New Jersey – Sandy’s Not the Only Story Here
New Jersey’s housing market is really trying to recover from the recession. However, there are several obstacles standing in its way.
Many of New Jersey’s biggest counties saw increases in the number of home sales between December 2011 and December 2011. That would be impressive all by itself (just like it is in other parts of the country). However, what makes this news even more impressive in New Jersey is that people here had Hurricane Sandy to deal with at the end of 2012. With a state still in disarray (Congress had to pass an additional $9.7 billion in Sandy relief at the beginning of 2013), ANY increase in housing numbers is monumental.
So, where were New Jersey realtors the busiest?
By far, the biggest buying surge came in Passaic County. The number of home sales there went up nearly 37%, when compared to December 2011. The next-biggest increase was seen in Somerset County, where there were 23% more homes sold in December 2012 than in December 2011. In Bergen County – one of New Jersey’s wealthiest counties – the number of homes sold went up 5.5%.
What can sellers and realtors in New Jersey expect in 2013?
Despite a strong showing at the end of 2012, there are two things working against the housing market here – a weak job market and a large number of foreclosures that haven’t hit the market yet.
In fact, New Jersey has a notoriously-slow foreclosure process. That’s because it’s a judicial-based foreclosure process – meaning that lenders have to go to court and prove homeowners are in default before they can move forward with foreclosure proceedings. So, homes that normally would have been foreclosed on and sold off months ago have been stuck in a backlog. When those homes eventually hit the market, it will drive down the prices of the other homes for sale in New Jersey.
As a result, experts aren’t predicting much in the way of home price gains in 2013. In fact, they say the homes for sale in New Jersey will likely go for the same prices they’ve been going for in recent months.
Jobs-wise, the Garden State had an unemployment rate of 9.6% to end 2012. Unfortunately, New Jersey ranks 47th when it comes to economic growth, so no one knows how long it will be before unemployment isn’t a genuine concern here. And, as long as people don’t have steady paychecks, they can’t rush out and buy houses. Plus, New Jersey has some of the highest property taxes in the country, so home ownership here is awfully expensive!
So, what does that mean for the apartments for rent?
Like most places, New Jersey landlords have raised monthly rent prices. Luckily, though, apartments for rent in New Jersey are still much cheaper than they are in New York!