First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Dutchess County, New York

DUTCHESS-NY_Q1-2017-QMRThe Dutchess County housing market struggled through the first quarter of 2017, with sales and prices down after a strong 2016. We believe that this is just a short-term retreat in what will be a strong year for the market.

Sales. Dutchess sales were surprisingly down in the first quarter. Transactions fell over 7%, the first time we have seen year-on-year sales go down in almost three years. For the year, sales are still up over 6%, but the current trend is a little perplexing given that most of the Hudson Valley has been up significantly.

Prices. Home prices were also down, falling about 2% on average and the median, and down almost 3% in the price-per-square foot. For the year, though, prices are still up, so the first quarter results might just be an anomalous blip in the data.

Negotiability. Dutchess inventory continues to decline, down almost 19% and now down to under 12 months of inventory. Although we are nowhere near the six-month level of inventory that usually signals a “seller’s market,” we are certainly seeing some tightening that could support future price appreciation. The other negotiability indicators suggest that homes were selling just a little more quickly and for closer to the asking price — which is what we would normally expect with a tightening market.

Condominiums. The condo market was also down, with sales falling almost 23% and average prices down. For the year, sales and prices are still up, so, again, we might be seeing a short-term blip in the data.

Going forward, we still believe that the Dutchess market will improve in 2017, and that these first quarter results are just a short-term stall. With tightening inventory, a stable economy, near-historically-low interest rates, and homes still priced at appealing 2003-04 levels, Dutchess is likely to see rising sales and prices in the traditionally robust Spring market.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on April 26, 2017 at 4:57 pm
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Putnam County, New York

PUTNAM-NY_Q1-2017-QMRThe Putnam County housing market surprisingly struggled through the first quarter of 2017, with sales and prices both down, even while the rest of the Hudson Valley was up. We believe this is a short-term blip in the data, and that Putnam is poised for better results in 2017.

Sales. Putnam single-family home sales were down over 6% for the quarter, only the second time quarterly sales have fallen in five years. For the year, sales were up over 12%, so the first quarter numbers might just be a quirk in the data.

Prices. Pricing was also down across the board, falling almost 7% on average and about 1% at the median and in the price-per-square-foot. Again, for the year, the pricing results are more mixed. We have been expecting meaningful appreciation in Putnam for some time now, and still believe that low levels of inventory and stable demand will drive prices up this year.

Inventory. Inventory continued to tighten, falling almost 30% and now down to under the six-month level that usually denotes a tightening seller’s market. With inventory this low, we would expect to see some upward pressure on pricing.

Negotiability. The days-on-market were down and the listing retention rate was up, exactly what we would expect in a strengthening seller’s market — homes selling  more quickly and for closer to the asking price.

Condos. The condo market was also a little weak, with sales and prices both down for both the quarter and the year. Inventory was ridiculously low, though, down to just over three months, so we do believe that the market is poised to come back in the Spring.

Going forward, we believe that these lackluster first quarter results are anomalous, and that Putnam is poised for a stronger 2017. The fundamentals of the market are tremendous: inventory is ludicrously low, rates are near historic lows, and prices are still at attractive 2004-05 levels. So we are hopeful that we will see rising sales and prices in a robust Spring market.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on April 26, 2017 at 3:02 pm
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Orange County, New York

ORANGE-NY_Q1-2017-QMRThe Orange County housing market started off 2017 with a bang, showing clear signs of an emerging seller’s market. Not only were sales up yet again, but prices showed the first meaningful signs of appreciation in over 10 years.

Sales. Orange sales surged again, rising over 8% from last year’s first quarter. This continued a trend we’ve been watching for over five years, with quarterly sales now up in 10 straight quarters and in 19 out of the last 20. Indeed, for the rolling year, sales were up almost 20%, and the 3,600 single-family sales were the highest total we have seen since the second quarter of 2006 — at the height of the last seller’s market.

Prices. Orange sales going up is an old story, but prices going up is something new. Home prices spiked in the first quarter, rising over 7% on average and at the median, and rising 5% in the price-per-square foot. Indeed, the increase in the average and median sales price marked the highest quarterly increase since the fourth quarter of 2005. And over the longer term, while the 1.7% increase in the rolling year average sales price doesn’t seem like much, it was the largest yearly price jump since 2007.

Negotiability. The available inventory continues to tighten in the single-family market, with the months of inventory falling almost 34% and now down to the six-month level that usually indicates the border of a seller’s market. Meanwhile, homes are selling more quickly and for closer to the asking price, with the days-on-market falling and the listing retention rate rising.

