Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Eastern Monmouth MLS Now at 4197

Last week the count was 4119.

The MLS seems to have been stuck at 4197 for the past few days so I would not be surprised if the amount moves up or down substantially over the next day or two as the MLS database is updated and/or purged. In any event, 4197 looks like a very high amount of inventory going into the traditionally slow selling season. Looking back to June 2005, there were 2728 house listed for sale on the MLS for Eastern Monmouth. The year-over-year increase in inventory is about 54%.

Kara Homes Price Drop

One of the readers here posted last week that Kara Homes dropped the price of the six remaining Tradewind’s Homes by a million each to $3.75 million. I guess we should have figured that Kara was having a hard time selling these McMansions earlier in the year when they listed them with Diane Turton instead of selling the houses themselves. I looked at the sales records the other day and noticed that Kara did manage to sell a few of these houses last year above the $3.75 million level.

Add Another 25bps to Your ARM this Summer

The next time some relative or Realtor tries to tell you that the Fed is going to stop raising interest rates, consult this Cleveland Fed link to determine which way rates are going for yourself.

The chart on the Cleveland Fed page shows the probability of a rate increase or decrease based on the value of options on Federal Fund Futures. In this case, the chart is showing that the market believes the chances of a 25 bps increase to 5.25% are about 53% for the June meeting.

The probability of hitting 5.25% in August is about 38%, therefore, the probability of a 25 bps rate hike in June or August is about 91%.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

No Bid = New Realtor

There is a real crappy house in Little Silver that has been sitting unsold at $399k for probably about nine-months now. I noticed the other day that there is a new Realtor sign on the front lawn, which replaced the previous Sotheby's sign. I believe this is the third listing agent change since the house was brought to market last year. I think that the change in real estate agents is reflective of the delusions of riches that some owners might have. In this market, with so many agents around (without much to do) it must be easy for an owner to "fire" an agent who might have suggested lowering the price and hiring another agent that will tell the owner what they want to hear. In other words, in this market, with so many Realtors to list with available, the owner might have 10 agents tell them their house is over-priced by 25% but there is at least one agent out there telling the owner their house is under priced by 10%. Naturally, the novice amateur flipper with delusions of grandeur goes with the Realtor who promises the most, and as a result, asking prices remain high and the number of sales transactions continues to fall, which leads me to the next topic.

If I was a Realtor and I wasn't transacting many sales in this market, I would start to promote more forcefully the concept of the housing bubble. The huge amount of inventory out there would clear much quicker, and Realtor's would make more money, if the bid and ask spread were to narrow. Instead of trying to convince buyers to increase their "bid", Realtor's should be convincing sellers to lower their "ask." In that regard, Realtors should be sending sellers to this website and especially to the to let those sellers know that the house prices of Summer 2005 are not coming back for a long time.

Hovnanian Airplane Banners

Did anyone feel compelled this weekend to get out of the beach chair and head straight for the local Hovnanian development to buy a town house?

I didn't either. However, someone at Hovnnian must think it's a good idea to use airplane banners to advertise the company's products because I saw quite a few fly by while sitting on the beach in Long Branch this weekend. I guess Hovnanian is just trying to establish brand awareness by advertising at the Shore, but it seems like a wasteful effort. Airplane banner ads are probably pretty effective for Martels Tiki Bar or Donovan's, but I can't picture many beach visitor's making a mental note to visit a Hovnanian model home because an airplane banner reminded them they need to buy a house.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I Knew I Saw More Boats for Sale

A few weeks ago I commented that I was seeing lots of boats for sale on people’s lawns up and down the Shore. At the time, my observation was only anecdotal. The Wall Street Journal’s Terri Cullen, in her Fiscally Fit column this morning confirmed my suspicion that there are more boats for sale this year compared to earlier years. In Terri’s column today she writes about how she was pricing boat slips at Shore marinas and found out that many marinas are offering discounts because of fewer customers.

I think that the lack of interest in boating this summer probably mostly reflects the increase in gas prices. However, to a lesser extent I bet many boats were purchased with home equity loans over the past three years and for many people those loans are getting harder to handle. If that is the case, then it should be no surprise that more boats are not making it into the water this year or they are being sold outright.


