2010 Jun 16th

The Weekly Wednesday Wrap Up – Hoboken Condo Sales & Activity for the Week of June 15th

Hoboken Condos Sales & Activity – Week of June 15th

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

Last night I attended another Hoboken Zoning Board meeting. This was what I heard:Elysian Park

An important goal of the Hoboken Master Plan is to encourage families to come to and stay in Hoboken by creating larger, family friendly living spaces. There was an application before the Board for a very small variance in the lot coverage rule in order to allow a builder to construct a 4 story building back on Monroe. Each floor would consist of a 1,400 square foot, 3 bedroom unit with a 10 foot deck/fire escape. Even at 4 stories, the finished building would not exceed the height restrictions for that zone. Rather than grant the variance to allow for the extra 10 feet of lot coverage, a Board member suggested that the design be changed to four 1,000 sq. ft. 3 bedrooms without an elevator. This comment made me wonder how much information the Board has about what actually sells in Hoboken. So I took a quick look at the MLS.

Since 2008, there have been about 203 3 bedroom units sold, currently under contract and currently active. Of those the square footage breakdown looks like this:

Looking at the elevator question I found:

It’s clear from the weekly stats that there are proportionally few 3 brs in Hoboken to begin with.  To sell a 3 bedroom condo in Hoboken today, it better be at least 1,400 square feet. If it’s above the 2nd floor it needs to have an elevator. Every day I work with buyers who have babies and children and these buyers tell me they won’t consider a walk up. Why don’t these facts get presented to the Zoning Board? Wouldn’t it help our community (and achieve the goal of the Master Plan) for the Zoning Board to know what sells if the goal is to lure families to Hoboken???

Speaking of what sells – we are still in the same situation we have been for some time. Not enough sales, too much inventory. Here is an interesting footnote that helps explain how these numbers get skewed. When we switched firms last week, our listings came with us. So while these properties have actually been for sale previously, they were all relisted as new this week. That’s just one situation that presents a false picture of the market. I’m sure there are others. Without knowing the back story on every property, though, it is hard to address these glitches. So here are this weeks numbers.

Studio & 1 Bedroom Hoboken Condos:

18 new listings

204 total active

2 Dabos

9 Sold

12 price reductions

Two Bedroom Hoboken Condos:

30 new listings

275 total listings.

5 Dabos

14 sold

26 price reductions

Three Bedroom and Larger Hoboken Condos:

3 new listing

58 active listings.

1 Dabo

None sold

4 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 info@hobokensbest.com 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. shortsequalmarket

    Craig

    I have neve not said that closer to the PATH does not sell for more. What I have said is that in this area where it is easier to compare like units it is pretty clear prices are declining. (as they are in building like the Shipyard and Observer Plaza)

    The NW really is presenting a compelling case for my point right now

    First Columbus has a 1,300 sq ft unit with a balcony sell for $475 (but of course that was a short sell so it did not count)

    Next, 456 9th had a 2.2 sell for about the same (but it was a FSBO through the MLS so it did not count)

    Now there are two units at The Terraces listed for $479 by realtors at MLS. When I made my case for falling prices by citing all the units that were now less than $500K, but more in late 2009, it was pointed out that one of the Terrace units was listed at $499 so it really should not count as much less than $500K.

    So now what does all the true factual information I have given mean:

    a) Short sales are market prices
    b) FSBO on MLS are market prices
    c) Prices are falling
    d) All of the above

  2. shortsequalmarket

    Craig

    Lastly while I have proven that most units in Hoboken are falling in price during the last six months, I am more concerned about the future. Specifically we know that the tax credit created a buying frenzy more than doubling sales over what they are now during the prime Summer buying season.

    You like to believe that because you have deemed the market fully adjusted you are right. I use evidence to say there are significant issues with housing and buying a place now risk your financial well being (even if the net monthly payment is less than renting)

  3. Craig

    @Shorts – you keep going back to the same properties with issues and/or missing amenities to make your point. Let me make my point more clear: show us proof that prices have declined in The Oz in the past 6 months.

