NJ Unemployment Falls to 6.3%

From ROINJ:

New Jersey adds jobs for 12th straight month; unemployment rate falls to 6.3%

New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development figures for December show the state added 10,100 jobs, according to preliminary estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.New Jersey has now recovered 561,200 jobs, or about 78% of the number lost in March and April 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The unemployment rate for the Garden State fell by 0.4 of a percentage point, to 6.3%, for the month.

In December, employment gains were recorded in eight out of nine major private industry sectors. Sectors that increased were leisure and hospitality (+3,800), manufacturing (+2,700), construction (+1,900), education and health services (+600), other services (+600), financial activities (+500), trade, transportation, and utilities (+100), and professional and business services (+100). The only sector to record a loss over the month was information (-900). The public sector recorded an increase of 700 jobs over the month.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released employment estimates for November were revised higher to show an over-the-month increase of 28,400 jobs. The state’s November unemployment rate was revised up by 0.1 of a percentage point, to 6.7%.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, New Jersey Real Estate | 106 Comments

Just keeps going

From Bloomberg:

A Typical U.S. Home Is Now Valued at $320,662 — 20% More Than a Year Ago

Mortgage rates are creeping higher, yet the U.S. real estate market is still breaking records. 

Home values on average jumped almost 20% in the past year, the most ever, according to a new report from Zillow. A typical house is now worth $320,662 — an increase of more than $50,000 from December 2020. 

After two years of surging prices for homes across the country, anxious buyers had hoped 2022 would bring some relief, as policy makers plan interest rates hikes that could cool down the market. That’s yet to happen though, with strong demand from millennials and a shortage of available homes still propping up prices. Mortgage rates just reached their highest level since the pandemic began, but at 3.56% are still historically low. 

“Neither high prices nor slim inventories have deterred buyers so far,” Jeff Tucker, senior economist at Zillow, said in the report. 

Although month-over-month home values had decelerated since July, they jumped 1.2% in November and 1.4% in December. There’s also now a record low number of available properties — only 923,000 homes, down almost 20% since December 2020. When compared with December 2019, that’s a 40.5% decrease. 

And for those who can’t afford to purchase a home, there has been some relief in rent prices. Monthly growth in December was 0.7%, the lowest increase since February. Still, rents are up 15.7% year-over-year, with the average renter now paying $1,855 each month. 

Rents rose in all 50 of the largest metro areas in the U.S., led by Miami, Tampa, Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, National Real Estate | 108 Comments

Fun – dah – mentals

From the NYT:

Something Has to Give in the Housing Market. Or Does It?

Two years into the pandemic, rundown bungalows command bidding wars, buyers keep snatching up places they’ve never seen, and homebuilders can’t find enough cabinet doors for everyone who wants a new home. The median price for an American home is up nearly 20 percent in a year. The for-sale inventory is at a new low. And the hopeful buyers left on the sidelines have helped drive up rents instead.

All of this may feel unsustainable — the tight inventory, the wild price growth, the dwindling affordability. Surely something’s got to give.

But what if that’s not exactly true? Or, at least, not true anytime soon for renters locked out of homeownership today or anyone worried about housing affordability. There’s probably no quick reprieve coming, no rollback in stratospheric home prices if you can just wait a little longer to jump in.

“It’s not a bubble, it really is about the fundamentals,” said Jenny Schuetz, a housing researcher at the Brookings Institution. “It really is about supply and demand — not enough houses, and huge numbers of people wanting homes.”

Neither side of that ledger has a quick fix. More than six million existing homes sold in 2021, the highest number since 2006, according to data published Thursday by the National Association of Realtors. But that was still well short of satisfying demand. And there’s little evidence to suggest the nation is in a hurry to correct the imbalance between supply and demand.

“My pessimistic view is that the economy is perfectly capable of running with unaffordable housing,” said Daryl Fairweather, the chief economist at Redfin. This was evident over the last decade, she said, when affordability worsened even as the economy continued to grow. And that reality has enabled politicians and the public to largely neglect the issue of housing affordability.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, National Real Estate | 59 Comments

Shovels Ready

From the Star Ledger:

Feds clear the way for Gateway Tunnel project to get billions in funding

The final hurdle needed to qualify for federal funding to start building the $12.3 billion Gateway rail Tunnel was cleared Thursday when the Federal Transit Administration raised its rating of the project.

“This is a major step towards completing the nation’s most important transportation project, which will modernize our rail infrastructure, get commuters to work, and keep our economy moving forward,” said U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, D-NJ.

