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Tri-State briefs.

New Jersey: Garden State housing prices see slide

Home prices across the country are the lowest they've been in five years. And New Jersey is no different.

While prices performed slightly better in the Garden State than they did nationally, they were down 24.2 percent for single-family homes in northern and central New Jersey in March from their peak in 2006 and down 3.4 percent compared to a year ago, according to the Star-Ledger, which cited data from the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Index that was released last month.

Experts attribute the state's still-declining prices to a number of factors, including the fact that sellers are having trouble unloading their homes, which is preventing them from buying new ones.

"The traffic we see from buyers is pretty solid -- they're serious about buying a home [and] they're less worried about losing their job," David Fisher, vice president of governmental affairs for K. Hovnanian Homes' northeast division, told the Star-Ledger.

"They're much more concerned about selling their existing home and just getting enough so that they feel comfortable with the purchase."

Connecticut: Tax proposal will 'kill' housing market

A proposed state tax could worsen the already down market in Connecticut, real estate brokers and builders are warning.

The Eastern Connecticut Association of Realtors is collaborating with the Builders Association of Eastern Connecticut in opposing a state Senate bill which would impose a 1 percent conveyance tax on homebuyers. The state currently levies that tax solely on sellers.

"It will kill the housing market," John Bolduc, CEO of the Norwich-based realtors association, told the Norwich Bulletin, a daily newspaper. "The first-time homebuyers ... will suffer the most."

For example, with a $250,000 home purchase, the homebuyer would be slapped with a $2,500 tax bill under the proposed legislation.

The $95 million that the state is expected to raise through the tax would be allocated to cities and towns instead of state government. Under the current proposal, the tax would be optional -- cities and towns would not be required to implement it.

Westchester County: Long-delayed Ratner project opening soon

One of the condo buildings at Forest City Ratner's long-delayed, mixed-use mega-project in Yonkers will soon be opening.

The $660 million project -- which sits on 81 acres along the New York State Thruway and has been dubbed Ridge Hill Village -- will include 1,000 rental and condo units. It will also include 1.2 million square feet of retail, 160,000 square feet of offices and possibly a hotel.

According to published reports, once complete, the project -- which faced community opposition and legal hurdles -- is expected to generate almost $24 million in annual tax revenue for the financially troubled city of Yonkers. It is also expected to generate $8.6 million in county taxes and $29.3 million in state taxes.

As of late May, the Horizon Group, the builder of the Monarch condo, which is set to open at Ridge Hill Village, had received deposits for 25 of its 162 units, according to the New York Times. The first occupants are expected to move into the condo -- where prices range from $322,000 to $1 million -- this summer.

Eldad Blaustein, a principal of Horizon, told the Times that construction of a second tower will begin once 70 percent of the units in the first tower are sold.

Compiled by Omari Allen
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Publication:The Real Deal
Geographic Code:1U2NJ
Date:Jul 1, 2011
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