Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Letter: Why build if we cant afford

Dear VOL
I read the article on the Lakewood Real Estate Crisis in the most recent issue, with great interest. The article featured varied opinions about the crisis but reached no conclusions. Although it is difficult to reach definitive conclusions on such a complex topic there are a number of things that are very clear.
1. Home ownership is out of reach for the vast majority of Yungeleit. Even townhouses cost far too much for the average yungerman. Thus any plan to make even more land available for development in Lakewood will only serve the interests of the Real Estate industry and others, but not of the yungeleit in Lakewood that need housing but can’t afford it. There is plenty of people other than the yungeleit that will buy houses at top dollar. Don’t be fooled by anyone that says that we should build more in Lakewood because it helps the yungeleit.


2. Therefore any effort to provide even more land for development in Lakewood is a travesty. The traffic woes in this town due to lack of infrastructure and irresponsible development are already a terrible inconvenience and a safety hazard. 


3. At the recent election there was a ballot question about whether there should be higher taxes to pay for busing etc. The township understood that such an important issue that affects almost every taxpayer in town must be voted upon by the people. The people overwhelming voted against it. Perhaps it is high time that we had a ballot question on whether there should be more development in town as well when at this juncture the roads and infrastructure cannot support it. Just as the political leadership understood regarding the taxes that the people’s voices must be heard it is high time that the people are given the respect by allowing their voices to be heard on this issue that affects every member of the Lakewood community, as well. It is high time that the people have their say!




Sincerely,


Moshe Schwartz

71 comments:

  1. So it should be the norm to expect prices to be at a point where non working people should be able to afford to purchase a home??
    Get a job, borrow some money for a down payment, rent out your basement and you should be fine....

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    1. I'm working. it's much easier to just blurt out the concept of "get a job" than to actually do the whole scenario.

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    2. You dont throw rocks in a well you drank from. Lakewood was built and its success is due to the yungerleit. It is our duty as a community to continue to ensure that they have a place to live in the town they helped build. Signed a working ben torah.

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    3. wow! you are a real jerk!

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  2. I guess some people are a bit behind on the revolutionary concept of supply/demand

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    1. the demand was manufactured by ........ who convinced chasidim to move here. it is an artificial demand that drove out the yeshiva/torah crowd and brought in the heimish/materialistic crowd in their place

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    2. so we're only allowed to mention the names of some people (who i guess you don't like personally) and not others? voice for the tzibur, huh?

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  3. The point is that many homeowners now in Lakewood could not have afforded to purchase a home had they done it today. Years ago it was affordable and within reach. Those days are gone. To expect people to sit in a half hour of traffic and a routine errand takes 45 minutes is not ok when the home prices are over 500k closer to 600k. Its time to expand out unless new roads are built.

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  4. What's your point exactly? Unless the new land being developed is affordable for yungerleit then we shouldn't allow it? I guess the traffic only bothers you when the housing is purchased by ballei battim. That's nonsense. There's no question that there is a complete lack of responsibility for the future off this town with the reckless development and a complete moratorium should be instituted immediately. However, I don't see why it would be acceptable if it were for yungerleit.

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    1. if the building were for current residents to allow them to live here it makes some sense. if it's just to bring in chasidim from brooklyn who could care less about lakewood, in order to enrich brodt, ak and a few others, then it makes no sense to allow it.

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  5. Traffic bothers everyone,but if homes are cheap and affordable its something people may put up with. The current situation makes no sense to purchase a home over 500k with no land and sit for hours in traffic. Thats why the crowds are moving out to jackson and other neighborhoods outside Lakewood.

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  6. The Yeshiva should develop cedarbridge and build affordable homes to flood the market and bring prices down.

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    1. they will develop cedar bridge with million dollar homes, it will be be a new gated community with half acre lots, giant outdoor residents only swimming pools and running tracks.

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    2. "the yeshiva" who is that?

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  7. This is not an issue of supply an demand, but rather an issue of abuse of an entire community, because there are those with a vested interest in continued development, even when there is no infrastructure to support it. The government bodies in the town have a job to protect the people-make sure that the streets are safe and that the quality of life in the town is preserved. Lakewood inhabitants are suffering all because a small minority stand to gain by more and more building. It is time the suffering majority stands up for their rights.

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  8. I think his point is that the excuse often used by those who push building and development at any cost is that we must undergo this inconvenience because yungeleit-the pride and joy of this community-need housing. I think he is saying that that taanah is baloney! it is a straw man, yungeleit can't afford it anyway and they just use that straw man to justify killing Lakewood for those who are already here, because they want to build more.

