2009 Feb 25th

The Weekly Wednesday Wrap Up – Hoboken Condo Sales & Inventory for the Week Ending 2/24

Research, analysis & post by Lori Turoff

[email protected]

What’s new in Hoboken?

We’ve got a fiscal stimulus bill with some benefits for some home buyers, (the details of which are still a bit murky) yet the NY Times reports that homes sales are at the slowest pace in a more than a decade. Recent Hoboken sales activity certainly seems follow that trend.

In just a few days I’ll have the the monthly numbers for February so check back to see the results.

Studio & 1 Bedroom Hoboken Condos:

170 total active – $448,902 average asking price.   93 average DOM so far.

4 Dabos – 253 DOM.

2 sold – $374,450 average sales price.   56 average DOM.

 13 new listings – average list price $391,223.

11 price changes.

Two Bedroom Hoboken Condos:

291 total active – average asking price $659,773. 112 DOM so far.

3 dabos – after 78 average DOM

1 sale – at $619,000 sale price, 120  DOM .

22 price changes

15 new 2BR listings – average list price $639,037.

Three Bedroom and Larger Hoboken Condos:

57 active 3BR condos – average asking price $1,158,664. 140 DOM so far.

None went under contract.

None sold.

2 price changes

No new 3 bedroom listings.

Hoboken Condo Open Houses

If you are in the market for a Hoboken condo, don’t forget to check our Hoboken Open House Google Map on Friday, Saturday & Sunday to see if any of the new listings (or old ones) are having open houses this weekend. The map is updated every week so even if your google search seems to pull up an older version, when you click on the link you’ll see the current version.


  1. Jon

    Looks like there are a lot of realtors out there who need to reevaluate their listings. There are a bunch of comps that are almost 100k mispriced. Wake up folks. Just because you have stainless steel and granite countertops, your two bedroom two bath with parking is no longer worth $600,000! There are a lot of nice places, over a 1000 sq ft. that are listed close to 500k and have no offers. Guess folks aren’t that eager to sell.

  2. Lori

    Jon, I have to agree with you. The problem is twofold, however. The seller is supposed to make the ultimate pricing decision. I wonder, however, how many sellers interview several well-qualified potential listing agents and are inclined to select from among them the one that recommends listing the property at a higher price.

    I’ve also seen way too many condos with old, crummy-looking kitchen cabinets, a mix of old appliances and a new stainless steel fridge, and a new granite counter. In my opinion, if you’re not going to redo the whole kitchen it usually looks better to leave it be and ask for a lower sales price. People out there do seem to think that stainless and granite have some magic power!

  3. Jon

    You are 100% correct. Most of the kitchens in Hoboken are on the smaller scale. I would estimate the costs to be about this: 6k in granite. 5k on nice appliances and fixtures. 2k on new cabinet faces. I’d much rather choose my own kitchen out for 13k then have someone else choose it and list the property 40k more then it should be.

  4. potential_buyer

    For us potential buyers out there, biding our time, it is frustrating to see that many sellers are still not “with it”. I loved the comment by Q209 buyer from last week, because it really captured the essence of what us on the sidelines are feeling right now. It may be even worse, as many sellers out there may just expect hard negotiation, and up their selling price in anticipation – has anyone witnessed much of this occurring?

    Moving forward, I like trying to figure out what a recently remodeled condo should go for in a “nice” part of town – perhaps between Garden & Clinton. Is $500 sq/ft a fair price in today’s market? I haven’t been in the are long enough to know what the typical nice condos go for…

    Oh, and BTW – I love the blog, extremely useful!!!!

  5. Lori

    Potential_Buyer – I cant say I’ve witnessed sellers up their selling price in anticipation of negotiation but I have been involved in several negotiations lately (and I tend to work with mostly buyers) in which I thought the seller was foolish.

