Hunterdon County NJ Real Estate Market Conditions October 2018

Hunterdon County NJ Real Estate Market Conditions October 2018

Hunterdon County NJ Real Estate Market Conditions October 2018

Hunterdon County's Real Estate Market Conditions

The Hunterdon County NJ Residential Real Estate Market Conditions October 2018 Report, compiled by Joe Peters, walks people through the economic and human behaviors that influence local markets. You will come away knowing what is happening and why and be better informed to make home buying and selling decisions.

What is happening?

  1. Clinton Township
  2. Flemington
  3. Raritan Township
  4. Readington Township
  5. Clinton

Based on the last full month’s contract sales, statistics show a supply of approximately six months. Normal market conditions average four to six months in Hunterdon County.  Units going under contract averaged 72 days on the market. 149 properties went “under contract” in September, down from 173 in the prior month. Newly listed properties in the same period totaled 212.

Hunterdon County Inventory Breakdown By Price For Last Month:

New Listings Under Contract Active Listings Months Supply
Condos/Town Houses * 42 34 118 3
Over 55 Communities * 5 4 17 4
$000K to $199K 19 30 82 3
$200K to $299K 35 31 119 4
$300K to $399K 35 43 132 3
$400K to $499K 39 19 145 8
$500K to $599K 33 14 162 12
$600K to $699K 21 6 107 18
$700K to $799K 5 4 46 12
$800K to $899K 10 1 40 40
$900K to $999K 3 1 25 25
$1,000K and Up 12 0 67
Totals for September 212 149 925 6
Average Price $502,069 $351,814 -29.9%
Average DOM 72
* Included in $ breakdowns

Hunterdon County Sales Breakdown Overview:

  • 83% of sales in houses < $500,000
  • 17 % of sales in houses > $500,000
  • 04 % percent of total sales (or 6 in total) in houses >$700,000

Hunterdon County Inventory Breakdown By Municipality For Last Month:

Active Listings Under Contract Month’s Supply
Alexandria Twp. 45 11 4
Bethlehem Twp. 30 7 4
Bloomsbury Boro. 11 3 4
Califon Boro. 7 1 7
Clinton Town 8 6 1
Clinton Twp. 92 14 7
Delaware Twp. 45 3 15
East Amwell Twp. 30 4 8
Flemington Boro. 14 7 2
Franklin Twp. 26 4 7
Frenchtown Boro. 11 0
Glen Gardner Boro. 15 5 3
Hampton Boro 10 1 10
High Bridge Boro. 16 3 5
Holland twp. 34 5 7
Kingwood Twp. 30 7 4
Lambertville City 29 6 5
Lebanon Boro. 3 2 2
Lebanon Twp. 47 5 9
Milford Boro. 15 2 8
RaritanTwp. 151 20 8
Readington Twp. 94 15 6
Stockton Boro. 2 0
Tewksbury Twp. 103 5 21
Union Twp. 44 8 6
West Amwell Twp. 13 5 3
Totals 925 149 6
Two areas in Hunterdon County reported no sales reported in the past month:
  • Frenchtown
  • Stockton

Three areas reported one or 2 sales each last month:

  • Califon
  • Hampton
  • Lambertville

Hotspots:

  • Clinton/Clinton Township – 20 sales
  • Raritan Township – 20 sales
  • Readington Township – 15 sales

Hotspot areas equaled 37% of the sales last month. The average new listing coming on the market last month neared $502,069. The average price of a unit going “under contract” neared $351,814 (30% less).

Note: To get an accurate price point for your property, contact me. Coldwell Banker’s big data technology capabilities will put you at an advantage. Plus, we can now tell you where people are moving into your area from and market to that area directly.  Houses priced and marketed accurately sell fast, especially with a real estate industry veteran and local expert helping you navigate the process.

Why is it happening?

New Jersey’s Economic Drivers:

New Jersey Home Sales:

For the first time in three years, we have seen an improvement in the inventory situation (but is still below what is needed).  Let’s hope that it is the beginning of a trend.

An increase of .8% in home sales in NJ in Year to Date. This increase is being held back by a lack of inventory (the shelves are empty at the entry levels).

Activity concentrates in the under $400,000 market where Millennial buyers transition into home ownership. During the same period, all housing sales showed increases across all other price points showing confidence in the changes made on taxes and deregulation. There has also been an improvement at the very high end in towns where rail service to Manhattan is available.

At the same time, the number of homes offered for sale in New Jersey remained low (and dropped by 2% last month). The supply decreased by ~ nearly 750 homes, compared to a year ago.  Currently, ~31,000 fewer homes are on the market compared to the 2011 peak.

Current unsold inventory in New Jersey varies widely by county with some having only three months.  No county presently has more than nine months of supply.  The average was at 4.1 months compared to 4.1 months a year ago.

We still have an acute shortage of inventory in both Hunterdon and Somerset county in our more popular price points and locations which is the under $400k market.

Hunterdon and Somerset County have 1% more and 1% less inventory respectively than a year ago.  And, those counties have about 9 and 12% less inventory respectively than two years ago.

And, we have seen some initial gentle  “pull back” in 2018 as a reaction to what is considered “price sensitivity” towards some of the existing inventory.

Also, we are now seeing some millennials coming back into our local markets and buying homes (good news).

 

Interest Rates:

Interest rates are rising as a result of our strong economy.

The economy is strengthening, and Interest rates at the end of July rose slightly to around 4.65% for a 30-year conventional mortgage. A fifteen-year conventional mortgage rests at just over the 4% mark. Five-year arms are just under the 3.925% range.

