Category Archives: Homes Sold

Time to raise home prices in Tenafly…and elsewhere in Bergen County

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Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 1.21.06 PMFinally with a booming housing market, why aren’t realtors and homeowners adjusting their prices upward to take advantage of the huge dollar increases that we’re witnessing.  There should be no doubt that  we are in a full scale sellers market

Time and again, I come across listings of homers for sale in Tenafly and other towns, that are under-priced given our current market conditions.  And because of these miscalculations, homeowners miss out selling their homes for the highest price possible, as the market continues a full court press upward. With a vast majority of the price points skyrocketing, why wouldn’t homeowners…and agents take advantage of something that we have waited for, for many years.  Sellers and realtors should be dancing in the street!

The days of undervaluing homes to create sales is over.  A sellers market has finally arrived.

Here’s the facts to back it up:

  • More homes have been sold in Bergen County in 2013…at higher prices and with higher interest rates, than at any other time since the market crashed
  • Lower prices didn”t create more sales.  Higher prices created more home sales
  • Higher prices and an improving market and economy, enable people to buy with confidence…confidence creates demand and confidence creates higher prices

I know this is contrary to what realtors think…but selling homes isn’t all about price.  It’s time for realtors to stop using old sales data to calculate prices in a great market.  It’s no lomnger right to say…”this is what homes sold for in the past”.  It’s time to say…this is what your home should sell for now…because our market is the best it’s been in the past 5 years

Here’s why I’m excited for the Tenafly real estate market, and surrounding towns !!!

  • Home sales increased in Tenafly by an additional 9% y/y
  • More homes have been sold in Tenafly than in Alpine, Closter, Cresslill, Demarest, Englewood and Englewood Cliffs, Haworth and Norwood…and by a wide margin in most of the towns
  • The dollar sales volume for all Tenafly sales blows away the other towns by a huge margin…the closest town is Englewood, and their dollar sales volume is almost 50% less than Tenafly
  • Home sales in Tenafly represent 23% of all sales for the above mentioned towns
  • Of these towns Tenafly ranks #3 for the highest average sales price…but when you consider that the sales volume is much higher in Tenafly, this isn’t a negative
  • Sales increased 78% in Tenafly for homes priced between $1m-$1.5m
  • Home sales priced under $500k decreased by 59%…1/ because there’s only a few homes for sale in this price range, 2/ prices have increased in Tenafly at the lower end and what was $500k is now worth 20% more.  That’s great news!

I’ve been saying it for two years , and I’ll say it again:  It’s time for sellers and realtors to take advantage of the recovering market, and start raising  prices.  Sellers are still leaving way too much money on the table.  Buyers are out there, and the demand is high

Charts:

Tenafly

The Town Sales Comparison chart (green/white) shows insanely high increases in the dollar volume for home sales…which means increasing prices.  Percentage increases of 52%, 33%, 37%, 86%, 21%, 49%, and 29% were though to be impossible to attain are being reached.  The only town to lose on this is Demarest, where the dollar volume declined 25%.

Bergen County:

Bergen County sales are on a roll…skyrocketing sales and dollar volumes:

  • Single family home sales are up 19%…an increase of 712 home sales
  • Dollar volume for homes sold increased by 25%…a $524 million increase
  • Multi-family home sales increased by 24%…a 395 unit increase
  • And the multi-family dollar increased 29%…a $170 million increase

As per the blue table, the Bergen County housing market (both single and multi family home sales) may have its best year since our market crashed in 2007.  In some towns prices are back to where they were pre-crash (for homes prices below $1.5 million).

The proof is in the numbers…sellers in every town should be increasing their prices…EXCEPT…if your home is prices above $3.0 million.  This price point is a disaster all throughout Bergen County…but that’s a discussion for a future post.

Though we’re still far behind the sales pace of 2001-2006, we now have a healthy market.  This sales volume is the new norm, and that’s fine, so long as prices remain at a high level.

You no longer have to buy into the “price it right” mentality…it’s time to price it high!  It’s time to go for it!

But there’s a warning with this:

With a sever increase in new multi-family rental projects that are coming into the marketplace beginning now, AND with less new for sale homes being built, because builders are being cautious, north Jersey home sales will be greatly effected…downward.  Rental projects like those currently being built in Fort Lee (1,500+ rentals), will put a huge dent in future home sales.  This makes your time frame for selling at higher prices limited to the next 2 years.