    When you’ve got 500+ properties on the market and 5 to 10 sales a week on a GOOD week, sellers, in my opinion, should not be quibbling over $5,000. They should be hugely thankful that they have a reasonable offer at all. Figure about 1% of the properties on the market are selling! You have an offer – that buyer can walk and have his or her pick of similar properties at similar prices. Why would you let them walk away? What are the chances of the seller actually getting another offer for slightly more in the future? I’d say very, very slim.

    What I have noticed is that this phenomenon occurs primarily among sellers who bought at the height of the market a few years ago and are taking a hit on their sale. Of course no one likes losing money but these sellers neglect to take into account that they got to live in (or rent out) the property for a number of years. They had the tax advantage of owning it for a number of years. If they are buying something else, they will buy at a lower price now. Yet they continue to think they can ‘do better’. Amazing.

  6. leekathe


    How current is your data? I closed on my 3BR+den on 2/23 and it is not showing up in your sales data. I noticed one of the 1BRs you listed closed on 2/24. Can you please check to make sure it appears in next week’s roundup? thank you.

  7. JF

    I just shake my head when I see some of the listings that are priced at 2005 prices. As they try to hold on to once was their treasure chest with a white knuckle grip…it sinks futher to the bottom. They reduce their price to where it should have been 6 months ago to sell…but not enough to matter enough today. Do they really think the “Spring Buying Season” is going to rescue their overpriced condo? Note to sellers….more balloons outside your unit isn’t going to help you.

  8. Lori

    Leekathe – RE: Inaccurate Data:

    My data comes straight from the MLS. The MLS gets it from various agents. Your agent, like every agent, has to manually go into the system and change the status when your property closes. Very often, they forget. Or they give it to the receptionist to do and it doesn’t get done for a while, or at all. There is no real follow up on the process from the brokers or from the MLS. That is why the data is not always timely, Unfortunately, there is no way for me to know when an agent fails to update a listing. I don’t know the specifics of your sale but you should ask your agent if they changed the status of your property to “sold” in the MLS system. When they do, it will show up in my report, I assure you.

    JF – You are 100% correct. Sellers get desperate and want their agent to do more of the same – more balloons, more postcards, more open houses. Of course, that is not the issue in most cases. Sure, marketing is important and needs to be done especially in a down market. But if the property is over priced today, none of it matters.

  9. LookinToBuyInHobo

    I was following that property for a while, and wanted to hear your take. I mean, the unit was offerred at mid-400 last fall and sold for ~360K (!) Though it was a fifth floor walk up and taxes are on the high side, the unit was spacious, got two fireplaces, tons of windows, and in a great building. That just sounds like a deal to me. Yeah?

    Bottom line is that, I think there’s some deals out there for the buyers (just like the small 1-BR with the deeded backyard that sold for mid-200 last week).

  10. Tiger

    Thanks a lot Lori for the info! You rock!

    As for the Citadel unit, yes, it is a great deal! Just to give you an idea, last fall a unit was sold for $307K, it was a 540 sq ft unit, no renovation whatsoever (still the original kitchen and appliances from 1986 when citadel was converted from school to condos). So $365K for 642 sq ft renovated unit, plus parking is a deal even in today’s market.

  11. Tiger

    Is it normal for data become to become inconsistent during downturn? I fully agree with you Jon and JF, I look at some of those listings and wonder — are they for real? It seems that data is just scattered all over the place (which kinda annoys me, I’m not going to go on about my self-admitted three letter diseases, everything has to be neat and consistent lol)! Some units seem to be average, some are $10K or $20K, some literally need to be cut by $100K or so.

  12. Lori

    Tiger – I think the asking price numbers are all over the place because there is so much disagreement and confusion over the economy in general right now. Some sellers are simply better advised or more realistic than others. Some are more motivated to sell. Remember, there is a huge disparity in their gain or loss depending on when they bought. Sellers who purchased in the early 2000’s are still going to make money. Those who bought in ’05 and ’06 are crying the blues.

