2010 May 27th

The Weekly Wednesday Wrap Up – Hoboken Condo Sales & Activity for the Week of May 25th

Hoboken Condos Sales & Activity – Week of May 25thflag

Memorial Day – the official start of summer fun.  Last night the Hoboken Memorial Day parade took place and honored 93 year old Medal of Honor Recipient Nicholas Oresko for his valiant service in WWII.

It’s also prime time for sellers to list their units if they hope to get a deal before the 2010 school year begins.  Interest rates have hit new lows which makes buying a home more affordable.  Governor Christie is pushing hard for a 2.5% property tax cap.  Here is what he had to say in Hoboken:

There has been much discussion in last week’s comments about the “state of the Hoboken condo market” and the economy in general.  An interesting point made concerned the change over time in the number of 2 bedroom Hoboken condos listed for under $600,00 and over $600,000.  I went back to May 2009 and looked at those numbers.   64% of the 2 bedrooms for sale were under $600k and 36% were over.  Currently around 75%of the 2 bedroom condos for sale are under $600k and 25% over.  So the question is – are there more lower priced 2 bedroom condos because Hoboken condo sellers have become more realistic in their pricing? Are they lower because prices have actually declined? Or are there simply fewer new construction, high-end condos listed on the MLS right now?  Last May quite a few units at 1025 Maxwell and the Garden Street Lofts were listed.  Perhaps the assortment of properties for sale is what has changed.  The only thing of which I am certain is that this debate will not be resolved for some time.

Here are this week’s numbers vs. last week:

Studio & 1 Bedroom Hoboken Condos:

12 new listings

217 total active

3 Dabos

14 Sold

11 price reductions

Two Bedroom Hoboken Condos:

25 new listings

277 total listings.

10 Dabos

15 sold

17 price reductions

Three Bedroom and Larger Hoboken Condos:

4 new listings

62 active listings.

no Dabos

2 sold

9 price reductions

Hoboken Condo Open Houses

If you are in the market for a Hoboken condo, our Hoboken Open House Google Map is your best source for locating every open house in Hoboken. It is the single, most complete listing available and we were the first ones to do it.  We compile the information by hand from all possible sources to provide you with all the information you need in one spot.  It’s posted on Friday every week.

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 [email protected] letting us know which size(s) you would like and we’ll add you to the daily email list.

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

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

  1. homeboken

    Ron Paul introduced legislation this morning to PERMANANTLY extend the first-time home buyer tax credit.

    This was discussed on this blog months ago. Once the data is available showing the drop in housing demand at the credit expiration, expect this bill to gain steam. The weekly mortgage apps data from the MBA shows a massive drop in new applications in the weeks following TC expiration.

    Additionally, NJ is finalizing a state tax credit of $15,000 ($100million cap, $75million for new construction, $25 million for existing, first come first serve)

    So I can theoritically buy a $600,000 home in NJ, put 3.5% down via FHA (21,000) and then claim 23,000 in tax credits the following year. The goverment is going to basically pay me to buy a house! I think I may have to reconsider the rent/buy scenario. Under the above situation, I get a free call option on housing. If I run into trouble, there are some many programs being created to save, or I just walk away and stiff FHA.

    Does any of the this seem like good business? No, it is goverment subsidizing bad choices. What happened to this country?

  2. Craig

    So I take it you are against Ron Paul’s idea? Fair enough. However, I wonder if you are equally opposed to 26 U.S.C. § 163(h) of the Internal Revenue Code. In layman’s terms, that is popularly known as the mortgage interest deduction. It costs the U.S. Treasury $120 billion a year – far more than the first time homebuyer credit.

    As for the proposed NJ tax credit, it’s hardly being finalized. The state Assembly just voted for it. Next it goes to the Senate. Then it goes to the Govenor. Do you honestly believe that Gov. Christie will sign that bill into law? You’ll sooner see pigs fly.

  3. homeboken

    The mortgage interest deduction is only a temporary measure as well. But like all subsidies, removing them from the marketplace has serious negative affects on the the asset being subsidized.

    But it brings about an interesting questions. Why does the government choose to give tax breaks for only certain types of interest expense.

