it should have started cooling, loose lending practices

Realtors, no. Not a cause. (Sorry Bob)

8/04/2006 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger RichInNorthNJ said...

Sorry, it was SAS' question, not Grim's.

I have this reading comprehension problem...

8/04/2006 04:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A realtor who just bought a pricey home in Brielle 2 years ago, had an accidental house fire this past week...?

8/04/2006 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger JMW977 said...

"What in your minds is the SINGLE factor that started or sparked RE bubble?"


I disagree. I started looking for a starter in January 2001, prices were already escalating at that point. I thought 9-11 would put the kabosh to price increases. Goes to show you what I know!!

If I had to pick ONE factor, I would say the dot-com bust.

8/04/2006 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous UnRealtor said...

"I disagree. I started looking for a starter in January 2001, prices were already escalating at that point."

There was no irrational exuberance for real estate in 2001. We've seen 100% appreciation since 2001.

How much appreciation was there from March 2000 to Jan 2001? Probably less than 5%.

Interest rates would not been dropped so low based solely on the dot-com bust.

8/04/2006 04:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is kinda neat


8/04/2006 04:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a question for the regulars on this blog:

How many of you are homeowners now, or in the immediate past?

I'm asking because I'm wondering whether anyone who has absolutely no other reason to sell has decided to get out while they can.

In other words....are you all talk and no action? It's one thing to be someone who has never owned, waiting for the serious price declines to begin...and quite another to have sold a house that you can comfortably afford, in a place that you like, simply to rent for a while and then take advantage of the price declines that are on their way.

Perhaps you've all told your "stories" before...but I haven't seen them in the last few months.

8/04/2006 04:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in light of recent events in
nj. i would suggest holding off
from buying to see how far this
housing market will fall.

i've owned homes in nj, made money
on the run up in pricing.

living in a condo now and ready
to unload and leave the state.

hope to at least breakeven,or
a little profit on the sale.

The trend is your friend and the trend in nj in down.

jobs, housing , demographics,taxes,crime.

screw the close to ny bs.

How about quality of life issues.

8/04/2006 04:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lets see the libs come out and
defend nj.


8/04/2006 04:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I looked at townhouse this weekend. Nice enough but I don't know what decade these people think they live in. Personal taste aside- the guy lists it at $370, I see it online for less so I tell my realtor and we go take a look. The owner is also a RE agent and won't give my realtor a straight answer on the price. Today I see it for the original $370 price. Did I mention it's been on the market since March I think? Talk about dumb.

8/04/2006 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Metroplexual said...

Anonymous 5:45,

First of all I generally do not respond to anons. I find them to either be too lazy to com up with a blog name or just here to incite trouble. At least Bob and SAS have enough courage to sign something. I have no idea where you are coming from with your story and anonymoous is basically a none sharer. I find it roubling that you ask details of a persons life and feel you can ask it anonymously

8/04/2006 05:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I currently own 3 homes (in this area). One on Riverside Dr, one that my daughter lives in, and one in Queens that I let a church use to house guests.

I sold 2 other houses about 2 years ago, just because I am getting old, was tired of renting them out or just letting them sit and not getting any use out of them. So, I sold 2 because I knew this gravery train RE bubble wasn't going to last and thought cash would make a comeback.

These 3 are fully paid for, don't care if the price goes up or down because I have people lined up to take them when I kiss my ass goodbye. I may sell them too? Don't know which way life will take my wife and I. When I bought RE it was with cash, at bottom of markets, outright, but that was along time ago, when one could do that. If I was starting out today, I couldn't of done it, at least not to the degree that I did.

If I was wanting to buy today, I would hold. Hold and save cash, wait till the bottom comes.


8/04/2006 05:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it yroubling that you ask details of a persons life

So you'd feel better if I made up a groovy name like...metroplexual?

I wasn't asking for the intimate financial details...just whether or not any one had actually cashed out recently.

Touchy group here, I guess.

8/04/2006 05:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lets see , go take a look at
the townhouses in seacacus,

600k, unbelievable.

