Saturday, August 26, 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. Also a good place to post suggestions, requests for information, criticism, and praise.

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.


Blogger Richard said...

another year and it might be time to consider buying (if you can wait of course). conditions are deteriorating rapidly on a month to month basis. when homebuilder sentiment goes south you know the train is almost upon you.

if you've been to any open houses lately with the sellers there has anyone noticed the glum faces? i've seen this on more than a few occasions. i think it has to do with the slowly creeping realization that with every visit the value of what they'll get for their property keeps decreasing.

8/25/2006 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...


3-Month 5.09
2-Year 4.86
10-Year 4.79

8/25/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Desperation is growing as properties rot on the market at ridiculous prices. The greedy grubbers are getting the message. Also the RE Pro's seem to be changing their tune. Some should drum up a few of those quotes from just the past few weeks and months to confront these slugs with their disgracefully wrong comments.
And they are referred to as "EXPERTS".

sell out for the money. That's all I see.

8/25/2006 01:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chicago -

You mentioned the Ten a day or so ago, and I see you are mentioning it again. With the downturn in housing, would you be so kind as to elaborate on the benefits of moving more money into the Ten, as opposed to say, keeping a good amount in a money market mutual fund right now, which is what I have


8/25/2006 01:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

short-term rates are higher than the 10-yr. Buy the 3-mo t-bill for a better deal.

8/25/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you really think these sellers are getting the message yet?

There's a building in Fort Lee where most of the units are selling for $550k+. I know of one unit that the seller paid $400k two years ago, and have been trying to sell it for $630k for over a year, reduced it once from $660.

For what? It is a f'ing box, no upgrades. I asked for pictures once from the Realtor just out of curiosity - the walls are all different colors, so many toys and clutter it looked like a daycare center.

The ego on these sellers is amazing to me, to expect a insane profit for a sh*tbox, not even paint it or get it ready. These are the greedy, money-grubbing sellers that really do deserve to take the 30% haircut and I hope they get it soon.

8/25/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Mr. Oliver said...

"chicagofinance said...

Could you please take a minute to explain the significance of the inverted yields "...For Dummies."

I want to make sure I'm understanding what seems to be ominous signs for the future.

As always, thanks for sharing the knowledge.

Oh yeah, I hear rumors that you're getting booked on Conan next. True?

8/25/2006 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

I'll be down on LBI this weekend so updates will be infrequent.

Of course, that all changes if:

a) The weather stinks.

b) The neighbor left his unsecured wireless router on.

Who is the patron saint of wireless connectivity? Will burying a statuette help my signal strength?


8/25/2006 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

And as always.. Have a great weekend everyone.


8/25/2006 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger quints said...

I want to own on the NJ Shore. But of course I agree with most of the bloggers here that Real Estate Values are far lower than Real Estate prices, especially at the Shore. Does anyone have an idea how much time it will take for actual selling prices to start diving and get in line with value? Right now, it is not happening yet - especially in the most attractive areas....

8/25/2006 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...


Anon: It is not an investment suggestion, but rather a POSSIBLE notable harbinger of the economy.


8/25/2006 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Mr. Oliver said...

Thanks, Chi. I forgot all about that thread.

8/25/2006 04:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We just spoke to our financial guy, he said NJ is right behind the hurricane ravaged states in economy terms. We sent our 300k to rest with him for the next year - buying a house is on hold until things get real.


8/25/2006 04:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link - interesting as a harbinger of future events.

But I'm also interested in the Ten as an investment strategy. I heard a discussion today on Bloomberg where an economist recommended putting cash in the Ten. He did this even though right now a money market mutual fund is returning roughly the same amount of interest. He said something about how a year from now, the Ten will be more valuable and be performing better than a money market mutual fund. I didn't completely get his entire reasoning as to why.

8/25/2006 05:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The idea is that interest rates will go down - longer duration bonds will get the most benefit as the prices of those bonds will shoot up! Of course, inflation could pick up and send rates shooting upward. 90 day is the safest bet and you get a decent yield at this point.

8/25/2006 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

IMO if you want to invest in fixed income assets you want to take advantage of both the short term rates and hedge with longer term rate lock-in. i feel the next 36-48 months are going to be a very tumultuous time in the equity markets with most of the risk on the downside so fixed income is fine. i'm taking my savings and putting 40% in the short term (MMA), 20% in a mix of 3,6 and 12 month CD's and the remaining 40% in a mix of 2 and 10 year bonds. you can graph the returns using your own mix but the bottom line is i'm not putting another dime into the stock market (which already has 65% of my retirement assets). diversify folks, it's the only way to get by.

