Blame COVID

From CNN:

The ‘Great Reshuffling’ played a big part in pushing home prices higher 

The pandemic changed the way people lived and, for many, where they lived. Working from home was a significant driver of this “Great Reshuffling” and accounted for more than half of the steep increases in home prices seen during the pandemic, new research has found.

Remote work allowed some people to move to places farther away from their office and prompted others to buy larger homes to accommodate their new lifestyles. The demand for more house and the ability to move to warmer climates played a sizable role in pushing home prices higher, according to a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper by researchers from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the University of California, San Diego.

Home prices grew by 23.8% during the pandemic, according to the researchers’ population-weighted analysis of Zillow’s home price index between December 2019 and November 2021. And the study found that remote work accounted for 15.1% of that growth.

The findings suggest there was more than just speculation behind the turbo-charged growth in home prices during the pandemic, said Johannes Wieland, an associate professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego, and co-author of the study. He added that the evolution of remote work is likely to have a large impact on the future path of home prices and inflation.

“We were pretty shocked remote work had this impact, once we saw the estimates,” Wieland said. “We thought about how people moving to different locations would be important. And it is. But it is the people who are remaining in a metro area — the people who need more space at home if they work at home — that is really pushing up prices. That is the majority of the story.”

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, National Real Estate | 171 Comments

Sorry, you missed the top

From Fortune:

The housing market just slid into a full-blown correction, says top economist Mark Zandi

Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi is ready to call it. He tells Fortune that we’ve officially moved from a housing boom into a “housing correction.”

The real estate data rolling in for April and May shows that the U.S. housing market is softening. New home sales fell 19% to their lowest level since April 2020. Redfin reports 19% of home listings cut their price over the past month. Inventory is rising fast, while mortgage applications and existing home sales are also falling.

This drop-off isn’t a result of seasonality, or a soft month or two. Zandi says it’s a trajectory flip: Demand is pulling back—fast—in the face of mortgage rates that have spiked dramatically

“The housing market has peaked…everything points to a rolling over of the housing market,” Zandi says. “In terms of home sales, they’re falling sharply. Housing demand is coming down fast. Home price growth [will] go flat here pretty quickly; we will see [home] price declines in a significant number of markets.”

Unlike a stock market correction, which means a greater than 10% drop in equities, Zandi says a “housing correction” means the end of the housing boom and the beginning of a period where home prices will fall in some regional markets. Over the coming 12 months, he expects year-over-year home price growth to be 0%. If that comes to fruition, it’d mark the worst 12-month stretch since 2012. It would also be whiplash for real estate agents and brokers who’ve watched home prices soar 19.8% over the past year.

Posted in Economics, Housing Bubble, New Jersey Real Estate | 21 Comments

At the top now?

From CNBC:

Home listings suddenly jump as sellers worry they may miss out on the red-hot housing market

Sharply higher mortgage rates have caused a sudden pullback in home sales, and now sellers are rushing to get in before the red-hot market cools off dramatically.

The supply of homes for sale jumped 9% last week compared with the same period a year ago, according to Realtor.com. That is the biggest annual gain the company has recorded since it began tracking the metric in 2017.

Real estate brokerage Redfin also reported that new listings rose nearly twice as fast in the four weeks ended May 15 as they did during the same period a year ago.

“Rising mortgage rates have caused the housing market to shift, and now home sellers are in a hurry to find a buyer before demand weakens further,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather.

Sellers clearly see the market softening. Pending home sales, a measure of signed contracts on existing homes, dropped nearly 4% in April from March. They were down just over 9% from April 2021, according to the National Association of Realtors. This index measures signed contracts on existing homes, not closings, so it is perhaps the most timely indicator of how buyers are reacting to higher mortgage rates. It marks the sixth straight month of sales declines and the slowest pace in nearly a decade.

Posted in Housing Bubble, Mortgages, National Real Estate | 119 Comments

Yeah Right

From NJ1015:

GOP plan for ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ to cut NJ taxes

Assembly Republicans want to cut income taxes as part of the new state budget, part of a four-pronged plan for responding to an unprecedented surge in state revenues and surplus.