8/04/2006 05:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asking prices are surely coming down. Many are down by 10-15K, but 20-25K is not uncommon and even 40-60K are present.
I have been monitoring the in central jersey. Middlesex county has 100% increase in inventory from 2005.
Many SFHs are in the market for long time. I see few undercontract and have been undercontract for long time.
Number of townhomes/condos and even SFH for rent have increased approx 45-50%.

I don't think what FED does next week matters anymore. Things have turned bad for RE and you could see that every where you drive.

Central Jersey Observer

8/04/2006 05:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least Bob and SAS have enough courage to sign something

I have no problem with SAS' well-thought-out posts....but Bob? It takes courage to post BOOYAAA a dozen times a day?

8/04/2006 05:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a very clubish group.
next you will be called a racist

8/04/2006 05:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What sparked the RE bubble ?

To much TV
To many credit cards
If people had cashed there pay check and put the cash along side of there bills they would have realized how poor they were and it would have keep the price of housing closer to reality.

8/04/2006 05:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

two realtors i talked to sometime back wrote me emails this week pushing August as the best month to buy a house. Is this a new pattern that's developing? I guess August is the make or break month.

8/04/2006 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Metroplexual said...

All I am saying is if you are going to ask of the part of the group. At least have an identity. I have a profile. Look me up. I just do not post my real name. However, I ahve a history. What is anonymous? I think if you log in an entry have a name. That's all. If you give me an ID. I will know who you are when I am speaking. As for the name metroplexual, I was thinking of moving to Dallas, well in Dallas they have a name for people who are citified and from Dallas but like their pickup trucks. Actually does not fit me exactly but I thought it was humorous.

8/04/2006 05:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Owned a condo on which I had a 30 yr 5.5% fixed, but sold in August 2005 and have been renting since.

Something about the 20,000 units under construction in JC just didn't sit too well - lease just came up for renewal and signed again. I almost decided to rent my condo from the new owner (!), working on the Street couldn't help but thinking of it as taking the other side of the trade... ;) But could get a better unit, with more amenities, for I moved over 2 blocks.

Three weeks later, identical unit right above mine went on the market, took over 9 mos (vs. 1 month) to sell and I believe at a fair amount less. Felt like I narrowly dodged a bullet on that one.

I would like to buy eventually, but we're nowhere near a bottom. Maybe a few deals to be had by next August, but I think it's going to be more like 08 before things get interesting enough to pull the trigger on a sfh or condo (e.g. 35-40% off condos at least).

By then, a good amount of the $1.5 trillion in ARMS will have come up for adjustment...and today's head-in-the-sand sellers won't be able to harbor too many delusions.

Cash is king, indeed.


8/04/2006 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger lisoosh said...

Pat -
Where can I get good information on Bucks county?
Schools, neighbourhoods etc. And are there any local agents with all the local listings?


8/04/2006 06:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Housing Bust: Just Kidding!

8/04/2006 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

i'm hearing of a # of sellers who aren't getting their expected peak seling price deciding to rent. i've seen this in westfield, summit and a few other towns. if you got in low enough not such a bad deal as renting is up due to nosebleed prices but i don't think these folks know the negatives of such a move. let's hope they don't learn the hard way.

8/04/2006 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Rich52 said...


I suggest somehow we keep a record of houses for sale in the MLS and their price drop. I have been watching the market in central jersey for a little over a year and most houses have finally started reducing prices. Some drastically. If I had not kept a printout of the asking prices from last year, I wouldn't have known how massive some of these price cuts were. ANd as most on this board believes this is only the begining.

What is everyone's plan this weekend. Supposed to be a beautiful weather the next couple of days. Too bad for realtors they will be stuck in their open houses.

8/04/2006 07:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what's with all the complaints about the anonymous posters? If someone has something to contribute, I'm glad to read it. I post irregularly here and don't feel the need to sign. I don't know the diff (and frankly don't care) between 'Richard' and 'Rich52' or 'Bob' and 'BC Bob'. If you have something to contribute, for or against housing prices, please post. Some of us appreciate the input and use it to help get a read on the RE market.

8/04/2006 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger Rich52 said...

Anon 8:29, you want some price input where the market is heading?

Here's one.

MLS ID#: 620009, listed earlier this year at $579k labeled "Newly Listed" on

Price dropped top $573k a few weeks after list.