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  9. The yeshiva "will" develop as much as they will be able to NOT to make it better for yungerleit but for themselves to benefit "from" the yungerleit just as they have been doing for the past 20 years ever since they raised the rent in yeshiva apt. and purchasing the other apt. in town and the constructing the princeton avenue project- no rents did not go down kollel checks remain the same but the cost of holding out ones children went up no wonder many find it difficult to marry off their children a life of torah isn't the ideal anymore nor is it supported by those that "promote" it

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  10. Its cheaper to buy a house for 550,000 with 3.5 per cent interest and a basement rental than buying a 300,000 house with 8 per cent mortgage and no rental. So yes ,as long as there are basement rentals and liw interest rates
    There are still many kollel people buying. I have relatives buying in a development where the prices are 550,000 and the majority of the buyers are still in Yeshiva. Obviously they are getting help for the down payments on a bigger scale than parents were giving 15 years ago but its still yeshivaleit.

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    1. Basement rentals are a big if and it is playing with fire to convince the yeshivaliet that this is guaranteed income. Just look at the masa umatan list and all of the new apts that they will be building by the capital. Also if another yeshiva/kollel opens up that will also kill the market.

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    2. when you look deeper into where the kollel people are able to afford 550k, you'll find that they have sponsors. very few are using all their own money. it's just not affordable.

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    3. all of those "kollel people" will be working in a year or two. it's impossible to pay back the loans they took for the down payment and the huge mortgage otherwise.

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    4. Hence the fact that for the past few years bmg enrollment has stagnated and there are very few 28-35 yr olds

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  11. Please remember that even on a 550,000 duplex,the land cost is still only about 150,000. The rest is cost to make roads ,sewer, cost of house and basement ,construction interest etc plus normal builders profit. The size and style of houses have gone up to meet the buyers demand so even if land prices crashed in half,it still would cost 475,000 to 500,000 for a duplex .If buyers wanted smaller ,less fancy duplexes ,then the builders would build that for cheaper.

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    1. max is 300k cost. even after roads etc.

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    2. you are unfortanetly so naive

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  12. I recently visited someone in Jackson. No traffic, large properties, nice sized homes.

    The best part is that it will likely stay that way. The controlling powers in Lakewood will not be able to take over Jackson, they are going to have their hands full trying to retain their control over the sheep in Lakewood in the near future.

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  13. A 250000 mortgage at 8 per cent is 1830 monthly. A 450,000 mortgage at 3.5 per cent is 2020 monthly. When you include the 1000 basement rental ,it's actually a lot cheaper today than it was 20 years ago when interest rates were 8 per cent and there were no basement rentals So yes yeshivaleit are buying as long as the parents are helping with down payments

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    1. mortgages were not 250,000 20 years ago. when the townhouses were built on park in 1997 they were going for 100 to 150 (and they have basements). after 20% down payment, that's at most 120 mortgage. single homes in new england village were in the 100 range 20 years ago.

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  14. There are many larger families that don't want to buy the smaller Jackson homes and spend another 100000 adding space for their 10 kids and making kosher kitchens. Etc.

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    1. How mnany larger famalies with 10 kids are shopping for homes now? Most of those bought years ago when it was cheap and affordable. Those that are renting with 10 kids can not afford new homes. The ones that are buying with a large family are mainly outsiders moving to Lakewood from Israel or out of town.

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  15. if you build it they will come. You want to make good money? Find a nice spot that's a 10/15 minute drive from Lakewood and build a development there. Like somewhere in Manchester down Rt. 70 E. Offer great pricing. The people who are in a crunch money wise will have an alternative option for something affordable. They can move because they will have people for a minyan, combined bussing/carpool mikvah etc. basically the infrastructure that Jews require.

    The sad part is that whoever builds it will probably jack up the prices to the max that he can because of the unique needs of a Jewish community, but then again, once that development is in place, people will start buying around the development because they will have access to the shul etc. and within a few years a whole new community will exist. Soon folks will open a store there for the locals and businesses will cater to Manchester. It will be the go to spot for the guys.

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    1. I know builders who have tried that. It didn't work. Even if you only pay 100,000 per lot ,by the time you finish the water and sewer and roads and 3100 sq foot house with kosher kitchen,you still need to charge 475,000 to 495 to make a decent profit. And most yeshivaleit won't pay that to go to Manchester.they would rather pay 100,000 more to get a basement rental in a duplex and stay in Lakewood . If prices here keep going through the roof then at some point the difference in price will be big enough to make it worthwhile.

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  16. the person that said land costs are $150,000 is either very mistaken or deliberately trying to mislead the readers of this site. Open up BP or Voice and find me a normal lot for $150k. You would be hard-pressed to find a lot even for $300k. Please try to write responsibly.