In a recent post on Northjersey.com…NJ homebuilding up 39 percent over 2012 pace by Kathleen Lynn…Ms Lynnn points out:

Through August, builders took out 15,842 building permits, compared with 11,364 in the same period last year. Multifamily construction accounted for about 59 percent of the activity

Let’s not get confused with reality.  Multi-family construction is not the same as “homebuilding” ,when you’re talking sales and home construction figures.

  • Multi-family rentals are competition for single family home sales, because they take away from single family home sales
  • The industry considers “home building” to be single family fore sale homes
  • To combine the two types of “housing” creates misleading and inaccurate stats

“People are becoming renters by choice,” said BNE Executive Vice President Jonathan Schwartz. “People want to be closer to the city, nearer commuter areas.” And many households are wary of buying a single-family home after seeing property values plummet during the housing bust, he said

BNE should know this because their project in Fort Lee was originally slated to be a for sale building.  The only changed it over to rentals beacuse the for sale condo market still hasn’t recovered

As always. let us know what you think

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Bergen County: 3 Most Expensive Home Sales May 2013

In a tale of two economies (homes priced below $1.5 million, and above $1.5 million) the luxury market in Bergen County has taken a beating since the market crashed 5 years ago, and there’s still no signs of anything that remotely resembles a recovery.

Here are the  3 most expensive home sales in Bergen County for May 2013:

  • $3,000,000…Ridgewood…s sold at a 6% discount from the asking price
  • $3,300,000….Alpine…sold at a 21% discount
  • $3,300,000…Saddle River…sold at a 6% discount

Have to bitch about something here…
I hate the crappy photos that realtors use. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then it better be great photo or the thousand words will be less than positive.

Crappy photo decreases the value of a home:
Crappy meaning low resolution like you see on the njmls
Crappy like photos that aren’t staged or enhanced…and therefore make the room and home look crappy

Realtors need to stop being cheap.  If an agent doesn’t own a great camera, or pay to have professional photos staged and shot…THEN DON’T HIRE THAT PERSON!! The look and quality of your photos make all the difference.

Check out the photos on Corcoran.com

Now that the market has shown improvement, it’s time to raise your price and aim for your maximum value…and you can’t accomplish that if your home looks like crap online.

Getting your highest price is all about marketing.

Either have the quality of Neimans, or crap like Sears.

Tenafly Home Sales Report: January-April Sales

As promised…here are the sales stats for homes sold in Tenafly…comparing 2013 to 2012.

The numbers aren’t what one would expect…but there’s a good reason:

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Tenafly has been experiencing a shortage of inventory of homes priced below $1 million on the East Hill…and when there’s no inventory, then the sales numbers take a hit.

  • The number of homes sold in 2013 decreased by 47% compared to the same time frame in 2012…Jan, Feb March…for homes priced below $1 million.  All due to a shortage of inventory
  • The number of home sales in Tenafly decreased by 60% for homes priced above $1.5 million 2013/2012…because there is an over supply of homes in this price range.  The higher you go above $1.5m the higher the inventory

However…before everyone starts thinking that I lost it mentally…from January-March 2013 , here’s what has been happening with sales in Tenafly…that have yet to be declared “SOLD”

  • 9 homes sold in Tenafly priced below $1 million
  • 7 homes sold in Tenafly priced between $1.0M-$1.5M
  • 2 homes were sold above $1.5M

I just want to point out something regarding all the talk about inventory,whether it be high or low:

  • Inventory has almost nothing to do with sales activity…regardless of the inventory, people who are looking to buy a home will still look for homes
  • Even though the inventory levels ar considered low, thre’s still a lot of homes for sale…so not everything is sold or is selling…for whatever reason
  • If more homes are suddenly listed for sale, it doesn’t mean that they will sell.  The housing market will not suddenly get better, and it will not go back to where it once was, for a variety of reasons: unemployment is still high, savings are lower than needed, and some people will now only rent
  • Rental apartments are being planned and built by the thousands in Bergen and Hudson Counties, and this will eventually hurt home sales

The same sales trends are taking place for home sales throughout all of Bergen County

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The market is what it is, but these are the numbers for Tenafly, and Tenafly is still the hottest and most desirable market in our region.