Condominiums. Even the long-moribund Orange condo market showed signs of life, with sales up over 12% and prices up across the board. We’ve said for years that what the condo market needs is an increase in single-family pricing, to create a gap between houses and condo prices. That might finally be happening.

Going forward, we believe that the Orange County housing market is poised for a big year. The fundamentals are strong: demand is high, prices are still at attractive 2003-04 levels, interest rates are at historic lows, and the economy is generally strong. With inventory continuing to decline, we expect to see more meaningful price appreciation through the rest of 2017.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on April 26, 2017 at 11:59 am
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Rockland County, New York

ROCKLAND-NY_Q1-2017-QMRThe Rockland County housing market simply exploded in the first quarter of 2017, with a surge in sales and prices that drove the market to levels we have not seen since the height of the last seller’s market.

Sales. Single-family home sales spiked in the first quarter, rising almost 24% from last year, marking the ninth time out of the last 10 quarters with sales increasing from the prior year quarter. Indeed, the 2,132 sales over the past rolling year marked the highest 12-month total since the third quarter of 2004, and represented a 95% increase off the bottom of the market in 2011.

Prices. These sustained increases in buyer demand are starting to have a dramatic impact on pricing. Home prices were up for the quarter across the board, rising almost 5% on average, almost 7% at the median, and over 6% in the price-per-square foot. And we are seeing meaningful and sustainable price appreciation over the longer term, with the rolling year pricing up between 2% and 3% across the board.

Inventory. The story in Rockland County continues to be declining inventory. The months of inventory on the market declined again in the first quarter, dropping over 27% and now down to 4.8 months. Anything shorter than six months is considered a “tight” market, and Rockland is now well below that line.

Negotiability. Single-family homes again sold more quickly and for closer to the asking price in the first quarter, which is generally a sign that sellers are gaining negotiating leverage with buyers.

Condos. For the first time in years, we started to see some dramatic changes in the condo market. Sales simply surged, rising almost 39% from the first quarter of last year and now up almost 26% for the rolling year. And although pricing has been down the last several years, the combination of rising demand and falling inventory caused prices to spike across the board: up almost 13% on average, 12% at the median, and 2% in the price-per-square foot. With inventory down 40% and now below six months, we believe that this market will stay hot through 2017.

Going forward, we expect that Rockland will continue to sizzle through the traditionally robust Spring market. With prices still at attractive 2004 levels, interest rates near historic lows, inventory falling, and the economy generally strengthening, we believe that sustained buyer demand will continue to drive meaningful price appreciation through the rest of 2017.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on April 26, 2017 at 9:30 am
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Westchester County, New York

WESTCHESTER-NY_Q1-2017-QMRThe Westchester housing market started off 2017 with a flourish, with sales up and prices showing meaningful signs of appreciation after a slow 2016.

Sales. Home sales were strong through the first quarter. Single-family home sales were up over 6%, the tenth straight quarter of year-on-year sales increases. And the 6,266 transactions over the rolling year was the highest 12-month total since the second quarter of 2005, and marks an 87% increase off the bottom of the market at the end of 2009.

Prices. After a lackluster 2016, we finally saw some signs of life in pricing. Home prices were up across the board: almost 7% on average, over 5% at the median, and 3% in the price-per-square foot. Some of this might be the potential return of the high-luxury market, with sales of $3M-plus properties almost double the total from last year’s first quarter. Over the longer-term, prices are basically flat, but we expect that to change as inventory drives a tighter market through the Spring.

Negotiability. The negotiability indicators continue to signal the coming of a strong seller’s market. Inventory declined again, falling over 23% and now down to five months of inventory for single-family homes. This is the lowest level of inventory we have had in Westchester in over 12 years, since the height of the last seller’s market. Also, the listing retention rate was up, and the days-on-market were down, exactly what we would expect from a strengthening seller’s market.

Condos and Coops. The condo and coop markets were mixed. Sales of coops were up over 10%, but prices fell across the board over the quarter. Meanwhile, condo sales were down almost 8%, but prices spiked over 9% on average and 8% at the median. Inventory in both markets was down to well under six months, indicating that they are likely to see constricted sales but rising prices over the balance of 2017.