Consumer fears of steadily rising interest rates and slowly rising home prices are driving the current market demand. The Fed already instituted several initial increases in rates and are talking about additional ones. Industry analysts forecast to be nearly 5% by the end of 2018, and 5.5% by the end of 2019. If the rate increases from 4% to 5%, buyers will lose 9% of their buying power and have already lost 6% with rate increases over the past few months.

The fear of increasing interest rates coupled with steadily increases in prices is current market activity.

 

National Job Front:

US unemployment rate has recently dropped to 3.7%, the lowest it has been in forty-nine years (since 1969)! And, there are forecasts that it will drop further.  This trend is expected to continue as a result of the recent tax and jobs reform.

On the national level, the US added nearly 1,650,000+ jobs in January thru August of 2018 and is trending towards 2.4 million added jobs by year-end (a nine percent increase over the prior year)

At the end of July, there were 6.9+ Million openings compared to nearly 6.2 Million unemployed persons, with unemployment being the lowest since December of 2000.

And the GDP is now more than 4% and predicted to keep expanding.

Consumer confidence is the highest since 2004.

Great news for the housing industry!

 

New Jersey Job Front:

The NJ unemployment rate stayed steady to 4.2%, bolstering consumer confidence in NJ as well.  In effect, NJ is rising with the national tide of nearly full employment.

NJ added 1,600 jobs in August, and 49,000+ jobs have been added in NJ year to date 2018 as compared to 31,000 for the same period in 2017, and if it continues, NJ could add over 70,000 jobs by year-end.

The level of jobs created was at a much higher level than in the past several years (a silver lining as these additions can afford to buy houses eventually?).

It also should be noted that these jobs are mostly in the northern half of the state.

 

Rental Market Trends:

We still have an extremely tight rental market!

Prior restrictive mortgage standards nudged Millennials to postpone home ownership in life later than previously seen. These potential buyers live with parents or share rentals. We are starting to see them now re-enter the rental and first-time buyer markets. The average age of our first-time buyer changed from the late 20’s to the mid 30’s over the past five years.  Older Americans impacted by underfunded retirement plans due to the economic downturn rent houses too.

Rental prices in New Jersey rose ~ 5% in 2017, averaging nearly $1,500 per unit. Current vacancy rates in New Jersey rose to 2.7% with the in northern and southern NY and Philadelphia at 4+%.

We have seen a 2Q2018 rise in rental prices in Central NJ of 2.8% alone. With the demand being what it is, we see new construction in this sector rise almost 400%.

The drop in New Jersey’s homeownership contributes to rental demand.  A 12+ year trend shows a decrease from  71% to 66%.  This 7% decrease compared to an 8% national decrease contributes to the slower recovery of home prices in the state and adds over 20,000+ additional renters in our state. However, the 71% level was a result of the loose lending standards of the early 2000’s and is actually at a good level.  Households with no children stand at 65%, reflecting the decline in our school population.

One article states that the average homeowner has a net wealth of over $230K while the same for a renter is only around $5K.  It also offers a stable place to live, an evident hedge against inflation and way to build wealth (a strong argument for home ownership).

However, the number of renters has increased by 7% over the past 25 years with the less educated leading the way.  And, we are now seeing more educated millennials moving east into higher rent and cost of living areas that eat into to their discretionary income (including savings).  Makes one wonder where this all is heading…

 

New Jersey Foreclosures:

New Jersey continues to face high foreclosure rate filings. Other states have begun to, or already have recovered. In a tight real estate market, these foreclosures sell at a small discount.

Note:  Figures vary by local market, especially those walloped by Hurricane Sandy three years ago and rural and urban areas. We rank #3 in the country at 2.8%, led by FL with 4.3% (mostly hurricane-related) & NY and followed by LA, MS, ME, DE, and PA.  The national baseline number sits at ~ 1.7%.

2017 foreclosure filings decreased slightly to 70,150+ or -5%, putting pressure on home prices in concentrated areas.  Base on the year to date results for 2018 could fall another 7% to around 65,000 filings.

 

Tax cuts and Jobs Act effect:

Three specific areas had appeared were concerns:

  1. State and Local Taxes (SALT) are now limited to a $10,000 deduction going forward.
  2. Mortgage and Interest Deductions (MID) are now limited to a maximum principal balance of $750,000.
  3. Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) Loan interest deductions is for the most part eliminated

The SALT fears were offset by the lower tax brackets.  It would appear that this was an unwarranted fear.

Although it is still too early to tell how these areas will impact total 2018 real estate values in New Jersey, they are sure to have some impact. New Jersey is one of the highest taxed states in the union, and our home values are also some of the highest. How this affects each of us on an individual basis needs to be better understood as there is some trade-off such as higher deductions and overall lower income brackets.

The higher income luxury market is probably most at risk.  It appears that you have to earn $400K and own $1 million property. And, there are some people in NJ that do, and they will be affected.  But, how it affects the overall incentive to own a home is still unfolding.

There were several proposals on the new tax code, and most consumers are not up to date on what passed.  It will take time for this information to be digested.

It also is evident that the out-migration from New Jersey to other more affordable states has continued.

In a nutshell, these changes appear to be having little impact to date, but there will be some very high-end people affected, and that will, in turn, affect that market…

That effect might slow the price growth in higher priced homes NJ and even turn into a deficit in some most affluent areas.

