Market Conditions in 08820>Question Details

Dr Cheng,  in Centrual New Jersey

92 Westgate Dr, Edison, NJ 08820 2br 2hba Townhouse at Westgate near Metropark Train Stn just Sold at $369900

Asked by Dr Cheng, Centrual New Jersey Tue Feb 12, 2008

I just saw this posted in Craigslist Central Forum, and this time I can verify it because I got the cma one liner ... so what is my question. My question is that according to MLS, this unit is listed the HIGHEST unit. Why is it sold? I mean why not the one listing $339k sold first but this $369k one?????

Help the community by answering this question:


Thanks Cheng for the year old info. I guess things have changed quite a bit since August 2007.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 6, 2008
Once again Cheng you have your facts semi-correct. Your post of September 4th states that 68 Westgate sold for $385,000, which was $100 over it's original list of $384,900. That was correct. HOWEVER, that unit closed in August of 2007 and has NO bearing on the prices in August 2008.

Since January, there were 12 closings on Westgate Drive and none closed over $359,000.
As a matter of fact the last 5 closings (since June 6th) were

Since January 2008 there were 10 closings on Linda Lane, and those closed between $350K and $385K (and this closing was in March) and the average SP was $365K for Linda Lane units.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 6, 2008
First of all, when a home is listed by a Realtor, there is usually a clause in the listing contract that even if the house is withdrawn from the market, no matter how far into the listing agreement they are, IF the house is sold within 3 months of the end of the contract/withdraw date to a buyer who had seen the house while it was listed, the seller is still obligated to pay a commission to the listing agent. This is a protection clause to protect the agent from unscrupulous sellers who might (and I highlight MIGHT) make a deal with a buyer (even if they came with an agent) to wait to make an offer until after the contract is no longer valid, in the attempt on the sellers part, to avoid paying commission. So for 92 Westgate, that is probably not the case since the seller is still obligated to pay commission unless they get a buyer who never saw the house when it was listed. As for the previous "sale" of 92 Westgate, it was sold by a realtor and transaction fell through. The house was on market for some time before that, so perhaps the seller decided to withdraw, wait a bit and relist after a while. As far as the market is concerned, what you hear on the news is NATIONAL averages and statistics, not local. The central Jersey area is slower for sure, but IF a house is priced correctly for this market at THIS time, it will sell. The National Association of Realtors compiles stats from all transactions in an area and if you look at their website you willl see that the average sale price in all of New Jersey in 2002 was about $281K and now it is about $399K as of end of last quarter of 2007 (the most recent stat available). That's still a 42% increase in 5 years. But I do reiterate, the house has to be priced right to sell for the current market, not a year ago, orin some cases even 6 months age, or what you think your neighbor sold their house for (neighbors frequently lie about how much they got).
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2008
FYI....10 matthew sold for $605,000 closed 10/2007
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2008
many times open houses are scheduled and advertised (usually sibmitted to the papers a week in advance) and in that time, there is a contract accepted by the seller. it is tough to "unschedule or cancel" once advertised, so they are still held, but visitors are told there was a contract. accepted. legally unless the seller tells the realtor in writing that all subsequent offers are for back up only, if you had wanted to make the offer of $550K, in writing, it would have had to be presented to the seller. bear in mind tho sometimes offer price is not the motivating factor in a contract. if two contracts are close to the price a seller is willing to accept, often its the terms (down payment, closing date etc) that makes the difference. in your case since an offer was already accepted, even if your offer was close to the accepted offer, many sellers feel for a few thousand dollars it's not right to reject a previously accepted contract.