    Mortgage Interest – Yes
    Student Loan interest – yes (unless your income is over the cap)
    Auto loan interest – No
    Credit card interest – No


  4. homeboken

    A second question to ponder on our three day weekend:

    Why are increasing home prices equated with a healthy economy? This is the only asset class where increasing prices is the goal?

    High gas prices – Bad
    High prices at the supermarket – Bad
    Housing is a consumable good just like gasand food. Yet the government does everything to support high prices.

  5. Lori Turoff

    I remember in the late ’80s when the deductibility of car loan interest was about to expire. Yes – it used to be deductible as was credit card debt. Almost everyone I knew ran out and quickly bought a new car. It was, if I recall directly, during the Regan revision of the Federal tax code that many of the deductions went away under the gise of simplifying the tax code.

    Why do these changes occur? Have you ever heard of lobbyists? They exert immense power over our government.

  6. TS


    Not that it’s the reason why, but being able to deduct mortgage interest increases property values, which translates into higher property tax generated. I’m sure they don’t cancel each other out, but it’s just a thought.

    But as to your second post, why on earth would you compare owning real property to a consumable good?? You honestly think OWNING housing is like buying food or gas? If anything, RENTING is more like a consumable good, and it is not deductible — consistently enough.

    And since when isn’t a rising stock market considered the sign of a healthy economy? And when isn’t it “the goal”??

    I can’t help but think to myself, did you even think before writing your second post??

  7. Craig

    Lori is correct, Congress and Ronald Reagan eliminated most interest deductions except mortgage interest with the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Interestingly enough, the mortgage interest deduction has actually been with us since 1913 when the first incarnation of the modern federal income tax was introduced after the Constitution was amended to allow it. Back then interest of any kind was deductable.

    The NAR has as powerful lobbyists as anyone. Which is why you won’t see the mortgage interest deduction going anywhere. I consider shelter and education necessities, so it’s okay to subsidize loans for them with tax deductions. But credit card and auto loan interest deductions were crack cocaine for a country that loves revolving consumer debt. It’s for the best that those are gone.

  8. shortsequalmarket

    New Jersey’s Bill Bradley was also a key sponsor.

    The NAR and NAHB are actually two of the largest contributors to congressional campaigns. Hence mortgage interest deductions, homebuyer tax credits, and the more recent clawback previous taxes if you lost money recently (Homebuilders received a huge cash windfall)

    You do know that unless there is some sort of legal cap tying taxes to property value, think California, the government can choose to assess whatever property taxes they choose. They can have the same absolute value of taxes on a property even if it is worth less.

  9. shortsequalmarket

    I would not call basic housing a consumption good. However I would call the way many homes are constructed today a consumption good. In last weeks thread there was discussion on how expensive the appliances and bathtubs can be if you own. That is the ultimate consumption.

    Imported Hardwood floors, 6 burner stoves, etc, etc = the ultimate consumption that is subsidized by the tax code.

  10. shortsequalmarket

    I encourage people to google Congresswoman Laura Richardson, she has been in default on multiple properties. In case you want to understand why we have such huge housing subsidies this is one of the people who decides. Please review her campaign contribution in bottom.
    In November of 2006, Richardson already owned a home in Long Beach. As a newly-elected state representative, she would have been required to maintain her principal residence in her district, but she would also have had to make some arrangements for staying in Sacramento during Assembly sessions, given the length of the commute from L.A. County to the state capitol. Richardson is a single woman with no children, yet she felt “required” to purchase a 3-bedroom, 1 1/2 bathroom home in what sounds like one of Sacramento’s pricier neighborhoods for $535,500, with no downpayment and with $15,000 in closing cost contributions from the property seller. (The NAR median price in Sacramento in the first quarter of 2007 was $365,300.)

    She likes the Realtors, and they like her. She filed financial disclosure forms with the House Ethics Committee reporting the National Assn. of Realtors flew her to Las Vegas in November to help swear in the new president of the association, Realtor Dick Gaylord of Long Beach.

    In suggested remarks* at the NAR gathering, also filed with the House, Richardson’s script read: “I might be one of the newest members of Congress but I am not a new member of the REALTOR Party. When I needed help to win a tough primary, REALTORS stood up and backed me even though I was the underdog.”

