NJ 2017 Flip Rate – 6%

From NJ1015:


Flipped homes represented more than 6 percent of all New Jersey home sales in 2017.

More than 7,500 one-family properties that exchanged hands last year already had a sale on record in the previous 12 months, according to state-by-state analysis from real-estate tracker ATTOM Data Solutions.

Atlantic — 388 flips, 5 percent of total sales
Bergen — 556, 7.6 percent
Burlington — 581, 95 percent
Camden — 805, 3.6 percent
Cape May — 150, 6.6 percent
Cumberland — 119, 6.1 percent
Essex — 535, 7.2 percent
Gloucester — 309, 2.8 percent
Hunterdon — 56, 7.2 percent
Hudson — 394, 5.9 percent
Mercer — 295, 4.7 percent
Middlesex — 244, 5.1 percent
Monmouth — 573, 4 percent
Morris — 297, 7.6 percent
Ocean — 1,040, 3.2 percent
Passaic — 101, 6 percent
Salem — 60, 4.3 percent
Somerset — 176, 6.2 percent
Sussex — 204, 8.5 percent
Union — 592, 3.8 percent
Warren — 68, 1.3 percent

Posted in New Development, New Jersey Real Estate | 130 Comments

Now *THIS* is a useful list

From the Star Ledger:

N.J. has too many damn towns. Here are 25 that need to go.

It’s almost spring cleaning season, fellow New Jerseyans, and it’s time we broached a familiar and heretofore unresolved issue in this crazy state: there are just waaaay too many towns here.

New Jersey comprises 566 municipalities, many of which you drive through in less than a minute having never realized that these blips all feature their own mayor, council members and public works people (or person, in some cases).

It stands to reason that fewer public employees on the books would lower taxes in our woefully overtaxed state, so with a blind eye turned to small-town pride — and our tongues in our cheeks, please no threats — here are 25 completely unnecessary New Jersey towns. Merge ’em or wipe ’em off the map completely. Really, who would know the difference?

Posted in Humor, New Jersey Real Estate | 116 Comments

Low taxes, but not really.

For most of these towns, there are some pretty sizable factors that keep taxes low, but are largely irrelevant for the rest of NJ. From the Star Ledger:

Here are the 30 N.J. towns with the lowest property taxes

Last week we sorted through New Jersey’s latest property tax data to show you the 30 towns with the highest average property tax bills. Here, we look at the 30 towns with the lowest average property tax bills.

Of course, average property tax bills are just one way to compare municipalities’ property tax burdens. Unlike the tax rate, the average tax bills also factors in property values. But it gives you a good idea of what people are really paying.

The average homeowners in all of these towns are paying well below the state average, $8,690.

There are a couple of new municipalities on this year’s list. Vineland and West Wildwood dropped of the lowest property tax list this time.

Posted in Economics, New Jersey Real Estate, Politics | 42 Comments

So they aren’t moochers?

From the APP:

Don’t blame NJ’s high taxes on ‘Moocher states’: Malanga

Last year’s federal tax reform act has prompted a lot of hand wringing and hyperbolic language from New Jersey officials over the loss of the state and local tax deduction. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., has advocated for a scheme to help some residents maintain their deductions by calling local taxes charitable deductions. (“GOP tax plan: N.J. pushing back,” March 5.)

The state needs to pursue this strategy, Gottheimer contends, because we’re tired of picking up the tab for “Moocher states” that, according to him, take our handouts and steal our taxes.

Regardless of whether the plans are ruled legitimate, however, the larger question is whether New Jersey taxpayers are really subsidizing a bunch of “moochers” from around the rest of the country. The congressman’s notion is based on studies pioneered by the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, which show that the flow of funds from Washington to the state exceeds the money that New Jersey residents send to Washington as taxes.

Meanwhile, other states receive more back than they send. That underlies the idea that the federal government is shortchanging New Jersey. But when you look at what kinds of federal spending these studies track, you realize that the deficit New Jersey experiences is as much a function of the state’s own shortcomings as it is of any unfair treatment from Washington.