that being said, even if you go to an open house and the house is "sold", it is a good opportunity for you and the realtor hosting the open house, to see if there is some other house available that is similar and meets your needs. hope that helps
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2008
92 Westgate SOLD and came back on market and has subsequently been withdrawn from the market on March 4,2008.. LIST price does not always mean it SOLD at that price, so your statement above "just sold at $369900" is incorrect . You will NEVER know the sale price until AFTER it formally closes. Just an observation.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 8, 2008
LOCATION ! LOCATION! LOCATION! My beautiful townhouse is for sale in Westgate which backs up to the woods, that makes the difference in price!! So 369,900 is a price that depends on the location!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 6, 2008
Yes, Pollak, very good points. That make a lot of sense.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 27, 2008
when u drive thru westgate, it will be easy to understand the difference in pricing. some homes face the railroad track, some are located in the center of westgate with limited grounds arounf the home. the difference in pricing is simply the location of the unit and the upgrades.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 18, 2008
Yes, I agree. I saw 240 Westgate Dr, Edison just sold ... and there is new listing asking $399,000!!! Wow!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2008
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2008
Looking more detail on 110 Westgate Dr, I saw the photos; this is a great unit… Why the listing agent listed it 10% below the market at the first place?

I guess if I were a seller at Westgate, I want to avoid realtors who are price chopper yet not able to market the unit ... but may be it is a great deal for a buyer?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 12, 2008
Ok, here is the Trulia's listing on 110 Westgate Dr… only $339k the lowest one, and much lower than the one just sold which is 92 Westgate Dr at $369k.

My curiosity becomes, wouldn't be that 110 Westgate a good deal? knowing there is one sold at $369k? Or is there other catch?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 12, 2008
ok here is the link I got… in fact I saw it is now under contract, rather than then craiglist's message

I also check the lowest listed price 110 Westgate Dr at $339k but that one is NOT yet sold. Why? I mean it is listing at but NOT sold, yet listed at the lowest price. Does that mean Trulia has some room to improve? or it just matched my observation that Trulia did not have many buyers yet?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 12, 2008
I was replying to cheng's statement that real estate can never crash like stock do.
But I have to change my whole view on real estate and any dollar denominated assets after this mother of all bailouts.…
My head started to hurt after I started to think about the ramifications of this bailout. So, I stopped thinking. Anticipate nothing and be prepared for everything is the way to go.
On a different note, I never thought mortgage fraud was a big problem in NJ. Are you seeing a lot of those in NJ?
Cheng here has been trying to convince all of us that most people buy homes in CASH.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 20, 2008
I don't understand why no body ever includes closing costs and realtor commissions when reporting gains on real estate. If you deduct 6% from sale price and add a 5K in closing costs to the purchase price, the return is just under 22% for 5 years.. Not that impressive considering we have lived through the greatest real estate boom of all times in the past five years. I am not even considering home improvements that the average seller might have done over the past five years.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 13, 2008
Thanks for the offer for "free" services to Realtors, but speaking for myself, I post my listings onto over 20 real estate internet sites, in addition to and Featuredwebsite (by AND most realtors do the same.

You still never answer my questions 1) why do you have this almost obsessive interest in Trulia and selling homes whe you are not an agent and 2) WHERE do you get all the information you post (much if it being wrong or misleading)????
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 7, 2008
Just FYI, I copied the informationbelow which I posted on another thread. I read your website posting of the house, and in my professional opinion, even with the upgrades, it is priced a bit high for Westgate Drive locations.

Because they are newer and farther away from the trains, Linda Lane units tend to sell higher than Westgate Drive. There were 5 closings of listed units in Linda Lane since February. They were from $350K (June), $361K (March), $365k (June), $370K (June) and $385K (March). As of this post, there is one unit available listed with the MLS (in addition to the FSBO's) at 51 Linda Lane listed at $378,900.

There were 8 closings on Westgate Drive ranging from $315K (April) to $359K (March). There are currently 7 units available on the MLS ranging from $349K to $369,999.

If as you indicated you want to sell quickly, I would suggest two things. Either lower your price a bit even as a FSBO, OR list it with a Realtor for the proper amount. Listing with a Realtor will give you TONS more exposure, since we have the ability to reach more agents with buyers (who are qualified), we pay for the advertising, YOU don't have to be home to show the house (lockboxes are a blessing), you don't have to field emails and calls making appointments (and wait around sometimes for no-shows), we do the open houses for you, AND we can help guide you through the selling process (which is often complicated).