“OK, so the captain is back on board. My job as first mate is to address another issue that comes with a big boat -- the cost. With the Bayliner still drydocked, we needed to make a decision whether or not to lease a slip at our old marina this year. It's a big decision because slip fees are usually the boat's greatest expense -- last year, our marina jacked up their prices to $125 a foot, or $3,375 for the season. In the past, getting into a lower-cost marina required calling early in the year to get on a waiting list, but this year they were calling us. And at least one marina manager commented on the number of boaters who have decided to trailer their boats this year -- or just stay home.

Sensing a buyer's market, I called around and compared fees and services. Some marinas were willing to throw in the cost of electricity and fresh water for cleanup; others were offering to match slip fees of lower-cost marinas, despite being closer to the bay. (Marinas closer to the bay typically cost more, but it takes less time and gas to get to open water, and you avoid the navigational hassles of marinas up-river.) One marina we've visited before and really liked offered to lease us a slip at $95 a foot for a total of $2,565, or about $800 less than what our old marina planned to charge us this year. Sold.”

No link

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

NJAR Data for Q1 2006 is Out

The NJAR release housing stats each quarter and the data for the first quarter was just released. There is a lot to look at, so if you get a chance go visit the site here.

For the median price for the sector called "Jersey Shore MLS", here is some median sales price data.

Q1 2005 = $270,100
Q2 2005 = $292,900
Q3 2005 = $287,400
Q4 2005 = $306,700
Q1 2006 = $290,200

Although the median sales price is up year over year for the first quarter, prices seem to be coming down sequentially. I would not be surprised at all if prices for the second quarter 2006 come in lower on a year-over-year and sequential quarter basis.

Eastern Monmouth MLS at 4119

Last week the count was 4053.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

List of Dwek Properties

The Asbury Park Press has a link to a list of all of Dwek's properties. Most of them are in Monmouth County.

"That game is almost over"


[Some categories of real estate may fall farther than others. Take second homes and investment properties, for example. The National Association of Realtors reports that a record 40% of all homes bought last year were not a primary residence for the buyer. The trend is particularly strong among Baby Boomers -- more than a quarter of them own at least two homes. "We've seen a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of customers trek to that market," says Kevin Kane, a senior vice-president at Fox Chase Bank in suburban Philadelphia. On the New Jersey Shore, Kane had been seeing customers buying $750,000 beachfront homes, tearing them down and building two homes on the lot. "They'd flip one and live in the other mortgage free," he says.]

Full article from Businessweek.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Impress Your Friends has this lengthy piece that describes why house prices are not going to go much higher. Make a copy of this piece and show it to your non-bubble believing friends.


“Recently, Yale professor Robert Shiller has developed a long-term index of real housing prices for the U.S.1 This index is shown in Figure 1. In my prior discussion of trends in real estate values, I presented a variety of information providing evidence for an 18-year cycle in real estate/land values.2 What was not available to me was national data concerning real estate values over a long period of time.”

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Exotic Mortgages at the Shore

From the APP


"In Monmouth and Ocean counties, 27.9 percent of the mortgages used to purchase homes in 2005 were interest only, up from 18.5 percent in 2004, according to LoanPerformance, a subsidiary of First American Real Estate Solutions. Interest-only deals represented 17.1 percent of the mortgage refinancings last year as well, up from 10 percent in 2004."

Full article...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Why Dwek is Relevant

I'm less interested in Dwek's alledged wrongdoing than I am about what the wrongdoing might mean for the real estate market both locally and nationally. From the bubble perspective, I can't help but think that Dwek is probably only one of hundreds of big-money type "investors" that had access to easy money (obtained fraudulently and legally) and, at the same time, little regard for fundamental analysis as to whether a property was a good investment or not. It seems that Dwek's access to easy money allowed him to buy properties with little regard as to whether the properties were capable of actually turning a profit. If this situation was repeated hundreds or thousands of times across the country by different individuals, then property prices are going to have another source of downward pressure.

Here is a portion of a good article from the Atlanticville.


Reports of Dwek's legal and financial troubles could have their repercussions in the real estate market as a whole, Brothers pointed out.

"This is a lose-lose for everybody, a very bad thing for not only the commercial market, but the market in general," Brothers said. "It creates a mind-set where people say, things are all bad. It establishes a posture for people that is more difficult to negotiate with," he said.