  13. Lori

    Looking to Buy – I agree there are some deals out there. Since we’ve been picking on the sellers today, I’d like to point out that there are buyers who don’t understand that there are deals and when these units show up, they sell immediately. So what I always recommend to my buyers is that they look at as many properties as possible. That gives them a basis for evaluating value. It makes them feel comfortable and confident so that when the see a deal they know it’s a deal and they can act. There are many buyers who think they can ‘wait and do better’ while letting some good opportunities slip away.

  14. patk14

    There is a very negative article in today’s NY Times about condo auctions in NYC. Prices are dropping dramatically with supply up and incomes down. It will have a severe negative impact on Hoboken real estate prices. I would advise sellers to be aggressive in cutting their offer prices now to avoid selling for much less in coming months. Buyers, be patient, things are getting worse not better.

  15. Lori

    If you look in the sidebar, I sent out a tweet about this a little while ago. My take on the article was that it talks about developers of new construction, not resales. Will it affect prices in general if developers cut prices? Sure. But look at Toll Bros. here in Hoboken. All they will concede at Maxwell Place is some free maintenance and parking. They continue to hold the line on pricing from what I’ve been told. So I don’t know if “severe” is the word I would choose.

  16. Tiger

    Thanks. Patk14, here it is:


    When it comes to real estate, I am not sure I trust New York Times. I’ve read countless numbers of fluff stories meant to promote a certain building or developer.

    The article seemed more of an auction advertisement than an objective look at the market, just my $0.02

  17. DKzzzzdkzzzzdkzzzz

    Tiger are you sure Citadel condo was a great deal? It sold for 565/sq foot and it is very far from Path, somewhere on a bus line.
    As a buyer I can say that there is no value for me in renovation. 99% of renovations are made by people with no taste, using builder’s standard materials (cheapest)and completed with errors and poor craftsmanship.
    I don’t need black cherry floors that everyone sourced from the same mill(they make spaces darker than they are), nor plastic soaking tubs, nor builder-standard sinks with idiotic plugs, nor cheapest plastic windows that don’t hold wind…..
    I am looking to buy rectangular square footage in good building and conveniently located.
    But I realize I am probably in minority.

  18. Lori Turoff

    The Citadel is on 7th and Adams in the center of town. Hardly “very far” from the PATH. What is it, a 15 minute walk? With the bus on Clinton for bad weather?

    While some renovations are terrible, this happened to be a nice one. Relative to all the other units in this building, and there are many, it was a good deal.

    What does rectangular square footage mean? Raw space to do your own reno? Not much of that around.

    What constitutes a good building? What is conveniently located? Isn’t that all a matter of taste?

  19. Tiger

    DKzzzz, yes it is. There’s plenty of tax info and last sale records for that building, take a look yourself.

    The Hoboken overall sq ft avarege seems to apply more to 2 BR, 1 BRs are almost always more expensive, 3BR+ is cheaper than the average, regardless of the market.

    I don’t know the details of that particular unit, but the Citadel building is a very good deal. It’s big, has a lot of character, 14 ft ceilings, 8 ft windows, has a strong condo association, low maint. fees (for an elevator builiding with a super), and relatively low taxes (at least, used to). All units are rectangular or even square. It looks NOTHING like your typical walkup railroad condos in Hoboken.

    7th and Adams is only a 15 minute walk to the path :-), it can’t get more central in Hoboken than this.

  20. patk14

    I’m pretty confident our friends at Toll will be making major concessions by mid-2009. I know that they are watching the NYC market closely and will have to respond to competitive pressures. As Manhattan prices decline (everyone agrees that this is happening), the luxury buildings on the Hoboken waterfront will have to reduce their askings. The article also references a condo auction in Weehawken in a development where no units were sold.

  21. Lori Turoff

    Someone from Toll actually called my broker last week complaining that they didn’t like what I posted about them! Guess freedom of the press is not their thing. I agree that they have got to be feeling the pain. Especially in their non-Maxwell buildings.

  22. JC

    Lori (or anybody) when in your opinion did the Hoboken RE market “peak”?


