2009 Jul 7th

The June Results – Hoboken Condo Sales

June Sales are Not Bad!

Transactions are still down but the number of units that went under contract for the month (dabo’s) is up to 75.  Both average and median sales prices and price per square foot have taken a bounce.  Looking at the year-to-year numbers, this June surpassed the past 3 years. No doubt, we still have too much inventory on the market and the junk does not sell but this news could be way worse than it is, so I’m looking at the bright side.

Here are the results:

Still to come: The 2nd quarter Hoboken Sales results and the Weekly Wednesday Wrap Up. Check back in a bit.

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  1. Tiger

    Thanks Lori!

    Numbers don’t look bad at all. I am surprised actually how many of my friends, who last year said they would never buy a property, are seriously considering either an upgrade or a new condo.

  2. Andy

    Thanks for the posts. Holding off on renovations for at least another 6months to a year but things are looking a little more promising. It will be interesting if this bounce can have some staying power. $484 / sq foot is not that unreasonable a level for around here. but $440 just pyschologically seems like vultures.

  3. homeboken

    I’m very leery of what these figures mean. I don’t doubt their accuracy, but one month does not make a trend. There seems to be entirely too much noise in this data. Why only a 6 month period being shown? I assume you are trying to remove the seasonal nature of real estate, but these figures are subject to many other variables.

    The actual properties being listed for one thing are skewing things. I’m assuming that high-end properties like Maxwell Place and Garden Street Lofts are included. This is naturally going to skew the averages higher.

    I could be wrong. But who beleives that todays condo market is better than 2006-2007? Just because the average sale in June 2006 was 499,028 and the average sale in June 2009 was 552,013 doesn’t really mean anyting.

  4. Tiger

    Numbers can be sliced and diced whichever way you want. There is noise in this data just like any other compiled data. One month is not enough to say that there is an upward trend; I agree, but the one thing that seems to be consistent is the strong market resistance to the tough economic situation out there.

    Neither a seller nor a buyer here, but the way I see it almost a year after the collapse of the stock market, things are not as bad as everyone predicted them to be.

  5. Lori Turoff

    Only a 6 month period is shown because that’s what easily fits on the screen. You want more? Send me your email – I’ll add you to the google docs spreadsheet of 10 years worth of data by quarter. I’ll email you the full year by month for the past 4 years. I’ll be posting the 2nd Q 09 tomorrow and will extend the invite to view to all.

    I’m not hiding anything.

    I agree a month is not a trend. I never said it was. But the sky still has not fallen as so many screamed it would a year ago.

  6. bz

    Lori, can you send those historical data to me too?

    I like the data you posted. It’s pretty much what I had in mind. I never believed that Hoboken market will fall as much as some people said in this blog and in the media. A better than national average price correction for 2008-2010 is my gut feeling. We are very much tied up with local (NYC+Jersey) economy and job market. Now, two years after credit crunch and almost one year after the financial crisis, Hoboken is doing much better than the rest of the nation. The job loss is slowing, stimulus $ and tax credit are gradually working their way to help the economy and housing market. Stock market has shown some signs of rebound in 1Q and 2Q. Many troubled companies are going through restructuring (after cutting fat, i.e. earlier layoffs). I’m no economist, but these good things should indicate some directions (not prediction) where the economy is heading. The recovery is painful and slow, and we are not out of woods for sure, but I feel more confident about the recovery. I’m actually in commercial RE industrial and I have seen transaction volume picking up, as well as bigger deals getting done in 2Q09. These are very positive signs. Although commercial and residential have somewhat different fundamentals when it comes to analyzing and forecasting the trends, but there’re some correlations. It’s just my 2 cents, by no means to convince anyone.

  7. mike

    Lori, I appreciate your work. My question is how do you incorporate deeded parking and outdoor space into your $/sq.ft numbers. It seemed to me more than half of the units that sold this year had deeded parking or significant outdoor space. Did past years data always include the amenities? Thanks.

  8. dkzzzz

    There is one and only argument for buying in Hoboken or anywhere else that has any resonance with me: Your savings might be worthless come hyperinflation.

  9. Andy

    Sad but possibly true dkzzz. Still it feels nice knowing that every month I’m “saving” by paying down my fixed mtg. And I’m not making my landlord a rich woman anymore 😉

  10. Recent Buyer

    dkzzz – explain please…

  11. Interested

    I’m about to close on a place – 1350 sq. ft., updated in 2001, outdoor space, deeded parking, and close to the path – all this for $409 a sq. ft. I made an offer and got it off the market immediately upon it listing. That said, that’s were watching the market really helps. Thanks Lori! Also, I still think that’s were the prices in Hoboken should be.

    Sellers – If you want to Seller, price it right. I think Seller are learning that, but are not totally there yet….

    Buyers – WAIT WAIT WAIT! You will not miss a big bounce back and things are still not where they should be….$425 a sq ft or bust!

