May 2020 – Real Estate clawing back

TRAFFIC VS INVENTORY

While many sellers and buyers understandably put home selling and buying plans on hold in March and April, the last three weeks have shown that making a move is looking much more do-able than it was a month ago.

First of all the number of buyer showings is coming back as shown by the chart above (courtesy of Showing Time). With technology and many fewer sellers listing their homes, you can list your house and make it happen safely and effectively and follow guidelines set by Gov Murphy,  the CDC and the NAR. Since most people are sheltering at home, people are spending a lot of time on the INTERNET and some are buyers actively looking at homes for sale online. But despite buyer traffic being low compared to normal spring markets, there are currently still buyers competing for the scarce inventory and having offers accepted. So the number of homes going Under Contract in area towns did not drop nearly as much as the number of Active Listings.

Less Competition – Quite a few sellers in April removed their homes from the market, but listings will pick up again soon, as a high percentage of sellers are only planning to delay the process by a couple of months. If you need to sell right now, don’t wait for the competition to get back into the market again. If the curve continues to flatten, delayed listings from the typically busy spring season will push into the summer months, so more competition will be coming to the market as the pandemic passes. Getting ahead of that wave now might be your opportunity.

Tech – We utilize tech to help both buyers & sellers who need to continue with their plans. We use virtual tours to show homes currently on the market, staying connected with the buyers and sellers thru video chats, and completing transactions more electronically. We’re making sure families remain safe and can keep their real estate needs on track.

Here are the types of clients we currently see:

  1. Families living in urban apartments in NYC, eager to move into a safe and spacious suburban home with a yard and less Covid risk.
  2. Families sheltering in place, seeing the need for first-floor living quarters that their aging parents can move into
  3. Renters with leases ending, and need to purchase a home ASAP
  4. Sellers planning to relocate and sell their current home
  5. Buyers with the intention of relocating for a job

Navigating through the pandemic, we face the challenge of keeping our community safe, while helping our clients meet essential housing needs. We have come up with a virtual way of showing homes to those who have to currently buy or sell. Here’s the menu to choose from to meet your needs.

DIGITAL BUFFET: My listings now have a fuller digital selection for interested Buyers to review prior to scheduling a showing. Each home features 25+ photos, a Video Walk-Through, a Floor Plan, a Virtual Brochure with full details on the house, and a Survey (if available), as well as photos of the mechanicals and ceiling height, and a Seller’s Property Disclosure, which are available upon request.

NO TOUCH SHOWINGS: Each Buyer and Seller has different needs, and we tailor the showing process for them. We offer FaceTime or Zoom showings, both of which can be done individually or thru Virtual Open Houses.

For the buyers who wish to schedule an in-person showing in order to make an informed purchase decision, we have specific safety measures in place. They must be ready for the following:

  1. Buyer and Seller to sign COVID-19 disclosures prior to the showing
  2. Seller to leave all lights on, open some windows for ventilation and open all interior doors so that clients do not need to touch anything while in the home
  3. Buyer and Agent to arrive with their own gloves and masks. Booties will be supplied
  4. Agent to access the key in the lockbox and open the front door
  5. Buyer and Agent to alternate walking through the house to ensure the practice of social distancing
  6. Buyer to refrain from bringing children to showing

Bottom Line – Homes are still being bought and sold in the midst of this pandemic. If you or anyone you know need to sell your house and would like to know the current status in your local market, contact me to create a safe and effective plan that works for you and your family.

Find your home’s value quickly.

So Now What?

April 2020

Prior to the spread of Coronavirus, the NJ real estate market was still in good shape.  But let’s be real, things have changed. The good news is that agents/brokers, attorneys and lenders are still making sure their current transactions get to the closing table. However, the bad news is that the number of buyers and sellers interested in jumping in now has fallen off very significantly.

So now what?  It mostly depends on how quickly those who lost their jobs and income because of the pandemic can recover.

