May 12, 2006

Price Reductions ‘On The Agenda’ In Massachusetts

The Boston Herald reports on a housing forecast. “Home prices in Massachusetts could fall another 3 percent this year as the market adjusts to a slow-growing state economy, according to the New England Economic Partnership conference.”

“But an easing in home prices could make Massachusetts a slightly more affordable state, helping companies to keep and attract workers who otherwise might not be able to afford housing in Massachusetts, according to (economist) Alan Clayton-Matthews. ‘It will help correct the high cost-of-living problem we have, at least to a certain extent,’ Clayton-Mattews said.”

“The peak median home-sale price for the area was $375,000, set last July. The median price has since fallen to about $344,000 through March, off 8.3 percent since July.”

And one brokerage firm is doing its part. “The Bay State’s biggest real estate agency has one message for its brokers: sell, sell, sell. Coldwell Banker, which controls a network of 3,800 agents across the state, wants brokers to lower prices to match current demand in an aggressive push to spark languid home sales.”

“Coldwell has begun routinely meeting with sellers whose homes haven’t sold after a month or so, said Mark Lippolt, a top executive. Among the items on the agenda: price reductions. Given the company’s size, the push could help reduce a huge backlog of unsold homes, though some executives also fret it could develop into a sell-at-any-price mentality.”

“Among Coldwell’s new tactics: urging brokers to take a more realistic stance on prices with home sellers, asking them to only use comparable sales from the last three months. Meanwhile, the real estate giant is now rejecting listings from some would-be home sellers if their price expectations are too high for an emerging ‘buyers’ market, said Lippolt.”

“The moves come as Coldwell’s publicly traded parent company, NRT, reports a 13 percent slide in first quarter sales in New England, California, Florida andother previous hot spots.”

“But some executives, while largely welcoming Coldwell Banker’s new approach, say the emphasis on more realistic pricing holds both promise and peril for a market in transition.”

“‘I think it helps loosen the roadblock of unsold properties if it is done in a responsible manner,’ said Sue Hawkes, who helps market high-end residential real estate projects. ‘If it’s done in a wholesale crash and burn (manner), I don’t think it benefits anyone.’”

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Comment by Ben Jones
2006-05-12 05:48:07

Thanks to the reader who sent these links in.

Comment by garcap
2006-05-12 05:56:58

“crash and burn” would not benefit anyone? How about us bargain hunters?

Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 07:08:19

That 500sqft apartment gettin’ to ya? lmao

Comment by garcap
2006-05-12 07:24:04


Comment by Terry
2006-05-12 06:00:03

I reside in Eagle River, Wisconsin, a place where Chicago people have invested heavily in second homes. I’ve been watching the lake home sales fall off here since September. Many of these buyers took out equity loans to purchase these places. I pity the fools who buy now, its going to be a steep ride down hill.

Comment by pinch a penny
2006-05-12 06:02:40

Crash and burn baby!!!! When prices are reasonable for the shit that is out there, ie 1300 square feet ranches with 5K lots at less than 100K then it will make sense to buy. Right now, MA has declining population, an extremely old population, few if any high paying jobs that are not hedgies, and losing their biggest employers. Hmmmm, maybe all those liberal dimwits in beacon hill might get a hint that something is wrong????? Nah. The Kennedys are set for life, and so are most of the current crop of mediocre politicians, that never a day have they worked a honest job, for a paltry wage.

Comment by NH_renter
2006-05-12 07:02:05

The aging population problem is a nasty one and it isn’t being addressed at all. New England is really a demographic time bomb. The region isn’t helping itself at all with its NIMBY anti-family zoning (which in some areas is EXPLICITLY, OPENLY directed towards keeping families out).

Comment by hd74man
2006-05-12 08:04:50

Just go ask Billy Bulger with his $208k per year state pension-LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Comment by NH_renter
2006-05-12 08:07:10

I hear that teachers get especially fat pensions in MA

Comment by watcher
2006-05-12 09:07:58

Whitey should have been a politician instead of a gangster. It’s more profitable.

Comment by jbunniii
2006-05-12 09:10:31

An anti-family neighborhood sounds good to me! Where can I find one?

Comment by Tulkinghorn
2006-05-12 09:32:13

Any where East of Worcester is anti-family, in effect if not in intent.

The towns with strong schools are so expensive that families with more than one or two children are priced out. The rest that is mediocre is truly mediocre, and only slightly less expensive.

Comment by MA_renter
2006-05-12 10:58:41

Hey, you knew kids are expensive when you decided to breed; now that the local government decided not to subsidize your breeding decision with tax dollars, it’s not a reason to bitch

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Comment by Tulkinghorn
2006-05-12 14:15:17

Who’s bitching?

I was remarking on a demographic trend.

You’re the one bitching, bitch.

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Comment by Doug_home
2006-05-12 15:14:41

Who is going to take care of you when you are to old to wipe your butt? Answer: someone elses kids, better give them a good education so they can pay into social insecurity

Comment by NH_renter
2006-05-12 09:34:25

Try Plymouth. The town planner was in the Boston Globe a few months back talking about how they restrict the supply of family-friendly housing. Apparently the kids use too many of their tax dollars.

Comment by snake_eyes
2006-05-12 11:37:15

This is pretty sick when you consider that a retiree costs taxpayers TEN TIMES what a kid costs them.

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Comment by Tulkinghorn
2006-05-12 09:53:03

Or try getting three-bedroom condos through the zoning process in Brookline…

Comment by sf jack
2006-05-12 11:51:53

“An anti-family neighborhood sounds good to me! Where can I find one?”

bunniii -

What do you mean by that?

You already live in one if you live in San Francisco.

Comment by david cee
2006-05-12 06:04:25

Celebrate July 4 with major price correction. Any listing available at start of the vacation season, where even less buyers will be available will force sellers to “s-it or get off the pot”

Comment by Larry Littlefield
2006-05-12 06:11:53

(“But an easing in home prices could make Massachusetts a slightly more affordable state, helping companies to keep and attract workers who otherwise might not be able to afford housing in Massachusetts, according to (economist) Alan Clayton-Matthews. ‘It will help correct the high cost-of-living problem we have, at least to a certain extent.’)

Exactly right. A bust is a problem in one way, but a solution in another. Nothing wrong with Mass, Ca., NY etc as a place to live and do business — if the price is sane.

Comment by Robert Cote
2006-05-12 06:17:03

Sane prices aren’t gonna be enough. Why do you think millions of us are now living anyplace but the ossified Northeast? This was going on long before housing prices went insane because it has nothing to do with housing prices which are at best just a symptom.

Comment by garcap
2006-05-12 06:37:33

NY is a horrible place to do business. Ridiculous taxes, regulations, etc. Oh, and don’t forget the Fascist General, Elliot Spitzer.

Comment by Michael
2006-05-12 06:44:46


Fascist Elliot Spitzer? Ossified Northeast? What is this, the black helicopter contingent? Neuva York can drive a lot of people nuts at time, but it’s also an awful lot of fun as place, and sometimes truly electric. There’s a mix of people, from around the country and the world, that gets one thinking in ways you wouldn’t imagine–but perhaps should try.
Boston and Philadelphia, too, have much to offer, with world class universities and culture. As for a horrible place to do business? There are, apparently, those who disagree with you. Kind of reminds me of that Yogi Berraism: No one eats there anymore, it’s too crowded.
There’s many reasons to hope that the insane housing prices of the past six years recede, not least so that those who truly want to live in these cities–as opposed to status seeking geeks–can afford a home. But you might want to examine those cultural/political assumptions?

