Back in the spring of 2005, during my stint as a staff writer for The Record of Bergen County, a home in Alpine, N.J. went on the market for $40 million — $10 million more than movie star Eddie Murphy was asking for his seven-bedroom estate in nearby Englewood. Just over a year later, the sprawling 60,000-square-foot Alpine mansion, with its 13 bedrooms, 23 bathrooms, a bowling alley and a 15-car garage, sold for a staggering $32 million (one of the highest prices ever paid for a New Jersey home).
The housing market in North Jersey has since slowed. And Murphy dropped his price to $19.5 million. Murphy’s Realtor, Mary Lenk, noted that the modified listing includes 3.5 acres instead of 5 acres and no longer includes a carriage house. But the 25,000-square-foot brick mansion known as “bubble hill” comes with its own bowling alley, music studio, five-car garage and racquetball court.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.