Federal funding could be as much as $5.6 billion, or approximately 44% of the projects cost to build two new rail tunnels under the Hudson River and rehabilitate the existing 111-year old tunnels. Amtrak would fund $1.4 billion and also has purchased Manhattan property needed for the project. The state governments of New Jersey and New York would fund up to $6 billion, through low interest, long-term railroad infrastructure loans.

“The day many commuters never thought they’d ever see is finally coming. We are closer than ever to securing a fairly and fully funded Gateway Program and beginning the work of delivering the safe and modern infrastructure our people and economy deserve,” said Gov. Phil Murphy in a statement.

Posted in New Development, New Jersey Real Estate, NYC | 104 Comments

It was legal to discriminate against older workers in NJ

From the Star Ledger:

Older workers in N.J. have new protections to help them find a job, get promoted

In response to an increasingly older workforce and retirement ages, on Oct. 4, 2021, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill expanding the scope of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) by eliminating decades-old provisions that permitted employers to make age-based employment decisions in certain circumstances. This legislation seeks to serve the laudatory goal of protecting older workers against workplace discrimination in the Garden State.

For private-sector employers, this legislation amends the law to extend protections to older workers by eliminating a provision in the law that permitted employers to refuse to hire or promote employees over 70 years of age. It also expands the remedies available to an employee unlawfully forced to retire due to age to include all remedies available under the law, as opposed to just back pay as was the case pre-amendment.

Originally enacted in 1945, the Law Against Discrimination did not originally include age as a protected category, and it was not until 1962 that the law was amended to include age. However, in 1985, the law was amended to expressly clarify that, although employers were barred from terminating or demoting employees on account of their age, employers were nonetheless permitted to “refus[e] to accept for employment or to promote any person over 70 years of age.” Moreover, that same 1985 amendment expressly limited the remedies available to employees forced to retire due to age to back pay only. Although New Jersey continued to both broaden the law and expand the number of groups subject to its protections, for many years, age was relegated to second-class status.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, New Jersey Real Estate | 147 Comments

The snark is just too good (sorry Mary)

From NJ1015:

Is this a $3M dump? No one wants Mary J. Blige’s NJ mansion (Opinion)

Singer Mary J. Blige was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year. She’s won nine Grammy awards, been nominated for Oscars and sold over 100 million records.

Yet real estate deals have not been kind to her.

In 2008, she purchased a 13,000-square-foot mansion in Saddle River. She spent a decade on and off trying to sell it and it finally sold in 2020 for $5.5 million, an almost $7 million loss.

Then there’s this one.She still owns a home in Cresskill. It’s another mansion, with more than 7,000 square feet. The description sounds amazing: six bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, two half baths, three fireplaces. Guest quarters. Has its own gym.

But no one wants it.

It’s been for sale for two and a half years. No takers. Why? Well, tell me if you’d be suspicious about a property advertised where none of the photos show the inside of the home. Take a look (oh, you really need to take a look).

The craziest thing is it first went on the market in the summer of 2019 for an ask of $2.25 million. Then in mid 2021, with no takers, she raised the price to $2.75 million. Again no takers. By October the price was again increased to $3 million where it remains today.

Not sure she’s understanding the supply and demand concept.

Posted in Economics, Housing Bubble, New Jersey Real Estate | 232 Comments

The kids are alright (kinda)

From Insider:

1980s millennials are finally recovering from the Great Recession

Nearly 15 years after the Great Recession hit, the eldest millennials are finally doing alright.

Graduating into a blighted job market put them on a rocky road to building both their career and wealth, which was only further hampered by massive student debt and soaring living costs for things like homes and health care. But data over the past year has revealed that the cohort is making a comeback from their economic challenges in the job market and in their bank accounts.

Research shows that those who graduate during a recession could see stagnation in financial growth for up to 15 years. The St. Louis Fed previously deemed millennials born in the 1980s at risk of becoming a “lost generation” for wealth accumulation. As of 2016, their median wealth levels were 34% below older generations when they were a similar age, making them the slowest cohort to recover from the Great Recession.

“Not only is their wealth shortfall in 2016 very large in percentage terms, but the typical 1980s family actually lost ground in relative terms between 2010 and 2016, a period of rapidly rising asset values that buoyed the wealth of all older cohorts,” the St. Louis Fed report read.

But a follow-up report last year found “millennials may not be as ‘lost’ as we once thought.” It revealed that the cohort made serious ground in building wealth. As of 2019, they had narrowed their wealth deficit to 11%. Of course, this doesn’t take into consideration effects from coronavirus recession, as full data for this period isn’t yet available.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, National Real Estate | 153 Comments

The new big box mart

From the Real Deal:

Northern NJ industrial properties are fetching record rents

Warehouse tenants in 2021 paid more for proximity to the largest consumer market in the U.S. than ever before.

