Too early for so much hope and optimism?

From the Star Ledger:

Warm weather, improved economy bringing out homebuyers and sellers this spring

In the real estate business, there is a budding sense of optimism these days.

A warmer winter, a stronger sense of job security and a general feeling that home prices have stopped dropping are fueling a new outlook.

“This is extraordinary,” said Jeffrey Otteau, president of the Otteau Valuation Group in East Brunswick. The market is “exploding off the charts, and I’m convinced this is just the early stages of what is yet to come.

“And, I’m not an optimistic person by nature,’’ he added. “I’ve seen so many negatives.”

Springtime is traditionally a busy buying and selling season for homeowners: the weather is nice, and buying now gives new homeowners time to settle in before school starts in the fall. But this year, activity started earlier and there are already stories of double-digit visits at open houses, bidding wars and homes sold within days.

The reasons are numerous, according to real estate agents. Potential buyers are tired of waiting on the sidelines, worrying that prices could drop further. Interest rates are still at historic lows, but are starting to creep upward, which in turn gives buyers a sense of urgency to make a move. And sellers, long reluctant to accept the reality that their homes’ values have declined, are increasingly willing to list them at realistic prices.

“We’re seeing the kinds of activities that lead us to believe we’re going to have some improvements in the market over what we’ve seen in previous springs, (and) over the last several years,” said Charlie Young, CEO of Parsippany-based ERA Real Estate. “What it tells us is people are feeling like it might be time to stick their head out from the rabbit hole and look around.”

In mid-March, Jodi Luminiello, with Coldwell Banker, handled a bidding war on a three-bedroom split-style house in Cranford. She had listed it and hosted an open house on Sunday, and by Monday multiple prospective buyers had sent in their offers. It was priced correctly, she said.

“We’re getting double-digits when running open houses, so I think it’s overall very active out there,” Luminiello said. “Sellers are finally coming to terms with the true value and being realistic about their prices, so that’s helping everything get active again.”

Activity in New Jersey is slightly above what is happening nationwide, said Young, of ERA. And from what his agents tell him, the momentum is happening throughout the state, not just in select towns that were somewhat immune to the recession because of their location or housing stock.

That’s what Gary Large, president of the New Jersey Association of Realtors, is seeing too.

“In most cases, we’re starting to see a stabilization of prices,” said Large, who is branch manager of Prudential New Jersey Properties in Morristown. “We’re getting very close to the point we’ll be able to say prices have stabilized and the correction is over.”

This entry was posted in Economics, Housing Recovery, New Jersey Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Too early for so much hope and optimism?

  1. Comrade Nom Deplume says:


  2. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    April Fools Day post, grim?

  3. freedy says:

    Gary: What time are you leaving for the Open Houses? Please confine your searches to River Edge and Hillsdale where prices and taxes are right in line

  4. gary says:

    “This is extraordinary,” said Jeffrey Otteau, president of the Otteau Valuation Group in East Brunswick. The market is “exploding off the charts, and I’m convinced this is just the early stages of what is yet to come.

    He said this in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

  5. gary says:


    I’m showered and ready to go. I have my checkbook and I’m ready to run to look at a number of charmers.

  6. grim says:

    From the NJ Herald:

    Vernon tax decrease: How did mayor do it?

    VERNON — Mayor Victor Marotta said his proposed 2012 municipal budget — his first annual spending plan since taking office as the township’s first directly elected mayor — would lower municipal taxes without any gimmicks.

    “There is no 800-pound gorilla out there that I haven’t told the people of Vernon about,” Marotta said during an interview Friday at his office in the municipal


    Under Marotta’s proposed $23 million budget, introduced Monday night, homes assessed at $222,633 would receive a municipal tax bill of $1,302, around $24 less than last year. The estimated tax rate would be 58.5 cents per $100 of assessed value, down from 59.5 cents.