8/25/2006 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger Math, like gravity, is law. said...

Anonymous said...
"We sent our 300k to rest with him for the next year"


8/25/2006 05:11:53 PM

BC: In life there are a few things that you are better off handling yourself, one of them is when you walk up to a urinal..., the second is what to do with your cash.
Advise given to me my by a self made Forbes 400 member.

8/25/2006 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger Math, like gravity, is law. said...

pardon, advice

8/25/2006 08:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Math, like gravity, is law. ...I'll take that advice into consideration - check hasn't been sent yet!
PS - I'm a girl-no need for a urinal!


8/25/2006 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...

speaking of cash and a is some new styled cartoon

I am so out of the loop with today's popular tastes that I miss half the references...

8/25/2006 09:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chicago - Funny site - so sad but true!

8/25/2006 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

here's a flip in cranford. guy bought it in Dec '05 for $385k and was asking $609k now $599k. i estimate he did about ~$60k in work so he's looking for a ~$150k profit. he's got a number of problems. it's on the south side of town (not the desirable section), no den, 2 bedrooms upstairs, 2 downstairs (not ideal), located on a congested street, selling in a downward market and selling in the non-peak season.

watch this one folks. he'll drop it another $20k before holding it right through winter.

8/26/2006 06:26:00 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

sorry here's the link:

8/26/2006 06:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just bought yesterday afternoon.
%479.9 asking, bought at 445. seems to have been priced right.
DOM 10.

8/26/2006 06:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"We sent our 300k to rest with him for the next year"

Don't confuse bc with me, I would never utilize a fp. BC, if you use a fp, make sure you have solid references. Also, you may want to choose one who charges a flat fee rather than one who receives commissions from your investments. Make sure he/she thoroughly understands your objectives and make sure you thoroughly understand where they are placing your $. Be more concerned with the return of your $ rather than the rate of return on your $. Just be careful.

BC Bob

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

From Piscataway (Middlesex) there are quite a few homes on the market that are also registered in foreclosure listings

I've picked 2 bedroom townhouses in Hidden woods (Piscataway) as an example. Hidden woods is not a big community(50 townhouses). There two townhouses listed in foreclosure listing that fit my match

1. 6860677
2. 6505273

On hidden woods two bedrooms are listed from 299K MLS ID 702324 which is down 30K from last year.

8/26/2006 08:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about 11k unoccupied
condo units in south

8/26/2006 08:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the guy in cranford should take
500k and be down the road before
the winter sets in.

8/26/2006 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

todd, get ready for low $400's on your property at best, into the mid to high $300's at worst. hopefully you got a 30 year fixed, can comfortably afford the payments and plan on staying at least 5-7 years else you won't get your money back let alone any appreciation.

8/26/2006 09:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now , Richard, why would you attack the guy like that.

He thought he was smart.

I would have offered the 400k you
talk about.

Many people still , "they just
dont get it"

8/26/2006 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger Richie said...

I don't understand why no one has written an in-depth article about the "real truth" on incentives and how much more they cost the buyer.

Incentives only help the industry, but they hurt the buyer.

1. You'd be better off paying for upgrades, plasma tv's, even cars out of your own pocket on your own terms. You can get a plasma tv finance from most major electronics stores for 0%. why would you want that financed into your mortgage over 30 years?!?!

2. $20k worth of options really ends up costing you $43k over 30 years at 6%. You're better off having the home price reduced by $20k which will save you $23k over the next 30 years.

3. When it comes time to resell your home, you could have more of a profit if they just reduce the price. If you have an inflated home price, thats less profit for you when closing time comes. Live like the stock market, buy low-sell high. You can't short a house, so overpaying is only your fault.

4. The incentives only help the industry, not the buyer. They do that to keep prices "inflated" so other recent home buyers don't get upset and to keep median prices high so that other potential buyers do not see home prices falling. God forbid prices fall, more people might be able to afford them. Why does the industry keep insisting real-estate isn't cyclical, when it is?

5. You can get more for your money (in terms of upgrades) if you shop around. Chances are that $15k countertop is only costing the seller $8k. Now with many retailers and contractors feeling the chill, they'll be desperate to take on new jobs. They'll have to be competitive as well.