Going forward, we expect that Westchester is going to surge again through the traditionally robust Spring market. With inventory tightening, pricing at 2004-05 levels, and interest rates still near historic lows, we expect that buyer demand will stay strong and continue to drive price appreciation through the rest of the year.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on April 25, 2017 at 3:08 pm
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report: Westchester & Hudson Valley – Market Overview

New-York-OVERVIEW_Q1-2017-QMRThe regional housing market in Westchester and the Hudson Valley started to show the first signs of meaningful price appreciation in the first quarter of 2017, with prices up in most of the counties. Moreover, with inventory rates dropping, we expect this trend to continue through a robust Spring market and for the rest of 2017.

Inventory throughout the region continues to drop. Regional inventory fell almost 26%, and is now down to 6.3 months–right at the level that the industry considers a “balanced” market. But many of the individual counties in the region are now well below six months, moving into “seller’s market” territory. For example, Westchester is now down to 5.0 months for single-family homes, 4.6 months for coops, and 3.2 months for condos. Indeed, outside of Dutchess County, every single market segment in every county in the region is at or below 6.1 months of inventory.

The lack of inventory is continuing to stifle sales growth. Regional sales were up 5% from the first quarter of last year, marking 10 straight quarters of year-on-year sales growth. But that 5% increase was the smallest in that 10-quarter streak, indicating that the pace of growth is slowing due to the lack of inventory. Essentially, the market is capable of even greater sales growth, but only if it gets more “fuel for the fire.” All that said, buyer demand is as strong as we’ve seen in over 10 years, with regional sales up 11% for the year and reaching the highest 12-month sales total since the third quarter of 2005 — the height of the last seller’s market.

High demand and low inventory is starting to drive modest-but-meaningful price appreciation. In our last Report, we said that we were “about to witness ‘Economics 101’ in action,” explaining that rising demand and falling supply were poised to drive prices up. Well, from that perspective, we had a “textbook” result in the first quarter, with the regional average sales price up over 7% from the first quarter of last year.

Moreover, average prices spiked in several counties in the region, rising almost 7% in Westchester, 5% in Rockland, and 7% in Orange. Prices were down in Putnam and Dutchess, but even in those counties, the yearlong trend was relatively promising. Essentially, the market is capable of even greater sales growth, but only if it gets more “fuel for the fire.”

Going forward, expect big things for this market in 2017. Demand is strong, bolstered by near-historically-low interest rates, prices that are still near 2003-04 levels (without controlling for inflation), a generally strong economy, and sharply declining inventory. Given these conditions, we expect that prices will continue to go up in a robust Spring market and throughout 2017.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on April 25, 2017 at 1:33 pm
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Homes in Northern New Jersey Are Cheaper Than They've Been in a Generation!

Right now is a really great time to be buying a home in Northern New Jersey

Man, do I hate saying that.  As I’ve explained before,  I hate the phrase “great time to buy,” for a couple of reasons.

First, people have different needs, and a market that’s great for one person might be terrible for another person.

Second, while markets tend to move together, we do see micro-markets (i.e., towns and villages) that defy larger trends.  So while it might be a great time to buy in Village A, it might be not so great in Town B.

Third, and most importantly, though, “it’s a great time to buy!”  just seems like a hack thing to say, the kind of thing that TERRIBLE real estate agents have said for generations to get unsuspecting and gullible people to buy an overpriced home. And I think that most people get suspicious when real estate agents talk like that.

So I understand if you’re skeptical.  And that’s why I don’t want to just TELL you it’s a great time to buy, I want to SHOW you why it’s a great time to buy.

Specifically, I want to make this specific point: the monthly payment you need to buy an inflation-adjusted average priced home in Northern New Jersey is as low as its been in a generation.

Think about what I’m saying for a second. I’m NOT saying that homes are cheaper than they’ve ever been. That’s not true. Depending on the year, homes have appreciated, and if you go back more than 15 years, they’ve appreciated pretty dramatically. I’m just saying that the MONTHLY PAYMENT you need to make to buy the AVERAGE PRICED HOME is lower right now than it’s been in a generation — if you control for the effects of inflation.

Take a look at these graphs for Bergen and Passaic Counties, and you’ll see what I mean:
Bergen SF Affordability 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passaic Affordability 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On these graphs, as we’ve done before, we’ve plotted the monthly payment that a purchaser in the county would have to make to purchase the average-priced home at various points over the years. After all, affordability is not just a matter of the sales price – it’s a matter of the monthly payment you’re going to have to make, which is partly a function of the prevailing interest rate. And then to measure the change in the monthly payment over time, we factored in the effects of inflation.

