Category Archives: Saddle Rvr

3 Most Expensive Luxury Homes Sales 2012…Big Disappointment

Somewhere in the Country luxury homes may be selling, but it’s not happening in Bergen County New Jersey

But this isn’t all bad news.  With all the ultra luxury homes, or so called mansions, that are for sale, and have been sitting unsold for extended periods of time, it’s a buyers market.

Here are the 3 most expensive home sales in Bergen County for 2012

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#1…2 Margo Way, Alpine New Jersey

The good news is that this Alpine New Jersey ultra luxury mansion took only a year and a half to sell.  But the bad news is that it sold at at 41% discount from the asking price. How can anyone be so wrong about the value of a home…or any product for that matter.

This amazing 34,000 sf estate was originally listed for $34 million…that’s a$1,000sf. And it finally sold for $20 million…which is probably close to what it cost to originally build and decorate.

If your design taste is molding on top of molding…and even more moldings then this home had the perfect interiors

#2…5 Alford Rd, Saddle River, New Jersey

This new (when it was first listed for sale years ago) Saddle River luxury home was listed and relisted for sale so many times since 2004, that I’s need to create a flow chart just to keep track of the timing…but I’m not doing it.

The key points for this 16,000sf Robert Zampolin designed monster are:

  • Originally listed for sale in 2004 at $9,250,000
  • The home finally sold in September 2012 for $6,000,000

The home sold at a whopping 37% discount…and it took 8 years to do it.
Note: the home was leased for 1year during 2009-2007

The point here is that the builder built a home that he thought he could sell for $9 million and ended up selling it for $6 million a very long time later.

Since this site is all about marketing homes so they get noticed and sold faster…and for their highest value…I have to point out that the same minuscule photos and horrendous listing description was used throughout all the years this home was listed for sale. Listing room names and a few items and sprinkling in terms like regal and palatial is mediocrity at its best.


#3…899 Closter Dock Rd, Alpine, New Jersey

This is another home that was on and off the market for years.

Though the njmls doesn’t show it, if my memory serves me correctly the home at some point was listed for $10 million…it finally sold for $5.2 million…that’s a 48% price chop.

I loved the homes exterior…but the interior of the home was stone cold ugly.  Bad taste can just ruin the value of a home.  The same listing description forever, didn’t help the sales price either.



Bergen County mansions sales take hit in 2012

The ultra luxury home market in Bergen County has taken a huge hit in 2012.

Sales decreased by 47%, and these numbers should make any luxury home seller and Realtor, start losing sleep. 

Bergen County luxury home sales comparison

County-wide, for luxury homes priced above $3 million, there have been only 10 home sales thus far in 2012, compared to 19 homes sold in 2011 for the same period.

The dollar volume for these mega mansions has also taken a huge hit, with a decrease of 46%.

What’s interesting though is that the average sales price for the homes sold increased by 2%…which gives thought that the luxury home market hasn’t yet felt the wrath of  huge price decreases.  But how long will this hold true given the poor performance at this end of the market.

How long can homeowners in towns such as Alpine, Saddle River and Tenafly hold onto their hopes that their mansions will sell…and sell for prices remotely close to their asking price.

And, when or if these mansions do start selling, what effect will these sales have on the tax base for these towns…especially if they sell at steep discounts.

It’s not a pretty picture.

Mega homes and mega mega homes…all unsold

Not every real estate deal is a smart deal.  And not every real estate deal is profitable.  And some projects are just downright stupid.

This is the tale of a stupid concept, that has become even more bizarre as time goes on.


It’s cool for us gawkers to look at these mega humongous homes that have been built or are being built and fantasize what it would be like to live in such excess.  But usually the fantasy is better than the live experience.

Check out this article in the New York Times Arts & Leisure section…House of Cards.  This article dives into the mind and the wallet of David and Jackie Siegel and their home…The Versailles, and the forthcoming movie The Queen of Versailles.

This sums it all up…”we didn’t set out to build the largest home in America…it just happened”

This home went from a a crazy idea to reality…then to a real reality, and then maybe back to where it could actually be completed.

