2011 Mar 7th

Hoboken Condo Sales – the February Results

February 2011 Hoboken Condo Sales Results

What does it mean?  There isn’t much to say except that the market is clearly down from a year ago.  Almost every measure shows a decline.  Except for median price per square foot and inventory.  That there are fewer units for sale is a good thing.

The surprising thing to me is that just last week I had multiple offers on my own listing, was involved in a multiple offer situation with one of my buyers (who did not get the property) and had another buyer who wanted to see a property this weekend but in just a week it is already under contract.  For the more desirable units, it seems that prices have come low enough to make them attractive – to multiple parties.

  1. Lori Turoff

    Sorry, but not until they close.

  2. Craig

    The average prices for 2 bedrooms appear to be skewed by a lot of the small, older walk-ups selling at fire sale prices. Big, modern units in elevator buildings with nice finishes in desirable locations are not selling for under 500k. 1 bedrooms seem to be holding steady in the mid to low 300s since last year. Three bedrooms seem to still be grossly overpriced. Why should it cost an extra $200k for an additional 10 x 10 bedroom? If you need 3 or more bedrooms, the value proposition starts to make less sense at the asking prices here – you get far more for your money in the burbs for $700k.

  3. Jeff Laylon

    Hey Lori!

    Do you ever do any analysis of retail space rentals/sales? Would love to hear your opinion on the business market in town.

  4. Lori Turoff

    I have definitely seen those ‘big modern’ units going for under $500k these days. Yes, the average is skewed by the old walk-ups but the whole market has taken a hit. I have a theory – when there is no fruit in the store and a bruised apple shows up, someone will buy it. When there is a ton of fruit, no one wants the bruised apple. The units with less than great floor plans, bad views, not upgraded kitchens and baths, etc. are still selling at a discount, if at all. They are the bruised apples. The gorgeous units with all the upgrades, room for a dining table, a good size 2nd bedroom and a reasonable or nice view may get multiple offers.

    As for the 3brs – they sell at a premium just because there are so few of them. What is it, about 10% of total inventory? When you look at all the families in Hoboken, there is a real demand for bigger properties so it’s more than the extra 10 x 10 room – it is that there is space for a family with 2 kids and possibly in-laws visiting or a home office. Sure you get more for your money in the ‘burbs. You get more for your money in Detroit, too. That doesn’t mean people want to live there.

    Jeff – I haven’t done so but it’s a great idea. Say hi to Baxter.

  5. Tiger

    I think all owners -myself included- like to think that their ‘apple’ is an extra special rare apple that is not affected by market conditions, which is ok, people get attached to their homes.

    I think the reality is everyone, in a way or another, lost money in this economy. We expect ourselves to be always smart, always making the best decision, but we are only human and we don’t have a crystal ball :-). And that’s ok; there are more important things than your networth and whether you always and everyday took the best decision. Things will eventually be ok :-)!

  6. Craig

    Lori – if there’s one of the modern and large (defined by me as 1200 sq. ft. or more) units going for under $500k, I betcha I can usually fine something seriously off-putting about it. Either something like it’s a walk-up on a high floor or in a not-so-great locale. Sure, you can find some sub $500k modern, large units all along Monroe and Jackson streets and places in the northwest sections of town for example. But then the reason for the sub $500k price becomes obvious as you survey the location.

    Vesta recently had a unit listed for under $500k (it began in the 600s) and that is supposedly a new construction luxury building that appears great on the surface – but not so much upon close inspection when we viewed it. Contrast that with another building we looked at like 215 Grand. Though lacking an elevator, it’s got everything else, especially location value. I betcha you won’t get a unit in there for under $500k anytime soon. In buildings like 82 Clinton, 70 Adams (The Oz) 84 Adams (The Summit), if you see something for less than $500k you’re looking at 1000 sq. ft. tops – or a 1br + den more likely.

  7. w

    Craig –

    Lori said:

    “I have definitely seen those ‘big modern’ units going for under $500k these days.”


