What’s Your LDL Particle Count?

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I’m a PhD chemist who’s a retired hospital administrator. One of the reasons I wanted a career in science/healthcare is that they are fields that require lifetime learning because of the fast pace at which information changes. I try to keep up to date with new advances in medicine, especially in several areas, such as new clinical laboratory tests that may help diagnose or monitor disease.

When I was at the medical center I used to give presentations to community groups and spoke about topics such as cholesterol and cardiovascular disease (think heart attacks). For many years the presentation didn’t change much:

Your blood cholesterol is one of several risk factors for heart attacks. You can change           some risk factors, like smoking, hypertension (high blood pressure), your blood                     cholesterol level, etc. but some you can’t change, like age, sex, etc.

We’ve known for many decades that as your blood cholesterol level increases over 200         mg/dL, you tend to have a greater chance of having a heart attack. However, there are         several different kinds of cholesterol in your blood. 20 years ago we knew that some             kinds of cholesterol are bad (like LDL, Low Density Lipoprotein) and some are good             (like HDL, High Density Lipoprotein). Although total cholesterol is important, it                   doesn’t tell the whole story: you can reduce your risk of a heart attack by lowering your     LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) either with diet or with medications.

I used to end my presentations by saying, “Get your number down, before your number’s up!”.

Lowering LDL cholesterol to prevent heart attacks seems like a simple concept, except for one disturbing fact: half the people who have heart attacks have normal levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. We used to get around that problem by saying that cholesterol was only a small part of the overall picture, and that age, sex, blood pressure, smoking, etc. also had to be considered. That’s a greatly simplified version of what we thought back then.

For many years we determined the amount of LDL cholesterol by performing a routine “lipid panel”: measuring total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides (another kind of lipid) and then using an equation to calculate the LDL level. Eventually scientists discovered a way to actually test and measure LDL cholesterol itself, and found that there are several different kinds of LDL cholesterol. When we calculated or measured “LDL”, we had been talking about total LDL. It turns out that, just as there are several kinds of cholesterol, there are several different kinds of LDL. About 5 years ago, researchers began studying the various kinds of LDL cholesterol, and we began to refer to total LDL as LDL-C (think LDL concentration). Through advanced techniques like nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) we can actually measure and count LDL particles, which we call LDL-P, and we can differentiate small LDL particles from big LDL particles. I know we’re covering a lot of information in a short time, but stay with me.

For many people the numbers for LDL-C and LDL-P tend to change at an equal rate. In other words, as the total LDL cholesterol goes up, the number of LDL particles goes up just as quickly. However, in some people, LDL-C goes up faster than LDL-P, and in other people LDL-C goes up slower than LDL-P. We call this “discordance”. This can be important, since a given person can have a normal amount of total LDL, but an elevated number of LDL particles.

Some very elegant clinical studies showed that LDL-P (the number of LDL particles) is a better indicator of future heart attack risk than just LDL-C (the total LDL concentration). In addition, small LDL particles tend to be more dangerous than large LDL particles. Is this the answer to the riddle of why half of heart attacks occur in patients with normal cholesterol and normal LDL-C? That may be an over simplification, but this newer information is so important that I recommend everyone have their LDL-P measured and compared to their LDL-C at least once as a baseline.

If you’ve never had your LDL-P measured, ask your physician to order it instead of just ordering the normal “lipid panel”. This is especially important if you or a family member has a history of heart disease. The specialized laboratory that performs this test is LipoScience in Raleigh NC, and the test itself is called “NMR LipoProfile”. In addition to giving you a number for LDL-P, the LipoProfile produces a battery of other test results, but we’ve already covered a lot of things, so let’s just stop here for now. Note: if your regular physician isn’t a cardiologist, he/she may not be familiar with LDL-P or the NMR LipoProfile.

If your LDL-P is low, great! You can save the results as a baseline and have it measured again in several years. However, if it’s elevated, your physician may want to monitor your response to diet and/or medications by using it to assess progress, rather than the usual way of using LDL-C.

I am neither affiliated with nor have a financial interest in LipoScience; I’m passing along the name for informational purposes only. If you’ve found this article interesting, you can get more information by searching online for “LDL-P”, “LipoProfile”, etc.

