Category Archives: Alpine

Realtors Blow Another Great Marketing Opportunity

Local Realtors in Tenafly, Cresskill, Alpine, Closter and other surrounding towns, blew another great marketing opportunity this week with the pending arrival of hurricane Irene.

This was a perfect opportunity for agents and brokerages to reach out to the public via blogs, twitter, facebook and their own web sites (oops most don’t utilize such sites) and offer help, and advice about how to deal with with our pending storm and the potential for severe destruction to your property.

Realtors and brokerages hey should have offered on their web sites and through other social media sites, a list of qualified contractors in each local area who deal with roofing (wind damage), tree cutters (for downed treed on your property), water damage companies (who specialize in cleaning up flooded basements), window glazing companies) who can fix broken windows when your neighbors for sale sign flies through your window…and so many more items that would have been of value to homeowners everywhere…but I didn’t see any of this anywhere via email, twitter etc. It never happened. Your local real estate expert was no where to be seen. Big mistake.

Why don’t Realtors understand that there’s more to selling homes than plopping their listings on a bunch of free web sites, planting lawn signs and doing home tours? It amazes me how they still live in a bubble, while everyone else in the world thrives in the information age.

Such an outdated industry.

Note: I didn’t do any of this because I was stranded in the Bahamas dealing with hurricane Irene, and when I finally got back late Friday night I spent all Saturday preparing my home for the storm. Luckily for us we didn’t see the wind and rain that I witnessed in the Bahamas.

(btw…knowing that 80 mph winds were possible, why didn’t Realtors and brokerages remove their sign so they didn’t become possible flying objects? I don’t get that they didn’t anticipate that this could be a problem. Now they’ll just look more war-torn, unsightly and unprofessional than they already look).

Maybe this is just a Bergen County Realtor thing, or maybe it’s an educational or generational thing where they just don’t “get it”.

I think Realtors have been so programmed in an old way of approaching business that they can’t see what other industries are doing to show that they have the “right stuff”.

Realtors take it for granted, and believe that the Realtor badge is an immediate sign of excellence and professionalism. Sorry, but it time for Realtors and brokerages to stop bragging, and start proving themselves.

So lets hear what you have to say.

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Huge Price Tag For P Diddy’s Home In Alpine

How much more is a home worth, with a celebrity name attached to it, as compared to just you or I selling a comparable home.  P. Diddy thinks one of his homes (in Alpine) is worth considerably more, even in this horrible housing market.  We’re all about to see how it pans out for him in the coming years.

We all know the real estate market is in shambles, but the luxury home market in Alpine (and all throughout the country), is nothing short of a disaster.

  • 53 homes are for sale in Alpine
  • 13 homes are for sale priced above $10M…and have been on the market for an extended period of time
  • 13 homes are for sale priced from $5M-$10M
  • In 2009 only 7 homes were sold in Alpine @ and average price of $4.935M…one expensive sale to pro athlete skewed that number much higher
  • In 2010 only 12 homes were sold @ an average price of $2.793M

I saw this post for P Diddy’s home in homesoftherich.net that shows PD bought this home in 2004 for $6 million and is now asking the jaw dropping price of $13,500,000.  Yikes!  Does he or anyone else really believe that he can pull this off  and sell this beauty for a 100%+ profit in the worst luxury market ever, and when nothing else in Alpine is selling at these numbers…and hasn’t for a long time?

The chart shows the number of homes sold in Alpine for various price categories, since 2008…and the picture isn’t a pretty one;

  • Since 2009 only one home has sold in Alpine for more than $10 million
  • There are presently 13 homes for sale above $10 million
  • There are also 13 homes for sale priced between $5-$10 million
  • Combined there are a staggering 26 homes for sale in Alpine priced above $5 million

The data doesn’t make for a good scenario if you’re trying to sell one of these ultra luxury estates, that only few can afford, and even less want to purchase.

Years back a home like this would sell to someone within the general vicinity, but not anymore.  Now you have to reach out to the global market, because it’s going to take massive marketing effort to find a buyer for any of these homes, and to sell them for anything close to their asking prices.

His good friend Russell Simmons had the same outlandish dreams when he tried selling his Saddle River home at the original asking price of $23,888,000, to only sell it for $10 million 4+ years later.  And he ended up losing $3.5 million on the deal, and whatever money he put into the home over the years.

This may be the one time where the rich and famous will feel the sting just like to rest of us.  What a blow to their egos.  But seemingly they can afford the hit.

Disappearing Act For Bergen County Luxury Home Sales

When I originally started researching the data for this post, I was only going to go back as far as 2009 home sales, but I saw that there wasn’t enough comparison date, so I decided to check out 08, then I just kept going further back until I hit 2002.

I was amazed at what I saw, and the data wasn’t painting a pretty picture of the ultra luxury home market.

Here I always thought that the luxury home market in Bergen County was faring ok after the 2008 market crash.  But the facts showed was something entirely opposite of what I and others (who never bothered to look), believe was the truth.