  12. bz

    Congrats Interested!Good job! I think that whoever buys now is smart.

    If you look at the median $/sqft $431, your # is about 5%+ lower. The median and the average are both measures of the middle trend of a group of numbers. You might want to use median when your data set is thin (not many data points) and with quite a few outliners (Maxwells and other extreme lux condos). Otherwise the average can get somewhat skewed and become irrelevant.

    I think you got yourself a bargain.

  13. Brian

    Recent Buyer: Rapid inflation indicates your cash is worth less, because your savings will not buy as much (so if inflation goes crazy a gallon of milk might cost $10 instead of $3). Also, whatever interest you’re earning on your savings is eaten up by inflation. But if you’ve already made a large purchase into hard assets (for example, a house or condo) your savings are relatively protected when you eventually sell. This is also why it makes some sense to buy energy stocks or commodities (oil, gold) if you think inflation is going to rise.

    What makes inflation rise? One way is by increasing the money supply, printing money. More cash means each dollar is worth less. See, for example, TARP.

  14. randy

    Wow $409/ft, parking, and near the path…

  15. Andy

    Interested, good work, you will enjoy it for years to come and make a profit when you sell. I wish I had found a distressed seller when I was buying.

  16. TS

    You can invest in fixed income products that protect against inflation, such as inflation-linked bonds. I don’t think, by itself, worrying about your savings is a reason to buy housing, as you can very easily protect against that.

    However, holding debt, such as a mortgage, during hyperinflation would give one a reason to buy since you’re leveraging your money and the debt becomes less in real terms during hyperinflation.

  17. Interested

    Andy –

    The seller was not distressed and will make around 100K on the sale – They just closed on a purchase without our money. I think they just wanted it to move with no non-sense!

    Amazing – so excited.

    If you want to buy – keep watching new listings or bargain hard with sellers…..

  18. randy

    Interested – where did you find this listing?

  19. homeboken

    I think we are seeing the effects of the spring selling season. Lori will probably agree that once the school season starts, the volume in the market really drops. Volume is already anemic when compared to total inventory. If you don’t HAVE to buy, wait 4-6 months, buyers will have even more negotiating power at that time. Plus, if it were me, I would like to see how the Hoboken budget and NJ fiscal situation pan out in the next few months.

  20. Tiger

    Congratulations Interested! That’s a cool story.

  21. Interested

    randy – my wife found the listing on this site as one of the “new listings” of the week. my broker didn’t find it. also, i missed it because it was below the amount we thought we had to spend for a place. i’ll show you listing when we close in a couple of weeks – maybe we are missing something….

  22. TS

    Homeboken: Definitely seasonality plays some role, but that alone cannot explain the bounce. Take, for instance, average sold from April to June. We’ve never seen this big of a bounce in prior years (as the data Lori compiled at the bottom shows).

    As far as volume, I’d need to see prior years but I’d bet you’re right. And I agree with your conclusion – wait it out 4-6 months.

  23. Lori Turoff

    Mike – to answer your question about deeded parking & outdoor space: Those amenities are included in the purchase price so I don’t do anything to account for them. In general, a balcony is worth 10,000 to 20,000 depending on how nice it is. Parking about 25,000. So units with a balcony and parking are going to have a higher price per square foot than those without. There would be no way for me to separate them out as a practical matter. These were always included in all years’ data.

  24. homeboken

    TS – I know be a ton of work, but if you take out Maxwell, Harborside and Garden Street Lofts, then summarize the ask, close, DOM and PSF I think you would get a vastly different story.

  25. Lori Turoff

    So Interested’s realtor didn’t even find the listing in the MLS – his wife found his great bargain on MY SITE – not his realtor. Yet the realtor earned the $7,000 comission on it. Tell me again why I bother?

  26. homeboken

    I’m not in the market to buy in Hoboken, I may never be, but if I do, I will be calling Lori.

    Guys, support the hand that feeds us…

  27. Andy

    Interested, I missed that before that you guys got your info from Lori’s site and didn’t bother to use her services.

    Lori, maybe the best thing you ever did was put the MLS links into emails for those who you are dealing with directly. Stats are one thing but it looks like other realtors in town are trying to use your services to advance their own business for free.

    I said it before and I’ll say it again, when I get ready to sell (or rent) whatever the case may be, Lori and Howard are getting my business.

  28. SJ

    TS – I don’t understand why you would take out Maxwell, Harborside and Garden Street Lofts.

  29. TS

    Homeboken:
    Lori can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that the closings last month did not include sales directly from sales offices’, such as Toll Bros, and therefore 1125 Maxwell and Harborside Lofts won’t be included. I believe that some of Garden St Lofts were on the MLS though – did they close in June?. Therefore I don’t think you’ll get a “vastly different story”.

