Category Archives: Alpine

LG protesters big lie

The Big Lie

A 2nd generation altered propaganda photo
A 2nd generation altered propaganda photo

It’s one thing for opponents of the LG building to voice their concerns about development along the Palisades, which btw is already protected from development, but it’s another story when they resort to propaganda pieces that are blatantly misleading.

When such tactics are employed it is usually a dead giveaway that  the protesters arguments are floundering on their merits. In this instance that is exactly what is happening.

We see this happen all the time in politics, where they create their own set of “facts”…truth and honesty doesn’t matter.

When the line is blurred between truth and lies nothing is believable

This is a great case in point

The photo depicted above was found on a site that protesters of the LG building height paint as their reality.   But their reality is nothing more than a grotesque twist on the truth.

Photoshopped photos distort reality

Plopping down 20+ skyscrapers in a small area along the Palisades that is impossible to develop and where no persons or no company wants to be en masse is pure propaganda. The motives for doing this have to be questioned.

Parks and nature centers can’t be developed nor can any development take place within the Palisades Interstate Park. This holds up to a fact check.

This photo is their lie

The protesters which are a well organized group backed by some incredibly well connected donors want you to believe the lie: that this single LG building will suddenly cause all of these other buildings to be built.

They cannot offer up one single fact to back up their vision of future over-development along the Palisades.

  • There are no applications for such projects
  • There are no talks in progress amongst towns or developers contemplating such insane ideas
  • The demographics and desire to make these projects feasible do not exist…thus making this an impossible scenario.

 Protesters have conjured up a lame scenario to mislead the public into believing a lie

  • This amount of construction would make Manhattan jealous!
  • Tens of millions of square feet of residential and commercial skyscrapers that will never happen!

People resort to propaganda when their arguments can’t stand up to the facts.

This is their big lie

 

 

 

 

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Alpine luxury home market continues to tank

When will the luxury housing market begin to recover in Bergen County?

Alpine used to be at the top of the Forbes list as one of the most expensive zip codes in the nation.  I doubt it will be there again if the look at the updated market stats and home sales.

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Ever since the housing market began its recovery in our area about 3 years ago, our once precious and busy luxury market is still in the biggest hole of its lifetime.

The ironic thing is, there are a number of ultra luxury homes that were built by land owners or are presently under construction that cost considerably more than $3 million…but the realtors can’t save their lives to sell a luxury home without a steep discount.

People who are building luxury homes see the value,  yet the realtors don’t.  I kinda like what the consumers are saying because they’re making some huge investments.

The luxury market has taken a huge hit, and the effects are  showing in the prices…it’s devastating and  there’s no end to the bloodbath.

A number of wealthy homeowners have taken their homes off of the market and have opted to wait it out.  I think they’re in for a long wait

Luxury homes

Alpine:

  • There are 32 homes for sale in Alpine priced above $3,000,000
  • In 2013 only 6 homes sold for more than $3 million
  • The highest priced home sold was $13,375,000…which was a 25% discount (originally listed for $18,500,000
  • The second highest priced home that sold was $7,500,000 and was originally listed at $14,900,000 in early 2011…50% discount
  • Of the 6 homes sold…5 were local residents and only 1 was from out of the area (Manhattan)

Going back to the high flying days a 2 acre lot was worth $4 million…for the land only.  Now you can buy a home in Alpine for $4 million and it has a house on it.

Discounts on most of the homes sold in Alpine was 25%.  Most of the homes are dated and need major makeovers which will probably cost another $500k

luxury homes for sale Alpine NJ,alpine, steven konefsky, eating real estyate, prominent properties sothebys international, luxury homes
luxury homes for sale Alpine NJ,alpine, steven konefsky, eating real estyate, prominent properties sothebys international, luxury homes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alpine has several home for sale that have been on the market for 5 years.  

