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Old 08-01-2009, 10:51 PM   #61
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Things here in central AL are so so. I see no slow down on the highways as far as cars and trucks. It is hard to pull out on the road so people must have money for gas. Now for what I really think and this is only me. I see no way the US is getting out of this depression any time soon. Look around and you will see . How many homes do you see for sell ?? Many here, more than I can ever remember in my almost 62 years. I asked a person yesterday this. Where in this state would you go to find a job and know you could be hired soon. He thought for a minute and said, crap we are in a mess here. The big one is yet to come but it is right around the corner. Just wait and all will see. The so called bright politicians just think they have the fix. The stock market is rising and that is scary. I think that is a trick to get people back in. Not me. More banks will soon hit the headlines when they fail. Number of Banks Failed in 2009
69
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:04 AM   #62
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The Sage is near downtown but the development has no guest parking at all, and you would have to be insane to park on the freeway-like street.
The Sage
Wow, both condos look like my kind of thing -- until I went to Google Street view to look at the neighborhood around the Sage. It doesn't look very downtown to me. It looks kind of like your typical suburban thoroughfare here in the Northeast. Where are the cool places in Austin?

The Bel Air looks really nice, and the neighborhood looks a little more livable if you can stand being a bit farther from the action.
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:10 AM   #63
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Number of banks failed in 1989: 534
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:57 AM   #64
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Number of banks failed in 1989: 534
Wow! None of them were mine. In fact, I haven't noticed any banks in my area closing their doors at all. I don't claim to be the most perceptive person in the world, though. Maybe the bank closures are regional. OK, my (regional) bank was bought out by CapitalOne, but that was two or three years ago. [EDITED TO ADD: Oops!! I didn't notice the date on that until reading Leonidas' post below. Good morning. ]

Seems like a perceptible number of New Orleanians have decided to go on vacation. This is the time of year is when we usually do that. Restaurants are uncrowded (ah!! bliss - - we got great tables yesterday and peace and quiet too), and rush hour traffic is much more reasonable. The service department of my Toyota dealer seemed to be just waiting for work to do, even on Saturday.

There seem to be zero homeless people on the streets right now. Some are fixtures in the community that have been panhandling for over a decade that I know of. Either they are inside, in the A/C (thank goodness), or more likely they have migrated north to escape the heat.
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:13 AM   #65
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Number of Banks Failed in 2009
69
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Number of banks failed in 1989: 534
Thanks for putting that in perspective HFWR. I guess I can go re-bury the guns, cannned goods and gold.
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:20 AM   #66
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Where are the cool places in Austin?
I am about the most uncool person I know, but you asked so here is a map.
Cool places in Austin - Google Maps

Austin condos.jpg
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Old 08-02-2009, 01:12 PM   #67
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Speaking of which, did my CV ever bubble up to the top of the pile?
Apparently not, since one of us would have heard if it did.
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Old 08-02-2009, 01:34 PM   #68
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I have not noticed any banks closing where I am either although a couple have been bought out by others. Probably the biggest acquisition was PNC buying National City Bank. Real estate is slow and prices are lower than say five years ago but I am not aware of many properties being advertised as in foreclosure or bank-owned. And the local tax collector told me that people are not in arrears with their taxes any more than in other years. That said, I am circling the wagons a bit. I have sold a couple of stock issues where I have had significant gains, and I might sell one or two at the end of the year to take a loss on my taxes. I am trying to save as much cash as possible out of my salary and squirrel it away in a money market fund. I think twice before I buy anything big and am trying to think of my small purchases, too, as they sure do add up.
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:07 PM   #69
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I am about the most uncool person I know, but you asked so here is a map.
Cool places in Austin - Google Maps

Attachment 7032
Thanks for the map, so I guess the realtor for the Sage is stretching the truth a bit by saying that it's close to downtown. I see that most of the cool places on your map are north of the river.