 

Real Estate Market Recap 

 

Economic conditions:

  • 2017 was the seventh straight year of 2 million + job gains.
  • Although improving in 2018, the NJ job situation had been declining for the past two years.
  • At 4.2% unemployment, NJ is almost 12% above the national average which is currently 3.7% (and forecasted to go down further).
  • The best paying and most attractive jobs are in NYC attracting the millennials in that direction.
  • Interest rates have already risen .75% since the first of the year are forecasted to rise another .25 to .5% by year’s end, taking almost 10% away from buyers buying power.
  • And, house prices are rising 6+ % in the popular housing price points further exasperating the situation.
  • Baby boomers are choosing to “stay put’ and update rather than “move up” to their dream house as it is no longer considered a sound investment (and a lot of times is simply not available) which is causing most of the housing shortage.
  • And there is no entry level construction going on in our area.  Just larger homes and new rentals.
  • As a result of the previous two points, we are experiencing the current housing inventory shortage (as stated earlier, the shelves are empty in our starter housing price points).
  • Foreclosures are on the decline and to some extent are helping to offset fewer listings.
  • Also, there is confidence that the new tax and jobs act will further stimulate the economy with more jobs as the economy remains robust.
  • The new tax rules appear only to affect our very higher-end buyers.

Changes in lifestyle:

  • Average age at marriage is now in the mid to late 30’s (up seven years from just a decade ago).
  • Families usually have only one to two children due to costs and the ability to choose.
  • 65% of all NJ homes have no children of school age.
  • 50% do not have more than one person in them.
  • Demand for larger houses has diminished not only in NJ but everywhere.
  • As a result of the job situation, buyers are gravitating to areas within 15 miles of NYC with good mass transportation systems.
  • 80% of consumers still perceive homeownership as part of the American Dream.
  • It is just what they want to buy (or rent) that has changed.
  • Builders have been thinking 4 BR center hall colonials on 1+ acre in the country.
  • Buyers are thinking luxury hi-rise close to mass transportation and work (truly a mismatch).
  • And, for the first time in history, Hunterdon County (which has been declining in population) has reported more deaths than births in 2017.

Market conditions:

  • We are starting to see some warnings of an economic slowdown starting in late 2020 as the fed raises interest rates to curb inflation.
  • The effect on housing will probably be limited to curtailing the growth in appreciation and no loss in value.
  • But, in general, homeowners are sitting with more equity than ever (NJ reports 92% with positive equity) and are no longer using their homes as an ATM.  So, the effect of any slowdown on housing should be minimal (if at all).
  • Consumer confidence remains extremely high nation-wide based on the job and stock market increases.
  • This confidence is reflected in buyer traffic being up at open houses.  However, with lack of inventory, there are fewer houses for sale.
  • Affordability will never be in this good of shape as interest and price increases start to eat into what you can afford.
  • Millennials make up 24% of our current homeowners with much more room for expansion at the lower end of the market when adequate inventory supply materializes.
  • Central New Jersey’s trend for 2016 and early 2017 showed a surge in home sales but price increases only in houses clustered in < $500,000 market where the first-time buyers and Millennials are focused.
  • The >$600K market holds steady to diminishing slightly, depending on location and price.  Often when a >$600K property goes on the market, it’s competing with a >$700K that needs to sell quickly (etc.). The extreme high-end market has also seen some appreciation in 2018 so far.
  • Minimal new construction, lack of entry-level new housing and COAH restrictions add additional value to the current inventory.
  • Analysts five-year forecast indicates slow and steady price growth at an annual average of 3 to 4%.  This is higher in the under $400K market.
  • There is an acute shortage of inventory in both Hunterdon and Somerset County. In our more popular price points and locations, this holds back sales.  In general, we have only about 50% of the inventory that we had in 2011.
  • If we had more inventory, we could sell more houses.  It is simple.  And, we have started to see inventory increase over the past two months. As a result, 2019 can be a boom for resales.
  • In 2017 prices rose ~ averaging just over 3.5% and depending on price points and locations.  2018 promises to be even stronger and closer to 5 %(without factoring in any tax impact).
  • Mortgage delinquency is normalizing.

Forecast:

  • The economy will continue to prosper with no recession currently in sight for the next 24 + months.  And, there most likely will be only an impact on the rate of price appreciation if this happens.
  • Interest rates will Climb to about 5% by year-end further decreasing buying power.
  • Home prices will rise by an average of another 3% during that same period (this will depend on your price point and location) further decreasing buying power.
  • Supply will remain tight in the more popular price points in the residential real estate.
  • Many new jobs seem to be resulting from the Tax and Jobs act (look at the help wanted signs).
  • For the first time in memory, the US is reporting 6.8+ million open jobs and only 6 million unemployed.
  • We now need to match the skills of the unemployed to the job openings to prosper further as many four year degrees currently being obtained, are not useful in the current job market. It may also open up the need for inward migration of workers to out the economy.
  • The affordability index shows that there is room for much more sales, we need the increase in inventory.  The most affordable time to buy is now!
  • Some decrease in moderate prices home ownership could result in the raising of the standard deduction.
  • Some high-end fall-out could result in the residential real estate from the SALT and mortgage interest changes in the Tax and Jobs act.
  • The commercial real estate market will flourish as a result of creating more buying demand.
  • Mid-term elections effect is a total unknown at this point.
  • People in their home > 10 years have very positive home equity built up, and a more significant portion of payments applies to principle.  Increases in selling prices should eventually motivate people to make changes in their lifestyle by investing in summer homes or even start a new business with the extra equity cash.

 

Note:  Presented as a public service by Joe Peters of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. I took reasonable precautions for presenting this information. Please consult with a professional sales agent and take no actions based on my opinions, gathered trends, and statistics.  I assume no liability.