    –Real estate industry professionals have given her $39,500 in campaign contributions in the current election cycle, according to Open Secrets.

  11. Lori Turoff

    $39k? Does that really buy very much in today’s Congress?

  12. shortsequalmarket


    But if it is per year plus paying expenses for trips to Vegas plus contributions from individual members it starts to add up. I think old rules would limit corporations to like $1,000.

  13. homeboken

    TS – yes i did think before posting, I am asking you all to think about things from a different perspective.

    Think of my question in terms of barriers to entry. When looking to purchase a home, you want to pay as little as possible. The moment you close, you are want prices to sky-rocket. Same with stocks, a rising stock market is considered a sign of economic health, however, if you are planning to be a net saver for the next 5 + years, you would greatly benefit from lower prices thus giving you a lower entry price point. Higher prices benefit net sellers whether it is stock bonds homes gas food, etc.

  14. TS


    You could just admit you were confused when making your comments, but instead you doubled down.

    My comment about your not thinking before posting was directed at these comments:
    1. “Why are increasing home prices equated with a healthy economy? This is the only asset class where increasing prices is the goal?”
    2. Housing is a consumable good just like gasand food.”

    As for 1, as is clear housing is not the only asset class where increasing prices is “the goal” or “equated with a healthy economy”.
    As for 2, I already addressed that in terms of renting being more comparable.

    But now you add some nonsense about looking at it from the perspective of a certain subclass of the economy, when we’re talking about economic health in general. So why are increasing house prices equated with a healthy economy? Because it assumes that fundamentals – such as increased real wages – are in line with those increases. A big IF, of course, given what played out over the last decade.

    Maybe it’s just time to admit you made some false claims rather than drag this out.

  15. Lori Turoff

    Here is a full, juicy story about Congresswoman Laura Richardson if anyone is interested:

    She was one of three politicians invited to swear in Dick Gaylord. Who knows if NAR knew about her situation before they invited her (and paid her way).

    PS – The site I found shows only a 20k contribution from NAR. http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cycle=2008&cid=N00029112
    How much do you think Hoboken developers contributed to Camarano or Zimmer’s campaigns?

  16. homeboken

    TS why are you so contentious? I am attempting to stimulate people into thinking about economics from a perspective other than what is touted from the media or the government. You don’t seem to want to engage in a thoughtful debate instead you wish to attack. I assume that your past decisions will not allow you to think creatively about the world, since the answers you may find will run contrary to your decisions.

  17. homeboken

    I will ask my question another way:

    Why are rising home prices always considered a sign of health. Think of this in the context of wages. HUD released AMI recently, if home prices and wages are correlated, what happens when there is divergence in the correlation?

    Again this is a macro question, not specific to the Hoboken market.

  18. FN

    Well.. no interest should be deductable both for individual and corporatoin all the goverment is doing is encourging leverage. Why the hell should I who does not lever himself pay for people including LBO guys..

    No governemnt should try and increase the price of housing if anything government should try and keep housing affordable.

    Having said that there is a case for helping first time home buyers and young people who do not have downpayment etc..

    1. Remove the housing interest deduction but keep the firt time home buyer credit.
    2. Change FHA to make it a loan for downpayment ie give upto 17% of home as a loan for downpayment provided the PITI is less than 28% and let the buyer take a 80/20 loan from any loan provider. This loan should be bankcruptcy remote and may be run though IRS. IE the only way not to pay this loan back is to leave this county.

  19. TS


    Part of the problem is you’re not introducing new ways of thinking about things, but attributing views that you claim are universally held that simply are not.

    Who doesn’t think that fundamentals and prices can become disaligned (e.g., a divergence in correlation), resulting in bubbles. Who doesn’t think this is precisely what happened to RE over the last 5-10 years?

    I’m just not getting your point here. You either make obviously false claims (like RE is the only asset class where increased prices are a sign of a healthy economy) or trivial claims that everyone believes yet you think no one believes (like prices and fundamentals can come apart).

    I’m very open to learning something here, I just don’t think you have a legitimate point to make. Maybe I’m completely misunderstanding you though.

  20. laki

    I can’t believe Ron Paul is sponsoring that Bill. I just lost ton of respect for him. As if the tax code is not complicated enough already! But what the hell, let us create yet another special permanent interest group that is treated differently from everyone else!