Len

Rumson-Fair Haven Realtor Len DunikoskiLeonard “Len” Dunikoski, GRI
REALTOR® Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760

(732) 239-0739  (cell)    (732) 530-6686 (office)

ldunikoski@dianeturton.com

http://www.rumsonfairhavenhome.com

@ListWithLen

Posted in Rumson Fair Haven Real Estate | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

August Update: the Fair Haven Real Estate Market

Currently on the market: 558 Ridge Road, Fair Haven

Currently on the market: 558 Ridge Road, Fair Haven

Ten (10) Fair Haven homes sold (closed) in July, and our four key real estate indicators are virtually unchanged from what they were last month. The median price of a Fair Haven home increased 6% compared to a year ago. In addition, 3 of the 4 key real estate indicators are negative for home buyers (more homes were sold, fewer homes are available for sale and the median sales price is higher). Although the real estate absorption rate increased from 3.5 months last year to 3.8 months now, it’s still 5.0 months so we’re still in a “Seller’s Market” (5 – 7 months).

    Fair Haven Single-Family Home Sales, January 1 – July 31

                                    2014                2015                Comment

Sales                             62                   74      19% more homes sold.

Listings/Month*       35                   33      6% fewer homes on market.

Months Supply*       3.5                  3.8      Weaker demand vs. supply.

Median Sale      $682,000      $721,250     6% higher median sales price.

                                    *based on the previous 12 months of listings

 

Demand for homes usually picks up after Labor Day and stays strong until mid-November. This year there’s an additional twist: the Federal Reserve is expected to increase the federal funds rate at one of their monthly meetings between now and the end of the year; many economists are predicting it will be announced at their September meeting.

An increase in the federal funds rate will translate into higher mortgage rates, so it will be interesting to see how the real estate market reacts. Will buyers be even more active than usual, hoping to nail down a mortgage while the rates are still at historically low levels? Will an increase in mortgage rates make fewer homes affordable for first time home buyers?

Either way, if you’ve been thinking of taking out a mortgage to buy a home in Fair Haven (or anywhere else for that matter), my recommendation is to try to go under contract sooner rather than later, because there almost certainly will be more than one rate hike. Call me for a no-obligation visit to talk about it, or for me to show you the Fair Haven homes that are currently on the market.

  • Len

Rumson Fair Haven Realtor Len DunikoskiLeonard “Len” Dunikoski, GRI
REALTOR® Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760

(732) 239-0739  (cell)    (732) 530-6686 (office)

ldunikoski@dianeturton.com

http://www.rumsonfairhavenhome.com

@ListWithLen

 

Posted in Fair Haven Homes Sold, Fair Haven Real Estate Market, Rumson Fair Haven Real Estate, Rumson Fair Haven Realtor, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Monmouth County Real Estate Overview

Monmouth County

Although we focus on Fair Haven, Rumson and the surrounding town periodically it’s good to take a look at a wider area and see how the real estate market is doing. We’ve all heard the expression, “All real estate is LOCAL”, and while that’s true it doesn’t hurt to compare OUR local area with other areas in New Jersey, and specifically in Monmouth County.

At mid-year, as a whole, the median price of homes sold in Monmouth County rose 3% compared to a year ago. However, there was a lot of variation from town to town- in some towns prices increased, and in others they decreased. Here are the numbers for 23 towns in the Eastern portion of the county:

1 Year
         Town            Jun 30 2015 Median
No. Median Price Change
Monmouth County 3,318 $350,000  2.9%
Aberdeen 100 $300,500 11.5%
Asbury Park 74 $304,500 38.5%
Atlantic Highlands 26 $380,050  2.2%
Colts Neck 48 $695,000  0.8%
Eatontown 64 $282,000  9.3%
Fair Haven 64 $721,250  6.3%
Hazlet 92 $275,000 -3.2%
Highlands 37 $182,000 -9.1%
Holmdel 76 $668,750 14.3%
Little Silver 41 $545,000 -4.4%
Long Branch 118 $327,500  7.4%
Manalapan 231 $380,000  1.9%
Marlboro 176 $431,750  2.9%
Matawan 52 $292,500  3.9%
Middletown 368 $358,950  4.2%
Monmouth Beach 35 $750,000 81.1%
Ocean 123 $342,000 -2.8%
Oceanport 27 $500,000 21.2%
Red Bank 62 $277,500 -8.7%
Rumson 41 $1,075,000  2.4%
Shrewsbury 24 $462,450 -2.6%
Tinton Falls 128 $302,500  6.1%
West Long Branch 35 $359,900  2.5%

A quick look at the table shows that with a 2.9% increase,  prices rose at a rate that was slightly below the county-wide rate. On the other hand, Fair Haven real estate prices increased at a rate that was double the county’s overall rate. Little Silver home prices actually decreased compared to a year ago.

Most of the numbers shoudn’t surprize you- the largest percentage increases came in places like Asbury Park, which is coming back strong after years of  unpopularity, and Monmouth Beach, where last year’s sales were still reflecting some of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. If you’re interested in a Monmouth County town that I didn’t list, just email or text me and I’ll get you the data.

