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HOBOKEN, NJ-Well known for brokering residential real estate in New York City, Halstead Property has opened a branch here. The office will market properties in the cities of Hudson, Essex and Bergen counties.

The new office will be led by Eugene Cordano, who was recently promoted to director of sales for Metro New Jersey. “For years we were referring business out to New Jersey,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “We had done some development work in the state and saw that there was growth there that we could potentially capitalize on.”

When space became available at 79 Hudson St. here, the firm decided to take the plunge into the area, even though Cordano admits market conditions are less than ideal. “So while it wasn’t the best time for the marketplace,” he says, “it was a great time for us to open because it gives us the opportunity to recruit those topnotch brokers who, in a busy market, would not be interested in jumping ship to a new shop.”

Cordano says that the firm currently has no active assignments. “We probably have seven new development projects that are in the hopper and all of them are on hold because of current market conditions,” he says. “Unfortunately, I cannot tell you I have 300 units for sale at X location. That is certainly in the offing, but it will depend on market conditions.”

With a large number of Hoboken residents commuting to Manhattan, Halstead also hopes to capitalize on its name recognition in the Big Apple, “We had been looking in New Jersey for an office from roughly 2006,” Cordano says. “It took time to find a location that was this ideal, one block from the PATH train. There is tremendous foot traffic, and the connection with PATH gave us brand recognition. Nearly 80% of the people who live in Hoboken commute to the city every day, so they know us as Halstead in the city. Coming out here was sort of a natural extension of our business. We have brand recognition in New York City, but with local market expertise.”

Cordano says the average price of a condo in Hoboken currently stands at $555,000, although he points out that number is skewed to the high side due to the recent opening of the W Hotel and its condo units. Selling high-priced residential is a tough play in today’s economy, but Cordano maintains it can be done. “Right now, it’s a value play,” he says. “It is slow, but in April things have picked up markedly in Hoboken and Jersey City and also in the surrounding suburban towns we are trading in Essex County, such as South Orange and Montclair. Right now, to make the sale, you have to lay out for buyers the value equation. Prices have come down so far and so fast that a good portion of these properties are really compelling values right now.” However, Cordano says that some sub-sectors of the residential market–two-bedroom units, for instance–have seen a slight uptick in prices.

Moreover, prices in New Jersey are lower than New York City, another selling point. “More buyers who were perhaps in Brooklyn, or the boroughs, or in Manhattan, are beginning to look at the Gold Coast of New Jersey–Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken, even Edgewater and Cliffside Park,” Cordano says. “These areas look over the Hudson and are close to Manhattan by bridge, ferry, tunnel or PATH. You get more for your money here in New Jersey and you get a view of Manhattan you can’t get inside Manhattan at any price. All those factors are beginning to gel together and make for a lot of action happening in these towns right now.”

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