The Passaic County housing market surged again in the second quarter, but another sharp increase in sales is still not having its expected impact on pricing.
Sales. Passaic sales were up again in the second quarter, rising almost 22% from last year and finishing the rolling year up over 15%. Indeed, we’ve now seen sustained increases in buyer demand for over five years, with quarterly sales up in 19 out of the last 21 quarters. As a result, Passaic closed over 3,000 homes over the last rolling year, a level Passaic had not reached since the seller’s market of the mid 2000’s.
Prices. Unfortunately, these sustained increases in buyer demand are not yet impacting pricing. Prices were mixed, with the average price falling almost 2% while the median price was up almost 2%. We would normally expect sustained increases in buyer demand to drive meaningful price appreciation, but Passaic pricing has been stubbornly resistant over the past few years. It may just be a matter of time, but basic economic principles would indicate that increasing demand, coupled with declining inventory, should drive prices higher.
Inventory. We generally consider anything below six months of inventory as a signal for a seller’s market, where tight inventory leads to multiple offer situations, bidding wars, and ultimately appreciating prices. Passaic County is still working its way to that level, but inventory was down 31% to 9.2 months, so it’s moving in that direction.
Negotiability. The negotiability indicators both indicated that sellers are gaining leverage with buyers. The days‑on‑market were down slightly for the quarter, signaling that homes were selling a little more quickly. And the listing retention rate was up, indicating that sellers were getting closer to their asking price. Together, they show that sellers are slowly gaining some bargaining power with buyers, which should eventually lead to modest price appreciation.
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 buyer demand to stay strong through the summer market, and eventually start driving some modest but meaningful price appreciation by the end of the year.