Comment by pinch a penny
2006-05-12 06:54:57

MA is really getting ossified. Just go to any mall, and count the amount of under 15 population, compared to the stroller population, and you will see what I mean. Most middle aged, and younger people who can move, have. Those of us that are still around, are here due to family, or have a stable job that we do not want to lose. I rent, but My family has ties going back 150 years. Our family house has been in the family for that length of time, and therefore, I choose to stay behind. Both of my brothers have moved, and are no longer living even close.

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Comment by watcher
2006-05-12 07:59:56

I have relatives on Cape Cod. They are closing schools there because there are not enough students there any longer. Young people are leaving Mass. in large numbers.

Comment by NH_renter
2006-05-12 08:15:07

In New Hampshire the number of students is falling and the trend is accelerating. And yet local governments are building these huge new schools. You’ll be driving through a small town and a huge new high school pops seemingly out of nowhere. Who the hell is going to study there?
NH has high property tax rates and schools here get most of their funding from property taxes, so the RE boom has left many of these school districts in fat city. I guess they chose to spend the windfall on monuments.

Comment by Genevois
2006-05-12 08:54:15

My family and I have been living in Geneva, Switzerland for some time. My teenage daughter has been wanting to return to the US for the remainder of her high school education. What is interesting to me is the relative difficulty in registering her in Utah and New Hampshire (where we have relatives. For Utah (Park City), we need to go to court and designate local guardian (giving up our parental rights) - in New Hampshire we need a letter asking nicely. Perhaps spare capicity has something to do with it.

Comment by sf jack
2006-05-12 11:58:29

I see what you’re saying about capacity, but I’m willing to believe that Park City is an anomoly of sorts within Utah; by that I mean that no place in NH can compare to the rest of the state in the same way… that PC compares to the rest of UT.

Because of that, I’m willing to bet that people try to get their kids into the PC school district who don’t live in the district full-time or maybe at any time.

Comment by Bruce Dickinson
2006-05-12 19:24:28

Ha-ha. That’s because the mormons want to take over guardianship and brainwash her. Well, the skiing is better in Utah.

Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 07:11:45

Very well put Michael. And Spitzer is hardly a fascist. Reeling in profiteering Wall St creeps is a game he’s good at and a good house cleaning is in order there and he knows it. Go Eliot!

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Comment by garcap
2006-05-12 07:39:54

If people are unhappy with wall street and the way it operates, they don’t have to do business with it. Of course everyone wanted in during the bubble, and when they lost money started assigning blame to all the players beside themselves. Political opportunists like Spitzer stepped into the fray burdening the industry with a whole new set of superfluous yet restrictive set of regulations that will never be an antidote to fraud. Todays regulations won’t prevent the next worldcom or enron….at the end of the day, if someone wants to defraud you, they’ll find a way. But it allowed spitzer to do a lot of grandstanding that Lingus and his ilk love.

Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 07:43:21

So long as he impedes the efforts of the greedy, he has everyones support. Good for him.

Comment by garcap
2006-05-12 07:49:20

That’s a naive statement. Do you think he’s not greedy? Or that the avergae investor isn’t?

Comment by NoVa Sideliner
2006-05-12 08:15:46

Spitzer is an extortionist, plain and simple, only on the “legal” side of that extortion game, intimidating companies into making huge settlements to the state for shaky allegations on alleged crimes they could (expensively) fight and win — but they’ve so far usually given in to his extortionist demands because if he does convince a know-nothing jury to convict them, the firm is done for. If you guys in New York like him, then please keep him there. My only regret would be his stifling effect on business doing business there, businesses all of us invest in indirectly through our 401k’s and pensions.

Now if Spitzer REALLY wanted to go after people, why not the title insurance “feeding trough”, or the real estate agent “6% cartel”? But nah, too many small firms, too much effort required to drain them of a nice hundred million dollar settlement. It’s not about the law, it’s the money (and personal fame).

Comment by John S
2006-05-12 14:11:17

Spitzer is a good extortionist, but you forgot the part about illegal Grand Jury leaks to the press that always come from Spitzer’s office. But there’s been a pattern emerging. If one of his cases goes to trial, he always loses. He has yet to win a single one. I hope he becomes NY governor. The loss of jobs and hence population to other states, will mean 2 less electoral votes for that a-hole state.

Comment by hd74man
2006-05-12 08:02:19

There are, apparently, those who disagree with you.

Yeah, the special ed teachers makin’ $100k for 180 days of playin’ color the numbers with kids who’ll never amount to shit, and union cops pullin’ in $160k with their protected flagman details.

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Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 08:36:00


The outrage pensions of public servants is a peeve of Bob Brinker. On his radio show, he often talks about when, not if the public pension funds default. Some of these turds make more on retirement (at the public trough) than I do working 60hrs a week. These retiring welfare cases are definitely part of the run on housing. If Brinker is correct on this one as he has been on so many other events, these welfare turds are in for a world of hurt.

Comment by Peter Gerard
2006-05-12 09:58:00

Very good point Lingus. Those pensions are rediculous.

Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 09:59:00

But you’d take one given the chance.

Comment by Michael
2006-05-12 10:15:14

Major corporations shake down one city after another for tax breaks and the like. This is an unfortunate fact of life. It’s also unfortunate that most Republican and Democratic mayors lack the cajones to stand up to them. Facts are a terrible inconvenience, but Giuliani handed out far more “corporate welfare” than did Dinkins. And Giuliani did this at a time when the city was booming, and arguably didn’t need to give away anything. You can, as they say, look it up.
What’s particularly crazy is that what New York and other cities lack aren’t so much the big corporate jobs as the boutique manufacturing and small business jobs that will employ the average NYer. It’s another reason, incidentally, that I can’t join in the cheering about the “idiots” who will get hurt in the deflation of the housing bubble.
The median family income in NY is $55,000–so where could THEY find a house in a decent school district in this city? The answer is, they couldn’t. So, with a helping hand from the Fed and the FDIC, and a lot of crap about housing prices that do nothing but go up, they climbed into these insane negative amortization loans with nothing done and now they are between a rock and a hard place.
A reversal in housing prices will be good for this city and others in the long run. But the short run promises a lot of pain for people who don’t deserve it.

Comment by garcap
2006-05-12 12:33:41

Giuliani did it for the same reason that Dinkins did it: it’s smart. Losing a big emplyer is very costly and politicians need to be reminded of that every now and then.

Comment by Michael
2006-05-12 16:09:10

I agree, so long as there’s a reasonable chance the corporation really is going to leave. The trouble is that most of them feint towards the door, but have no intention of going. And then mayors, republican and democrat, give them the money shower.

Comment by garcap
2006-05-12 08:32:43

How long have you lived in NYC??? Do you remember when Citicorp threatened to leave NYC unless they got a huge tax break back in the early 90’s?? They had to put a gun to the mayor’s head to get concessions. Most other large employers followed suit…

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Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 08:37:11

He should have told them to leave.

Comment by garcap
2006-05-12 08:43:34

Dinkins was the mayor then, and he did the thing he could: cave in… Ask any liberal to put his money where his mouth is, and he will always blink.

Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 08:52:08

Liberal this liberal that. Same old rusty, worn out blather as means to embrace a failed economic ideology call trinkle down economics.

When will you ever learn?

Comment by garcap
2006-05-12 09:18:30


I hate to break it to you, but nobody takes liberals seriously because they don’t make any sense (as you yourself prove). Want to talk about failed ideolgies of the last 30 years? Let’s talk about the liberals’ holy grail: communism.

Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 09:23:27

Smoke, mirrors, duck, weave. Anything to change the topic from the fail policies of the last 6 years. Anything.

Comment by garcap
2006-05-12 09:37:02

WHAT FAILED POLICIES??????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!

Every time someone makes a point or counters what you say, you dismiss them as dodging or being in denial. YOU are the one who dodges.

Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 09:42:18

Why does anyone have to explain the utter failure of economic and monetary policies of the last 6 years? Do you not read the FOMC minutes? Do you not look at CBO data?

You can’t find any reasonable defense so you claim ignorance? Seems desperate to me.

Comment by garcap
2006-05-12 09:56:56

Failures like unemployment at 4.7%, all-time record federal tax revenues in 2005, GDP growth in excess of 3% in 3 of those 6 years (and positive in all 6)? Yeah, things really suck.

The biggest fiscal problems we face as a nation (social security and medicare underfunding) are lot bigger than W and were not created by him. As for monetary policy, that’s set by the Fed, not the exceutive branch.

Am I ducking… am in denial? Show me some data, tough guy….

Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 10:03:29

Gee. Where do you want to start. Maybe crawl out from under that rock and head to Main Street and ask anyone if they believe the garbage you just posted. But if ya wanna play…. lets play.

We have 5 million more people without healthcare than we did at the start of this administration, 4.3 million more in poverty. We’ve lost 2.7 million manufacturing jobs, 1.6 million private sector jobs, and we’ve lost in this concurrent period 1.3 million jobs to off shoring, with 830,000 predicted for next year. All the while, bloating the size of federal employment to historical records, bloating goverment spending to record levels.

Still want to play youngster?

Comment by vioviv
2006-05-12 10:22:43

4.7% unemployment stat is a lie. Represents only the number of people currently collecting benefits. I’ve seen some estimates as high as 12% for our true unemployment. Not to mention that 90% of the Bush job creations are in low-paying retail or service sector jobs.

With Bush at 29%, do you really think anyone believes their B.S. anymore, or yours?

Comment by garcap
2006-05-12 11:02:57

Well, I gave you facts. Call it garbage if you like. You behave as if every problem is because of Bush and Republicans and that nothing good has happened in the last 6 years. I just gave you three easy-to-check facts that indicate that things are not so bad as you portray. I’m not a big fan of Bush, and he’s a let down to fiscal conservatives. But to reduce every problem in the world to Bush and claim that his presidency is a disater is sorta nuts on your part. And if you want me to take a straw poll of people where I live, they’ll tell me things are good. Most of the people I know have become pretty successful over the last 15 years (and not by flipping condos).

P.S. I checked on your healthcare data at the US Census Bureau web site. You’re right: the number of uninsured has increased in the five years ending in 2004 (most recent year we have data). What you failed to mention is that number of insured has also increased, so the uninsured RATE is only up slightly from just under 15% to just over 15% over that same time period. For the record, that rate increased by about 2 percentage points under the Clinton administration.

Comment by The_lingus
2006-05-12 20:05:14

Comment by vioviv
2006-05-12 10:22:43

With Bush at 29%, do you really think anyone believes their B.S. anymore, or yours?

Apparently there is one braindead blind man here that still believes the lies….. and repeats them sadly enough….
I can see him now….. tapping his ruby slippers saying “I really do believe”. [lmao]

Comment by GetStucco
2006-05-13 05:56:36

You are absolutely right. New York is perhaps the only city in the world where currently high housing prices are justified, because everyone wants to live there, and anyone who suggests otherwise is a black helicopter conspiracy theorist.

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Comment by shel
2006-05-13 21:48:15

Elliot Spitzer is fantabulous! Fascist isn’t really a great adjective, even if you don’t like his ways…

Comment by edhopper
2006-05-12 06:17:48

How is it that they keep predicting 3% or 5% fall in prices this year, when we’ve already seen a 8% to 10% drop?

Comment by Bryce Mason
2006-05-12 07:15:10

The article did say, “another.”

Comment by Tulkinghorn
2006-05-12 09:37:12

15% this year, 15% next year…. I’ll take that.

Comment by notme
2006-05-12 06:25:43

Real Estate agents and broker firms can only make money if there is a sale. They don’t care who gets burned as long as they make money.

Comment by Arwen U.
2006-05-12 06:37:17

That’s true for any sales position. Making money is what makes the world go ’round. But no sales are not good for sellers, either.

Comment by dukes
2006-05-12 06:27:03

This is a key paragraph: “The Bay State’s biggest real estate agency has one message for its brokers: sell, sell, sell. Coldwell Banker, which controls a network of 3,800 agents across the state, wants brokers to lower prices to match current demand in an aggressive push to spark languid home sales.”

It looks like realtors are now being FORCED to pound into the heads of sellers to LOWER prices. IT was obvious to us months ago, but dreams of riches are hard to dissuade. I am personally LOVING every minute of this and every article where the warnings come out hard and fast I just think back six months ago and realize how damn far we have come.

Comment by Mo Money
2006-05-12 06:39:22

Coldwell to feild agents: A. B. C.

Coffee is for closers !

Comment by feepness
2006-05-12 11:45:19

I’ve never seen Glengarry Glen Ross (sp?) but it is winging it’s way towards my home (house?) right now courtesy of Netflix. After hearing people mention it I added it awhile ago and it is finally coming.

Now… must… not… respond… to trolls…. must… hold back!

Comment by grim
2006-05-12 06:49:18

Word on the street (locally anyway) is that agencies have been rewarding agents who get their clients to reduce their prices with monetary bonuses at weekly sales meetings.

Northern NJ Real Estate Bubble

Comment by pinch a penny
Comment by jbunniii
2006-05-12 09:23:27

Does this mean that buyers are no longer required to write compelling personal essays detailing why they should be granted the privilege of having their offer accepted?

Comment by auger-inn
2006-05-12 06:32:34

“The peak median home-sale price for the area was $375,000, set last July. The median price has since fallen to about $344,000 through March, off 8.3 percent since July.”

A whole slew of new “house renters” just became some banks “bubble bitch” since July, is how this statement should have read. (e.g. the homerenters owe the bank more than the property is currently valued at) This is going to get nasty, pass the popcorn please!

Comment by Robert Cote
2006-05-12 06:36:52

Not to worry. This is Massachusetts. A liberal bailout is sure to appear and be paid for by chasing away even more of the remaining productivity class. Last one to leave, straighten your shirt collar, shine up your spats and snuff out the tallow candle.

Comment by dukes
2006-05-12 06:41:02

Cut the stupid shit with the “liberal bailout” nonsense. Have you noticed the past six years when the entire country and economic apparatus has been controlled by “Conservatives?”

They have been the ones who cut rates to ZERO and held them there for years to foster this god damned mess, not liberals. Get a clue!

Comment by Robert Cote
2006-05-12 06:57:22

Without the emotion and the unecessary insult; we are talking about Massachusetts and the politics of that particular Commonwealth. We can’t expect much of a national solution regadless of who is in power at the moment. The problem transcends party. Massachusetts is diffiernt in that they never saw a problem they wouldn’t try to address with legislation. IOW the cradle and grave of liberty. The three lynchpins of the regional economy; higher education, medicine and financials are all aligned for a reaming.

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Comment by hd74man
2006-05-12 08:09:54

The three lynchpins of the regional economy; higher education, medicine and financials are all aligned for a reaming.