I would write one, but I have no motivation. These are the types of articles that should be written on the major media sources. I'm getting tired of the phrase 'yet another sign that the housing market is starting to cool'. You morons, the housing market started to cool at the beginning of the year. Get up to date already.

Last year it was all pep-rally's, the housing craze, etc. Nobody (except us) saw this coming. All of the insiders stood there like deer in the headlights. Times are different, everyone has a trust fund worth 1 million, there is no more land, baby boomers want 4 homes to live in, blah blah blah..

The realtors and developers had no control over their own industry. They milked every drop they could get out of it, and now they need to get creative to try to keep the party going.


8/26/2006 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger grim said...

Well said, I'm going to make that it's own topic.


8/26/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whatever happened to this guy?


8/26/2006 11:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one down three more years to go

"Unless you bought last year (when prices peaked), you're probably in good shape."

8/26/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Richard,

Thank you for your response to our situation in a prior post. I appreciate you taking the time and your well thought and articulate thoughts.

I agree with you the paper value of our house will fall: but hey we need a place to live, and after all the numbers are crunched out for taxes, maintanence etc, buying this house is cheaper than renting for us.

I just found this blog and would appreciate some advice on our uncertain situation;

We have been looking to buy as our personal circumstances (baby) and our nyc rent(3500) make buying seem like the right thing to do.

Just made an offer that was accepted; Original asking was 699K and after some back and forth we have an accepted for 649K.

Can put 20% down with a 30 fixed.
Our combined gross is 250K so we can easily make our payments/taxes.
Expect to be in the house for 6-7 years.

Should we move forward with the deal or back out now?

Richard said...

anon 10:29, considering your NYC rent, combined income, cost of the house you're purchasing and the plan to stay for 6-7 years i don't think your decision to buy is a bad idea, IF you don't mind over the next couple of years potentially seeing the paper worth of your residence drop to $600k. when you sell you might only be walking away with what you paid off in principal.

while you are probably overpaying a bit sometimes the best financial decision isn't always the one you can make. good luck. what town are you buying in?

8/24/2006 11:26:37 PM

8/26/2006 12:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“The bad news is that the number of homes on the market has mushroomed. There (is) a staggering 14-month supply of inventory. ‘Sellers are slow to react,’ Yost says. ‘They don’t want to hear that the house they bought last year isn’t worth as much as it was a few months ago. Some of them are angry.’”


A Bagholding Fool needs to look in the mirror and take responsibility for their actions.

The Backlash against the NAR must be growing among these underwater bagholding fools.As the number of bagholders grows so will the anti-NAR backlash.

8/26/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goal: Establish a floor (fair value) for the current price of a home.

I am trying to figure out what the lowest serious offer is that I can make on a home I am interested in purchasing. Serious being the key, not some crazy lowball. The home is located in Union County. I used the House Price Index found on the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight ( to find the year over year price increases/(decreases) in the Northeast since 1978. So this will include the crazy increases from the mid-80's as well as the declines felt in the area through the early 90's. I get an average 8.2% I took the last purchase value of the home and grew the value at this rate to the current time. The resulting figure I get is 7.6% less than the current asking price. The seller has already dropped the OLP by 6%. If I ask for this additional 7.6% decrease, the total discount to OLP would be about 13% which is in line with the comps being posted on this site. Since the current owner has also put an extension on the house since he bought in, I feel like this could be a good value. If I buy, I would hate to see the home lose another 10% in value over the next few years but since I plan to stay for 10 years+, I don't mind losing 1-4% over the next few years. Is it time to buy assuming the owner will accept my offer? I welcome all thoughts and please call me on my math if it doesn't make sense.

8/26/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

I believe we need an approximate 30-35% downward adjustment (in real terms) over the next few years to retrace to the mean.


8/26/2006 01:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:40 PM ET
The Wrap with Bruce Sellery
Is the U.S. headed for a nasty recession?
Nouriel Roubini, president, Roubini Global Economics

Duration: 8 m 57 s

8/26/2006 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



8/26/2006 01:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a miserable day grubbers.

Gett'en a little worried yet?
RE nevers goes down? Right?
Or does it?
Ur problema.



8/26/2006 01:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What will come out of Lereah's mouth this week?

8/26/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would think the braintrust at the NAR must be coming up with another strategy and terms to use.