Currently $524,900 still tagged "Newly Listed".

8/04/2006 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger patient homebuyer said...

i just bumped into woman i know is a realtor, i casually asked, so how is the real estate market these days? her response, oh it is starting to pick up again, yea sure it is. and when i mentioned bubble, what bubble??

these people are in denial

8/04/2006 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

Weekend plans? Wife left me home with the dog.

She won't let me go down to LBI anymore, said I blog all weekend and get angry trying to find access points.

So I just got back from the book store. Picked up a few econ books to read this weekend. Nothin' goes better with Econ than Laphroaig. Although you can't go wrong with the Blue..


8/04/2006 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Shailesh Gala said...

The the earlier question on why do we think RE boom happened in last 5 years.

I agree with Grim on Liquidity + Psychology aspects.

I would add one more item. RE tends to move upwards in Boom & Flat cycles. If you see the chart of NJ house prices from 1975, You can see the pattern repeated 2 times. From 1977 to 1985, prices moved up very slowly, but then it takes off from 1985 to 1989. Then it again almost flattens before picking up from 1999 onward. I have seen similar pattern in other countries as well. To great extent this is the Psychology that Grim talked about.

During 1995 to 2001 timeframe, everyone wanted to invest in Stocks, that changed significantly after Internet boom crash & 911. I feel most folks pretty much stopped buying stocks after 2001 in large amount.


My personal simple analysis says that in NE area, we should expect 2.5% to 3% above the rate of inflation from RE prices. The prices went above inflation + 3% line in 2004. I expect in next 2 years, price will decline slowly to meet the historical average, then it will flatten for a while, till Psychology changes again.

My 2 cents worth.

8/04/2006 07:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rich52 - like I said, I post here occassionally and have been reading this blog for the past year. It's obvious where prices are headed, but keep up the good work.

8/04/2006 08:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat, totally agree with yr post about being happy on homes not moving in the Bucks county market.
My wife and i are prolly gonna rent out thru 2007 end. Seems like the best way to go until sellers open their eyes "wide" to the reality of the market.

Also, if you need to get in touch with me, please ping Grim, he has my email address as he had mailed me the bucks county listings.


8/04/2006 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Rich52 said...

Anon, yes, prices are finally heading. Sadly, most people outside these bubble blogs are still in denial. These examples should definitely make people hold out for lower prices.

Here's some more prices reduced.

MLS ID#: 615832, owner originally tried to sell FSBO in late 2005 for $619,000. Atleast that was the price listed when I first saw it, OLP could possibly have been higher.

Listed with an at agent 619,000 early 2006, labeled "Newly Listed" on

Reduced to $609k, new picture taken showing different angel of the house.

Current price, $587k, still labeled "Newly Listed".

What is it with these NL labels anyway?

8/04/2006 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...

better with Econ than Laphroaig.
8/04/2006 08:56:05 PM

You got that going for you which is nice.

8/04/2006 09:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watched a great documentary tonight that may peak some peoples on heres interest (although not RE related). It was called "cult of the suicide bomber" by Bob Baer.

Thought it was very insightful, and for someone who has done buisness transactions in the middle east, I would say he did a good job.

If there is one thing that will sink RE overnight that would be another terrorist attack. In my opinion, its not a matter of "if" but a matter of "when", you may see some very serious and worrisome declines in all markets.
(Except for the gold & silver markets)

I really hope one never happens again, but I think we may be a bit naive to think one won't.

8/04/2006 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...

Anonymous said...
Just a question for the regulars on this blog:
How many of you are homeowners now, or in the immediate past?
In other words....are you all talk and no action? It's one thing to be someone who has never owned, waiting for the serious price declines to begin...and quite another to have sold a house that you can comfortably afford, in a place that you like, simply to rent for a while and then take advantage of the price declines that are on their way.
8/04/2006 05:45:16 PM

My wife and me.....

8/04/2006 10:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops, that was me SAS who posted that.

Also watched "Sling Blade". I love that movie. That movie is a modern classic.

Mmmm...french fried patatters....Mmmm

Yup, Grim, my wife went out of town with my daughter. They are taking a weekend vacation together and left me alone too. I can never split them two apart.