Good posts, Robert…

You’ve got the socio-political climate pretty much covered. Start sendin’ some stuff to the Globe’s op-ed dept. will ya?

Comment by Robert Cote
2006-05-12 09:02:48

Thanks, but would the Globe be interested in the ramblings of somebody who dropped off his thesis 23 years ago and left the same day to move to California after 5 generations of family residence?

Comment by climber
2006-05-12 06:59:53

Are you another of the deluded who thinks that Bush II and the neo Cons are conservative? There’s about 2 conservatives in the house and I’m not sure there are any in the senate. Otherwise the republican party is a lost cause from a conservative point of view.

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Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 07:14:45

Not to mention republikkkan mormon Gov. Romney and his 3 wives.

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Comment by fred hooper
2006-05-12 07:30:17

OK Lingus, now we can add Mormons to your hate list, currently including anyone from Mass, NY,NJ,CT, republicans, big business, anyone with money, Mexicans. Have I left anyone out? Blacks, Jews, Catholics? You like spitting in peoples food, you’re a coward and a PUNK. You remind me of a book I read many years ago. The story was about a young boy who spit on people walking under his 2nd floor window in a small Austrian village. His name was Adolf. He had lots of hate too. I think the book was “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”.

Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 07:33:18

You sound very angry Uncle Freddie. Are you yet another coward hiding behind an alternate user name? Inquiring minds say so. Aside from that, you may be a Christianity perversing mormon/moron too? This is sad.

Comment by watcher
2006-05-12 09:06:20

Lingus, you give liberals, democrats, whatever you profess to be, a very bad name.

Comment by Bostonian
2006-05-12 09:07:53

Got to agree with good old Fred - The_Lingus would do better to keep his puerile opinions to himself. Not likely however - brain and mouth power are often inversely correlated.

Comment by watcher
2006-05-12 09:12:48

Agreed Bostonian. The irony is that there are people who say the same things about the Irish that Lingus says against other groups. Of course, irony always escapes humorless fanatics.

Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 09:28:54

Raising the anxiety level of the status quo is a good thing. Clearly, I’ve done it here. I’m merely anti-republican. That is all.

Comment by Arwen U.
2006-05-12 07:44:05


If you can explain how the “conservative apparatus” created the housing bubble in Australia, England, and Spain, I’m all ears. Obviously if they are that powerful I want to sign up!

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Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 07:46:36

One neo-con failure after another and you’re still cheerleading for them with pom poms and miniskirts? [shakinghead/lmao]

Comment by Peter Gerard
2006-05-12 08:25:41

What in the world happened to you in your formative years to make you so hateful?

Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 08:38:25

Another dreamer allergic to the grim truth so he attacks…… so sad.

Comment by Peter Gerard
2006-05-12 08:44:35

HUH? How is that an attack?

Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 08:48:59

Then he backpedals and wonders whats going on. Typical.

Comment by garcap
2006-05-12 08:49:18

Good question above, Peter. Still waiting for a sane answer.

Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 08:59:42

Truthfulness is never an expectation by those living in a fantasy world.

Comment by fred hooper
2006-05-12 09:23:13

I draw truth from what you write about yourself: Nazi Punk…

Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 09:25:08

Angry little man decides to come out from under his rock? [lmao]

Comment by Peter Gerard
2006-05-12 13:53:47

Drop some more acid man.

Comment by The_lingus
2006-05-12 20:06:50

I don’t partake in those activities. And it’s very unChristian like that you suggest others to do so.

Comment by peterbob
2006-05-12 06:50:55

I think Prop 13 counts as a liberal mess!

Comment by Robert Cote
2006-05-12 07:01:54

Au contraire, Prop 13 required a grass roots uprising led by some of the most conservative figures in California history. Prop 13 was fought tooth and nail by every single liberal organization and continues to this day to be eroded by an unceasing attempts to destroy both the spirit and the letter.

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Comment by Mole Man
2006-05-12 07:07:16

Sounds like extremist conservativism to me. One part of Prop 13 is requiring a 2/3 vote on all tax issues. Taxes are hard to get 2/3 votes, so instead of encouraging dealmaking and bipartisanship this has turned taxes into a third rail issue which is not constructive. That is, very few are happy with the tax structure and California continues to fund the rest of the nation, but no one can ever get anything done about any of that.

Extremists cling to this provision, but either the 2/3 vote requirement will go or the whole thing will get swept away with it. Conservatives will not be allowed to hijack tax politics like this forever. There are issues to be voted on and there is no 2/3 majority, so something will have to give eventually. This is especially true if this foolish bond craziness goes through.

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Comment by Robert Cote
2006-05-12 07:17:59

General taxes can be raised with 50%. Education 55%. And they all eventually pass. When you hear about 85% pass rates that’s ignoring the habit of continually reintroducing ballot measures.

The reason California gets back 78 cents for every dollar sent to D.C. is because CA is never in play for either party. It doesn’t help that we have permanent and permanently out of power Senators of dubious intellectual prowess either. Except for a few adjustments (commercial property sales loopholes) there’s nothing wrong with Prop 13, it generates lots of money, it stabilizes housing costs for individuals, it restrains arbitray governance, etc.

As to the 1a-1d bonds; insanity. The neighborhood bully has stolen your lunch money and is offering to loan it back to you at high rates as long as you buy what he “suggests.”

Comment by foreclose_me
2006-05-12 09:08:35

What’s wrong with California only getting 78 cents back for every dollar? I thought liberals loved progressive taxation?

School bonds used to require 66% under Prop 13. Only recently was another Prop passed that lowered it to 55%. Works out great for the Mexicans, who make up the majority of our students in So Cal.

Comment by jbunniii
2006-05-12 09:40:21

The reason California gets back 78 cents for every dollar sent to D.C. is because CA is never in play for either party.

Neither are most of the recipient states, which ironically tend to be red ones and not blue.

Comment by feepness
2006-05-12 11:51:46

As an owner of investment property in CA (purchased long ago and paying it’s own way), I love Prop 13. From a fairplay perspective I think Florida did it one better — though having not owned there I can’t say what the exact rules are so take that with a grain of salt.

Comment by Max
2006-05-12 10:51:51

Prop 13 was a poster child of the Reagan revolution. Stop blaming liberals for the mess conservatives created.

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Comment by JP
2006-05-12 06:54:25

Gimme a break. I saw the wreckage in the late eighties, there was nothing approaching a bailout. And the state is a helluva lot more conservative now than it was then…

Comment by Robert Cote
2006-05-12 07:04:13

You have a point. MA is more conservative and less intrusive today than in times past. I think, however, this time the threat of a housing collapse will force a bailout. The model I am thinking of is “No Fault Insurance” which had many of the same driving forces.

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Comment by Upstater
2006-05-12 15:41:54

What cracks me up about the MA liberal label? Check the registered voter rolls: 30% of MA are independants, last time I checked, only 30%+ were liberals, and the rest were Republican! If people can’t see past the 2 senators and the label, they don’t really know what’s up in MA.

The liberal stuff makes the media… but the conservative Catholic and other religious based neighborhoods (and the corresponding guilt) are under the radar! The truth is that state is made up of a very complex group of people. When people label it as liberal, it cracks me up. I’ve met some of most conservative people I’ll ever know there. People that really lived the conservative life and didn’t just tell others how to “conform”.

Comment by jayman
2006-05-12 09:00:36

Maybe Mass. is not as Liberal as perceived.

Comment by Robert Cote
2006-05-12 09:04:45

Maybe Weld, et al are not as Republican as perceived through the liberal lense of Massachusetts politics.