I started Google streeviewing some of the cool places that you labeled and stumbled on 6th street. That jogged my memory that when Lance Armstrong was making his first come back back in 1998, he held a criterium around 6th street because that where all the cool bars are.
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:10 PM   #70
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Apparently not, since one of us would have heard if it did.
LOL! I figured that. This is yet another sign that there is a recession when every job opening seems to be swamped by tons of applicants. The small tech company that I interviewed with a while back had 17 interviewees and lord knows how many applicants for a financial analyst position. Mind you, this isn't an investment banking position, so the pay is just decent professional salary pay. I made it to the round of the final three, but I didn't get the job. Talk about a tough economy.
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:29 PM   #71
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I am serving on Jury duty this week and next. The first day everyone had to stand up and tell what they do for a living and so on. There were about 150 people there. I can bet you that 40% of the people that stood up were unemployed many having lost their jobs in the last few months. Our town is slowly going south being it is a textile town. I do not know how the rest of the country is on this issue but here it is bad. A good friend of mine got the news yesterday that his wife will be without a job in two months. These people have familes and payments. I have never seen times this bad and I have been around for a long time. oldtrig
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Old 08-05-2009, 01:38 AM   #72
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It is supposed to be 10% unemployment here. But business everywhere seems to be thriving, restaurants and bars are full, and malls are full. I was here in the 1974 recession and there is absolutely no comparison. Part of it I believe is because Boeing is running flat out trying to get the 787 going. I suppose this wing problem might throw a wrench into the production workers' lives but the engineers will certainly be getting overtime. A brand new Nieman Marcus just opened in downtown Bellevue. I believe city and state revenues are down, as we depend largely on sales tax, property tax, Business and Occupations tax rather than income taxes. SO overall the recession must be cutting, but it isn't very apparent to the eye.

Hotels are full of tourists which certainly helps too.

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Old 08-11-2009, 01:48 PM   #73
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Today, we toured two new complexes in Austin with condos up for auction. These are stylish new developments that didn't sell at $250 to $300 per sq.ft.

The Sage is near downtown but the development has no guest parking at all, and you would have to be insane to park on the freeway-like street.
The Sage
The units are all three stories, with a utility room and garage on the first floor, bedrooms on the second, and main living area (with the view) on the third. A little odd, but OK except that the main entrance opens onto the utility room. I'm not kidding.


The Bel Air is on Congress (Austin's main street), but several miles south of downtown, out in the burbs.
The Bel Air - Austin Texas Rooftop Living, Modern Living, Green Living at the Edge of the Urban Core
These are "lofts" (realtor-speak for unfinished looking), with floorplans similar to the Sage. Many units featured their unique "exhibitionist" bathroom, with a nearly floor to ceiling window next to the toilet.
Attachment 7031

Does this sound like sour grapes from a retired couple priced-out of the Austin condo market? Nah, we are way beyond sour grapes and even past vinegar. Think glacial acetic acid.

A couple of years ago, even problematic developments like these would have had no trouble selling out. Now, not so much.
Just a followup. The Bel Air auction was Saturday, and it looks like sanity is returning to the Austin real estate market. All the units sold at about $100/sq. ft. Previously, they were priced at about $300/sq.ft.

I would hate to be the guy who just closed on a $400K condo. He now has neighbors who paid $130K for identical units. Ouch!
Bel Air Condo Auction Results | News | austintowers.net

And then there are the luxury high-rises downtown.
http://austin.bizjournals.com/austin...10/daily3.html
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Old 08-11-2009, 02:07 PM   #74
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I would hate to be the guy who just closed on a $400K condo. He now has neighbors who paid $130K for identical units. Ouch!
And good luck getting the property tax assessment adjusted.

It's not something we can afford, but there's always been a part of me that wishes any homeowner can sell their property to the local government at 90% of the assessed value, guaranteed. That would seem to eliminate the desire to grossly inflate the assessed value or to refuse to drop it when the market declines.
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Old 08-11-2009, 02:12 PM   #75
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If I were writing the laws, I would require that a property tax assessment is an offer to buy, but also that a protest constitutes an offer to sell.
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