8/04/2006 10:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here is task for you guys this weekend. go out and hit the greedy sellers with offer of 45% of the original asking price. Give them a shock therapy!

8/04/2006 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

Anyone else as disappointed over Landis as I am?


8/05/2006 07:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Being a former road racer and having grown up in PA only 45 minutes from Lancaster, I (and my biking buddies) are VERY disappointed over this affair...One of my friends couldn't "believe" the Hamilton charge at first but now who is clean?

Anyway, I didn't think the B sample would be any different than the A.


8/05/2006 07:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW I'm getting ready for a road ride right now, eating my banana and cereal and reading your fine blog...


8/05/2006 07:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you have a pension plan at your work folks, I wouldn't count on it for the future. Younger people, forget about it. You younger people now more than ever need to save for the future. I would say at least 10% (if you can afford more, do it) of salary goes to some type of retirement plan. If you can't afford that 10%, better to just cut some frill out of your life in order for you to do that. Or else you will be one of them old men at walmart handing out stickers. Not a good way to spend your "golden" years. When I see people like that, I, that person must have made alot of mistakes in life or nobody ever gave him some solid advice.

"Delta Seeks to End Pilots' Pension Plan"

Think I posted this one before, about housing booms in small towns, USA.

"Record number of building permits issued in the month"


8/05/2006 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

From Ireland:

All is not so rosy in the property market however. Despite the sustained growth in house prices in
recent years the willingness of banks to offer 100% m-ortgages, interest free m-ortgages and 35 and 40 year terms on loans is creating a possible future crisis in the Irish economy. It is now estimated that as many as 40% of all new m-ortgage loans are 100% loans, often to investors. 35-year terms are now considered the norm.

Despite the warnings house prices continue to forge upwards. Should the property market take a big hit then the construction boom that has fueled the economy would suffer a severe downturn.

8/05/2006 08:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Which parts of central jersey? Any infor on South Brunswick or Monroe, NJ?


8/05/2006 11:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Advice for a seller without flaming? Is it possible?

I am a seller. Or at least I want to be. Single parent of a 2006 grad, our custody agreement made it impossible to sell until now. Wouldn't choose this market, but it's the one I've got.

It is a "starter" type home, on the small side for our town, has suited us well. It shows very well, has had about a dozen showings and two open houses, which is high traffic in this market. Feedback is all very positive--"very well maintained," "charming" etc.etc., but not a single offer, which is the kind of feedback that means something.

Been on the market 55 days--started at $379K, reduced to $369K at about 35 days. Agent is not eager to drop price again, though I have suggested it twice; she thinks it is premature until the fall market resumes. I'm worried about all the supply that is going to appear when the fall market resumes.

I AM going to drop the price--the question is to where, and when? It was priced to reflect comps from Spring 06--pitched slightly low. Comp from last spring (05) would be about $335K, and fall 04 about $325K.

This is my only real financial asset. However, I bought in 1994, so I have some room on price and carry costs are about the same as rent so that isn't pushing me as much as market uncertainty. Sure, I can cut the price 30% and it would sell (though I could be lynched by neighbors.) How in this market do you get to a good price, meaning one that results in a sale, but does not sell yourself short? I don't think agents have a clue. I figure you guys might.

--Sell-out in Central Jersey

8/05/2006 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous UnRealtor said...

"two realtors i talked to sometime back wrote me emails this week pushing August as the best month to buy a house."

That is, until September rolls around, then that's the best month.

8/05/2006 12:03:00 PM  
Anonymous UnRealtor said...

Sell-out in Central Jersey:

Your realtor has an agenda: to make the highest commission possible, and not to "kill the comps" and hurt her future commission prospects in the town.

Your neighbors, as you note, have similar concerns about comps, but they don't pay your bills, and you're not responsible for their bills.

Point being, decide what YOU need to do, to sell the house. If you want to sell quickly, you know what must be done. Sure, you'll be the first "comp killer" on the block, but better the first, than the last, after prices have dropped 30-40%.

If you can wait, and want to, then hold on your price.

Either way, it's your house, and your timeline.

8/05/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

Fall market? There is no "Fall" market. From this point onward, contracts and sales will fall until the seasonal low point, typically January/February.


