Interactive Map: Average Home-Sale Prices in NJ

The average price for which residential properties sold in 2012. To see how that has changed since 2008, click on a municipality.

Source: NJ Division of Taxation.

The national housing market may be on the rebound, at least for new-home sales, but prices in New Jersey are still dropping in most communities, state data shows.

According to an analysis of the average residential sales price for New Jersey communities over the last five years, the typical sales price dropped between 2011 and 2012 in almost three-quarters of towns. In 21 municipalities, the decline was more than 25 percent from year to year. And 9 in 10 municipalities logged an average home sales price in 2012 that was lower than five years earlier.

Tony Far Hills in Somerset County, where the average residential assessment last year was $1.1 million, has suffered the biggest price losses, the data show. In 2008, the average sales price reported by state taxation officials was almost $1.8 million. In 2011, that was down to about $925,000 and last year it had plummeted to some $352,000.

At the other extreme, another wealthy community saw the largest sales price increases. In Rockleigh, in Bergen County, the typical home price has risen from $460,000 in 2008 to $582,000 in 2011 to almost $3.5 million last year. But Rockleigh was starting from an unusually low point: The average home was assessed at nearly $1.6 million in 2012.

Both communities are small – Rockleigh has 73 residential properties, while Far Hills has 354 – and so the data is likely skewed by a small number of sales but it’s impossible to tell, as the taxation report does not list the number of sales in a community.

Nineteen municipalities, led by Rockleigh, saw the average home sell for more than $1 million last year. While that’s an impressive number, the 2012 sales price in 15 of those 19 towns was lower than it had been five years earlier.

On the other hand, the average sale price in six communities was less than $100,000 last year, with the lowest in Camden – less than $59,000. On the bright side, half of those municipalities logged a higher average sales price in 2012 than in the previous year.

A report earlier this week by RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure listing and tracking service, had other troubling news for the state’s real estate sales market. It reported that last year, New Jersey had among the largest dollar amounts of short sales per home in the nation. About 22 percent of all residential sales of properties not in foreclosure across the country in 2012 were short sales, in which the home sold for less than the amount of outstanding loans against it. The average “short” amount in New Jersey was around $95,000, meaning a house sold for $95,000 less than its owner owed the bank, the seventh- largest average shortfall in the United States.

To see the average residential sales price for the last five years for a community, click on it.

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