Hunterdon County December sales active with 111 homes sold
(Below is a market update on the real estate and property activity in Hunterdon County – including Clinton Township, Flemington, Raritan Township, Readington Township and the Town of Clinton – as of the end of December of 2015 This information is provided by courtesy of Hunterdon County Realtor Joe Peters.)
In December of 2015, 111 properties went “under contract” in Hunterdon County, up from the 105 “under contract” properties in the prior month. During that same period, only 94 properties were newly listed. As a result, statistics compiled show an overall current supply of about 8 months (4 to 6 months is a normal market) for Hunterdon County, with an average of 101 days on the market for the units that were sold. Sales broke down as follows:
- 77 percent of sales were in houses under $500,000
- And, 23 percent of sales were in houses more than $500,000
- Only 9 percent of sales were in houses more than $700,000
Four areas in Hunterdon County reported no sales at all in the past month:
- Bethlehem Twp.
- Lebanon Twp.
And, these seven areas had only had one or two sales each last month:
- Clinton (Town)
- East Amwell
- Lebanon Boro.
At the same time, there were the several usual hot spots:
- Clinton/Clinton Township with 06 sales
- Raritan Township with 23 sales
- Readington Township with 15 sales
- Tewksbury with 10 sales
These three areas combined for nearly half of total sales in Hunterdon County last month. The average new listing coming on the market last month was at nearly $391,812 while the average price of a unit going “under contract” was at nearly $436,284 or 1% more.
Houses that are priced properly are selling. There is a current market for them with many active buyers. But more than ever, buyers and sellers need to be working with an experienced agent who has a strong grasp of the market conditions specific to your local area. I can share information on all of these statistics with you. Just call me at 908-238-0118. I can offer you knowledgeable and proven advice based upon my more than 20 years of experience, with a special emphasis on Hunterdon County. Meet Joe Peters (short video)
Other conditions impacting sales in our area are:
New Jersey Home Sales:
Home purchase demand increased in New Jersey during November, rising by 7,000 home purchase contracts vs. one year ago or plus22% , which marks the 15th increase in a row and the largest increase in November since 2005.
At the same time, the number of homes being offered for sale in New Jersey, has remained low, but has recently decreased. The supply has decreased by some 1,300 homes vs. one year ago or minus 3%. Still, there are currently 25,000 fewer (-35%) homes on the market in New Jersey than there were at our peak in NJ in 2011.
The current unsold inventory in New Jersey sits at 6.8 month vs. 8.5 month a year ago.
Current steady interest rates (combined with the fear of higher interest rates in the future) combined with the Fed’s slightly loosening lending standards seems to be driving the current market activity. This is projected to give NJ home prices a 3 to 4% rise in 2015 vs. about 1.5% in 2014.
Interest rates are holding and are at about the 4% level for a 30 year conventional mortgage. A fifteen year conventional mortgages have crept up to the mid 3% range. Five and seven year arms are in the very upper 3% range.
The combination of rising rates and slowly rising home prices is driving the current market. And, we have seen several industry experts state that the economy could support a 6 to 7% interest rate making you wonder what is coming down the pike. And, the Fed has already instituted an initial increase in rates. Most industry experts are forecasting an upper 4% number for this time next year (which would decrease buying power by about 9%).
New Jersey Job Front:
On the national level the US reached full recovery in May of 2014 and is on pace to increase 2,500,000 non-farm jobs this year.
It should be noted, due to full-time and part-time jobs being counted equally by the BLS, these numbers are misleading. Actually, the US Economy still needs to create an additional 3 Million jobs to achieve the same employment situation that existed prior to the start of the recession.
NJ job growth increase by 7,000+ jobs in November. This would give NJ a good pace of recovery if it holds for the balance of the year. As a result, the state is on pace to recover 60,000+ non-farm jobs in 2015 (the best in 15 years) and recover jobs lost in the recession by 2017 (3 years later than the national level) and has only recovered about 80% of those jobs to date.
Rental Market Trends:
Restrictive mortgage standards have forced younger age buyers (millennials) to postpone their transition to home ownership until later in life than was previously seen. For the most part, these potential have been living with mom and dad or sharing rentals with others in the same situation.
This trend is coming to an end and these millennials are starting to enter the market as first time buyers. The average age of our first time buyer is reported to have risen from 29 to 37 years over the past five years.
And, many older age households are selling their homes and moving into rentals to close their gap in underfunded retirement plans which were affected by the recent economic downturns.
The net result of these actions are continuing to cause rental prices to quickly rise in New Jersey and keeping rental inventory extremely low (we currently have a 3.2% vacancy rate).
NJ continues to face very high foreclosure rate filings while other states have begun to, or already have recovered.
This figure varies widely by local market. It is also impacted greatly in areas hit particularly hard by hurricane Sandy (which was just about three years ago).
The percentage of delinquent mortgage loans in NJ has declined slightly to just under eight percent (which is down from 11.4% three years earlier). This ranks NJ as number one in the country followed by NY and then FL, MI , ME, MD and RI. Nationally this number is just around 3.4%.
NJ is experiencing an increased rate in foreclosure filing while most states are seeing the reverse of this. In 2104 there was a 66% increase over the prior year and in 2015 it is on pace to add an additional 77,000+ filings. These foreclosures will add pressure to home prices (especially in areas where they are concentrated).
The positive news is that in a market starved for inventory, these foreclosures are now only selling at a small discount.
We still have fewer listings, an a very active buyer market for this late in the fall, stable to increasing prices in some of the most popular price points and increasing interest + slightly loosening lending standards. The result is a mixed market based on location and price point, but very active for this time of the year. The foreclosures are to some extent helping to offset the fewer listings. As a result, prices have continued to rise.
Note: The information presented is deemed accurate but not reliable or guaranteed. Reasonable precautions were taken in the preparation and presentation of this information to ensure accuracy, but the author assumed no liability for any actions taken based on this information. Some opinions expressed represent forecasts of economic conditions as the impact real estate values. All such information is solely conjecture and should be regarded as opinion only and not serve as the sole basis of any financial decision.