With downward pressure building on the market and prices and demand softening, the effect of Dwek's downfall will be far-reaching he said.

"If he ends up losing properties, people will be hurt. Unfortunately, a lot of people are going to suffer," Brothers concluded.

Among Dwek's holdings in Ocean Township are the empty Worden-Hoidel Funeral Home at 236 Monmouth Road and 3-acre tract at 259 Monmouth Road.

Full Article...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Dwek Dossier

Here is the link to documents that have been filed with the court in the Dwek case. There is a lot of info here and I haven't had a chance to look through most of the filings. If anyone sees anything interesting, please let me know.

Eastern Monmouth MLS up to 4053

The number of houses for sale on the MLS for the eastern section of Monmouth County is now at 4053, which is up from3970 last week. It looks like we are going to go into the summer with a record level of inventory as many home sellers seem reluctant to move prices lower.

In the meantime, the price of buying a house gets more expensive with each 25 bps increase in interest rates. Today’s action in the futures market indicates that the probability of another fed rate hike is pretty high according to this wire story.

11:38 (Dow Jones) Losses deepen for Eurodollar futures, as market prices in with more certainty the likelihood of a 5.25% rate by year's end, up from current 5%. Sep prices in about an 80% chance for a 5.25% 3Q rate, compared to 56% odds on Tuesday. Dec shows about a 88% chance to reach 5.25% in the 4Q, up from about 60% odds on Tuesday. Sep recently down 6 BP at 94.65, with Dec down 7 BP at 94.63. (HLP)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Dwek Will Be Getting a Website

The APP is reporting that the judge in the Dwek case has ordered Dwek "to immediately provide a complete accounting of his debts and assets to the fiscal agent investigating his finances for the court."

The attorney in charge of keeping track of the assets and liabilities said he will set up a website. When it's up and running we'll post the link here. I can't wait till its up and running.

"By Wednesday, Lomurro said he expects to have a public Web site running that will list claims and court papers filed against Dwek. Claims can also be filed online, he said. The Web address is not yet available."

Rates Will Go Higher Even if the Fed Pauses

Interest rates have plenty of room to move higher, even if the Fed actually stops increasing the funds rate. This is an interesting article from

"We are crossing a critical threshold beyond which the U.S. government could begin to lose control over rising interest rates, and ultimately, the entire economy.

So I've invited our interest rate specialist, Michael Larson, to join me this morning to help me tell you about the consequences ... the dangers ... and the opportunities.

Trouble is, most people, even many experienced investors, don't really understand interest rates."


Real Estate Cools at the Shore

From today's APP. Typically, the APP only bothered to ask Realtors about the market, {sarcasm on} now there is source without an agenda.{sarcasm off}

[While home prices still are rising, the Jersey Shore real estate market is showing signs of cooling off.

The median sale price for an existing home in the region that includes Monmouth and Ocean counties was $374,100 in the first quarter of 2006, up 9 percent from $343,100 in the first quarter of 2005, according to the National Association of Realtors. That means that half the homes in the area sold for more and half sold for less.

Although a 9 percent increase more than a year ago is still well above the overall rate of inflation, it is down from the double-digit increases that characterized the market over the past several years.

"Clearly, the glory days of the housing market are now history," said James W. Hughes, an economist and dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.]


Monday, May 15, 2006

Dwek Traffic

This blog saw a ton of traffic over the weekend. Many new visitors found their way here by googling “Solomon Dwek”. Looking at the daily logs I can see that more law firms than normal have been by this blog for a visit the past few days by way of an apparent interest in Mr. Dwek. Welcome associates!

I’m guessing that plenty of new visitors were unaware that housing prices at the Shore, and elsewhere and are due for a “correction”. If you are just starting to become acquainted with the housing bubble, check out some of the links on the side bar to get a broad perspective as to just how high real estate prices, all over the country, have gotten. Ben Jones blog at is a good place to start learning about the bubble, since he updates it pretty regularly throughout the day.

Over 4000 Homes for Sale

Over the weekend, the number of houses for sale in eastern Monmouth County jumped to over 4,000 for the first time since I started keeping track. Whether you are a believer in the real estate bubble or not, that is a lot of inventory and does not include houses that are not on the MLS system such as For Sale by Owner listings. Looking back at the data from last year, there were about 2,700 homes for sale in eastern Monmouth County in mid-June 2005.

