Home Mortgage Rates in New Jersey
Housing in New Jersey is expensive, which is probably why the state has a very high rate of foreclosures. Because New York City is nearby, one of the world’s most vibrant economies is within driving distance for most Garden State residents, and many are able to commute there daily.
Current Real Estate Trends
Home prices in the state of New Jersey are consistently above the national average. The median sales price in the Garden State is roughly $275,000 according to New Jersey Realtors, the state’s major property association. This figure is a growth of 1.9% from previous figures. The National Association of Realtors estimates the median home value across the country is slightly less than $235,000, making New Jersey about $40,000 more expensive, everything else being equal.
New Jersey’s Treasury Department paints a somewhat different picture. The government estimates the average residential sales price in the state to be approximately $390,000. This figure is actually a decrease from previous calculations. The U.S. Census Bureau calculates the median home value in New Jersey to be roughly $316,000. Although somewhat high, this represents a 20% decline from the government’s previous survey.
The number of pending sales in the Garden State has been growing at a fast pace, displaying a 12.4% increase. There were over 63,000 pending sales at last count. While pending sales in New Jersey have been increasing, the number of available homes on the market has been declining. New Jersey Realtors estimates a 21% decrease in homes on the market from its previous survey. The trade association counted 39,200 single-family homes for sale, 10,200 condos, and 2,400 adult community units.
RealtyTrac, an organization that monitors foreclosures in the United States, calculates that the Garden State has experienced in increase in home repossessions by roughly 2%. Moreover, the real estate group estimates that New Jersey has the highest foreclosure rate in the country. The state’s foreclosure rate is roughly 1 out of every 623 homes, while the national average is 1 out of 1,758.
The real estate website Trulia has a useful heatmap that displays listing prices for U.S. homes as shades of green or red. Dark green represents the country’s lowest prices, while dark red is the opposite end of the scale. The southern and middle sections of New Jersey are mostly green. The northeastern quadrant has orange and red mixed with green. The Jersey Shore, which is the eastern border than faces the Atlantic Ocean, is mostly red.
Historical Real Estate Trends
The Garden State had an especially tough time during the Great Recession of 2007, according to the New Jersey Monthly, a local publication. Between 1998 and 2006, homeowners in the state could realize profits from owning and then selling real estate. But that quickly changed when the mortgage crisis showed up.
The monthly magazine stated the property industry was robust before the Recession: For the last half century, housing in New Jersey has been the most reliable of all personal investments. As in much of the nation, New Jersey experienced a housing construction boom that coincided with the baby boom. The dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, James W. Hughes, says that the state built a thousand houses a week from 1950 to 1970.
A study conducted by the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College found that between the years of 2004 and 2008 wealthy households in New Jersey were leaving for other states, mainly Florida, Pennsylvania and New York. There weren’t a corresponding number of wealthy households moving into New Jersey. The main reason cited for the loss of wealth was New Jersey’s Tax Policies.
The Great Recession brought major changes to the Garden State. From 2006 to 2007, the issuance of building permits in the state dropped roughly 30%, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor. Some regions saw much higher declines in construction. For instance, building permits in Gloucester County went from 410 in 2005 to just 13 in 2007.
The number of homes sold in the state declined from 92,000 in 2006 to 84,000 in 2007. While inventories increased, prices dropped. The New Jersey Monthly estimates that foreclosures rose 31% from 2006 to 2007. Oddly, foreclosures have actually become a bigger problem in the state post-Recession, with 2017 showing above-average numbers.
Despite the problems the state faced during the housing debacle, the Jersey Shore actually did fairly well. Sales in Spring Lake increased from 2006 to 2007, according to Diane Turton Realtors, a local company. The average price in the town went from $1.1 million to $1.3 million. Obviously, this is an expensive area of the state; but it’s an example of how some locations had no difficulty during the economic crisis. Other towns on the Jersey Shore actually saw larger increases.
Otteau Valuation Group, a New Jersey property company, looked over numbers of home listings and sales in the state, both before and after the housing crisis. It found that it took 15.6 months for the typical home to sell during the recession, whereas before it was just 10.6 months. It also determined that luxury homes saw an even bigger time lag, going from 34.6 months to 67.8 months. New Jersey being a recourse state gave wealthy home owners reasons to ride out the recession and let property prices recover before selling.
Market analysts estimate that home values dropped 27% from 2008 to a bottom in the summer of 2012. Since then, values have steadily been improving; but they still have not reached pre-Recession levels. Real estate experts expect a small increase of 1.4% annually going forward, which won’t be enough to bring values back to pre-crisis levels for some number of years.
South Jersey in general saw less job loss, less housing havoc, and more stability in property values throughout the recession. Though there were losses the dip wasn’t nearly as deep, in part because the peak was never as steep. One of the biggest employers in South Jersey is the federal government. There are also many federal jobs in the city of Philadelphia. Governmental jobs tend to be more insulated than private sector jobs from the market impacts of a recession. The Philadelphia suburbs are particularly attractive, with good employment levels, good housing stock, good amenities, a fairly easy commute into Philadelphia, and an easy weekend drive to seashore attractions. Philadelphia amd New York City are an easy drive or train/bus trip away for arts, museums and theater. There’s a good mix of contemporary housing stock and charming older South Jersey historic village housing stock.