8/26/2006 01:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 1:48

Grim is right. At least a 30% drop would get us back to the mean. I think it will definately happen, but this thing is going to take some time to play out. Remeber, you're in the drivers seat now as a buyer. My feeling is that if you really need a house now, then make a lowball offer (like 30% off olp). If they don't accept, that's fine. There's plenty of glut in the market, and chances are, you can find someone who will accept. But if you can wait at least 8 months, I think that is the best situation. Personally my wife and I are looking at buying our fist house, but we have decided to keep renting until September of next year to see what kind of summer we have next year. If it's as bad as this one, then there will definately be some panic in the marketplace. You need to be ready to pounce once that happens.

So the best scenerio really is to rent for now and let this thing play out. I understand that you plan to stay there for 10+ years, but if you don't have to lose 1-4% over the next few years, then why do it? There are plenty of homes out there you can rent for a while till this thing plays out.


8/26/2006 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger yo me said...

inflation is up.
price of labor is up(get rid of illegal immigrants).
prices of homes to go down?
how low can they go down and stay that way?

8/26/2006 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger RentinginNJ said...

Good article from Fortune via CNN on how housing fundamentals lost touch with reality:

Funny thing is that the arguments in this article have been discussed a year ago on this blog.

I’ve noticed in the last month or so the media coverage of the housing bubble is getting much more sober. It’s like the alcohol is starting to wear off. Just a few months ago the idea of a “hard landing” was brushed aside as doomsday rubbish or the sour grapes of those who didn’t feast from the trough of the housing boom. Now a hard landing is very much on the table in mainstream media. I was watching CNN this morning and the question of the week went something like “How would you be impacted if a major downturn occurred in the real estate market”. I would respond if I had the email address.

8/26/2006 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger chicagofinance said...

I've heard "hard landing?" how about a "crash landing", on Bloomberg radio this past week. I don't recall who said it.

8/26/2006 02:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The House Price Index referenced in an earlier post (establishing a fair floor value) is worth reviewing. I took a look myself and noticed that in the past 28 years, the worst year-over-year loss was (7.4%) in 1990-4Q. Even in the worst case scenario when you got in at the market peak in 1988 and then sold in 1997 just prior to the real estate market turnaround, you had a cumalative loss of (2%). So lets say you bought in '88 for $100,000, if you sold in '97, you got only $97,435. However, if you bought it to LIVE in and say you didn't need to sell until 17 years after you bought the place in 2005, you would get back $201,392. Its not a great return on your money but factoring in the tax breaks and the fact that you were not paying rent somewhere, it could be worse. I think if the buyer can negotiate the price down another 10% and not be worried about losing paper money over the next 1-4 years, s/he can come out ahead if this is a home for living in and not an investment property. Otherwise, you have to believe that we are in for year after year of a downward spiral not experienced in the past 3 decades.

8/26/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger Shailesh Gala said...

Here is my calculation on RE. The following link contains the charts & data that I have gathered from multiple sources.

HPI vs CPI Graph

Looking at Historical data in NE region, I think RE appreciation of CPI+3% is realistic in our area. This is high than rest of the country, which I would attribute to factors such as NYC, Land shortage, Higher income etc... Also during the last bubble, the bottom was reached when prices reached CPI+3% line.

On that basis, today's HPI is 244, while based on CPI+3%, it should have been 205. Hence I predict price drop of about 20% would bring these 2 lines together. Also looking at last Boom pattern this took about 3 years. This time it may be 2 years due to higher information access & more media coverage. So my prediction is 20% price reduction in 2 years.

8/26/2006 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger grim said...

You need to adjust the HPI for inflation using CPI less shelter.

Otherwise we're confusing appreciation and inflation.

A 1988 dollar is not the same thing as a 2005 dollar, you need to compare apples to apples.


8/26/2006 05:10:00 PM  
Anonymous dreamtheaterr said...

What depressing weather today to visit open houses...seems like even the clouds are not cooperating with the open houses this weekend.

8/26/2006 05:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard & Annon 10:22,
I forgot to mention that the house was in Bergen County. That alone should make the hose hold its value. Bergen county just isn't like the rest of NJ and especially any other part.

8/26/2006 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger yo me said...

wealth is changing hands.
lucky for those that can weather the storm.

8/27/2006 08:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just typical jealousy by those who wish they could afford to live in BC..

8/27/2006 10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone know if there are laws regarding rent increase percentages in Mt Arlington, NJ? Where should I look fo rhelp? Landlord is milking us, knowing damn well we are looking to buy at some point.

8/27/2006 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

todd, bergen county is no different than any other place that says "it's different here". everything moves down when the cyclicality changes direction. it's already happening there. look at the houses on the market today. they would've sold at current asking prices in 2 days a year ago. that's called changing sentiment. watch the market over the next 6-12 months. it's going to get uglier.

8/27/2006 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

>>This is just typical jealousy by those who wish they could afford to live in BC..

yeah i'm just crawling the walls trying to get into river edge!

8/27/2006 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger delford said...

People are looking to get out of River Edge. large inventory of homes on market, huge taxes,and much more on the way (tax increases).

8/27/2006 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous UnRealtor said...

"I forgot to mention that the house was in Bergen County. That alone should make the hose hold its value. Bergen county just isn't like the rest of NJ and especially any other part."

Wow, the realtors found a live one.

8/27/2006 01:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been apartment shopping and can't believe the number of rentals on the market. I was worried about getting a November 1st rental--willing to grab something good right now, but looks like there will be plenty to choose from! Also, looks like I will be paying $400 month less than I'm currently paying in rent. What a savings! I guess I can put that extra money towards my new house in 2008!

8/27/2006 01:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


In my area (Bucks County, PA), I'm not so much floored by all the rentals (expected considering inventory) as much as by the homes relisted this week that were pulled a couple of months ago.

Duh. Especially since the listing prices are the same as they were in the Spring.

There are still sellers just testing the waters. Why? I cannot understand what they have to gain by this.


8/27/2006 05:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, for those of you who believe that the next few years will see the housing market crash, you still seem to agree that there is some value in owning real estate over the long term. If you had to explain to your six-year old how much she should pay today for a NNJ home that sold for $100,000 in 1997, how would you come up with a number?

8/27/2006 05:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rental equivalent.


8/27/2006 05:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you are for real, can you please post the MLSID of the property you bought?

8/27/2006 08:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't do that as we haven't closed yet.

8/27/2006 09:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the Mt Arlington person:

I can't say for your town but in Clifton there is NO rent control whatsoever. I asked for a delay on increase and then a smaller increase for 4 months and got it.

Also, I saw all the Reduced homes listed in the Star Ledger today and feel like a crash is iminent sooner rather than later. I was thinking that this rain will be good for those who want cheaper prices. I knew August would bring some pain to sellers, when taxes are added to the picture houses seem still way too high. And don't most people want to sell before winter? Could there be another dip come fall?

I am not sure what the top is that this 20% decline falls from. I have been looking in essex and seeing 60K drops. A house in Belville was OLP:449 and now 339 but that's an odball. It seems the OLPs were based on house prices being higher than 2005. It would seem that the ole suply-demand would take care of prices soon.

8/28/2006 04:28:00 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

todd what town are you in and what part of that town?

8/28/2006 08:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I won't jeopardize the close with too much information. All I'll say is that it's not Alpine or Saddle River.

8/28/2006 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

jeopardize the close? you're being a bit too conspiracy theory-ish. the town would be sufficent information. i'm sure no extremist bubbleheads won't go blowing your house up.

8/29/2006 05:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"you're being a bit too conspiracy theory-ish."

It has nothing to do with any conspiracy, it's just common sense that disclosing an accepted offer before it closes can ruin athe closing if others piece together which property is being discussed publicly.

And what's this "blow up " crap anyway?

8/29/2006 09:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we live in manasquan. most houses are way overpriced. we are looking to downsize. our house sits on one of a handful of double lots, walking distance to the beach, on one of the most desireable streets, not in a flood zone (one of a handful), and completely gutted-rebuilt. the realtor told us its worth 1.2 million. for 800k buyers are not even getting 3/4 of the house that we have, so i believe our house is really worth close to the 1.2

she also told me that 77% of their buyers are from NYC or north jersey. should we hold off selling? we want to purchase something in red bank area or stay in manasquan, but only pay at most 700k. prices are coming down in this price range, but has anyone heard about homes 1 million and over? i've heard that the market corrections are greatest in this upper-mid range 500-800k where we want to buy. and that a buyer for a million dollar house wouldn't be effected by this trend. any thoughts??????

9/01/2006 11:51:00 AM  

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