2009 Mar 27th

Hoboken Open House Google Map – Sat. 3/28 and Sun. 3/29

The Hoboken Interactive Open House Google Map has been updated for the weekend of March 28th and 29th.  Click the link below or the image of a little map in the right sidebar.  Every Hoboken open house from the Current, the Hoboken Reporter, the MLS, every Realtor website and Craigslist have been compiled for your easy reference complete with days, hours, and a link to the MLS listing itself.  You can search by unit size, price or location.  You can use the “search” box to search by street name, too.  Click on the colored location markers for details:

Hoboken Open Houses

* Red Bubbles = 1BR condos
* Green Bubbles = 2BR condos
* Yellow Bubbles = 3BR condos and houses
* The Deals of the Week = bright, yellow dollar signs.

New listings (less than 10 days on the market and/or first timers on the map) are indicated with a “push pin” instead of a “bubble”. The colors work the same as above.

* Blue Bubbles are missing some piece of data – for example, the property has not yet been listed on the MLS so there is no link. I make them blue to remind myself that the item is incomplete.

* Markers with a dot in the center are OHs from a week ago that are not having open houses this weekend. Properties that have not had Open Houses two weeks in a row have been dropped from the map.

  1. potential_buyer

    Hudson county has been declared a declining market by Fannie Mae!

    Have any of you heard about this – I just spoke to my lender and they stated that Fannie is requiring a 15% cash down for homes to be bought in Hudson, which is up from the 10% which I was just prequalified for a few weeks ago. That is a good chunk of 90k for a 600k condo. Has anyone else had problems with these days?

  2. patk14

    Down payment requirements are increasing in Manhattan so it is logical that surrounding areas will be impacted as well. I’ve noticed when I enter info to ING Direct that they are willing to lend a higher amount to a single family home in the burbs than to a condo in Hoboken. Seems that they expect prices to be more volatile in Hoboken.

    My other point is that I find it amazing that people still want to put down only 10% if allowed. If you haven’t been able to save at least 20%, you probably shouldn’t be buying right now. The market could very easily decline 20% in the next 12 months and you would be underwater on your mortgage. Why put yourself in this position? I’d find it very stressful and unhealthy. Either buy something you can afford (i.e. can put at least 20% down) or live below your means, save as much as you can, and buy when the market begins to rebound.

  3. Lori Turoff

    I have to agree with you patk14. 10% is just not enough of a stake for the buyer to have in the transaction over the long term. Values go down and they have no incentive to continue to pay their mortgage. Given the current crisis, why not require even more than 20%? Too many people have been over extending themselves for too long. It’s time for a new paradigm. I read about a man in Japan who, after getting through the ‘lost decade’ said “I am happy to have lived a humble life”. We could use a bit more of that mindset here.

  4. potential_buyer

    I hear what you are saying PatK14 – and definitely agree, that people should not get into homes that they can’t afford. But many folks (myself included) prefer to not have huge amounts invested in the homes, rather take the same money being put into the home equity each month, and invest it as he/she sees fit. So even if you have the 15-20% needed, sometimes one won’t do it due to because they would like to have easy access to it…

    Agreed that Manhattan has come down quite a bit, and that Hoboken is just now on its way – so it does make sense. I just hadn’t read anything on the blogs about it and it did take me a bit by surprise…

  5. Ron

    Potential_Buyer is right….

    Home owners should only want to put down what meets their cash flow and investment portfolio needs.

    It is only the bank who should really set minimums there.

    Why would a 20% loss in home value mean less if you put 20% down as opposed to 10%??

    If anything the 10% down guys should sleep better at night knowing he could walk away and save himself 10%.

    I’m all for higher down payments but it has to come from the banks, not the buyers.

  6. Lori Turoff

    In my mind a mortgage is a promise to pay. It’s a contract just like any other. If you breach it there ought to be repercussions. The idea that one can ignore that promise and “just walk away” doesn’t sit well with me and hasn’t served our society very well either. Guess we have a fundamental difference of opinion.