  23. Lori

    Surprisingly, we hit our highs mid-2005 and stayed there through the beginning of 2008. Whether you look at average sales price, price per square foot, or median sales price, the story is fairly the same. If someone can tell me how to post images in comments I’d show you the graphs. If not, I’ll try to post it as a post tomorrow. (Based on MLS listed properties only – not new construction)

  24. BC

    Hello Lori,

    Do you have any feelings about MetroStop? I’m dabling about the idea of placing an offer and was curious to know your thoughts on timing and cost per square feet. I know there are a lot of factors involved in price. However any thoughts or insight you could provide would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance for all your thoughts.

  25. DKzzzzdkzzzzdkzzzz

    TIGER: 7th and Adams is only a 15 minute walk to the path :-), it can’t get more central in Hoboken than this.

    LORI: 1.The Citadel is on 7th and Adams in the center of town. Hardly “very far” from the PATH. What is it, a 15 minute walk? With the bus in Clinton for bad weather?

    I live on Grand and 3rd and it takes me 15 minutes of brisk walking to reach PATH.
    So, no Citadel Condos are nowhere near 15 min. from Path.

  26. Lori Turoff

    Well you can always ride a bike!

  27. Lori Turoff

    BC – MetroStop is a Metro Homes building. They are known to do fairly good work. They build The Huntington, Prospect Hill, Pembroke Place, The Oz, The Everard and a few more. . I suggest you just google “metrostop” because you will find threads on different sites (especially Hoboken411.com) talking about the building. I have not seen the units. I’ve heard there may be a noise issue with the light rail train warning alarm but I think it was fixed. Again, check the threads. Other than that, you have to be OK with the location and real estate is all about location, location, location.

  28. Tiger

    LOL, ok DKzzzz :-), i guess I’m a fast walker (I blame it on 80’s synth music on my Ipod – tunes I memorized as a toddler and had no idea what they meant then).

    Take your time, and find what works for you. For me, that paricular location worked great, I don’t work in the city so I go to NYC for fun (and shopping). I have a car and parking is much easier in that part of town. There’s also a dry cleaner and a doctor in the basement of the building itself, plus my gym (Club KO) is only four blocks away, and if I want to visit friends in Port Imperial, the lightrail is five blocks away. Backyard Bistro, Willie mcBride, A&P, a wine store, Ac/DC bar are all one/two block away.

    Hoboken is much more than a commuter town for me, if I wanted a commuter town, I would move to Newport. Now good luck finding a non-chair restaurant there 🙂

  29. Dave

    Lori, I’ve just been following your blog a bit for the past few weeks. I think you are providing a good service, and you like to point out no one has a crystal ball. That’s true, but people have common sense and if educated can get a good idea of probable future real estate prices. Anything is possible (such as prices won’t fall more than 10-15% and the economy will recharge and all will be well and back on track), but most potential buyers want to deal in probabilities based on facts and evident trends visible today, not possibilities.

    Based on a number of recent posts I’ve seen here I get the sense that many visitors still don’t understand the scope of the financial problems we face, the unsustainability of price to income ratios that developed during the bubble, and how far prices have to drop to get historically sustainable ratios restored.

    Some may be interested in this article, as it relates to the high probability of where RE prices are likely to be headed: go to http://online.barrons.com/public/main
    and click on “Manhattan on Sale”. Some outtakes:

    Ivy Zelman, a former Credit Suisse analyst who was among the first to call a national housing bust, figures that the New York housing market is headed straight down.

    “When we look at New York City, we look at a price-income ratio that historically has been four times income, versus three times nationwide,” says Zelman, who now runs her own firm. At 7.7 today, that ratio is “significantly higher than normal” because prices have only started falling. “If you want simply to get back to the median, it would be a 46% correction,” says Zelman.

    She adds: “If I had to pick one market in the country with the most challenge and the most substantive rate of decline [ahead], it’s New York City. It has the greatest number of job losses among the higher earners.”