I think there are more FSBO houses for sale now than there were six months ago. One of the reasons why there might be more now than a few months ago is because selling the house yourself is the only way for many people to get out with a profit or minimal loss.

Anecdotally, I heard someone, who is totally disinterested in real estate, remark that their seemed to be a lot of vacant houses with for sale signs in his subdivision in Jackson. I also heard, for the first time, a “third-hand” rumor that two houses in the area were specifically listed because the owner could not afford the recent reset on their ARM.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Hitting Resistance at the Shore

Looking around for information about the Dwek case, I stumbled on this short report about the local real estate market.


“To the concern of home owners, and the elation of prospective home buyers, Jersey Shore homes seem to finally be hitting some resistance in their decade long uninterrupted rise.

Individuals and brokers throughout the area, speaking on condition of anonymity, and advising of serious decreases in asking prices of homes for sale, as well as a substantial increase in the amount of homes for sale, and the amount of time some of these homes are remaining on the market as unsold.”


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Solomon Dwek Arrested

The Asbury Park Press reported that Solomon Dwek was arrested this morning “and accused of scheming to defraud PNC Bank of $50 million, according to the FBI.”

This story is going to be interesting from a couple of different angles in the coming weeks. Although it looks like Dwek allegedly tried to defraud PNC Bank, I’m guessing that PNC is going to come under scrutiny for apparently accepting such a large check. In the context of the national housing bubble, questions should naturally arise as to just how willing many banks have become during the boom to accommodate customers flashing big real estate portfolios. I don’t know if PNC actually lent Dwek any money, but I would think an important relationship already existed between them if Dwek thought he could make a $25 million deposit.

From another angle, what will become of the Dwek houses? Before we jump to the wrong conclusion, it seems possible that Dwek owns the houses legally and therefore none of the houses will have to be put up for sale. Also, Dwek’s rich uncle may end up being the rightful owner, which might mean that there does not have to be a fire sale liquidation that could severely damage the property market in Ocean. If the bank ends up being the owner though, then a less orderly liquidation of Dwek’s portfolio could be forthcoming. In any event, we do not know the full story yet. In the meantime, a look at the MLS shows that there are 247 houses for sale in Ocean Township. According to the APP, Dwek owns 48 properties (commercial too) in Ocean Township. It seems likely that whether the homes are owned legally, or were obtained through some fraudulent means, that many, if not most of the houses will eventually be placed back on the market adding to the already high supply in Ocean.

Plenty of people have posted to the comment section what they know about Dwek, which is a lot more than I know. For important information about this story be sure to read all of the comments.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

This Dwek Mess is Getting Interesting

The Asbury Park Press has been following the apparent ruination of local real estate mogul Solomon Dwek. To make what is likely to be a long story short, Dwek tried to pass a $25 million bad check and got caught and now his real estate empire in Monmouth County is crumbling. According to the APP and the Monmouth County Tax site, Solomon Dwek owns between 110 to 140 properties in Monmouth County, including residential and commercial buildings.

From the looks of things, these properties were bought in the past three years. Also, it looks like Dwek intended to flip these properties. If you want to see what all of the Dwek properties were bought for and there locations, follow the directions below:

1. Go to this site

2. Go to the tab marked (3) District and choose “ALL”

3. In the box at the bottom that says OWNER, type Dwek.

4. Press “Submit Search”

From the Asbury Park Press

“Real estate mogul Solomon Dwek used $60.2 million of his uncle's money to buy 129 residential and commercial properties since 2003 but didn't put the properties into his uncle's name as promised, the elder Dwek claimed in court papers filed Tuesday.

Joseph Dwek of Brooklyn said his nephew does not rightfully own the New Jersey properties and asked a Superior Court judge to change his order that froze all of Solomon Dwek's assets last week.”


Eastern Monmouth MLS at 3970

Last week there were 3900 houses listed for sale on the MLS for eastern Monmouth County, NJ. It looks like the listings should climb past the 4000 level by the weekend. For new readers of this blog, or for those of you that have just discovered the housing bubble, it’s important to note that the increase in listings is occurring all over the country and not just at the Shore. Some of the other blogs, the links of which can be found on the side, have some very good information regarding the market for real estate in certain specific areas.