 


Presented as a public service by:

Joe Peters Logo
 


Real Estate Market Update Hunterdon County, NJ

Hunterdon County’s Real Estate Market Conditions | March of 2018

Hunterdon County’s Real Estate Market Conditions | March of 2018

Hunterdon County's Real Estate Market Conditions

Get ahead of the real estate market economic and behavior drivers in Hunterdon County, New Jersey with Coldwell Banker Residential Broker sales associate, Joe Peters.

This Market Update will not only show you what is happening in your local market area, but it will also explain why it is happening and what is contributing to these results.

What is happening

 

Hunterdon County New Jersey Real Estate Market Conditions (including):

  1. Clinton Township
  2. Flemington
  3. Raritan Township
  4. Readington Township
  5. Clinton

Based on the last full month’s contract sales, statistics show a supply of approximately five months. Normal market conditions average four to six months in Hunterdon County.  Units going under contract averaged 66 days on the market. 144 properties went “under contract” in February, up from 107 in the prior month. Newly listed properties in the same period totaled 204.

Hunterdon County Inventory Breakdown By Price For Last Month:

New Listings Under Contract Active Listings Supply
Condos/Town Houses * 42 47 100 2
Over 55 Communities * 3 3 16 5
$000K to $199K 23 23 91 4
$200K to $299K 31 36 97 3
$300K to $399K 36 26 100 4
$400K to $499K 33 25 88 4
$500K to $599K 27 19 97 5
$600K to $699K 24 6 78 13
$700K to $799K 16 5 45 9
$800K to $899K 3 1 13 13
$900K to $999K 4 1 21 21
$1,000K and Up 7 2 55 28
Totals for February 204 144 685 5
Average Price $485,659 $391,528 -19.4%
Average DOM 66
* Included in $ breakdowns

Hunterdon County Sales Breakdown Overview:

  • 76 % of sales in houses < $500,000
  • 24% of sales in houses > $500,000
  • 06 % percent of total sales (or 9 in total) in houses >$700,000

Hunterdon County Inventory Breakdown By Municipality For Last Month:

Active Listings Under Contract Month’s Supply
Alexandria Twp. 27 5 5
Bethlehem Twp. 20 4 5
Bloomsbury Boro. 10 1 10
Califon Boro. 3 2 2
Clinton Town 16 2 8
Clinton Twp. 68 19 4
Delaware Twp. 33 5 7
East Amwell Twp. 24 5 5
Flemington Boro. 12 4 3
Franklin Twp. 16 6 3
Frenchtown Boro. 21 0
Glen Gardner Boro. 12 3 4
Hampton Boro 13 1 13
High Bridge Boro. 16 2 8
Holland twp. 24 8 3
Kingwood Twp. 23 2 12
Lambertville City 19 6 3
Lebanon Boro. 4 5 1
Lebanon Twp. 34 8 4
Milford Boro. 6 0
RaritanTwp. 93 28 3
Readington Twp. 83 18 5
Stockton Boro. 3 0
Tewksbury Twp. 67 5 13
Union Twp. 29 5 6
West Amwell Twp. 9 0
Totals 685 144 5

Hunterdon County Sales Breakdown Detailed:

Four areas in Hunterdon County reported no sales in the past month:

  • Frenchtown
  • Milford
  • Stockton
  • W. Amwell

Six areas reported one or 2 sales each last month:

  • Bloomsbury
  • Califon
  • Clinton (town)
  • Hampton
  • High Bridge
  • Kingwood

Hotspots:

  • Clinton/Clinton Township – 21 sales
  • Raritan Township – 28 sales
  • Readington Township – 18 sales

Hotspot areas equaled 47% of the sales last month. The average new listing coming on the market last month neared $485,659. The average price of a unit going “under contract” neared $392,528 (19% less).

Note: To get an accurate price point for your property, contact me. Coldwell Banker’s big data technology capabilities will put you at an advantage. Plus, we can now tell you where people are moving into your area from and market to that area directly.  Houses priced and marketed accurately sell fast, especially with a real estate industry veteran and local expert helping you navigate the process.

 

The initial section of this Market Report reported on “What” is happening.

This section will focus on “Why” it is happening

 

New Jersey’s Economic Drivers:

New Jersey Home Sales:

Home purchase demand for February in New Jersey reached the highest point on record and representing a 2% increase over the prior year

The effect of the new Tax and Jobs Act is still being digested and may slow things down while this takes place.

Activity concentrates in the <$400,000 market where Millennial buyers transition into home ownership. During the same period, all housing sales showed increases across all price points showing confidence in the new administration’s plans on taxes and deregulation. There has also been some improvement at the very high end in towns where rail service to Manhattan is available.

At the same time, the number of homes offered for sale in New Jersey remained low and had recently decreased. The supply decreased by ~ 4,400 homes, compared to a year ago.  Currently, ~39,000 fewer (-53%) homes are on the market compared to the 2011 peak.

Current unsold inventory in New Jersey sits at just under 4.7 months vs. 5.5 months from a year ago.

We have an acute shortage of inventory in both Hunterdon and Somerset county in our more popular price points and locations.

Hunterdon County has ~13% less inventory, and Somerset County has ~ 13% less inventory than a year ago.  And, both counties have about 22% less inventory than two years ago.

The fear of increasing interest rates based on future increases and the Fed’s slightly loosening lending standards are driving the current market activity.

 

Interest Rates:

The economy is strengthening and Interest rates at the end of February rose slightly to just over 4.4% for a 30-year conventional mortgage (highest since 2014). A fifteen-year conventional mortgage rests at just under the 34.125% range. Five-year arms are just under the 4.0% range.