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    1. I was referring to the builders cost of a duplex lot. If a builder paid 300,000 for a duplex lot then he could not sell the duplex including finished basement. for under 700,000. Single family lots are much more expensive and out of reach. That us why duplexes are in demand

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    2. most lots that are being developed now were bought 5-10 years ago for pennies

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    3. So I guess you are nisht fargining that you didn't buy 10 years ago

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  17. The chasidim from Belz and Satmar got cheaper housing to move here the prices there were reduced to lure them here. and the builders still made money why cant the same thing be done for the yeshivaleit.

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    1. Yeshivaleit could have had the same pricing. The builder of Belz sold it to Belz cheap because at that time ,no tragically wanted to move across rt 70. So he had no choice but to sell it to Belz. That was 4 years ago. Today they would go but its too late. Need foresight

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    2. The giyishe developments on Manchester selling for 400,000 are much smaller houses than what our oilam is buying. If you built the same house there with the same amenities , yes it would be a little cheaper but not drastically. The value of the basement rental is worth 175,000 extra on the mortgage do the monthly costs without a basement income would be the same. People are not stupid. If they could get much cheaper elsewhere ,they would build and buy. The free market always finds a builder who will build if it makes sense.

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    3. Yeshivaleit were never offered those prices even then. Foresight would have been to tell the chasidim we love you but we need the land for our youngeleit who have been already living in Lakewood.

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    4. That is sheker. I know someone who spoke to the people involved and they couldn't find any regular Lakewood people to go there. Everybody said I'm not going over the 70. That was then. Now is now

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    5. Not true either there were others who tried geting it back for the youngeleit a few years ago before belz had full control. The developer had a cash call and he had to sell off the property to give cash back to the investors.

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    6. The developer has plenty of money. He didn't need to sell off anything. But he wanted to sell the units and yeshivaleit were not buying then.

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  18. there's a rumor going around that one of the big developers (who's currently building a lot of houses) is going bankrupt... any truth to this?

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    1. The jealous people who are mushy farginers are always making up false rumors. They thrive on that.

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  19. Here is why I feel it is playing with fire to rely on basement rental income:
    The following apts are going to be added within the next 2 yrs. The capitol is going to add an additional 110 units Westgate looks like they have another 50-100 units that are going to be avail soon. All of the projects on Prospect are going to have rental units 1000-1500. These are all besides the ones already vacant every week in the masa umatan. Additionally till now a lot of the homes that were being bought were in older neighborhoods Hearthstone Rain Tree, Miller ect. Almost all of those homes have been bought leaving almost all of the available housing to be new construction with each one having a rental basement.
    If a large kollel post ey bm is succesful in a different town it can also have a significant impact on the lkwd rental market.
    There are very few families in lkwd that can afford to go 2-3 months w/o their basement apt being rented out.

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    1. There are probably 600 to 700 new families being created in Lakewood yearly. There are much fewer basements coming on the market. Like anything else ,the rents will fluctuate with the demand. Some years the rents will go down to 900 and some years they will be 1200. For the right price you will always find a tenant. In the better locations ,not on route 9 you will have an easier time and get a little higher rent. The 200 units of the Capitol and Westgate are a drop in the bucket. Only Big could build apartments and lower prices ,but we have seen that they generally ask for market rents and not lower subsidized rents for yeshivaleit.

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    2. While I agree with you that "if" things stay the same it will even out. That does not change the fact that adding 2 yrs worth of apts within a short time period can create a serious problem. Most people cannot afford to wait the yr or two for things to even out. That is a loss of 12-24k of rental income.

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    3. Nobody is going to take a 24k loss. That is just fear mongering. At worst they will come down in price and get 950 or 900 or 875 instead of the current 1100 to 1150. Most people's parents will help them with the 2k per year loss for a couple of years in that worst case scenario.

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    4. Crazier things have happened there has not been a time recently where so many units have come on all at the same time.

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    5. Every business decision means some risk. But there is also the risk of watching prices go up and up. I have friends who wanted to buy in Boro,park 20 years ago and didn't because they were convinced its going to crash. Guess what the prices tripled since then and they are still living in rented quarters

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    6. While there are quite a bit of houses going up on Prospect, it's nowhere near the 1000 - 1500 as you claim. Furthermore it's not as if they are all going up the same day, it's more like 50 units now, a few months later another 50 etc.
      Another point is, the fact that massau umatan is 10 pages long is actually pretty normal for a city the size of Lakewood, it's not as if the same apartments are being listed for 3 months straight (I don't think) when massau matan was half a page for a city with over 100,000 people was a bit crazy. Same goes for the many pages of homes for sale.

