Hat Tip to the Jersey Shore Bubble Blog for the link:
From the Philidelphia Inquirer:
Forecast turns bit cloudier
By Alletta Emeno and Alan J. Heavens
Without a doubt, the Jersey Shore real estate market has had a fantastic run for the last eight years. Up and down the coastline, from the top of Ocean County to the tip of Cape May, construction boomed, sales exploded and prices skyrocketed.
An Inquirer analysis of 27,709 home sales last year in Atlantic, Cape May and Ocean Counties showed that about 1,000 houses sold for $1 million or more.
And five towns – Stone Harbor and Avalon in Cape May County and Bay Head, Harvey Cedars and Mantoloking in Ocean County – had median home prices of $1 million or more, the analysis showed. (The median is the middle value; half the houses sold for more, half sold for less. In any town, a drop in median price does not mean prices fell for all houses there.)
But this picture of sunny times is turning partly cloudy, observers of the Shore market say, as higher interest rates are beginning to dampen sales, and condo construction, mostly involving investors, adds to a growing surplus of properties.
“Whenever interest rates rise, the second-home market is the first one to take the hit,” said Fred Glick, president of US Loans Mortgage L.L.C. in Philadelphia.
“It’s the condo and lower end of the Shore market that’s taking a hit,” said Paul Leiser, a broker at Avalon Real Estate. “These are the buyers who depend on lower interest rates to balance two mortgages, and with rising interest rates, they can’t do it.
Jay Lamont, the host of “All About Real Estate” on WPEN-AM (950), who has studied and owned real estate in Ocean City for about 40 years, said, “I have never seen anything even close to this debacle. Many legitimate and qualified buyers are waiting for fall, for the lender REO [real-estate-owned] listings and foreclosure sales on failed developer loans.”
Weekly sales reported to the Ocean City MLS are 80 percent to 90 percent lower than they were in spring 2005, with seven or eight sales a week, he said.