From the Record:
Home prices in the region ticked up 2.1 percent in the New York metropolitan area, including North Jersey, in the 12 months ended in January, the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index reported Tuesday. That was less than half the national increase of 4.5 percent.
The numbers point to a housing market that is still slowly recovering from the worst downturn since World War II. Home values are no higher than they were in 2004, both nationally and in the region. Single-family prices in the area are almost 19 percent below their peaks in mid-2006, while national values are about 17 percent below their peaks.
“Despite price gains, the housing market faces some difficulties,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Home prices [nationwide] are rising roughly twice as fast as wages, putting pressure on potential homebuyers and heightening the risk that any uptick in interest rates could be a major setback. Moreover, the new home sector is weak; residential construction is still below its pre-crisis peak.”
In Bergen County, the median price of a single-family home dropped 8.6 percent in January from a year earlier, to $425,000. In Passaic County, the median dropped 1.8 percent, to $275,000. Those numbers are from the New Jersey Realtors and reflect the mix of properties sold in the month; Case-Shiller does not track prices on a county-by-county basis.
New Jersey’s housing market faces several challenges, including the state’s employment market, which has not been creating jobs as fast as the nation as a whole. In addition, the state has one of the nation’s highest rates of properties in the foreclosure pipeline, because it slowed the eviction process after questions arose about mortgage industry abuses.