In these studies, the largest area of money tracked from Washington to the states is federal retirement income, three-quarters of which is Social Security payments to retirees. This is not discretionary income that the federal government is choosing to send to the states. It is money going to retirees where they now live. Jersey does not get a significant per capita share of this money because so many people leave the state when they retire. Even state workers flee in great numbers. A 2014 study found that nearly 25 percent of public employees leave New Jersey when they retire. That’s hardly the rest of the country’s fault.

While some retirees leave for the good weather elsewhere, many go because of the high taxes that help consistently get Jersey ranked as one of the worst places in which to retire. Moderate-income residents leave because they can’t afford to pay taxes on their homes once they retire. Wealthier residents leave because they don’t want to see their wealth whittled by the state’s high inheritance taxes. A recent survey by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, for instance, found that 40 percent of business owners plan to leave the state when they retire.

Another significant area of Washington spending is federal contracting, a big chunk of which is defense spending. This is money competitively bid out to individual companies. And New Jersey firms do especially poorly at winning federal contracts. Our take from the $400 billion federal contracting pie is well below the national average when measured on a per capita basis. That clearly hurts the state’s economy, but is anyone asking why the state does so poorly? Is there something fundamentally uncompetitive about the New Jersey economy? Perhaps that’s the kind of thing the congressional delegation and our representatives in Trenton ought to be investigating. Among other things they would find is that any defense industry the state once boasted has long ago disappeared.

When he was alive, Sen. Moynihan understood that the flow of funds between Washington and the states was complicated and not something easily changed. In an essay attached to the 1999 study, he decided the only way to address the issue was to dramatically pare back the federal government’s taxes and spending, leaving the money in the states, where local governments could then decide how to use it.

Ironically, the new federal tax cuts accomplish some of that. The corporate tax reduction, for instance, will leave billions of dollars that would otherwise go to Washington in the hands of New Jersey businesses, where they could potentially spend it. The only problem is that Jersey isn’t a place where many of them want to continue doing business. The recent New Jersey Business and Industry Association survey found only 14 percent of local firms said they planned to grow further here. By contrast, 29 percent said they are looking to expand elsewhere.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, New Jersey Real Estate, Politics, Property Taxes | 37 Comments

I say flip it, flip it good

From Bloomberg:

Home Flippers Pile Into the U.S. Market, Scoring Higher Profits

Property investors were bullish on the U.S. housing market in 2017, flipping more homes than in any year since 2006, when the real estate bubble that helped upend the global economy was still inflating.

Investors flipped more than 207,000 single-family houses and condos in the U.S. last year, Attom Data Solutions said in a report, which defines flips as sales that occur within 12 months of the last time the property changed hands. More than 138,000 investors flipped a home last year, the most since 2007.

“The long up-cycle that we’re in is giving more and more people confidence to try their hand at home-flipping,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at Attom. Rising home prices are “pulling more people onto the bandwagon.”

Today’s home flippers appear to be more conservative than bubble-era investors. The average flip generated gross returns of 50 percent in 2017, compared to 28 percent in 2006. Thirty-five percent of flippers financed their acquisitions last year, the highest share since 2008 but far lower than the 63 percent who used loans in 2006.

Posted in Economics, Housing Bubble, National Real Estate | 137 Comments

NJ fights back on business taxes, then taxes business

From the Star Ledger:

We’ve got sure-fire plan to save small businesses from Trump tax law, N.J. lawmakers say

New Jersey lawmakers who are already offering up a scheme to save homeowners the state and property tax deduction gutted by President Donald Trump’s tax law now say they have a bulletproof plan to protect small business owners.

Under New Jersey’s current tax code, those who pay taxes on business profits through their personal income taxes — such as principals in S corporations, limited liability corporations and other partnerships — would be hit by the new $10,000 cap on imposed on state and local tax deductions as part of a federal tax overhaul.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers said they will introduce legislation to instead allow the business entity to pay the state income taxes of its principals, as corporations don’t face the same cap.

Small business owners in New Jersey reported their income this way until the 1990s, when it was revised to simplify the tax code, Sarlo said, saying that gave him confidence it would pass legal muster.