Unfortunately this is becoming a typical situation for those who have built these ultra luxury mega-sized home either for spec or to live in.  They finally come to realize that these homes just aren’t worth the time and effort that’s put into them, because they’re not worth the expense.

Homes for sale in Bergen County priced above $10 million

Locally, in Alpine we have a unique situation where there are 11 homes for sale priced for more than $10 million.  In total there are 15 homes for sale in all of Bergen County priced for more than $10 million.,,,and the most expensive home for sale is $29 million.

  • 11 homes for sale in Alpine
  • 1 for sale in Cresskill
  • 1 home in Englewood
  • and 2 homes for sale in Saddle River

For some reason the Stone Mansion in Alpine which was listed for $56 million was just pulled from the market.  Was it sold (I haven’t heard anything of a sale), has the owner made s decision to live in it, or are they changing brokers?  I assume we’ll soon find out.

Every record penthouse sale, hurts NJ luxury market

Every blockbuster New York City penthouse sale, is another blow to the New Jersey ultra luxury market…and the deal that was just signed is a whopper of a deal.

The NYTimes reports:…A mystery buyer has agreed to pay a record price in New York of more than $90 million for the duplex penthouse at a Midtown tower, the building’s developer said Thursday.

Gary Barnett, president of Extell Development Company, said the buyer, who declined to be named or to disclose his country of origin, bought the 10,923-square-foot penthouse on the 89th and 90th floors of One57, the building currently under construction at 157 West 57th Street.

Read the entire article here…At over $90 million, sale of midtown penthouse sets a New York record

For every deal that goes to Manhattan, the suburbs lose another opportunity to turn around an incredibly horrendous luxury market that has been a major disaster, even before the big crash.  Entering the 5th year of an almost nonexistent market, really puts towns like Alpine and Saddle River in New Jersey on suicide watch.

Will the market in these towns ever see daylight? Or, are these homes just relics of a past lifestyle that no one wants to be part of anymore?

Bummer though that this deal didn’t break the $100 million mark.

Oh well, what can you do.

The 5 most expensive homes sold in Bergen County 2012…and it’s not good news

The luxury real estate market continues to take it on the chin in 2012

There are 101 homes for sale in Bergen County priced above $3 million, and only five homes have sold thus far in 2012.  And the most expensive home sold was a paltry $4.5 million.

The big problem with this market niche is that there is no end in sight for a dismal performance, And the luxury home sales numbers are coming off of a horrendous year in 201,1 where only 26 homes were sold in Bergen County for more than $3 million.  Selling only 30% of the homes listed for sale in this price range is a major cause for concern, especially if yours home is for sale.

The Bergen County numbers spell trouble for the luxury market:

Here’s what 2012 looks like so far:

The 5 most expensive home sales in Bergen County 2012:

1/ 13 Glen Carl Rd, Upper Saddle River

  • List/Sold: $3,495,000 / $3,000,000
  • Under contract in 5 months
  • Sold at a 15% discount

This sale broke my heart, because it’s an incredible home, on a nice property, in a nice neighborhood, and the builder/owner put his heart into building it. Unfortunately It was sold at a price considerably below it’s cost.

2/ 187 Buckingham Rd, Tenafly

  • List/Sold: $3,795,000 / $3,250,000
  • Under contract in 21 months
  • Sold at a 15% discount

What is interesting about the sale of this home is that it sold for the price that the homeowner purchased it for in 2006. This shows us that NOT every home lost 30% of its value since the crash…and buyers, sellers and Realtors have to be aware of this throughout the process. Tenafly has been the hottest market in the area for a long time…and it continues that with the sale of this luxury home, which most agents thought would never sell for close to this price.  New Yorkers tend to think differently. Tenafly has eight homes for sale priced above $3 million

3/ 113 Andersen Ave, Demarest

  • List/Sold: $4,495,000 / $3,850,000
  • Under contract in 20 months
  • Sold at a 15% discount

4/ 15 N. Church Rd, Saddle River

  • List/Sold: $8,845,000 / $4,100,000
  • Under contract in 60 months
  • Sold at a 54% discount

This goes to show you what happens when a builders/Realtors overestimate the value of a new home…and not knowing when to get out.  This is a spectacular home, but to take sever years to build it and a combined 5 years to sell it is a ginormous failure

5/ 8 Piermont Rd, Franklin Lakes

  • List/Sold: $13,500,000 / $4,500,000
  • This home first went on the market in 2005, and was withdrawn for sale in 2007.  It was then re-listed in 2010 for $6,500,000…20 months later
  • Sold at a 67% discount from the original asking price
  • Sold at a 31% discount from the revised asking price

Obviously the value of this home was misread…except for by the purchaser.