8/05/2006 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sell-out: It'll be just like the stock market. You have to drop the ask price until you start getting bids. Try dropping $10k every 2 weeks or so. You'll know when it's fairly priced when buyers start getting interested. If you're not happy with lowering the price, then hang on until things firm up. Although, that could be several years from the looks of it.

8/05/2006 01:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Advice for seller
You want to sell your house don't worry about the realtor or your neighbors, there not your friends and you'll soon be forgotten, worry what's best for you.
Sold a house two years ago, dropped the price 5 % after two weeks and dropped another 5 % to get a quick buyer. In addition you'll find one serious buyer, don't let him get away ,do what's required to work the deal. Good Luck

8/05/2006 02:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sorry, just got back from A.C. Husband and I RARELY get a chance, but my sister offered to babysit and we were on that like flies.

And, yes..we ate at Harrah's.

I can help you with Lower Bucks more than Upper Bucks (Quakertown, etc.) Bucks County MLS listings are on and [Keller Williams is INDEPENDENT-they list address]

There are a few on [pick the Levi Group Yardley].

You won't find much on Craigslist because, unfortunately, he lumps Bucks in with Philly and it is really a separate market.

I have a list of all peak sales if you want it to track prices on streets. You'll begin to see the drops in prices for new developments, even on the list. Grim also has it. You can also go to and search for Bucks County Real Estate Transactions. Usually one of the first 5 results will be the weekly lists from the contributing papers.
The list is updated Sunday. Here's last week's list:

Honest buyer's agent? Try N at CB Newtown. [NOT RELATED to her, I met her through a trustworthy source.] I'm afraid if I list her name, I'll get her in hot water. When I asked her in April if she thought we should wait [my interview question], she was the single agent who said the one word, three-letter correct answer. She's who we'll work with when we find the right house.

All school information is posted on line, in many sources.

You can read the last test scores by school, or you can do look-ups in the recent Philadelphia Inquirer school comparison. I put a link to it on a thread here in early July. Stick with Pennsbury or Council Rock, if you can afford it, and you are commuting to NJ. A safe bet is Pennsbury above Business Route 1. You can get a decent split for $300 in Lower Makefield. If you need to pay less than that, two grade schools in Pennsbury below Route 1 are great, also. Fallsington Elementary in Historic Fallsington, and, if you need a home for under $250k, go with Vermillion (an old Levittown section of Cape Cods, but one of the best). Village Park Elementary is fine. One of the good points about Pennsbury is that they just renegotiated last year, so you won't have to worry about strikes for a few years.

When you go to, select Lower Bucks County link. On the selection criteria to the left, pick Pennsbury or Council Rock, and your price range.

Let me know if I missed something you need.


8/05/2006 06:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I called the bank to see how much of a mortgage I qualify for and was shocked to hear that debt-to-income ratios can be as high as 50%. What happen to 28% for Mortgage expense and up to 36% for all debt? Is 50% the new target? It's been about 5 years since I purchased, but 50% seems extreme. BTW--the bank was Wachovia.

8/05/2006 06:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sell-out in Central Jersey,

According to the well received general economics book, "Freakonomics" the two terms "Well maintained", and "Charming" (amongst others), are actually real estate code for stuff that can be bid lower when list.

Although not an exact analogy, the market may be trying to tell you something (especially if you heard this terms from buyers' agents not just buyers themselves)

8/05/2006 09:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and Grim, I didn't forget about your quest for thoughts on the "overhaul" of pension system.

I'm working on it.


I live in a former union stronghold area. Sorry for the mixed quotes, but here is a smatter from an article today in the Bucks County Courier Times (AP):

"...Here's how some of the major players in the legislation may be affected:
The 30,000 defined-benefit plans run by employers are now under-funded by $450 billion, and the bill requires plan to reach 100 percent funding levels in seven years. Seriously underfunded "at-risk" companies must contribute at an accelerated rate.
The American Benefits Council, which represents companies with traditional pension plans, said the bill was a "mixed bag," that promotes saving but could make funding requirements more unpredictable, giving plan sponsors thinking of freezing their plans another reason for doing so.
The council's vice president, Lynn Dudley, said the bill shifts savings responsibility on to the individual by promoting 401(k)...

...of the 16 House Republicans who voted against the bill, 15 were from Texas.

...General Motors and the UAW both came out in support of the bill...

The bill, while stabilizing a shaky system, does not ensure there will be a defined-benefit plan in a worker's retirement future. Half the workers in private industry have no pensions, and the legislation "doesn't do anything for that," said Karen Friedman, policy director of the Pension Rights Center.

...The AARP said workers get shortchanged in a provision that adds legal certainty to cash balance plans, "hybrids" currently in legal limbo because of a lawsuit against IBM filed by employees claiming age discrimination.

...Teamsters were also protesting "red zone" provisions that would reduce early retirement benefits for workers in seriously underfunded multiemployer plans.

...Experts agree that young workers in particular will be big winners from provisions promoting automatic enrollment into 401(k) programs."



I believe reduced flexibility (RF) in funding arrangements automatically lowers their status as a tool in corporate finance. RF=Red Flag.

Fees Winner=PBGC and taxpayers[short term]; Equity market; brokers, longer term
Fees Loser=big pensions,fund managers

Somebody had to bail PBGC, though.

8/05/2006 09:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, Freakonomics' take on the real estate industry.... Right now I think the agent's desire to maintain comps (and hence future income) is battling the normal desire to get the sale done. The house IS well-maintained and charming-- but maybe I shouldn't admit it! I've pushed and pushed and been told not to change a thing. I don't think that the feedback was ironic or coded, but maybe I will do some re-writing when we drop the price and have to reprint the collateral material.

"Dated fifties cottage with too many windows, decorated with boring restraint. Owner has done all the work you wouldn't (maintenance) and none that you would (no granite counters). Energy efficient, not that you care. Real hardwood floors and plaster walls,; owner will give credit at closing to replace with drywall and Pergo. Large specimen trees and organically managed perennial gardens--you'll have to spend thousands cutting them down and getting Lawn Doctor in; motivated seller expects you to adjust the price accordingly. Rare opportunity to buy the smallest SFH in the Boro.
--CJ Sell-out

8/06/2006 06:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CJ Sellout. Maybed you SHOULD use that description instead, for sure. Sure woke me up this morning.


8/06/2006 07:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CJ, sounds like time for a new realtor.

8/06/2006 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

in regards to the 'fall market'. is there historically an increase in listings in sept or oct before things shut down in the winter? anyone have any empirical info? thanks.

8/06/2006 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger jayb said...

This is great stuff. I don't remember how I found this blog, but a week later it's been very interesting reading it. I had no idea there was so much negativity surrounding real estate and agents. I joined the industry at the wrong time it seems.

When you put an MLS number up, which MLS are you people referring to? Grim, when did you start this blog and what do you do for a living? I'm just curious.

How do I set my profile? I don't even remember where I've posted before, so I don't know how to check replies. Is there someway to correct that?

Clueless Blogger

8/06/2006 09:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sell-Out: Sounds like you should drop your price, is true that historically, at least, August is a very slow month in terms of house sales. When my dh and I were looking our buyer's agent told us that buyers get the best deals second half of December and in August. SUre enough, we bought a house we saw in August. This was in the days of multiple bids. Despite a great location, we were the only bidders for our house and therefore got a good deal! (Guess everyone else was at the shore. The sellers ddn't turn on the AC so the house was sweltering. The decor was dated so the combo of high heat and burnt orange and lime green carpeting scared away everyone but us.) So my advice would be to drop your price in September when there will be a new batch of buyers. Also I remember reading somewhere very recently (maybe even in today's NYT Jersey section) that fall buyers are the ones looking for smaller homes. So it seems Sept-Oct. are your target months. Make sure you've dropped your price enough to sell then. Good luck!

8/06/2006 08:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found this interesting.

8/06/2006 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Rich52 said...

So my advice would be to drop your price in September when there will be a new batch of buyers.

Whether that is true or not, I don't think that will be the case this year. I mean, most of the houses that I saw on the market last August are still on the market. I don't think there will be a flock of buyers as September rolls around. If that was the case, they would have been snapped up last fall, when interest rates were lower.

8/07/2006 03:20:00 PM  

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