    I have never claimed the entire market is fully adjusted. What I have said is that after the big market adjustment that occurred from 2008 through 2009, the most desirable Hoboken properties are holding value since December 2009. Lastly, I agree buying a place now is a financial risk – if it’s your intention to flip it within a short time. However, if you plan to make it your primary residence for the next 5-8 years, you’ll be fine. History dictates that sooner or later real property will appreciate.

  4. shortsequalmarket

    OK, in a building I do not follow during a short time period that was propped up with a first time homebuyers credit it appears there were not enough sales to say prices fell at Oz. However, unlike you I do not live in a bubble and realize that falling prices everywhere else in Hoboken will eventually impact Hoboken’s Plaza Hotel (ie Oz)

    History dictated that home prices never fall on a national level. How did that turn out?

    History dictated that the Dow Jones would not be flat for 11 years, How did that turn out? (Although only since 1982).

    Post WWII US economic history dictated that the unemployment rate would not more than double during a recession. How did that turn out?

    I gave a pretty long and detailed explanation on how you better consider the economic foundations of today versus history, two weeks ago, I stand by it.

  5. shortsequalmarket

    Can we get a price check on the Oz units mentioned in 2009? Interesting to see them moving into the mid 5’s

    Lori thanks for nicely pointing out not all parking is tandem. Interestingly if I overlook something in a post others claim I am misrepresenting or lying. I hope they can take notice of how to point things out. Of course it might just be a defensive mechanism.

  6. L&S

    Shorts – What is your motivation behind all these posts? You are clearly not looking to buy in the near term and have a very strong view on the world so why bother.??
    My $0.02 – The Hoboken and National housing mkt will be determined not by tax credit or rates etc. but the health of the economic recovery, if we get 3% GDP growth this year and 4.5% next year with unemployement remaining stable this year and dropping slightly next..then prices are at a bottom. If GDP growth drops below 2% in 2010 and is weak in 2011 or if we get a “double dip” then housing is going to drop again..10-15-20% ..who knows?

    I might have stated the obvious but I do find it interesting that most people talk in change in house prices on a monthly basis or sometimes even weekly.

  7. Lori

    I want to know what Shorts does for a living that he/she has so much time to comment. Not complaining though – all comments and points of view are most welcome here.

  8. Lori

    This is interesting – 536 Grand is a building that has been the subject of a bit of discussion here. There was a 2 BR unit (#207) listed for sale at $479k and reduced to $459k. It expired at $459k on May 22nd without selling. It has the original kitchen and bath (white appliances, Formica, older style cabinets) and a very long and narrow floor plan.

    It shows up today on the MLS today as a 1 BR (and only a 1 BR). Tell me that is a mistake? Or is the agent purposely listing it as a 1BR to get buyers to think “oh – look how great a deal this is – we can get an 1100+ sq. ft. unit with parking for $459k” then they go see it and find an “extra” bedroom? Nah – an agent wouldn’t do that – it must just be an error.

  9. Lori

    The other sales at 70 Adams:
    3N list $550k sold $570k 1222 sq ft (terrace)
    5F list $600k sold $581k 1144 sq ft
    2L list $629k sold $615k 1474 sq ft
    2M list $515k sold $490k 1241 sq ft (1br + den)
    2E list $539k sold $525k 1000 sq ft (terrace)

    All had deeded parking.

  10. Craig

    I too wonder why shorts, who is clearly opposed to buying real estate, bothers to read and comment on a blog that is about buying and selling real esate.

    Shorts, the Oz is not an anomaly. It is one of several buildings holding value in Hoboken the last several months. I provided you with several other examples like 215 Grand, The Huntington, 82 Clinton, 101 Park, etc. Sure, they lost value in 2008-2009, but they have held steady since. By ignoring these well-performing buildings and basing your argument solely on buildings like 920 Jefferson, 536 Gand, Upper Grand, or Sky Club, it is you who is living in a bubble. I think you need to get inside some of these buildings to see firsthand the differences between what you’re comparing.