  7. jc

    I agree with ron and potential buyer. If I had a good amount of savings in the bank and a safe job with a big income I may choose to put 1% down as long as the cash flow worked for me. There is opportunity cost with a large downpayment. Sure it may not incentivize me to stay in my home like lori said but this is my home made of brick and mortor with a real commitment in the form of a mortgage.

    I would agree with a minimum down payment for homes bought for investment purposes.

  8. potential_buyer

    ILori – I completely agree with you, one shouldn’t j”ust walk” – as you are right, it is a contract. But when one can pay the 10% down, but invest the other 10% at a (outstanding these days) 5% return, then if they had to walk, they could take the money and pay off what they need to, but still have made the interest off of their investments. Whereas the individual who invested the 20% in the home is no better off than the day they invested, regardless of whether the house’s value increased or decreased. Now the catch is when people over extend themselves and the piper comes calling – they are under water. It is all about being prudent with one’s money, but the requirement of paying such a high amount down now has taken that option away from us. It doesn’t sit well with me, because I wasn’t one of the ones who messed up, yet I have to pay for their mistakes… upsetting!

  9. stan

    I agree with the above sentiments, but the new requirements for 15% is what is needed. A contract means nothing to many people today. More skin in the game means less of a chance to walk away. This is how it was done for 60 years and worked fine. We got away from it, hence the current situation. What’s old is new. Save more, put down the 20%, and keep above that for you investment portfolio, If you dont have it, you are not ready to buy.

  10. Lori Turoff

    Just throwing this out there as food for thought – the assumption that no one questions in the investment scenario is this: If I put down as little as possible on my home, I can invest the money elsewhere for greater return (the whole ‘opportunity cost of money argument). That ASSUMES that you will get a positive return. What happens when you don’t? What if you buy securities on margin and the stock goes down and you get a margin call? What if the company you buy goes bust and your stock is worthless?

    Making wrong assumptions without ever questioning them – i.e., that real estate could never decline – that governments don’t default – that some companies like AIG, GM & Lehman Bros. are too big to fail only added to our current fiasco.

    What if there really isn’t a ‘time value of money”? What if the pace of inflation outruns the interest on Fed Funds?

    Might there not be scenarios where one would be better off buying a home with NO mortgage? Let’s say you buy today for cash using savings and a year end bonus. Or even 50% cash today and pay down the mortgage in year 2 and 3. Sure your money is tied up. But the stock market crashes in year 4 (or at least the stocks you picked tanked), and you got laid off. Now your monthly obligations are only your taxes and maintenance. Are you not better off than you would have been had you had to pay a mortgage too? After all, no income, not much value in a mortgage write-off.

    Let’s take it a step further. Say you buy in year 1 for cash. Now 10 years go buy and your property has appreciated by double or triple so your $200K condo is worth 400 or 600K with no mortgage. Your situation changes and you rent it out and have a nice stream of cash coming in every month. Isn’t that more like having an annuity than buying securities might be? Don’t the people arguing for alternative investment opportunities assume that they will always make money on those investments? That’s simply not true.

    I stick to my original opinion – leverage is a dangerous thing especially when it’s seen as sanctimony for a bankruptcy judge to restructure mortgage debt but people have no issue with walking away from a mortgage when it’s their own.

    Like the Japanese man said after the end of the economic ‘lost decade’ in Japan; “I seek to live a humble life”. We could use a little of that.

  11. Tiger

    I think 15% is generous, I expected they would require 20%+ for now. This is a new reality, who ‘invests’ in real estate nowadays?

    potential_buyer – I’d like to know what investment nowadays makes you enough money to justify the lending costs of the extra 10%? According to my lender I was one of the very last people who got the 80/10/10 (the bank actually almost backed out on my closing day), not because I didn’t have the 20%, simply because I wanted to keep a bit more cash on hand. (It was actually only 5% on HELOC, 15% downpayment) A few months later, I paid off my HELOC. This was perhaps my best investment, saved me $200 a month interest, plus it increased my ownership.

  12. patk14

    The other fact not mentioned above is that the larger your down payment, the smaller your monthly payment. You are paying the bank less interest each month compared to a smaller down payment and more principal.

