Category Archives: New Construction

Tenafly home sales data point to a strong market. It’s time for price increases

If your house is currently for sale in Tenafly, or if you are considering selling your home, then this blog post will give you valuable information that you can’t get anywhere else (hey, no one else will put in the effort that it takes to analyze the market for your benefit).

Run from everyone who tells you that it’s all about price, because they’re wrong.

It’s time for Tenafly to take the lead, and stop lowering the sales prices when trying to sell your home

Sales figures show that Tenafly is overwhelming in demand compared to its neighboring towns

High demand has created a sellers market in Tenafly.

Selling your home is not all about price. And it’s not all about being the lowest price (but you can’t be a pig and over price it by a whopping amount, just because you want/need to sell it for more).

And contrary to the Realtors mantra, your house doesn’t need to be priced right for it to sell or to sell faster (I still haven’t figured it out what they mean by price it right).

The following charts breakdown the yearly home sales in Tenafly starting in 2001:

The following charts detail a yearly breakdown of home sales for Tenafly starting 2001 and ending in mid 2012…by price range

What these charts show us is that the yearly home sales have been fairly consistent since around 2006…in every price range other than for the ultra luxury niche (that segment got slammed).

Fact: home sales in Bergen County really crashed in 2006…2 years before the national market collapsed…see chart____ .  And home sales have pretty much bounced around the same sales volume (# of homes sold) since that time.  However, home prices did fall by a large percentage.

The consistent number of home sales in each price category shows us that as long as your home is within a general price range, then you’re fine.

Lower sales prices and lower interest rates do not create more sales.

Sales people like to believe that the lower the price is, more homes will sell…but the evidence shows us that this mindset is wrong.  It’s an outdated wives-tale, that doesn’t hold water.

  • a supposed 30% price decrease hasn’t created more home sales
  • and 3+ years of historically low interest rates has not created more homes sales in our area

In fact, Tenafly is for the most part the most expensive town in the area…given the volume of home sales

If it’s all about lowering your price, or being the cheapest home on the market, then the towns surrounding Tenafly should be bursting with home sales…because in those towns you can get a newer larger home, or a smaller home for considerably less money than you can buy in Tenafly.  And the property taxes are less expensive as well.

Home sales year to date:

  • Alpine…8 homes sold
  • Closter…47 homes sold
  • Cresskill…36 sales
  • Demarest…27 sales
  • Englewood…60 sales
  • Englewood Cliffs…29 sales
  • Haworth…24 sales ytd, which is 2 more sales that Haworth had in all of 2011.  Why are home sales on fire in Haworth?
  • Norwood…16 sales
  • Tenafly…92 homes sold ytd

Even though homes in Tenafly are more expensive and have higher property taxes…Tenafly sales outpace each one of these towns by a range of 30%-90%

The only market segment in Tenafly that has been whacked (compared to 2011) or has it been,  is the luxury home sector.  For some reason that I can’t explain, sales of homes priced over $2 million skyrocketed in 2011 to 16 sales. between 2008 and 2010 luxury home sales averaged around 6 homes per year.  And at this point in time in 2012 were sold in this price range, 6 homes.

What these figures don’t show for Tenafly is the new construction activity that has taken place in Tenafly over the past 2 years.  People bought properties, knocked down the houses, and built new homes, either to live in or to sell as spec homes. there were 12 new, very large and expensive homes built in the past 2 years in Tenafly…so even though the luxury market took a hit on paper, the real market condition is quite different.

Why haven’t the Realtors pointed this out to everyone.  They just don’t get it.

Reason behind breaking the numbers down to specific price ranges:

I didn’t just break them down by volume, which would be very misleading to buyers and sellers…I broke down the numbers by a defined set of price categories that I have consistently used throughout this blog.  By breaking down the numbers, you can see how the market is performing at every price category.  This is the only way for consumers to get an honest and clear understanding of what is really happening in our marketplace. Knowledge will save you a fortune in the longrun.

It’s one thing to see the stats for homes sold up to $1 million, but the numbers become more meaningful and honest when you break them down do a more defined price point 

I wish I had been smart enough to analyze the market in such detail while I was building homes, because if I had done so I would not have built the last 2 homes that I built.  The agents told me one thing, while the numbers pointed to something entirely different.

Important note: just because one price niche is down in sales, doesn’t necessarily mean that-that niche is in trouble.  You really have to take a look at the price points surrounding your target price…and this will give you a more realistic view of the market

For those of you who are hungry for real in depth information, this should be enough to sink your teeth into. So analyze away and let me know what you think.

