2009 May 10th

The April Numbers – Hoboken Condo Sales

Please note – as some properties are not entered as “sold” in a timely manner by the listing agent, I will be updating this periodically to include any of those late – entered sales. Thanks!

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  1. potential_buyer

    Awesome information guys – very much appreciated! Particularly telling is the DOM number, as it has increased from 60-90, and the average $/sq ft (even with all of the known problems with using a number like that), prices are coming down… The rate at which they are coming down appears to be fairly stable though, I guess we will have to wait and see how that changes through the summer months.

    Once again – muchas gracias!

  2. patk14

    The clear trend remains downward. Sellers must get ahead of this trend and price below current comps to get a deal done quickly. Those who refuse to sell for less than they think their unit is “worth” will be stuck and end up selling for a much reduced price in the future. I still don’t see any incentive to buy right now, let the inventory continue to grow until prices re-adjust to the new reality. When the large inventory shows that it has begun to decline (several months of declining inventory), that is the time to buy.

  3. dkzzzz

    2006 – average price per sq. foot over 4 months = 524.00
    2007 – average price per sq. foot over 4 months = 502.00
    2008 – average price per sq. foot over 4 months = 524.00
    2009 – average price per sq. foot over 4 months = 487.00

    6% reduction compared to average of 2006-2008 (4 month averages)
    7% reduction from 2008 to 2009 using 4-month averages.
    What have happened in the rest of the country over the last 2 years is just barely starting to show in Hoboken.
    New Tax bills, unemployment and rent vacancies should accelerate this trend or so I hope for the sake of all of new buyers.

  4. Tiger

    Numbers are down no doubt about it. However, I still think we will create our OWN curve, we will not follow Cali, Vegas, or the rest of the country. This is simply because the reasons for our price drops are different than those for the rest of the country (mainly subprime and overdevelopment). Ours are related to job loss and lack of wealth.

    I am not saying it’s necessary better, it could be better, could be worse, I just don’t think we will see the same curve.

    That said, that number still looks better than my IRA year to date lol.

  5. dkzzzz

    No one expecting Hoboken to show Vegas or Miami declines. As many said before on this site it is definitely a stand-off situation in Hoboken.
    IMHO, rental situation will dictate what will happen to Hoboken RE in the nearest future.
    Owners who have to sell and cannot brake even on a rent will drive this market down by lowering prices or defaulting on their loans. One bedroom in my building is quietly going through short sale already.

  6. Andy

    I agree w/ dkzzzz. Alot of sellers thought they could just rent it out and break even if they ever got in trouble buying more than they could afford previously. The rental market hasnt’ adjusted so much yet and i’m not sure how much they will fall but w/ Manhattan rents falling as well I could see rentals falling back to 2004 levels or even lower. Why live in Hoboken when you can live in Manhattan again. Williamsburg BKLN is an excellent example of this. The factor I havn’t seen discussed much though is the college graduate influx into the Hoboken rental scene. Every year they make up a decent % of the rental market but with this batch of grads facing the toughest job market since the Great Depression it could easily translate into more empty units as less new people come to Hoboken and the existing residents move on to the suburbs or are forced out themselves due to job loss.

  7. Interested

    all in all – if you’re buying, you don’t want to miss these interest rates and low prices – maybe they will both get lower or be prolonged, but we found our dream apartment and went for it…. if we didn’t find it, we would likely have waited, but not too too long….

  8. renter

    Rents are definitely coming down in some of the larger buildings downtown. I rent in one and expect to be paying at least 15% less (the best offer I have been able to get out of my landlord – I might be able to do slightly better on a similar unit if I moved) after I renew my lease this summer.

    I was seriously considering buying but the rapid decline I started seeing in rents (no hard data – just my opinion based on lists I have been looking at) convinced me to hold off. Or maybe it spooked me.

    I think prices are going to continue to decline for the coming months and that mortgage rates will stay low but I could be wrong. Heck, if I’d seen the decline in the market coming I would be able to put up a much bigger down payment than I can today.

  9. Al Bern

    It makes much more sense to rent these dyas. Why buy when you can buy the same thing a year from own 10-20% cheaper.

    Its not like interest rates are gonna to shoot up in a year…if they did, the housing market will be down 30-40% not 10-20% as expected…

  10. TS

    Thank God we have the oracle Al.

    PS It completely makes sense to rent now until things stabilize, although I lack the crystal ball Al has to guarantee 10-20% price drops.

  11. stan

    Thanks Lori.

    interesting chart. Appears that the declines continue.