Also from the Star Ledger:

N.J. Senate President wants this tax increase to replace Murphy’s millionaires tax plan

After declaring his opposition to a tax increase on wealthy New Jersey residents, Democratic state Senate President Stephen Sweeney said Tuesday that state coffers can get the money they need by enacting a 3 percent surcharge on corporate income.

The increase in the state’s corporation business tax rate from 9 percent to 12 percent on businesses with more than $1 million in income is the Democrats’ latest counterpunch to federal tax reform that slashed taxes on corporations but limited the state and local taxes residents can deduct.

It’s also Sweeney’s alternative to a tax hike on millionaires that Gov. Phil Murphy, a fellow Democrat, is expected to propose as part of his first budget next week as he hunts for another $1 billion a year to pump into public schools.

Sweeney argued that the combination of a truncated state and local tax deduction — namely state income taxes and local property taxes — combined with a 10.75 personal income tax rate on income above $1 million would hammer taxpayers.

But corporations were the big winners in federal tax reform, seeing their federal tax rate cut from 35 percent to 21 percent. And Sweeney said Tuesday New Jersey can get a piece of that windfall.

About 2,375 New Jersey corporations earn more than $1 million, and are on the hook for about $1.97 billion in taxes this year, according to the Senate President’s news release.

Sweeney said he expects the new 12 percent tax rate would bring in an additional $657 million in annual corporate tax revenue — roughly the estimated gains of a millionaire’s tax.

Businesses here are expected to save $2.9 billion as a result of the federal tax cut, and they retained their unlimited state and local tax deductions.

Posted in Economics, New Jersey Real Estate, Politics | 96 Comments

And they think this charitable contribution scheme has a chance?

From the Star Ledger:

IRS action on prepaid property taxes slammed as ‘naked political payback’ against N.J.

New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. and other Democrats on Monday accused the Internal Revenue Service of “naked political payback” for refusing to allow taxpayers to deduct their entire prepaid 2018 property taxes and threatening to step up enforcement of those who try to claim the tax break.

In a letter to acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter, Pascrell, D-9th Dist., and the other Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee said there was no legal justification for the IRS to decide that only 2018 property taxes paid in response to an assessment — which would cover just the first half of 2018 in New Jersey — were deductible.

“We view this as a clear case of bureaucratic overreach, and now, as a result, many of our constituents are losing a valuable deduction — and consequently part of their hard-earned income,” the lawmakers said.

The ruling was issued Dec. 28, almost at the end of the year, though Kautter said he would revisit the decision following a meeting last month with Reps. Leonard Lance, R-7th Dist, and Josh Gottheimer, D-5th Dist.

The IRS had no immediate comment.

New Jersey homeowners, who pay the nation’s highest property taxes, rushed to prepay them once President Donald Trump signed a Republican tax bill that curbed the federal deduction for state and local income, property and sales taxes.

Posted in Economics, New Jersey Real Estate, Politics, Property Taxes | 84 Comments

Will transition to rentership put ownership even further out of reach?

From the WSJ, hat tip hoodafa:

Why New Jersey’s Soaring Foreclosures Are Good for the Housing Market

New Jersey’s foreclosure crisis is hitting a peak, and that could be a boon for the state’s housing market.

While bank repossessions across the U.S. fell to an 11-year low in 2017, they reached an 11-year high in New Jersey, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, a housing-research firm.

New Jersey, along with New York and other states, practice “judicial foreclosure,” in which foreclosures are handled through the court system. The process is typically friendlier to owners who fall behind on payments, but it can take years.

Other states, such as Texas and Michigan, have mainly nonjudicial foreclosures. After the housing bubble burst a decade ago, those states tended to work quickly through their backlog, flooding the market with fresh supply when there were few buyers.

“The pig is now finally at the end of the snake,” said Michael Affuso, director of government relations for the New Jersey Bankers Association. “We had the extraordinary slowness of foreclosures occurring at the judiciary, and that problem has reasonably resolved itself.”

More than a decade after the start of the housing bust, New Jersey leads the nation in overall foreclosure activity, with 1.61% of the state’s homes in foreclosure last year. The number of new bank-owned homes in December jumped to 2,308 from 1,448 in November, according to ATTOM.