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Comment by House Inspector Clouseau
2006-05-12 09:42:44


perhaps it’s not as easy as “liberal/conservative” as you make it out to be.

There are many bailouts proposed by conservatives as well as liberals.

Not to mention, it also depends on if you’re talking about SOCIAL vs FISCAL issues

There are people who are social liberals and fiscal conservatives (like me)
there are people who are social liberals and fiscal liberals (like Feinstein)
there are people who are social conservatives and fiscal liberals (like Bush)
there are people who are social conservatives and fiscal conservatives (like many moderate republicans)

Make no mistake, both sides of the aisle will likely equally formulate a bailout. It took exactly 1 second for the fiscal and social conservatives in Congress to devise and pass relief aid to those in the wake of Hurricaine Katrina. (also known as a BAIL OUT).

Your argument is losing more and more validity. First you say “well it’s a liberal bailout”. Then when confronted with the fact that Massachusettes isn’t a 100% liberal place, you say “well, those Republicans are not REALLY republicans” and so on.

Massachusettes may have a bailout in the future. And it will be just that, a BAIL OUT. Not a Liberal bailout, or a conservative bailout, or a not-really-republican-through-the-liberal-lense-of-MA-politics bailout either.


Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 09:52:40

Those who defend “trickledown” economics are typically republican voters. At this point, there is no defense of the insane concepts of supply side economics as the utter wreckage of those policies can be seen, even by JoeSixPack. Yet, republikkans continue to make feeble attempts at defending it out of blind loyalty rather than truth and facts. It’s a kind of warped scene, watching misguided people voluntary go down on a sinking ship.

Comment by Robert Cote
2006-05-12 10:03:42

Clouseau, yes. The “social liberal” component of Massachusetts is the part of the equation I was talking about. Even the Republicans in MA are of this persuasion. I never said MA was 100% liberal and I stick with the claim that Statewide Republicans in MA are RINOs. Ahhh, Silvio O. Conte, now there was a conservative.

Comment by San Diego RE Bear
2006-05-12 13:22:18

“social liberals and fiscal conservatives like me”

me too! Don’t tell me what to do with my private life and don’t make me pay for yours.

Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 09:06:43

Comment by jayman
2006-05-12 09:00:36
Maybe Mass. is not as Liberal as perceived.

shhhh! Quiet….. Truth is harmful to the blind! [lmao]

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Comment by Upstater
2006-05-12 15:51:58

And aren’t subsidies really just welfare for the rich? Let’s call a spade a spade!

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Comment by JasonJ
2006-05-12 06:48:14

What will be interesting is after prices have been reduced across the board the demand continues to spiral downward, and inventory keeps rising. More price reductions, more inventory, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.

Comment by goedeck
2006-05-12 06:51:39

Did anyone see that CNBC segment called “Stop Trading” with Cramer yesterday? With the market down, was in a tirade and referring to the creation of liquidity by the Fed (printing money) used the word “Weimar.” That seem pretty significant to hear on mainstream ra-ra-bull news (albeit a crazyman on live TV).

Comment by pinch a penny
2006-05-12 07:07:48

What is scary is that weimar lead directly to a fascist ultra right party that killed several million people, all in the name of internal security. Any similarities between then and now are just historical coincidence right????RIGHT?

Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 07:21:43

Comment by pinch a penny
2006-05-12 07:07:48
What is scary is that weimar lead directly to a fascist ultra right party that killed several million people, all in the name of internal security. Any similarities between then and now are just historical coincidence right????RIGHT?

“You dirty liberal conspiracist” sez the $50/yr wage slave that desperately holds on to the conservative lie that “you too will be a millionare so long as you go along with our program”.

Comment by Bubbly in the South Bay
2006-05-12 09:55:07

Please lay off the name calling and try to keep it housing related.

I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on how the current administration and Congress’s policies contributed to the housing bubble, IF you are capable of doing so without engaging in namecalling and if you can do so in a rational manner.


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Comment by Observer
2006-05-12 15:11:55

Dream on. Regulars to this blog already know the_Lingus in not capable of rational comment, only of libelous political rants based on his own paranoid schizophrenic delusions.

Here is his formula: non-Democrat, non-Liberal = Nazi, Fascist, Storm Trooper, Extraterrestrial Invader, etc., etc. Just accept it, and enjoy the show. What else can you get from New Hampshire for free?

Be warned: He considers himself a True Christian, as in Matthew Hopkins burning witches-at-the-stake. I’d love to see a photograph of this dude. Must be scary.

Comment by The_lingus
2006-05-12 20:12:49

Another republikkan desperately defending a besieged president by throwing around silly labels.

Comment by rjsasko
2006-05-12 16:22:18

Sorry…Weimar led to a fascist ultra-LEFTIST party. National SOCIALIST Workers Party. It wasn’t a right-wing military government like Pinochet. The old guard military looked down upon der Fuhrer with disdain. ALL of the greatest mass-murdering governments of the last century were on the LEFT politically.

Comment by The_lingus
2006-05-12 20:09:48

Comment by rjsasko
2006-05-12 16:22:18
Sorry…Weimar led to a fascist ultra-LEFTIST party. National SOCIALIST Workers Party. It wasn’t a right-wing military government
You certainly have a warped understanding of history.

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Comment by peterbob
2006-05-12 06:53:32

Good for Coldwell! I’ve said it before, but RE agents will be the ones who will lead the price drops, because they have incentives to sell houses.

though some executives also fret it could develop into a sell-at-any-price mentality.”

Well, which is worse? Sell-at-any-price or No-sale-at-a-high-price?

Comment by Upstater
2006-05-12 16:05:41

Peterbob, when I read the intro to this thread I was thinking it might be helpful for someone to find the base in pricing. If someone doesn’t do a search for where the bottom is, any comp pricing is really just a stab in the dark. We need real info for buyers and sellers. Let’s find the base point here!

Comment by need 2 leave ca
2006-05-12 07:06:27

The house in only worth what someone is willing to pay for it on the date of the sale. No more, no less. That holds true whether up 10%, 20%, 30% or down 10%, 20%, 30% or whatever from the previous sale date. All of this should have been obvious to a monkey.

Comment by jbunniii
2006-05-12 09:57:28

By your reasoning, the average house in California really is “worth” $600k or whatever it costs today.

Comment by feepness
2006-05-12 12:14:20

That’s what it’s worth to the person ponying up the cash. The ones that are not selling at that point in time have a worth no different than the life of Schrodinger’s cat.

Comment by need 2 leave ca
2006-05-12 07:07:03

And a lot of monkeys signed up to be RE agents. LOL

Comment by Ken
2006-05-12 07:15:51

Damn you Robert Kiyosaki.

Can;t wait for this bubble to burst so i can finally afford a house. And heck by the time i could get a downpayment at these rediculous prices my 20% down will actually be 40% down, win win for me!

Comment by Robert Cote
2006-05-12 07:30:24

Remember the codicils. You are going to need “at least” 20% down. By that I mean 20% of the banks’ appraisal price plus closing costs and first years taxes and insurance. No more “rolling in” closing costs, etc. And you’ll likely be paying very high taxes and very high interest rates on the mortgage. I expect any fixed mortgages still available will be at a significant premium to underlying interest rates. The run up in prices was driven by easy credit and historically low monthly costs. We may end up being able to buy houses for 40% off their peak and still end up paying as much per month as we do now. [Extreme example for effect.]