  12. Mark

    Al,

    IMO interest rates will sky rocket next year (inflation anyone?) which will push the housing market down even further. However, the rise in interest will cancel out the reduction in housing prices.

    My wife and I bought because we felt it was the right time, the right price and the right place. Of course we could have waited, but talk to the people who waited in the early 2000s because and missed the boat.

    One thing I learned is that you can’t time the market, but you can be assured that interest will be higher in 2010 than how it is now.

  13. Al Bern

    How does a rise in interest rates cancel out a reduction in house price? I assume you mean inflation cancels out the loss due to interest rates because incomes will go up. However, the sad truth we are all abou to see is that the ratio of housing costs to incomes is ludicrously high and needs to re-adjust. This is why you hear people talk about “deflation” as the major risk to the economic system.

    TS please point to anyone of any substance that supports your case, please….meanwhile all the charts, professors, econometricians, analysts, and even bankers are telling you its going down. Maybe Toll Brothers will support our case…they have a slight vested interest though…

    Hoboken had boomed for 14 years, the correction is here. No one is looking at this objectively thinks NYC homes will go anywhere but down in price.

    TS – you are on

  14. Al Bern

    From http://njrereport.com/:

    “What does my gut say? We’re in for at least another year of sharp price declines in NJ. Following that, we will likely see 2-3 years of completely flat nominal prices with declining real prices. Peak affordability (based on price and incomes, not financing) will likely be hit towards the tail end of the flat period.”

    This is what you would expect with a credit-based recession….ask any econometrician, or economist for that matter…

  15. stan

    went to the polls this am. 25th person at 7:30, for presidential I was in a line dozens deep @ the same time.

    It amazes me that people don’t vote in their local elections, where in my opinion the candidate that wins will affect you more on a day to day basis than a national candidate(recent tax increase as an example). Especially in NJ, where one party has won by sizeable margins in recent years.

  16. patk14

    The key thing to remember if you are renting is to save money every month for your down payment. The larger your down payment, the less impacted you will be if interest rate rise in the coming years. Most of what I’ve read is that buyers can afford a certain amount per month (adjusting for increased risk of job loss and lower bonuses). If interest rates rise, in order to have the same monthly payment, the principal amount must be lower. So, interest rates go up, the price the average buyer is willing to pay for a unit declines commensurately.

    I love it when someone feels that current offer prices are “low”. By what standard, peak 2006 prices? Hoboken and the entire metro area has had a remarkable 15 year run that is in the early stages of being deflated. What is the average increase since 2000 in Hoboken, 100%? Have incomes doubles in that time span? Is unemployment at the highest level in 25 years and growing?

  17. RealDeal

    Whoever is claiming that they are buying now to take advantage of great interest rates is having some buyers remorse IMO. If you have good credit, plan on being employed going forward and have a basic handle on your finances then interest rates are the LEAST important factor to consider. As a mortgage borrower you can always refinance if the rates move in your favor. A beautiful embedded option of being long a mortgage. So to jummp and buy a place because the 4.8% rate is SOOO much better then the 5% rate in a year is nuts. If rates go higher it means we’re still having liquidity problems, so home prices would be even lower. Better to save 10% on the purchase price and pay a few basis points for a a year or 2 than to sip while the coffee is still too hot.

  18. Andy

    I agree with some level of devaluation but I think real estate especially with the type of people in Hoboken is all subject to how well the economy is perceived. Nothing has changed in Hoboken in regards to its charm or culture offered. Yes taxes have gone up and hopefully they will come back down but for the most part there are still plenty of potential buyers out there who are merely scared to do so from what you read in the news every day. Many people in Hoboken who bought in the last few years aren’t going to leave this year or even the next so what you’ll see is the continued pressure of the sellers not wanting to take a 20%-30% loss on their investment. I really think that unless you are in an emergency situation or you were lucky enough to reap some of the 100% price apreciation to begin with you are not going to be selling anytime soon. The drips and drabs that have been selling are most likely short sales or people who have to leave for other reasons. Yes the turn-over in Hoboken has slowed to a crawl but maybe that is a good thing for the town to stop being transitory and start building community.

  19. dkzzzz

    100% agree: Principal amount of your mortgage is far more important than the interest rate in calculating affordability.

    Those who bought their condos in 2002 and earlier have nothing to worry about; 1200sq feet of brand new construction, close to Path was going for $350K in 2002-2003. $350K folks!!!
    Those that bought after 2003 and lost income due to recession are going to sit like ducks, burn through savings and then default or do short sales with banks.
    Hoboken is going to go through the same wave of defaults and foreclosures as the rest of the country.
    Just my 2 cents.