The number of bank-owned homes started rising about a year ago, according to an analysis by Jeffrey Otteau, an appraiser and president of Otteau Group Inc.

The increase in distressed homes for sale is coming as the market is starved for inventory. Homes sold in January were on the market for an average of 72 days, according to data from New Jersey Realtors, a trade group, down from 86 days for the same month in 2017 and 94 days in January 2016.

Housing experts caution the increased pace of foreclosure actions could affect parts of the state differently. Areas where there is already too much inventory—the outer rings of the state and South Jersey, for example—will fall further behind Northern New Jersey and other suburban areas.

Still, the surge in foreclosures is attracting investors looking to buy homes and convert them to rentals.

Christian Schlueter, president of New Jersey Realtors, said bank-owned inventory is increasing for his Toms River-based office. A recent waterfront bank-owned home, he said, attracted eight offers in three days and went into contract for more than the asking price. The home will have to be completely gutted, he said.

“There’s a lot of experienced investors who are buying [bank-owned homes] and some new people are buying them believing they are going to be investors,” he said.

Howard Banker, director of housing finance at New Jersey Community Capital, a nonprofit community development organization, said he is seeing many distressed homes being converted to rentals. There is a growing market of displaced lower- and middle-income former homeowners who are unable to get another mortgage, he said.

“Investment firms have been able to acquire these homes in bulk and therefore at a discount. It is a lovely cash-flow system,” he said.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Foreclosures, New Jersey Real Estate | 92 Comments

Who is to blame?

From the Star Ledger:

Trump trying to block funding for Gateway Tunnel project

President Donald Trump is trying to block federal funding for the Gateway Tunnel project even though the House has already allocated $900 million for it, according to a published report.

The Washington Post said Trump has pushed House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to keep the funding for the plan for a new rail tunnel connecting New Jersey and Manhattan out of the spending bill now being written to fund the government through Sept. 30.

The report said Trump delivered the message to Ryan during a meeting on Wednesday. It cited as sources three people familiar with the conversation.

Trump has been at odds with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York on such issues as health care, taxes, budget cuts, immigration and guns. Schumer delayed the Senate confirmation of Federal Railroad Administrator Ronald Batory to pressure the administration to fund Gateway.

His much-touted infrastructure plan calls for increased state and local government spending on public works, even as he crippled their ability to raise revenue to pay for projects by signing legislation shrinking the federal deduction for state and local taxes.

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-11th Dist., who inserted the $900 million into the House spending bill, is one of the negotiators.

Gov. Phil Murphy said in Washington Thursday that the retiring lawmaker, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, is working hard to ensure the money remains in the final spending bill.

The federal government initially agreed to pay the half the cost of building a new railroad tunnel under the Hudson River so that the existing tunnels could be closed to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

But the Trump administration has appeared to renege on that promise. In a letter sent Thursday to Rep. Donald Payne Jr., a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Federal Transit Administration Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams said there is “no evidence of a binding agreement.”

Posted in New Jersey Real Estate, NYC, Politics | 34 Comments

Recovered or back to a bubble?

From HousingWire:

CoreLogic: Housing market nearly recovered from recession

CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, released a report outlining the real estate economy from 2006 to 2017, showing that the housing market has nearly completely recovered from the recent recession.

In some areas, residential areas began to hit their peak levels as early as 2005, according to the company’s Evaluating the Housing Market Since the Great Recession report. The majority of home prices collapsed in 2007.

During the recession, home prices fell 33% nationwide, hitting their lowest in March 2011. Since then, home prices have risen once again by 51%. The average home prices is now 1% higher than its 2006 level and the average annual equity increase was $14,888 in the third quarter of 2017. This indicates the housing market has recovered in many parts of the U.S., according to the report.

But while, overall, the U.S. has pushed past the recession, some states are still struggling to return to their pre-recession price levels. For example, Nevada saw the greatest drop after the housing crash as its home prices fell 60% from their peak levels.

