In New Jersey, you go big or go home.
High-end house hunters looking for ample amounts of green space and close proximity to Manhattan are still heading to the Garden State, even if sales fell 4 percent in the North Jersey suburbs during the first quarter of 2019, according to a Rand Realty market report.
The residential brokerage attributed the decline in deluxe home trades to low inventory and the ongoing effect of the state and local tax deduction cap, which suppressed sales and price appreciation in the higher-priced Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic and Sussex counties.
“The luxury real estate market has undeniably slowed down over the past couple of years,” added Michelle Pais of Signature Realty NJ, who has the listing for an affluent Alpine abode seeking nearly $18 million after almost a decade on the market. The Westfield-based Pais is also marketing an Englewood mansion dubbed Gloria Crest — silent film star Gloria Swanson is rumored to have once owned the property — listed at about $10 million, a steep drop from the $39 million it first sought in 2013.
Still, Pais and other local brokers see green shoots on the horizon, given that a Manhattan townhome can easily cost between $25 million and $30 million and that a buyer can put down that much to purchase the priciest home currently on the market in North Jersey.
“Some buyers are recognizing that there are some exceptionally good values and are buying into the luxury segment here,” said the Basking Ridge-based Michael Lattmann of Kienlen Lattmann Sotheby’s International Realty, which is marketing the $29 million Beechwood estate in Morristown.
And despite discounts and price cuts, there are signs that the North Jersey luxury market’s low tide is turning, with Rand Realty noting that the SALT deduction cap is now being priced into the market.
“[In some areas] the first quarter of 2019 picked up dramatically,” said Vicki Gaily, founder of Special Properties, a division of Saddle River-based Brook Hollow Group. Gaily, whose firm is affiliated with Christie’s International Real Estate, said the Saddle River office had more transactions and dollar volume during the first quarter of this year than in all of 2018, something she attributed to low interest rates and property taxes that remain low when compared to other areas in the region.
The Real Deal analyzed MLS data and polled several brokerages to get a sampling of the priciest listings in North Jersey. Some big listings are not included. A 50,000-square-foot, 50-room Mahwah mansion listed with Christie’s — which made headlines in 2017 for its $48 million ask — was not considered, since its current price is now only available upon request. Others, such as a $12.85 million Monmouth County manse known as Sui Generis on the Manasquan River, were just outside our coverage zone of Northern New Jersey.
Alpine, one of the wealthiest municipalities in the state, is home to half of the homes on TRD’s top 10 list. Most are concentrated in Bergen, Morris and Somerset counties. Many of the homes listed here are decidedly old school with Colonial-style architecture, grand banquet rooms and reception halls belonging to various business elites — but you won’t find a property being sold by a “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star in the mix.
1. 200 Stabled Way, Mahwah
Price: $29.5 million
Listed for $35 million in August 2017, this English country estate, which appears pulled straight from a romantic novel, took a $5.5 million price cut last year. Now listed with Gaily’s Special Properties, the roughly 9,500-square-foot home, known as River Oak Farm, is set on 46 acres along the Ramapo River in Mahwah. The two-story main house, which has 10 bedrooms and 10 full bathrooms, also has an indoor pool, wine cellar and English pub. But it’s the outdoor amenities — a 20-stall equestrian barn with an indoor riding arena, another pool, a basketball court and a soccer and/or football field — that help set it apart. Amy Towers, a banker-turned-philanthropist who was once married to hedge fund executive Larry Robbins, currently owns the home.
2. 84 Glen Alpin Road, Morristown
Price: $29 million
Set on nearly 15 acres in the Morris County hamlet of New Vernon, this estate, known as Beechwood, has more than 30,000 square feet of finished living space between its main residence, pool house and carriage house. Built in 2005, the seven-bedroom mansion has Jerusalem limestone floors, Roman brick ceilings, cashmere wall hangings and 13 fireplaces imported from Italy and Portugal. Its master suite alone has a courtyard with gardens and an outdoor spa, a private stairway to a separate exercise room and a secret passageway to a library. The home, owned by former UBS PaineWebber Chair Joseph Grano Jr. and originally listed with Douglas Elliman for $45 million in 2016, has since had its price reduced by $16 million. It was relisted in February with Jon Buryk of Kienlen Lattmann Sotheby’s.
3. 48 Rio Vista Drive, Alpine
Price: $25 million
This 25,700-square-foot Alpine manse features lots of opulent touches, from the grand foyer with a chandelier and imperial stairway to a wood-paneled study. While the seven-bedroom home is a new build, the listing for Chateau de la Roche emphasizes its classic materials like slate, limestone and steel. All of the home’s main reception rooms are banquet-sized, while outside its landscaped grounds and alfresco amenities — such as a swimming pool and spa, fire pit and summer kitchen loggia — are valued at $1.5 million. Situated on a 2-acre lot, the home has been on the market since April 2017 without any price cuts. Dennis and Dolores McCormack of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s has the listing.