Home sales in Tenafly are are incredibly stable.  And stability is key to a recovery. Now is the time for Realtors and the brokerage firms to get on the ball and start pricing homes where they should be…not just where they think they should be. And the data backs this up.  The sales prices in Tenafly have been stable for quite some time, so now is the time to push them back up to where they need to be.  A healthy and thriving Tenafly, will help lift all of the neighboring town…and it has to start in Tenafly.

Let the recovery begin!

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Are large homes still the trend in Tenafly?

I came across an interesting article on twitter via @builderbuzz..Americans living larger as new home sizes defy economy, that describes how the size of new homes being built…and sold…have unexplainably become larger, rather than smaller. Even in this economy!

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This  exact thing is  happening right here in Tenafly, and elsewhere in Bergen County…though very few homes are being built.  Let’s not go wild with the idea that everything in housing is getting better and larger throughout the entire marketplace, when in fact this is just a microcosm of the housing market

The article talks about how Toll Brothers, one of the largest home builders in the country is building a new project in Randolph New Jersey, and the homes are large and they’re sitting on large properties.

 Slightly more than 1 in 4 new homes built last year were larger than 3,000 square feet, the highest percentage since 2007

To a large extent, people are still putting off new homes. The number of new single-family dwellings built last year fell to 447,000, off 72.9 percent from the 2006 high of 1.65 million. About 236,000 of the new ones, or more than half, were built in the South

I think that all of the new homes that were built in Tenafly as spec homes, were more than 3,000sf….probably 20% larger. And this means that they have to sell for higher prices (hopefully). And there have even been a few ultra luxury spec home the have been built in Tenafly that are well over 6,000 sf and are listed between $3.4-$4 million. One has sold in in this price range in 2012 in Tenafly.

Frankly, I’m one of those who believed that people were over the idea of buying huge homes, because of their price, cost to maintain and mostly because of the insanely high property taxes that we so much enjoy paying in Tenafly. and elsewhere in New Jersey.  We do have the distinction of having the highest property taxes in the country, and the highest auto insurance rates in the country as well.

However, if the getting larger thing continues, then Tenafly, Cresskill, Alpine and Demarest will get it fair share of the pie.

Big is a big deal in these towns

Home builders and spec homes

Some builders are at it again.  Buying land and bidding up properties with the idea that the market is looking positive for the future.

What amazes me the most is that they’re even bidding up raw land that needs to be approved, and developed, which could take years to accomplish. I can’t figure out what’s going to happen in a few months and these guys are anticipating what’s going to many happen years down the road. Didn’t anyone learn a lesson over the past five years.

I guess they have the money to risk.  It’s a gutsy move, but they’re putting their money where their mouth is.  I wonder how much the banks are financing on these speculative projects.

Here’s a well though out and insightful article from Robbie Whelan at the WSJ….What home builders need: locations, locations, locations

Bidding wars are breaking out for lots in prime locations, with some builders developing raw land themselves in Atlanta’s nearer suburbs such as Roswell, Dunwoody and Johns Creek.

One such battle unfolded at the Paddocks, a 240-acre subdivision near Cumming, a suburb near an interstate with a public school district that has a good reputation. In the past six months, four publicly traded builders bid up the price on a patch of raw land planned for about 130 houses to nearly $90,000 an acre from $40,000 an acre, according Scott McGregor, a land broker with Resource Real Estate Partners, which is handling the deal.

“Eighteen months ago no one would talk about buying undeveloped land,” Mr. McGregor said. “Today, everyone is clamoring all over each other to get these good land positions.”

These are incredibly gutsy moves by the home builders.  Or maybe they see something that the rest of us don’t see.

Many economists predict that builders will start work on between 700,000 and 750,000 units of housing in 2012. That is up from 608,000 starts last year but well below the annual average of 1.7 million built between 1998 and 2004 and far less than the two million at the peak of the market in 2005. Of course, fewer new homes being built means a tighter supply of existing homes, which could help push up prices.

Let us know what you think

Why all the interest about Alpine’s Stone Mansion

What is it about the Stone Mansion in Alpine that is bringing a healthy number of hits to this site?

Stone Mansion photo by Evan Joseph
  • Is it that it’s one of the most expensive homes for sale in the USA…$56 million
  • Is it because it still hasn’t sold
  • Maybe it’s because it’s a humongous house @ 30,000+- sf
  • Is it because it’s in Alpine
  • is it because we like to peek into how nice it would be to be able to own something so grand

I don’t know what all the intrigue is all about, and that’s why I’m asking.