Consumer fears of steadily rising rates and slowly rising home prices impact the current market. The Fed already instituted initial increases in rates and are talking about additional ones. Industry analysts forecast to be nearly 5% by the end of 2018, and 5.5% by the end of 2019. If the rate increases from 4% to 5%, buyers will lose 9% of their buying power and have already lost .6% with rate increases over the past few months.

Combine this  with the steadily increasing prices and consumer confidence, and you have what is driving our current market activity

 

National Job Front:

US unemployment rate is 4.1%. The lowest it has been in over seventeen years and new claims are the lowest in 44 years! This trend is expected to continue as a result of the recent tax reform.

On the national level, we reached full recovery in May of 2014 with 2,700,000+ job gains in 2015. Revised figures show a gain of 2,242,000+ in 2016.  Expectations of 2,100,000 jobs in 2017 leave us at  -5% from 2016.

  • The national U-3 unemployment rate stands at 4.1%
  • U-6 unemployment rate stands at 8.2%

 

Note: Due to full-time and part-time jobs counted equally by the BLS, numbers differ.  The US economy still needs to create an additional 2,600,000 jobs to reach the same employment rate that existed before the start of the 2007 to 2009 recession.

But, the momentum is building, and the result is consumer confidence is the highest since 2004. Great news for the housing industry!

 

New Jersey Job Front:

NJ unemployment rate increased to 5.0%, bolstering consumer confidence remains high in NJ as well.

In January, NJ added 6,400 jobs.

New Jersey job growth increased by 65,000+ in 2015, the best in 15 years. Based on those numbers, New Jersey’s recession losses would recover by 2017.  To date, we reached 96% of projected numbers. Finalized projected numbers showed 59,000 in 2016. Still good!  Although we still trail the nation, we’re are on pace to add only 23,000 jobs in 2017 vs. the 59,000 in 2016 (- 61%).

Although these numbers are disappointing, the level of jobs created was at a much higher level than in the past several years (a silver lining?).

It also should be noted that these jobs are concentrated in the northern half of the state.

 

Rental Market Trends:

We still have an extremely tight rental market!

Prior restrictive mortgage standards nudged Millennials to postpone home ownership in life later than previously seen. These potential buyers live with parents or share rentals. We are starting to see them now re-enter the rental and first-time buyer markets. The average age of our first-time buyer changed from 29 to 37 years over the past five years.  Older Americans impacted by underfunded retirement plans due to the economic downturn rent houses too.

Rental prices in New Jersey rose ~ 4% in 2017, averaging over $1,500 per unit. Current vacancy rates in central New Jersey rest at 3.5% with the national at 4.5%.

The drop in New Jersey’s homeownership contributes to rental demand.  A 12+ year trend shows a decrease from  71% to 64%.  This 7% decrease compared to an 8% national decrease contributes to the slower recovery of home prices in the state and adds over 200,000 additional renters in our state.  Households with no children stands at 65%, reflected in our school population.

 

New Jersey Foreclosures:

New Jersey continues to face high foreclosure rate filings. Other states have begun to, or already have recovered. In tight real estate market, these foreclosures sell at a small discount.

Note:  Figures vary by local market, especially those walloped by Hurricane Sandy three years ago and rural and urban areas. We rank #2 in the country at 3.6%, led by only FL with 3.9% (mostly hurricane related) and followed by LA, MS, ME, TX, DE, MD, CT and PA.  The national baseline number sits at ~ 1.7%.

2017 YTD  foreclosure filings have decreased slightly with forecasts project 70,000+ or -5%, putting pressure on home prices in concentrated areas.

 

Tax cuts and Jobs Act effect:

Three specific areas are evident:

  1. State and Local Taxes (SALT) are now limited to a $10,000 deduction going forward.
  2. Mortgage and Interest Deductions (MID) are now limited to a maximum principal balance of $750,000.
  3. Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) Loan interest deductions is for the most part eliminated

Although it is too early to tell how these areas will impact real estate values in New Jersey, they are sure to have some impact. New Jersey is one of the highest taxed states in the union, and our home values are also some of the highest. How this affects each of us on an individual basis needs to be better understood as there is some trade-off such as higher deductions and overall lower income brackets.

Obviously, the higher income luxury market is probably most at risk.  But how it affects the overall incentive to own a home is still unfolding.

There were several proposals on the new tax code, and most consumers are not up to date on what actual passed.  It will take time to be digested.

It also is evident that the out-migration from New Jersey to other more affordable states has continued.

In a nutshell too early to tell, but there will be some high-end people affected, and that will, in turn, affect the market…

This effect might slow the price growth in NJ and even turn into a deficit in some more affluent areas.

 

Real Estate Market Recap 

Economic conditions:

  • 2017 was the seventh straight year of 2 million + job gains.
  • But, the NJ job situation has been declining for several years.
  • At 5% unemployment, NJ is almost 25% above the national average which is currently 4.1%.
  • The best paying and most attractive jobs are in NYC.
  • Interest rates have already risen .5% in recent months are forecasted to rise another .5% by year’s end, taking almost 10% away from buyers buying power.
  • And, house prices are rising 3+ % in the popular housing price points further exasperating the situation.
  • Baby boomers are choosing to “stay put’ rather than “move up.”
  • And there is no entry level construction going on in the area.
  • Foreclosures are on the decline and help to offset fewer listings.
  • Also, there is confidence that the new tax and jobs act will further stimulate the economy with more jobs
  • The new tax rules appear only to effect the upper-end buyers.

