As real estate prices in Manhattan continue to rise to an intimidating degree, prospective condo buyers are increasingly looking to New Jersey to meet their needs. Several communities in the Garden State are stepping up in turn to attract these would-be purchasers, developing both residential real estate and vibrant commercial and cultural scenes.
One such town is Hackensack in Bergen County, whose downtown is undergoing a major revitalization, profiled in The New York Times this past January.The article briefly discussed the city's current condo market:
“The 4.3-square-mile city has 4,200 condo and co-op units and 6,000 rental units, in properties from low-slung garden apartments to boxy red-brick mid-rises and high-rises offering unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline. Prospect Avenue is lined with ’70s- and ’80s-era luxury towers bearing such names as Ritz Plaza, The Camelot and Bristol House. These condominiums, near the sprawling Hackensack University Medical Center and doctors’ offices, are popular with empty-nesters downsizing from elsewhere in Bergen County.”
But empty-nesters aren't the only buyers. “I see a variety of people,” says Lawrence Greenberg, a broker associate with Vikki Healey Properties in Maywood, New Jersey. “Just guessing, I'd say that those empty-nesters make up about 20 percent, but another 25 percent consist of those who rented in the area after college, only to like the town and purchase near their former rentals.”
While condos remain popular, Greenberg says that Hackensack residential real estate is still primarily rental-dominated, with many eventual buyers having tested the waters via leasing first. “When rentals succeed, as they have on Prospect Avenue where I've been selling for 35 years, it turns renters into buyers,” he explains. “Hackensack has much more to offer that people hadn't realized, but it needs to really develop a vibrant downtown to go from a 'B+' to an 'A.'”