I have lived in Edison since 1983, and I have been in almost every Westgate unit on the maket recently, or recently sold, and have sold a few there myself. If you are interested, I would be happy to discuss it further.
You can email me at
Go to my website below to see that I can do for you. Click on "NJ Sellers" tab for lots of information. In any case I wish you good luck.
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 7, 2008
Hi again.
I certainly hope this post puts this to rest for good. I believed my point was misunderstood, and I tried to explain myself more clearly. I don't think my apologizing for a misunderstanding , which is very possible when reading words as opposed to hearing them spoken, makes my apology less valid, and my comments certainly are/were not meant to be perceived as an attack on you or anyone else.

Yes all the listings CLOSED within a year or so. My comment was referring to when they were LISTED... August and September of 2006 were the earliest , which is 17 and 16 months ago respectively. Westgate, except for their proximity to the trains, are basically all the same types of units and do present a slightly different type of statistic then single family homes, which vary much more in size, rooms, location etc., but including older listings statistics still presents a more inaccurate view in comparison to the current market.

For your reference, below is a link for all closed listings in Westgate from 3/25/2007 to present. The second line of each address gives you in this order: list date, list price, contract date, and closed date . There are 2 pages.

It is interesting to note that of the 32 closings in the last 12 months, there were 9 on Linda Lane with an average sale price of $373,444 and a median sale price of $375,000. The other 23 on Westgate Drive had an average sale price of $345,609 and a median sale price of $350,000. Hope that helps.…
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 26, 2008
Dear Mary,

Your accusation has no stand as I asked my realtor to provide all condo/townhouses in Edison with A,AR,U and C for past 12 months, and I believe any licensed realtor are honest, including mine. There is no reason why my realtor would provide me with the outdated info.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 24, 2008
Dear Deborah,

I think anyone can read English should be able to understand Dr. Cheng's posting well. My interpretation is that he was wondering why in the same Westgate community, the one listing HIGHEST sold first rather than the lowest. I think if you got a chance to read Pollak's explanation, it is becaues of location. Some location of the same unit may be more desirable than others, althought in the the same community, and I think Pollak living in Westgate had the most authority to answer the question. After all, it is his HOME community.

As you can see both Dr. Cheng and I are "Home Buyers". In order for home buyers to make correct decision, they have to shop and compare and of course collect all the real estate information for the area going to buy. I posted the information I know about Westgate here to share my two pennys.

I know you are top Trulia realtor, but I have my own one already, and believe or not, my realtor is wonderful and set an alert to automatically report the new listing ant sold info to be email to me, so I can obtain well timely and educated market info. I feel hundreds of other buyers do not have the luck I have and they seemed to be in the dark desperatedly looking to buy but got lots of misleading info.

I would say a morden realtor should provide relavant info as necessary and see fit like I have been doing (unfortunately, I do not get all the info), and that will help hundreds of desperated buyers to buy as soon as possible and sellers move up to buy their bigger dream home, not playing "hike and seek".

In geneal, I feel very sick seeing realtors said, "oh! if you would pay commission to me, then I would tell you ..." That is NOT right, and not the purpose of Trulia Voice...

How do you think?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 24, 2008
I was surprised to find out that 59 LINDA LANE, Edison NJ at Westgate community also sold under attorney review, but at $385,000! Same 2br 2hba townhouse. So the price going up again for this 2br 2hba townhouse community?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 18, 2008
I saw Dr. Cheng said "Every house priced by licensed realtor price RIGHT", and I totally agree. Why would a lincensed intentionally price a listing WRONG??? wasting time and marketing cost??? If the house price wrong and not sell, it won't help the listing agents at all. So, I believe every house listing with agent is "price right".

So, in Mary's words, every house listing should sell since every house all price right.

Besides, the egg, milk, gold, gas ...etc jump more than 42% since 5 years go, so the housing price is ver reasonable due to inflation.

All my neighbors are sold out, so there is nothing to compare ... One day, I was surprised to be told by a realtor who probably got contaminated by the fraud tv news and told me the real estate market was bad, I told her, totally WRONG! If market is bad, I should have dozens for sale sign in my community, but then, the communit is SOLD OUT!!! Somehow, the agent was so addicted to trying to talking down the price and not facing the reality that we can all see, NOTHING for sale in the community ... Why????

