2010 Feb 24th

The Weekly Wednesday Wrap Up – Hoboken Condo Sales & Activity for the Week of February 23rd

Inventory continues to rise. Sales and dabos hold steady. The New York Times reports today that despite gains made in December, another 600,000 homes are underwater for a total of practically 25% of all homes! Here is the graph for the New York market. Meanwhile, recently reconfirmed Ben Bernanke continues to assure us that interest rates will remain “near zero” for an extended period. Now the interesting thing will be whether the first time home buyer’s credit is extended past the April 30 deadline.

What strikes me about the properties that have gone under contract or sold this week (with few price reductions, I might add) is that they are pretty nice units. The one at Harborside Lofts was my favorite – a great floorplan, tons of light and what a view! They are mostly good renovations, good locations and good value. So I still say, the good stuff sells when it’s priced right. The junk sits until it becomes a bargain too good to pass up. Maybe buyers are becoming more discerning as to what it “good” and what is “junk”.  Of course, they have lots more to choose from.  The days when they would buy anything are clearly over. There is a flight to quality in the Hoboken condo market.

Here are this weeks numbers vs. a week’s ago numbers:

Studio & 1 Bedroom Hoboken Condos:

26 new listings.

220 total active – $378,624 average asking price. Average 75 DOM.

6 dabos. Average 62 DOM

5 sold for an average sales price of $361,500. Average 70 DOM

16 price reductions.

Two Bedroom Hoboken Condos:

18 new listings

250 total listings. Average list price $573,646. Average 97 DOM.

5 dabo’d. Average 120 DOM.

9 sold. Average price $568,555. Average 48 DOM.

16 price reductions.

Three Bedroom and Larger Hoboken Condos:

4 new listings

49 active listings. Average price $953,578. Average 122 DOM.

2 dabo’d. Average 105 DOM.

3 sold. Average price $836,666. Average 62 DOM.

3 price reductions.

Hoboken Condo Open Houses

If you are in the market for a Hoboken condo, our Hoboken Open House Google Map is your single best source for locating every open house in Hoboken. It’s posted on Friday every week. The info is updated weekly. If your google search seems to pull up an older version, click on the title link to get the most current map. Like this report, due to MLS regulations, to receive the map with the actual links, you will have to request it using the request form on the post. It only takes a second.

Want to Receive New Listings & Price Reductions Daily?

If you would like to be emailed the new listings and price reductions each weekday in either 1br, 2br or 3br categories just email us at info@hobokensbest.com letting us know which size(s) you would like and we’ll add you to the daily email list.

A word about that – if you have an ongoing relationship with another agent we are not going to email you listings. You can ask your own agent to do that. So what is an ongoing relationship? Is that not up to you? Have you been working with another agent on a regular basis? More importantly, are you happy with that agent’s service? If so,we respect that relationship.

If all you did is attent an open house or you’ve seen several properties with several different agents, that’s not an ongoing relationship. Despite what some agents in town would like to have you believe, simply showing a buyer a single property, or even a few, does not a relationship make. You are the consumer – you get to decide with whom you wish to work. If you think the agent who hosted an open house or showed you a property is incompetent or does not meet your needs why would you ever use that person as your agent? Unless you’ve signed a “buyers agency agreement”, which is highly unusual in Hoboken, find an agent you like, trust and whose advice you respect. It’s your money, no?

For more information you can always contact us at 201 993 9500.

Thanks for reading and, as always, we welcome your comments!

  1. Craig

    Homeboken – I don’t deny I am receiving a subsidy. I admittedly get the same one every homeowner gets – the mortgage interest deduction. If FHA did not exist Wells Fargo would have qualified me for a loan on a single family house with less than 20% down, but not a condo. They wanted 10% minimum for a house (which I had), but 20% minimum for a condo. So I likely would have bought a house in the ‘burbs instead.

    Your hypothetical still doesn’t prove your point. To prove I received an up front subsidy to assist with the purchase, you have to demonstrate that I received money from the government. No matter how you spin it, that’s the definition of a subsidy. All I got was discounted mortgage insurance – not a dime of which is paid for by taxpayer money.

