Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Existing Home Sales Rise as Stock Market Crashes

from Bloomberg Marketwatch:
Sales of existing U.S. homes rose 3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.46 million in January, the highest sales pace in seven months, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.
It was the largest percentage gain in two years.
"The increase in sales is encouraging although it's uncertain whether the positive growth rate can be maintained with the return to more-normal winter temperatures as we move into 2007," wrote Paul Ferley, an economist for BMO Nesbitt Burns. "As well, some caution is still warranted on the possibility of housing spilling over into other areas of the economy given the return to declining home prices."
Resales of single-family homes rose 3.5% to 5.69 million annualized, while condo resales fell 0.1% to 767,000 annualized.
The results were "surprisingly strong," said David Lereah, chief economist for the real estate trade group. Lereah said he couldn't be confident that the bottom had been reached, because unusually warm weather earlier helped to boost sales in January.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Bring On Those Internet Buyers!

From Sellsius.com:
Since internet buyers (IB) do most of their home searching and researching BEFORE calling an agent, they are more efficient buyers who won’t take up a lot of your time and resources. Realtor studies show they are also more satisfied with their agents and overwhelming say they would use the same agent in the future.

The Efficient Buyer Saves Resources

Here are some interesting comparisons:
IB spend 2.2 weeks, on average, with their agent before buying, while the non-internet buyer (so called traditional buyer) spent 7.1 weeks with their agents.
IB previewed 6.7 homes while the traditional buyer previewed a whopping 15.4
81% of IB stay with the first agent they choose to contact

Monday, February 19, 2007

Free Bus Trip To Trenton this Friday

Nick Joanow presents the BTRA case to DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson at January meeting in Trenton.

The Bloomfield Third Riverbank Association not only believes you can fight City Hall, but you can also confront the NJ DEP at it's Trenton Headquarters. They're sponsoring a roundtrip Chartered Bus for Bloomfield area residents who want to make their presence felt at a public hearing regarding two proposed townhouse complexes along the Third River at Liongate.
From the Bloomfield Third RiverBank Blogsite:

Please consider coming to the public hearing in Trenton, and, if you
can't come, please send us your comments so we can read them into the
minutes of the hearing.

The hearing is this Friday, Feb. 23, in Trenton; the first session
starts at 2:00, the second starts at 3:30. We are leasing a van which
will probably leave around noon-ish on Friday from Nick's house on
Lakewood Drive. If you want to ride down with us please e-mail
thirdriverbank@yahoo.com or call Nick at 973.748.6379. Please let us
know you are going with us so we can plan accordingly.

For those who want to attend but are microphone-shy, your presence
still is important. You can provide WRITTEN COMMENTS which someone
else can read into the minutes of the hearing.

This is also true for those who would like to attend but cannot. You
can send us your comments (thirdriverbank@yahoo.com) and we will read
them into the minutes of the hearing.

We are very annoyed that, after repeated requests to hold the hearing
in Bloomfield, not only is the NJDEP holding it in Trenton, but it
can't have the case managers present at the same time. This means that
for most people who attend, if they can stay for both meetings, have
to repeat the same concerns. The separate meetings are for the 5-acre
Desimone project, and the 9-acre Fefferman project.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Shades of Green

With more and more major Corporations jumping on the "Green" bandwagon, how do you distinguish the serious ones from the grandstanders.

Grist has some clues.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My River

Third River at Clark Terrace

My River
By Emily Dickenson

My river runs to thee.
Blue sea, wilt thou welcome me?

My river awaits reply.
Oh! Sea, look graciously.

I'll fetch thee brooks
From spotted nooks.

Say, sea,
Take me!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Follow the Links to some Great NJ Drives & Trails

We owe a lot to the efforts of the NJ Audubon Society and NJ Wildlife Federation for some great Bergan & Hudson Co. day trips and trail maps crisscrossing the Hackensack River and Meadowlands. You will find maps within maps here along with public transportation connections.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Win-Win Solution for Preserving Landmarks and Open Space

There has been much discussion here and on other local forums on the need to prevent the demolition of historic structures as well as saving open spaces from over development.
One approach that is getting renewed attention is the Transfer of Development Rights.

From Cornell Univ.:

Local governments undertake transfer of development rights (TDR) programs to use the market to implement and pay for development density and location decisions. TDR programs allow landowners to sever development rights from properties in government-designated low-density areas, and sell them to purchasers who want to increase the density of development in areas that local governments have selected as higher density areas.

TDR programs appear to offer many advantages to local governments that want to control land use but also compensate landowners for restrictions on the development potential of their properties. TDR programs can be easier to implement than typical zoning programs; they make development more predictable and use the market to compensate landowners for lost property value. TDR programs are also more permanent than traditional zoning regulations.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Here Come the House Paparazzi

Zaio is a Canadian corporation that is in the process of photographing and appraising each and every property in cities across the U.S. That means every house, commercial building, industrial and institutional structure is being photographed and appraised property-by-property and street-by-street. The resulting database of images and valuations is called “GeoPic,” and will go into a database the company hopes to sell to banks, insurance companies and real estate agents.
Zaio is also promoting it as an effective aid to police, fire and ambulance dispatching.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Senate OKs Property Tax Cuts

The New Jersey Senate on Tuesday approved a sweeping property tax relief measure that would give most homeowners a 20 percent property tax cut beginning this summer to help combat the nation's highest property taxes.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Top 10 Surprising Results of Global Warming

From Livescience.com:

You’ve probably heard about the global warming song and dance: rising temperatures, melting ice caps and rising sea levels in the near future. But Earth’s changing climate is already wreaking havoc in some very weird ways. So gird yourself for such strange effects as savage wildfires, disappearing lakes, and freak allergies.


Friday, February 02, 2007

NJ Court Upholds Restriction on Wetlands Development

TRENTON – Attorney General Stuart Rabner announced today that the State has successfully defended before an appeals court its refusal to issue a permit that would have enabled home construction on a tract of environmentally-fragile wetlands in southern New Jersey.

According to Rabner, a three-judge Appellate Division panel upheld an earlier decision by the Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner to deny a general permit to Samuel L. Doyal. Doyal had sought to build a single-family home on a wetlands parcel he owns in West Cape May.

In rejecting Doyal’s 2003 application for a permit, the DEP concluded that New Jersey law prohibits the issuance of a general permit for a regulated activity on any wetlands that discharge into a surface water tributary system.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

When Organic is Worth It

So when does it pay to spend extra?

The Environmental Working Group, a not-for-profit environmental research organization, offers some help to consumers here. After analyzing more than 100,000 U.S. government pesticide test results, it came up with a report card on produce.

EWG reports the following fruits and vegetables are the most contaminated, meaning it pays to buy organic:

* Apples
* Bell Peppers
* Celery
* Cherries
* Grapes (imported)
* Nectarines
* Peaches
* Pears
* Potatoes
* Red Raspberries
* Spinach
* Strawberries