Assembly Minority Leader John DiMaio, R-Warren, said the tax brackets haven’t been adjusted in nearly a quarter-century – and that given inflation rates and the state’s multi-billion surplus, now is the time.

“It’s going to give long-term, sustainable relief to many, many New Jerseyans, particularly those on the lower end of the scale,” DiMaio said.

Taxes would be reduced on income under $128,455 for a single taxpayer and $256,910 for a married couple. Savings would amount to $1,600 for a married couple earning $110,000 or $1,000 for a single taxpayer with income of $70,000, DiMaio said.

The 1.75% tax bracket that currently starts at $20,000 of income for a single-filer taxpayer would be applied starting at $34,255, according to the proposal. The 3.5% rate would start at $59,946, rather than $35,000; the 5.525% rate at $68,510, rather than $40,000; and the 6.37% rate at $128,455, rather than $75,000.

For married couples filing jointly, all those income thresholds are doubled. The plan also eliminates a 2.45% bracket that currently applies to married couples on their income between $50,000 and $70,000, described by critics as a marriage penalty in the tax code.

Posted in Economics, Employment, New Jersey Real Estate, Politics | 302 Comments

No national price decline?

From Yahoo Finance:

Housing Prices Are Expected to Drop in These Cities — Is Yours One of Them?

Housing prices could drop by as much as 10% in many U.S. cities, per Fortune, referencing a new report from Moody’s Analytics. However, the dip won’t represent a national home price correction, according to Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi.

Rather, per Zandi, within the next 12 months, home price growth will reach zero year-over-year. Some of the most overpriced housing markets will experience declines, he predicts.

Zandi attributes the cooling market to rapidly rising mortgage rates in an already-overvalued market. He doesn’t consider the current prices to represent a housing bubble, because the market overvaluation isn’t accompanied by speculation, he told Fortune. However, he noted that he sees some “speculation creeping in” to markets like Phoenix and Charlotte, which are overvalued by 46% and 33%, Fortune reports.

When a housing market is overvalued, it means home prices are higher than expected compared to average local incomes. Moody’s research showed that 96% of the 392 metropolitan area markets considered are “overvalued,” with 149 overvalued by at least 25%.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, National Real Estate | 237 Comments

NJ UE Falls to 4.1%

From InsiderNJ:

NJDOL: New Jersey Job Growth Continues in April 

New Jersey’s employment growth continued for the 17th consecutive month in April, as non-farm employment increased by 14,800 jobs to reach a seasonally adjusted level of 4,191,500, while NJ’s unemployment rate declined to 4.1 percent.

Job growth so far in 2022 has averaged nearly 18,700 jobs per month and the unemployment rate has fallen from 5.1 percent recorded this past January. New Jersey has now recovered 695,700 jobs, or about 95 percent of the number lost in March and April 2020, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, the previously released total nonfarm employment estimates for March were revised higher by 1,500 to show an over-the-month (February – March) increase of 19,300 jobs. Preliminary estimates had indicated an over-the-month gain of 17,800 jobs. The March upward revision occurred entirely in the private sector. The state’s March unemployment rate was unchanged 4.2 percent.

In April, employment increases were recorded in eight out of nine major private industry sectors. Sectors that recorded job gains include leisure and hospitality (+4,700), trade, transportation, and utilities (+4,400), education and health services (+4,200), other services (+1,200), professional and business services (+1,000), manufacturing (+800), financial activities (+500), and information (+300). Construction (-2,600) was the only sector that decreased from the prior month. Over the month, public sector employment increased by 200 jobs.

Posted in Economics, Employment, New Jersey Real Estate | 27 Comments

Some go up, some go down

From the Record:

Bergen County home prices up 5.3% in April, while Hudson and Passaic County rise as well

A typical Bergen County home listed for $679,000 in April, up 5.3% from a month earlier, an analysis of data from Realtor.com shows. The median list home price in April was up about 8.6% from April 2021. Bergen County’s median home was 2,111 square feet for a listed price of $327 per square foot.

