C19 Open Discussion Week 3

From the Star Ledger:

Trump says he may quarantine parts of N.J. in coronavirus crisis 

President Donald Trump said Saturday he is considering imposing a two-week quarantine on parts of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

New York has more cases of COVID-19 than any other state (52,318), with New Jersey second (11,124).

“Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hotspot — New York, New Jersey,” Trump told reporters at the White House before departing for Norfolk, Virginia, to see the hospital ship USNS Comfort set off for the New York area, according to a White House transcript.

“Maybe one or two other places; certain parts of Connecticut quarantined,” the president added. “I’m thinking about that right now. We might not have to do it, but there’s a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine — short-term, two weeks — on New York, probably New Jersey, certain parts of Connecticut.”

Gov. Phil Murphy said Saturday he and Trump did not discuss a possible quarantine when the two spoke by phone Friday.

“I’ve got no more color on it,” Murphy said in Trenton during his daily coronavirus press briefing. ”There’s no question the greater New York metropolitan area is the number one hot spot. … Until further notified, we’re gonna keep doing exactly what we’re doing. We believe the data and our facts are on our side.”

Posted in General | 47 Comments

C19 Open Discussion Week 2b

Who knew we were still popular?

Posted in General | 274 Comments

C19 Open Discussion Week 2

From the Star Ledger:

N.J. liquor stores deemed essential, will stay open during coronavirus shutdown

With the coronavirus wreaking havoc on lives the world over, it’s fair to say that everyone is feeling more stressed than normal. Luckily, Gov. Phil Murphy’s order to close non-essential businesses in New Jersey won’t stop you from taking the edge off with booze while your self-quarantine.

Murphy deemed liquor stores among those essential businesses in his executive order. So whether you’re making a quarantini, sipping some social distancing sangria or just cracking open a by yourself beer, you’ll be able to get it at your liquor store.

Posted in General | 255 Comments

C19 Open Discussion Week 1

Well, at this rate, we might as well keep this going for a while.

From the Record:

NJ sets voluntary statewide curfew, and casinos, bars, gyms closing until further notice

New Jerseyans should not leave their homes from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., as Gov. Phil Murphy announced an extraordinary action of recommending a statewide curfew for his 9 million residents in an attempt to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

All casinos, bars, movie theaters, nightclubs, performing arts centers and gyms must shut down at 8 p.m. Monday and will remain closed until further notice in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, the three governors announced Monday. People can no longer go to a restaurant to dine in, but restaurants can still provide delivery and takeout. The businesses must remain closed until the state governments say they can reopen. 

“Everyone needs to stay in and be safe,” Murphy said in a phone call with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont to announce the new restrictions. “And we can’t say this enough, that everyone needs to stay in and be safe, and just because you don’t feel sick, and this is a particular shout-out to our young people, it doesn’t mean you aren’t carrying the virus.”

Posted in General | 433 Comments

Step away for a minute and the world goes to shit

Seems I picked a fine time to stop blogging.

Markets in turmoil, global pandemic, potential real estate catastrophe looming.

Couple of folks reached out to me over the past few days about opening the blog back up again. Totally get it, the blog was always a go-to stop in times of crisis/volatility.

So let’s open it back up a couple of days, not sure if anyone is going to come back, or if everyone has already found new stomping grounds.

To those who had reached out to me, I appreciate that. For those who were wondering, recent demands on my time were simply too great and I needed to find some way to scrape back even a few minutes a day.

Posted in Economics, New Jersey Real Estate, Politics, Unrest | 225 Comments

Another good year for RE?

From HousingWire:

CoreLogic: Expect home prices to rise 5% by next November

In November, home prices climbed by 3.7% from the previous year, according to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Forecast.

The CoreLogic HPI projects future home price growth based on several economic variables and measures the number of owner-occupied households in each state.

According to CoreLogic’s data, home prices increased by 0.5% from October and are now projected to increase by 5.3% come November 2020.

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s chief economist, said the latest U.S. index shows the slowdown in home price appreciation experienced in early 2019 ended by late summer.

“Growth in the U.S. index quickened in November and posted the largest 12-month gain since February,” Nothaft said. “The decline in mortgage rates,down more than one percentage point for fixed-rate loans from November 2018, has supported a rise in sales activity and home prices.”

As home prices continue to rise, the company’s report also indicates that the nation’s Millennial homebuyers, who often tend to fit in the first-time buyer category, are still experiencing affordability challenges when purchasing a home.

During the second quarter of 2019, CoreLogic conducted a survey measuring consumer-housing sentiment among Millennial homebuyers.