    “The gorgeous units with all the upgrades, room for a dining table, a good size 2nd bedroom and a reasonable or nice view may get multiple offers.”

    I think she basically agrees with you….

    In any event, we all agree that a nice two bed in a good location is not going for under 500K. You can just look at the recent sales to know that.

    For example, check out all of the units at:

    1. 213 Clinton (no parking)
    2. 522 Hudson (no parking)

    All went in mid-600’s or high 500’s – yet, all are less than or equal to 1200 sq. ft. (we looked that them – there’s no way they are greater then 1200 sq. ft. – i think 1100 sq. ft.), have no parking and are in (just) an okay location if you want to walk to the PATH.

  8. Lori Turoff

    Units that sold for under $500k with parking, w/d, dw, cac, elevator, not on Monroe or Jackson, in the past year:

    726 Adams 1216 sq ft. no elevator but 2nd floor – $445k
    1325 Adams 1135 sq ft new construction $460k
    79 Grand 1060 sq ft $469k
    536 Grand 1175 sq ft $470k
    1331 Grand 1116 sq ft $470k
    1100 Clinton 1200 sq ft $472k
    915 Mad 1085 sq ft $475k
    1200 Grand 1007 sq ft $485k

  9. Lori Turoff

    Average size for 2br 2 bath units in elevator buildings not on Monroe, Jackson or Harrison (since we’re not considering them in the above) is 1202 sq. ft.

  10. Lori Turoff

    522 Hudson – 1210 to 1255 sq ft (not a like comparison since this is a renovated 4 unit brownstone).

    213 Clinton – 1300 (ground floor) 1400 sq ft. Also a renovated 4 unit brownstone.

    I’m talking about bigger, new construction elevator buildings with parking. You have to compare similar style buildings for the comparison to be meaningful.

  11. w

    Lori –

    Your lists consists of almost all uptown properties blocks off of Washington?!? People want to walk to the PATH….

    I think it just prooves my point:

    “In any event, we all agree that a nice two bed in a good location is not going for under 500K. You can just look at the recent sales to know that.”

    Good location is the key. What’s that saying real estate saying – location, Location, LOCATION???

    Question: I don’t understand your point “You have to compare similar style buildings for the comparison to be meaningful.” Renovated broanstones don’t count?

    In regard to size:

    **522 Hudson is not 1210 to 1255 sq ft – maybe 1150?

    **Also, I would bet 100K that NO unit in 213 Clinton is even close to 1300 or 1400 sq ft.

    We looked at these units very closely…..

  12. Lori

    Of course it does. There are few elevator modern buildings near Wash! Some people want to walk to the PATH. Others prefer not to live near all the bars. Some degree of location is subjective and downtown, it can certainly be argued, is not the only “good” location in Hoboken.

    You can look all you like but unit szes come straight from the tax records.

    No renovated 4 unit brownstones w no elevator or parking in, often, self managed 100 yr old buildings are not similar to 50 unit 6 story elevator buildings constructed within the past 10 years.

  13. w

    Lori –


    1. Do you really truly beleive that tax records are authority on square footage?

    2. Did you visit 213 Clinton? Do you really beleive those units are greater than 1150 or so sq. ft.?

    3. Are you really arguing that 13/grand, 13/adams, 9/madison, etc. (your list above) are considerd “good” locations by more than a few people?

    With all due respect, you are incorrect on all of the foregoing, but please try and answer these questions the best you can.

  14. Lori

    1. Abolutely.
    2. I did and I do.
    3. Yes they are. 13th & Grand is very close to NYC bus stop, NY sports club, all the other restaurants on 14th St., a big Rite Aid etc. People w kids like 9th St due to Shoprite, Lightrail, Colombus Park & high family concentration.

    I’m done on this topic.

  15. teaorcoffee

    Well, I’ll chime in and say that we are not interested in downtown properties at all! Uptown is much quieter, and the units uptown tend to be newer construction. The northwest side of town is definitely still a work in progress, and there are decent parks on the waterfront, at 15th and Park, there’s Columbus Park, etc. And the park at 1600 Park is coming. Relatively speaking, the streets are wider and there is less congestion.