If you are in the process of trying to sell your luxury home, or are contemplating doing so, then you need to be aware of these numbers…because this affects you.

The builder/marketing fanatic part of me says that in order to increase your chances of grabbing a buyers attention, selling your home faster, and optimizing your price, then your focus your attention on producing some great marketing, so your home stands out from the crowd. Without something better than traditional real estate marketing, your home is just like all the other homes floating around in cyberspace on a bunch of free listing sites. Your chances of selling your home won’t increase unless you do something more.

Now it’s all about marketing.

And run from everyone who tells you that it’s all about price…because it’s not.  Of the 101 luxury homes that are for sale it looks like all 101 have already had price reductions…and it didn’t work.

Now it’s all about finding one of the few buyers who are out there in this price range and grabbing them, and not letting them go!

5 most expensive home sales for Bergen County 2011

The 5 most expensive home sales in Bergen County 2011

2011 was not a banner year for the ultra luxury market in Bergen County.  Town like Alpine and Saddle river which used to have all the luxury action are just a faded memory at this point.  The big ticket items are now being purchased Manhattan and  the Hamptons, and this is a market killer for the suburbs.  By Manhattan standards, the 5 largest purchases in Bergen County aren’t even worthy of a yawn in NYC.

1/ 101 Fox Hedge Rd, Saddle River

  • Original Asking Price: $23,888,000
  • Sold: $10,000,000
  • Discount: 58%

This was the most expensive home sold in Bergen County for 2011

The former home of Russell Simmons originally went on the market for a jaw dropping price of $23,888,000 in 2008 (wasn’t it listed at $32mil?), and it took price ut after price cut after price cut to finally sell at $10 million.  Rumor has it that the purchaser is spending a fortune to update the home.  This is a perfect example of what happens when you put an insane price tag on any product…it won’t sell.  This home was never worth more than the final sales price, but someone must have thought that when a celebrities name is attached to it, then it becomes incredibly more expensive.  Guess again

2/ 14 Buckingham Dr Alpine

  • Original Asking Price: $10,000,000
  • Sold: $6,200,000
  • Discount: 38%

This was the most expensive home sold in Alpine in 2011. 

There are 19 homes for sale in Alpine that are listed for more than $5 million

This home originally went on the market in May 2009 and was sold September 2011.

What’s really sad about Alpine is that it was once the be-all-end all of New Jersey high-end sales.  But not anymore, because this end of the housing sector has all but dried up, with the exception of much safer havens such as Manhattan and somewhat in the Hamptons.

However there are two new incredible mega homes that are being completed at this time in the Rio Vista section of Alpine. One of the homes, was bought by a famous fashion designer as a shell that had been sitting for over half a decade, and is now being finished. It’s nothing short of amazing.  The second home is on one of the last remaining vacant properties in Rio Vista…and is one of the least desirable locations.  But the home is outlandishly humongous, and I’m sure by the time they install a forest full of  trees, they’ll transform the property into their own little oasasis.

3/ 20 Timberline Dr, Alpine

  • Original Asking Price: $12,000,000
  • Sold: $5,300,000       
  •  Discount: 56%

This “must see” Alpine home was originally listed in August 2007, and was finally sold in October 2011.  Guess the owners thought the price would ever get so low, because four years is a long time to wait to sell a home. But what’s even more perplexing is why the agents also believed that the home was valued so high to take such a listing.  Or did they take it hoping that one day the owner would come to his senses and have a few massive price reductions. Which they finally did, but they didn’t keep the listing with the original Realtor.

