From the Wall Street Journal:
David Bartz doesn’t regret the one that got away.
About a year ago, Bartz wanted to buy a $1.4-million unit at 77 Hudson, a 48-story condo project now being finished in Jersey City, N.J., across the river from New York City. But another buyer, he says, snapped it up just days before he was set to sign a contract and plunk down his 10% deposit.
The project is one of many local high-end condo developments – gleaming with granite, concierges and rooftop decks – launched during the housing boom, when easy financing fueled what seemed to be insatiable consumer demand. Bidding wars weren’t uncommon between buyers.
While he was disappointed someone beat him to the dotted line, that person probably did him a favor. The sizzling real-estate market cooled after last fall’s collapse of Lehman Brothers. With New York transformed into a buyers’ market, buyers are trying to get out of those pricey contracts they inked during the bubble, fearful of closing on a unit already worth less than what they paid. Even committed buyers are having trouble lining up financing, and condos across New York and New Jersey are sitting empty.
Hovnanian, the nation’s sixth-largest builder by annual closings, won’t say how many of its units are sold or under contract.
Bartz, who decided to stay in the townhouse he’s now owned for five years, says his desired condo’s price would be “far away” from $1.4 million today.
“I was taken in by the emotion of the project and the views,” he says. “It would have been a tough financial hit.”