Comment by seattle slacker
2006-05-12 07:44:10

Monthly amounts may stay the same. The mortgage deduction will increase-due to to increased interest (as long as legislation doesn’t eliminate it).


Comment by Robert Cote
2006-05-12 08:07:21

Taxes=Services? Where do you live again? Just which services are you getting out of the Monorail Tax?

Got point on the HMID, I expect some form of underhanded phased withdrawl but not an explicit removal.

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Comment by seattle slacker
2006-05-12 10:07:56

Monorail tax is going away. Land acquired has been resold. My autos are exempt, anyway.

Taxes=Road maintenance, public schools, fire and police dept., dept. of health, FDA, parks and rec, libraries, dept. of defense, homeland security,etc.


A reduction in tax=a reduction in services.

Comment by peterbob
2006-05-12 08:38:26

We may end up being able to buy houses for 40% off their peak and still end up paying as much per month as we do now.

It is a myth that during the recent bubble, the monthly mortgage payment remained the same because, despite skyrocketing prices, interest rates were at historic lows. The low interest rates only balanced the rising prices until about 2003. Over the last three years, the monthly mortgage on the median priced home doubled in inflation adjusted terms.

When prices fall 40%, the monthly mortgage will fall, despite the rising interest rates. And property taxes/closing costs/insurance will be lower too.

Bottom line, wait until prices fall. That, rather than interest rates, is where the real action is.

Comment by Robert Cote
2006-05-12 09:11:51

When prices fall 40%, the monthly mortgage will fall, despite the rising interest rates. And property taxes/closing costs/insurance will be lower too.

What evidence do you have for any of these for being lower? I agree that insurance will be cheaper in a high interest rate environment, that’s why I left it off the list but the rest?

$100,000 at 5%, $536.82/mo borrows $73,160.16 at 8%

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Comment by peterbob
2006-05-12 09:32:40

Here are *real* numbers from where I live (median price sold, mortgage rate, and monthly mortgage based on standard 30 yr/20% down loan):

Feb 00 $125,000 / 8.5% / $961 per month

Feb 05 $295,000 / 5.625% / $1,698 per month

My point is that despite a significant drop in the interest rate, prices rose so fast that the monthly mortgage increased tremendously. So I’m not worried about the monthly mortgage rising as this bubble deflates, because I think that the price decrease will more than make up for rising interest rate.

Comment by Robert Cote
2006-05-12 11:18:38

Feb 00 $125,000 / 8.5% / $961 per month
Feb 05 $295,000 / 5.625% / $1,698 per month
Feb 05 $961 then (2000) $ 1089.91 value (2005)

Don’t get me wrong, for qualified buyers it will be easier and cheaper, ultimately much cheaper but higher taxes and higher interest and lagging wages and acknowledged and hidden inflation will eat into the bargins significantly.

The catbird seat is having purchased in the mid 90s and refied into a 30 fixed 2 years ago. The hot seat is any ARM with large margins or exotic clauses. Worst are going to be the balloon payments in 4-7 years. That’s a loong way away but is going to be the “other shoe” that drops on any nasceant housing price recovery.

Comment by jbunniii
2006-05-12 09:59:01

Did the codicils you list come into effect after the last bust in the early 1990s? If not, what is different this time?

Comment by Robert Cote
2006-05-12 11:22:03

Interest rates fell then, a lot, no chance now. Even if interest rates were forced lower the result wouldn’t go into a housing recovery. The general phrase is called “pushing on a string.”

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Comment by santacruzsux
2006-05-12 07:52:44

Quick question for the group. itulip is predicting that the crash will happen from outside city centers and then roll into the general metro areas. Are any of you seeing that in your area? I know it has been mentioned repeatedly that this is happening in Phoenix but what about other cities? I have a feeling that we are going to see city center areas(condolands)fall in conjunction at the same rate as the exurbs but well established suburbs holding more of their price gains.

Here in Santa Cruz it is tough to gauge because every community is so close to each other. The only area I have seen real weakness is in the San Lorenzo Valley area about 13 miles from SC.

I know nothing about the Mass. area but I always figured it to be a mishmash of small towns pushing into each other outside of Boston and included as the metro area.

(Personally I can’t stand being in a city and dread having to go visit friends that live in them, but to each their own.)

Comment by t-bone
2006-05-12 07:58:56

I think the iTulip analysis holds true in Denver. All of the distant suburbs (Aurora, Broomfield) are becoming a sea of for sale signs. A coworker’s Mcmansion is surrounded two on one side, one on the other with for sale homes, for example, all pretty much the same, with hers priced a full 100k less than the one next door. I live 10 minutes from downtown, and there is nothing like this situation-yet. The seeds are being sown here, though, with lots of older houses being torn down to build duplexes or condos. As the suburban condos and mcmansions sit empty, their prices will keep dropping, making the price differential some would pay to be closer to the city look less and less worth it.

Comment by peterbob
2006-05-12 08:47:38

For me, the relevant measure of the bubble bursting is the price falling. Huge increases in inventory/drops in sales only signal future price declines.

The easy access to credit to fund HELOCs and overstretched first time house buyers affects both rural and urban areas. But I think that the huge “vacation home” wave of purchases runs from urban to rural areas (city folk are buying in the country, but country fold can’t afford the city). So I’d expect that city fold are trying to sell their vacation homes first, before their primary residence. This is pure speculation, however.

That being said, in at least one rural area of Northern California, prices are holding (but large drops in sales) while they have begun to fall in Sacto and SF.

Comment by dba
2006-05-12 09:15:45

NYC has the usuall higher inventory in the spring selling season but nothing like I read about other places. you can bargain more, but there is no panic here

Comment by Upstater
2006-05-12 16:16:46

Not sure if Syracuse counts as a city anymore, but housing values intown are about a quarter of what they are here/burbs. (Family just watched a white tailed deer prance across our driveway…really, I’m thinking kids in downtown hear bullets cross their driveway) Itulip will be wrong regarding urban areas of high crime/crappy schools!

Comment by Former Saratoga CA homeowner
2006-05-12 07:56:16

A bit OT but when do you all think would be a good time to buy in the midwest, specifically the Ozarks? It’s already cheap here, at least by Calif. standards, but since quite a few Californians have moved here I feel the prices have been bid up overall even ouit here in the boondocks. I’m feeling a bit of remorse as there was a house I was considering…my hesitation was 1) I wanted to wait till the buyer got desperate, houses usually stay on the market for 6 months + here, 2) I felt fall would be a better time to buy, 3) the house was clearly overpriced, 4) house was solid but needed $100K of rennovation. The house was originally priced at $134.5K, lowered to $127K, and sold at $117K. But not sold to me, I sat on the fence and it’s gone now. I never expected it to sell in less than 6 months and it had only been on the market 3 months. Hardly anything else decent is for sale around here, all of the new stuff is believe-it-or-not, McMansions! Or mini-McMansions, or McFarmsions. And the new stuff often doesn’t have a basement which is a requirement in my opinion.

Well, any of you in the Ozarks, or elsewhere nearby — e.g. Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas — I would appreciate your thoughts on when is the right time to buy in this part of the midwest.

By the way my ideal home would be something like this one described in the NYTimes (you may not be able to read this unless you are a TimesSelect subscriber so I’ll include a few parragraphs).

A Corrugated House In a Sunburned Land
By PAIGE WILLIAMS (NYT) 1581 words
Published: February 23, 2006
LUBBOCK, Tex. - THE first thing to know about the house Urs Peter Flueckiger built is that he did it for the startlingly low price of $51 a square foot, $50.87 to be exact, by using the kind of bulk metal siding usually associated with airplane hangars and toolsheds. The second thing to know is where he did it: here in the high plains of West Texas, one of the flattest, starkest, most sun-seared places on earth.

