First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Sussex County, New Jersey

SUSSEX-NJ_Q1-2017-QMRActivity in the Sussex County housing market surged yet again in the first quarter of 2017, with sales up sharply even while prices retreated slightly after a strong showing last year.

Sales. Sussex sales were up yet again in the first quarter, rising over 32% from last year. And for the year, sales increased over 19%, with almost 2,500 home sales representing the highest 12-month total in over 10 years. Indeed, Sussex sales are now up almost 120% from the bottom of the market in 2011, as a clear seller’s market begins to emerge.

Prices. In our last Report, we noted that the 8% spike in the average sales price in the fourth quarter was probably not sustainable. Well, that played out as we expected in the first quarter, with prices retreating almost 2% on average and an eye-popping 7% at the median. Again, though, don’t read too much into quarterly price changes. Instead, focus on the rolling year, which shows more meaningful, and sustainable, price appreciation levels of over 1% on average and almost 5% at the median.

Inventory. The Sussex inventory of available homes for sale fell dramatically by over 36%, dropping to just 9.2 months. That’s a significant decline, but inventory is still 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 indicated that sellers were gaining some negotiating leverage with buyers. The days-on-market fell dramatically, dropping by 23 days and now down to just over five months of market time. And sellers were retaining a little more of their asking price, with listing retention jumping up to 96.5% for the quarter and over 95% for the year.

Going forward, we expect that Sussex is going to continue to see rising sales coupled with more consistent price appreciation. With an improving economy, homes priced at attractive levels, and near-historically-low interest rates, we expect buyer demand, coupled with declining inventory, to drive a robust Spring market and a strong 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 28, 2017 at 12:01 pm
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Essex County, New Jersey

ESSEX-NJ_Q1-2017-QMRThe Essex County housing market started the year strong, with another increase in sales activity finally showing some impact on pricing.

Sales. Essex sales activity was up sharply from the first quarter of last year, rising almost 12% and driving the rolling year activity 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. But Essex closed over 5,000 units over the rolling year, the largest 12-month total since the height of the last seller’s market over 10 years ago, and up over 65% from the bottom of the market in 2011.

Prices. Essex buyer demand is finally showing signs of an impact on pricing. The average price was up almost 4% from the first quarter of last year. Although the median was down just a tick for the quarter, and the rolling year pricing is still down, that increase in the average price was still promising. With inventory continuing to fall and buyer demand relatively strong, we would expect prices to gain some momentum in the Spring market.

Inventory. Essex inventory fell again, dropping almost 39% from last year’s first quarter and now down to 5.8 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 the fact that Essex crossed that threshold this quarter augurs well for pricing 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 that sellers might be gaining just a little bit of negotiating leverage. The days-on-market fell by six 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 meaningful price appreciation through a robust Spring market and 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 28, 2017 at 9:43 am
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Morris County, New Jersey

MORRIS-NJ_Q1-2017-QMRThe Morris County housing market got off to a strong start in 2017, with an increase in sales activity coupled with some promising signs for pricing.

Sales. Morris County sales were up solidly, rising almost 9% from the first quarter of last year. This continued a streak in which year-on-year sales have now gone up for 10 straight quarters, over two years of sustained buyer demand. Transactions were also up 10% for the year, and are now up almost 60% from the bottom of the market in 2011. So sales have been strong for several years now, indicating sustained levels of buyer demand.

Prices. These persistent levels of buyer demand are finally having some modest impact on pricing. For the first time in several years, the average price was up, rising a little over 1%. And even though the median was down 1%, and the yearlong price trend is negative, we believe that sustained buyer demand coupled with  falling inventory is likely to drive pricing up through the rest of the year.

Inventory. Morris inventory fell again, dropping over 34% from last year’s first quarter and now down to just over six months worth of inventory . 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 the fact that Morris inventory is now close to that six-month mark indicates that we could be in for some meaningful price appreciation in 2017.

Negotiability. The negotiability indicators showed that sellers are starting to gain leverage with buyers. The days-on-market indicator was down by 15 days, falling over 10%, indicating that homes were selling more quickly. And the listing price retention rate continues to rise, now up to just about 97% for the quarter and the year, signaling that sellers are having more success getting buyers to meet their asking prices.

Going forward, we expect that Morris County’s sales activity will eventually have a more meaningful impact on pricing. With homes still at historically affordable prices, interest rates low, and a generally improving economy, we believe that reduced inventory, coupled with rising buyer demand, will drive price appreciation through a robust Spring market and 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 27, 2017 at 5:01 pm
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Passaic County, New Jersey

PASSAIC-NJ_Q1-2017-QMRThe Passaic County housing market surged in the first quarter of 2017, with sales spiking and prices showing their first signs of meaningful appreciation in years.

Sales. Passaic started the year dramatically, with sales spiking almost 30% from the first quarter of last year. We’ve now seen sustained increases in buyer demand for over five years, with quarterly sales up in 21 out of the last 23 quarters. As a result, Passaic closed almost 3,500 homes for the calendar year, the highest total we’ve seen in over 10 years, since the height of the last seller’s market

Prices. More importantly, we’re starting to see these sustained levels of buyer demand have their first impact on pricing. Prices were up across the board, rising almost 2% on average and 6% at the median. Prices are still down for the year, due to the lackluster performance in most of 2016, but they seem to be finally heading in a positive direction. With buyer demand strong, and inventory falling, we would expect prices to be going up.