    Lori: Just wanted to make you aware of a possible glitch in the way you provide MLS data by signing on with e-mail addresses. I tried to look at previous MLS data, logged on with the required info, but it only allows me to see this week’s. Maybe it’s me, or maybe you want to provide only current week’s data.

    Also, completely agree – whoever is using this site to find properties but working with someone else needs to reconsider what they’re doing and what affect it has on people trying to provide better service for clients and transparency.

  30. SJ

    TS – Maybe I am not thinking about this correctly, but wouldn’t you want the Maxwell, Garden Lofts included in the closings stats to portray an accurate picture of the market? A condo sold is a condo sold – right?

  31. TS

    SJ, I never said that…Homeboken did.

  32. Lori Turoff

    My numbers come from the MLS and no sales office sales are ever included unless the sales office listed a property on the MLS (which Toll occasionally does do). There is no change with respect where I get the data from month to month. Garden Street Lofts has ALWAYS been on the MLS. Most of the sales at Harborside are now resales by individual owners. Those would mostly be done through a local agency and on the MLS. Same for the 1025 Maxwell and much of Hudson Tea.

    RE MLS data – You can only see this weeks info for right now simply because I haven’t had time to set it up so you could see last weeks or the 3 prior weeks. Info older than 30 days is on the site and unprotected (with links) as per the MLS’s instructions to me. I will fix it so you can get the intervening 3 weeks too as soon as I have a free moment. Thanks again for your patience. It’s been a really huge endeavor.

    RE including Maxwell/Garden St. – I think about this issue a lot. My conclusion has been that they should be included. Hoboken has changed. We have more upscale, expensive housing than we used to. It’s reflected in the numbers. I don’t think it ‘skews’ the numbers although statistically a median may be more informative than a mean. Years ago I worked in retail for Bloomies & Saks. We used to compare sales based on “same store” as those chains were rapidly expanding at the time (late ’70s). It would be similar if we could compare sales of “same condos” but that’s an entirely different analysis than the market as a whole. Crunching numbers can be a fluid process – I try to keep it consistent and inclusive. Of course, if you have the time, the data can be parsed lots of different ways. Fortunately, I don’t have the time as I still have to do my job, which I love!

  33. SJ

    Thanks Lori.

    (sorry TS – meant to address Homeboken)

  34. bz

    Lori, I see your comments on the breakdowns for baloney and parking. Do you have a rough number for floors. I’m curious about walk-up buildings. Is 2nd floor the best? Is 1st floor difficult to sell? I actually have a high 1st floor (you can only see the ceiling from the street level) and plan to sell next spring. I just had a baby and that’s the main reason that I moved into a 1st-floor unit. Could it be a selling point that I see many Hoboken couples start having babies in town (in stead of moving to suburb)? Just want to know some thoughts from you, the expert.

  35. Lori

    BZ – I think the “parlor level” is most sought after in Hoboken. That’s not the basement or semi-below grade floor but the one at the top of the outdoor steps. They occasionally have higher ceilings, too. The downside is the noise of everyone else entering and exiting the building right next to your unit but it’s made up for by the ‘no stairs’ benefit. Especially for people with babies and baby carriages, the fewer stairs to climb the better. Beyond that, many buyers tell me they won’t even look at anything above the 3rd floor.

    Hoboken older buildings tend to have steep and long stairways. They are no longer to code but have been grandfathered in. The floors are further apart as the ceiling heights were better 100 years ago. If it were me, though, I’d take the top floor over the one right below it because at least as reward for your climbing stairs, you have a quieter unit as no one is above you and you often have better light and even skylights. People talk about roof rights but right now it’s a joke because City Hall won’t let you build a deck.

  36. bz

    Thanks, Lori.

  37. Bill

    One potential issue with the top floor of a walkup, if the building is not well insulated it can get alot hotter in the summer and alot more expensive to heat in the winter..

  38. Interested

    we would only look at “parlor level”, which is an elevated first floor, or elevator buildings….

  39. Bill

    Parlor level of a walk up is where its at in my opinion

    All of the convenience and none of the cost of an elevator building.

    But I prefer charm over modern conveniences, don’t care about street noise and my dog wouldn’t appreciate a 5 min commute from my apartment to the outside world

    thats just me

  40. Randy

    I live on a first floor, sadly not parlor…i wish i was on a 2nd floor. If I ever open my shades everyone sees inside my apt – i didn’t think i would mind, but it bugs me when people look inside to see what’s happening in my place.

  41. Lori Turoff

    Two suggestions:

    1. Top down shades – you let the light in from the top but the bottoms stay closed for privacy.

    2. Duette honeycomb shades – they are transparent – again they let the light in but you can’t see in. I think Levolier makes them.

  42. leafgreen99

    I spent 17 years on a fourth floor walk-up. The kids (4) learned to climb fast and it beat paying for a gym! Yes hotter because of roof and yes easier to heat because of roof. Good light and quiet with no one over head. All trade-offs, but that’s life in the big city.

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