  • One is listed for almost double what the owners paid for the home in 2005
  • Another home was built as a speech home…guess that was a bad investment
  • And one has been ion and off of the market for 4 years and the price keeps increasing…from $9m-$14 million

Bergen County Stats:

  • One-third of the homes for sale in Bergen County are listed for sale in Alpine (32 homes for sale)
  • In 2013 only 28 homes priced above $3 million were sold in all of Bergen County
  • There are 96 homes for sale in BC priced above $3 million

For those of you who have the ability to spend $3 million to purchase a home and then some additional bucks on a renovation, this may be your time.  As a long term investment…maybe, maybe not.  As a place to live and enjoy…yes.

Tell us where you think this end of the market is heading

 

Disclaimer:  Steven Konefsky is a home builder…inc renovations, real estate developer, design consultant, real estate marketing guru, and he sells real estate through Promiment Properties Sotheby’s International in Tenafly NJ.  If you have any real estate related questions you can make comments on this blog or Steven can be reached at 201.522.5256 and at Skonefsky@me.com.  FaceTime and Skype video conversations are welcomed 🙂

Turn a boring powder room into an exciting space

If you were looking to buy a home in Tenafly, and came across this powder room, tell me you wouldn’t be excited to see the rest of the home, and that it wouldn’t jump to the top of your hot list.

This is how to turn boring into excitement!

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Did you ever imagine taking your typically small, boring suburban powder room into an exciting and energy filled space?  If you ever dreamed it, but didn’t quite know where to start…here’s a great example of what you can do, to infuse this small space with some excitement.

Forget about doing what everyone else does in Tenafly, Cresskill, or in Alpine. This is how to start thinking outside the box, and how to bring a splash of Manhattan to you home.

Don’t chintz on anything that has to do with tile…or you’ll regret it later

Though this space is 10′ high with a drop sheetrocked ceiling, with hidden up-lighting, you can get the same effect in a room with an 8′-9′ high ceiling.  This is a design that can easily be scaled down to fit your space perfectly.

Check out the flooring, wall tiles, lighting vanity and the almost full height mirror and see how they “put it all together”.  And check out the walls and tell me how you think they created this affect.  What materials did they use?  And think how you can do the same in your powder room.

Remember, when working with small spaces, it’s all about the total package, and not the individual pieces.

Tell us what you think

Steven Konefsky creates excitement from ordinary space.  Steven’s out of the box design vision lets the energy flow in every room of your home.  He transforms space into a lifestyle that you’ve always wanted, but never knew how to accomplish it. Your home will stand out from the crowd.
When selling an older or tired home, Steven’s vision along with his amazing sales and presentation talents, can take what others can’t imagine (but fear), and presents your home’s potential like no one else can.  His skills create faster sales, and higher prices.  When your best marketing effort is a lawn sin, and a free web listing…you have a problem.  Let Steven put more money where it belongs…in your pocket! 
From design passion to building…let Steven show you how it’s done.

SKonefsky@me.com 

201.522.5256

Bergen County Luxury Home Market On Life Support

So many luxury homes for sale & not many sold = PROBLEMS

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Luxury Home For Sale Cresskill, New Jersey

The luxury market may be flying high in Manhattan and elsewhere in New York City where luxury apartments are selling for insane prices, but out here in the suburbs of Bergen County, which used to be the hotbed for  the luxury market in New Jersey, on its death bed…as it has been since the market crashed

 

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Here’s some facts:

  • Only 23 homes priced above $3 million have sold to date in 2013
  • The 5 most expensive homes sold: $13,375,000…$10, 500,000…$6,375,000…$5,500,000…$5,125,000…
  • Only 5 homes were sold in 2013 priced above $5 million
  • There are 95 single family homes listed for sale priced above $3 million
  • The most expensive home for sale in Bergen County is the “Gloria Crest Estate” in Englewood that is listed for $29,900,000. Guess they wanted to keep it under $30 million.  The home was originally listed for $39 million…and it was purchased in 20000 for $4,672,500.  Unfortunately the agents pictures don’t do this home justice…2 yr old picts taken in an off season doesn’t help the sales effort
  • There are 30 homes for sale priced above $5 million
  • The 5 most expensive homes for sale are $29,900,000…14,500,000…$14,000,000