Since then, home prices increased 93% from their trough, but remain 23% below their pre-recession peaks. What’s more, 9% of mortgaged properties in the state remained underwater as of the third quarter of 2017.

While some states saw their home prices fall drastically during the recession, others only experienced slight changes. North Dakota’s decline was just 2% due in part to the energy boom, and home prices in the state have since risen 48% above their previous peak.

“Homeowners in the United States experienced a run-up in prices from the early 2000s to 2006, and then saw the trend reverse with steady declines through 2011,” CoreLogic Chief economist Frank Nothaft said. “After reaching bottom in 2011, our national price index is up more than 50%.”

“West Coast states, such as California, Washington and Oregon are seeing some of largest trough-to-current growth rates in home prices,” Nothaft said. “Greater demand and lower supply, as well as booming job markets, have given some of the hardest-hit housing markets a boost in home prices. Yet, many are still not back to pre-crash levels.”

Posted in Economics, Housing Bubble, Housing Recovery, National Real Estate | 105 Comments

Will it work?

From Bloomberg:

New Jersey Senate Passes Charitable Tax Workaround

New Jersey residents might be able to avoid federal deduction limits on property taxes by converting them to a charitable contribution under a proposal the state Senate approved Feb. 26.

S.B. 1893 would permit municipalities, counties, or school districts to establish charitable funds and allow donors to receive property tax credits in exchange for donations. The proposal is similar to proposals in other states, such as California and New York, that aim to use charitable contributions as a way around the state and local tax deduction cap included in the new federal tax law.

Under the new law, taxpayers who itemize deductions on their federal return may deduct up to $10,000 in state and local sales, individual income, and property taxes (SALT deduction). Previously the SALT deduction was unlimited.

Sponsored by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) and Deputy Majority Leader Sen. Paul Sarlo (D), the measure passed the Senate by a vote of 28-9.

The proposal is one of many legislative fixes that New Jersey is considering to counteract heavy tax burdens resulting from the 2017 federal tax act ( Pub. L. No. 115-97). New Jersey residents pay high state and local taxes as well as some of the highest property taxes in the country.

The charitable deduction proposal has support from Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who earlier this month told a gathering of mayors that shifting property tax payments to a charitable contribution system “provides residents with significant deductibility from their federal income taxes.”

Under the proposal, the local government unit would need to pass an ordinance or resolution to establish the fund, set an annual donation cap, and set an annual limit on tax credit funding that could be made available. The limit on tax credit funding would equal 90 percent of the annual donation cap, according to a Feb. 15 statement accompanying the bill.

However, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has cast doubt on such workarounds and has threatened to audit taxpayers who use them. IRS Publication 526 says that taxpayers can’t deduct as a charitable contribution any payment for which they receive a benefit in return.

Several Republican Senators who voted against the bill expressed concerns that the IRS wouldn’t accept the workaround.

“This deduction is worth a hundred million dollars in tax revenue. There’s no way the federal government is going to look away,” said Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R). “I don’t want to put my taxpayers at risk.”

Sen. Steven V. Oroho (R) worried that “we’re going to give our residents a false sense of security.”

Sarlo said there are 33 other states that have similar programs. “If the IRS rules that we cannot proceed, then I would love to be at the table when we challenge them in court,” he said during debate on the bill.

Posted in New Jersey Real Estate, Politics, Property Taxes | 146 Comments

Top? Anywhere? Anyone see a top?

From CNBC:

Home prices surge 6.3% in December amid critical housing shortage

Sky-high demand and record-low supply continued to push home prices higher in December, far faster than income growth.

U.S. home prices increased 6.3 percent compared with December 2016, according to the much-watched S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home prices index. That is an increase from 6.1 percent annual growth in the previous month.

The index measuring the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan markets rose 6.3 percent year over year, a slight decline from the 6.4 percent annual gain in November.

“The rise in home prices should be causing the same nervous wonder aimed at the stock market after its recent bout of volatility,” David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a release. “Across the 20 cities covered by S&P Corelogic Case Shiller Home Price Indices, the average increase from the financial crisis low is 62 percent; over the same period, inflation was 12.4 percent. Even considering the recovery from the financial crisis, we are experiencing a boom in home prices.”