As you can see with this chart, we have a 10 year history of sales for homes priced above $4 million.  And as the chart bares out, the past three years have not been good for homeowners who have been trying to sell their homes in this price niche.

Luxury home sales in Bergen County have pulled a David Copperfield, and disappeared into thin air.

Having developed Tamcrest Estate (Cresskill and Alpine), I knew first hand that the market from 2004-2006 was going to show as hot years…and they were.  But I stopped paying close attention to the market reports, because I fled that market as soon as I sold all the properties in Tamcrest.  They were just getting too expensive for my business, and I didn’t want to pour everything II had into one spec home…and not be able to sell it.

I’m only diving into the Tamcrest thing because there may be a lesson here.

We purchased the remaining 54 acres of Tamcrest Counrty Club in 2000.  And by the time we closed on the deal the housing market was already showing signs of being sluggish.  I started selling the properties in March of 2001 and it was an ok start…not as bad as it could have been, but not as good as we hoped for.

But the stock market was also showing signs of having some major problems, and then 9/11 hit and people panicked. Several of our buyers backed out of their purchases, and who could blame them. The next six months were really tough.

Then something suddenly happened…buyers were coming out of the woodwork and started buying our properties.  Even the people who backed out of the deals after 9/11 came back into the market, and not only repurchased a property, buy spent even more than they originally spent..  And all this was happening while the stock market was still doing horrible.

People rushed to take their money out of socks and started buying real estate…very expensive real estate.  From office buildings, to retail centers, homes and land, whatever was for sale was being snapped up.  Inflation in the housing market was so running ramped, that I decided not to build anymore homes in Tamcrest, and just sold our remaining lots.  It was scary how fast the prices for building materials and land were increasing. Tamcrest Estates became the most expensive real estate enclave in the northeast.

That was then, and this is now.

Now, I don’t even want to fathom how many ultra luxury homes in Alpine, Cresskill, Saddle River, Englewood and elsewhere are now underwater, with co chance in sight of ever recovering their equity. There’s no indication that this market niche will improve for many years to come (decade?). And how long will it take to sell these homes, and will they ever appeal to a new generation of buyers?

Could these homes be considered tomorrow’s knockdowns?

Can you imagine owning one of these homes, and not being able to sell it because the market disappeared?

A Few Stats:

  • 66 homes priced $4million and above are for sale in Bergen County and only 4 homes in the same price range have been sold in all of 2011
  • At the present rate that’s about a 15 year inventory…if no additional homes come on the market
  • For homes priced $4M $5M sales are down 64% from the peak
  • For homes priced between $5M-$10M sales are down by a whopping 90%+
  • And for homes priced above $10 million, there haven’t been any sales since 2009, when I think it was a famous NY Yankees player purchased a nice home at $14 million+

So now with our most recent market disaster, what do you foresee happening with our luxury home market for the near and distant future?

Let us know your thoughts

The 7 Most Expensive Homes Sold In Bergen County In The Past 12 Months

It hasn’t been a great year or two or three for the luxury home market in Bergen County. The market for ultra luxury and ultra expensive homes has all but evaporated since the crash.

As of this date, there are 124 homes listed for sales in Bergen County priced above $3 million.  And for the past 12 months only 21 homes have been sold in the same price range.

Homes sold priced above $3.0M

Here’s a list of the 7 most expensive homes sold in Bergen County for the past 12 months. The numbers are surprisingly low and the discounts are huge.

101 Fox Hedge Rd, Saddle River, NJ

Sold: $10,000,000

This home went on the market in 2007 for insane price tag of $23,888,000.  Usually whatever Russell Simmons touches turns to gold, but not in this case.  Over the years the price kept getting lower and lower and lower and even lower until it finally sold for $10 million…$3.5 less than Simmons paid for the home in 2001…a 60% price cut!  It only took him 4+ years to figure out that that’s all it was ever worth.  Guess what…he’s the one who over paid.  Star power is an over-rated concept when it comes to real estate

7 Canterbury Ct, Alpine, NJ

Sold: $5,000,000

After an unsuccessful try at selling this beautiful brick home in 2005 for $7,888,000 the home was taken off of the market until January 2010, when it was re-listed at a more realistic $5,950K.  And what a steal at $5 million with a scant $28K tax bill…       in Bergen County that’s a real bargain!  The big thing here is, this home sold in 10 months!  Bravo!

20 East Denison Dr, Saddle River, NJ

Sold: $4,975,000

This is another home that was on the market forever and a day.  This newly constructed over the top outrageously overpriced home was originally listed in 2007 for $7.9 million, and at one point the even had the nerve to raise it to $8,475 million.  Then it sat for years until it was scooped up for the bargain price of $4,975 million.  Sometimes builders need to have their heads examined to come up with these prices, and the same goes for the agents.  How can be off on your estimate by 42%?

18 Marie Major Dr, Alpine, NJ

Sold: $4,690,000

This is a typical 1980’s modern styled home that can be found all over Alpine and Cresskill. Beautiful off the beaten path property and a kick ass $18.5 K tax bill must have been the draw here, and for the sales price you can’t do much better even in a bad market. Was once on the market in 2008 for the insane asking price of $7,700k, then went back on the market after a 3 month rest for $5,950K…so this home was actually sold for a 40% discount from the original listing price.

