From the Record:
Builder Charles Panahi is constructing only five luxury homes right now. Last year at this time, he was building 11.
“I’m slowing down because I’m watching the market,” said Panahi, who owns Diamond Engineers and Developers Inc. in Closter.
Panahi — like many builders and Realtors – sees the signs of a weakening market in North Jersey and beyond.
Sales for new homes nationally dropped by 22 percent in July compared with the same month in 2005, the Commerce Department said Thursday. The pace of new home sales fell a staggering 43 percent in the Northeast.
Ron Durante, who owns Rocket Building Supply in Waldwick, said higher construction materials costs have cut into builders’ margins.
“Builders are hoping the market demand comes back up rather than cutting prices,” Durante said.
“I’ve heard a few people having such high cost bases that they can’t afford to cut much without a loss.”
Jeff Zilahy, an agent with Liberty Realty in Hoboken, says the numerous condo buildings sprouting up along the Gold Coast are adding to the supply of available dwellings and making it difficult to find enough buyers.
This fall, he’ll be starting a new job as a public school math teacher but will continue to sell homes part-time.
He left teaching in 2004, near the peak of the housing boom, to become a Realtor.
“I got into real estate to make money,” Zilahy said.
“Now, ironically, I’m going back to teaching.”