Well, I do believe my eyes, seeing NO for sale signs, but NOT believe the TV or some people who could NOT use their eyes to see that no for sale signs in the community. Did I miss something?

I tend to think licensed professionals will not lie, but why even I pointed out the community sold out, s/he still trying to say the market is bad???? When market was really bad in 1990's, the same community had over 50 units listing for sale, but now, all sold out, nothing available, and the recent ones sold about the same price as past 2 to 3 years ...

This reminds me Chairman Mao in China tried to brain wash people, and he had a very famous saying that "Lies goes hundreds times will become the truth" Is that going to be the same in America???
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2008
Thanks for all the info. So, I think media whining about subprime or real estate is fraud, trying to steal taxpayer money, if houses like 10 Mathew Ct sold in one open house and over the listing price, what kind of real estate market is this?

I personally believe 92 Westgate Dr has been sold to the buyer directly. I think the seller got so many buyers knock at the door and withdrawn from MLS trying to avoid commission. At sellers market, so many buyers, why you need to pay commission?

Anyway, I also saw this sign at 6 Michelle Ct Piscataway NJ can called, but then the realtor said she got a new year party could not show, then weeks later, I saw the for sale sign gone, then saw it has been sold. Gee! not even got a chance to see this house... What kind of real estate market is this?

Anyway, I went to this wonderful Edison Exchange workshop and finally understand that there are over 3,000 commuters now using Edison Train Station, so many buyers coming to the area, no wonder ... I think I better work harder ...
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2008
Yes, sometimes, the closed price is either full price or even over, and it is not unusual. e.g. 10 Mathew Ct, Piscataway NJ 08854. I went to the open house, and before I made an offer, I was told it has been sold. It was listing $599,900, so my intended offer of $550,000 did not make any sense. Later I heard it was sold and closed at $600,000+ over the asking price. I am sure someone can verify it. It was not too long ago...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 8, 2008
Prices can vary tremendously in a complex depending upon upgrades, locaiton, and seller motivation.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 7, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
When would be your next open house? Would you consider discount with cash offer?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 7, 2008
I saw this unit withdrawn, instead, 110 Westgate Dr sold for $339k...…
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 6, 2008
By the way, Edison Hollow South and Edison/Blueberry Village are 5 minutes walk to Edison Train Station
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 16, 2009
410 WESTGATE Dr, Edison NJ 08820 2br 2hba townhouse at Westgate at Edison near Metropark Train Stn just sold under attorney review at $349,900 ... 3-4-09
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 4, 2009
212 Westgate Dr Edison NJ 08820 2br 2hba townhouse at Westgate near Metropark Train Station just sold under attorney review ...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 7, 2009
True, Yog. Only those area walk to public transportation such as bus stop, train station or schools ...etc, the primary area are prospering ... like in Edison, for example, Edison Hollow South that can walk to Edison Train Station about 40 minutes to Manhattan is currently SOLD OUT!

So, do you think the whole NJ real estate prospering? How about real estate at prime area such as Edison Hollow South. ok, University Highs at Piscataway also SOLD OUT! Why? it can walk to Rutgers University. Families with kids going to Rutgers living here is much better and convenient and cost effectively than paying $800 a month for dorm...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 7, 2009
Lots of people bought home or investment properties in Florida, California, Miami by cash or more than 20% down payment. That doesn't mean real estate market there prospering.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 21, 2008
181 Linda Ln Edison NJ 08820 2br 2hba townhouse at Westgate near Metropark Train Stn just sold under attorney review at $354,900 ... 11-16-08
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 16, 2008
35 Westgate Dr 2br 2hba townhouse at Westgate just passed attorney review and under contract at $349,900 ... 11-14-08
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 14, 2008
Well, if you do not believe many buyers pay cash to buy, just give Ken Stanley a call to see if his buyer Kumar bought 1935 Raspberry Ct Edison NJ 1br 1ba condo in cash ... and of course, give Danny a call to see if all his 5 condos bought in cash, and maybe give Helen a call to see if all her houses bought in cash ...

