Post-Sandy Real Estate – Let the (Bidding) Wars Begin

In the last week, there have been two bidding wars on units in my Hoboken, NJ building, with offers well above asking price. Another sale has closed.

Considering that more than half of Hoboken was under water three months ago, what is going on?

Post-Sandy Real Estate: Am I in the Twilight Zone?

I spoke to a few realtors and learned the following:

  • There is very little inventory available in Hoboken.
  • My building was repaired superfast.
  • We have tons of money in our reserve fund and paid cash for building repairs while we fight to get the maximum from flood insurance.
  • Many properties currently on the market either have very low reserve funds (think $2,000) or else have not been repaired since condo associations are waiting to hear back from flood insurance.

See pics of Kathy’s repaired building

What are buyers thinking? I caught up with S., who closed this week on a three-bedroom luxury condo in southwest Hoboken. I did not ask how much she paid, but 3BR units in her new building typically list around $1 million.

I asked this pregnant mom of a five year old what motivated her to buy a unit in a building that flooded during Hurricane Sandy and has not yet been fully repaired. Her answer? She really likes the area. The location, mass transit and walkability trumped all the homes she saw in the suburbs. Also, she would have to spend much more for a suburban home in her preferred towns. Her new condo was not damaged by the hurricane, although the first floor common areas flooded – she does not think storms of the magnitude of Sandy are likely to happen frequently.

Her family rented a two-bedroom apartment one block from their new home, and they basically looked for a larger version of that apartment since they liked living in their old building. She likes the heated indoor garage, nice amenities such as a child playroom and the many families in the area.

S. and her family are planning to stay in Hoboken for another five years, but with a large unit of their own, anything is possible. Her daughter attends private school in Jersey City and is thriving.


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Kathy Zucker

Author: Kathy Zucker

Mom of 3. Accidental entrepreneur. Fencer. New York Life Shorty Award #KeepGoodGoing winner & judge. Helping parents & kids get to work since 2010 as Metro Moms Network CEO.

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  1. We just sold our 2 bed/2bath in downtown Hoboken on Bloomfield – it was on the market for one day and we had an offer above list. We had multiple offers, and eventually accepted a cash offer for full price. Our realtor said that inventory is low, especially in our neighborhood, and that many buyers are only looking in areas that don’t flood. We were also warned that the banks haven’t caught up to the market, meaning that even though sellers are willing to pay premium (above list), the appraisers aren’t necessarily following suit. Rather than risk the appraisal coming in lower than the agreed upon price, we took the cash offer. Selling this time around was so much easier – we tried to sell March 2010, but eventually took it off the market since it was nearly impossible. Good signs the market is turning around!

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