From the Record:
On the hunt for a home last summer, Priscilla Gabela and her husband, Antonio Aluotto, gave up after a month. Bidding wars were everywhere, and the North Arlington couple decided to wait things out, taking a break from September through December.
When they reentered the market early this year, they were in for sticker shock. If prices were too lofty in 2020, this year they zoomed into the stratosphere.
“It’s been crazy,” Gabela said. “We’ve seen a lot of houses priced really high.”
Welcome to the post-pandemic North Jersey real estate market, where price appreciation is the brutal reality even with vaccines spreading, interest rates climbing and more homes going on sale. With demand still high, last year’s “COVID premium” isn’t fading away.
In Bergen County, the median home sale price in Tenafly jumped 16% this May compared with a year earlier. Hackensack’s rose 19%, and Teaneck saw a whopping 33%, according to data from the state realtors’ association and individual agencies.
Some axioms of North Jersey housing held true: Towns with quaint, walkable downtowns or easy access to NJ Transit fared well — Montclair prices leaped 22%.
But some of the sharpest increases occurred farther to the west, as the trend toward hybrid and online work schedules encouraged buyers to settle farther from New York. Morris County’s median price surged by $100,000, or 23%, in April, the latest month available. Sussex County soared as well, led by Sparta’s 23% increase.
“Sellers are taking advantage of escalating prices and buyers are feverishly absorbing the inventory — it’s still very much a seller’s market,” said Max Stokes, a real estate associate at Christie’s International Real Estate Northern New Jersey in Ho-Ho-Kus.