So, the American experience is NOT true in Greater Edison area where Asian experience dominates, including real estate... If you know a little bit on the Indian culture, for example, Edison is the #1 most popular town to Indian population, Piscataway is #10, in the nation, and many other towns like Iselin, South Plainfield, Metuchen ... People here either pay down 20% to 25% or pay cash...

Real estate can NEVER crash like stock in Greater Edison Area, especially, US dollars devalued. That is to say, if US Dollars depreciated 50%, the real estate value should go up 200% in terms of US dollars.

Nice school districts like Westgate at Edison just sold 4 more townhouses recently, and, believe or not, it may be sold out soon ...

When mortgage companies tighten the loan, that just mean they will loan BEST borrowers at LOWER rates, in this case, the buyer would pay down 20% to 25% or even 30%, but that's what most of Asian American in the area I know do. So you would see many of them come out to buy at collapsed mortgage rate.

Others who do not pay down 20% to 25% or 30%, as I said, would just pay cash to buy... So if you know the basic math, you know once the sellers sold their condo/townhouses to cash buyers, they returned all their outstanding mortgage, and the mortgage companies got their money back, and cash flow again ...

Come to drive around Stleton Rd at Edison/Piscataway area, you see lots of new banks like JP Morgan Chase, several Bank of America, Wachovia, Skyland, Unity, Sovereigh, Washington Mutual, PNC, Valley National Bank ...etc... Do you get an idea that Wall St is relocating to Greater Edison Area?

I used to say Colonial Farm of Piscataway now became Central Park of Piscataway, and I never knew one day Stelton Rd will become Wall St of Greater Edison Area....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 22, 2008
lolololol.... cash, that's a good one lmao..... hahaha..... You'd be lucky if the buyer has all the money for the down payment and closing costs. That's why asking for a seller concession toward closing costs has almost become the standard thing to do.

Haha... CASH, now that "IS" FUNNY....

Yeah, there are crooked bast**ds everywhere you go these days, unfortunate for the rest of the honest ones making a career out of this gig.

CASH....hahaha... Cheng you crack me up man. Send some of those cash buyers my way; I'd be ecstatically happy to help them out.

Funny stuff guys, funny stuff...

Victor Kaminski
Broker of Record
Marivic GMAC Real Estate
2056A Lincoln Hwy. (Rt.27)
Edison, NJ 08817-3330
Office: 732-650-9911 Ext.302
Cellular: 908-884-5757
Toll Free: 1-866-745-GMAC(4622) Ext.302
(Monmouth/Ocean MLS)……
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 20, 2008
Cheng what's up... Been a while but I've had my hands full lately at the office. We've just taken on being an REO managment company and are taking on a lot of business so I haven't had much time to troll these forums lately, just in case you were wondering. BTW. nothing came about from the one lead I got from your blog, I have had one or two other inquiries because they saw me in your blow though and I do appreciate that.

Home Shopper,
please elaborate on your question, what do you mean do you think real estate can go down loke Bear Sterns or Lehman? How do you mean?

First off real estate is not a private corporation, 2nd everyone should be held accoutable for this mess including the buyers who used builder/investor loans to purchase homes they planned on staying in, I suppose in that sense the home owners are part of the corporation stripping the the equity out then moving on making it someone elses problem. In part the wall street guys were betting against the home owner in order to make a buck, so much so there had to be a presidential order not allowing them to short sell stocks in these lending institutions helping them along to fail. In reality agents, mortgage brokers, banks, stock brokers and the home owners should all man up and take some responsibility for the troubles our economy is in today which is mostly in part because of the real estate market now being so slow despite fantastic prices and mortgage rates.

Taking advantage of the banks through cash out refi's, flipping and then turning around wanting to short sell when prices adjust down is being done by many people who can afford to continue making their mortgage payments but choose not to because they know the value is down and they can save a buck by bailing out and leaving the banks to pickup the bad debt. This is a huge contribution to this economic downturn and I see it happending more and more.

