Friday, December 26, 2008

NY, NJ Counties Rank Highest in Property Taxes

No surprise that NJ still has more of the highest taxed counties than any other state. or even that Bergen, Essex and Passaic are all on national the top 10. What's interesting in the latest breakdown from The Tax Foundation is that there's nowhere to run if you work in our Metro Region. Westchester and Nassau lead the pack in taxes with Rockland and Fairfield counties close behind. NJ continues to rule the top 20 as well. Illinois has the only out of area county(#15).

Tax Foundation Senior Economist Gerald Prante and Analyst Mark Robyn use newly updated Census data from the 2007 American Community Survey (ACS) to rank counties across the country according to various property tax measures.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Wishes With Hope...

...for a New Year of Peace and real Change.

(seems to run better on cable than DSL)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Climate Change in Washington

One of the President-elect's last announced appointments to his "Green Team" is his official science advisor: the renowned physicist John Holdren. Holdren advised the Obama campaign on climate and energy earlier this year and at one point was designated as a surrogate spokesman on those issues for the candidate. Dr. Holdren was president of The American Association for the Advancement of Science. from 2006 to 2007, and is well known for his work on energy, climate change, and nuclear proliferation. He's a passionate fighter of global warming(a term he has long maintained is misleading). Growing up in San Mateo, CA, he was a classmate of mine in San Mateo from grades 4 to High School. One of the nice guys and always the smartest!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Is THIS as Low as it Gets?

At 4.74%, Zillow's update yesterday reached the lowest level for 30 year mortgages anyone around here can remember. We suspect the stampede to refinance had something to do with the bump up to 4.94 today. With the Fed rate virtually ZERO, we may have just about hit bottom.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Biggest Losers -- Billion Buck Edition

Can't believe how much money you've lost in the past couple of months? Neither can we. But we're pleased to say that our misery has some serious company.

Here's The Silicon Alley's Insider's unofficial list of The Biggest Losers: 20 global moguls who have gotten creamed in the recent economic collapse.

Bill Gates, Sumner Redstone, Rupert Murdoch and Warren Buffet are a few of the lower hanging losers.

Those folks are small potatoes
next to the Biggest Loser of Them All...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Timing the Housing Market? The Times Says It's Time

Realtors have been forecasting a perfect storm in recent months, and it looks like the waves are beginning to swell out there. We've seen a trifecta of record home inventories, declining prices, and interest rates hitting record lows.
Now, The NY Times has suggested that the time may be at hand to jump into the housing market. (This was their single most emailed story today) Right now, their focus is on first-time homebuyers.
If you’re hoping for a recovery in the housing market, you ought to be cheering on the first-time home buyers. When they purchase homes, their sellers are free to move on or move up, stimulating further sales. Meanwhile, first-time home buyers have the same advantage they have always had, which is that they do not have to sell their old place before buying a new one.

What we often forget is that first time buyers don't have the luxury of gambling on the market bottom. Once they can afford it, they jump in. They cannot risk losing what may be a fleeting opportunity. Once there is activity at the bottom, upper tiered buyers, who wanted to move years ago, can sell and move on. The next generation of wealth is going to be made here. At the lowest rates in years, some analysts are predicting rampant inflation ignited by all the money being printed to pay for this mess. It's only been about 27 years since 30 year mortgage rates peaked at 18%

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Top 10 Priorities for That Dream House

So what's lasting value? Here's a list of homebuyers' most sought-after features, according to the National Association of Realtors.

1. Central Air Conditioning
2. Garage with two or more spaces
3. Walk-in closet in master bedroom
4. Backyard/play area
5. Cable/Satellite TV-ready

6. High-speed Internet Access
7. Separate shower in master bath
8. Patio
9. Fencing
10. Home newer than 10 years old

If you have looked in the past and not found these features in your price range, it may be time to check again, while properties are "on sale." Be sure to consider features that will make homes more valuable in the future, such as energy-efficient construction and appliances and shorter commuting times. Features like water or mountain views, good schools, recreation opportunities and unique architecture never go out of style.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Calling All River Rats

A Great Conveniency, a Maritime History of the Passaic River, Hackensack River, and Newark Bay is a newly published book by American History Imprints. Commencing in the early 1600s with the European exploration of the local waterways, it explores how the rivers facilitated early settlement and expanded the highway network into the hinterlands.

Clifton's Environmental Protective Commission is sponsoring a presentation on the book by author Kenneth Olsen, a professor at MSU, scheduled for December 3 at 7:30PM at Clifton's Allwood Library(on Lyall Road off Market).