Retailers, manufacturers and other industrial renters want so badly to be near New York City that they’re willing to pay 50 percent more for space within a few miles of it than they would have a couple years ago.

Asking rents in northern New Jersey’s industrial market ticked up 23 percent in 2021 to an average rate of $10.85 per square foot — a new high, data from Savills Research show. That figure is even higher for core submarkets like the Meadowlands, just west of the city.

“The reality is, if you want to lease a modern big-box building in the Meadowlands right now — if you can find something — it’s going to cost you more than $20 per square foot,” Mark Russo, Savills’ director of industrial research for North America, told The Real Deal. “That’s where lease rates are going if you’re looking at modern product.”

More than 11.7 million square feet of industrial space is under construction in the market, but new deliveries have been insufficient in quelling demand and have pushed rents so high the market’s longtime mom-and-pop operators are being priced out, Russo said.

Posted in Economics, National Real Estate, New Development, New Jersey Real Estate | 278 Comments

Great Resignation to accelerate?

From NJ1015:

Why do more workers plan to jump ship from their jobs in 2022?

Job optimism is high as 41% of workers plan to look for a new job in the first six months of 2022, according to Robert Half’s biannual job optimism report, which surveyed more than 2,400 employees.

That’s up from 32% six months ago, said regional director Dora Onyschak. She added that the top reasons why workers are quitting include salary boost (54%), better benefits and perks (38%), and the ability to work remotely permanently (34%).

Surprisingly, the report also found that 28% of workers would quit their current job without even having another job lined up.

“Professionals know that they are in demand in the market, so my guess would be is that they’re not as concerned as they perhaps have been in prior years,” Onyschak said.

The report also found that 66% of the Gen Z professionals felt that their careers have stalled since the start of the pandemic. These younger workers want to be challenged so they are the ones who would typically start to look for a new job if they’re unsatisfied, she said.

About 49% of employees who have been with their company for two to four years and 47% of technology workers are also most likely to start job searching in the first half of this year.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, National Real Estate | 94 Comments

Slowin’ down

From Fortune:

The Great Deceleration? The biggest jump in home prices is behind us—why housing appreciation will slow

Year over year, U.S. home prices rose 19.1% between October 2020 and October 2021, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index, the leading measure of residential real estate price. That’s down from the all-time high of a 19.8% home price increase between August 2020 and August 2021, meaning that home price growth started to cool in the autumn. But that slowdown is bigger than it might first appear. See, that year-over-year period still includes the frenzied 2021 spring housing market, during which bidding wars hit an all-time high. When you look at the last two months for which data is available, September and October, home prices rose 0.8% month over month, which is significantly slower than the 2.3% spike between March and April. 

However, home shoppers should not mistake this latest slowdown as price relief. After all, the 19.1% uptick in home prices is far above the average 3.2% pay raise workers can expect this year. That said, there’s a growing consensus among industry insiders that the deceleration in home price growth is just getting started. And that price growth slowdown has the potential to be even more substantial if an inflation-concerned Federal Reserve pushes interest rates up by more than expected. If the interest rate of the average 30-year fixed mortgage (currently at 3.1%) were to rise even half a percent, it would have the potential to lock out some buyers from the market altogether, lower demand, and lower levels of home price growth.

“Mortgage rates will rise to 3.6% [this year], bringing price growth down to earth…This low price growth will likely discourage speculators from entering the market and allow more first-time buyers to have a chance at winning a home,” writes Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin. In the same report, Redfin predicts that annual home price growth in 2022 will plunge to 3%. If that happens, it would be the slowest year-over-year change in home prices since 2012.

Why is home price growth likely to continue decelerating in 2022? Some of it is simply a housing market returning to normal after a pandemic-spurred boom sent home price growth to unsustainable levels. Record-low mortgage rates are expected to rise, while looming return-to-office plans have cut down on some second-home purchases. Seasonality—the cooling period in the summer and fall during which home sales usually fall—has also returned to the market after it was absent last year, as more Americans return to vacationing and pre-pandemic life.

Posted in Economics, National Real Estate | 118 Comments

The new New Jersey

From NJ Monthly:

How Covid-19 Changed the Way We Work in New Jersey

When Governor Phil Murphy signed an unprecedented executive order in March 2020 directing New Jersey’s 9 million residents to stay home, the state’s schools and nonessential businesses to shut down, and employers to let their employees work from home if possible, O’Daniels and her colleagues worked remotely for a few weeks. Then, they were furloughed. Finally, in July, O’Daniels was laid off, and her nearly 20-year tenure in the hotel industry came to an end. Her husband, who was also working in hospitality, was laid off around the same time. “I was devastated,” she says.