  20. calvin

    with respect to $ per sq. ft. – how much does that vary depending on amenities such as parking or/and a yard? If something is close to Washington St/8th, but has not parking or yard, what should the price be per sq. ft. – totally renovated, over 1100 sq ft.

  21. Tiger

    dkzzzz, Agree, but also you forgot those who bought after 2003, haven’t lost their income, and in fact, some of them are making much more money than what they used to when they bought. Those are sitting like ducks too, but they are hatching gold in the meantime, saving, and can afford to keep their place for many years to come. Some of them can afford two mortgages too.

    Don’t forget a lot of people who live in Hoboken work in the financial sector, and I know that most of them are smart, and financially savy.

    So I see prices continuing to decline, but I totally disagree that we will see a ‘wave’ of foreclosures and defaults. And if that happens; many of those will buy a second, even third, condos.

    PS: I don’t work in the financial sector. I wish I was money savvy lol.

    PSS: If you haven’t done so already, please go out and VOTE!

  22. Andy

    Tiger, you hit the nail on the head. If Wall St didn’t unravel from this mess it won’t anytime soon. That said, yes the job market sucks right now but I don’t think it impacted Hoboken as much as everyone thought it did. Just take a walk down washington st on any friday/saturday/sunday and you’ll see most resturaunts are still packed w/ waits. That doesn’t scream recession to me.

    Tiger – if you ever want to chat about being money savvy let me know.

  23. Mark

    Only time will tell, right? But I think that it won’t be as ‘doomsday’ as a lot of people want you to believe it is (with the economy in general that is).

    And yes: GO VOTE (and my personal $0.02: VOTE ZIMMER!)

  24. Tiger

    Thanks Andy. I’m glad someone agrees, and yes, we should be grateful for how busy Hoboken gets over the weekend, I want my neighborhood restaurants and cafes to survive this.

    As for money savvy, sure why not! Just your average ‘work hard and save’ kind of guy here, I consider myself good with money but have my moments of weakness and irrational purchases lol, any tips are appreciated :-)

  25. OnBloom

    Posted on Streeteasy about Manhattan but with obvious relevance to Hoboken:

    Interesting article on The Real Deal

    SHOCK RECEDES INTO STUBBORNNESS
    April 30, 2009 06:33PM
    By Candace Taylor

    This past month, a real estate broker advertised that he would dress up as the Incredible Hulk at a Sunday open house, hoping an appearance by the muscle-bound monster would lure buyers to his listing for a Midtown condo. He even went so far as to place signs around the unit warning that lowball offers would cause the Hulk to get angry.

    The stunt may have been a joke, but the sentiment was real. This spring, despite a flurry of activity caused by bargain-hunting home-seekers, deals are still rare as buyers and sellers exhibit contradictory expectations.

    “For every one seller who thinks pricing will be going up soon, I have 100 buyers telling me the opposite,” said Paul Purcell, the co-founder of Charles Rutenberg Realty.

    At the end of March, there were 11,028 available listings on the market, according to appraiser Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. That’s a leap of 32.5 percent from 8,320 in the same month last year.

    Manhattan market reports for the first quarter of 2009 produced more evidence of the market slowdown, as closed sales plummeted 50 percent in the first quarter from the same period last year, according to reports released by the city’s major brokerages.

    Sales in new developments fared even worse, dropping 67 percent from the prior-year quarter, the Corcoran Group’s report said. Contract signings in the first quarter slipped 40 percent to 1,324, from 2,225 in the prior-year quarter, according to a report by Streeteasy.com.

    Despite these figures, brokers throughout the industry reported that they are busier than before.

    “What was a very dormant January, February and early March have been followed by a marked increase in buyer traffic, but not in actual sales,” said Leigh Zaph, president of Manhattan Homes.

    The shock of September’s financial crisis seems to have faded into incredible stubbornness on both sides of the fence. Even as buyers become brasher and less willing to meet sellers’ terms, many owners refuse to believe their homes won’t fetch the same eyebrow-raising prices that similar apartments fetched last year.

    “The average seller is still too reluctant to relinquish their inflated expectations set by the boom,” said Jordan Tepper, the executive director of sales at Century 21 New York Metro. “Sellers are still citing recent sales by their neighbors, which reflect the boom market of ’07 and ’08, and subsequently alienating buyers and their new expectations.”

    For their part, buyers intent on getting a deal are increasingly unwilling to see sellers’ points of view.

    “Sellers are living in denial, and some buyers think they can make lowball offers on already reduced properties and get away with it,” said Barak Dunayer, president of Barak Realty. “They are both ridiculous, and no one is making a deal.”

