From the NY Times:
EVEN here — in a city that has been one of New Jersey’s most fertile breeding grounds for condominiums — construction has been virtually at a standstill since construction financing dried up several years ago.
“Nobody seems willing to take a chance on putting up anything but rentals anymore,” an exasperated Hudson County developer said last month.
But Martin Brady, the vice president for sales at the Marketing Directors, a company that markets both condominium and rental buildings in Manhattan and New Jersey, said the appetite for condos was growing stronger in Hudson County because developers had adjusted to more “value-conscious” buyers.
“The right product — efficiently sized, well priced, with amenities and finishes that are beautiful but not over-the-top — is well received,” Mr. Brady said.
Toll Brothers’ new 1450 Washington building here — a 156-unit building named for its street address — may be a case in point. Toll, which has a history of successes in Hoboken, started construction in August 2010, when sales pace for condos was generally at its weakest.
“We’ve already sold a third of the units,” said Benjamin D. Jogodnik, a senior vice president of the Toll Brothers City Living division, recently, “and we don’t have a formal sales office open yet.” (A sales office is set to open on Nov. 10 at the nearly complete building, called 1450 Washington, which is its address.)
There are signed contracts for 45 units, and deposits in advance of signings on another 8.The condo, expected to open for occupancy in March, is part of Toll Brothers’ waterfront complex in northeastern Hoboken. It stands across the street from the Hudson Tea building, a onetime factory that was a rental until Toll converted it to condos in 2006, and just east of Harborside Lofts, another factory building converted to condos, in 2007.
Hudson Tea and Harborside Lofts were priced near the top of the scale at the time they were created. At Harborside Lofts, which is now entirely sold, studios started at $450,000 and penthouses ranged up to $2.5 million.
“Since then the economy has shifted — obviously,” Mr. Jogodnik said. “We studied the market very carefully before designing a product that would appeal to the group in the widest section of the pyramid of today’s buyers.”
In neighboring Jersey City, said Mr. Brady of Marketing Directors, 47 contracts have been signed since July at a new building at Liberty Harbor, the community being developed by Peter Mocco in slow phases on a 28-acre site adjacent to the historic Paulus Hook and Van Voorst neighborhoods.
The Liberty Harbor units are “efficiently designed, 650 to 700 square feet, with hardwood floors, granite counters, stainless steel appliances, priced from the high $200,000s to the low-to-mid $300,000s,” Mr. Brady said.
When condo construction virtually ceased in Hoboken, Mr. Brady said, finished condos slowly continued to sell — even at the priciest level. The 38 condos on upper floors of the W Hoboken Hotel originally sold out quickly in 2008 when asking prices were set at $1.7 million. A number of those sales then fell apart, and about a dozen units were put back on the market.
As for 1450 Washington, prices for studios start in the low $300,000s; one-bedrooms in the high $300,000s; two-bedrooms in the low $600,00s; three-bedrooms with a minimum of 1,500 square feet in the mid-$900,00s. On higher floors in the two-tiered building, prices are somewhat higher.