Bending the rules to move condos

From the Record:

Senior housing age limit lowered

The council recently lowered the eligible age for age-restricted communities in the borough because a senior complex wasn’t selling its units.

Now residents must be 55 — not 62 — to move into the Stone Ledge Senior Housing complex — the only such community in the borough.

Condominiums have been slow to move in Stone Ledge, despite the initial excitement when the first unit went on the market. Since then, only one-third of the 36 luxury units have sold. The developer has even offered a 20 percent discount for Emerson residents, said developer Paul Van Dyke of Prudential Galaxy Real Estate.

Two units have sold since the restriction was lowered this month, Van Dyke said. The law creating a special zone for age-restricted housing was crafted specifically for the complex.

Watkins said the poor housing market has made it difficult to sell units. Sales are conditioned on the buyers being able to sell their homes, and Watkins said several potential buyers backed out after their homes didn’t sell.

Borough officials who voted for the rule change do not think it will significantly affect Emerson seniors who choose to buy in the complex.

“The prices on the units themselves are driven by market forces; they’re not controlled by the developer,” said Councilman Christopher Heyer. “The real estate market has taken a hit, and there aren’t as many buyers as there were before.”

Similar developments have also run into difficulties. K. Hovnanian Homes recently sold the Concierge Club, a for-sale senior condominium building in Teaneck, to a company that is converting the units to rentals. The company said at the time that the changing real estate market left them unable to absorb the slow selling pace.

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