The boom is strongest in Seattle, Las Vegas and San Francisco, which reported the highest gains. Chicago, Cleveland and Washington, D.C., saw the smallest gains. None of the top 20 markets saw an annual price decline.

Posted in Housing Bubble, Housing Recovery, National Real Estate | 103 Comments

NY jumps to the front?

From Inman:

Home prices reach new peak, NY makes biggest gains

According to the most recent Home Price Index (HPI) report from Black Knight, Inc., home prices in December increased .10 percent month-over-month and 6.6 percent year-over-year to $283,000 — the 68th consecutive month of annual home price appreciation, and a new peak for six of the nation’s 20 largest states and 11 of the 40 largest metros.

On the state level, New York led the way with a 1.71 percent month-over-month home price increase followed by Georgia (+0.69 percent), North Carolina (+0.48 percent), Illinois (+0.37 percent) and Texas (+0.15 percent).

Meanwhile, Ohio had the lowest month with a 1.13 percent month-over-month decrease in home prices, and the state had seven of the nation’s 10 worst-performing metros of the month.

On the metro level, 11 of the 40 largest metros hit new home price peaks in December, while prices fell in another 20 metros. New York City came out on top with a 1.25 percent increase from November 2017, and Atlanta (+0.76 percent), Chicago (+0.44 percent), Miami (+0.21 percent), and Dallas (+0.20 percent) rounded out the top five.

Boston, Massachusetts, performed the worst out of the 40 largest metros, with a 0.21 percent month-over-month decrease in home prices.

Posted in National Real Estate, NYC | 104 Comments

Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside

From the Real Deal:

Why increasing numbers of New Yorkers are calling it quits on city life

According to realtors, there’s a great exodus from New York City that can be measured in New Jersey commuters.

Over the past 25 years, people commuting across the Hudson have increased by 28 percent forcing, in turn, bus trips to grow by more than 80 percent and railway trips to triple, according to The New York Times.

“We can see that in the massive migration in the last three or four years of city dwellers,” said Jonathan J. Miller of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers and Consultants to the Times.

To Miller, the cause of people decamping to the ‘burbs is a result of the climbing cost of living.

“City costs have risen more than the cost of a home,” he told the Times.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, New Jersey Real Estate, NYC | 85 Comments

Fulop – From Darling to Demon

From the Jersey Journal:

Jersey City residents protest tax reval: ‘You’re taking our homes away from us’

Dozens of Downtown residents protested outside City Hall today to call attention to exorbitant tax increases they could see as a result of the citywide property revaluation.

Carrying signs and protesting the new assessments that were released last month on their homes, the residents said their tax bills could double or even triple.

“You’re taking our homes away from us. People who have lived here for 80 years are going to lose their homes,” said Christina Szpala, 55. “The people standing around me are not millionaires. It’s not our fault you’ve built up this city the way you have and given abatements to all these developers. We’re the people you’re supposed to protect and you’re throwing us out.”

This process, the first citywide reval since 1988, is intended to match every property’s assessment — its value on city tax rolls — with its true market value.

The 30-year delay between revals is leading to skyrocketing projected tax hikes, especially Downtown, where property values since 1988 have risen dramatically. In other parts of the city, like Society Hill and Country Village, homeowners have been told to expect dramatic tax cuts.

One man said today his annual tax bill could jump from $7,000 to $16,000, another’s from $10,000 to $30,000.

“This reval is an insult,” said Alexander Caldron. “This is middle class gentrification.”

Szpala and others said local residents could get pushed out as a result. She proposed phasing in the tax increases, adding that “it shouldn’t happen all at one time, say over a 5-year period.”

“We’re all working class people, we don’t have million-dollar incomes,” she said.

Mayor Steve Fulop has said a phase-in is not possible, noting to a group of homeowners at a neighborhood meeting earlier this month that phasing in tax hikes would mean asking other property owners to wait for their full tax cut.

“This is obviously a very, very imperfect situation,” Fulop said then.

Posted in Economics, Gold Coast, Politics, Property Taxes | 25 Comments