From the Herald News:
Slump bringing down the house
By HEATHER HADDON
Lynn Tedesco and her real estate agent have tried everything.
They’ve set out cookies and finger sandwiches during open houses at her Totowa home. Every inch of the property is immaculate, down to the boiler room. There is a screen porch and new siding.
She’s gotten plenty of compliments, but no takers. Tedesco originally listed her three-bedroom house for $489,000 in June. Five months later, she’s pulled the price down to $399,000 — almost a $100,000 reduction.
“I’m giving it away,” said Tedesco, 51, a legal assistant in Hackensack.
As the housing market continues to cool, Tedesco and sellers across the country are drastically slashing the price tags on their homes. Median prices for both new and existing properties fell substantially last month compared with the previous year, according to data released this week.
Median prices on existing homes fell by 2.2 percent during the same interval, according to figures released on Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors, an industry group. It was the second biggest price plunge on record.
Home price estimates are typically revised after they are first released, often softening the severity of initial quotes. But even the corrected figures show a slump, according to James Bednar, founder of the New Jersey Real Estate Report, a blog that tracks the area market.
“The trend still looks downward,” said Bednar, a Clifton resident.
“Some people aren’t willing to lower their price,” said Annette DeMedici, of West Paterson, a broker with Residential Home Funding Corporation. “People are becoming more realistic … after it’s sitting on the market for six months.”
Local buyers still aren’t taking the bait. Nationally, sales picked up by 5.3 percent between August and September, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. But that gain was led by a huge jump in the West. Sales in the Northeast, by contrast, fell by 34.5 percent.
Experts are still debating what the slowdown will mean for the overall economy. New Jersey’s unemployment rate was at 5.2 percent in September, up from 4.4 percent during the same period last year, according to Bureau of Labor Department figures released last week. The Bureau considered that increase to be significant.