    Over the years, Zelman’s bleak views have earned her the sobriquet Poison Ivy. But other analysts are starting to reach conclusions similar to hers. A recent report by Goldman Sachs suggested New York condo prices would need to fall between 35% and 44% to return to a “neutral” valuation level.

    Hoboken prices will inevitably mirror to a large degree Manhattan’s price adjustments. And these price drops are for both resales and new condos.

    For a broader perspective, the root problem we’re all confronting is too much debt — whether individual, corporate, banks, or government. And it’s a worldwide problem not just a local or US problem. The world banking system is insolvent. A depression is going to be the unfortunate consequence and we are seeing the beginnings now. It’s going to take years to pull out in my view.

    No one wishes this to be the case, but staying in denial won’t help. Local sellers will eventually have to face reality and drop prices dramatically. Hope people serious about buying today will weigh all of these factors and trends carefully before purchasing anywhere near recent highs. Dramatic cuts are on the horizon, but the standoff between sellers and buyers will undoubtedly continue for some months until distress forces some seller’s to reset the bar at a much lower price point.

    Again, I’m not wishing any of this to be so, just giving my opinion based on a collapsing economic landscape.

  30. FAP

    Lori thanks again for doing this!

  31. DKzzzzdkzzzzdkzzzz

    Tiger I am glad you are enjoying your location. However I did not choose Hoboken as my residence for Hoboken. The only reason people like me live in Hoboken is becasue it is 35 minutes by Path from Manhattan, without being subjected to 10% NYC tax.

  32. Lori Turoff

    To all of you – Thank you for reading and for contributing.

    We will continue to work hard to provide what we hope is unbiased, fact-based info on the Hoboken real estate market. What really makes it worthwhile for me, though, is giving all of you a forum to discuss, debate, learn and provide a few laughs.

    If you like hobokenrealestatnews.com please help spread the word.

    Finally, it’s only 70 days until the local election – vital to our local market. So get educated, go register if you haven’t already and please, please vote.

  33. Tiger

    Dave – thanks a lot for this. I don’t think anyone is in denial of the problem or what might lie ahead, we feel it and see it in our everyday lives. It translates to job losses, lost money in properties, 401Ks, investments, you name it. I don’t ever recall something this intense. It’s the first thing that comes to mind in the morning, and you fall asleep thinking about it. I have yet to hear a positive financial story in this whole mess.

    I have friends who have been laid off for almost a year now, relatives who spent years building their credit and equity to invest in a small business (gas station), only to break their lease four months later because of mounting debt. I have relatives who are well into their 30s who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in the market – and we’re not talking about profit, we’re talking about hard earned money, years of medical school and night class followed by long hours in hospitals and medical college. Yes, even doctors got hit with this.

    But the way I see it Dave is, chin up! My former landlord, a very nice lady well in her 40s, told me that between her and her husband they lost over 70K+ in retirements and savings, but you know what else she said? ‘We’re young man! we can do it, we will make it up!’. And it honestly hit me at that point, here I am, in my 20’s, stressing out about my net worth and value and the five cents on the dollar, and there’s this lady, almost twenty years ahead of me, and she has this positive attitude and strong spirit. Plus, tough times always bring people together! So let’s take this opportunity to make nice with people we had a fight with, come closer to people we’ve always been too busy to contact.

    Denial is a bad thing, we all should be aware of our circumstances, but overstressing about what’s to happen is not good at all. POSITIVETY and STRONG WILL could go along way.

    Ok I’m babling on now, but I hope you get the idea :-). Have a great weekend everyone!

  34. Dave

    Tiger, nice post. I actually agree with everything you say, and thanks for sharing it. What you wrote reminds me of something a philosopher once said: faith, confidence and a good hope can overcome destiny. I think this belief is yet in for a significant test. Who knows though, may be true.

    And I agree tough times will bring many together; I’ve got a feeling we’ll all need to offer a helping hand here and there to our friends & neighbors before we get through this mess. Have a good weekend yourself.

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