Boats on Lawns

I don’t know if its because I’m biased and I tend to look for signs of shaky financials in the context of a housing bubble, or if I have made a genuine observation reflective of the current condition of real estate, but I would swear I’m seeing more boats for sale on lawns that usual this spring. If I am seeing more boats for sale than usual, then it could possibly be because the boat was bought with equity borrowed from the house and also because high gas prices make boating very expensive. Has anyone else noticed an more lawn boats than usual this spring?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

“…The market has made an adjustment of 10 (percent) to 15 percent,”

The Press of Atlantic City published this article last week. It describes the softening of the real estate market along the coast in south Jersey. Interestingly, it looks like prices might be off as much as 10% to 15% from last year’s highs.

[OCEAN CITY — In a resort where for-sale signs are as common as beach umbrellas, Ocean City home buyers are finding something new this year.

“Reduced” signs are sprouting up in odd lots around the island. Realtors said this is a reflection of a cooling real-estate market and rising interest rates.

Economists are predicting that national resorts that saw the largest jumps in real estate prices in the past three years soon will see the largest declines. But not everyone is so pessimistic.

Ocean City Realtor Mark Grimes said a 10 percent return per year is still pretty good.

“Speculators who were buying and flipping properties, they're not in the market anymore. Developers have a lot of inventory. They're not buying properties right now,” he said.]

full article

The Rental Market at the Shore Looks Good

According to this article, the rental market at the Shore is looking pretty strong compared to last year. As you can see from the other article that I posted, despite a strong rental market, the real estate market at the Shore is pretty weak. I wonder if the strong rental market is reflecting some sort dynamic on the home purchase market that I don’t quite understand.

“At this point last year, Manzoni Realty Inc. was still looking at a 15 percent to 20 percent vacancy rate among its rentals for the summer season.

This year, Joyce Manzoni, broker/manager at the
Cape May firm, said the number is more like 5 percent to 7 percent.

The same is true farther north along the
New Jersey shore. Prudential Zack Shore Properties in Stafford Township is seeing a booming rental season on Long Beach Island. The total dollar amount of signed leases is up 12 percent to 15 percent this year compared to last year, and the firm has also netted a 3 percent to 5 percent increase in signed leases, according to Vincent McAuliffe, senior vice president of the firm.”

full article

Saturday, May 06, 2006

How People Found this Site

I have a small program that gathers various metrics about this blog. Every once in a while I check out how vistors to this site arrived and some come in through Google and Yahoo and other search engines. Below are some of the search terms over about the past six hours that people entered into Google that then lead to this blog.

bill fleckenstein calls nasdaq bubble

fasting growing real estate markets near manhattan 2006

nj shore real estate bubble

nj shore real estate

jersey shore bubble

kara homes

jersey shore real estate bubble

jersey shore housing bubble

Sea Streak is in Trouble

Lots of Jersey Shore residents commute to NYC via Sea Streak everyday. In fact, if it wasn't for Sea Streak, Realtors would not be able to advertise that Fair Haven or Rumson is only 45 minutes from the City. In any event, Sea Streak is cancelling some service on Monday. The service cancellation looks temporary, however, it should be noted that the parent company of Sea Streak, known as Sea Containers, is in very bad financial shape.


"Sea Containers, the troubled container leasing and passenger transport group, on Monday said it expected its 2005 results to include a warning about whether the company could survive as a going concern.

Directors were drawing up a business plan for use in a possible debt restructuring, the company added in a statement to the New York Stock Exchange, where the London-based, Bermuda-registered company is listed."

Full article...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Toll Brothers Highlights

Toll Brothers released its second quarter outlook today and hosted a conference call. In summary, spec buyers are selling homes or canceling orders and therefore inventories are increasing. Also, regular buyers are not buying now as much as they were last year.

I was mostly interested in what the company had to say about the local market, but unfortunately, Bob Toll did not say as much about NJ as he did on the last call. However, he did note that the suburban NJ market has gotten pretty slow, and I would think that this would include Toll's project in Howell, which is a development of about 50 homes.