    I suspect the homebuyer credit had little affect on the pricing in buildings like the Oz, as the household incomes of most buyers in them likely exceeded its cap. Now that the credit is gone, let’s see if 2 br units in the Oz plummet below $500k – not gonna happen. The properties you cite had no choice but to drop their prices below $500k. It was because in the current market with their lesser desirability factor, they can’t compete in same price range with the preferred properties I cite that now occupy the $500k – $600k + range.

  11. shortsequalmarket

    I cannot believe we are back in the

    Families earning $200K would not like an $8,000 gift from the government argument again. Even the 2009 cap of $150K would have more than covered the minimum income to qualify in Oz.

    I do not have exact figues but about 1 year ago I remember most units in buildings you mentioned being over $600K. I then remember your less “desirable” units being about $550. The less desirable seem to have had about twice the decline $100K versus $50K but they both have declined.

    I have not included Huntington cause there are only a handful of true 2/2 there. However if we are going to include that building I am noticing a lot of there 1.5/2 starting to show up. I also have noted many of the 1.5/2 are barely renting for more than $2,100.

  12. L&S

    shorts — why you care?? you take pleasure in reminding us all how much money we lost :)..or want the mkt to drop big time so you could buy. BTW – if the mkt does it cant be good for anyone, even if you worked in a HF that is short mtgs..

  13. Craig

    Shorts, even if I concede that the tax credit somehow artificially propped up prices for buildings like the Oz, the question then becomes why didn’t it do the same for the likes of 920 Jefferson?

    No one said the Oz never declined at any time. What I was saying is that buildings like it have held up better since 2008 and have not declined further since the calendar turned to 2010, while the less desirable units are still showing some movement. You just acknowledged that 920 Jefferson has declined twice as much as the Oz, so I think you’re starting to come around.

    When someone tried to list a nice 1200+ sq. ft. 2 br at the Oz for $550k in 2010, what happened? It sold $20k above asking. Unit 2E sold for a low $525k, but Lori’s listed size of 1000 sq. ft. is optimistic – it’s really 979. Do you think an offer above asking will happen at 920 Jefferson or Upper Grand anytime soon?

  14. shortsequalmarket

    Lower home prices in the short run would be a shock to homeowners and that is a majority of the population.

    In the long run lower home prices would be a big positive for the economy. Imagine and economy where many people were not spending 1/3 of their pre tax income on housing. There would be much more money available for investments in something other than housing. There would be more ability to save for the future instead of relying on your home for retirement.

  15. shortsequalmarket

    Craig

    Actually you just moved by acknowledging home prices have declined throughout Hoboken. Now all you have to realize is there is a link between all homes in Hoboken. (or even those giant probably soon to be empty) twin towers in JC.

    BTW Why is Huntington desirable relative to Terraces. It is across from the HS, no balconies, and has 8′ celings.

  16. Craig

    I never said home prices hadn’t declined throughout Hoboken. In fact, the decline was what I was counting on. If they hadn’t declined, I’d probably still be renting because I was previously priced out of Hoboken. All I ever said is that the top properties have held steady the last 6 months with some bidding wars even popping up from time to time.

    Regarding The Huntington vs. The Terraces: are you serious? I have to believe you’ve never seen either complex in person inside or out. You mean to tell me you don’t see any difference in the floorplans or exterior and interior finishes in those two buildings?

  17. shortsequalmarket

    Good point

    At the Huntington I see a HS next door, a lack of balconies, and low ceilings. The Huntington also has an abundance of studios. There are also a lot of small 1BR plus den masquerading as 2/2. My bad.

    Next that there is even any decline in prices during spring time six month time frame when there are gov’t credits for buying homes is amazing. Keep looking at the trees. Then look at only very specific trees. I see the forest and I will run out when I see fire while you will say this tree is fine.