In the next few days when the sun finally comes out, I’ll stop by the front gate and I’ll see if I can snap a few pictures.  I too am getting tired of looking at the same pictures over and over again.  It’s time for something new.

Please let me know what’s grabbing your attention with the Stone Mansion.  And if you’re interested in maybe buying it, contact me, and I’ll get you in to see it 🙂

Disclaimer: Because I had developed Tamcrest Estates, and it became the most expensive residential enclave in the northeast, I did consulting work for the developer of the Stone Mansion and the attached development, as to how to effectively market this project throughout the world. So I’m more than familiar with the home and the project.

Fort Lee grappled with future development for 20 years. Revitalizing the area will now begin

I don’t understand the purpose of a recent post on northjersey.com titled….Fort Lee grapples with questions on future development.

Two projects…The Center at Fort Lee received approvals a few months ago, and Hudson Lights was just approved a few days ago…are a culmination of grappling with a problem for 20 years.

This article makes it as though this grappling is in its infant stage, when in fact it’s not.

The future plans for development in Fort Lee are finally in place, and the only question is, when will these projects be started and when will they be completed, so the community can start seeing the benefits from all the new traffic that will come into the area.

Modern waterfront home on Long Island

Every once in a while I come across a cool looking home that I’d like to build one day, and this is one of those times.

Straight from the pages of houzz.com comes this Modern waterfront home on Long Island.

I’d love to find a property in Tenafly and give something like this a try.

What do you think the reaction would be, and do you think it would be an easy sell?

Here’s a few pictures.

Celine Dion lists $29 million Monrtreal mansion

Another celebrities home goes on the market

This time it’s mega superstar Celine Dion who has listed her 24,000sf Montreal island mansion for a cool $29 million…and it comes completely furnished, including art work and flatware.

The home is listed by Sotheby’s International Realty

The real question that will need to be sorted out with this is is, what is the home really worth without all of he furnishings that she would like to sell with the home?

As far as looks go, I’d take Alpine’s Stone Mansion over this one any day.  And if Oprah had a look at it then this home is good enough for me.

Check it out on celebuzz.com…Celine Dion lists $29 million Monrtreal mansion

Hudson Lights and twin towers project in Ft Lee are becoming a reality

The proposed Hudson Lights project and the already approved “yet to be named” twin towers: A view from space

The two new projects that will be started in Ft Lee this year offer some exciting opportunities for the surrounding communities. Yes it’s going to be a bit of a pain while the construction is taking place, but once everything is completed everyone (even in Tenafly) will benefit from this enhancement:

  • The eyesore that we’ve all lived with for 20+ years will now become an iconic looking project.  No one can deny that that this isn’t an amazing upgrade for Ft Lee and all of New Jersey
  • If they’re smart, and upgrade their businesses, the area retails will have an influx of people to fill their stores. And if they don’t take advantage of this opportunity, they have no one else to blame but themselves
  • The area restaurants will see a boom in their business…the delivery business should go wild.  And this isn’t just for Ft Lee…this is going to benefit the entire area
  • 1500+- new apartments will be filled with people (2000-3000 people?) from all over the region and these people will shop and dine here
  • New retail creates better existing retail…only if they have what people are looking for.  And now the retailers will have to compete with the new project, so it’s not going to be a guarantee.  They will have to work it if they want to be successful
  • New employment opportunities will exist.  This is a huge plus
  • Contrary to popular opinion…traffic patterns and timing should actually get better because of the proposed upgrades
  • The residential rental business will boom for everyone…not just for the new projects

There will defiantly be some bumps in the road (no pun intended) throughout the construction process, but that’s to be expected. Just get these projects underway and completed as soon as humanly possible, so we can all start enjoying the benefits.

Suburbia needs more projects like this.

Here are a few satellite shots of the area, via bing and google earth.  Now you’ll see why this is such a valuable location

Yes, I’ve developed a lot of real estate projects in my career, and I love seeing progress.  And why shouldn’t the suburbs start benefiting from what it has to offer.  Politics aside, these projects are needed for a multitude of reasons.  Whether or not the original developers make money or not, the community as a whole will benefit for decades to come.  And that’s what really matters here.

Young people want to live on the Hudson River waterfront: City Place

Ex-renters sail through their first buy in Edgewater

From: northjersey.com

The suburbs lose another home sale to the excitement of the NJ waterfront.  This is where younger people want to live compared to the burbs

Another condo sale at City Place in Edgewater

City Place is the most exciting project to live at…retail shopping, restaurants, movie complex and a hotel

Suneel and Kanchan Garehgrat-Basra were surprised their first home purchase was relatively painless. Two important factors that eased the process were organization — especially when it came to supplying documents for a mortgage — and finding professionals who were willing to communicate.

