I just want to thank Record/Herald journalist Prashant Gopal for being one of the few North Jersey journalists to cover the real estate market in a fair and balanced manner. Hats off to Mr. Gopal for his effort.
From the Record/Herald News:
The once-sizzling New Jersey real estate market is showing signs of going flat, according to an expert who presented his findings Thursday at the Atlantic Builders Convention.
It appears to be shifting from a buyers’ market to a sellers’ market, with home listings outnumbering home sales by 2-to-1 in the first quarter of this year, said Jeffrey Otteau, who owns the Otteau Appraisal Group in East Brunswick.
The clear message to sellers is that the party is over,” Otteau said after the talk to a standing-room only crowd of builders. “The days of increasing asking and selling prices have passed.”
In Bergen County, there was a five-month inventory of homes in the first quarter, meaning it would take that long to sell all the homes on the market at the current pace, Otteau’s report said. By comparison, there was a three-month inventory in the first quarter of 2005, he said.
But Otteau said a housing crash is highly unlikely in New Jersey because of constraints on new construction, increasing numbers of aging baby boomers looking for second homes and the state’s relatively strong economy.
“We aren’t looking at a market that is going to crash,” he told the builders. “We are absolutely looking at a market that is going to adjust.”
The average number of Bergen County home sales dropped by 11 percent compared with the first quarter of last year, and the average number of listings increased 84 percent, according to Otteau’s report. In Passaic County, where there was a six-month supply on the market in the first quarter, the number of sales dropped 15 percent, and listings were up 65 percent.
Statewide, the average number of sales dropped by 12 percent and the average number of listings jumped by 65 percent in the first quarter, compared with the same period last year, he told the crowd.
Appearing on the panel with Otteau was Joseph J. Seneca, a Rutgers economics professor and head of the state Council of Economic Advisers, who said the New Jersey job market is not growing at a robust pace, which could hurt the housing market. (emphasis added)