44 Oak Road, Saddle River NJ

Sold: $4,600,000

Are all the builders in Saddle River smoking from the same bad stash of weed.  This incredibly beautiful home was listed after the market had already crashed and they still thought there was someone lurking around who missed the news.  This one sold at a 42% discount.  But does that mean the buyer got it for a steal, or did they just pay the new retail?

19 Werimus Brook Rd, Saddle River, NJ

Sold: $4,400, 000

Is every new home in this town over priced by 42%, and can a builder make money here…I don’t see how.  Originally listed in 2006 when things were seemingly hot, and finally sold half a decade later when it wasn’t so hot.

224 Crest Road, Ridgewood NJ

Sold: $4,110,000

Finally we made it out of Saddle River! A beautiful and sexy home that puts the monster homes to shame.  Originally listed for $4.5 million and sold 3 months later for $4,110,000

Note: Buyers and sellers need to be careful when analyzing the sales data provided by njmls.  The original list price quoted isn’t always the “original” price…usually it’s the “updated” price.

Example: if a home is listed for $5 million and is taken off the market (even for a day), and then re-listed at $4.5 million, the new price becomes the new “original” price.  And if that home is sold for $4.5M then it will be publishes that it was sold for the full listing price…not for a discounted price.  They love playing games with the numbers

Mansions, Mansions Everywhere, But No One Wants To Buy Them

This is a multi-part series on the State Of The Alpine Housing Market

Alpine Housing Market Is On Life Support

Once thought to be the mecca of wealth, prosperity and the most amazing housing market in the Northeast, this tiny community known to few outside of the area has now been battered by the collapse of the housing market. Not even this wealthy enclave situated just outside of Manhattan could escape the devastation that the rest of the market has has felt…and this could even be worse.

Touted by Forbes magazine over the past few years as one of the wealthiest zip code for housing in the United States ( is Alpine even on the list now), Alpine now finds itself in what may be the worst housing market anywhere in the country, for loss of value [real or perceived] for single family homes.  And for a host of other reasons, including changing buyer demographics, these monster homes could now be out of vogue for the wealthiest of wealthy people. This town is not selling.

Unlike when a tree falls in a forest, and there’s no one to hear it, when the price of these homes come crashing down, everyone will hear it.

With so many homes for sale at such high prices, there must be a percentage of owners who can’t hold out for an eternity for a positive change in the market, and that’s when the prices will start their slide down.  It will make any black diamond sky slope in Vail, look mild compared to what we’re going to see one day.

Homes For Sale vs Homes Sold

Current Facts:  Note, the number of homes sold in blue are for a 21/2 year time period, while the numbers in yellow are for homes currently for sale

  • 53 homes for sale
  • Average price is $7,795.075…[skewed by the number below]
  • Highest priced home is $68,000,000
  • Lowest price is $1,058,000
  • There are 40 homes currently for sale in Alpine priced above $3,000,000

2007-2011 Homes Sold In Alpine Priced Above $3,000,000

  • 2007: 11
  • 2008: 9
  • 2009: 4
  • 2010: 4
  • 2011: 2
  • *sales figures for this graph…are for 2009 through 6/30/11

The market in Alpine took a nose-dive in 2009, where the number of homes decreased by 56% from the previous year [2008]…and it has never recovered

Interesting Facts:

  • 82 % of the homes listed for sale in Bergen County priced above $10 million are in Alpine
  • 42 % of the homes listed for sale @ $5M+ are in Alpine
  • 28 % of the homes listed for sale priced between $4-4,99M are in Alpine
  • 13 % of the homes listed for sale priced between $3-$3.99M are in Alpine

Staggering Facts:

  • There are 40 homes for sale in Alpine priced above $3 million, and only 1 home has been sold in 2011
  • 25 homes are for sale in Alpine that are priced higher than $5 million
  • The highest priced home sold in Alpine in 2011 is $5 million
How will the market fare in the future is anyone’s guess.  But when analyzing the numbers, there aren’t any positive signs that come to light:
  • There’s a shrinking buyer pool for this price range
  • Prices will surely decrease when some of the inventory is sold off
  • Less people desire homes of this magnitude, and even less want to tie up the huge down payments banks will require

The biggest problem facing Alpine homeowners who are hoping to sell their homes, is the past, present and future outlook on sales.

Quite simply, the sales volume can’t get any worse.

What will get worse however, is when people can no longer wait it out and have to start unloading their homes.  These homes will take a huge price hit.

No one is immune from the devastation that this meltdown has caused…and sellers need to start rethinking their unrealistic views of this luxury market.  Your homes value isn’t always worth gold while everything else around you has tanked.

What is a home worth when other homes around it aren’t selling, and there are less buyers who want these homes?

Are these spectacular homes now out of vogue, or have they become obsolete?

Maybe it’s time to consider keeping these homes in the family for a few generations.

Let us know what you think.