In the beginning of March, COVID-19 started to reshape life as we knew it. Schools closed, construction projects came to a halt, people emptied grocery shelves, and many of us were told to work from home. The traditional process of buying and selling a home changed too as open houses were banned, and New Jersey, along with many other states, imposed stay-at-home orders.
Just over four months into the public health crisis, my team is seeing homebuyers from New York City actively enter the northern New Jersey housing market in search of family-friendly communities and great schools. Although the traditional spring market is far from traditional this year, real estate markets are active. Another catalyst—recently, 30-year fixed mortgage rates fell below 3% for the first time in their record-keeping history, according to Freddie Mac. It’s the seventh time in 2020 that the 30-year fixed rate has hit a new record low.
I thought it might be interesting to pause briefly and see what housing prices and markets have done over the last four months, March–June, in the COVID-19 real estate market. The major markets in northern New Jersey are mostly seller’s markets—housing demand is exceeding supply—leading to multiple bidding situations and rapidly moving inventory.
The charts used below are for our clients and can be found on our website under Market Reports. They cover 18 different towns in northern New Jersey, are updated monthly, and there is also a year-end comparison by town. You are welcome to download and print them.
Here is a quick snapshot of four of our communities. To look at others, please visit the Market Reports section of the website.
1. Maplewood, NJ Real Estate Trends (March-June 2020)
In Maplewood, NJ, prices trended higher over the four-month period and are steady relative to one year ago. Active listings are up significantly for the four months.
- List prices +12%
- June 2020 average year-to-date list price versus June 2019 average year-to-date list price: -1%
- Days on the market +6%
- Active listings +32%, which is striking because in March, active listings fell by 19 homes relative to February as COVID-19 began.
2. South Orange, NJ Real Estate Trends (March-June 2020)
In South Orange, NJ, the real estate market prices were steady for the four-month period and relative to one year ago. Inventory is moving; however, there is not as much listing activity as other markets.
- List prices -1.3%
- June 2020 average year-to-date list price versus June 2019 average year-to-date list price: -2%
- Days on the market -34%
- Active listings -5%; March active listings fell by 17 homes relative to February, and they have not returned to pre-COVID-19 levels.
3. Millburn, NJ Real Estate Trends (March-June 2020)
In Millburn, NJ, list prices were strong for the four-month period, but slightly lower compared to one year ago. Turnover is slowing and the number of active listings is up sharply for the period too.
- List prices +21%
- June 2020 average year-to-date list price versus June 2019 average year-to-date list price: -7%
- Days on the market unchanged but worth noting, May versus March was -72%
- Active listings +54%
4. West Orange Real Estate Trends (March-June 2020)
In West Orange, NJ, list prices for the four-month period were slightly higher as were active listings. Homes are moving in the West Orange market.
- List prices +7%
- June 2020 average year-to-date list price versus June 2019 average year-to-date list price: +4%
- Days on the market -12%
- Active listings +3%
Our quick snapshot of four different northern NJ towns confirms that there is a lot of movement in real estate markets. Families are repositioning themselves for the fall school year, and with highly-rated public schools in our communities, it’s no wonder homebuying interest is strong.
From virtual home selling to coronavirus clauses, much has changed in the housing market in recent months, but interest in homes in the towns along the Midtown Direct train line has not. With the work-from-home movement accelerating activity and mobility, it’s an excellent time to be in the housing market.
If you are thinking of buying or selling your home, I would love to assist you. Contact Victoria Carter at (973) 220-3050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.