Not all the loans going into short sale or foreclosure are being done by people who used bad loans, many are investors and these investors should hold onto these properties if the rents can sustain the mortgage payment, then stick it out. This is why banks usually require 20% down on all investment property purchases, in order to discourage investors from just walking away from homes when times get tough. The problem, many of these investors purchased and got loans under the guise they were going to be occupying the homes they purchased. I believe the regulators should chase after these people and hold them accoutable for mortgage fraud. Why should the rest of the home owners out there be stuck carrying the tab for those not paying without some sort of ultimate justice. Take the heads of these CEO's as well and those who shelter them. Hear that Obama?

Whoa, where did that rant come from? lol...

Real estate has already gone down and has just about bottomed out and is just waiting for consumer confidence to return to the marketplace and start buying homes again. The home you are pointing out listed on has nothing to do with, they just make money off charging agents to advertise the homes on their site.

The $1 home really isn't $1, read the rest of the listing and you will see there is more to it, this house is a burnt out shell with bad fire damage, esentially a tare down and if you call the broker I'm sure it won't sell for $1, this is probably just a starting bid price and most likely an auction home.

That being said, I don't think a $1 burnt out shell of a home will be used as a comparable when pricing your home comes into play but I don't know, I could be wrong. Does your home look like this one… if so then it may affect the price of yours being a true comparable.

The problem with the real estate market is that the consumers confidence is down. For people that can truly afford a home without using subprime builder loans with the minimum payment being the most they can afford, there are some excellent deals to be found and Price wise and interest rates are great now.

You want to know the big difference between stock crashing vs home crashing?
Stock is an intangible good, you cant eat it, you cant sleep in it and you can raise a family in it and once you lose stock it's gone forever and so is your cash investment in it and you can't write it all off...

But a home is a tangible good, you can actually use and even if burns down you will pay property taxes but they can reaccessed to the new value and you can always rebuild it and make it better again.

This post should rile some folks up! lol...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 20, 2008
I think you also wanted to know if real estate can go down like Bear Sterns or Lehman.
Here is a home for sale at $1…
I am sure it sold for more than $170 at one point.
You can actually find several homes on that are on sale for less than $2
You could argue that is conspiring to bring down everybody's home values, but I tend to believe that it is not in their best interest.
You want to know the big difference between stock crashing vs home crashing?
On stock you can take tax write off, but on home, you will have to keep paying property tax.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 20, 2008
Here is an article which validates my opinions.…
Basically a third of NJ economy is dependent on wallstreet as confirmed by your ex-colleague Corzine.
You can argue that Corzine is no longer with Goldman and so lost his intellect, but I tend to believe him over you.
I am not sure if you actually expected us to believe that folks will sell 1.2Mil condo in NY and move to Edison, but if they actually have to do that, I think they will consider jersey city over edison.
By the way, I am still waiting to learn how much your property tax, condo fee, home insurance and other home maintenance went up by over past 5 years. It is called inflation, not insult.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 20, 2008
First time home buyers, by definition come from rentals. That's what makes them "first time". You could argue that they were previously living with their parents, living in a jail, living on the street, etc.., but it is unlikely that they can qualify for a loan or buy in CASH like most of your buyers tend to do.
I was more referring to auto insurance in NJ being ridiculously higher than most other states. There is one way auto mechanics can get rich using insurance companies, it is called Insurance Fraud. It happens all the time. I know about it because I used to listen to ads from insurance companies asking people to help stop it as it takes rates higher for everybody. If it got to that level that insurance companies had to advertise on radio, I can guess that it is a rampant problem in NJ.
My rent went up by 8% over the last five years. Can you tell me how much your property tax, condo fee, home insurance and other home maintenance costs increased by over the past five years?
I still can't buy this whole auto-mechanic theory, and believe that home buying power comes from good job/salary growth or speculation. I don't think we had a lot of speculation in NJ. I would appreciate if you could post some valid data about the industries where first time home buyers came from over past 4 years.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 17, 2008
I guess one reason auto mechanics became rich due to lots of people who bought used cars, rather than new, (sorry to hear that but that's why Toyota sales dropped 27%!!!) so you need lots of repairs and maintenance. If you give Tracy a call at 917 669-8209 (cell) to visit their Home auto service, you will realize many auto mechanics who start their auto garage at home became millionaires...