  18. L&S

    Shorts – Lower home prices will not only be a shock to homeowners but to the full economy and that includes you. I am not in favour of kicking the can down the road but to believe that lower home price going forward will happen in isolation is a very naive view. As a country we have really spent all our “bullets” to stimulate the economy, if it does falter and leads to lower home prices you can expect a long hard road to recovery with an interim period that will look and feel like a nightmare. Yes – 2020 will be a great year and home affordibility will be very very high but first you need to get through the next
    10 years.

    Shorts = Its very easy to comment about tree and forest on fires..take a step back and understand what the consequences could be if the forest does catch fire. Its called social unrest and something the developed world has not witnessed in a long time.

  19. Lori Turoff

    I don’t believe the ceilings at the Huntington differ from any other MetroHomes or similar building. The living rooms are nicer than most with big windows, chair moulding, crown moulding and open kitchens. At the Terraces the kitchens are very small and the “walk-through” type – not big “U” shaped kitchens with a lot of counter space as at the Huntington. The Huntington has a very nice gym, a real lobby, and decent common outdoor space. Some units have private outdoor space too. There are very, very few studios. I’ve only seen 2. Hardly what I’d call an “abundance”. Very few 1BR plus dens, too. A viable alternative for a family or person who wants an office but can’t afford a true 2, I might add. It’s also one of the buildings furthest east and therefore close to Washington St. and the bus.

  20. Craig

    The interior finishes, layouts, and amentiies of The Huntington and The Terraces are not even comparable. The Huntington has a grand total of 6 studios out of 110 total condos. It has the same 9′ ceilings as most modern mid-rise construction. I wonder if someone should tell shorts that the Huntington is comprised of more than one building since he’s obviously never been there. The few studios and 1 br units are mostly in the building at 812 Grand with mostly 2+ brs everywhere else.

  21. Mike

    Quick question knowing you guys know alot real estate on here, I am about to go in contract in a unit on 607 1st Street for 215K, the place is 575sq ft is that a good deal or no?

  22. shortsequalmarket

    Mike

    What is your goal in buying such a small place that is closer to the Heights than to Washington St? Does it have parking? How much are the taxes and Maintenance?

    I am going to assume: taxes, maintenance, and interest is about $1,400. How much would this place rent for?

  23. Lori Turoff

    Did you use a realtor? Did they give you any comps? Did they talk to you about market conditions?

  24. Craig

    @Mike – How good a deal you got depends on which unit you bought and its condition relative to comparable nearby properties. I know unit #5 in that building is a foreclosure and is listed at $241.5k. Unit #6 is listed at $289k. Other nearby comps (310 Madison, 309 Monroe) seem to all be listed in the $240k range. So all other things being equal, it appears you did very well.

  25. Craig

    “What is your goal in buying such a small place that is closer to the Heights than to Washington St?” – shortsequalmarket

    This from the person who said he/she would move into the Upper Grand if the price is right. Are you somehow under the impression that 1st between Monroe and Jackson is more distant from all the action than the northwest section of town?

  26. shortsequalmarket

    It is. In the NW I am close to the NW waterfront, City Bistro, Madison, etc. In the NW you are a few steps from the Willow bus that take you to midtown in the morning. Further, the places I have been discussing are larger than 600 sq ft.

  27. Mike

    It is unit 2 and the monthly will hoa,taxes and mortgage at 4.75 will be around 1300 a month. Is the location bad? I did the walk to the path and it was about 10 min? Area seems safe with alot of new buildings coming up, and I am a single guy in my mid 20’s so I figure for now it is a good place and down the road I can sell or rent it out, any thoughts?

  28. shortsequalmarket

    Typically not a unit I look to rent so I am not sure about the rent you can expect. I think breaking even on the rent is going to be tough. Any vacancy, damage, or renter not paying and you will be hurting.

    There is a lot of building there, but there are no parks or grocery stores nearby and there is a lot of traffic.

    While I tend to strongly believe prices will decline, others here think that is unlikely. However, most see an extended period of flat prices, which means if you sell within the next five years you should add about $15,000 of closing costs to your expenses.