4. 10 Frick Drive, Alpine
Price: $17.99 million
Just nine miles from Manhattan, this 22,000-square-foot new build has a historic provenance. Sited on the former Frick Estate — the residence of Henry Clay Frick II, grandson of American industrialist Henry Clay Frick — the home will display a stately stucco and limestone exterior complete with columns and turrets. While it’s still under construction, current plans call for eight bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, a gourmet kitchen and a basement that can be finished to hold a plunge pool, massage room and more. A would-be buyer will have the opportunity to work with Englewood Cliffs-based developer Richard Kurtz’s Kamson Corporation to customize the end result. Signature Realty NJ’s Pais has this listing.
5. 23 Stone Tower Drive, Alpine
Price: $17.9 million
While many of North Jersey’s most expensive homes take their cues from European estates, this Alpine home was modeled after mansions in Beverly Hills. Currently on track for completion in 2021, the 23,000-square-foot limestone and slate new build will have eight bedrooms (including a five-room master suite), 15 bathrooms, a formal dining room and a great room. Designed to entertain a crowd, the haute house will also include six reception halls, an indoor pool, a billiard room and regal glass doors that open out onto manicured grounds. Dennis and Dolores McCormack of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s have the listing for the property, which public records show was acquired by Alpine Elite Development for $4.18 million in 2016.
6. 12 the Esplanade, Alpine
Price: $15.1 million
Subtlety is not part of this Alpine home’s DNA, but for some that could also be part of its charm. Hidden behind imposing gates, craftsmanship is on display throughout this two-story French estate situated on nearly 2 acres. The 11,117-square-foot home, owned by MyRegistry.com founder Oded Berkowitz and his wife, Nancy, has multiple fireplaces, handcrafted moldings and trim, a double-height formal living room with a hand-painted mural of the French countryside and a theater with a trompe l’oeil painting on its vaulted ceiling. The home, which has not had any price cuts since hitting the market in 2016, has seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, an oversized chef’s kitchen, a library and wine bar, a bocce court and a swimming pool. Sharon Kurtz of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s has the listing.
7. 420 Spook Hollow Road, Bedminster Township
Price: $14.9 million
Like many of New Jersey’s priciest pads, this modern farm in Bedminster Township offers a sizable amount of acreage for a potential buyer to expand outside of Manhattan. Set on 50 acres and designed by architect Alan Wanzenberg and built by Taconic Builders, the eight-bedroom home has a gourmet kitchen, a two-story great room and a stately dining room. The lower level functions as an entertainment zone due to its movie theater, bar, gym, playroom and recreation space. Igor Beyder of Beyder & Company has the listing for the property, which hit the market in March. Elliman’s Michael Lorber and Alexander Boriskin are serving as marketing consultants for the home, which is located a short drive from the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.
8. 38 Rio Vista Drive, Alpine
Price: $14.9 million
A two-minute walk from its high-end residential rival at No. 3 on this list and located on one of Alpine’s poshest streets, this two-story Colonial manor house, owned by carpet and rug magnates Steven and Candice Stark, is geared toward entertaining. Behind the Boris Baranovich-designed home’s stucco and slate exterior is a 20,000-square-foot mansion outfitted with a long list of amenities, from a 30-person dining room to an indoor basketball court. The pièce de résistance is a 50-foot indoor swimming pool with a cathedral ceiling. Dennis and Dolores McCormack of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s share the listing, which has not had any price cuts since coming to market in April 2018.
9. 101 Fox Hedge Road, Saddle River
Price: $13.9 million
Another Colonial-style manor house, this 19,000-square-foot home located less than 20 miles from Midtown Manhattan is surrounded by nearly 4 acres of manicured grounds. The property has an artistic flair, from its formal entryway with a double staircase to a grand salon. Amenities include indoor and outdoor pools, a full-service cabana, a koi pond and multiple patios and verandas. Special Properties’ Gaily has the listing for the home, which hit the market at $18.9 million last summer before going through two price reductions. The home was once owned by hip hop mogul Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee, who sold the estate for $10 million in 2011 after their divorce. The couple paid $13.5 million for the property in 2001.
10. 120 South Woodland Street, Englewood
Price: $10.9 million
Behind the gates of this Englewood estate is a two-story residence with antique fireplaces, herringbone wood floors and reclaimed chateau limestone. Outfitted with eight ensuite bedrooms (four of which have balconies), a conservatory, and an entertainment area with a wine cellar, billiard room, media room, indoor pool, gym and sauna, this 12,000-square-foot home has been owned by Ziel Feldman, the founder and managing partner of real estate investment and development firm HFZ Capital Group. The property, which has taken several price cuts since it sought $19.5 million when hitting the market almost a decade ago, includes 3 acres of manicured gardens, a pool, basketball court, tennis court and putting green. Frances Aaron and Miriam Finkel of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s have the listing.
CORRECTION 6/20/19: A previous version of this story incorrectly noted the owners of property No. 8.