From the Record:
The number of home sales in New Jersey is up 17 percent from last year and is on track to hit the highest level since the housing-boom days of 2005, an East Brunswick real estate expert said Wednesday.
But home prices haven’t been pulled upward as fast, rising about 3 percent this year, according to Jeffrey Otteau, an appraiser and consultant whose forecasts are followed by many in the real estate industry. Prices remain about 16 percent below their peaks in mid-2006, leaving many homeowners owing more on their mortgages than their properties are worth.
“Housing prices aren’t higher because incomes aren’t higher,” Otteau told about 100 real estate agents at a seminar in Hasbrouck Heights.
Otteau predicted that home prices will increase about 4 percent next year, as sales activity remains strong. Low mortgage rates, an improving employment market and pent-up demand are increasing the buyer pool, he said.
“Young people who have been stuck in rental housing for a while are beginning to make the move into home-buying,” Otteau said.
Because of New York City’s strong job recovery, demand for housing is strongest in areas closest to the city, especially in towns with commuter train lines. Bergen and Passaic counties, for example, both have less than a six-month supply of housing inventory for sale, a level that generally points to rising prices as buyers compete for properties. Several of the most in-demand towns in the state are in Bergen County, including Lyndhurst, Glen Rock, Waldwick and Ridgewood, Otteau said.