    This wont end well. This country is already technically insolvent but in 10-15 years at most there will be a day of reckoning with catastrophic consequences. All the laws that are being passed are stimulating consumption/leverage and penalizing savings/discipline. And we’re already too indebted and we already consume too much. None of this is sustainable. You can only live beyond your means for so long. Eventually the reality kicks in.

  21. whynot

    laki – don’t worry about! move out of hoboken and you won’t be affected! according to shortsequalmarket and homeboken, only hoboken has tax problems! 🙂 that said, last we looked, the taxes in the suburban areas are about double hoboken, so we’re not sure what they’re talking about. 🙁

  22. homeboken

    Whynot- funny. I have never once said that hoboken is alone in the fiscal disaster that is Hudson County, or NJ, or the USA.

    I am suggesting renting. As ownership of your residence comes with a direct taxation tether to your town/county/state/county. And, you have no mobility. You will be forced to sit back and enjoy the rape.

    The next argument is “Well I the renters will get a their share of the increase too from the landlords.” Not true, if my landlord attempted this I would not pay. I would move, renters have mobility on their side. When my landlord is faced with the choice of losing a dependable tenant or eating the tax increse, I am pretty sure I know how she will choose.

    If she tries to pass it on, I will vacate, and find a landlord that will not pass it on. The rental market is still favoring the renters, until this changes, mobility is a valuable asset.

  23. homeboken

    Here’s a question: Were the people in the attached article ever owners? Their name was on the title, but weren’t they really just renting from the bank?


  24. whynot

    homeboken – stop. we’re looking buy. we think we’re at or near the bottom. there’s no evidence that’s suggests otherwise. we’re also expecting to get 20% off of the high, which is significant, and to put down 20%. therefore, it won’t be our ownership of real estate (that we’ll love) that we’ll be our tether – it will be our jobs, family, friends and hoboken! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    by the way, because we’re not going anywhere for the near future, we cannot wait to lock in 5%! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 – that gets extra smiles!

  25. stan

    Whynot, why do you feel so threatened by homeboken or the other guys posts. If they don’t buy, they don’t.

    if you want to buy, buy, are you trying to convince yourself or him? if we are at the bottom, good for you. If we’re not, good for him.

  26. whynot

    stan – stop telling people how they feel or why they post something! especially when you’re wrong! Because you said it as fact, is it now fact??? Your a little blocked up inside this AM, huh?!! Well, stop posting and go to the bathroom already! Maybe thereafter you can relax! 😉

  27. Lori

    Please show a little respect, people. Disagreement is fine. Name calling is not.

  28. Craig

    @Homeboken – one has to assume it must be your intention never to own a home, because property taxes aren’t going away. Uncle Sam gives you credit for paying property taxes via a deduction from your federal income tax you know. This gives you more of your salary than you would otherwise have to pay them with.

    Lastly, I acknowledge your arguments for renting, but there’s something to be said about stability and being at home – your home. I didn’t buy property to make a profit, I bought a place to call home and do with it as I wish. I like where I live being my home, not a place that belongs to someone else in which I stay for awhile and then move on. If it’s your plan to simply pick up and move annually when each of your leases expire to seek out landlords who will not pass on property tax or other annual increases to their tenants, all I can say is: good luck with that.

  29. stan

    my point was that your’e taking things personally, as evidenced above.

  30. TS


    It seems to be a trait of yours not to understand basic distinctions. Your latest comment about people who choose foreclosure as being just people renting from a bank reflects that. If the difference isn’t obvious – especially in terms of legal and financial responsibilities and rights – I think any conversation with you is liable to get nowhere.

  31. homeboken

    TS – Did you read the article? It is one thing to enter into foreclosure due to one’s economic situation changing.

    It is quite another to refi out equity during the real estate bubble, buy a truck for a promotional give away, then stiff your lender for 100% of the payments and instead use the money to eat at Outback and go to the Hard Rock.

    If you are comfortable living in a world where contract rights are non-existent, then I agree, we are likely to get nowhere.