    Marotta, at Monday’s meeting, said with the exception of the budget following a 2009 property revaluation, it would be the first decrease in Vernon’s municipal tax rate in more than 20 years.

    New Jersey State League of Municipalities Executive Director Bill Dressel, told about the proposed budget, said it is fairly unusual for a municipality to lower taxes while not resorting to layoffs or program cuts — and Marotta said neither a reduction in personnel nor public services is factored into his budget.

    Marotta, who took office in July, said he began by gathering his department heads and asking them to find savings — even if it meant something as minor as officers in police cruisers no longer wasting gas by idling in the municipal parking lot.

    “If the administration asks you to do something, and it works, you get the credit. If it doesn’t, I get the blame,” Marotta said in recounting how he pitched his cost-cutting effort to the departments.

  7. 30 year realtor says:

    Sellers more realistic on pricing? Certainly not what I am seeing on the street. A more correct way to say it is, the only homes selling are those where the seller is realistic on pricing.

  8. 30 year realtor says:

    This week I met with one FSBO and 5 sellers who’s listings had expired. These wannabe sellers all had one thing in common, unrealistic pricing. Most were asking more than 20% above market value.

  9. grim says:

    8 – Read the first line of your comment over, and over, and over.

    You’re telling me you didn’t expect that going in? Really?

  10. 30 year realtor says:

    Grim #10 – Just reporting what I see on the streets. No surprise about it.

  11. freedy says:

    “NJ builders are off to their best startsince 2008” Patrick O’Keefe ,He’s with JHCohn

    Gary ,I guess we missed the bottom?

  12. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Grim #6 Vic is a good friend of mine, hopefully he will be able to get re-elected in a few years. As long as he is in charge you will see common sense in our town management, if they vote him out all bets are off. Now if we can just get our schools under control.

  13. gary says:

    Per Bergen Record: 6.2% of of homes in Bergen County with mortgages are in foreclosure.

  14. freedy says:

    Gary ,
    thats not even on the realtors radar, all systems are go

  15. gary says:

    Why is it that when Otteau and the other cheerleaders discuss a bottom in prices, the analysis never includes this slight distraction known as property taxes? Why is that the bubble has reportedly burst but taxes continue to rise at a steady rate? Why don’t these “experts” explain to us how affordibility is calculated according to their analysis?

    If house X in town Y was 400K with 6K in property taxes in year 2002, how did it now become affordable at 600K and 11K in property taxes in 2012? Inflation? Aren’t we told it was dead? Salary increase… even at a 2% increase YOY? Really? The cheerleaders speak in plurbs and the masses rejoice?

  16. gary (5)-

    You don’t measure up. Those towns expect a certain kind of person.

  17. gary says:

    Meat [16],

    Indeed! :)

  18. What industries are the biggest advertisers in the Star Ledger?

    Just saying.

  19. Eat my bread, do my will.

  20. 3b says:

    Otteau says he is not an optimistic person by nature!!!What a crock!!! he has been cheerleading for the last 5 years, calling the bottom and rcovery every Spring for the last 5 years. What a joke!!!

  21. Metroplexual says:

    You know Grim when I think of Vernon Township all I can think about is this guy.

  22. reinvestor101 says:

    Do you know what the damn problem is in Spain? The same damn problem as in Greece —tax and spend liberals and now that they are being cut off the stinking welfare, these hooligans want to take to the damn street and that makes my blood boil. There’s not a damn bit of difference between these dirtbags and the ones in Wisconsin who want to upend a damn election. I advocate coming down hard on both groups by detaining everyone. The liberal scourge is worldwide and it needs to be expunged where ever the hell it exists. I say the hell with elections anyway and put the damn banks in charge everywhere. They know what to do to get us out of this mess

  23. POS cape says:

    “The market is “exploding off the charts…””

    In what solar system is that taking place?

  24. sh1tting skittles says:

    18 –

    Car dealerships. What’s that got to do with it?

