From 2002 to 2007 and beyond, condo construction in New Jersey reached heights never seen before. Much of it was in the “Gold Coast,” in towns like Hoboken and Jersey City and up into Bergen County. Indeed, a New York Times article by Antoinette Martin from July 31, 2009, stated that condos make up about 80 percent of Hudson County housing stock, and parts of the state also saw accelerated development.
But since the mortgage crisis and the recession, things have been quite different. The economic situation has seemed to hit luxury condos the most, as in June, “there wasn’t a single signed contract for a condo in that price range [$1 million and above] in Hudson County although 86 were listed,” according to the same New York Times article.
Similar reports of suspended sales and development have come from other areas in New Jersey. Take Asbury Park, for example. Daniel DiBenedetto, local attorney and head of the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce, reports that one beachfront condo development, the Esperanza, stopped construction after only two stories were completed, although the developer, Metro Homes, plans to resume construction when the economy improves. Ironically, the Esperanza is on the site of an earlier unfinished building, whose skeleton was demolished in 2006.
The developers of another unfinished condo development in Asbury Park, he said, persuaded the city to bend the rules and allow them to use a deck of the Esperanza as a parking lot until the market turns around. “People usually buy these beachfront condos as second homes,” DiBenedetto said, “and it’s hard to ask people in these times to shell out large amounts of money for a second home.”
In yet another part of the state, Clara Ryan, association president of the 242-unit Falcon Ridge Condo in Hamburg, Sussex County, recently talked to the New Jersey Cooperator about her development’s experience with problems brought on the recession.