    Contract rights and personal property rights are the foundation of democracy. I can’t enter your house and take your TV just because I want it. I can’t hot-wire any car in the parking lot and then claim it as mine. But yet, our laws allow one to steal from a bank. Not only that, these people that are stealing from a bank and are so unafraid of the consequences or stigma attached to their actions, they are willing to be photographed and profiled in the SUnday NY Times! This is the new normal.

  32. whynot

    stan – i only take things personally when people (like you) tell people what they think and why they act! crazy! i’m not sure how you can know all of that – obviously, you’re a little nervous about something. over your head? underwater? can’t afford? whatever it is – i’m sorry, but you got yourself into it and only have yourself to blame. we were smart enough not to buy at the height, as we just thought prices were way too hi. trust me, we could have purchased ten times over. stan, for the future, know your limits – its a good thing! 🙂

  33. stan

    Second verse same as the first.

    Taking. things. personally.

    You shouldnt be so concerned with what someone on a message board has to say. Have confidence in your ultimate decision, just as craig is with his decision in buying and homeboken is with his decision in renting.

  34. TS


    Yes, I did read the article. And once again, you seem not to understand basic distinctions. In this most recent post of yours you equate:
    1. Someone breaking into your house and stealing your things.
    And 2. Someone getting a refi from a bank – WHO APPROVED IT – and then using that money to pay one’s expenses (and occasional luxuries) rather than pay the mortgage.

    Yes, this is very unethical behavior – but it has absolutely nothing to do with their being really renters rather than true owners. And the first is a criminal activity, the second is not.

    I think I’ll bow out from this conversation as rather than just recognize your errors and mistakes, you double down on your claims or add more nonsensical claims to your previous ones.

  35. TS


    PS: If you had read the article closely yourself, you would see that the people actually did have a change in their financial situation — their business was failing — and that they used the money to help that business recover. Contrary to your summary of the story.

  36. homeboken

    TS – All the economic difficulties happened before or after they refi’d all the equity out of their house, turned it into a truck, then gave it away. What about the mom that works at a barber shop and cuts senior citizens hair at $8 a pop, what does she clear an hour, 4 or 5 bucks. This person should be living in S42 or S8 housing, not owning a home.

    Call me cold-hearted but people that make decisions like that do not deserve to be running any sort of business.

    By the way, it was their business that was failing. They weren’t laid off or suddenly fell ill. They took a risk of starting a business and it failed. Responsible people, will say, well that sucks, I tried and couldn’t make it work, time to find other work.

    Instead these folks are essentially using the banks money to keep their business afloat. You want to check in on these morons and see if there “business” is still alive in 2 years? I’ll bet $100 they dont’ make it. Another used truck salesmen will convince them to buy another promotional car and help them part with their money.

  37. whynot

    stan – who was taking anything personally before you came along??? do you know how to read? please do not project your feelings to third parties!! if you’re upset about something, just take ownership of it – now, please explain what’s wrong!?! 🙂 you will feel better! 😉

  38. homeboken

    PS – The Pembertons were never Owners of their house, they weren’t even renters. They are flat out thieves.

    The bank lent them money, they now refuse to pay it back. Is this the pride of ownership that gets touted so often here?

    If housing never collapsed in FLA and the Pemberton’s placed tripled in value, would the bank be entitled to any of that value? Of course not. None of this is good business and from the article there are 1.7million borrowers that are either in or facing a similar choice. I understand why they won’t pay, but that doesn’t mean it is right or that I condone it. These people are proud of what they are doing. Why else publicize their theft in the a major news paper.

  39. Morally_Right

    What percentage of condo associations are in trouble in hoboken? Or will be in trouble in the next 2 years?

  40. homeboken

    Morally – Short of getting access to the condo assoc’s books I don’t think there is anyway to accurately gauge that.

  41. TS

    How to argue with someone who makes inconsistent claims like these??
    1. “Were the people in the attached article ever owners? Their name was on the title, but weren’t they really just renting from the bank?” (Rhetorical questions, I take it.)
    2. “The Pembertons were never Owners of their house, they weren’t even renters. They are flat out thieves.”

  42. shortsequalmarket


    I NEVER said only Hoboken has tax problems. Most $500K places in Hoboken pay about $9K in property taxes. Is that really different than other NJ ‘burbs? Hoboken and all NJ ‘burbs are facing the same issue of raising taxes unless their expenses are controlled.