Though there is a sizable percentage increase (90%) in sales for this price range, the number of homes sold (a 9 home increase…most in the $3M range) is insignificant compared to the number of homes that are for sale…95 homes

Towns with the most luxury homes for sale priced above $3 million:

  • Alpine…25 homes for sale
  • Saddle River…19
  • Cresskill…11
  • Franklin Lakes…8
  • Tenafly…8
  • Demarest…11

As with everything on this site, we let the numbers speak for themselves.  The luxury market is deader than dead, and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

Tell us what you think the future is for these ultra luxury homes

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.

Is the most expensive home for sale in US a PR ploy, or can it sell

I guess the luxury home pricing fever that’s been blazing (and selling) in New York City , has finally found its way to the   suburbs surrounding Manhattan.

It was only a matter of time before every who owned the mega of mega mansions let their egos go wild, and try to cash in on the luxury home bonanza.

I caught wind a few days ago that the most expensive home in the United States was just listed in Greenwich Ct for $190 million dollars.

$190 Million Lauder Greenway Estate, Greenwich, CT
$190 Million Lauder Greenway Estate, Greenwich, CT

Sure it’s a big home with lots of rooms, and bathrooms and property, but who in their right mind, or with a large enough wallet will pay $190 million.  And hey, the home comes with all the kitchen and laundry appliances!

I’m not making this up…check out the listing

  • First there’s on;y a few people in the entire world who can afford the price tag
  • And $190 million price tag for a developer to purchase it is even less unlikely, because any way you look at it’s insanely over-priced for a developer

When I along with my father-in-law Gene Heller and Starwood-Heller Enterprises developed Tamcrest Estate in Alpine and Cresskill New Jersey, starting in 2001, we paid $22 million for the undeveloped 54 acre property and we were able to create 34 building sites…seven 2 acre properties and twenty seven 1 acre properties.  Tamcrest Estates became incredibly successful in part because we caught the market at the right time, and the people who had the money were more than happy to put it into their home…in-part because the stock market was out of favor and real estate was seen as a great investment .

The homes at Tamcrest Estates ranged in price from $4 million to $45 million.  But times have changed and these huge suburban homes aren’t seen a great investments, even at dramatically reduced prices (trophy and unique homes may be the exclusion).

From a real estate developers perspective, the $190 million price tag makes absolutely no sense for development potential.  If they really want to go for the gusto, then a better way to approach this would be to subdivide the property and sell off the individual properties.

Additionally, the demographics have changed, as have the mindsets of the super wealthy, who are now dumping their dollars into Manhattan…because Manhattan will always be Manhattan…the mecca for the wealthy.

So with the city on fire, and the mega luxury market in the suburbs simmering, the $190 million Lauder home my be just another publicity stunt to get people to take notice the home and brokerage firm…and that could work, for a few weeks….and on google forever.

$49 million Stone Mansion, Alpine, New Jersey
$49 million Stone Mansion, Alpine, New Jersey

However, if you’re seriously interested in a brand new grand home that is a bargain (recently reduced to $49 million) compared to the Lauder Greenway family estate, there’s an amazing home for sale in Alpine New Jersey named the Stone Mansion …which is part of the former Frick Estate (like the Frick Museum). Alpine has been anointed by Forbes as one of the most expensive zip codes in the Country and is located lust a stones throw from Manhattan.

This home is only one of a number of magnificent estates available for purchase on the grounds of the former Frick Estate…

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.