They bought and demolished a dilapidated 800-square-footer, leaving a lot 50 by 150 feet. Mr. Flueckiger chose to build with industrial materials in homage to the region’s history but also to prove that it was possible to create an affordable, durable house that was beautiful and interesting to live in. He began envisioning his design as an alternative to modernist prefabs, many of which sell for about $250 a square foot.

Mr. Flueckiger knew he could design a family home for considerably less, without compromising the design. Painted corrugated steel (more expensive than galvanized but certainly less blinding) cost about $2.50 a square foot. Concrete poured on the site ran about $3.50 a square foot, which included the foundation footings beneath the slab. Sliding glass doors with insulated float glass cost $510, including screen and installation.

Mr. Flueckiger first designed a two-story house with a wall of windows and 15 skylights. He and his wife — who has long experimented with color and texture in her own work — chose to paint the cladding red because it contrasts, rather than competing, with sky and grass.

But this was Texas. Corrugated metal is for the farm, not the family. And two stories? And red? The contractors weren’t wild about building such an experimental house, and some neighbors weren’t wild about their building it. Yet Mr. Flueckiger met the most resistance from Ms. Flueckiger, regarding the rising cost. As they like to say now, just because you’re a two-income family doesn’t mean you should spend like one. Mr. Flueckiger had to redesign.

”My dream shattered,” he said. ”Then my wife brought me back to the ground and said: ‘Well, look, you’re creative. Why can’t you design within the budget?’ ”

In a day’s time Mr. Flueckiger designed the house the Flueckigers now share with their 3-year-old son, Lucas. They saved money by reducing the house to one story and cutting half the windows, and by using wire racks and metal footlockers instead of built-in closets, maple kitchen cabinets without hardware, and kitchen countertops of white plastic laminate instead of granite or tile.

Sorry if this is too off-topic :-)

Comment by Arwen U.
2006-05-12 08:14:57

I’m hoping my next home will be of steel and cement. But it’ll look classic and not modern. The shell cost is $25 a square foot. We have a local architect named Angus MacDonald who designs these.

Comment by cereal
2006-05-12 08:48:30

the creole cottage is right up my alley. i’m a sucker for wrap around porches and such. i’m leaning towards a craftsman design myself - big porch and elephant posts included

Comment by auger-inn
2006-05-12 10:10:44

I’m new to the area so I don’t have any particular insight other than property is a lot cheaper here than most places I’ve seen in the U.S. I’m building on a lake in SO. MO (Bull Shoals). A quiet little community of just a couple of thousand. Nice place, good fishing/hunting, good area for growing food (as soon as you rock pick your land) and mostly folks who are friendly and hard working.

Comment by sf jack
2006-05-12 12:27:14

“The house was originally priced at $134.5K, lowered to $127K, and sold at $117K. But not sold to me, I sat on the fence and it’s gone now.”


Waitasecond. I really want to get this straight.

You’re a former Saratoga, CA homeowner - and you sat on this? How low did you think it would go? You can’t even buy an outhouse in Saratoga for $100K - and you were waiting… for this to go lower?

I don’t get it.

The place might be a bit overvalued, but how much overvalued could it be? At most, it could have only been $127K overvalued - while you waited.

Were you afraid that you might have to get out in ten years and it might be the same price?

I have news for you.

Especially after accounting for inflation, that scenario is the norm in most places of this country, if not the world. Your California experience, with everyone treating houses as assets, must have “warped” you.


Comment by Former Saratoga CA homeowner
2006-05-12 13:28:04

SFJack — Your comment is unhelpful and mean-spirited besides. You don’t know my financial situation (and it’s none of your business). Perhaps the $25K I could save would go to pay for 3 months of intensive care for my elderly mother! But whether I can afford to spend $X or not isn’t the point of my question. My question is whether or not it is time to buy anywhere in the country. Overall this group seems to be saying to “wait” no matter where you are.

And besides that, you got the facts wrong. The house requires at least $100K+ of renovation bringing it up to around a $225K-$250K investment which is not chump change.

When you buy here it takes 6 months to 1 year or more to sell so it’s a big commitment. You can’t rent out your property for more than $750/month — that’s the absolute max people will pay for a rental. $500/month is actually the “high” end and most places rent for $350/month.

Comment by sf jack
2006-05-12 14:06:01

Really? Mean-spirited? Unhelpful, perhaps.

And I don’t have any interest in your personal finances.

Another way to look at it:

Who’s saying you’d have saved $25K by waiting? A $25K change in price on a place that is barely 5x that in total price is a major change in the short run.

So you saw it at $127K and it went for $117K. That’s a 10K difference - what did you think it was going to drop to?

$10K difference/$250K overall investment = 4%

Would you have rather paid 4% more and have it - or not?

Never mind. You answered that.

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Comment by Former Saratoga CA homeowner
2006-05-12 16:54:28

You continue to be mean-spirited. Since I plan to LIVE in the house I also had to think about the huge effort to renovate it. That’s not to be taken on lightly — not just the expense but the tremendous energy that it takes. I am sure you are a lot younger than me, so let me tell you that when you get older you have to decide where to put your energy. I’ve renovated before and it was a year of pure h**l. Can I even find a decent contractor out here? Judging by the ticky-tacky new houses it won’t be easy to find someone that does quality work. It wasn’t just that I was waiting for it to drop — but also wondering if something that didn’t require so much renovation would appear on the market. And maybe it will. You are thinking only about $$$ nothing else. A house is not just an investment if you are planning to LIVE there.

Comment by Moman
2006-05-12 14:43:33

I’m a native Missourian. Houses are pretty jacked up right now in the southern part of the state although it looks like nothing compared to the coasts. Just a few years ago I could have bought a very nice 3/2/2 in Springfield with 2500 sq ft for $80,000. Today that same house is upwards of 130,000. So even So. Mo. is in a bubble of sorts.

I’d just give it some time. Missouri is a stable state but the rural areas were completely hammered during the last recession. People are real nice up there however and there is plenty of good ol’ country livin to be had. Enjoy your stay.

P.S. - tell your other CA friends to stay away.

Comment by Former Saratoga CA homeowner
2006-05-12 17:51:49

Moman - My CA friends think I’ve lost my mind by moving to the Ozarks (and maybe I have :-). But the number of people from CA that I know here in our small town (pop 4,000) that are from CA is truly astonishing — about 25 who have moved here just in the last 2 years! Add the people from MA and there’s 30 from the coasts that are just people that I happen to know! Most of them picked this location totally out-of-the-blue — CA (or MA) was just too expensive, the traffic too horrendous, the taxes too crazy, etc. etc. I would expect in Springfield there are an equal if not greater percentage of West/East Coast refugees. OT but Springfield has a very good symphony and a gorgeous symphony hall (Hammons).

Comment by hd74man
2006-05-12 07:58:13

“The peak median home-sale price for the area was $375,000, set last July. The median price has since fallen to about $344,000 through March, off 8.3 percent since July.”

These numbers are nothing more Goebbels level propoganda.

$344k will get you nothing more than a heavily deferred maintenance shitehole in anyplace you’d want to really live in MA.

Try $700k for a 1300SF condo in Newburyport as more like it.

Dungholes like Lawrence, Brockton, Lynn, Lowell, Dorchester, etc., skew the numbers.

New England region is dying.