The company’s findings revealed that while older Millennials are more optimistic about homeownership, their younger counterparts are not particularly confident about entering the housing market.

According to the study, 64% of older Millennials, aged between 30 and 38, claimed they were strongly considering moving within the next 12 months, while younger Millennials, aged between 21 and 29, said they planned on renting their next home. 

Despite the purchase intent among older millennials, CoreLogic indicates 43% still view homeownership as unaffordable and out of reach.

Frank Martell, CoreLogic’s president and CEO, said the company is continuing to see a split among older and younger millennials when it comes to their plans to purchase a home.

“With home prices expected to rise just over 5% over the next 12 months, affordability remains a concern for most prospective buyers,” Martell said.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, Housing Recovery, National Real Estate | 116 Comments

End of the NJ HQ?

From the Star Ledger:

N.J. could force employers to pay severance to laid-off workers

Stirred by the plight of New Jersey Toys “R” Us workers who lost their jobs when the Wayne-based retailed filed for bankruptcy and shuttered stores across the country, the state Legislature on Monday passed a bill requiring larger employers in New Jersey pay severance to laid-off workers.

The bill (S3170) would require New Jersey employers with at least 100 employees provide their workers 90 days notice — up from 60 — before a large layoff or a plant closing or transfer that will put at least 50 people out of work. It would also force these businesses to pay their workers one week’s severance for every year of service. The payout increases by an additional four weeks if the employer doesn’t comply with the 90-day notification rules.

More than 30,000 workers nationwide lost their jobs, including some 2,000 in New Jersey, when the famous retail giant closed its doors. Employees were initially let go without severance. Two of the private equity funds that owned Toys R’Us, facing public pressure, have since established a $20 million severance fund and workers won a $2 million settlement.

United For Respect, a nonprofit group advocating for the bill, said that if signed by Gov. Phil Murphy, New Jersey would become the first state with such a severance mandate.

Meanwhile, the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, which represents 20,000 businesses here, has warned the bill will deter companies from locating or expanding in New Jersey.

Posted in Economics, Employment, New Jersey Real Estate | 79 Comments

Still strong on LI

From LI Business News:

Long Island home prices climb on strong sales

Prices of Long Island homes sold last month rose compared with a year ago, boosted by strong demand and a shrinking supply.

The median price of homes contracted for sale in Nassau County last month was $536,000, up 2.5 percent from the $523,000 median price recorded in Dec. 2018, according to numbers from the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island.

In Suffolk County, the median price of pending home sales last month was $393,500, an increase of 6.4 percent from the $370,000 median price of a year ago.

Pending home sales on Long Island were up by 15.2 percent last month, rising from 1,875 in Dec. 2018 to 2,161 in Dec. 2019.

Inventory has declined year over year. There were 9,370 Long Island homes — 4,519 in Nassau and 5,211 — listed with MLSLI at the end of last month, down nearly 5.9 percent from the 9,954 homes — 4,348 in Nassau and 5,606 in Suffolk — that were listed at the end of Dec. 2018.

Posted in Economics, Housing Recovery, NYC | 36 Comments

Business growing in NJ?

From GlobeSt:

Northern NJ Office Market Showing Improvement Heading into 2020

The Northern New Jersey office market showed signs of stability and improvement at the end of 2019 positing positive net absorption, lower availability and higher asking rents, according to a report released by Newmark Knight Frank.

The brokerage firm reports that the fundamentals of the Northern New Jersey are poised to continue to improve steadily entering 2020.

The office market in Northern New Jersey ended the year with stable conditions as availability declined slightly from 21.9% to 21.8% during the fourth quarter. Over the past 12 months, more than 600,000 square feet in net absorption was recorded while availability fell by 60 basis points.

The average asking rent in the Northern New Jersey office market continued to rise, increasing by 1.4% over the past year, though some submarkets are seeing stronger growth, Newmark Knight Frank states in its report. Total inventory shrank by 1.0 million square feet in 2019 in Northern New Jersey as obsolete buildings are getting torn down.

The report notes that several submarkets are seeing rents rising faster than the inflationary growth rate typical for most of the market. With the lowest availability rate in Northern New Jersey at 16.7%, Bergen Central saw asking rents for Class A space rise by 6.4% over the past year. In addition to low availability, building upgrades and new amenities, such as those recently completed at Glenpointe in Teaneck, are allowing landlords to start commanding higher rents, Newmark Knight Frank states.

