Tag Archives: Homes Sold

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


  • 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

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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 🙂


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.

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?


  • 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

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!

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.

Tenafly home sales report; July 2012

Here’s a recap of Tenafly home sales as of July 20, 2012

  • 12 homes have gone under contract in July
  • 75% of the 12 homes under contract were priced below $1 million…which continues to show that this price point remains hot for Tenafly.  So why aren’t sellers raising their prices to reflect such strong demand
  • 7 home sales were withdrawn (homes were re-listed for sale)
  • Of the 7 homes re-listed for sale, 4 were priced above $1 million…the most expensive home re-listed was priced at $2,550,000.  7 homes is an unusually high number of homes for contracts to fail
  • The homes that were re-listed were homes that went under contract prior to July…probably some in May and June
Tenafly homes that went to contract in July
Tenafly homes that were re-listed in July

The number of homes sold thus far in July is average.  Average is a sign of stability, and when compared to other town in the area, average becomes a strong number.

For our region, Tenafly still has the highest demand for home buyers.  There’s strength here compared to other towns…and it has always been that way…and will continue to be that way.

So why isn’t anyone other than me promoting this..at all!

Now it’s time for homeowners to recoup some of their lost equity.

The more attractive, and modernized your home is, the more valuable it will be.

Realtors, it’s time to compete and make your listings stand out from the crowd!

Go for it!

An in depth look at Tenafly home sales data

Here’s an incredibly in depth look into the sales data for homes sold in Tenafly since 2001.

In order to make some sense of the housing market you need to analyze not just the present, but more importantly the past sales trends.

Tenafly home sales data 2001-2011

This chart provides 11 years of sales data…from the highs to the lows and everything in between.

What we see here is quite different than what you think to be true:

  • the market in tenafly didn’t crash in 2008 as everyone thinks it did….
  • the market below $500k crashed in 2004…but it has really been within a normal range since then
  • from $500-999k I look at as having never crashed, but we had 3 insane, not normal years between 2003-2005…and since 2006 this price point has been incredibly stable
  • and for all the price points over $1 million that market rose because prices rose, and because people started buying more expensive homes, simply because of increasing values.  But that market was up and down just aw anyone should have expected it to perform

My next blog post will break down this chart in more detail, so you can see all the nuances of each price point.

From my vantage point the facts point to a stabilized market in Tenafly since the “crash” of 2008:

  • incredibly strong sales at the lower price ranges
  • and a stable…and a bit bumpy ride for homes priced above $1 million

A 2-5 home swing in any direction in any of these price ranges is typical in any market condition.

If you’re looking to buy a home or to sell one, this is the vital information that you need to be aware of.  This is how you need to analyze the market, so that you make your decisions based on facts, not fiction. The better you understand the market, the more sound and safer your decisions and risks will become.

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns

Did North Jersey home values really decrease?

A recent headline that appeared in northjersey.com  stated…NY metro area home prices continue to slide Something didn’t jive with the article compared to the research that I do on a continual basis.  So I started digging a little deeper.

It’s not so much that prices may have come down, but the research indicates that more people are purchasing lower priced homes than in the past…and this is what’s causing the casual eye to think that prices have dropped.

Purchasing lower priced homes has nothing to do with lower prices, as one would take from reading this article.

The median price which most reports use as the value of a home, is simply the middle price of all the homes that have sold in a particular time period.

It has nothing to do with an increase or decrease of pieces.

The fact is, the flight to lower priced homes in Bergen County , New Jersey, is something that has occurred since 2006.

People aren’t buying nearly as many higher priced homes in our area, as they used to.  And that’s going to be the way it is for a very long time…eventually homes in the higher price points will come down in value.  But until they do, all that we can say is that they are not selling.

We can’t specify for a fact , what these homes are now worth.

Furthermore,  to lump all housing types into one bundle and not break them down to indicate what they are also misinforms. Single family home sales:

  • This chart simply shows that more sold for under $1 million in 2012 than in 2011…a 207 home increase.
  • The remaining price ranges remained basically the same.

This simply skewed the median price downward…not the price of the homes Multi-family home sales:

  • The same thing has basically happened to the already anemic multi-family market…more people are purchasing lower priced units.

None of this is to say that prices haven’t dropped some, but the data being used doesn’t accurately portray the market.And again…to lump the region all together is inaccurate as well. Real estate is local, and within each town there are several micro markets that act differently from each other. I lay fault with all this market misinformation on the Realtors and their trade associations.

They have the informational…from homes for sale, sales prices, and a whole host of other facts and stats.  But they refuse to make it all available.  How can you trust someones information if they won’t make it transparent and verifiable?  You can’t.

This is my little attempt to make some sense out of something that’s made very confusing.

Let me know what you think.  And if you have some facts that will add to the story then please tell us.

Tenafly home sales facts

Here’s a few tasty morsels of Tenafly housing stats, for you to bite into over the weekend.

Home sales in Tenafly are on par with what they were at this time (ytd) in 2011…so the steadiness is a welcome relief.

The only thing I’m not liking in 2012, as compared to 2011 are the number of houses sold in Tenafly priced above $1 million.  Year to date it’s fine, but the old “what if” sales don’t pick up big time as they unexpectedly did last year.  Yes, I’m the eternal pessimist when it comes to housing predictions…and I’m still saying that Tenafly is a sellers market compared to other towns…but the upper end of the market still scares me, especially with the inventory levels being where they are.  BUT I still have more confidence in the value of Tenafly’s  prices than I do for all other towns in Bergen County.

There may be a lot of houses for sale in Tenafly, but there are have been more houses sold in Tenafly compared to other towns,,,and the dollar value is higher as well.

Check out the charts and let me know what you think.

13 homes under contract in Tenafly – April 2012

In a follow up to one of my previous posts, where I presented some stats showing that home sale in Tenafly were down 75% 63% in April, I’m now posting the stats for the number of homes that went under contract in Tenafly for April 2012.

The way that Realtors present their numbers has always been confusing as well as misleading.  And they do that on purpose, so the numbers suit them to their benefit.  When the market is good the use the “homes sold” numbers and when it’s not, they immediately go to the “under contract” numbers, and when it’s soso they like to use national numbers (which have absolutely nothing to do with your local stats).

Since the numbers I posted for April were so out of whack with previous figures (-75%), i decided to dive into the homes that went under contract numbers, in order to make some sense of of the sudden drop.

Rest assured…Tenafly is still on fire, and is still the hottest market in the area and maybe in the region.

The under contract numbers will ultimately move into the “sold” column as these homes officially change ownership.

One of the interesting things to come from this exercise was the fact that __% of the homes that went under contract, these homes didn’t have any price reductions.  I don’t know what the actual sales prices were…but the fact that the listing prices weren’t reduced from their latest listing prices is a MAJOR big deal.

I’ve been saying for the last year+ that Realtors were wrongly reducing prices without reason.  And I’ll say it again…Tenafly is a hot market.  Demand is high.  And there is no reason for owners to reduce their prices.

It’s time for owners to start recouping some of their losses.

If I were selling my home, I’d raise the price 5-10% depending on the price point of the home.  The market in Tenafly can handle it, because the demand is strong, and people who want Tenafly won’t go to another town. They could easily do that right now…but they’re not.

For those who want to live in Tenafly, you have to pay the price…and the high taxes.