By the way, auto insurance has little to do with auto repair and service, if any. As said above, if you kid going to college, you bought a, say, Toyota Corolla 1990 for your kid to drive, don't you need to spend hundreds to check it out and replace tires, brake, battery, ...etc? and that auto insurance does not cover.

However, if you got kid over 17 year old in NJ, then your auto insurance JUMP or even double. Your driving record may be good, but your grown up kid may be a potential loss of auto insurance. So, you know Rutgers Univ got over 7000 more freshman this year, you know that auto insurance made great profit. So, the key is, according to UC Berkeley Parents Assoc, you want to review your auto insurance policy EVERY YEAR! and may be switch. Why? If you do not, they will automatically increase your premium; this is the revers of money market fund that you put in a bank that 3 months later, they will automatically decrease your interest rate!!!

Now, you asked the right person about where all the first time buyers came from for past 4 years. My answer is very simple, they came from rental apartment, and I can quote you a long list of hundreds in the area. Why is that? the rental apartment is like crazy they increase the rent every year when tenant's lease expiring, so you, as a tenant, either swallow the increase, or you go out to buy as first time buyers.

Many IT professionals renting 1br or 2br apartment and tolerate all the insult by swallowing the rent hike for all these years, till one day, they got their green card, they would just go buy a 2br or 3br townhouse or even a brand new 4br or 5br house. So, as long as the rent will continue to jump, say, 1935 Raspberry Ct 1br 1ba just rented $1,400, so are ehs 1701, 1938, ...etc. Do you buy or rent? If you insist to rent, next year your rent goes up to $1,500 or $1,600, do you buy or rent?

The rent hike implies not only many first time buyers move out of rental and buy their own home, mostly 2br or 3br condo or townhouses, and that's why you see 4 more 2br townhouses at Westgate just sold, and a few more negotiating as far as I know. The rent hike also implies many wealthy investors came to buy 1br or 2br condo for rent.

For example, I know Michael just bought 4 condo and townhouses for rent. What the hell, he is living in FL, and came to NJ to invest? How about Samson bought 5 1br condos from CA? This simply implies many wealthy investors found NO good real estate investment in FL and CA ...

Can they put the money in CD's of banks? NO! too risky! 11 banks already failed this year, 100+ in FDIC risky list, and Ross predict over 1,000 banks will fail in the US in next few months. You saw Bear Stern came down from $170 to $2 in a year, and now Lehman from $70 to 30 cents. Do you think condo will ever go down that much? e.g. a 1br condo from $170,000 dow to $2,000 ???? or $70,000 1br coop down to $300????


I kept on talking about great schools is because great schools impact the value of real estate a lot, in addition to dozen other factors. e.g. JP Stevens High jump 30 places UP this year in the NJ high school ranking, and Westgate going to that high school. That is to say, Westgate will sure to hold the value, if not moving up in near future.

So, if you ever want to buy a real estate, keep in mind that "train station to NYC" and "great schools" are the current top 2 factors. With NYC train station, meaning, many more buyers can come from Manhattan where housing is much more expensive. When a person lost job and can no longer afford a $1.2m condo may sell the condo there and come to Edison to buy a $200,000 1br condo that can walk to Edison Train Station. That's why Edison Hollow South sold out! and this will be true for community like Westgate as well or many other communities as well.

But, would condo or coop owners able to sell their units in Manhattan? Of course, there are many International buyers know Manhattan well and will buy there. e.g. last year the Manhattan properties sold to foreign investors jump over 100% ...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 17, 2008
I do agree that falling mortgage rates is a huge positive for the real estate market, even though, it comes at a huge cost of making the tax payers potentially responsible for trillions of dollars of Fannie/Freddie debt. The ramifications of that will be felt for decades to come.
But, nothing comes close to job market in having a big influence in home prices.
May be you can tell us a bit more about where the first time home buyers came from in the past 4 years.
If they are all auto mechanics, I think that solves my puzzle about why my auto insurance stays flat or keeps going up even though I never have a claim or a traffic ticket. It looks like I am paying for their investment properties. Then why do you keep talking about great schools, they don't teach how to become an auto mechanic in schools.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
47 Westgate Dr 2br 2hba townhouse just sold under attorney review ...
368 Westgate Dr 2br 2hba townhouse just sold under attorney review ...
149 Linda Ln 2br 2hba townhouse just sold under attorney review ...

