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Housing stock in N.J. is half of what it was last year, pushing prices to $500K on average

Housing stock in N.J. is half of what it was last year, pushing prices to $500K on average

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Typically this time of year in Randolph, there are 120 to 140 homes listed for sale. Right now there are just 23.

It’s a trend agents and buyers are seeing throughout the state brought on in part by COVID-19 concerns — and the intense competition for the few houses that are on the market.

“The inventory is ridiculously low. Unprecedented,” said Missy Iemmello, office manager for Weichert Realtors corporate sales office in Morris Plains, which has 120 real estate agents doing business in Morris, Sussex, Warren, Bergen and Essex counties.

Throughout the state, there were only 23,011 single-family homes, townhomes and condominiums, and adult community properties available for sale in the month of January. Last January, there were nearly double that amount, 41,005 listed for sale, according to a report from New Jersey Realtors.

The low inventory and high demand are pushing sale prices higher, causing houses to sell for tens of thousands of dollars over the asking price and generating bidding wars.

The median sales price for a single-family home in New Jersey in January was $504,585, a 22% increase over the median price in January 2020.

A lot more buyers have equity in their homes during this surge in the market, unlike back in 2006, said Iemmello. “They’re financially comfortable where they are. Because of the activity and the rising prices, it’s a great time to sell, but where would they go,” she said.

Those who are selling are likely retirees who are moving out of state or people who have a second home, for example at the shore, that they can go stay in and work virtually from. “That’s where we’re seeing people take advantage of this market,” she said.

Another reason for the low inventory is a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions, signed by Gov. Phil Murphy last March.

But Beth Kimmick, Broker manager for ERA Central Realty in Robbinsville, doesn’t think there will be a flood of foreclosure listings hitting the market when the moratorium is lifted.

“Everything I read and hear shows there’s going to be a small percentage of properties that actually get foreclosed on,” she said. “A majority of people will be able to make that up or sell their house and not go into foreclosure.”

So, is this a good time to buy, if you can find a property?

Eric Anderson of Alexander Anderson Real Estate Group in Hackensack says yes — if you’re buying for the long term.

“What goes up, must come down,” he said. “If you’re looking for the short term, you would be better off renting.”

Some other key findings from the latest trends, according to a report from New Jersey Realtors:

  • Single-family homes are selling for 100.2% of the listing price, up from 97.3% in January 2020
  • Single-family homes are on the market for just 44 days on average, down from 72 last year
  • Pending and closed sales on single family homes in January are both up by 14% and 17%, compared to the same time last year

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Are you buying or selling a home in New Jersey? Tell us about your experiences. Allison Pries may be reached at apries@njadvancemedia.com.

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Are you interested to learn more about the Greater Princeton, New Jersey Market Conditions, feel free to contact me at 609-915-9665.

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