    I was shocked watching “First Time Homebuyers” last night. It was a young couple in Phoenix who were buying a nice place for $220K. At the end, they showed that they were putting only 3% down. How in the world is that good practice for the lender? By the way, they arrived in a newish looking BMW, the couple who could only afford $6,600 down. Do you think they will bail out on the house if the price goes down further and leave the mess for the taxpayers? Absolutely. They’ll argue that they weren’t told that they couldn’t afford the place and that the bank/govt sponsored mort program talked them into only 3% down. If I were lending to Hoboken buyers, I would require at least 30% down to protect my bank from potential losses.

  13. Ron

    “If I were lending to Hoboken buyers, I would require at least 30% down to protect my bank from potential losses.”

    Only problem with that is you would have a tough time getting clients.

    You would have to offer a cheaper rate or some other incentive to attract borrowers

  14. patk14

    Ron, agreed. But banks offering low down payments/variable rates/teaser rates/no doc mortgages/etc to attract customers and gain market share brought down Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Lehman and have crippled the worldwide financial system. You would think the credit officers at mortgage lenders would be waking up to the risk of “deadbeat” people walking away from contractual obligations. Buying a property is not a one-way option in which the purchaser benefits from any potential increase and the lender/taxpayer is stuck with any losses.

    When I lend to companies, I require a minimum amount of equity (much higher today than 2 years ago) to protect my institution from a weakening economy. I get fired if I have losses and the govt is not bailing us out. On top of requiring more equity, we are charging higher margins. Are we doing less business? Of course, but I sleep better at night and I’m not paid on commissions like mortgage guys. I know the govt wants to fight the declining real estate market by making mortgages available to potential buyers, but helping people buy something that they cannot afford is bad business.

  15. Tiger

    patk14, good points. I honestly am in the school of thought that ARM / teaser rates / variable rate / whatever should all be banned and be illegal. 15/30 fixed should be the norm, with potential 45 year mortgage for those who made bad choices (i.e. no new loans). That, and restructuring mortgage business altogether.

    Lori, you have a very valid point, to be honest sometimes I think our entire economy is just a joke, ink on paper, bits on a computer, but nothing really behind it. Everything from stocks to mortgage to even the way our government does business is a complex web of interest and leverage. Like you said, sometimes you wonder if inflation surpasses positive return on your investment, if any.

  16. dkzzzz

    Hoboken was named in yesterday’s TV news report as one of the 5 highest RE Tax areas in US. The program was talking about tax revault in ND or NC don’t remember for sure ,but it was a major TV network program.
    Just goes to show you that at least in Hoboken one has to account for at least extra 1000/month on top of your mortgage.

  17. Lori Turoff

    Only 40 more days until Mayoral election, less for School Board. Go and register and vote for change! The school budget accounts for over 30% of those taxes and we all know what our schools are like when it comes to performance. Whether you own or rent it does not matter. This will come back to bite you on the *ss if, once again, no one votes and things just stay the same.

  18. patk14

    Lori, not sure if you want to do it on a public forum, but who do you endorse? They all seem to be saying the same thing which to me means status quo. I want someone who will actually push to reduce expenses and the number of city employees.

  19. homeboken

    I have yet to hear one candidate speak, in detail, about their plans to reduce the budget and lower property taxes. This, cominbed with responsible development planning, is what will win my vote. Until then, I lump all the candidates together.

    Disclaimer – I do not own in Hoboken, and likely never will until I trust the mayor and council to act on behalf the towns-people.

  20. Lori Turoff

    For School Board: Minutillo, Sullivan & McAllister.

  21. Tiger

    I like Maureen Sullivan and her ticket (Minutillo and McAllister). She is truly an advocate for parents AND taxpayers at the same time because she is both. She is interested in making our schools better (rather than ranking in the lower 10% statewide) AND keeping the budget in check by removing redundant positions. Our cost per student comes out to be $27K per student per year, insane if you ask me (State average is $16K per student per year).

    Go Kids First!

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