    Lastly, as a young single guy I would think there is nothing better than mobility. You will sacrifice that.

  29. Robbie

    Shortsequalmarket I diagree with you in regards to that location. I saw unit 2 in 607 1st street a few weeks back to show a prospective buyer and I really think the place should be selling for 250k and if you upgraded the kitchen and bathroom it would sell for 275-290k. I like the location too 1st ave is not bad at all I would rather live deep on 1st ave then live down past 8th.

  30. Craig

    Mike, don’t listen to shorts. He/she is against any purchase of real estate because he/she thinks the market will drop another 20% and that his/her rent will never be raised. According to the comps I cited you did very well. Your 10 minute walk to the PATH is one of the best things about your location instead of having to wait on the side of the street for a bus (which especially sucks during winter or late weekend nights). Congratulations on your purchase and enjoy your new home.

  31. Kandeep

    I rent to properties in hoboken, one that is 500 sq ft and one that is 525 sq feet and they both rent for between 1300-1500 depending on the market. So you be fine if you want to rent later on as well. Shortsell you don’t know anything about the market, Hoboken always has people willing to rent which makes the real estate market never as down as everywhere else.

  32. carl

    Mike–Just don’t walk North

  33. shortsequalmarket

    Robbie

    I respect different tastes. So I guess there is some demand for 1st and Harrison. However for me, there is a lot of traffic with very little in walking distance. The NW has more parks, supermarkets, and even 10th and Willow restaurant.

    Kandeep, not sure why you told me I had no clue. I said it might be hard to cover a $1,400 payment and then you confirm that to be true. I do not think realizing one month of vacancy and $1,000 worth of repairs is unrealistic per year. Therefore with flat prices this place is a long term money drain as a rental.

  34. guest

    Robbie – how well do you know Hoboken? It’s 1st Street, not 1st Ave.

  35. L&S

    $1,000 of repairs a year!! I guess that is based on how you care of the place you rent. Remind me to never rent my place to you.
    Your estimates for everything is always to the downside which is why your arguements are always discounted. I have rented my place for the last 4 years and cumulative expense has been less then $200 for repairs ( a blocked toilet twice)..

  36. lori

    I have to agree that %$1,000 a year in repairs is excessive. What you do need to factor in is that if you hold a rental property for 20 years you will eventually have to renovate to continue to maximize the rent you can obtain.

  37. Craig

    607 1st Street is between Monroe and Jackson, it’s not on Harrison. That location is about a 10 minute walk to Washington Street and there is plenty of retail along the 1st street corridor, so I’m not sure how shorts can credibly argue there isn’t much within walking distance. Lastly, if shorts thinks $1,000/yr. in repairs is realistic, one has to wonder if that’s what she/he’s costing his landlord in repairs a year. If so, I don’t think shorts will be offered a renewal when his/her lease is up.

  38. stan

    LS-

    from your experience over the last four years do you miss any months of rent with changing tenants or do you have one lined up when the old one moves out. thx

  39. L&S

    i am a bad example, i changed tentants only once – so have been very very lucky. Since that switch happened after a year I did not need to repaint the place or anything major. I had the new tenant lined up but there was a 15 day gap.

    Shorts – notice, I did not give the bull story but admitted that I am probably the exception and not the rule when it comes to renting your place

  40. laki

    My 2 cents.

    $1,000 per year in “repairs” is probably too low for a typical hoboken condo. The wear-and-tear on a place over the long run has to average more than $1K per year, even though you might not incur that cost most of the years… i.e. you might have 10 years of very low cost like ($100 per year) and then in year 10 you’d have like 10K of cost… If this wasn’t true you’d be seeing plenty of buildings that are 200 years old. But you don’t, because after X amount of years the place just wears out and it is not worth much so it gets gutted or even completely leveled so that a new building can be built. If you were to do constant work on the place to keep it in the same condition as it was originally, you’d be incurring a non-trivial amount of cost over the long run. Think about all the things that are “wrong” with most buildings that are 100+ years old. Think logically about how you would incorporate that deterioration in the total cost of ownership.

