September 4, 2008 / 7:58 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Toll Brothers "scared" about NYC condo market

(Adds executive quotes, background, New Jersey details)

NEW YORK, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Toll Brothers Inc (TOL.N) said on Thursday the condo market in New York City is not as strong as it was, and the company is “scared” about the market’s future amid deterioration in the financial industry.

“It has felt some of the storm that’s come to the residential real estate market in the country,” Chief Executive Bob Toll said during the company’s third-quarter conference call.

Toll will soon open a 12-story plus penthouse condominium project in Manhattan’s Murray Hill neighborhood.

Demand in New York is more price sensitive today, although demand is still strong, Toll said.

It is the financial industry that tends to spend on condos, Toll said.

“If we sense any slowdown, we’ll take the money and run, instead of hanging around and waiting,” Toll said.

Nearby Hoboken and Jersey City, New Jersey, are still “doing well” for Toll, he said.

Toll’s comments came a day after, a real estate research web site, reported a 13 percent rise in foreclosure auctions in New York City to 383 from July and 53 percent from last year.

While New York’s numbers were relatively low, with 254 in the borough of Queens, they indicate future price declines of as much as 20 percent, Chief Executive Bill Staniford said.

Foreign investment in New York real estate will fall off as the European economy softens, and cuts to bonuses and staffing on Wall Street will also sap demand, he said.

“It’s not a crisis. New York is a desirable place to live. But transactions are down,” Staniford said. “We are going to see a decrease in housing values in New York City. We’re going to see that even in Manhattan.” (Reporting by Helen Chernikoff; Editing by Brian Moss)

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