    From the HUD website: “FHA is the only government agency that operates entirely from its self-generated income and costs the taxpayers nothing. The proceeds from the mortgage insurance paid by the homeowners are captured in an account that is used to operate the program entirely.”

    http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/fhahistory.cfm

  2. Lori

    I have to agree with patk14 and homeboken on this one. Craig, you offered me kudos on having mortgage free property. My husband and I are probably quite a bit older than many of you. When we were first in the market over 30 years ago 20% down was the norm. Whenever we had extra cash it went to paying off our principal – not a BMW or a trip to Hawaii. Maybe we were raised with different values having had non-wealthy parents who lived through the Depression but we were both taught to live within our means and without credit, except to buy a home. So 30 years later, the mortgage on my first condo, which we still own, is paid off. Neither of us has ever had a car loan or carried a credit card balance. I understand that today that is not the norm. What interests me is how so many younger people I know who are earning a decent living – I’m talking 70K to 125k, yet can’t or won’t or don’t know how to save a dime. At the same time, I can’t help but pick up on a feeling of entitlement to all the finer things in life without regard to the price tag. If I can’t afford it – charge it. When things head south – walk away from your debt. Now, Craig, again this is not directed at you but I know many people who live this lifestyle and feel that they are almost entitled to own a $500,000 condo whether they have the down payment or not. Just as they used no money down and alt-arms and all the other trickster mortgages a few years ago, today they use FHA. It truly worries me. Maybe these people should be renting and living a lifestyle that lets them save their money toward a down payment on a property they can really afford. If I were a lender (assuming I had to also hold the loan on my books, but that’s a whole other issue) I wouldn’t want to lend to a borrower with little or no savings history. There is simply too much risk. But as the others have pointed out, the bank doesn’t incur that risk. Instead, we do. Eventually, someone has to pay the piper and recent events have shown us that the taxpayer seems to keep getting hit with the bill. The hopes of a financial regulatory overhaul are mired in resistance from the industry lobby. When the house of cards tumbles next time I don’t want to clean up the mess, again.

  3. thoughts

    How can anybody kill someone living in the northeast for getting any help from the government at all??? Everything is perspective people!

    The cost to live here is double or triple most of the country – yet, we killed with taxes compared to the rest of the country. For example, 100K salary is minimal in our area – yet, with that salary, a person would not even qualify to be able to deduct interest on their student loans!!! (#’s could be off)

    Shorts – Where did you go – did you admit your wrong yet?

  4. vreporter

    Oh don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of these cycles left before this mess rationalizes. A crash does not have to be short in time frame, and this one’s a beaut! Just reading all the denial here is enough of a warning about where we are in the residential recovery! Looks like the feds are achieving their goal after all. Just not sure who the beneficiary is (sarcasm).

  5. onBloom

    Just have to correct one point way up in this thread:

    “4. buying in hoboken right now is cheaper than renting a nice place (i.e. shipyard is over 3K a month plus parking).”

    Sorry, Thoughts — no way. In general there are many great deals on rentals around. It definitely is a renter’s market — even in Manhattan. Why risk 20% and closing costs in a market that surely is facing a long slow slide back to pre-bubble levels? I’ll rent for the foreseeable future.

  6. Craig

    Lori – I realize your opinions aren’t directed at me. I value your input and you are certainly entitled to agree with patk14 and homeboken – but you will continue to be wrong with them on this particular issue. Frankly, I’m shocked that as a realtor, you are apparently unaware what FHA is or how it’s funded. I’ve already establshed that FHA is a mortgage insurance program, not a subsidized loan program. I have also proven via the above link to the HUD website that FHA is not funded by a single penny of taxpayer money. It’s funded solely by its participants who pay premiums into it. So whatever bill you all think you’re getting hit with using your tax dollars has nothing to do with FHA.

    So why couldn’t I save the full 20%? Not because I was living an entitled, fancy lifestyle. Both my girlfriend and I paid for our entire educations ourselves – that’s 2 bachelor and 3 grad degrees between us. No bank of mommy and daddy for us. How many here bought their first home without their parent’s help, or paid for their own education…can I get a show of hands? Our student loan payments are $1150/mo. between us. If we could have saved that money over the years, we’d have easily had the full 20% saved in short order. Frankly, it’s a testament to our saving ability that we put away as much as we did with our overhead. I assure you we have no sense of entitlement. We did it the hard way – and we did it by ourselves. Financing via FHA doesn’t change that.

  7. laki

    Craig – I trade mortgages for a living. I live and breathe the mortgage stats and numbers. So take my word for this: FHA is beyond bankrupt. If they were a private company they already would be bankrupt 100 times over. This is a HIGHLY leveraged agency with insane amount of losses in the pipeline. If you truly knew the financial situation of this “insurer” you would be shocked. So the government (i.e. us the people) is already on the hook here even though nobody talks about it. But everyone (and i really mean everyone I’m not exaggerating) in the mortgage game knows that they’re bankrupt.

    Regardless of what it says on some website you pulled up, FHA is not a typical insurer. Its motives are different than that of a typical privately ran insurer. FHA is used by the government to push a social agenda of extending home ownership to low income families. FHA takes on HUGE risk by insuring mortgages given to usually not so credit worthy borrowers under extremely lax terms. In exchange for extending this insurance it collects only a tiny insurance premium. No private company can compete with FHA on these terms. FHA underprices the risk because of this social agenda the government has. If it wasn’t underpricing the risk the insurance premium would be so high that the low income family would not be able to afford the mortgage payment! So, an average FHA borrower’s low premium is where the subsidy comes in. Without FHA, the insurance premium a typical FHA borrower would pay with identical terms to a private insurer would be several times higher at least!!