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    7. You will never win this argument. The naysayers are generally people who can't afford the houses and are looking for ways to,make themselves feel better by always saying that everything is bad and will crash so they can feel good about not buying. I do feel bad because there is little affordable housing but its such nonsense today that there are 1500 units coming up,on prospect and all at the same time.

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    8. Who cares how fast or slow these houses are going up. The bottom line is traffic is a mess and there are no new plans to add infrastructure to accommodate these roads. People who bought are regretting because of the congestion and traffic.

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    9. 1. I bought my house less then 2 yrs ago it has already gone up over 20% I do not think that is a sign of healthy steady growth.
      2. It borders on predatory when the realtors make the basement rentals into a guaranteed source of income. I know of quite a few people who are now struggling as the missing of a few months of rent has placed them in a difficult financial situation.
      3. It pains me that a lot of my chaveirim and relatives who are still in kollel will not be able to afford a house in the city they helped build both in ruchniyus and in gashmiyus.

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    10. It's every buyers job to decide if he wants to rely on the basement income. Don't make everybody so stupid that they don't do any due diligence but inlyvrely on a realtor.

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    11. The County does have plans to widen Prospect and the other County Roads. Every developer is required to pay close to 1000 per unit to the County which the County will use to pay for turning lanes ,lights ,widening etc. The developers also have to widen the county roads in front of their properties and eventually the county will widen some of the left over unwidened part so that there is a wide shoulder on both sides ,with an extra turning lane to alleviate the congestion caused by turning vehicles. So before you say there are no plans ,check your facts. Its not perfect by any means ,but 8f you are building on a County road,then the County is making you pay for traffic improvements that are in their master plan for County roads.

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  20. why did TVOL not print this letter?

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    1. They did it is on page 200/ something

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    2. NO they did not print it. It may have been sent but the above letter was not printed in the current issue of The Voice of Lakewood.

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  21. Why would they print a letter if it punctures a hole in what theu want the tzibbur to think. Dont be fooled these articles pretend to tackle and cover the issues but are all paid for and sponsored by the people in power. We saw how honest reporting the voice was with the whole Bais Horahh deal.

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  22. Page 266 July 7 Issue

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    1. NO, that letter is about the Lakewood lifestyle its not the above mentioned letter. Perhaps TVOL will print it in the coming issue.

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  23. Eich Naflu I remember the day when New England Village which is a Bilevel dev was filled with working people and the houses on 14th str were considered mansions. Nowadays such a house is considered small even for a yungerman kal vchomer for a baal habus. Where in the Shulchan aruch does it say that you must live in a 3,000 sq ft house just bec you have 10 children I grew up in lakewood and many of my friends grew up with their big mishpachas in "small houses" in the yeshiva area. I shared my bedroom with 3 siblings that was the standard back then. There are a few smart people who said I can make do in a ranch or bilevel and moved to Brookwood a yr ago for 235k-275k and are paying a few hundred more a month then a rental in lkwd ashreichem. (There should be zero tolerance for real estate speculators who artificially raise the prices and give all of us a bad name. We should be very supportive in ensuring that the correct legislation is put in place in Jackson to make this practice very difficult) There is no reason why that movement cant be replicated to other neighborhoods that are within a reasonable distance to Lkwd. Last time I checked it said histapkut bmuat. Signed a working ben torah who lives in a small house.

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    1. You are right. But its a sign of the times. Every yeshivaman needs a new car and a big new house with granite counters. Maybe there should he more emphasis on pashtus in Yeshiva shmuezen

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  24. Harold herskowitzJuly 12, 2016 at 5:05 PM

    The town is run by people with ulterior motives other than what is best to keep Lakewood a liveable town with its own character. Meir Lichtenstein works for developers and is pulling the strings at the zoning and Planning boards while Menashe Miller culls favors for his influence to help developers and Realtors help themselves at the expense of the rest of us.
    So what can we do about all of this? Everyone is afraid to speak up. The machers spread rumors about those that want to do what is right. Others hide behind the shield of Torah institutions to get what they want.
    So just give up.
    Download Pokémon Go on your phone. Collect some little funny animals on your phone. At least you will have something to show for your effort.

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    1. with pokemon go more people will wander through downtown! ;)

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  25. not even pokemon would go in the downtown

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  26. The Yeshiva could have solved this problem 35 years ago. At that time the were in total control if the whole town.They could have made a system like in Gateshead that before you buy a house you need reshus from the kehila and there is no outbiding anybody else. That was not done and therefore the highest bidder wins.

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  27. Move to Cleveland and buy a Home for $150,000 (taxes $700 annually)

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