    BTW there is plenty of evidence that we are not at the bottom. I have written it down. You can believe differently (and I can disagree with you), but there is plenty of evidence things could go lower.

    There may even be some positive signs that you believe in, but I believe they will be overwhelmed by the negative.

    PS HP had record profits and then announced 9,000 layoffs. What were you telling me about profitable companies hiring and thereby reducing unemployment? It appears the only group hiring is the Census.

  43. Craig

    “Most $500K places in Hoboken pay about $9K in property taxes.”

    They shouldn’t be if the property is properly assessed at its current market value. When you see a propety in that price range with taxes that high, it’s because the city’s assessment still has the property assessed at its top of the market value of $650k or more. A tax appeal brings the taxes for a unit in that range down to about $6500-$6700. Why do you think nearly every listing states a tax appeal is in progress?

  44. homeboken

    Craig – You are correct, but as we stated before, the tax appeal results in a lower assesment only. The lower assessment will benefit the tax payer in the 1st year, maybe 2nd. Without a cut in government spending, the reduced tax revenues received by the city only expand the deficit.

    This will result in increased millage rates, which are not appealable. The government must be funded, if spending is not cut, then taxes will go up. This is a zero sum game.

  45. whynot

    $500K places in the burbes are substantially higher than 9K – closer to 13K or so. Especially if look at Essex County – Livingston or West Organge. By the way, a 500K place in hoboken (after appeal, if ncessary) are closer to 7.5K! 🙂

    Stan – please advise if it was appropriate for me to post the foregoing. i don’t want to disturb you and your thougths/opinions. stay out of trouble!

  46. shortsequalmarket

    Essex has the Newark disaster but I doubt that applies to Somerset or even Passaic counties (Although I can be wrong). I guess there are a lot of appeals coming cause there are plenty of listing around $500K with about $10K in taxes. However, like you said unless the 2.5% cap passes the rates will jump and the dollar value will return to that level.

    Is mortgage purchase applications falling to the lowest level in 13 years any kind of sign? How about near all time high listings both in Hoboken and the nation? Could this be considered evidence of potentially lower prices?

  47. Craig

    I can’t speak for the rest of the nation, but in Hoboken the higher than normal inventory is resulting in a longer amount of days on the market before sale, not drastically reduced prices. I tend to think we’re not going to see any further 10-20% type reductions unless the property is woefully overpriced. Most transactions remain within 3-5% of asking price if the unit is properly priced to begin with. Quality units in prime locations sell quickest and closest to asking.

    You can’t just look at the lowest list prices you find in a search engine to estimate where the market is headed. You have to look closely at what you are getting for the asking price. If you want a 2 br/2 ba unit with at least 1100 sq. ft. and modern, quality finishes in a decent location (defined as close to PATH or the water) that is not a 3rd-5th floor walk-up, then you are still going to be paying in the neighborhood of $500k and up. That bottom-line hasn’t budged and doesn’t look to anytime soon.

    Sure, you can point out a few Upper Grand units for less than $500k, but consider their sq. footage or other issues with the unit you are unaware of for that price. There’s unusally a catch. Furthermore, if that complex was in the southwest instead of the northwest, add another $25-$50k to each unit. The Oz at 70 Adams is comparable and yet you won’t find a sub $500k 2 br unit there.

    The less desirable units are taking the biggest price hits. Want to pay less than $500k for 2 bedrooms? You will be in the northwest or anywhere west of Madison. You may only get 1 bathroom and you may get less than 1000 sq. ft. of space. I can show you a 2br for as little as $360k if you don’t mind it being outdated and squeezed into 650 sq. ft. of space. But you can’t use such a unit as an example of further steep price drops to come. There’s a reason why it’s so cheap. The most desirable units are currently priced as good as it’s going to get in my opinion. They have been selling consistently for months within 5% of asking price with no signs of further downward movement – albiet for 15-20% less than in 2006-2007.

  48. whynot

    Today – evidence of potentially higher prices:

    “NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rebounded Wednesday after a stronger-than-expected increase in pending home sales restored investors’ optimism about the economy.”

    Stan – was that an okay post? please do not be upset! 🙁

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