If you need more info, let me know.

Tenafly Home Sales By The Numbers

Here’s a detailed look at the stats for homes sales in Tenafly 2001-2012

No where else will you find such detailed information.  This is everything sellers and buyers need to know, but no one wants you to have it…except for me.

Misleading numbers and commentary can lead to sellers and buyers to make huge mistakes…and that’s not good for anyone.

Even though the sales stats for Tenafly are down thus far in 2013, doesn’t mean that Tenafly isn’t the hottest market around…because it is.

As I’ve mentioned in past posts…if your home is priced below $1 million, then it’s time for you to raise your price….up to 10%.  The demand is huge and the inventory has dried up in certain price ranges and neighborhoods.

It’s now a sellers market, and that’s great news for everyone, including buyers.

I’d rather buy a home in an upturning market, rather than taking the risk in a downward spiraling as we’ve lived through since 2006 (the market in Tenafly crashed in 2006…two years prior to the national crash…it’s all in the charts).

I know the charts are colorful…and it’s done to grab your attention

Sellers: 

  • If you want to sell your home for the highest price possible, then this information is what you need to know.  You’ll see where the sales prices are, and where they’re not
  • Not every price range performs as well as, or as bad as all the other price points

Buyers:

  • What is the best or worst price range to invest your money…this is something you need to know before you buy a home
  • Some price points are doing great and others are horrible…in the same town
  • It’s one thing for agents to tell you that the market is doing great…but is it?

Here’s the facts minus any commentary.

Let me know what you think is happening.  I’m sure it’s not what you thought.

If you have any questions or want to chat about buying or selling a home, you can call me at 201.522.5256 or email me at skonefsky@me.com.  I’m a licensed agent at Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International in Tenafly NJ. And if you check out the rest of the site you’ll see that I’m a home builder, real estate developer construction manager by trade…and I’m great at marketing real estate.

I do real estate marketing like you’ve never seen before

Bergen County Home Sales: 2012

The home sales facts are in: Bergen County increased by 14% in 2012 (compared to 2011).

That’s great news…right?

Or is something hidden behind these lump sum numbers?

First…the real facts:

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The Good News:

  • Home sales: priced below $500,000 increased 14%
  • Home sales: priced $500k-999k increased 16%
  • Home sales: priced $1M-$1,499M increased 5%

Bergen County home sales increased 14% for homes under $1,499,000 (sold price…not the list price)

The Bad News:

  • The average sales price for homes in 2012, have decreased by 20%…from the peak in 2006
  • Home sales: priced $1,500-$2M were even
  • Home sales: priced $2M-$2.99M decreased 6%
  • Home sales: priced $3M-$3.99 decreased 12%
  • Home sales priced: $4M+ increased by 11%…but don’t get excited because the increase was just 1 home sale (9 home sales vs 10 home sales)

So, if it’s big news that the “whole” market is up 4-6% percent, then isn’t really big news when the luxury market is down by 8-10%?.  Isn’t this cause for a lot of concern?

Note:

  • Even with a 14% increase in home sales, sales are still down by an additional 31% from 2005 (the year before the Bergen County market crashed).
  •  Equally important is that the dollar volume for single family homes sold, decreased by 28%…however, theis doesn’t mean that sales prices are down.  It may just be that many more lower priced homes are being sold
  • Multi-family home sales have fared much worse…sales have declined by 51% since 2005. And the dollar volume decreased by 61% 

The fact is, Bergen County has a multitude of micro markets, that react differently to one another:

If someone combined all single family home sales in Bergen County into one group, then they would be misrepresenting a 15% sales increase for 2012.  Even though the entire market was up, if your $1.5M+ home was for sale,  your market actually declined 4% compared  to homes priced below $1,500K.  That’s a 19%  decrease swing from one price range to another

Raise your price?  You bet!

There’s some great news that everyone in our local real estate circle is ignoring: with such a high percentage of home sales in Bergen County being below $500k (even up to $1M), sellers in this price range should be raising their prices

Yes, raise your price!

When the demand is so high for homes in any price range, and the inventory of homes for sale is low, homes become more valuable. Avoid the agents push to lower your price.

