Pure economics, says Mark Quartello of Palisadium Real Estate on Boulevard East in West New York.
Even though there is a lot of apartment rental stock available, many of those seeking a place to live are very specific in what their needs are, and have the income to support them.
"Historically in North Hudson, the towns of Weehawken, West New York, Union City, and North Bergen, have been more stable than other areas in terms of high rents," Quartello said. "But nothing is like it is today."
Rents for Hudson County towns have grown every year since 2009, and may top a $3,000 average as early as next year, said Reis Inc., a New York-based research firm, in a report in March.
That should not be a surprise, Quartello said, because Hudson and adjacent Bergen County offer great proximity to New York, multiple mass transit options, and relatively low rents compared to Manhattan.
But many of those working in New York City want luxury accommodations, and even though many of those projects are in the pipeline, there are not enough.
"Even with the additional development, you just can’t meet the demand," Quartello said.
A large number of those renters are transplanted Manhattanites, coming to New Jersey for a bit more bang for their buck.
"Consumers want to go to Manhattan without paying $5,000 a month for a studio," Quartello said.
In New Jersey, and Hudson County specifically, they don't have to.
And while rents are going up in North Hudson, rental prices are not the same everywhere. It gets back to the old real estate adage of "Location, location, location."
“Even with the additional development, you just can’t meet the demand.” – Mark Quartello
"In Weehawken, a small one bedroom goes for from $1,200 to $1,500 a month to $3,000 at the waterfront, for a state-of-the-art one," Quartello said. A two-bedroom in the same area could go for as little as $2,200 a month without all the bells and whistles.
Go a little more inland, say to Union City, which does not touch the waterfront, and prices get more reasonable. In that town, rents are about 20 to 25 percent less than in Weehawken.
In Union City, rents can start as low as $800, but then elevate to $1,200 a month for a one bedroom and $1,500 to $2,000 a month for a two bedroom.
Union City rents are lower because of another factor: there is less parking.
"There's more parking in Weehawken than Union City, so you'll pay less there because you have to put resources toward parking." Quartello said that each town has its own little “quirks” when it comes to rent prices. Union City, for example, is more densely populated than Weehawken.
Bayonne real estate agent Ben Costanza agrees with Quartello. Though there is a lot of housing stock available, the prices will continue to rise, especially when it comes to luxury housing.
"The demand is there," he said.
But there may be a leveling off in prices sometime soon, according to Quartello.
Being situated right across from Manhattan, Hoboken and Jersey City have seen their rental prices skyrocket over the years because of easy access from the Holland Tunnel, PATH stations, and ferries.
Many who have rented in Hoboken and Jersey City are moving farther south, into Bayonne, where rents are moving higher.
Bayonne on the rise
“They’re going up in Bayonne,” said Chris Piechocki of Weichert, Realtors. “There’s a big demand and we’re breaking new records.”
He said that he’s seen the rental market go up between 10 and 20 percent since the recession ended.
Piechocki said that the $1,000 to $1,200 a month rent is a busy segment right now. Anything that opens up in that range goes quickly.
The luxury rental market in Bayonne is one of the fastest growing ones, because as in north Hudson, rents may be high, but they’re still not at New York levels.
“Brooklyn is overpriced and their residents are being driven here,” Piechocki said. “They get so much more for their money here. Brooklyn and Jersey City are creating a new market in Bayonne.”
Many come to the city from out of town to check out the Silklofts or Camelot complexes which opened last year. But even if renters don’t see those apartments as their answers, they continue their due diligence in Bayonne.
“If they can’t afford those, they look around,” Piechocki said.
Piechocki said he believes rents will continue to rise in Hudson County for the foreseeable future.
“As outlying areas are getting even more populated, they’re driving people here,” he said.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.To comment on this story online visit www.hudsonreporter.com.