OVER SIX MILLION Americans filed for unemployment last week, an enormous number that is only going to grow.  According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, “Housing, like most other industries, suffered from the coronavirus crisis, but once this predicament is behind us and the habit of social distancing is respected, I’m encouraged there will be continued home transactions, with more virtual tours, electronic signatures, and external home appraisals. Many of the home sales likely to be missed during the first part of 2020 may be pushed into late summer and autumn parts of the year.” 

Gov. Murphy is calling Real Estate an essential business and is now allowing the basic unit of real estate, ‘in person appointments’, or one single showing of a home link to Murphy executive order.  Open houses are still currently off the table. Murphy worked with more than 40 financial institutions, including Citi & Chase to NOT initiate foreclosure or eviction proceedings for at least 60 days.  HUD announced this month that the FHA has been authorized to implement an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single-family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages for the next 60 days.

I’m working with several buyers and sellers who would understandably rather wait, and despite a significant number of people deciding to ‘hold off’, there are still people needing to buy or sell, but they’re nervous.   So is everyone else involved in real estate transactions.  So as mentioned above, agents, attorneys, lenders and title companies are all working hard to get the closings/settlements that were already underway completed (including yours truly in the pic above doing just that).

Technology steps into the breach.  Expect more virtual showings, videos, and zoom chats to replace or precede anything previously conducted in-person. Expect digital documents to eliminate even more paper and signature pens.  Expect attorneys to limit the number of people at the closing table to comply with new federal and the World Health Organization guidelines.

Sellers – Agents are, for now taking less listings, and are trying to reassure sellers that they will only bring through qualified buyers, instructing them not to touch anything, escorting them the entire time they are in the home and then disinfecting door handles. Check your home value here. Buyers – Those that left assets in a bear market, may wind up with less cash for down payments. Interest rates are now at rock-bottom lows, but that won’t prevent sales from slowing and prices from coming down, as the economy flips from a strong seller’s market to a buyer’s market.

As interest rates fall, the demand for refinancing seems to be skyrocketing, but is volatile. In March, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were hovering around 3.25 percent to 3.5 percent. Then, they were at 4 percent, as investors flocked to 10-year Treasuries, and the Fed announced it would buy mortgage-backed securities. Demand for bonds won’t help mortgage interest rates or housing affordability. If you’re looking to REFI, I have contact info for excellent area lenders, so reach out.

An expanding demand is city dwellers looking to flock to the suburbs to rent for more space and an easier time social distancing as Covid spikes and urban crowding becomes too difficult for many to handle.

Stay safe and help flatten the curve.

NJ Wind Power

njwind

You want clean energy NJ?  Here it comes.  So now the question is are you really ready for clean power in NJ or are you feeling a NIMBY attitude coming on?  People in Atlantic City, Margate, Ventnor, Longport and Brigantine may initially be worried about seeing wind turbines from their homes.

Hopefully building the wind turbines 15 miles out to sea is a good enough distance.  That far out officials believe you won’t see it most of the time from the shore because of the ocean haze.  The other reason for the distance is that there are also far fewer birds who could be hurt or hurt the equipment.

So the state’s first award for offshore wind to the Danish energy company Ørsted and Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) for a proposed 1,100-megawatt Ocean Wind project was granted by the NJ Board of Public Utilities.  This is all part of a push by Governor Murphy to raise the proportion of energy in NJ derived from cleaner sources.

So the plans for this $1.6 billion wind-energy farm is the largest of its kind in the U.S.  Let’s do this!

 

link to Wind Power article

link to deeper Wind Power dive

 

160 Highfield Lane & ON3

btextdiaglo

I’m very excited about my newest exclusive & extraordinary listing.  160 Highfield Lane is a beautifully renovated side hall colonial with a killer kitchen, marvelous master suite and is bursting with so many fine details.  Get a look at some of the beautiful images in the home’s stylish link directly below.

160highfieldlane.com

Nutley is becoming a hot destination as nearby Montclair and Glen Ridge prices have exploded in the last few years.  Highfield Lane is part of the old Satterthwaite estate with gorgeous, wide, tree-lined streets that look like they could be in Montclair or Glen Ridge.  Nutley has a fun, small-town vibe with a walkable, centralized business district and it’s located close to transportation and entertainment  (New York is a super easy commute)  The town is poised for more growth as the old Hoffman-LaRoche industrial campus is being renovated for both high profile and smaller businesses that are bringing jobs.