Rumson Realtor Len DunikoskiLeonard “Len” Dunikoski, GRI
REALTOR® Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760

(732) 239-0739  (cell)    (732) 530-6686 (office)

ldunikoski@dianeturton.com

http://www.rumsonfairhavenhome.com

@ListWithLen

Posted in Fair Haven Real Estate Market, Little Silver Homes Sold, Rumson Real Estate Market, Rumson-Fair Haven Real Estate Market | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Rumson Real Estate Market at Mid-Year

10 Ivins Pl RUM 1,182,500 061915

The year is half over, and it’s a good time to take an assessment of the local real estate markets. Yesterday we looked at Fair Haven, where the median price of a home increased 7% (to $725,000) compared to a year ago. In addition, 3 of the 4 key real estate indicators are negative for Fair Haven home buyers.

Today we’ll look at Rumson, where the data, though mixed, have some better news for home buyers. First let’s see the numbers and then we’ll assess them:

   Rumson Single-Family Home Sales, January 1 – June 30

                                                2014                2015                Comment

Sales                                      48                    41      15% fewer homes sold.

Listings*                               80                    69      14% fewer homes on market.

Months Supply*                   7.5                   8.5      Weaker demand vs. supply.                 (Absorption Rate)

Median Sale              $1,050,000         $1,075,000  2% higher median sales price.

                                    *based on the previous 12 months of listings

Fewer home sales are good news for home buyers in that they indicate decreased demand, which tends to push prices lower. In addition to the percentage change, it’s significant that fewer homes sold in Rumson than in Fair Haven (in most years the opposite is true). The market appears to be weaker for the higher priced listings.

On the other hand, fewer homes on the market indicates lower supply, which tends to increase sales prices and thus is bad news for Rumson home buyers. With fewer choices available, a buyer can’t negotiate a lower price as easily as when more choices are available.

The real estate absorption rate is a calculation of how long it would take to sell all the houses on the market, assuming homes continue to sell at the same rate as they have for the past 12 months. There are two things to note about the absorption rate this month. First, an absorption rate of 5 – 7 months is considered to be a “Normal Market”, and over 7.0 months is considered a “Buyer’s Market”. A longer absorption rate is good news for home buyers, since it’s taking longer for homes to sell. Rumson’s absorption rate has been rising steadily since the end of 2014, and 8.5 months is longer than it was a year ago, so we’re in even more of a “Buyer’s Market”.

The last indicator is the median home price, which is 2% higher than it was a year ago. Any price increase is bad news for home buyers, but at the end of May, April and March, the median price was lower than it was a year ago, so I wouldn’t get too upset with this month’s number.

The 4 key indicators are evenly split: two are positive and two are negative. To me, I’d give a slightly higher emphasis on the 8.5 month real estate absorption rate and say that the Rumson real estate market is good for buyers right now. If you’re looking for a home in Rumson I’d be glad to show you everything that’s available in your price range. If you’re out of the area and can’t come to see a new listing personally, if I’m your Buyer’s Agent I’ll go photograph anything significant that isn’t shown in the listing photos. I also can do a video walk through for you, although it won’t be as polished as one that I’d make for a Seller. If you really want to buy a home in Rumson, I’ll do whatever it takes to see that it happens. Give me a call.

Len

Posted in Homes in Rumson, Rumson Homes Sold, Rumson Real Estate, Rumson Real Estate Market, Rumson Realtor | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Fair Haven Real Estate Market is HOT!

This home at 30 Katherine Street, Fair Haven, sold in June for $717,500

This home at 30 Katherine Street, Fair Haven, sold in June for $717,500

As of June 30th, the median price of a home in Rumson increased by 2% compared to a year ago, and we’ll take a closer look at that data tomorrow. Today let’s look at Fair Haven, where the median price of a home increased 7% (to $725,000) compared to a year ago. That means buyers are going to have to pay more for a Fair Haven home than they would have a year ago. In addition, 3 of the 4 key real estate indicators are negative for Fair Haven home buyers (more homes were sold, fewer homes are available for sale and the median sales price was higher). Those key objective real estate indicators are predicting that prices will continue to rise in the near future. The real estate absorption rate is longer than it was a year ago, so this should be good news for home buyers (highlighted below in underlined font). Here are the numbers in tabular form:

    Fair Haven Single-Family Home Sales, January 1 – June 30

                                    2014                2015                Comment

Sales                              50                   63      26% more homes sold.

Listings/Month*         34                    33      3% fewer homes on market.

Months Supply*        3.5                  3.7      Weaker demand vs. supply.

Median Sale         $678,500      $725,000     7% higher median sales price.