So we took the following data points:

  • The average price of a single family home up to the end of 2016 – from the local MLS data.
  • The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for every calendar year up to 2016 – from Freddie Mac.
  • The prevailing inflation rate for every calendar year up to 2016– from the US Department of Labor.

You can see the results on the graph. The monthly payment you have to make to purchase the average-priced home in Bergen or Passaic is just about as low as it’s been in years. We saw the slightest uptick from 2012-2014, partially because of a slight increase in pricing and a slow inflating of interest rates. But the payment came down again over the past two years, with rates falling and prices stalling.

Generally, though, we’re talking about a monthly payment that is as low as anytime in the past 30 years – and as low as it was in the mid-1990s, during a crippling buyer’s market. We don’t have data going back in Passaic as far as we do in Bergen, but there’s no reason to think that the markets behaved differently during the 1980s.

So why are monthly payments lower than they’ve been in a generation?  A couple of reasons:

  1.  Prices.  Part of it is that we have not seen prices go up in any measurable way in almost 10 years.  Home prices peaked in 2006-08, lost about 25-30% of value from 2008-2010, and have bounced around a little since then.  But they’re still around 2004 levels — without controlling for inflation.
  2. Inflation. Ah, yes, inflation — the value of money goes down a little bit each year as inflation takes a bite.  Now, inflation rates have been pretty low over the past 15 years from historical standards, but that little bit each year does add up.
  3. Rates.  But the biggest reason we’re seeing monthly payments lower than they’ve been in a generation is that rates are still at historic lows.  After all, about ten years ago, the average interest rate was about 6%. For the past few years, it’s been below 4%. That’s a huge difference in your monthly payment.

Again, I HATE it when real estate professionals say that “this is a great time to buy,” because at many times in our history that has been bad advice.

But if you measure a “great time to buy” by looking at the monthly payment you’ll have to make to buy a home, then we’re talking about as good a time to buy as any in the past decades. Prices have been flat for almost 10 years, and they’re down significantly if you factor in the effects of inflation. And interest rates are still as low as we’ve ever seen them. Unless we see some major shock to the economy, I think we’re looking at a near-decade of reasonable price appreciation coupled with increasing interest rates – both of which are going to drive that monthly payment up over the next few years.

So I’m not going to tell you what to do.  That’s not my job.  But if you’ve been thinking about buying a home, I think these graphs speak for themselves.

Joe Rand is the Chief Creative Officer of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate | Rand Realty, and compiles and writes the Rand Quarterly Market Report.

Posted on March 28, 2017 at 12:52 pm
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

Homes in Westchester and the Hudson Valley are STILL Cheaper Than They Have Been in a Generation

Right now is a really great time to be buying a home in Westchester or the Hudson Valley.

Man, do I hate saying that.  As I’ve explained before, I hate the phrase “great time to buy” for a couple of reasons.

First, people have different needs, and a market that’s great for one person might be terrible for another person.

Second, while markets tend to move together, we do see micro-markets (i.e., towns and villages) that defy larger trends.  So while it might be a great time to buy in Village A, it might be not so great in Town B.

Third, and most importantly, though, “it’s a great time to buy!”  just seems like a hack thing to say, the kind of thing that TERRIBLE real estate agents have said for generations to get unsuspecting and gullible people to buy an overpriced home. And I think that most people get suspicious when real estate agents talk like that.

So I understand if you’re skeptical.  And that’s why I don’t want to just TELL you it’s a great time to buy, I want to SHOW you why it’s a great time to buy.

Specifically, I want to make this specific point: the monthly payment you need to buy an inflation-adjusted average priced home in Westchester and the Hudson Valley is as low as its been in a generation.

Think about what I’m saying for a second. I’m NOT saying that homes are cheaper than they’ve ever been. That’s not true. Depending on the year, homes have appreciated, and if you go back more than 15 years, they’ve appreciated pretty dramatically. I’m just saying that the MONTHLY PAYMENT you need to make to buy the AVERAGE PRICED HOME is lower right now than it’s been in a generation — if you control for the effects of inflation.

If you look at the graph below for Westchester County, you’ll see what I mean.

Westchester SF Affordability 2016

On that graph, as we’ve done before, we’ve plotted the monthly payment that a purchaser in the county would have to make to purchase the average-priced home at various points over the years. After all, affordability is not just a matter of the sales price – it’s a matter of the monthly payment you’re going to have to make, which is partly a function of the prevailing interest rate. And then to measure the change in the monthly payment over time, we factored in the effects of inflation.

