Keeping Current Matters

National Association of Realtors

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Real Estate Facts for 2010 From NJAR

EDISON — The turn of a new year comes with both question and promise regarding New Jersey real estate. To prepare for the year ahead, the New Jersey Association of Realtors (NJAR) has assembled a list of 10 facts regarding the current state of real estate to offer some perspective on what to expect in 2010.

"NJAR's quarterly housing statistics over the past year have generally indicated home sales rising and prices stabilizing throughout the state," said NJAR 2010 President Judy Appleby. "These increases in buyer activity should spur further confidence in Garden State housing. Plus, expiration of the federal home buyer tax credit in April should spark a dramatic spring buying season that will hopefully set the tone for the remainder of the year in many of New Jersey's various markets."

1) First-time buyers are taking action, and for good reason. In 2009, first-time buyers made up 52 percent of the New Jersey real estate market, compared to 49 percent in 2008 and 36 percent in 2007. First-timers were spurred by high affordability, low rates, and the $8,000 federal tax credit, which has been extended to April 30, 2010. An estimated 45,700 first-time buyers took advantage of the credit last year, and it is expected to be a strong incentive for first-time buyers early this year.

Source: 2009 Profile of NJ Buyers and Sellers

2) Homes in the Garden State are a good investment. The seven-year home appreciation rate in New Jersey is 37.1 percent, more than five times the national rate of 7.1 percent. Likely due to the inherent advantages that the Garden State has to offer (great schools, unique neighborhoods, proximity to New York and Philadelphia, and access to the shore), New Jersey outperforms the national average in home appreciation.

Source: NJ Market Summary, June 2009

3) It's a great time to trade up. The 2009 federal tax credit for first-time buyers has been expanded to include repeat buyers. That means that existing homeowners can qualify for up to $6,500 (or $3,200 for those filing separately) when they buy a home - a significant incentive to trade up to that dream home.

4) Waiting for prices to drop could cost you. A buyer obtaining a 30-year mortgage of $300,000 today at a 5 percent interest rate will pay approximately $1,610 each month in principal and interest. If that same buyer waits until sale prices drop five percent, he/she runs the risk of interest rates going up. A 30-year mortgage of $285,000 at a 6 percent interest rate will cost the buyer $1,708 per month in principal and interest. Those few percentage points can equate to thousands of dollars over the course of a mortgage.

5) Owning a home in New Jersey builds long-term wealth. New Jersey home buyers who purchased their homes seven years ago accumulated an average of $81,100 in home equity. Over the last decade (1998-2008), the median prices of homes in almost every metropolitan statistical area that covers the state have more than doubled.


6) It's a prime time to buy a second home. Especially in a state like New Jersey, with a great second home market in shore towns and other vacation destinations, now is a great time to purchase a second home. The 2009 median price of a second home in New Jersey was $246,300. Because of the relatively high amount of inventory, there are plenty of affordable options that, when paired with low interest rates, could be once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Who wouldn't want their investment to double as a vacation getaway and a foundation to build lasting memories?

Source: 2009 Profile of New Jersey Buyers and Sellers

7) There is still time to take advantage of historically low interest rates. Many experts agree that the rates won't stay too low for long, but there is still time in early 2010 to take advantage of rates that have dropped significantly. Consider that in the third quarter of 2008 the average Northeast rate was 6.27. For the third quarter of 2009, the rate was 5.22.

Source: Federal Housing Finance Board

8) Good news for sellers: New Jersey consumers are "buying in" to real estate. The vast majority of New Jersey buyers (86 percent) saw their purchase as a good financial investment, with 57 percent saying it is a better financial investment than stocks. Also, when asked about the primary reason for the timing of their home purchase, 46 percent of first-time buyers said it was just the right time.

Source: 2009 Profile of NJ Buyers and Sellers

9) Lower prices make homes more affordable. The median price of a single family New Jersey home in the 3rd quarter of 2009 is 11 percent lower than in the 3rd quarter of 2008. The housing affordability index during the same time period increased by 22 percent. NAR's housing affordability index measures whether or not a typical family could qualify for a mortgage loan on a median-priced, existing single-family home. Increasing levels of affordability mean a home purchase is within reach for more New Jerseyans than the same time the year before.

Source: New Jersey Home Sales Report, 3rd quarter 2009

10) There are 50,000 Realtors in New Jersey that can provide you with localized information. Whether you are buying or selling, Realtors provide expertise on market trends, property conditions, and many other aspects of a real estate transaction. 85 percent of home buyers used a real estate agent or broker to purchase their home, as compared to 84 percent in 2008 and 76 percent in 2007. 88 percent of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent in selling their home.

Source: 2009 Profile of New Jersey Buyers and Sellers

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Nancy M. Alexander
Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate