From the Record:
As North Jersey home values rebounded during 2013, two market segments were left out: the very low-priced and the very high-priced communities, according to an analysis of property prices by The Record.
The gradual recovery of the housing market in 2013 meant that for the first time since 2006, Bergen County home prices moved up — at least in the first eight months of the year, the latest complete data available from public records. That period covers the busiest time of the year for home sales. Prices were up a median 6.3 percent in Bergen County during the first eight months of the year, compared with the same period in 2012.
But falling values in lower-priced communities such as Paterson meant that Passaic County’s prices were flat, up a scant 0.2 percent.
“Bergen County is generally better positioned than Passaic in terms of proximity to New York City, highways and jobs, and in not having places like Passaic and Paterson in the mix,” said Jeffrey Otteau, an East Brunswick appraiser who tracks home prices statewide.
At both price extremes of the market — high and low — home values underperformed. Homes in communities with a median price of under $250,000 lost about 3.6 percent of their value in the first eight months of last year, and homes in communities where the median is over $700,000 lost 5.1 percent.
“You can’t paint the market right now with one broad brush stroke,” said appraiser Rick DelGuercio, president of Appraisal Systems in Glen Rock. “People ask me, ‘What are you seeing in the market?’ I say, ‘Which market?’ We are seeing strength, but only within certain economic brackets of value.”
At the low end, DelGuercio said, prices have lagged because many of the transactions were distressed sales, where the home had to be sold because the owner fell behind on mortgage payments. Distressed sales tend to sell at a discount to the market. In addition, the difficulty of obtaining mortgages shuts out a lot of low-income potential buyers — the market for these properties.
The pattern is clear in North Jersey’s cities.
“If you’re in suburbia, chances are there are two to three offers on a property,” said John Susani of Coldwell Banker Susani Realty in Paterson. “Down here, never. If you list it at $175,000, you’d never get $175,000.”