It will be economic toast once the boomers grab their pensions and skedaddle.

Comment by The_Lingus
2006-05-12 09:34:11

“It will be economic toast once the boomers grab their pensions and skedaddle.”

Until the public pension funds default. Then it’s toast.

Comment by mellin
2006-05-12 08:19:29

Has anyone any thoughts about NH prices? They have gone up as much as neighboring MA but I can’t get any info on what’s going on in my home state. I agree with the demographics, NE is way to old and will probably have serious issues in 10 years. Many have left and to be honest I wish I could to.

Comment by Karen
2006-05-12 09:51:35

Nevada, for the most part has been very quiet too. Well, there were a few news stories about how it was still up YOY. The realitors still own the media I guess.

Comment by NH_renter
2006-05-12 11:18:55

New Hampshire prices are way out of whack. The Union Leader had an article a few months ago (”Bubble Schmubble”) about how there was no bubble and how prices were just settling down. Then in last Sunday’s paper they describe how sellers are going to have to price their vacation homes more realistically. Quite a change in a short period of time.

There has been a lot of insane speculation here. People want $700,000 and up for cabins on small mountain lakes (I’m not talking about the true mansions on Lake Winnipesaukee). Some of the tiny mountain towns have 5 or 6 “for sale” signs up on street corners. Unfortunately I think NH is headed for a fall. It’s no secret that manufacturing is dying here, especially in the north country. The RE bubble has fueled a lot of growth. Once the hangover really sets in NH will unfortunately face tough times (unless Massachusetts keeps pushing businesses up north).

Comment by snake_eyes
2006-05-12 12:45:49

I agree. I live in the Lakes Region of NH and nothing is moving. My neighbors have both had their houses on the market for over a year and have dropped their asking prices substantially. (One has gone from $309K to $239K.) Our peak sales season gets going in May and lasts through June. For Sale signs are sprouting up everywhere like dandelions. Second home “specuvestors” from MA and RI have accounted for the majority of sales in the past few years, but we also have a lot of young families moving up here from the seacoast and southern NH who cannot afford to purchase homes near work. I’m old enough to remember the real estate bust of 1990 and wonder why those lessons have been forgotten so quickly.

Comment by NH_renter
2006-05-12 12:54:56

I wish I could find work in the Lakes Region. What a great place!

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Comment by Upstater
2006-05-12 16:01:28

Being a native NH-ite…I’m thinking in less well-to-do times the area held on to a large part of its stability due to government employment with air and navy bases. Of course as you know, a great many of these places have been reduced in stature or closed. I still think the writing is on the wall for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The area also has done well with tourism which I think will slump profoundly in the near future.

Comment by jbunniii
2006-05-12 09:45:39

Except for a few adjustments (commercial property sales loopholes) there’s nothing wrong with Prop 13, it generates lots of money, it stabilizes housing costs for individuals, it restrains arbitray governance, etc.

The correct approach would have been to put a cap on the rate of increase for total property tax revenues. Each year, the new figure would be calculated, and the property tax rate for that year would be set based on the average assessed value that year. Under such a scheme, the rate would drop during bubbles and rise after the bubbles burst; newcomers would pay the same rates as ancients; and no one would be forced out of their houses due to speculative bubbles.

Comment by Max
2006-05-12 11:04:52

jbunniii, you voiced the most common-sense idea on prop taxes I’ve heard. Prop 13 is a shame, and the cause of the fiscal ruin in CA. School districts alone issued more than $66 billion in bonds to cover the shortfall.

Comment by Robert Cote
2006-05-12 11:36:11

A revenue cap seems to make sense but in practice is impratical and ultimately unfair. Impractical because municipalities will invariably calulate the new basis based upon their determinations of growth and fair share. “The City has grown by 11% in population but only 4% in housing, all housing must pay a larger amount to cover the difference.” Unfair because it exposes entire neighborhoods to taxes based on the stupidest and least savvy recent buyer. “Hey, that guy paid twice as much for the same tract home, you get your taxes doubled!”

No, Prop 13 gets this correct. People die, government persists. Eventually all property gets reassessed and the govt gets its money. At the same time a willing buyer is not subject to the vagaries of arbitrary taxation. Don’t discount that either, this is a strong social glue. There are good reasons for homeowner/municipality contracts so don’t bemoan the “loss” of revenue.

Tax formulas subject to political revision WILL BE politically revised.

Comment by Max
2006-05-12 16:48:07

No, Prop 13 gets this correct. People die, government persists. Eventually all property gets reassessed and the govt gets its money.

You must be kidding me. Inherited property doesn’t get reassessed, and I know personally that this is the way people do it in many metro areas in CA. This is why local CA governments run chronic debt since 1978.

Second, how can Prop 13 “get it right”, when the maximum tax increases are far below inflation during most of the history since 1978? Do you think CA municipalities can just print more money at will to provide you with security, utilities, and schools?

Comment by anton
2006-05-12 15:16:40

The_Lingus has twenty-one posts on this blog. Isn’t this a bit much, even for HIM?

Comment by MoonJour
2006-05-12 16:03:37

Referring to the original article: so a drop in MA residential real estate is “good, because then we can keep and attract workers?” Sure enough, that’s the opinion of a professional economist. Do these dudes even live on the same planet that I live on?

I was here during the last real estate downturn of the early 90’s. Most local companies weren’t hiring -anyone- during that time, because guess what: by some strange coincidence, there was a full-blown *recession* underway. In fact I left New England for more promising work when it appeared my MA employer at the time was in serious financial trouble.

Sure, employers can “keep” their existing workers - you know, the ones who’re way upside-down on their mortgages. These are the folks who are stucco and hanging on for dear life to their current jobs, however bleak the prospects may be. This is a condition that’s not conducive to productivity at work, from what I’ve observed.

Housing affordability may eventually become a positive for our area *after* the downturn has run its entire painful course. History tells us this could well take a decade or longer. Until then, a serious drop in real estate benefits noone except bankruptcy lawyers and marriage counselors. Except the rare few who’ve been sitting on cash waiting for just such an opportunity, of course. Keep sitting, this baby is going nowhere for years.

Comment by Auction Heaven in '07
2006-05-12 19:18:38

Sounds like somebody got HELOC’d.

For the rest of us that didn’t use our houses as ATM’s…

…we’ll be just fine, thank you very much.



Comment by Tim Souder
2006-05-13 20:13:09

new data on the massachusetts market:

i’ve noticed in some choice small country towns around me that were never the worst ones in over-pricing, or garage-mahals, etc.,
that things have now really, really hit home. The average price
drop is over $225,000 for homes in these towns, and STILL nothing
is moving.

These were all homes that have been on the market for over a
year, and always refused to drop their price (they were on the
market for over $500,000). They now won’t even sell with a
225K drop. On the other hand, the successful movers in Mass.
have been the ones that have dropped steadily, and published the
drop immediately on places like Their price drops
were about once a month, at a rate of ~$20,000. They got the
attention, and then attracted a crowd because the real buyers out
there were afraid that they were going to get beaten to the punch
on a really good deal. So in other words, this is a technique that
sellers can use without having to worry about handing their house
over for twenty bucks and change. If you are a seller, you might
want to think about it. I’ve taken the time to write this because
I haven’t seen this discussed here or anywhere else before, and
because I’ve seen it work.

Comment by shel
2006-05-13 22:07:10

hmmm…what if those people who dropped their prices by 225 just take it off, relist, then drop the price quickly by a good 20K or so to psych out them buyers ;-)

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