Between February and April 2020, New Jersey lost jobs in all of its major private-industry sectors, and unemployment spiked from 3.8 to 16.6 percent, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. By June 2020, 1.24 million New Jersey workers, or about 28 percent of the labor force, had filed for unemployment benefits, either to make up for a lost job or lost hours.

O’Daniels was able to secure a job three months later as a sales consultant for the catalog-websites Wine Enthusiast and Wine Express, in a different industry where her skills were transferable. “I sold myself,” she says of convincing the hiring manager that she was the right person for the position, even though she didn’t fit the typical mold for an employee. But not every local job seeker has been so fortunate.

Now, almost two years later, the job market and the economy are being reshaped by a global pandemic that has had unpredictable repercussions. New Jersey workers and employers continue to pick up the pieces and adapt to an ever-changing situation.

“We are going through a reset,” says James W. Hughes, dean emeritus of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and a professor at Rutgers University. “We are not going back to the old normal. We are going to the next normal. We are going to have to live with Covid-19 and its variants. It’s not going away.”

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, New Jersey Real Estate | 156 Comments

Strong GDP growth for NJ

From the Star Ledger:

Good news: There’s been a wholesale transformation of New Jersey’s economy

You might have missed it amid the holiday rush, but 2021 ended with some incredibly positive economic news: for the third quarter, the Garden State ranked fourth in Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, growth. Not fourth in the region, or fourth among states that start with “New” in their name — fourth in the nation.

Economists describe GDP as a calculation of the size of a given economy, and New Jersey grew faster than states that critics often point to as role models — places like Texas, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, which published this data, New Jersey’s strong performance was fueled by notable growth in core industries like finance, professional services, and manufacturing.

This top-five ranking is particularly remarkable given our state’s recent history – in the eight years prior to Gov. Phil Murphy taking office, New Jersey ranked 47th in the U.S. in GDP growth. And this GDP data follows other recent data indicating New Jersey is regaining its market share in venture capital dollars invested in the state, as well as outpacing the region and the country for new business formation.

Posted in Economics, Employment, New Jersey Real Estate | 108 Comments

Great Reshuffle Continues

From the Washington Post:

A record 4.5 million workers quit or changed jobs in November 

The labor market’s record churn reached new heights in November, with 4.5 million workers quitting or changing their jobs, the highest number in the survey’s history, according the Labor Department’s monthly report on job openings.

It was the fourth time in 2021 that the number of workers quitting reached a record, with previous highs in AprilAugust and September. Workers took advantage of a hot jobs market, with employers reporting some 10.6 million job openings in the survey — down from recent records but still well above pre-pandemic averages.

The data provides yet another illustration of how profoundly the pandemic has transformed the dynamics of the labor market. Nearly two years after some 20 million workers lost their jobs in the wave of shutdowns in spring 2020, the imbalance between available workers and job openings has given many workers more leverage than they’ve had in recent memory.

“This is the tightest labor market ever,” said Julia Pollak, economist at the jobs site ZipRecruiter. “These are not quits from the labor force but quits from lower-paying jobs to higher-paying jobs, from less prestigious jobs to better, more prestigious jobs, from less flexible jobs to more flexible jobs.”

Posted in General | 133 Comments

Not such a deep dive

From News 12:

Deep Dive: Where things stand now for real estate in New Jersey heading into 2022

Where did 2021 stand when it came to real estate in New Jersey?

“Home sales were really hot, especially in the beginning of the year,” says Caleb Silver with Investopedia. “If we look at the national average it is up 20% year over year in terms of home prices, but Jersey slowed a lot since the beginning of the year. Monmouth County, the biggest increase, up 19%, Morris County up 12.4%, Bergen County up 11.5%, and Hudson only up 6.1%.

“Does Silver have any projections for the new year?”

Well you could probably bet on the fact that interest rates are going to rise which means mortgage rates are going to rise too. We know inventory has been tight so we probably will see a slowdown in sales and more of a drop in home prices as we get into the new year,” says Silver.

Posted in Economics, Mortgages, New Jersey Real Estate | 271 Comments

Predictions 2022!

Break out your crystal ball and let’s hear ’em!

Real Estate

Stocks/Securities

Economy

Commodities

Inflation

Posted in General | 189 Comments