Pricing in the housing market in the Northern New Jersey suburbs of New York City continued to appreciate in the fourth quarter of 2018, even while low levels of inventory suppressed sales growth throughout the region.
The regional market continues to suffer from a lack of supply. The number of homes available has settled at levels that generally signal a seller’s market, with fewer than six months of inventory in most of the Northern New Jersey markets. The lack of inventory has been stifling sales growth because the market lacks “fuel for the fire” to meet the existing buyer demand, even while driving meaningful price appreciation throughout the region.
Because of the lack of inventory, sales were down sharply. For the region, sales were down almost 5% in the quarter, falling in almost all of the counties: down 4% in Bergen, 11% in Hudson, 7% in Passaic, 6% in Morris, and 12% in Sussex. Sales were only up in Sussex and for Bergen condos. And for the 2018 year, sales were down about 1%, and down in most of the counties. That said, sales are now at levels we haven’t seen since the seller’s market of the mid‑2000s, and almost double in many places from the bottom of the market following the correction of 2008‑09.
But these low levels of inventory are also driving meaningful price appreciation. Prices rose sharply for the region, rising almost 5% for the quarter and up in most of the counties: rising 3% in Bergen, 6% in Hudson, 6% in Passaic, 3% in Morris, and 6% in Sussex (down only in Essex). For the year, we saw meaningful price appreciation throughout the region, with the regional price up almost 3%.
Going forward, we expect the seller’s market to continue. With good economic conditions, low interest rates, and attractive pricing, we expect that the Northern New Jersey market will continue to see meaningful price appreciation. This will eventually attract more sellers into the market, perhaps in time to help drive sales growth in the spring market.
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