So we took the following data points:

  • The average price of a single family home up to the end of 2016 – from the local MLS data.
  • The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for every calendar year up to 2016 – from Freddie Mac.
  • The prevailing inflation rate for every calendar year up to 2016– from the US Department of Labor.

You can see the results on the graph. The monthly payment you have to make to purchase the average-priced home in Westchester is just about as low as it’s been in years. We saw the slightest uptick from 2012-2014, partially because of a slight increase in pricing and a slow inflating of interest rates. But the payment came down again over the past two years, with rates falling and prices stalling.

Generally, though, we’re talking about a monthly payment that is as low as anytime in the past 35 years – and as low as it was in the mid-1990s, during a crippling buyer’s market.

So why are monthly payments lower than they’ve been in a generation?  A couple of reasons:

  1.  Prices.  Part of it is that we have not seen prices go up in any measurable way in almost 10 years.  Home prices peaked in 2006-08, lost about 25-30% of value from 2008-2010, and have bounced around a little since then.  But they’re still around 2004 levels — without controlling for inflation.
  2. Inflation. Ah, yes, inflation — the value of money goes down a little bit each year as inflation takes a bite.  Now, inflation rates have been pretty low over the past 15 years from historical standards, but that little bit each year does add up.
  3. Rates.  But the biggest reason we’re seeing monthly payments lower than they’ve been in a generation is that rates are still at historic lows.  After all, about ten years ago, the average interest rate was about 6%. For the past few years, it’s been below 4%. That’s a huge difference in your monthly payment.

And the same is true throughout the Hudson Valley.  I showed you Westchester first because we have good data on prices for the county going back all the way to 1981.   In other counties, our data doesn’t go back as far, but if we look at each of those counties you can see that it’s pretty much the same story for the time period we have.

Orange County.  Here’s Orange County, where we have data going back to 1994:

Orange SF Affordability 2016

You can see that the monthly payment to buy an average-priced home in Orange County is lower right now than it’s been in over 20 years.

Rockland County.  In Rockland, we have data going back to 2002, over 14 years of data.

Rockland SF Affordability 2016

Again, you can see that even with a slight rise in the past few years, the monthly payment you have to make to buy the average-priced home in Rockland is lower right now than it’s been since at least 2002, and probably for quite a bit of time before that.

Putnam County.  Similarly, we have data going back to 2002 in Putnam, and the story is the same:

Putnam SF Affordability 2016

Dutchess County.  Again, same story in Dutchess County for that same period:

Dutchess SF Affordability 2016

And although we don’t have data for Orange, Rockland, Putnam, or Dutchess going back as far as Westchester, the fact that the curve over the recent decade or so is very consistent with Westchester’s results suggests that, like in Westchester, the monthly payment you need to make throughout the Hudson Valley is lower right now than it’s been since the Carter administration.

 

Condos and Coops.  All that’s for single-family homes.  What about condos and coops?  Well, we don’t have data going back as far, but in each county, condos (and coops in Westchester) show the same trend — the monthly payment to buy an average priced condo or coop in the region is lower right now than it’s been at any time since the 2005 era.  Here are the graphs:

Westchester Condo Affordability 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Westchester Coop Affordability 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Putham Condo Affordability 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rockland Condo Affordability 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orange Condo Affordability 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dutchess Condo Affordability 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see that except for Westchester and Putnam condos, which have seen some pricing changes in the past two years, the monthly payments are lower than any time since 2005.  And even in Westchester and Putnam, they’re lower now than at any time in the last decade, just a little higher than the last two years.

We wrote this up last year, and predicted that 2015 would be the last time we’d be able to say it.  Surprisingly, though, prices stayed flat for 2016 while rates stayed down, so we have yet another year where the real monthly payment you have to make to buy the average-priced home in our region is lower than it’s been in years.

Conclusion

Again, I HATE it when real estate professionals say that “this is a great time to buy,” because at many times in our history that has been bad advice.

But if you measure a “great time to buy” by looking at the monthly payment you’ll have to make to buy a home, then we’re talking about as good a time to buy as any in the past decades. Prices have been flat for almost 10 years, and they’re down significantly if you factor in the effects of inflation. And interest rates are still as low as we’ve ever seen them. Unless we see some major shock to the economy, I think we’re looking at a near-decade of reasonable price appreciation coupled with increasing interest rates – both of which are going to drive that monthly payment up over the next few years.

