Foreclosure in Teaneck

I was speaking to a foreclosure attorney who said that the foreclosure rate was low in Teaneck despite many being out of work. (I do not know if any of this is statistically true, I took him at his word.)

I asked why?

He said because everyone has the safety cushion of their day school tuition. If they are unemployed they can just not pay the tuition and have more than enough money to pay their mortgage and utilities.

His second point was that almost everyone is in a dual income family so that there is the cushion of the other salary.

The other points that came up in the conversation was the cushion of consumption: Blackberries and ipods for all in the family, eating out very often, leased cars, and other things to be cut.

I have also heard from the gardeners and house cleaner that people laid off their help. They were all originally paying for both gardener and house cleaner.

OK – so what does this say about the enclave of Teaneck-Bergenfield Centrist Orthodoxy? What is surprising? Are there any insights about values or social organization?

The one immediate observation is the dual income. I am not sure which survey had the statistic, but the current construction of Modern Orthodoxy has a higher rate of dual income than Reform and Conservative. It is also one of the clear and sharp distinctions between Centrism and Evangelical. The latter actively teach that the virtue of a stay at home mom, while Centrism assumes that everyone works in a significant career.

7 responses to “Foreclosure in Teaneck

  1. The massive wave of the foreclosures known as the “housing bubble” of two years ago was virtually all about the houses bought with exotic mortgages or secondary properties, etc. The underwater properties or proprieties with ballooning mortgage rates. The unemployment foreclosures of the conventional 30 year mortgage kind is just now starting to kick in as savings are depleted. Your are confusing these distinct categories.

  2. Cedar Lane Chick

    To comment on Mr. Atlas’s comment, yes, the housing bubble was caused by exotic mortgages etc. but from what I heard from a number of young homeowners in the Teaneck/Bergenfield area many of the younger people did originally get these kinds of exotic mortgages.
    There are mostly 2 income families in this area in the community. I believe the majority had the knowledge to refinance to 15 or 30 year fixed mortgages before the bubble burst. I have been told by some of these homeowners when many of them bought their homes they were told to only hold an “exotic” mortgage for no more than 3-5 years then they must refinance.

    Since this is not a tutiton or housing blog, I wonder sociologically if the parents mentioned above who are laying off house cleaners and gardeners, not paying their tuition bills and still buying the “toys” like blackberries etc. and eating out, feel that anything they can do themselves can be cut? I’m wondering if they feel they still have to keep up appearances within the community (being seen in eateries and with the hottest cell phone with the cool leased car) but things that are “hidden” in the community (who is paying tuition or not, who is cleaning for themselves and who is not) are either not being done or suddenly done by the families?

    I also wonder if the community feels they HAVE to have a dual income to pay for what they feel the community socially expects of them?

  3. I am more interested if there is any communal support for these people in finding jobs, income and outright cash. Otherwise in all seriousness you can hardly call this a “community”.

    The ugly side exposed by this recession is the indifference people feel to others, the numbness to the financial calamities. As if you are supposed to die in a plague. This is the lasting legacy of this great recession. The final erosion of the communal values amongst Jews. It also in a certain way explains the indifference during the Holocausts.

  4. On the subject of the “toys”. The cost is in the plans not the devices. PDA is not a toy for a job seeker. People can’t sit at home all day so they need to be connected on the go. Moreover the cost of the plan and the phone could be Tax deducted as part of the “job search” etc. And even though we use telephony much more these days the cost is actually comparable to what people used to pay to call long distance cousin in Brooklyn. In fact it was common in the 80s to pay several hundred dollars a month for the home phone. Except you didn’t have to put up with some yenta eying your iPhone while you out to get some milk for the family.

  5. Up to Teaneck in Debt

    “If they are unemployed they can just not pay the tuition and have more than enough money to pay their mortgage and utilities.”

    We’ll see how long that’ll last. How many school closings before the other schools wise up?

  6. Ben Atlas – In fact it was common in the 80s to pay several hundred dollars a month for the home phone.

    You must be kidding! In our house, we had a timer next to our phone and were very careful not to allow international calls (or even out-of-state) calls to go on for too long. If I recall correctly, our phone bill was usually about $70-80 a month, and perhaps $120 in a month where a family member might have been traveling overseas.

    Of course, you brought up an excellent point about tzedaka and why it isn’t as forthcoming as it should be. Perhaps many people aren’t interested in paying the few hundred dollar a month phone bill for people who are out of work but refuse to give up their dual iPhones (husband and wife), their other 3 phones for the kids, and the family plan with unlimited data for mom and dad, and unlimited texting for the kids.

    Perhaps the best way to describe this recession is “The entitlement recession” because so many thought they were entitled to bigger houses than they can truly afford, and the entire country thought it was entitled to more imported toys than it can afford, and worst of all we think we are entitled to more government than we can afford!

  7. On the topic of stay-at-home mothers:

    Around six years ago the OU reprinted an article in Shabbat Shalom where a women defended her decision to stay home with her kids. the article generated a significant amount of criticism including an article in The Forward.

    Of course for every Mother (stay-at-home or working) its a loaded issue.

    From a sociological perspective, Chareidim are more in line with the Evangelicals on this point.

    Additionally, having a wife/mother with a significant career usually means having fewer children.

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