Inventory. The Passaic inventory of available homes for sale fell again, down almost 38% from last year. 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 the fact that Passaic is now down to just over six months of inventory is important, since it presages the possibility of price appreciation for the rest of 2017.

Negotiability. Sellers gained significant negotiating leverage in the first quarter, with homes selling far more quickly and for closer to the asking price. The days-on-market fell dramatically, dropping almost 15%–almost a full month!–and now down to about five months on the market. And the listing price retention rate jumped almost a full percentage point, and is now up to 97%.

Going forward, we believe that Passaic’s fundamentals are sound, with homes priced at relatively attractive levels, rates near historic lows, and a stable economy. Accordingly, we expect these levels of buyer demand, coupled with declining inventory, to continue to drive price appreciation 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 27, 2017 at 3:15 pm
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Bergen County, New Jersey

BERGEN-NJ_Q1-2017-QMRThe Bergen County housing market showed continued signs of emerging into a strong seller’s market, with declining inventory holding sales back even while driving prices up dramatically.

Sales. Bergen single-family home sales were up about 1% from last year’s first quarter, the tenth straight quarter of year-on-year sales growth. For the rolling year, sales were up a little more robustly, rising 7%. What’s holding sales back right now is not a lack of demand, but a lack of inventory. If we start seeing more homes hit the market, we’ll see sales go up sharply.

Prices. Bergen prices spiked in the first quarter, rising almost 8% on average and 5% at the median. That’s probably not a sustainable level of price appreciation, but Bergen homeowners can certainly start to depend on the 1-2% increases that we are seeing on average and at the median for the last rolling year.

Inventory. Single-family inventory continued to tighten in the first quarter, with the months of inventory falling over 21% and now down to 4.4 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. With inventory now well below that six-month mark, and falling into the “seller’s market” territory, we will continue to see upward pressure on pricing.

Negotiability. Homes were selling more quickly and for closer to the asking price, which is what we would expect of an emerging seller’s market. The listing retention rate is now about 96%, and the days-on-market is well under three months. As inventory tightens and the market heats up, we would expect to see sellers continue to gain negotiating leverage.

Condos. Activity in the Bergen condo market was up sharply in the first quarter, with sales up almost 11% from last year. Prices were more mixed, with the average down over 4% but the median up almost 2%.  With inventory now down below six months, though, we would expect to see more meaningful price appreciation this year.

Going forward, we expect Bergen County will enjoy a robust Spring market with both rising sales and prices. With inventory tightening, a relatively strong economy, near-historically-low interest rates, and prices still at attractive 2004 levels, 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 27, 2017 at 11:58 am
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

First Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Report – Northern New Jersey Market Overview

New-Jersey-OVERVIEW_Q1-2017-QMRThe Northern New Jersey housing market surged ahead in the first quarter of 2017, starting the year with a dramatic increase in home sales coupled with modest-but-meaningful signs of price appreciation. With inventory levels continuing to fall throughout the region, we expect that sustained buyer demand will drive a robust seller’s market through the Spring and the rest of 2017.

Sales surged throughout the region. All the Northern New Jersey markets got off to a strong start to the year, with regional sales up almost 12% and transactions rising in every market in the region: up 1% in Bergen, 30% in Passaic, 8% in Morris, 12% in Essex, and 32% in Sussex. For the rolling year, sales were up over 9%, reaching sales levels we have not seen since the height of the last seller’s market. Indeed, regional sales are now up over 65% from the bottom of the market in 2011.

The number of available homes for sale continues to go down. We measure the “months of inventory” in a market by looking at the number of homes for sale, and then calculating how long it would take to sell them all given the current absorption rate. The industry considers anything fewer than six months to be a “tight” inventory that signals the potential of a seller’s market that would drive prices up — and we’ve now seen this market cross below that line for the second quarter in a row. Indeed, inventory was down from last year in every individual county in the Report: Bergen single-family homes down 21%, and condos down 34%; Passaic down 38%; Morris down 34%; Essex down 39%; and Sussex down 36%. If inventory continues to tighten, and demand stays strong, we are likely to see more upward pressure on pricing. With sales up and inventory down, prices are starting to show some “green shoots” of modest price appreciation. Basic economics of supply and demand would tell us that after five years of steadily increasing buyer demand, we would expect to see some meaningful price increases. And we’re beginning to see some promising signs: the regional average sales price was up almost 1% from last year’s first quarter, and the average price was up in almost every county in the report.

Going forward, we remain confident that rising demand and falling inventory will continue to drive price appreciation through the rest of 2017. Sales have now been increasing for five years, which has brought inventory to the seller’s market threshold in much of the region. The economic fundamentals are all good: homes are priced at 2004 levels (without even adjusting for inflation), interest rates are still near historic lows, and the regional economy is stable. Accordingly, we continue to believe the region is poised for a robust Spring market and a strong 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 27, 2017 at 9:27 am
James Troia | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

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 , , , , , , ,