One of which is Modern Meadow, a biotech company that produces “animal-free leather” from living cells. Check this link for more info about what new businesses are coming here  ON3 – Nutley’s new scene

Contact me at 201 600 8141 if you’d like to get a look

You can also use this link which is more real estate oriented 160highfield

 

2019 Real Estate Projections

Where is the real estate market going in 2019?

newengland

Here are a few points I’ve boiled down and expanded upon (sourced from Realtor.com) that are likely to influence and illustrate the 2019 real estate market’s performance.

To see how this will affect you personally use the quick & complimentary home value estimator here – FIND YOUR HOME’S VALUE

  1. Home price growth will slow – perhaps down to 2%.  Many homes are still selling for a strong price, but receiving 8 or more offers as some did from 2014-2017 is becoming a much rarer occurrence.  For more info on local sales click this link – HOUSING MARKET TRENDS   for more specific HOUSING MARKET TRENDS
  2. Inventory will most likely remain moderate with only small increases, except for high-priced homes which will have significant inventory increases.  LOCAL INVENTORY INFO
  3. Millennials getting mortgages will slightly outpace GenerationX’ers and far outpace Boomers getting mortgages.
  4. The new tax law will be good for renters (keeping more income) and a mixed bag, but mostly negative for homeowners who may keep more income but will lose the SALT deductions.  The law no longer allows taxpayers the ability to deduct state and local taxes (SALT), so we’re being taxed twice on the same income. Those deductions on property taxes, along with a deduction on mortgage interest, used to provide a strong incentive for homeownership.  Maybe the new house representative class recently elected will stick up for the suburban voters who put them there and try to pass legislation to reverse or lessen the impact of the new laws, but I’m not holding my breath.
  5. Most experts are predicting that mortgage rates will most likely hit 5.5 percent by the end of the year. Some buyers will be motivated to purchase before the rates get too high and some may begin sitting on the sidelines waiting for the next dip. HOWEVER, after a recent meeting between China and the US about trade and tariffs, interest rates actually dropped. So ‘most experts’ may change their tune if the tariffs/trade wars keep putting a scare into the market.  For more about Mortgage-related questions – link instantly to expert MORTGAGE RATE, FINANCE INFO & PRE-APPROVALS  
  6. Most experts don’t see an obvious buyer’s market for awhile, because of moderate inventory and prices holding steady. Buyers will have to adapt their strategies to deal with higher rates and lower inventory.  Since higher end homes will have more inventory and more stagnant prices, there are more opportunities for buyers in the higher price ranges than in the entry level price ranges which have more buyer competition and less inventory.
  7. Despite remaining nominally a seller’s market, increasing competition from increased inventory will most likely bring down expectations for bidding wars, multiple offers  and getting whatever price a seller thinks he can get.. Sellers who price competitively should still be able to come away with a good amount of equity if they didn’t buy at the 2006 peak.
  8. The total number of home sales declined in 2018 compared to 2017 and is expected to decline further in 2019

link to full Realtor.com projections & article

Market conditions – Affordability & Inventory

key
The spring housing market has been similar to 2017, inventory is tight and housing prices are strong. Hesitancy over new tax laws and the deductibility of prepaid property taxes has caused some sellers to ‘wait-and-see’, limiting supply, and causing New Jersey home buyers to wonder whether there is any relief in sight.
Trends to know for 2018:
1. Recent tax changes are keeping some home sellers on the sidelines.  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may have far-reaching effects for the New Jersey real estate market. In 2018, homeowners will have their state and local tax (SALT) deductions capped at $10,000. A work-around has been approved by Gov Murphy but how the feds react to it is still to be determined.
2. When the new tax bill was announced, many New Jersey residents prepaid their first and second quarter 2018 property taxes in the hopes they could deduct those payments on their 2017 tax returns. As it turns out, the treatment of these payments may differ for Federal and State returns.
New Jersey home prices continue to rise – Reduced inventory is underpinning home prices in NJ. Early indications for the 2018 spring market show strong demand for homes, due in part to wage growth and a strong job market. Both have contributed to a very competitive housing market, and home prices continue to rise. The Home Buying Institute anticipates home prices could increase by 3-5% this year in the United States, and northern New Jersey is seeing strong markets particularly along the Midtown Direct train line in towns such as South Orange and Maplewood.
3.  Although mortgage rates are expected to rise in 2018, they remain historically low. Current 30-year fixed mortgage rates are hovering at about 4.5%, and many forecasters predict they will end the year higher. Low interest rates are keeping home buyers (especially families) active. Many want housing contracts in place before the start of the school year in the fall so children can take advantage of highly-rated school districts along the Midtown Direct.
4. Millennials are moving to the suburbs from New York City
Although New York City rents are softening, Millennials are still migrating to the suburbs where there’s more square footage for the price. While overall rent levels may be starting to drift down, according to StreetEasy; New York City rents are still increasing twice as fast as wages. Compounded by the fact that many Millennials are starting families, city dwellers are leaving New York City in search of nice neighborhoods, more space, and excellent schools. And with plenty of options to facilitate the daily commute into New York, New Jersey has become a go-to place to live. In addition to Maplewood & South Orange, towns such as Montclair, Summit, Chatham, and Westfield are just a few more that are top of the Millennial list due to their walkable & fun downtowns, entertainment, shopping, and trending restaurant scenes.
Are you considering a move to northern New Jersey? I would love to assist you.
With 9 years of experience buying and selling homes, I can help you take advantage of current housing trends and find the home of your dreams. Contact me at 201 600 8141 or ken@kenkrasnerhomes.com

Link to Forbes article and more details

 

Live, Relax & Entertain (repeat)

I have an inspiring new home on the market. The absolutely beautiful head-to-toe renovations were curated by a prominent advertising exec with excellent taste.   Get a look at some beautiful images and vibes in the link below and in the MLS link too.

HOUSE_2_2048x1280

Yin Yang
What happens when you balance a high-powered job in the city with the opportunity to exhale … nightly? Well, that’s now on the market at 497 Prospect Street in Maplewood (NJ). The proximity facilitates a job in the city. The suburbs allow for four spacious floors, two wet bars, a designer kitchen and a heated, saltwater pool in a backyard oasis. Check out this home’s vibe at www.MaplewoodYall.com.

MLS link

DR 2

Ex-Brooklyners Find Style and Substance In Maplewood
It’s dubbed “Brooklyn West.” Maplewood (NJ) has become home to many from the NYC’s mammoth borough. Some say Maplewood is about 75% Brooklyn refugees. Naturally, the town is getting some high-style upgrades that adhere to its contented lifestyles. A good example: 497 Prospect Street on the market now. Its vibe and restoration are captured here: www.MaplewoodYall.com. We would be much obliged if you share this with your friends.
KITCHEN_view
Lifestyle meet Functionality
Maplewood (NJ) has become the darling of families and couples looking to “nest” in an environment that’s diversity-minded, up-tempo, near to the city … and good value. Few places offer all four … and that’s because the Township is a bastion of Brooklyn refugees. They’ve brought their verve, their unconventional lifestyles and their good taste to this NYC suburb. That’s all evidenced at 497 Prospect Street which is on the market now (MLS link). This space is ideal for the couple or family that appreciates the thoughtfulness of design, the attention to detail and the emphasis on entertaining. The home’s vibe is captured here: www.MaplewoodYall.com.
KITCHEN_eatin
An Entertaining Mecca
The one-bedroom Brooklyn flat may have been close to your friends but how many of them could you invite at the same time to that space? What if you had four floors, two wet bars, a designer kitchen and a heated saltwater pool in a backyard oasis? Well, your friends would bring their friends. Just 30 minutes from the city is Maplewood (NJ) and a home that’s ready for your guest list. Check out the vibe of 497 Prospect Street  which is on the market now: www.MaplewoodYall.com.

LIVINGROOM2