    The same applies to renters.

    “The renters are thinking that the ball is in their court and are trying to negotiate everything in their favor,” said Adina Azarian, founder and principal broker at rental firm Adina Equities. “I almost feel like tenants are trying to bully the landlords, and I don’t like it.”

    It falls to brokers to bridge the gap between the two sides, which is becoming an increasingly time-consuming task.

    Marie Yeljenic, a sales associate at DJK Residential, said she recently had one renter put in six different bids on six different apartments.

    “I think the biggest frustration of brokers is working harder, showing more apartments, going to more open houses and doing few deals,” she said. “There is very heavy negotiation and more time spent on every deal.”

    Brokers must convince buyers that their purchase is a good deal, a task that’s harder than it sounds, since many buyers are convinced prices will continue to drop.

    “Buyers are excited about the drop in prices, but remain concerned about when and where the bottom will be reached,” said Zaph. “[They] understand there’s been a substantial drop in prices but they don’t know how to gauge these new values.”

    Deals are happening, brokers say, but only when sellers price their apartments at a significant discount.

    “Those willing to price 20 to 30 percent below height-of-market comparables are meeting with swift action from buyers and going into contract briskly,” Tepper said.

    Here is what real estate pros had to say about market conditions:

    Frances Katzen senior vice president, Prudential Douglas Elliman

    The strongest part of the market is under $1 million, with 65 percent of transactions happening at this price point and only 2 percent transacting between the $2 to $3 million range.

    Bob Eychner president, Eychner Associates

    We are all devoting more time and attention to the principals in the deals. The measures we take are primarily extra hand-holding.

    Albert Feinstein managing director and general counsel, BidOntheCity.com

    The weakest part of the market is no one can accurately value current market offerings; there is too much turbulence in the market.

    Marc Lewis president, Century 21 New York Metro

    East and West Village, anything below 23rd Street, are slightly stronger than the Upper East or Upper West Sides. But generally all areas have excess rental inventory and a shrinking pool of tenants, which is rarely seen in the spring.

    Rae Gilson vice president, Classic Marketing

    Everyone has different reasons to buy a home now but they are all looking for the right price. When you compare apples to apples, you’re going to buy the one that is priced better. Buyers are much more knowledgeable about the real estate market these days and it goes without saying that the weakest part of the market is overpriced inventory.

  26. TS

    Al,

    When or where did I say housing is not going down?? Please learn to read the content of my posts rather than assume I am a housing bull. I just said, unlike you, I can’t *guarantee* 10-20% drops. And I especially don’t think things are guaranteed because some analyst says so – or because someone constructs a chart (not Shiller himself, btw) with *one prior time series*.

  27. stan

    I think how bad the recession is depends on which side of the fence yoiu are on. I personally know 10-12 people who have been laid off, 3 of which have found comparable jobs. If your fully employed, and things are costing less, great.

    The big thing to look at is tax receipts, which are continuing to dwindle in ny, nj etc. IMO one of the best gauges of where we are at. Less is being spent, anecdata like restaurants looking crowded won’t tell you much. (are people skipping the appetizer, one glass of wine instead of two, byob instead etc etc) tough to tell unless its your business.

    not the great depression but 500k more jobs were lost last month (600k if you don’t count the census hirings, which is comical). until that slows, not out of the woods.

  28. buyer09

    Recession? What recession? In looking at the MLS reports on the site, I noticed very few properties were reduced in price. The sellers are simply unreasonable. Take 156 7th for instance, 525K for a condo without parking or a yard? Are they kidding? 518 Monroe seems to have been reduced from 514K to 499K. Still, half a million dollars to live 20 mins from the PATH? Perhaps my expectations were too high coming into this process. 518 Monroe was purched in 2007 for 470K and the sellers have not updated anything – shouldn’t the price be below what they paid during the boom?

    156 7th was purchased in 2007 as a two family home for 650K. It’s been upgraded and converted into a 2-condo complex – a studio and a 2BR duplex. The studio went for 320K last year. The 2BR has been listed in June 2008 (started at 680K). The seller still expects a profitable flip…who is going to pay half a million dollars for that place?

    My own expectations may not be the only ones that are too high…

  29. Walk718

    YOU ARE MISINFORMING BUYERS AND SELLERS AS TO WHAT THE AVERAGE PER SQUARE FOOT PRICE IS IN HOBOKEN AND YOU NEED TO INFORM PEOPLE OF THIS. WE ALL AGREE THAT PRICES HAVE COME DOWN, BUT YOU NEED TO BREAK IT DOWN BY SPECIFIC MARKET SEGMENTS TO GIVE A MORE ACCURATE PICTURE. AN APPRAISER WOULD NEVER USE A 1500 SQ. FT. 2BR/2BA PROPERTY THAT SOLD FOR $350.00 SQ. FT. TO COMPARE TO A 725 SQ. FT. 2BR/1BA THAT SOLD FOR $520 SQ. FT., SO WHY SHOULD YOU? VERY INACCURATE REPORTING!

  30. RealDeal

    A little off topic, but this would be a a great feature to consider Lori. Anyway to list all properties FS or sold from the MLS listings and then provide a comments section for people to post thoughts about specific properties? Maybe some pros/cons that we may not all be aware of? Would be great to see what everyone thinks about a specific listing, provide some transparency? Thanks

  31. Tiger

    Walk718, the results are averages, anyone who reads this blog knows that. Lori has mentioned many times that the average $ per sq ft applies mostly to 2 Brs, with 1 Brs being higher, 3+ brs being lower. Again, simply because a 2Br is an average condo.

    Lori’s efforts here are appreciated, she does not get paid to do this. At least one realtor is putting some time to put the info out there. A thank you is in order, and yea, turn off YOUR CAPS LOOK BECAUSE IT IS RUDE!

    Walk718, seriously, just keep on walking (away).

  32. lori

    Real5eal – great idea but to include all listings would be unmanegable. Let me see what I can do. I’ll play around w it while on vacation next week and post something upon my return. Thanks!

  33. stan

    walk718- you should get on that and break down the different sq ft selling prices of the different areas in town.

    you can call it the walk718 blog

  34. Walk718

    Hey I’m just asking for information to be displayed in a more accurate manner. As I said before , there’s no way you should include a large 3BR condo and a 650 sq. ft. condo in the same average per sq. ft. price. It just doesn’t make sense.

    People are taking these numbers as factual information and the last I checked there is no disclaimer on the bottom of the chart that states that this is a general guideline or an average of sales in the area.

  35. Tiger

    Walk718, I don’t see what the big deal is. I can argue saying that we should also split them by area! There’s no way a walkup on Monroe compares to Maxwel, or we can split them by renovation! There’s no way a 70s style outdated kitchen with white appliances compares to a brand new KitchenAid stainless steel kitchen with granite counter tops.

    That’t the whole point of averages; they give an overall indicator of the market. If your buyer can’t gasp that concept, then it’s their problem.

    Don’t shoot the messenger; this data came directly from the MLS.

  36. HobokenRocks

    I completely understand the variations that would cause avg $/sqft to swing, especially for closed transactions. “Messenger” is savvy enough to know that $435/sqft is very low and, while ‘the numbers are the numbers’, this number is obviously not a fair or helpful indicator. In such cases an additional comment to the public would be both helpful and responsible. This blog has a significant following and posting an average $/sqft so significantly off from the ‘real’ market without comment [I know – the numbers are the numbers] is a dis-service to the readers and, to be completely honest, irresponsible. PS: The ‘numbers’ don’t always represent reality, note the wall street meltdown.

  37. Owner

    I agree – Lori, I appreciate your efforts here, but you cannot just go out and aggregate data expecting it to represent reality. This is irresponsible on your part – educated individuals will be able to “read into” the difference, but there are those who are not and will take it at face value.

  38. TS

    HobokenRocks and Owner,

    Strange that I don’t see you dedicating your time to a blog with REAL DATA that more accurately reflects reality. If you don’t like what Lori is doing, feel free to comment or start your own blog. To put pressure on someone who is generally doing a good service for people is absolutely ludicrous.

    Ever wonder why people are suspicious of brokers? Look in the mirror, there is your answer. People who want to hide data.

  39. Tiger

    Owner / Take it from this fellow owner. Values are down, hence the average is down. No way around it, this is reality. I know there are variations, but this is reality.

    It sucks – I know. But here’s how I see it; it’s not the end of the world, it could have been much worse. If you are not selling, like myself, it is all ink on paper, doesn’t mean anything to you. And if you are selling, then you are in luck! Chances are you are looking for an upgrade, a bigger home, moving to suburbia, even to a new state, and guess what? We are still ahead of the curve, you will be realizing more savings on your next purchase.

    But the fact remains, it is down, no other way to see it! Good luck whatever you do!

  40. stan

    to Parrot TS and Tiger-

    Owner and Hoboken rocks:are you guys kidding me. If you have a better methodolgy bring it.

    When prices were going up, price/sq foot for all of 07030 was sufficient, imperfect just as now however.

    The same can be said for when it goes down, imperfect but the best we have.

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