Kanchan works for an Internet company in Manhattan, and Suneel is a physician at a Bergen County practice. They originally settled in Jersey City. When their landlord raised the rent 13 percent, says Suneel, “that put us into the category where a mortgage would cost us the same amount.”

It was clearly time to buy.

“We could’ve bought sooner,” Suneel says, “but we wanted to make sure we were happy in New Jersey. By then I was confident that I was in a job I wanted, and I was offered a longer-term contract.”

Proximity to both of their jobs was key, so the Basras started looking in the Edgewater area. The New Jersey Multiple Listing Service provided an overview of what kinds of properties and prices were available. Stephen Braconi of Re/Max Ltd. in Oradell had a number of listings.

“We set up an appointment with him to show us around,” says Suneel. “He gave us a good feel for what was available in our price range. He also helped us with the nuances of being first-time home buyers, understanding the lingo and how the process works.”

The condo complex that most attracted them had two sections, and it turned out that although they looked the same outside, the financial arrangements were different. They looked at several units in each section and made an offer on a two-bedroom unit.

Negotiated price

As beginners, they decided to start low and see what would happen. Expecting a learning experience, they were delighted to find that, although the offer was rejected, the seller was willing to negotiate. “We came to a happy medium,” Suneel recalls.

The unit was listed at $450,000, and they settled at $425,000.

“It’s a surprise to realize how little space you end up getting for the price you’re looking for,” says Suneel, “especially in Bergen County, with taxes so high and certain areas, like Edgewater, almost recessionproof. A down payment of 10 to 20 percent is a tremendous amount of money. You have to be prepared for that.”

Obtaining a mortgage was not difficult.

“I have a steady job and a comfortable income, and we’re a dual-income family,” explains Suneel. “Our mortgage lender was recommended by our Realtor, and there were no issues. You just have to be prepared and organized when it comes down to what’s required.”

For those who own businesses and have multiple bank accounts, the process may be more complicated, he acknowledges, but for the Basras, it was fairly simple.

“We created a list and made sure we got them everything required in a timely manner,” Suneel says. “Every few days we’d call and check on our status, and they’d let us know what was needed.”

Aided by email 

Suneel advises buyers to find a lender they’re comfortable with on a personal level.

“They may offer a great rate but be impossible to get in touch with,” he says. “With rates this low, it’s very competitive, so they want to give mortgages to people who are stable financially — qualified home buyers with no issues.”

He reported that much of the communication regarding the mortgage was done electronically. He was able to scan documents and send them by email.

Overall, Suneel was surprised how easy the buying process turned out to be.

“It was a combination of how organized we were and asking the right questions, working with people who directed us. It’s important to have a lawyer who’s willing to call you back.”

The Basras are enjoying their new condo. They can easily reach friends and family in New York City, and they are close to Dumont, where Kanchan grew up.

“It’s a nice transitional area,” says Suneel. “We’re not quite ready for suburbs.”

Let us know what you think about living in the burbs 

Hudson Lights, Ft Lee’s new shining star?

As an update to the Ft Lee Hudson Lights mega project that is being proposed, I came across an article on northjersey.com…..Ft Lee Mayor calls summer start for project “ambitious”

What is the reason for the Mayor to now NOT be “ambitious” about the developer wanting to start the project ASAP?

I’ve worked on a number of mega projects, and the idea is to get our approvals, then start the project right away, because as we have seen in the past, time is not always on the side side of developers and consumers…so the speed in which a project gets started and completed is critical.

Who in their right mind would want to start a project in the winter as apposed to starting it in the summer, and what’s even worse is the thought of pending increases in interest rates, that would cost developers many millions of dollars for something that only benefits the banks.

The sooner a project is completed the better it is for the town and its residents and business owners.

The planning Board wants the project, as do a majority of the residents, so the town should expedite the process and give them their approvals as soon as possible.  And to speed things up even more, the building department could start their review of the plans, so as to not waste even more time after the final approvals are given.

At this point the town shouldn’t look for reasons NOT to move this along.

The object for the town should be to get Hudson Lights done so the tax dollars start rolling in.

Isn’t that the reason they wanted this project in the first place?

For a project that has been in the works for 20 years, the town should applaud ambitious!

Is anyone curious what this combined project will do to the existing rental market…in the region?

I am