Changes in lifestyle:

  • Average age at marriage is now in the late 30’s (up 7 years from just a decade ago).
  • Families are usually having only one to two children.
  • 65% of all NJ homes have no children of school age.
  • 50% do not have more than 1 person in them.
  • Demand for larger houses has diminished.
  • As a result of the job situation, buyers are gravitating to areas within 15 miles of NYC with good mass transportation systems.
  • 80% of consumers still perceive homeownership as part of the American Dream.
  • It is just what they want to buy (or rent) that has changed.
  • Builders have been thinking 4 BR center hall colonials on 1+ acre in the country.
  • Buyers are thinking luxury hi-rise close to mass transportation and work.

Market conditions:

  • Consumer confidence remains extremely high nation-wide based on the job and stock market increases.
  • This confidence is reflected in buyer traffic being up at open houses
  • Millennials make up 24% of our current homeowners with more room for expansion at the lower end of the market when adequate inventory supply materializes.
  • Central New Jersey’s trend for 2016 and early 2017 showed a surge in home sales but price increases only in houses clustered in < $500,000 market where the first-time buyers and Millennials are focused.
  • The >$600K market holds steady to diminishing slightly, depending on location and price.  Often when a >$600K property goes on the market, it’s competing with a >$700K that needs to sell quickly (etc.).
  • Minimal new construction and lack of entry-level new housing add additional value to the current inventory.
  • Analysts five-year forecast indicates slow and steady price growth at an annual 3 to 4%.
  • There is an acute shortage of inventory in both Hunterdon and Somerset county (both sitting with 22% less inventory than just two years ago and 13 % less than last year). In our more popular price points and locations this holds back sales.  In general, we have only about 50% of the inventory that we had in 2011.
  • In 2017 prices rose ~ averaging just over 3.5% and depending on price points and locations.  2018 promises to be almost as strong (without factoring in any tax impact).
  • Mortgage delinquency is normalizing.

Forecast:

  • The economy will continue to prosper with no recession in sight.
  • Interest rates will Climb to about 5% by year-end further decreasing buying power.
  • Home prices will rise by an average of another 3% during that same period (this will depend on your price point and location).
  • Supply will remain tight in residential real estate.
  • New jobs will be created from the Tax and Jobs act.
  • Some decrease in home ownership could result in the raising of the standard deduction.
  • Some high-end fall-out will result in residential real estate from the SALT and mortgage interest changes in the Tax and Jobs act.
  • The commercial real estate market will flourish as a result.
  • Mid-term elections effect is a total unknown at this point.
  • People in their home > 10 years have very positive home equity built up and a more significant portion of payments applies to principle.  Increases in selling prices should eventually motivate people to make changes in their lifestyle or even start a new business with the extra equity cash.

 

Call me at 908-238-0118 to discuss your situation, and I’ll put my expertise and access to big data to work for you.

Note:  Presented as a public service by Joe Peters of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. I took reasonable precautions presenting this information. Please consult with a professional sales agent and take no actions based on my opinions, gathered trends, and statistics.  I assume no liability.

 

 


Presented as a public service by:

Joe Peters Logo
 


USAA members and their families can receive a substantial reduction on their next real estate transaction.

USAA Logo


 

 

N.J.’s Hunterdon County has the second-highest net worth in the U.S., study finds

N.J.’s Hunterdon County has the second-highest net worth in the U.S., study finds

 

Reposted from NJBIZ

Northwestern counties in New Jersey have some of the highest net worths in the state — and the country — according to a study released by financial technology company SmartAsset.

Hunterdon County led the state with an average net worth of $159,394, finishing with the highest mark in the state, based on SmartAsset’s index of net worth, and the second-highest mark in the nation. It trailed only Sumter County in Florida, thanks to residents having more than three times the county’s average income of $51,353.

Sussex County was second-highest in the state. Its average net worth of $97,682 was a significant downstep from the No. 1 spot, but it fared well in the index due to more favorable net worth percentages of income and debt.

Of New Jersey’s 21 counties, five of them were in the national Top 20 for highest net worth: Hunterdon, Sussex (8th), Somerset (14th), Morris (18th) and Ocean (19th).

SmartAsset created an index for measuring net worth by comparing average income, average debt, net worth as percentage of income and net worth as percentage of debt.

Hudson, Essex and Passaic counties made up the bottom of the list.

For more on the study, click here.

Rank County Income Debt Net Worth Net Worth as % of Income Net Worth as % of Debt Highest Net Worth Index
1 Hunterdon, NJ $51,353 $71,652 $159,394 310.4% 222.5% 78.70
2 Sussex, NJ $38,810 $55,567 $97,682 251.7% 175.8% 62.41
3 Somerset, NJ $48,791 $70,856 $114,736 235.2% 161.9% 57.75
4 Morris, NJ $49,552 $69,461 $113,693 229.4% 163.7% 56.73
5 Ocean, NJ $31,200 $44,424 $71,490 229.1% 160.9% 56.42
6 Burlington, NJ $37,255 $51,703 $75,776 203.4% 146.6% 49.83
7 Monmouth, NJ $43,469 $63,228 $85,201 196.0% 134.8% 47.24
8 Warren, NJ $34,136 $45,182 $64,090 187.8% 141.9% 46.18
9 Gloucester, NJ $34,025 $46,340 $63,420 186.4% 136.9% 45.45
10 Cape May, NJ $33,028 $44,778 $60,260 182.5% 134.6% 44.44
NJ $36,582 $56,420 $54,608 149.3% 96.8%

Presented as a public service by:

<

Hunterdon County’s Real Estate Market Conditions – as of July of 2017

         Hunterdon County’s Real Estate Market Conditions – as of July of 2017

Hunterdon County June sales active with 219 homes sold 

Below are the latest Hunterdon County’s Real Estate Market Conditions – including

Clinton Township, Flemington, Raritan Township, Readington Township and the Town of Clinton

This information is provided by courtesy of Hunterdon County Realtor Joe Peters.