4/ 12 Werimus Brook Rd, Saddle River

  • Starting Asking Price: $5,975,000 /  Highest Asking Price $7,495,000
  • Sold: $4,400,000
  • Discount: 42%

This newly built home went on the market in 2006 and was finally sold in May 2011.  As with most new spec homes in Saddle River (and elsewhere) the builder got clobbered.  Greed was the bif factor here as was not reading the market correctly.  Though someone bought it for a huge discount, as all the purchasers did with the homes on this post…did they get a steal or did they just end up paying the new retail, thus making it not such a great bargain after all.

5/ 6 Oxford Way, Alpine

  • Original Asking Price: $7,900,000
  • Sold: $5,100,000
  • Discount: 36%

This home was listed at the beginning of 2008 and finally sold in November 2011.

Another huge hit for a luxury home in Alpine.  Unfortunately, this seems to be the trend going forward for the suburban luxury market.  There aren’t enough buyers at the top of the market outside of New York City, for all these expensive homes.  So the only place for the prices to go is down and down and down.

So what’s your opinion on the future of our mega expensive home home market. Will this niche come back in out lifetime, or are these homes tomorrows knock downs?


Misleading Saddle River market info hurts buyers and sellers

This is a perfect example of how misleading numbers can confuse the daylights out of  potential home buyers.

tweet from agent

I came across this on twitter from an agent in the Saddle River NJ region where he correctly points out that home sales in Saddle River increased by 28% from 2010 to 2011.

But then he followed it up with a stat that prices decreased 28% during the same time period.  And that just isn’t so.  It’s misleading to say that home prices decreased by 28% in 2010, when that wasn’t the case.

  • The dollar volume of homes sold in 2011 increased by 21% in 2011 at the same time the number of homes sold increased by 28%.

Misleading or incorrect sales figures can have an adverse affect on buyers and sellers, and can ruin a market

The average sales price did however decrease by 5%, but the average price means nothing when it comes to explaining whether or not homes increased or decreased in value.  It’s nothing more than an average sales price.

njmls Saddle River market comparison report

If the average price decreases it could simply mean that lower priced homes sold during that time period, but it doesn’t mean that priced have come down.

Thankfully, the agent doesn’t have too many followers who can spread such misleading information into the market place.  That’s something that sellers, buyers and even agents don’t want to have happen.

Consumers need to know the REAL facts before they consider buying or selling a home.

Ask for a copy of the current njmls charts

Dismal Sales For Saddle River Luxury Homes

Who would have though that the Bergen County luxury home market would collapse., which is basically what has happened over the past three + years.  Saddle River and Alpine, once the mecca of wealth and prosperity in the region, the luxury home market is a mere blip on today’s housing scene.

The luxury sector was once looked at as the standard barer and driving force of the market, is now a big drag.  Horrible sales volume, price declines, and no light at the end of the tunnel (other than wishful thinking) will keep this niche market depressed for then next decade

The first graph is a breakdown for the number of homes sold in Saddle River since 2004 for homes priced above $3 million.

Homes sold between $3-$3.999 million have decreased 80% comparing 2005 with 2010 (though there is a slight jump in volume in 2011…2 sales in 2010 to 4 sales in 2011).  All the price ranges above $4 million have been hit equally as hard.

The following is a list of homes that have been sold in 2010  ($3m-$3.99M).  The main concern here, is how long it took these homes to sale, and the discount at which they sold:

4 High Meadow Rd

  • Originally went on the market in 2008 for $3,895,000
  • Sold 2011 for $3,030,000
  • Discount: 23%
  • 2010 New Jersey designer showcase home

26 Werimus Brook Rd

  • Originally went on the market in 2007 for $4,650,000
  • Sold May, 2011 for $3,200,000
  • Discount: 31%
  • New construction

23 Burning Hollow Rd

Originally went on the market October 2009 for $6,888,000

  • Sold June 2011 for $3,350,000
  • Discount:  67%
  • New construction

Though some headwind has been made in 2011 with four homes already sold, it’s still not a good indication of things to come, when there are still 12 for sale in that price range…just in Saddle River. There are presently 74 homes for sale in Saddle River.

An even scarier picture is for homes priced between $1.0- $1.99 million, where there are 25 homes for sale and only 6 homes in that price range have been sold thus far in 2011.  That adds up to at least a 4 year supply of homes.

