Posts Tagged 'Westfield'

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.

Eats – NJ Monthly Top 25 Restaurants

njmonthly
NJ Monthly publishes a top twenty-five restaurants in the state and ten are within a 30 minute drive of SOMA.
Here are the top food destinations.  I’ve been to four of them, I’ve got some eating to do.
Maplewood (Lorena’s)
Maplewood (Verjus)
Montclair (Fascino)
Montclair (Laurel & Sage)
Millburn (Common Lot)
Westfield (Chez Catherine)
Hoboken (Cucharamama’s)
Jersey City (Maritime Parc)
Chatham (Serenade)
Morristown (Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen)

Gardening Season

DSCN4106

Get thee to a local garden center and add a bit of curb appeal.

Here are my go-to spots for plants.

http://thefarmatgreenvillage.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Millstone-Lawn-and-Garden/520461614716290?fref=ts

http://www.orangegardennj.com

http://www.metroplantexchange.com

http://www.williamsnursery.com/home

Mulch is usually pretty inexpensive at Home Depot

School Rankings

columbia

Many area High Schools rated in top tenth of NJ’s high schools – from a US News  & World Report survey out of 395 public high schools

Columbia moves up again from 48 to 36.

Chatham 13,

Millburn 15,

Summit 18,

Westfield 22,

Madison 27,

Livingston 29,

New Providence 34,

Columbia (S. Orange & Maplewood) 36

Governor Livingston (Berkeley Hts) 37

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/new-jersey/rankings

Spring Market Heats Up

Please look at what’s going on in New Jersey’s bedroom communities 🙂   Homes going under contract in the month of March for South Orange have doubled from 2011 to 2013.  The vast majority of the other towns listed below have also shown significant gains.

underc13

More confidence in the economy, low prices and low interest rates have finally pushed buyers back into the market.  A lack of inventory is making for bidding wars on the best homes and shorter selling times for other homes.  Its April and if you’re thinking of selling, now’s a great time to do so.

July Real Estate Market Conditions

The local real estate market continues the turnaround begun early in the year.  Here is the July update on Real Estate Absorption rates in the area.  The absorption rate number is how many months it would take for the current inventory of listings to sell given the current monthly rate of homes going under contract.

As buying has been brisk this spring and early summer, inventory has remained stable.  Its possible the rates will drop even further as less new listings hit the market in the fall and the remaining inventory continues to be sold.

Market Improvement

Real Estate conditions are improving!

Absorption rates are a common measure of how fast homes are selling.  Here, for example, the absorption rate for South Orange has dropped from 8 or 9 to 4.7.  This means at the rate that homes are selling now (20 in the last 30 days), it would take 4.7 months for all the listings available (94) to sell.  If these rates begin to stay under 5 we will gradually be moving from a buyer’s market toward a seller’s market.

 


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