                                    *based on the previous 12 months of listings

More home sales indicates increased demand, which tends to push prices higher. Likewise, fewer homes on the market indicates lower supply, which also tends to increase sales prices. The real estate absorption rate is a calculation of how long it would take to sell all the houses on the market, assuming homes continue to sell at the same rate as they have for the past 12 months. Since the absorption rate is longer, normally we’d say this was good news for Fair Haven home buyers. However, before you get too excited, you should know that the absorption was 4.3 months in January and has decreased to 3.7 months now. Also remember that an absorption rate on less than 5.0 months is considered to be a “seller’s market”.

With homes in Fair Haven in such high demand, you should know what’s available in your price range. Go look at as many homes as possible, so you get a good idea of that portion of the market. Then when a new listing is posted you’ll be able to judge whether it’s a good value for the money or priced too high. Remember, though, that there will be other “informed consumers” looking to relocate to Fair Haven, and they’ll be going through the same process. When a home is priced at or below the market, it goes under contract quickly. Don’t wait to go look at it, because delaying may mean that you’ll lose it to someone else, or you’ll end up in a bidding war.

If you’re out of the area and can’t see a new listing personally, if I’m your Buyer’s Agent I’ll go photograph anything significant that isn’t shown in the listing photos. I also can do a video walk through for you, although it won’t be as polished as one that I’d make for a Seller. If you really want to buy a home in Fair Haven, I’ll do whatever it takes to see that it happens.

Len

Dunikoski092011ALeonard “Len” Dunikoski, GRI
REALTOR® Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760

(732) 239-0739  (cell)    (732) 530-6686 (office)

ldunikoski@dianeturton.com

http://www.rumsonfairhavenhome.com

@ListWithLen

Posted in Fair Haven Homes Sold, Fair Haven Real Estate Market, Fair Haven Realtor, Len Dunikoski, Rumson-Fair Haven Real Estate Market | 1 Comment

Tea Bag Wisdom

Be Kind

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May 2015 Fair Haven Real Estate Update

List Your Home with Len Dunikoski

List Your Home with Len Dunikoski

At the end of 4 months, only 1 of the 4 key real estate indicators is now positive for Fair Haven home buyers, instead of the 2 out of 4 we saw in January, February and March (highlighted below in underlined font: the real estate absorption rate, i.e. the number of months it would take to sell ALL the homes on the market, is longer than it was a year ago). Don’t get too excited, though- a real estate absorption rate less than 5 months is still considered a “Seller’s Market”.

    Fair Haven Single-Family Home Sales, January 1 – April 30

                                    2014                2015                Comment

Sales                              26                   27      4% more homes sold.

Listings/Month*       33                    31      6% fewer homes on market.

Months Supply*        3.5                  4.0      Weaker demand vs. supply.

Median Sale         $684,000      $699,000     2% higher median sales price.

                                    *based on the previous 12 months of listings.

 

The other 3 key, objective indicators are all negative for Fair Haven home buyers: more homes were sold, indicating higher demand; fewer homes were on the market, indicating less room to negotiate on price; and the median sales price is higher (although only slightly).

In Monmouth County, Brokers Open Houses are held every Tuesday to give Realtors a chance to preview homes which have been recently listed for sale. I try to attend the Brokers Open Houses for every home in Fair Haven and Rumson, so I have a good idea what’s available when buyers ask me to find them a certain kind of house with this number of bedrooms, that number of baths, and within their budget. Realtors call this “knowing the inventory”. It’s important to me because I don’t want to waste my time and the buyer’s time showing them homes that aren’t what they’re looking for. My first responsibility is to my clients: I’ll show buyers as many homes as they want to see over as long as it takes for them to feel confident that they’re making the right choice.

If you’re looking for a home in Fair Haven or Rumson, I’d be glad to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. I’ve said it many times: if you’re thinking of buying a home and you see something you like on the internet, DON’T CALL THE LISTING AGENT (even if it’s me). The Listing Agent works for the Seller, and has a fiduciary responsibility to negotiate the highest selling price for his clients. A good Buyer’s Agent will show you homes listed by many different real estate agencies (not just his own), and will do everything possible to negotiate the lowest selling price. I’d love to show you what a great area Rumson-Fair Haven is to live in!

Rumson-Fair Haven Realtor Len DunikoskiLeonard “Len” Dunikoski, GRI
REALTOR® Associate
Diane Turton Realtors – Rumson Office
8 West River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760

(732) 239-0739  (cell)    (732) 530-6686 (office)

ldunikoski@dianeturton.com

http://www.rumsonfairhavenhome.com

@ListWithLen

Posted in Fair Haven Real Estate, Fair Haven Real Estate Market, Fair Haven Realtor, Rumson Fair Haven Realtor | Leave a comment