More to be sold due to the collapsed mortgage rate ...…
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
35 Westgate Dr 2br 2ba condo at Westgate just sold under attorney review ... by C21 ...…
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 16, 2008
What a bias! Danny own an auto repair shop bought 5 condos in CASH! Tracy whose husband Peter also do auto repair and bought 7 condos for investment ... Ken, a realtor, also bought a condo for investment... Why?

They all not want to put their cash in bank CD, not to mention in Wall St...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 15, 2008
I would really appreciate if you could post a near-accurate break down for the past few years.
Couple of changes though, I am only interested in first time home buyers and if they work in IT, I need to know their actual industry, as IT is mostly a support role dependent on another primary industry. For example most of the asians in the region work in IT, but I think at least 70% of them are in Financial Services.
My belief is that over the past few years, real estate in NJ has become so expensive relative to salaries and rents that most of the first time buyers had to come from Financial Services, where salaries went through the roof with the paper profits that these companies enjoyed. Now that these profits have evaporated and large companies employing tens of thousands of people are going bankrupt, the most important player in this market, that is the first time buyer is going to be missing for some time. When there is no bidder in the market, bad things happen. If more than 70% of your first time home buyers had nothing to do with financial services, then we don't really have a disaster at hand
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 15, 2008
Actually I always know what they do for a living since I see their employers through their mortgage info to some extent, and the truth is that the majority of them have been in IT, pharmaceuticals or some form of sciences in that field (like research chemistry etc), professionals like physicians or self employed business owners. Only a few have actually been in the financial industry.

Our location is commutable to jobs in NYC, Trenton, Princeton, Newark, and Philadelphia, as well as other larger cities in the northern part of the state, giving a broader range of available positions (tho many companies are moving out of NJ because of taxes etc) if you are willing to commute to them.

There are places (like Atlantic City) that are hurting when the economy gets slow. For example: Not too far from Edison is Plainfield. There are 48,000 residents , 410 houses on the market as of this morning, and there have been 109 closings since Jan 1, 2008.. Edison has 110,000 people, there are 333 homes on the market. as of this morning, and there have been 346 closings since January 1, 2008. That's quite a difference for a two mile drive.

I am sure there are other cities in the state that ARE hurting as badly, but my observation is that Edison is not one of them at least for now.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 15, 2008
I really like it that we are doing some good analysis here rather than some obscure theory that only very smart people like Cheng understand.
I would love to be wrong in my dire forecast about real estate in NJ.
Just to help me more with my analysis and predictions, can you please tell me what percentage of the buyers in your client transactions in 2005,2006,2007 and 2008 were working in Financial Services or an industry deeply linked to this industry.
In my opinion, there are 4 major industries in NJ, Financial Services, Telecom, Pharma and others(Utility, Real Estate, Govt, etc..)
My guess is that Financial Services should have contributed to somewhere between 30% to 50% of your buyers.
If you have the breakdown for a broader group of realtors, that will be even better.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 15, 2008

First of all thanks for the compliment. I agree with your analysis of the stats I posted, however you and I both know that the numbers can run from 4% to 20% a year (as seen in recent years). The point I wanted to make all along was that for the specific area in question ( Edison) we are luckily not seeing the enormous problems faced by other areas in NJ and the country.

This entire excercise might be for self-serving reasons because I am tired of buyers reading the papers, and watching the news with its doom and gloom predictions about real estate prices (righfully so in a lot of sectors) coming into Edison, low balling their offers and thinking people are going to give their homes away because the "market is soooo bad". It IS bad in a lot of places but this area has held it's own quite well, even after the readjustments.

The only people who have a problem locally (Edison) are those who bought high at the peak of the market, put less than 20% down, and/or have to sell now while the market is readjusting itself.

Also thanks for the good chuckle about exceeding to 5000 character limit. I really needed a laugh today.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 15, 2008
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