    Transportation into NYC from uptown is great – the bus is right there, or the walk to the ferry is close. The Path is not the be-all end-all of Hoboken. In fact, there are plenty of people for whom the Path is not the best solution.

  16. D$

    Love the medians! Keep ’em coming…much more telling than averages given obvious outliers in the market.

  17. w

    Lori –

    I’m sorry, but you need to sometimes admit that you’re wrong. It’s okay. It gives you crediability.

    1. “Abolutely” – tax records are authority on sq. ft.???

    2. “I did and I do.” – 213 clinton is 1300 and 1400 sq. ft.???

    Come on now. Please.

    If you want to set a wager, we’ll ask someone at 213 Clinton to let us measure. You won’t be at all close.

  18. w

    teaorcoffee – where you live is a big difference than 13/grand

  19. john

    Stop discriminating about specific areas in town (Monroe, Jackson, Harrison), by leaving them out of your market analysis, Lori. Please be more open minded as this part of town is very enjoyable to live in.

  20. homeboken

    Wed. wrap up links not working.

  21. Lori Turoff

    Homeboken – Links are fixed, thanks. (Sorry for the inconvenience).

    D$ – I am glad you like the medians. They were always included.

    John – if you go back to the earlier discussion, Craig talked about excluding Monroe & Jackson which is why I left them out of my list. All my other analysis always includes all of Hoboken. In this case, we were talking about nice 2brs for under $500k. I think we can all agree that there is the possibility that you can get more for your money (i.e., a bigger unit) on the far west side of town. That is one of the advantages of that location.

    W – Let me get this straight – I’m a real estate professional, looking at tax records which are government documents, which take their content from the master deed, which contains information from the architectural plans regarding square footage. But I should ignore all that and go with your opinion of size because you “looked closely”? I don’t think so.

  22. Craig

    John – Lori didn’t discriminate. She left out those streets based on my parameters for this discussion. So blame me.

    726 Adams is not walkable to the PATH and the kitchen in that particular unit is less than spectacular – the cabinets are tiny, dated, and the white appliances and white sink are not hot. It needs work.

    1325 Adams, 1331 Grand, and 1100 Clinton are a bit off the beaten Path and not walkable to the train. Are we sure 1100 Clinton wasn’t a short sale? The sellers paid $626k for it in ’07. Ouch.

    79 Grand, 915 Mad, and 1200 Grand are all tiny. At the $430 median price per sq. ft. reported, those units would all well over $500k if they were the 1200 sq. ft. minimum to be considered in the large category.

    536 Grand is a decent building in which we looked at several units. If you want a nice kitchen, you’re looking at a gut job in most cases – so we passed. Also, most of those 1170 sq. ft. units there are 1 br + den floorplans.

    Some can argue proximity to bus stops is as good as proximity to the PATH, but based on the huge rush hour lines I see in the morning at them, I beg to differ. Plus, when you’re in Manhattan at 3 am on a Saturday, are you realistically taking the bus back?

  23. Lori

    Craig – you need a new job ; )

  24. Craig

    W – I have to agree with Lori on the square footage thing. The tax records come from master deeds. I think those records are more reliable than your eyeballing it. Did you even actually measure any of the units you speak of?

    That said, master deeds in Hoboken tend to be based on gross square footage. That measurement is all the space within the exterior walls of the unit if it were an empty shell – it includes space actually occupied by interior walls, utility closets, bathroom and kitchen cabinets, etc. So often the sq. footage listed in tax records is indeed slightly more than the actual habitable living space.

  25. stan

    I had thought prices were coming in lower across town, thanks for the info Lori. The good news is sellers are coming to terms with the market, which is better for everyone.

    No home buyers tax credit, more money down, higher rates. Strong headwinds for housing.

  26. teaorcoffee

    Carl, why do you think Hoboken is still overvalued? Based on what?

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