There’s also a 4+ year supply of homes for sale priced between $2.0-$2.99 million.

Another big killer is for homes priced between $5.0-$9.99 million, where there are presently 9 homes for sale and none have sold in 2011…only 4 homes have sold in this price range since 2008.

Needless to say, the picture doesn’t look pretty.

So tell us what you think will happen to the sales volume and for prices.

I’m not a fan of price reductions, because I blame a lot of the decreases on the brokerage companies who are outdated in their approach, and that alone helps to decrease prices and create longer sales cycles.  However, the evidence is so overwhelming that the luxury market has only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to price cuts and the length of time it will take to sell these outdated homes.

Saddle River Luxury Home Sales Are Down, Inventory Is Way Up

I came across this interview in the other day, and wanted to fact check some of the generalized opinions offered here by Vicki Gaily of Special Properties.

The “interview” states the usual obvious, that rates are at historic lows, de-clutter the home so it looks attractive, and the grand daddy of them all…competitively price your home, which really means lower it to a point where people make offers (I hate when they harp on this…because most of the homes have already had price reductions, and they’re still not selling).  Maybe we have to lower the commissions on these over priced homes as well?

The major issue that really should have been asked and answered, and is something that’s on the mind of all sellers, buyers and homeowners in Saddle River and elsewhere is…what is the stare of the Saddle River luxury market?  Here it is:

Saddle River luxury home sales 2004-2011


The above graph shows the breakdown for the number of homes sold in Saddle River since 2004…for homes priced above $3 million, and the picture is more negative than it is positive.

  • Homes sold between $3-$3.999 million have decreased 80% comparing 2005 with 2010
  • Homes priced between $4.0-$4.999 million have decreased 60% for the same time period
  • And homes priced between $5.0-$9.999 million have decreased by 66%

Even if you look at 2005 as an fluke, then the market has still remained flat…but with huge increases in inventory, which translates into much longer sales cycles and lower prices.

Though some headwind has been made in 2011 with four homes already sold, it’s still not a good indication of things to come, when there are still 12 homes for sale in that price range…just in Saddle River. There are a total of 74 homes for sale in Saddle River.

Saddle River: homes for sale vs homes sold 2011

An even scarier picture is for homes priced between $1.0- $1.99 million, where there are 25 homes for sale and only 6 homes in that price range have sold in 2011 ytd…which is basically a 4 year supply of homes.  And the numbers get worse when more homes are listed for sale.

There’s also a 4 year supply of for sale priced between $2.0-$2.99 million.

And the big killer is that there are 9 homes for sale priced between $5.0-$9.99 million, and not one has sold in 2011…only 4 homes have sold in that price range since 2008.

Now you see the charts, lets here what you have to say.

One really brilliant observation from Ms. Gaily, and one that everyone should think about;

“In my opinion there should be only two types of sellers in the market. 1. Those who have to sell because of financial reasons, or retirement, or company transfer, etc. or 2. Those who want to make a change and are in the financial position to list their house at present market value.”

A very smart observation.

Stay tuned for the next Saddle River market post

A Blown Marketing Opportunity For Mary J Blige’s Home

It’s all about the experience

In a recent post they showed a picture of singing sensation Mary J Blige’s home that’s for sale in Saddle River. The big blunder is that it’s a lousy picture, taken some in early spring…there’s no leaves on the trees, and the grass is brown!

We’re in the dead of the summer and the picture was never changed, and published a less than flattering picture of this superstars $12,500,000 home.  And don’t think these things go unnoticed with the public.  Even on the njmls the exterior shot is horrible…great interior shots, but they weren’t shown. When some wealthy person sees this shot, they probably won’t give it another look.

Marketing lesson…pay attention to the quality of every detail, because everything matters.

Realtors love to say that a picture is worth a thousand words.  But if the picture is unappealing, then it’s worth 10 lousy words, and a click of the mouse to another home.

I bet every time Mary steps onstage she looks perfect and practiced her songs and choreography to perfection. She performs to sell more tickets and itune downloads,       It’s something Realtor’s haven’t learned yet.

Good luck Mary, and keep giving us such amazing music.  We love ya!

Future Post:  No One Cares About Your Home