While construction of luxury apartments, condos and townhomes continues to sprout on the waterfronts of Hoboken, Jersey City and West New York, interior areas are seeing single-family home sales. North Bergen, Union City and West New York continue to be hotspots for many first-time homebuyers, and there is a backlog of people looking for that perfect home.
Hudson County is still a sellers' market, where there is little inventory, but because of interest in the area and low interest and mortgage rates there is a great deal of demand.
"The low interest rates are getting a lot of people into the market," said Mike Berney of Liberty Realty of Hoboken. "People hear the buzz and want to get into the market."
"Homes are selling on their blueprints alone," said Antonio Dabu, the owner and broker for Prudential Realty in Jersey City. "I have been selling real estate for 16 years now, and this is as strong of a market as I have ever seen." Dabu went on to say that business in Downtown Jersey City is outstanding. He also said that dot-commers and professionals are moving into condos on the waterfront, that is, if they can find one empty.
According to Dabu, condos at Port Liberty on the Jersey City waterfront start at $500,000, but right now they are completely full.
A hallmark of the boom has been the fact that young professionals are buying up areas that were overlooked before. "Right now there is a lot of speculation in the Jersey Heights," said Claire DiMeola of Harbor View Properties in Hoboken "But everything is going so quickly." DiMeola added that once the Light Rail train line was announced, all of the properties along the route were bought up almost immediately, creating a windfall for areas like western Hoboken.
"Anytime there is new construction in the area," adds DiMeola. "It is selling almost immediately." We also said that Harbor View Properties just recently moved into Hoboken even though it seem like the is a real estate broker on almost every corner but the she could not help moving into Hoboken because the market there "just that good."
According to Diane Barsa of Sky-Line Realty in Weehawken, the market in Weehawken is definitely a landlord's and seller's market. "There are people that want to live in Weehawken but can't wait for the perfect place to open up," said Barsa. "There is just not enough inventory." Barsa described the Weehawken market as being "eclectic," where single-family homes range from $160,00 to $500,000.
In Hoboken, there is a proliferation of high-end luxury condos that are being built with the professional in mind. One example is the CastIron in Hoboken, located on Clinton Street on the west side of town. CastIron spokesperson Jenniann Barile described the CastIron as the "quintessential loft" where the developer is committed to retaining the essential existing architectural elements like the original bricks, wood beams and wood floors, while introducing cutting-edge technology. But that kind of luxury is not inexpensive. According to Barile, the average price for the CastIron is $800,000, which is around $400 per square foot.
But many in Hoboken hope that the area is able to keep its community and family feel.
"There is no doubt that we are seeing an unpredicted boom," said Michael Korman, the City of Hoboken's public information officer. "I just hope that the developers realize that there are still a lot of families who call Hoboken their home, and that those families are an important part of our community." There are still some places in the county that appeal to families looking to buy their first home. "Northern Hudson continues to be a haven for first-time home buyers," said one realtor who deals with properties in Northern Hudson County. He said that the market has been going up in an incredible clip for the last five to eight years. A study recently put out by the National Association of Relaters said the there was a 14 percent appreciation rate last year for the county and many brokers point to that as a shining example of the area's meteoric real estate rise. The appreciation rate is the increase in the value of a property due to changes in market conditions or other causes. This means that a house that was priced at $100,000in January 2000 could have been worth $114,000 in January of 2001. While many of the brokers contacted believe that the market will remain strong, a majority of them feel that there is little chance that the area can maintain a 14 percent appreciation rate indefinitely.
One broker even said that that if he to make a guess, the appreciation rate would drop to a more realistic, but still very healthy, 8 percent this year. So while the financial markets may be teetering, the real estate market of Hudson County is still, and by all indications will, continue to thrive into the future.