Another area seeing strong rent growth is Newark, where Class A asking rents rose by 4.3% over the past year. Contributing to the rent growth, Downtown Newark is undergoing a revitalization exemplified by the recent completion of Ironside Newark. The development, which is an adaptive reuse of a former warehouse, added 270,000 square feet of new office space to the market in 2019. Meanwhile, the neighboring Gateway Center buildings are undergoing major renovations. These recent developments are helping to improve Newark’s image which is starting to give landlords more pricing power, the report states.

Posted in Economics, New Development, New Jersey Real Estate | 113 Comments

Trends 2020

From Forbes:

The Real Estate Landscape In 2020: An Expert’s Predictions 

 Sellers will expand on home improvements before selling

These will go far beyond staging as buyers become less inclined to buy homes that need work

“They wish to know all costs upfront and mortgage everything at low rates,” Steinberg says. “The work you do after closing is not mortgageable — who has any cash left after closing for home improvements, when pricing is at a premium?”

 Smaller, more affordable homes will have extreme competition from first-time buyers, investors and downsizing baby boomers.

“Today, everyone is competing for entry level homes,” Steinberg says. “They have been underbuilt as the industry has focused on the high end, where there is more profit. We need much more affordable housing.”

Millennials and first-time homebuyers are not the only ones looking for small, affordable homes. Downsizing baby boomers are in competition for them, as well, and they often have 100% equity in their homes, so they have a great deal more financial clout than their millennial competitors.

         The first half of 2020 will be busy. The second half will be distracted by the presidential election.

In the spring, we will be optimistic and eager to start new things. But once the presidential election becomes the national obsession, we will not think of much else.

         As climate change continues, recovery technology will be increasingly important.

Recovering from storms, floods, fires and other climate change-driven disasters will require technology to speed things up and minimize damage and disruption.         For example, after Hurricane Sandy, many buildings were retrofitted to locate their systems above ground. Increasingly, homeowners will find that investing in recovery technologies is less expensive that insuring increasingly vulnerable buildings.

          Consumers will become more exposed to the harsh realities of ‘do-it-yourself’ and discount brokerage.

They will also become more aware of misleading claims and the self-serving intentions of those wishing to eliminate real estate agents.

“Sure, you might save a few bucks,” Steinberg says. “But as consumers dig a little deeper, they learn that there are hidden fees and that they have no guidance when they are making big decisions.”

Posted in Economics, National Real Estate | 125 Comments

The Exodus

From CNBC:

People couldn’t wait to leave this state in 2019

Blame it on brutal winters, high taxes or the New Jersey Turnpike: The Garden State is the last place where people want to be.

More than two-thirds of all New Jersey moves were outbound in 2019, according to an analysis from United Van Lines.

About a third of people leaving the state cited retirement as a primary reason for relocating, the moving service found.

United Van Lines analyzed 182,186 shipments last year through Dec. 18. New Jersey had a total of 4,059 shipments, of which 2,779 were sent out of state.

This is the second year in a row that the Garden State led the country in the percentage of departures.

“The economics in that state are a little bit uncertain, so we see people leaving,” said Eily Cummings, director of corporate communications at United Van Lines.

Illinois and New York round out the top three states experiencing the highest percentage of outbound traffic, United Van Lines found.

Leaving New Jersey can make good financial sense for some people, particularly if they’re thinking of retirement.

More than 230,000 residents left the state in 2018, according to Census data.

Consider that the Garden State has an effective property tax rate of 2.13%, and state and local property tax collections per capita are $3,127, according to the Tax Foundation.

That’s the top property tax rate and the per-capita property tax collection in the nation.

Taxes on individual income are also among the highest in the country: New Jersey has a top rate of 10.75%, according to the Tax Foundation.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, National Real Estate, New Jersey Real Estate, Property Taxes | 114 Comments

November Pending Sales

From CNBC:

US pending home sales rise in November

Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes rose in November, driven by a surge in new contracts being signed in the country’s West, the National Association of Realtors said on Monday.

The NAR’s pending home sales index, based on contracts signed last month, increased 1.2% to a reading of 108.5. The previous month’s reading was revised upward.

Pending home contracts are seen as a forward-looking indicator of the health of the housing market because they become sales one to two months later.

Compared with one year ago, pending sales were up 7.4%.

Compared to the prior month, contracts increased 5.5% in November in the West. They also increased in the Midwest but were lower in the South and Northeast.

Posted in Economics, Housing Recovery, National Real Estate | 128 Comments

Housing Slowing?

From HousingWire:

Home price growth slows but rent keeps rising at 2019 ends

Both home prices and rents continued to increase as the year reached an end, but one of those two is increasing faster than the other.

Home values in the U.S. grew to $243,225 in November, which was the smallest annual growth since January 2013, according to Zillow.

