From the Courier Post:
Housing sales slid to the slowest rate nationwide in July.
Quarterly statistics for southern New Jersey showed a sharp decline in volume with the exception of the shore.
The only community that recorded significant gains in both price and sales was Moorestown, where the average home sale was $610,000, a 14-percent gain over the same time a year ago; 73 properties changed hands in the Burlington County community, a 12.3 percent increase, according to Trend MLS, a King of Prussia, Pa.-based provider of real estate statistics.
“In a few pockets, there hasn’t been a difference,” Howard Lipton of Weichert Realtors in Burlington Township said. “But in most places, prices are definitely coming down.”
While prices in the Northeast rose 1 percent overall, a number of communities posted double-digit dips. In Lumberton, the average home was off 16 percent to $267,900, Trend said. In Pemberton, prices dropped 20.4 percent to an average price of $172,000.
Overall, prices inched up. In Burlington County, the median price was up 2.3 percent over last year to $277,100, according to the most recent numbers from the National Association of Realtors. In Camden County, a typical home gained 4.5 percent to $211,800. In Gloucester County, a 5.2 percent increase boosted the median home price to $238,900.
In South Jersey Shore communities, both prices and volume gained, with the median home price up 4.4 percent to $251,000 on sales of 1,111 homes, a 17.2-percent increase in volume over 2006.
“This state is in a better position than many places in that we’re holding our prices,” said Bill Hanley, president of the Realtors Association of New Jersey.
The rub is fewer homes are selling, swelling inventory.
Nationwide, the inventory of unsold single-family homes ballooned to 4.59 million homes, the highest level in 16 years. In Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties, 12,786 existing single-family residences were for sale as of June 30.
Hanley attributed the glut to buyers sitting on the sidelines waiting for a sign that prices have bottomed out. Credit curbs also are putting the brakes on buyers.
“With fewer buyers qualifying for loans and lots of unsold houses out there, that makes a choice recipe for further sales declines this fall and into the winter,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC.
Currently, homes in South Jersey are taking an average of 71 days to sell. Lipton noted listings that are overpriced or don’t show well are sitting for as much as 14 months.
Daigle said sellers are becoming increasingly willing to negotiate as they internalize the reality of doing business in a buyer’s market.
“What we’re seeing is a shift in the market, with prices getting down to where they should be,” she said.