The one area in NJ that continues to perform well is Maxwell Place, which is on the Hoboken waterfront. The company said "Everything we've got in Hoboken is just roaring."

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Rumour via Grim via Grunt

This was posted on Grim's Northern NJ Blog, which was linked to the Property Grunt blog.

"The Grunt has heard on the wire that Bank of America has ceased all lending to all real estate LLCs. This is highly signifigant since no real estate investor in their right mind would ever purchase an investment property without an LLC and it is also indication of the current mood in the lending world."

Full article...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

NJ Transit Sees an Increase in Ridership

This Asbury Park Press article describes the increase in ridership on NJ Transit Trains and Busses because of the increase in the cost of gas The Route 9 corridor is especially busy and NJT has had to add capacity. The towns in Monmouth and Ocean counties that Route 9 runs through have probably seen the most development over the past 10 years and I can imagine that the drive from Howell to NYC and back each day is getting pretty expensive compared to the bus.

Maybe the housing bubble begins with cheap gas and ends with expensive gas. I can imagine that buying in an outlying area like Manchester or Brick and commuting to NYC every day made economic sense in 2002 or 2003 when gas was cheap. Maybe, too, as these places attracted more people who made the long commute to NYC each day, demand for gas grew each year and supplies fell, resulting in the higher prices we have today. The high gas prices now make living in outlying suburbs less attractive and so people quit moving there.

Put another way, cheap gas made living in Howell economically attractive, which caused more people to move to Howell, resulting in increased demand for gas because of the longer commute. The increased demand for gas led to less supplies and more expensive prices, which is making living in Howell less economically attractive.

Eastern Monmouth MLS at 3,900

Last there were 3822 houses listed for sale. Looking at the inventories on the MLS over the past week I thought that we might be reaching a peak, since the daily additions were pretty small. However, today’s number is a pretty decent jump over last week and it looks like the inventory build is as strong as ever. The Northern NJ blog is also reporting strong increases in inventory in the areas it covers. If I have not pointed it out before its worth remembering that most new construction and FSBO inventory is not on the MLS, therefore, there are probably a few hundred more homes for sale in eastern Monmouth County than what the MLS is showing.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Waiting for Toll Brothers

Toll Brothers is scheduled to broadcast its second quarter 2006 outlook on May 5th. This broadcast seems to be highly anticipated since many of the homebuilders have already reported disappointing order rates and higher cancellations. Toll’s outlook should be especially relevant to readers of this blog since the company has a number of developments in New Jersey. It will be interesting to hear what the company has to say about it Hoboken developments. On the last call, Toll said that the Hoboken properties were bright spots for the company. I would not be surprised if Toll is not as enthusiastic about Hoboken as it was last time since existing home inventories in and around that area are swelling and there are lots of new construction projects, besides Tolls, being built.

Eminent Domain Abuse at The Shore

The Asbury Park Press has a series of articles about the eminent domain abuses taking place around the state.

“Just ask Long Branch resident Michelle Bobrow.

She'll tell you there's a growing national movement or a "tide rising," as she likes to call it, to curb the government's use of eminent domain to seize property for private development.

And in her opinion, "New Jersey should be in the forefront of this movement," as Bobrow recently suggested to a state Assembly committee considering reforms to the state's redevelopment law.

"We must use the power of eminent domain only as a last resort, open to public scrutiny and only for true public use (such) as roads, hospitals and schools. It must not be used for takings for public space to later be developed," said Bobrow, whose Ocean Boulevard condominium falls in Long Branch's proposed Beachfront South zone, a targeted area of redevelopment in the city.”

Full article…

People are Going to Hate Real Estate

After the tech bubble burst, I remember people would act so disgusted with the market and their stock holdings that they said they quit opening their monthly broker statements. It was almost that that decided that they did not want to be reminded of the stupid decisions they made a year or two earlier and so pretended that they bought no Internet stocks and the bubble never crashed.

I predict that starting this summer, people are going start to try to ignore the real estate market. Barbeque chatter will be steered away from the topic of real estate towards topics that are not as embarrassing for some. By next spring it will be worse though. If you bring up the topic of real estate at a cocktail party, you’ll, at best, hear mutterings about unethical agents and “shady” developers. Things are just starting to get interesting.