From the Press of Atlantic City:
Across a diverse South Jersey real estate market, some noticeable trends emerged in 2013, according to an analysis by The Press of Atlantic City of data compiled by the New Jersey Association of Realtors:
n Mainland Atlantic County towns experienced a spike in home sales last year, about a 16 percent increase from 2012, while sales in coastal municipalities dropped 11 percent. This includes single-family homes, condos and age-restricted communities.
A similar scene played out in Cape May County, where sales volume dropped 8 percent in seashore towns but fell only 4 percent inland.
In southern Ocean County, sales in Stafford and Little Egg Harbor townships rose a combined 48 percent. On Long Beach Island, however, overall sales dropped a combined 15 percent.
Meanwhile, median sales prices for single-family homes fell in Cape May, Cumberland and Ocean counties and were flat in Atlantic County. This counters the statewide trend, which saw the median home sell for $10,050 more than the year before.
A number of factors — increased sales of distressed properties, Hurricane Sandy-related issues, an improved national economy and a still floundering local one — played a role in real estate in 2013 and may shape the market this year.
Taken as a whole, the region trailed New Jersey and the U.S. in terms of home-sales growth and prices.
Some markets in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties showed more sales or higher prices than others.
Anthony D’Alicandro, owner of Coldwell Banker Casa Bella Realtors in Linwood, said 2013 showed a significant difference between coastal and mainland properties.
The aftermath from Sandy and uncertainty over flood elevation requirements seemed to slow coastal markets early in the year, he said.
“The coastal towns were in momentum. They were through the roof in 2012, from leading up to the fourth quarter of 2011 through 2012. Sandy obviously had a huge impact on that momentum and literally brought it to a stop. Not because we had total loss and destruction, but it was mainly having the comfort level with buyers,” D’Alicandro said.
Ocean City, for example, saw sales fall about 10 percent, Realtor data show.
Sales were up 12 percent in Cumberland County overall, 10 percent in Vineland, 6 percent in Millville and 21 percent in Bridgeton, Realtor data show.
The median single-family home in Atlantic County sold for $210,000 in 2013, the same as the prior year, Realtor data show. In Cape May County, the median home sold for $292,750, about a 3 percent dip.
In Cumberland County, the median price dropped about 4 percent — to $135,725. Ocean County’s median home price dropped about 5 percent, to $254,900.
All these figures trail the national and state averages.
In some respects, South Jersey real estate has to deal with a regional economy still struggling to add jobs lost during the recession and its aftermath.