    These are hard cold facts. So yes, you are being subsidized.

  8. homeboken

    Craig – You just identified what I beleive is the next bubble that will pop…Higher Educuation.

    Again, we are anonymous here so no disrespect. I contend that a couple should not have to attain 2 bachelor’s degrees and 3 graduate/post grad degrees to only make $160,000 combine (and get stuck with >$1k per month student loan payments)

    This is totally off topic I understand, but from an economic stand-point, your degrees are not providing any return on your investment.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of higher ed, but I think students that are in the college phase really need to look at the cost/benefit of their schooling. In some cases, one may be better off foregoing the extra degrees.

  9. JC

    Craig was nice enough to divulge his financial info and now we are knocking his choice to pay for his own college/post grad? C’mon now.

    Homeboken…I know your beef is with the ROI of higher education but telling Craig his degrees are not providing any return is a bit much. Plus, how do you know that in 3 years Craig and his girl wont be making $750k combined? Now, it is a good ROI.

  10. patk14

    Homeboken, generally agree with what you post but I have to defend Craig on this point. It sounds like he is relatively young (say late 20’s). He is in the early stages of his career and will likely enjoy significant increases over the years. You can’t expect to jump from grad school right to a comp package that provides instant cost/benefit advantage over those who didn’t get the advanced degree. I think 10 years later, Craig will look back and be very glad he got the degrees. No guarantee, especially in this economy, but likely.

  11. homeboken

    All good points, likely that those degrees will pay off in spades in the future, I honestly hope they do.

    Perhaps I should be more general in the future.

  12. Craig

    Laki – I cited a link backing my position. Your theories and hypotheticals are not backed by any evidence. Cite me proof that FHA is bankrupt and drawing money from taxpayer funds as you allege. You can’t, because it’s not true. FHA undercuts private insurer pricing because unlike them, it is non-profit. That’s the sole reason. FHA is in fact not bankrupt, but their reserves are dwindling. They have responded by raising premiums effective Spring 2010. It remains funded without a dime of taxpayer money as always.

    Homeboken – My lady and I earn much more than $160k combined. Not sure where you’re getting your figures from. The ROI on our degrees is that we are both highly educated. You can’t put a price tag on being smart.

    JC – Thanks for the assist. I’m pretty much done with this topic, so this is my final post on it. Let’s check back in a few years to see if I defaulted on the mortgage for the condo I supposedly can’t afford.

  13. Lori

    My college and 2 grad degrees were the best investment I ever made. You can never lose your education.

  14. Andy

    I have guy w/ a masters in math from a top Ivy who has over 100k in debt and makes less than I did only 4 yrs out of undergrad. MBAs and Masters in Finance unless you are a Front Office person are overrated. We don’t automatically hire at 100K + if you have an MBA. Sorry kind of off topic

  15. Tiger

    HOLLY CANOLI! I leave for a couple of days and I see 100+ comments on this thread; ranging from buy vs rent to FHA mortgages to lifestlye choices to college degrees :-).

    I have to say I am with Lori on this one. Nothing is like education. I am in my (late) 20s, and the best thing I ever did was go to Stevens; not only did it introduce me to a nice little town called Hoboken, but it truly opened a wealth of opportunities I would have never had, especially as a [former] foreigner. But of course, it required a lot of hard work.

    I lived long enough in this country to see two economic recessions. I have to say, regardless of its issues, and even in its WORST times, the US is STILL the land of opportunities and dreams, the sky is the limit.

  16. whynot

    Great comments.

    By the way, I ran the rent (3,000) versus buy (550,000) numbers – it’s very VERY close because of the tax deduction and low LOW interest rates. I understand there are a couple of other variables.

    I agree with Tiger in regard to the US. I wish I bet big on the dollar versus euro a few months ago – is it too late? any financial people out there?

  17. JC

    not too late

  18. shortsequalmarket

    The FHA has fallen below the capital levels it is required to have. It has fallen below those levels because the insurance premium they charge is not sufficient to cover the losses they are incurring. Since the FHA has an explicit government guarantee the fact that their insurance premium does not cover their expenses does not imperil Wells Fargo. This is a government subsidy. They are charging you less for the insurance than it would cost in the free market.

    Thoughts:

    Closing cost do not need to be open ended. They can be capped at a dollar amount or percent of the sale. The FHA explicitly states the amount of closing costs the seller can refund. Wonder if Craig took advantage of that?