RARE AND BEAUTIFUL PALATIAL MANOR HOME WITH THE GREATEST ATTENTION TO DETAIL THROUGHOUT! OVER 16,000 SQ FT OF LUXURIOUS LIVING SPACE! GRAND SCALE ENTERTAINING CAN EASLIY BE ACCOMPLISHED IN THE BALLROOM, BANQUET SIZE DINING ROOM AND IN THE FORMAL ENTRY GALLERY. SOARING CEILINGS IN THE FAMILY ROOM, SENSATIONAL CHEF’S KITCHEN, FORMAL SECOND FLOOR LIBRARY, INCREDIBLE MOVIE THEATER, BILLIARD ROOM, WINE TASTING ROOM AND 6 LARGE BEDROOM SUITES COMPLIMENT THIS HOME. CONCRETE STUCCO EXTERIOR, SLATE ROOF, SWIMMING POOL, POOL HOUSE AND FOUR CAR GARAGE ARE A FEW OF THE MANY AMENITIES THIS REGAL ESTATE OFFERS. BEAUTIFUL AND PRIVATE FLAT GATED 2 ACRE PROPERTY.

#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.

BEST VALUE IN ALPINE ON 4 ACRES OF LAND – THE BONUS IS A FABULOUS COUNTRY MANOR WITH 7 BED, 6+ BATHS PLUS A POOL, POOLHOUSE & TENNIS COURT. UNIQUE PRIVATE RETREAT MINUTES FROM THE GWB. ELEGANT LR, BANQUET SIZE DR, HUGE COUNTRY KITCHEN WITH VAULTED OAK CEILING AND STONE FLOOR, FAM.RM.WITH VAULTED OAK CEILING, PANELLED LIBRARY WITH STAIRCASE TO A BILLIARD ROOM. BUILT WITH UNSURPASSED QUALITY.

March retail sales hit a snag…how will it affect Tenafly home sales

A New York Times article by the Associated Press titled…March Retail Sales Fell as Consumers Cut Back….states that retail sales declined a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent last month, after a 1 percent gain in February.

That’s big news for the Bergen County home sales, and in our specific case it’s big news for how this could affect future home sales in Tenafly, and luxury home sales in Alpine and Saddle River…because retail spending drives about 70% of economic activity.

When consumers begin to cut back on retail spending, it creates a ripple effect on home sales

An example of just how volatile the local housing market is are the home sales in Tenafly…in which more homes are sold in Tenafly per year compared to the surrounding towns by up to 500%.  This once stable heaven of home ownership, home sales are down 31% Y/Y compared to  2012

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“Consumers cut back spending across a wide range of categories”

With all the hoopla surrounding the calls announcing a housing recovery, people need to take a few steps back to analyze what is happening in their local markets, where its not always what it seems. Sure home sales are up in Bergen County…but that’s ONLY the case for homes priced below $1M. The higher you go above $1M the worse the market becomes, but that’s something realtors don’t like to talk about.

 

 

The US consumer looks a little less resilient, an economist at JP Morgan Chase

And why isn’t anyone focusing on other items that affect local home sales on the negative side.  Can we have a housing recovery regardless of facts:

  • Forever increasing property taxes in suburban New Jersey
  • A still unacceptable unemployment forecast…does anyone really think that we can have a real recovery with so many unemployed people. Inst this some of what brought us to a crash and are keeping us from an overall economic recovery?
  • New rental complexes are sprouting up in Bergen and Hudson counties. And every rental takes away from home sales
  • The decline of the suburbs and the rise of urban areas that are more conducive to today’s consumers
  • And incredible number of home sales and rentals in New York City, and increasing home prices are keeping people IN the city, rather than fleeing to the New Jersey and New York Suburbs

Let us know your thoughts on this

Hey Tenafly and Alpine…The Architectural Digest Home Design Show Is In Full Swing

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If you’re looking to buy, sell, build, design, renovate or decorate a home in Tenafly and Alpine, New Jersey (or anywhere else in Bergen County for that matter), then you have to get yourself over to the Architectural Digest, Home Design Show at Pier 94…55th St at 12th Ave.

The show takes place March 22-24th

This is the place to go to check out all the products and services, that you may very well want to include in your home…and to steal some of the best design ideas that you could ever imagine.

