The latest report from the New Jersey Association of REALTORS has found single family home sales rising nearly 14 percent last month compared to the same period last year. Median sale prices increased more than 4 percent and home building has risen at least 30 percent so far this year. CEO of the New Jersey Association of REALTORS Jarrod Grasso told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he wasn’t surprised by the numbers because the housing market has been doing very well across the country and New Jersey is starting to catch up.
“It was just a matter of time as we cleared through the inventory of housing stock that now prices are starting to go up and we’re seeing a pretty competitive market out there,” Grasso said.
While Hurricane Sandy may have had some effect on the housing market, Grasso said he doesn’t believe it was major. “I think that there are some people who are taking advantage of Sandy who are going into this market and buying up properties in the shore communities. But again, I think that those opportunities were going to be there whether Sandy struck or not because people are always constantly moving and looking to invest in the Jersey Shore area,” he said.
The inventory has shrunk in New Jersey, but Grasso said from quarter to quarter there is a nine-month supply, which is still a bit high when compared to the rest of the country. “But it’s definitely down considerably if you look at quarter to quarter,” he said.
With mortgage interest rates increasing, Grasso said some people who were on the fence about home ownership are deciding to buy a home. “You don’t want to be that person saying, ‘I should’ve gotten into the market when it was hot and starting to come up and when interest rates were so low,'” he said.
In addition to purchases of single family homes, sales of townhouses and condos are up 15.5 percent and the median price is up almost 10 percent. Grasso said condos and townhouses are more affordable options, especially for younger families trying to get into the real estate market. “So they’re taking advantage of what’s out there, and again, shrinking that inventory which is now increasing the price of those homes,” he said.
Grasso also said he expects the popularity of adult communities to increase as Baby Boomers get older.
Bergen and Hudson counties had the strongest home sales, according to the report. Grasso attributes that to the fact that those counties are close to New York City, but home prices are much less. “When you think about what you can buy, purchase power wise in New York City compared to New Jersey, it’s a more affordable option.” he said, adding that it’s also an easier area to grow a family and put down roots.
Grasso said members of his association are more optimistic now than they have been in the past couple years. “It was a tough housing market these last couple years. We’re starting to see signs, the light at the end of the tunnel. I think that we’re gonna see steady growth over the next couple years,” he said.