  19. shortsequalmarket

    Thoughts

    Interesting that you would say buying is less expensive than rent and simultaneously say there is nothing worthwhile less than $600K in Hoboken. I am fairly certain I can rent a 2br on 2nd and Bloom for less than $3,000 which is less than mortgage, maintenance, and taxes on over $600K.

    In addition many rental building are comping one to two months of rent making the stated rate meaningless.

  20. thoughts

    For the last time – here’s a tutorial for Shorty:

    Buy (give or take):

    P&I for 450K loan at 5% = @2,400
    HOA = 275
    Taxes =625

    Total = 3,300 minus the tax deduction plus the principal payments!

    Rent = 3K plus parking of $200 plus no savings plus living in a box owned by 3rd party.

    Wow – seems pretty close or better EVEN if you increase the above purchase numbers!

    In regard to tying up the down payment – there’s a million and one different ways to look at it – forced savings, the stock market is a risk, real estate is a risk, etc. etc.

    Right now – with a down market and low rates – good time to get in to the 6th borough or any borough if you want to stay????

    Come on Shorty – get some!

  21. laki

    Craig:

    I told you i look at these numbers for a living. Still you don’t trust me. You think that my agenda is to come here on this blog and prove you wrong by lying about what i do and make up numbers to prove my point? Is that what you really think? I have better stuff to do with my time than strategically lie to a handful of people on this blog. But if you want proof here you go.. This is from a presentation made by T2 capital partners in mid 2009 (Credit hedge fund.. the numbers themselves come from the agency itself).

    http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/files/2009/10/fha-delinq-mother-of-all-head-fakes.pdf

    This chart says that 32.4% of all loans FHA insured in 2007 were delinquent by mid 2009!! In total the delinquencies were at 18% of their entire pool. So almost one in 5 people who insured their mortgage with FHA stopped paying! And these numbers are still on the rise. Also, the numbers would look way worse had it not been for modifications (another subsidy) and even more importantly if you stripped out the bias introduced by the explicit government backing of FHA making it an ongoing concern as an entity. What do I mean by the latter? Well, had FHA been a private company NO WAY would it be able to grow in 2009 and 2010 and insure INSANE amounts of new loans. Who would lend them money? Which bank would insure mortgages with them? Private insurers with this kind of performance go bankrupt and banks know that so they would never take on a risk of insurance policy becoming invalidated due to the bankruptcy. So had they been private, they would not be able to insure new loans in late 2008 all of 2009 and early 2010. These new loans haven’t had chance to default yet so FHA’s overall delinquency stats look better to an uneducated observer cause the pool has been diluted with new loans that are still current! If i’m an insurer and i unerwite 100 policies over time all of which go bust but then i quickly underwrite a 1000 more in a day, i too could turn around the next day and say only 10% of my pool is delinquent! Clearly misleading.

    So, had there not been for the government backing FHA you would be looking at their overall delinquency rate in the high 20s /low 30s and they would NOT be insuring new loans over the past couple of years. Every 3rd borrower they insured prior to 2008 had stopped paying their mortgage by mid 2009! (these numbers look much worse today than they appear on this chart by the way.. today this number is around 40-45%, but i’ll stick with whats on the chart)

    Now FHA charged in the neighborhood of 1.5% up front and 0.5% per year to insure these loans… 1.5% + 4* 0.5% = 3.5% of premium collected in recent years.

    When FHA delinquent homes are liquidated they fetch 30 to 45 cents on the dollar in recovery so 30% delinquency will eventually result in 20ish percent of actual losses. Hmmmm… 20% > 3.5% several times over.

    Just as i was saying.

  22. Higher Education

    homeboken

    The bubble has already popped for MBAs.
    The demand for lawyers has softened considerably.
    Graduating doctors are not becoming general practitioners because the money isn’t there.
    On top of this, the cost of all education has rapidly outstripped inflation over the 10+ years.
    My opinion seems to be inline with yours.

  23. Craig

    Thoughts – your rent vs. own calculations are right on the money. I have appealed my real estate taxes and the firm handling it says they will be reduced by at least $2200 annually. With that reduction and with all the income tax deductions factored in, my condo will cost exactly $22 a month more than my prior rental (which was a nice 900 sq. ft. 1 br + den duplex that rents for less than my 1300 sq. ft. 2 br/ 2 bath condo would cost to rent).

    One way to know whether it makes economic sense to own in a particular market is to look at the housing price/rent ratio. Look at an equivalent unit that is for rent and for sale. If the annual rent of the rental multiplied by 15 equates to the sale price of an equivalent unit, then buying makes sense. But once you go much over that ideal 15 multiplier (say 17 max), then that market is overpriced and it makes more sense to rent.

  24. Lori Turoff

    I’m closing comments on this post – please move it over to today’s WWWU. I’ve asked my tech guys to make “pages” so you don’t have to scroll so much. Thanks for your cooperation.

    Lori

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