Sales in the Essex housing market went up again in the first quarter of 2019, but this increase in buyer demand had a middling effect on pricing. Sales rose over 5% for the quarter, and finished the rolling year up almost 4%. But pricing was mixed: for the quarter, the average price was down over 4% for the quarter, and down 2% for the year. We might be seeing some impact from the 2018 Tax Reform’s $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions (SALT Cap), which particularly affected higher-income taxpayers like Essex County homeowners and home buyers, who are more likely to itemize their deductions and feel the pinch. We expected that the SALT Cap might have an impact on housing, and we’re certainly seeing that throughout the region in markets like Essex and its high-priced neighboring counties like Morris, Bergen, Hudson, and Westchester County in New York. Going forward, though, we expect that the SALT Cap’s impact will eventually get priced into the market, and believe that the seller market fundamentals are strong: a growing economy, prices well below historic highs, low interest rates, and low levels of inventory
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