Scarcity of homes for sale (or any other product for that matter), and high consumer demand is what every seller prays for.  When consumers can’t have something that they want, they’ll pay more to have it.  Including homes.

So it’s time to raise the price!

How long will it last

The time frame to raise your price in the New Jersey suburbs, is limited to the next 2 years.  In 2015 tens of thousands of rental units will be coming on the market, along the New Jersey waterfront (Jersey City, Hoboken, Edgewater, North Bergen) and elsewhere in the State. When that happens, the face of suburban real estate in our area will be altered for the next decade (a future post).

And lets not forget other important factors:

  • New Jersey taxes are insanely high, and will climb even higher…that hurts home sales
  • The New York City market is going gangbusters, and there’s better value in NYC, because prices are stable, and on the rise.  Right now NYC is a more guaranteed investment, especially for young people

Your time has finally arrived

Right now, it’s your time to take advantage of the opportunities to raise your price, and recoup some of the equity you lost in the past 5-7 years.

If my home was priced below $500k I’d raise the price between 10-20%…20% only for homes in great condition, where a buyer would have little to do in the way of renovations.  And a 10% increase is for a home in the worst condition…because the value of your home is in the price, and in the value of the land, that the home sits on.

Take it from a builder/real estate developer and numbers geek, who has lived through the best and worst markets: strike while the market is in your favor!  And run from anyone who tells you not to.

Let me know what you think

Home Sales Report: Closter, Cresskill, Demarest, Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Haworth, Norwood, Tenafly

The numbers are in, and they are what they are…good, bad or indifferent

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Here’s the stats for the number of homes sold, and the dollar volume for the sales for the following towns in Bergen County, New Jersey:

  • Closter
  • Cresskill
  • Demarest
  • Englewood
  • Englewood Cliffs
  • Haworth
  • Norwood
  • Tenafly

Sorry, but for this post I’m only providing the cold hard facts.  Commentary will follow in a future post.

Just remember…in real estate, numbers can be misleading, and they often are.

Even though the number of homes of homes sold, and the dollar volume had dramatically decreased for this time period for Tenafly…should we really be concerned?

If you need a quick fix on the facts behind the numbers, you can email me at Snkonefsky@gmail and we can have a short chat.

Cresskill home sales report 2012

Like every town in Bergen County, home sales in Cresskill have taken a beating over the past five years.  Once known as an oasis for new home luxury sales in developments like Tammybrook and Tamcrest Estates, the luxury end of the market still can’t find it’s way out of the basement.

Cresskill, New Jersey 2012 home sales stats

The reality is, even though home sales in Cresskill are down 11% in 2012, that’s really not all that bad considering there’s only a smattering of sales at the upper end of the market.

The dollar volume of sales are down a mere 6%…but the average sales price in Cresskill increased by 6%.  And that’s not so bad considering that there have only been eigh homes sold in 2012 priced above $1 million.

  • 6 home sales priced $1.0M – $2.0M
  • 2 homes sold $3.0M – $4.0M
  • 39 homes sold  under $1.oM
    …interestingly half of the homes sold below $1.oM were priced BELOW $400K

Over the next few posts, I’ll start comparing home sales from Tenafly, Cresskill, Closter, Haworth and Alpine…then we’ll get a clearer picture as to what’s really happening in the marketplace.

As usual, let us know what you think.

Closter home sales stats 2012

Believe it or not,  home sales in Closter are on a roll in 2012.

  • Home sales increased 12% in 2012 from 49 home sales in 2011 to 55 home sales for the same period in 2012
2012 home sales stats…Closter, New Jersey

But what’s a bit of a drag on the number of sales, is the decrease of the the dollar volume of sales and the average price of those sales:

  • the dollar volume of sales is down 8%
  • and the average sales price decreased by 18%

We’ll get into the numbers and why all of this is happening in a future post.

But remember one thing when you’re looking to buy or sell a home…you need to analyze and understand all of the facts.  It’s one thing to believe that a specific town is doing great because of the number of homes sold, but when you take a closer look at the numbers, it may not be even close to the hype.

Buyer beware:  Know the facts before you do anything.