Passaic County’s home prices rose 0.5%, to a median $429,900, from a month earlier. The typical house was on the market for 21 days, from 23 days a month earlier. The typical 1,840-square-foot house had a list price of $242 per square foot.

Hudson County’s home prices fell 1.9%, to a median $500,000, from a month earlier. The typical house was on the market for 30 days, from 30 days a month earlier. The typical 1,002-square-foot house had a list price of $549 per square foot.

Essex County’s home prices rose 6.3%, to a median $449,000, from a month earlier. The typical house was on the market for 23 days, from 25 days a month earlier. The typical 1,876-square-foot house had a list price of $274 per square foot.

Across metro New York, median home prices rose to $715,000, up 2.3% from a month earlier. The median home had 1,424 square feet, at a list price of $598 per square foot.

Across all of New Jersey, median home prices were $469,900, rising 4.5% from a month earlier. The median New Jersey home for sale had 1,658 square feet at list price of $254 per square foot.

Posted in General | 247 Comments

Aaannnddd… They’re Off!

From the Star Ledger:

New home listings up 40%. What the market is like in all 21 N.J. counties.

Anyone who has shopped for a house in this red-hot market can tell you, there aren’t many to choose from.

The bidding wars and sky-high prices that have been the norm for the past two years were driven largely by the low inventory of homes for sale.

But the latest figures for new home listings show a 41% gain in new listings from February to March. Statewide, 9,281 homes hit the market in March, versus 6,566 new listings in February, according to the most recent data available from New Jersey Realtors.

The biggest increases were in Middlesex, Bergen and Monmouth counties. The smallest increases in new listings month over month were in Hunterdon, Salem and Essex counties, according to New Jersey Realtors.

Despite the month-over-month gains, the stock of houses for sale in New Jersey is still woefully low.

New listings were down 10.5% from a year ago. And if the trend of 9,200 new listings were to continue for the rest of the year, coupled with the number of current listings, that would put new listings for the year statewide at about 105,000.

“It sounds like a lot but it isn’t,” said Robert White president of New Jersey Realtors and a broker with Coldwell Banker in Spring Lake.

In 2018 there were 131,000 new listings and in 2019 there were 128,000. Inventory was already dropping before the pandemic and has slipped since.

“In a better market there would’ve been closer to 20,000 new listings,” White said.

Posted in New Jersey Real Estate | 307 Comments

NJ’s new tax rebate

From Patch:

$900M In Tax Relief Could Be Coming To 1.8M NJ Homeowners, Renters

Nearly 1.8 million New Jersey homeowners and renters could get some money back from the state under Gov. Phil Murphy’s new property tax relief program proposed in his 2023 budget.

Murphy highlighted the ANCHOR (Affordable New Jersey Communities for Homeowners and Renters) Property Tax Relief Program, which proposes to pay out $900 million in property tax relief to qualified homeowners and renters, during a visit to Somerville on Thursday.

“I am proud of the forward progress this administration is making on the affordability challenge we inherited several years ago,” said Murphy. “Through the ANCHOR Property Tax Relief Program, more New Jersey taxpayers will receive the support they need to offset the costs of property taxes, making our state stronger, fairer, and more affordable for all.”

This new program would replace the Homestead Rebate Program, which only affected 470,000 homeowners annually and provided an average benefit of $626. Renters were also not eligible for the current Homestead program.

Under the new program, homeowners making up to $250,000 per year will be eligible to receive an average $700 rebate in 2023 to offset property tax costs. Also, renters making up to $100,000 per year will eligible for a rebate of up to $250 to help with rent increases due to property taxes.

Posted in New Jersey Real Estate, Politics, Property Taxes | 127 Comments

Back to work?

From NJ1015:

Extended unemployment insurance to expire for 80,000 NJ workers

Eighty-eight weeks of unemployment benefits triggered by the coronavirus pandemic are coming to a close.

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced Thursday that approximately 80,000 New Jersey workers are due to exhaust extended unemployment insurance in the coming weeks, and they won’t be able to receive additional unemployment assistance until new earnings and work history requirements are met.

Claimants in this pool will have benefited from 26 weeks of regular state unemployment, up to 49 weeks of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation that ended Sept. 4, and up to 13 weeks of state Extended Benefits that followed.

“We have distributed $37.5 billion in benefits to help more than 1.5 million claimants through the darkest days of the pandemic,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “Our team now stands ready to help these workers reenter the workforce by finding meaningful, dignified, sustained employment.”

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, New Jersey Real Estate | 384 Comments

We’ve been discussing this for the last 10 years…

From Yahoo Money:

Mortgage rates hit highest level in 13 years and could cool housing market

Mortgage rates hit their highest level since August 2009 this week, following a sharp increase in the 10-year Treasury yield and continuing a breakneck ascent since the start of 2022.

The rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage increased to 5.27%, up from 5.10% last week, according to Freddie Mac. Mortgage rates have climbed over a half-point in the last four weeks and are up 2 percentage points from the start of the year.

The rapid increase in rates — tied to the Federal Reserve’s moves to hike interest rates to curb inflation — may be finally cooling the once-blistering hot housing market as affordability challenges become untenable for buyers.

“While housing affordability and inflationary pressures pose challenges for potential buyers, house price growth will continue but is expected to decelerate in the coming months,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

The cost of financing 80% of a typical home listed for sale has increased by nearly 50% in the last year, according to Realtor.com. Housing affordability has worsened in the first quarter of 2022, with the monthly payment for an average existing home with a 20% down payment up $1,383, which is $319 or 30% more than a year ago, according to NAR analysts.

Families are spending 18.7% of their income on mortgage payments, compared with just 14.2% a year ago.

Posted in Economics, Mortgages, National Real Estate | 62 Comments

Worst ever time to buy?

From Gallup:

Record Low in U.S. Say It Is a Good Time to Buy a House

Thirty percent of U.S. adults say it is a good time to buy a house, down 23 percentage points from a year ago and the first time the figure has been below 50%. Gallup has asked the question since 1978, including annual updates since 2003.

The results are from Gallup’s annual Economy and Personal Finance poll, conducted April 1-19. The survey was conducted as the median sale prices of U.S. homes reached a record $428,000, and as mortgage interest rates have climbed to their highest levels in over a decade.

Until now, at least half of Americans had consistently said it was a good time to buy a house. The percentage holding that view has varied, often in response to housing market conditions.

In the early 2000s, as U.S. homeownership reached an all-time high, a record 81% of Americans said it was a good time to buy a house. As housing prices rose sharply in the mid-2000s, creating a housing “bubble” and leading to an eventual market crash, positive evaluations of the housing market fell to the low 50s.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, National Real Estate | 208 Comments

To say it’s name is to summon it

From Marketwatch:

Recession is ‘almost inevitable’: former Fed Gov. Ferguson says

For months, former Fed Governor Roger Ferguson has worried the risks of a recession were rising. Now, he said, a recession in 2023 is nearly unavoidable, with the chances “definitely over 50%,”

What changed? In an interview Monday on CNBC, Ferguson said it was fresh signs of spreading global economic weakness, including in China.

“The rest of the world is also slowing pretty dramatically,” just when the Fed as other central banks are starting to raise interest rates to try to curb inflation.

“It’s a witches brew,” Ferguson said.

Posted in Economics | 189 Comments

Nothing to worry about here

From Forbes:

The odds of a home price decline hitting your local housing market, as told by one interactive chart

While the swift move up in mortgage rates is undoubtedly putting downward pressure on the housing market, it doesn’t mean home prices are about to crash. In fact, every major real estate firm with a publicly released forecast model, including Fannie Mae and Zillow, still predicts home prices will climb further this year. 

That said, industry insiders tell Fortune there’s increasingly a chance that the economic shock caused by soaring mortgage rates could see home values fall in some overpriced housing markets.

To better understand which regional housing markets might see a price decline, Fortune reached out to CoreLogic. The California-based real estate research company provided us with its assessment of close to 400 metropolitan statistical areas.

Posted in Housing Bubble, New Jersey Real Estate | 124 Comments

How did this survive?

From NJ1015:

This Historic New Jersey Beach Mansion Has the Best View on the East Coast

Posted in Shore Real Estate | 149 Comments