If you’re a homeowner in New Jersey this might be a good time to consider becoming a homeowner somewhere else. You’re welcome to stay, of course, but with the median sale price of houses in the Garden State peaking at $375,000 in the last quarter of 2020, up 20% from the same quarter 2019, you can be forgiven if you’re tempted to pull up stakes. You’d also have plenty of company: Pending home sales surged during the second half of 2020, up approximately 40% compared with 2019, according to the New Jersey Association of Realtors (NJAR).
You don’t have to look far to find a familiar reason for the surge: the coronavirus. The state Economic Development Authority chalks up some of the activity to “clear behavioral changes produced by COVID-19, including more households relocating from nearby urban areas into New Jersey.”
Then again, you’d also be in good company if you decide to hold onto your humble abode or starter castle for a while longer. The EDA notes “the supply of homes for sale remains exceptionally low relative to demand.” The Months Supply of Inventory (MSI), which indicates how many months it would take to clear all available inventory at the current rate of sales, was at an “all-time low,” of 2.2 in December 2020. Meanwhile, new listings in 2020 were down 8.6% from the year before.
Obviously, deciding to sell your house is a complex undertaking, and our real estate acumen would barely fill a thimble. For what it’s worth, though, consider this: Urge one of your neighbors to move, especially the one that doesn’t mow regularly or neglects to shovel out after a snowstorm. Keep a close eye on what sort of offers they get and proceed accordingly.