This show is pure Architectural Digest

Check out their web site

Check out the list of exhibitors 

Check out the New York Times Seminars

I’m heading over there now, and I’ll come back with lots of helpful info and photos.

Always providing you with valuable information about our local housing market…building, design and renovation ideas…and sales stats.

It’s everything realtors should be doing but don’t

Will New York Billionaires Save The New Jersey Luxury Home Market

Location is everything when it comes to real estate.  And nothing shows this more than the article in this Sunday’s New York Times titled…Billionaires’ Club Is Set To Grow…The demand for high-end homes is also expected to rise.

 “The buying seems to draw traction from the fact that there will be so many more newly minted rich people hunting for properties. Over the next 10 years, some 95,000 more people around the world are expected to see their wealth grow to at least $30 million, according to a forecast by Knight Frank, a London-based real estate company, which puts the current number of such people at 189,835.”

The article ties in an expected worldwide explosion of billionaires, to an already exploding ultra-luxury residential market in  key cities, like New York City.

With what is happening in NYC and other major cities, translate into the same trend for the Bergen County, New Jersey market, which is (used to be) tightly intertwined with what goes on in New York City?  Do the mega home sales that we’ve all heard about happening in Manhattan spill over into our market, as it used to.  Or are these sales, and the overall strength of the NYC residential market taking away sales from the neighboring suburbs, and hindering our recovery.

Their assumptions may be true for specific locations like Manhattan…but it’s not the case in Bergen County, New Jersey, where the number of luxury home sales, are down 60% from the peak, and the dollar volume has seen a 67% hit.

The numbers show that luxury home sales and ultra-luxury home sales are being clobbered in Bergen County.  And I would be willing to bet that some of this is attributed to the boom that’s happening in the city on the other side of the Hudson.

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Some Facts:

There are 94 luxury homes for sale in Bergen County (priced above $3 million):

  • 21 luxury homes are for sale in in Alpine
  • 12 are in Cresskill
  • 8…Englewood
  • 9…Franklin Lakes
  • 22 are located in Saddle River
  • 7 in Tenafly
  • The remainder are scattered throughout other towns in Bergen County

The Scary Part:

  • 94 homes for sale priced above $3 million
  • In 2012 only 25 homes were sold in this price range
  • Sales in 2012 decreased by 23% from 2011
  • From the peak year of luxury home sales in 2006 compared to 2012, sales of luxury homes decreased by a whopping 60%
  • The dollar volume of sales at the peak compared to 2012 decreased by 67%

And there’s no end in sight to this downturn. The demographics are working against the high-end market, and high taxes. And the ego to purchase one of these suburban monsters isn’t there in the volume that’s needed to turn things around.

  • In 2012 the most expensive home sale in Bergen County was a $20 million home located in Alpine…a 40% discount from the asking price
  • The next most expensive home sale in Saddle Rive was $6,000,000.  This home was for sale since 2005 and was listed in 2010 at $9,250,000.  It finally sold at a 35% discount…and this was a fairly new home in an incredible subdivision.

The most interesting fact with luxury home sales in Bergen County is that out of the 25 homes that were sold above $3 million, only 1 home was sold to a foreign buyer outside of the United States, and only 5 homes were sold to people outside of New Jersey, and 4 of those were from New York. So much for all the talk about international buyers purchasing homes in our backyard.  Yes, real estate is local!

“In the end, the global luxury property market is functioning in its own universe, seemingly removed from general real estate trends. It “remains relatively impervious to these trends and more closely follows the luxury goods market,” Christie’s International Real Estate said in a study released this week.”

Christie’s International…you missed what’s really happening in northern New Jersey…but why let the facts get in the way of hyping the market.  And don’t think that what is happening in Alpine, New Jersey is irrelevant, because for the past bunch of years, Alpine has been one of the most expensive zip codes in the Country.

National stats and reports, have noting to do with what’s really happening right in your own back yard

Remember, real estate is local!