Annual home value growth has now slowed in each of the past 19 months, Zillow noted, but slowdown has been gradual. 

According to Zillow, the drop in year-over-year growth has not exceeded 0.3 percentage points from one month to the next during this period.

“As we approach the winter holidays, housing, too, is taking a breather,” said Skylar Olsen, Zillow’s director of economic research. “Motivated sellers trying to close before the end of the year dropped their list prices in September and October, with November numbers showing the expected quiet in listing activity.”

Out of the 35 largest metro areas, San Antonio and Washington, D.C. are the only to be growing at a faster annual rate than they were this time last year. 

Meanwhile, San Francisco, San Jose, Las Vegas and Seattle have slowed down the most, with San Jose and San Francisco seeing a decline in year over year home values.

On the other hand, rent growth accelerated for the fifth straight month, up 2.3% annually to $1,600.

But, for-sale inventory fell 6.4% from last year, and there are 102,463 fewer homes on the market than a year ago.

Inventory fell the most in Seattle, which is down 28.8%.

“That quiet is echoed by the slower annual appreciation and the lower-than-normal available inventory. But as we anticipate longer days to come, so too we anticipate some relief for housing,” Olsen continued. “Lifting housing starts and permit numbers, strong jobs reports and the steady progress towards more stable and sustainable home value appreciation all point to a healthier 2020 for housing.”

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, National Real Estate | 26 Comments

NJ Minimum Wage Increasing 10%

Should be interesting given that 6 months ago, minimum wage in NJ was $8.85. On January 1st, it will move to $11 an hour – roughly a 25% increase from a year ago, which would put NJ at the top of this list.

From CBS News:

Workers in half of U.S. states will get a pay raise in 2020

A record number of states, cities and counties are boosting their minimum wage in 2020.

On or around January 1, the minimum wage will increase in 21 states, while another 26 cities and counties also boosting their baseline pay at year-start. Later in the year, an additional 4 states and 23 cities and counties will hike their minimum wages, according to the National Employment Law Project, a worker rights group.

“This is the greatest number of states and localities ever to raise their wage floors, both in January and for the year as a whole,” said Yannet Lathrop, policy analyst at NELP, in a blog post about the increases. 

Each of the 21 states that are boosting their minimum wages at year-start, with their new minimum wage and percentage increase.

  • Alaska – $10.19 (3%)
  • Arizona – $12 (9.1%)
  • Arkansas – $10 (8.1%)
  • California – $13 (8.3%)
  • Colorado – $12 (8.1%)
  • Florida – $8.56 (1.2%)
  • Illinois – $9.25 (12%)
  • Maine – $12 (9.1%)
  • Maryland – $11 (8.9%)
  • Massachusetts – $12.75 (6.3%)
  • Michigan – $9.65 (2.1%)
  • Minnesota – $10 (1.4%)
  • Missouri – $9.45 (9.9%)
  • Montana – $8.65 (1.8%)
  • New Jersey – $11 (10%)
  • New Mexico – $9 (20%)
  • New York – $11.80 (6.3%)
  • Ohio – $8.70 (1.8%)
  • South Dakota – $9.30 (2.2%)
  • Vermont – $10.96 (1.7%)
  • Washington – $13.50 (12.5%)

Posted in Economics, Employment, New Jersey Real Estate | 51 Comments

Housing still looking good

From HousingWire:

Home sale prices increased over 5% in the last month

Home sale prices increased 5.2% year over year in November, according to a new report from Redfin.

Now, home sale prices are at a median of $311,600, the largest increase since July 2018, when home prices were up from 5.6% from 2018.

“Given that inventory is falling quickly, we’d expect to see even stronger price growth, especially when compared to last year’s soft market,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. 

“The fact that homes are selling faster indicates that there are buyers ready to pull the trigger and take advantage of low interest rates,” Fairweather added. “If lack of inventory and high demand continues, buyers who take a wait-and-see approach could face less favorable conditions in the spring season like bidding wars and faster price growth.”

Home price gains were the biggest in affordable metro areas. There were nine metro areas that saw the biggest gains below the national median for the fifth month in a row.

Homes that were sold in November also spent two fewer days on the market, compared to 2018. The typical home that sold in November went under contract in 45 days, compared to 47 days in November 2018.

The share of homes sold above list price also increased year over year, coming in at 20.7% in November compared to 19.9% a year earlier, Redfin said. 

The supply of homes for sale fell 12.1% year over year, which is the biggest decline since April 2013, and the fifth straight month of declines. There were fewer homes for sale last month than in any November since at least 2012, according to Redfin.

Posted in Economics, Housing Recovery, National Real Estate | 41 Comments