In June of 2017, 219 properties went “under contract” in Hunterdon County, down from the 236 “under contract” properties in the prior month. During that same period, 287 properties were newly listed.  Based on the most current month’s contract sales, statistics compiled show an overall current supply of about 4 months (4 to 6 months is a normal market) for Hunterdon County, with an average of 66 days on the market for the units that were sold.

 

Sales broke down as follows:

  • 71 percent of sales were in houses under $500,000
  • Leaving 29 percent of sales were in houses more than $500,000
  • And, only 7 percent of those sales (or 15 sales) were in houses more than $700,000

Only two areas in Hunterdon County reported no sales at all in the past month:

  • Clinton (town)
  • Stockton

And, these four areas had only had one or two sales each last month:

  • Bloomsbury
  • Hampton
  • Lebanon Boro
  • W Amwell

At the same time, there were the several usual hot spots:

  • Clinton/Clinton Township with 17 sales
  • Raritan Township with 46 sales
  • Readington Township with 29 sales

These three areas combined for 42% of the sales in Hunterdon County last month. The average new listing coming on the market last month was at nearly $483,183 while the average price of a unit going “under contract” was at nearly $421,391 or 13% less.

Note:  In order to get a true picture of the status of your particular property, this needs to be done by price point within your specific town.  I do this as part of my research when listing a property and can do it for you.  I also can show you how the market is currently trending for your particular town.  Just give me a call.

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.

 

Other conditions impacting sales in our area are:

New Jersey Home Sales:

Home purchase demand increased by 11% in New Jersey during May after a slight decline in the prior month. This is tied to the limited number of homes on the market and these figures run about a month behind.

As there was a 9% increase in May of 2016, home sales have increased by 21% over the past two years.  May’s gain was the highest number of purchase contracts in that month over the past 12 years. And, NJ sales have increased by 6% YTD.

Activity has been most widely seen in the under $400,000 market where the millennial buyers are most active as they transition in to home ownership.  During the same period luxury housing sales showed a slight increase showing confidence in the new administration’s plans on taxes and deregulation.

At the same time, the number of homes being offered for sale in New Jersey, has remained low, and has recently decreased.  The supply has decreased by some 7,400 homes as compared to a year ago or minus 14%.  And, there are currently 28,000+ fewer (-38%) 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 just under 3.8 month vs. 4.8 months a year ago. Hunterdon County has almost 12% less inventory than just a year ago.

Current increasing 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.

At this point, it looks as if 2017 is off to a good start.

Interest Rates:

Interest rates at the end of January have recently increased to just under the 4% level at 3.9% for a 30 year conventional mortgage. A fifteen year conventional mortgages is at just under the 3.2% range. Five and seven year arms are at the 3.15% range.

The combination of the fear of steadily rising rates and slowly rising home prices is a driving factor in the current market.   And, the Fed has already instituted initial increases in rates and are currently talking about more to come. Most industry experts are forecasting  a 4.7% rate by the end of the year, 5% by the end of of 2018 and 5.5% by the end of 2019. If the rate merely increases form 4% to 5%, buyers will loose 9% of their buying power.

National and New Jersey Job Front:

On the national level the US reached full recovery in May of 2014 and saw an increase of 2,700,000+ in 2015. Revised figures show a gain of 2,242,000+ in 2016 (a decrease of 17% from 2015) . And, we are on track to add 2.3000,000 jobs in 2017.  In May 138,000 jobs were added based on preliminary figures which was under the 185,000 expected.

The national U-3 unemployment rate stand at 4.3% at the end of May.  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 nearly an additional 2.6+ Million jobs to achieve the same employment situation that existed prior to the start of the 2007 to 2009 recession and the U-6 unemployment rate actually stand at 8.5+%

NJ job growth increase by 65,000+ jobs in 2015 (the best in 15 years). At that pace, NJ was on track to recover all of its jobs lost in the recession by 2017 (3 years later than the national level) and has recovered about 96% of those jobs to date.

Finalized numbers show that this number was more in the range of 59,000 in 2016 (also good).

In March and May, NJ reported large decreases in jobs jobs resulting in a net increase of jobs in the first five months of 2017 of only 100 as compared to 15,700 over the same period in the prior year.

The NJ unemployment rate has decreased slightly to 4.1% which is now under the overall US rate of 4.3%.

NJ still trails the nation and is currently trending flat job growth for the year.

Still consumer confidence in NJ seems to remain high.

Rental Market Trends:

Prior 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 buyers have been living with mom and dad or sharing rentals with others in the same situation.

Yet, we are starting to see them now re-enter the rental and first time buyer markets.

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 (about +10% annually) and keeping rental inventory extremely low. We currently have a 2.3% vacancy rate in central NJ (with the average rental price topping $1,300) as compared the state vacancy rate of 3.8%.

Contributing to the demand in rentals is the drop in home ownership in NJ which has dropped from 71% to 62% over the past 12+ years.  This is a drop of nearly 13% in NJ as compared to a drop of nearly 8% at the national level and contributes to the slower recovery of home prices in the state.  Also affecting it is the increase in 1 or 2 person households that have no children (now 65%).  This is also reflected in our school population.

As a result of this shift, there are now nearly 300,000 more renters in NJ and very few rental available.

Foreclosures:

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).

NJ still ranks as number one in the country at 4.6% followed by NY and then LA, MS , ME, FL, MD and DE.  Nationally this number is just around 1.7%.