  25. chicagofinance says:

    Reading Bloomberg and saw this one…..
    Which is worse? One is reminded of the Woody Allen joke: “One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”

  26. reinvestor101 says:

    Liberals in Japan trying to undermine the damn financial system and give deregulation and uncle Milty Friedman a bad name. There’s not a damn thing wrong with unshackling business to make some damn money, but liberals try to ruin everything to force us into socialism. This reminds me of MF Global and who did you have at the helm of that operation? Yes, it was a stinking damn liberal. Liberals suck big time:

  27. Neanderthal Economist says:


    “What industries are the biggest advertisers in the Star Ledger?”

    Just saying.”

  28. Neanderthal Economist says:

    I’ve seen 6 homes in the last two weeks and i can see why sales activity is up. Besides the warm weather, many sellers near me are finally capitulating, slashing $20-40k off asking prices, creating a feeding frenzy for serious buyers who’ve been on sidelines the last two-three years . And every sellers agent claim that they wanted to list for less but ‘crazy’ wouldnt let them.

  29. Funny. Still no one talks about cost of carry (namely, taxes) when they speak of “affordability”, “fair pricing”, etc. Show me any other investment where cost of carry is too big a part of the equation- and growing both unpredictably and exponentially- and I’ll show you a sucker bet.

    This whole thing is headed off a cliff at 140 mph. I guess it’s a good thing that mass default will finally be in vogue when we’re fully engaged in armed class warfare.

    It’s coming, mark my words. We won’t go to the ramparts against the gubmint and bankster crooks when it all gets jiggy; TPTB has conditioned us well enough to turn on ourselves.

  30. veets (29)-

    A cup of his own piss looks like an oasis to a man dying of thirst.

  31. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Heres my philosophy on how people rationalize high prop taxes. Everyone in nj expects to pay at least $4k-$5k. So start there as a bare minimum. Then add a couple grand for nicer towns to keep the unwanteds out. That gets you to $7-$8k average acceptable base for prop taxes for an avg $350k home in this state. Then on top of that every family with kids sees prop taxes as tuition. Private schools charge $6-20k per kid per year, so they are happy to pay an additional $5k in prop taxes per house, especially if there are more than one kid involved. Now were at $13k avg taxes but you have to add additional premiums for nicer towns, and towns closer to employment centers like nyc.

  32. njescapee says:

    Could be interesting if / when interest and re tax deductions are limited or eliminated. Taxpayers in low tax states will no longer subsidize high tax states’ largess.

  33. Captain Sunshine says:

    It shold be a great day today! The NJ RE market is springing back, the sun will shine, the birds will sing, and there will be peace. I heard that a man in Spain who went to an angry riot party, found a job at a tear gas and rubber bullet factory instead! Wonderful!

  34. Vinland says:

    I think there are different sections of the market moving. As we did see in the beginning in 2007-2008 the lower section of the market moved much faster to price correction. Larger properties in more desirable town were slow to correct and we have seen an accelerated corrections for these properties in the last year.

    If we look at properties on the under 400K, and especially under 300K, they are moving fast. Just look at Fannie Mae There you have properties that are prices to sell and they swiftly go from Active to Under Contract. Guy next door had been trying to sell since 2008 and sold in February having kept steady on price for the last year.

    The fact is that from a cash perspective buying a 300K house beats out renting a similar property and most people buying in that range are more concerned about cash than future loss or gain on capital.

  35. Best Party says:

    I just couldn’t go away your site prior to suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the standard information a person provide for your visitors? Is going to be again continuously to check up on new posts|

  36. I seldom leave a response, but i did a few searching and wound up here Too early for so much hope and optimism? | New Jersey Real Estate Report. And I actually do have a couple of questions for you if you tend not to mind. Is it simply me or does it seem like a few of these responses come across like coming from brain dead visitors? :-P And, if you are writing at other online sites, I would like to follow everything fresh you have to post. Would you make a list of all of all your social pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

Comments are closed.