    Kinda like buying a new car. Even if you don’t spend any money “repairing” it, the true cost of maintenance is incorporated in the constant bleeding of market value because each and every day the car is worth slightly less than the day before because of the wear and tear.

  41. Lori

    As a landlord of multiple properties I have to disagree with you Laki. For example, I have been renting out a unit in a luxury condo in Manhattan for about 15 to 20 years. During that time span my rent has increased from around $1,800 to over $3,200. I’ve done no work. None. I’ve replaced filters in the a/c unit. They cost about $2 at home depot. It’s a 25 year old building. I am now redoing the floors and kitchen which will cost about $10,000. I’m doing it only because it will be a bit of a guarantee that my unit not go vacant a month given that it’s a building with hundreds of units so there is some competition. (It never has). So I make a $10,000 capital improvement which goes into my basis and makes my property worth that much more if and when I sell, at a very considerable profit I might add.

  42. Lori

    PS – you don’t see any 200 year old buildings in Hoboken because the majority of the older brownstones were built in the 1890s to 1920s. Do you live here?

  43. L&S

    Lori – completely agree with you, it is called depreciation and capitalized expenditure. BTW – those expenses will be incurred whether you own and live in the place or rent the place out. The only incremental expense if you rent is if the renter does not take care of the place or if your the renter turnover is high because of which you need paint the place more often.

  44. Laki

    Lori,

    Just to make numbers round, say an apartment is worth 300K. You seem to be saying that apartment should not incur $1K of wear-and-tear in a year? $1K per year is 300 Years. Let me repeat that: 300 years! I would guess that if one doesn’t maintain the building in 300 years the building itself would collapse and would not be worth more than the land that it is is sitting on.

    For your Manhattan building – are you paying any Maintenance fees and if so what are those fees going towards?

    Also if Hoboken didn’t have any buildings more than 110 years ago – lets look at the world. How many buildings exist out there that haven’t been re gutted or re-constructed at least several times that have been around for 200-300-400 hundred years? Out of all the brownstones in Hoboken how many have not had any major work done on them and out of those how many are in good shape? How many of them will be in a good shape if no work is done on them in another 50 years?

    Just some food for thought.

  45. L&S

    Laki – HOw is your example different if you own the place or rent it out.? Shorts – implied that renting the place will cost you $1,000 a year of incremental cost when compared to owning a place. What point are you trying to make? We all know that a house fixtures depreciate in value infact the life of most appliances is 10-12years..

    If you are implying that the renter does not have to bear this cost then you dont have a clue how rents work..

    Owners who rent the place out look at the rent minus expenses (expenses include interest, tax, condo fees, etc). In Hoboken rent does cover these expenses and leave you extra for principal paydown, at least mine does, will not speak for the mkt.

  46. Laki

    L&S I wasn’t trying to point anything out just that $1,000 per year of “repairs” is conservative over a true long run. I haven’t said anything above and beyond that in this thread.

    But there are clear differences when you own vs rent. When you own a place you pay taxes, maintenance, repairs, insurance, if you have a tenant you take on a risk of that tenant not making payments (frequently takes a year to kick them out), etc. There are many more things to consider here than simply looking at a mortgage payment vs rent payment. Off course owning has its benefits too (such as interest detectability).

    If you rent your annual rent is pretty much your only cost (unless you trash the place in which case your security deposit is gone). There is very little to worry about past making your monthly payment. Owning is a bit more complicated.

  47. L&S

    Laki – of course owning is more complicated. Will give you that however at the end of day, the renter is paying for my principal and I will own an asset that has value, maybe lower than today but more then what i paid for it, since my equity was the initial down pmt, the rest is paid by the renter.

    The $1,000 estimate was in response to Shorts suggesting that if you own and rent a place out you will incurr $1,000 of incremental cost. I am stressing the word incremental.

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