NJ experienced a slightly decreased rate in foreclosure filings. In 2016 there was a 3% decrease over the prior year and added an additional nearly 71,100 filings as compared to 76,800 in 2015.  In 2017 foreclosure filings in NJ are forecasted to be in the vicinity 0f 78,000. These foreclosures will continue to 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.

Recap:

Last year, 2016 was not a normal year from the elections viewpoint to the US and NJ economy viewpoint.

And, we did not have a severe winter which has kept the buyers out (also not normal).

2017 has started off strong with increases in the stock market, interest rates and, as a result, an increased consumer confidence.  The affordability index is also fueling this confidence.

Yet, industry forecasters are concerned that this confidence could begin to diminish as interest rates and prices continue to rise.

We saw surge in home sales  (but not prices) in central NJ in 2016 and early 2017.  Especially in the sub $400,000 market.  We are plagued my not having enough inventory in those more popular price points and these sales increases could be even better if we had more inventory.  But, as inventory builds up as prices continue to rise (and people are no longer under water), this should have a positive effect on prices.  In 2016 we saw a less than 1% rise in prices in NJ.  In 2017 prices have already risen by about 3% in the more popular price points. And, it is dependent on location and price point.

Year over year in 2017 we have seen a 3% rise so far and it is predicted the this should rise to 5% by end of year in NJ.  Once again, this dependent on location and price point

We are also seeing people in their home over 10 years thinking about making a change.   They were reluctant over the past five or so years because of the poor economy.  Their equity has built back up and they now can more comfortably make a change and is now rising greatly as the portion of payments going towards principal has increased.

We are seeing the most effect on prices in the under $400K markets where the first time buyers and millennials are shopping.  The just over $500K market is holding steady to diminishing slightly depending on location and price.  A lot of times when a $500K property come on the market, it is completing with a $600K that really needs to sell is and now in the $500s competing with them (and so on…). And, in the higher price points there is definite pressure on pricing.

There is also minimal new construction in  our area which adds additional value to the current inventory.

And, the foreclosures are to some extent helping to offset the fewer listings.

Net, net:  As either a seller or buyer, the time could not be better to be in the market.  We still have low (but increasing) interest rates, a pent up demand from both a buyer and seller viewpoint and a very active market with increasing prices in the more popular price points.  Give me a call at 908-238-0118 to discuss your particular situation and let me put my expertise to work for you.

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.

Request a monthly copy of this newsletter to be sent to you here. 


4th of July fireworks

Where to celebrate the Fourth of July in Hunterdon County

Reposted from NJAdvancedMedia

Where to celebrate the Fourth of July in Hunterdon County
There are several places to enjoy Fourth of July fireworks in Hunterdon County.

  • Lambertville and New Hope have fireworks on the Delaware at 9:30 p.m. on July 1; delawarerivertowns.com
  • Flemington-Raritan Parks and Recreation hosts fireworks at 9 p.m. July 3 at Reading Fleming Intermediate School in Flemington. Rain date July 5; flemingtonraritanparks.org
  • Lebanon’s Fourth of July Parade, the oldest in the county, steps off at 10 a.m. on July 4 and moves west along Main Street, down Myrtle and Brunswick avenues. Roads into the borough close at 9 a.m.; lebanonboro4thofjulyparade.com
  • There will be fireworks at the Califon Fire Company’s carnival on July 6 and 8; califonfire.org

Hunterdon County’s first attempt at celebrating the Fourth of July did not go as planned. Back in 1876, when the idea to have a Hunterdon County-wide July 4 celebration was first floated, it had everyone “kerflumixed,” according to the Hunterdon County Democrat.

Instead, the paper reported: “Today is the 4th – when our whole people should be united in shouting! So long a period of prosperity in our glorious Republic. But instead, the county celebration is in the hands of Young America to indulge in fire crackers and powder. That will be all to remind us of our 100th birthday.”

The ultimate N.J. fireworks guide

Pyrotechnics, parades and more, for more than 160 events in all 21 counties

The biggest celebration of the Fourth of July in 1901 in Hunterdon County was in Sergeantsville, “when the celebrated Germanic 25-piece band entertained, many historical anecdotes were related, and there were fireworks in the field next to Williamson’s Grove. It was a success in every way except financial.”

Fourth of July celebrations were hampered by a truck drivers’ strike in 1951.

“Only one store in Flemington had bread of any kind at 5 p.m. Tuesday when the pre-holiday rush for foodstuffs was on,” according to the Democrat. “The Acme Store received an extra shipment from the company’s Philadelphia bakeries but by 5 o’clock it was nearly gone.

“None of the other county seat food stores had a single loaf of bread, a hot dog or hamburger roll. Reason for the scarcity of the staff of life was the AFL bakery truck drivers’ strike in New York City and metropolitan New Jersey. By Tuesday the strike had hit Trenton, but not Philadelphia.”

Hunterdon once had no interest in Fourth of July

Hunterdon County was not always so fast to celebrate the Fourth of July.

The outcome was much better in 1976, during the nation’s Bicentennial celebration, when “Only a brief but heavy shower in the late afternoon and a monumental traffic jam after the fireworks marked an otherwise perfect day and night Fourth of July show at the Fairgrounds (in Flemington).

“The traffic jam developed close to 11 p.m. after more than an hour-long fireworks show, judged by most to be the longest and most resplendent in Hunterdon history, thanks to Dean Iorio and his crew.”


Presented as a public service by Joe Peters of Coldwell Banker

Call Joe at (908) 238-0118


 

Market Conditions in Hunterdon County
Guides to buying or selling your home
Marker conditions in Somerset County