Bergen County home sales have increased every month in 2012

For those of you who like to understand what’s really going on with the housing market in Bergen County, here’s some data for you to sink your teeth into.

For the 6th straight month in 2012 single family home sales has increased.  Yes increased.

It’s time for every homeowner and seller to finally celebrate.  The housing market is on a roll in Bergen County.  Though the increase is not a all price points in every town the market has turned for the better.  No, we’re not going back to anywhere near the pace of the high flying days, or to those lofty prices…but the market has stabilized (which it has been for several years, if anyone cared to look at the data).

Wi8th the exception of January 2012 for multi-family home sales, every month in all categories has seen an increase in home sales.

Tell me that’s not great!

In fact, in 2012 we have not seen one month where home sales have decreased.

  • The number of home sales in 2012 has increased by 11% over the same time period in 2011
  • The dollar volume for home sales also increased by 7% over 2011
  • The average price for the homes sold decreased by 4%, but that was all due to sluggish sales at the luxury end of the market, where for some bizarre reason 2011 was an incredible year for the luxury market…but now it’s cooled

Though home sales are way below the volume set during the peak years of 2011-2005, Bergen County has experienced a steady market for sales…given this new economy.

The market for multi-family home sales is equally impressive for 2012:

  • The number of units sold increased 14%
  • And the sales volume increased by 7%
  • The average sales price fell by 6%. but is due to a lack of inventory at the upper sales range, and we had in the past.  Over time these units will invr5ease in vale because they’re newer and priced at a point that is more desirable to today’s buyers…either first time buyers or move down buyers

This is the new market. This is our new reality

No matter what happens, the number of home sales will not increase…even if Realtors continue to push sellers to cut their prices. More buyers are not coming into the market.  And with the rise of new multi family construction, the rental market will take a huge bite out of future home sales.

We have experienced 5 years of incredibly discounted prices, and historically low interest rates, and the data proves that lower prices have not increased the volume of home sales in Bergen County. And if you have been a reader of my blog, the data also points to the same facts for Tenafly, Cresskill, Closter or other towns.

Lower price do not create sales.

Check out my other posts to see what’s happening with home sales for Tenafly, Alpine, Cresskill and other towns.

Stay tuned…more to come.

Are home sales more important to the economy, than dealing with underwater homes?

Some may consider me a pessimist, but I’m not.  I’m just a realist when it comes to analyzing the housing market

I was looking through some of my housing data just now, and something hit, that I really haven’t paid much attention to…the tremendous loss of real estate values (homes for this post) that we have all suffered ($6-$7 trillion), and what effect will this have on home sales and the economy going forward.

Everyone in the media and real estate brokerage is focusing on a new theme of affordability, yet there is very little being said that affordability isn’t anywhere close to being a solution to the market crisis that still looms over every one of us…not just sellers.

Almost everyone who has purchased a home since 2002 has lost money, and some have lost  And that holds true even for homes purchased today. 

Since 2001 almost 100,000 homes (single and multi-family) have been sold, and every one of those homes have lost value…and a major percentage of these homes are underwater.  And this is just for the homes sold.

This table not only represent Bergen County home sales, but more importantly it represents the number of people who have purchased homes since 2001, and who have lost money on the homes they purchased…and that’s almost every sale on this chart! And this chart is only for homes sold below $2 million.

The Wall Street Journal and a few other media outlets have started writing about this issue, because they’re starting to see the light.

This is a huge issue.  Underwater homes are the reason why the housing inventory is so low…homeowners simply can’t sell their homes for less than they’re worth, because they don’t have the money to make up the difference between the two amounts.

So it’s great news that prices are rising, and inventories are low, but this is only a temporary thing.  It won’t last.  There is a difference between the current low inventories of homes that are for sale…and for those homeowners who either want to sell their homes or have to, but can’t because their values are underwater.  And this inventory is the killer that’s lurking right in front of us, but is being ignored.

I love how the media has picked the side of the home buyer and affordability to write about, and miss a much larger problem that needs to be dealt with, before a recovery can take place…namely those who own homes and can’t sell them.  A recovery can’t happen until the underwater problem is resolved.  The problem won’t magically disappear.

What effects will this have for our local home markets in Tenafly, Alpine, Cress,kill and Haworth?  We’ll soon see.