So I’m not going to tell you what to do.  That’s not my job.  But if you’ve been thinking about buying a home, I think these graphs speak for themselves.

Joe Rand is the Chief Creative Officer of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate | Rand Realty, and compiles and writes the Rand Quarterly Market Report.

Posted on March 28, 2017 at 12:41 pm
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty Quarterly Market Report For 2016Q4 – Sussex County, New Jersey

Sussex 2016Q4The Sussex County housing market surged yet again in the fourth quarter of 2016, with sales up sharply and an eyeopening spike in prices.

Sales. Sussex sales were up again in the fourth quarter, rising over 18% from the fourth quarter of last year. And for the year, sales increased almost 19%, finishing 2016 with the highest yearly transactional total in over 10 years, since the height of the last seller’s market. Indeed, Sussex sales are now up 113% from the bottom of the market in 2011. Essentially, Sussex buyer demand is as strong as we have ever seen it.

Prices. Sussex prices absolutely spiked, rising over 8% on average and almost 10% at the median compared to the fourth quarter of last year. Those kinds of surges are probably unsustainable statistical aberrations, particularly since the calendar year increases were much more modest, with prices up just 0.2% on average and 1.5% at the median. That said, for Sussex homeowners, price appreciation has been a long time coming, so unsustainable good news is still good news.

Inventory. The Sussex inventory of available homes for sale fell by 22%, dropping to just over 11 months. That’s a significant decline, but inventory is still significantly higher than in other Northern New Jersey counties, which are all approaching the six-month inventory line that usually signals the beginning of a seller’s market. But if inventory continues to go down, we would expect that to put some additional upward pressure on pricing.

Negotiability. The negotiability metrics were mixed. Homes took a little longer to sell, with the days-on-market rising by five days. But sellers were retaining a little more of their asking price, with listing retention jumping up to 95.4% for the quarter. As the market heats up, we would expect both these indicators to show that sellers are gaining negotiating leverage with buyers.

Going forward, we expect that Sussex is likely to see some meaningful and sustained price appreciation in 2017. With an improving economy, homes priced at relatively attractive 2004 levels (without adjusting for inflation), and near historically low interest rates, we expect buyer demand coupled with declining inventory to drive a rising market in 2017.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on January 16, 2017 at 11:58 am
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , ,

Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty Quarterly Market Report For 2016Q4 – Essex County, New Jersey

Essex 2016Q4The Essex County housing market finished the year with a surge in sales, but these sustained increases in buyer demand have not had their expected impact in driving price appreciation.

Sales. Essex sales activity recovered from a disappointing third quarter, with sales rising almost 11% from the fourth quarter of last year and finishing the calendar year up almost 5%. Buyer demand has been inconsistent throughout the year, certainly not as strong as we are seeing in neighboring Northern New Jersey counties. That said, Essex closed over 5,000 units in 2016, the largest calendar year total since the height of the last seller’s market over 10 years ago, and up almost 61% from the bottom of the market in 2011.

Prices. Essex pricing was also a bit disappointing, with the average down over 2% and the median down 3% from the fourth quarter of last year. The results were similar when we looked at the full 2016 calendar year, where prices were down over 2% on average and almost 4% at the median. This is a little surprising, given that an increase in buyer demand is usually associated with some upward pressure on pricing.

Inventory. Essex inventory fell again, falling almost 27% from last year’s fourth quarter and now down to 7.0 months. We measure “months of inventory” by calculating the number of months it would take to sell all the available homes at the current rate of absorption, and generally consider anything below six months to signal a seller’s market that would normally drive prices up. So Essex’s relatively low inventory levels raise the possibility of meaningful price appreciation in 2017.

Negotiability. The negotiability indicators – the amount of time sold homes were on the market, and the rate at which sellers were able to retain their full asking price – suggested the sellers might be gaining just a little bit of negotiating leverage. The days-on-market fell by five days, and the listing retention rate was up sharply. Indeed, for the calendar year, sellers retained over 99% of their last list price. That’s another positive signal of potential future appreciation.

Going forward, we expect that Essex County’s sales activity will eventually have a meaningful impact on pricing. With homes still at historically affordable prices, interest rates low, and a generally improving economy, we believe that low inventory levels coupled with stable buyer demand will drive modest but measurable price appreciation in 2017.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on January 16, 2017 at 9:54 am
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , ,