Here's the latest Quarterly Report from John Turpin President of Turpin Realtors in New Jersey.
When evaluating first quarter real estate market performance in our region, it’s important to note that this “pre-season” affords only a small data set, reflecting relatively low volume. This is not uncommon during the winter months and it is the reason that first quarter performance is not typically an accurate predictor of outcomes for the coming year. Thus far in 2019 we have observed variability in performance across our area. However the traditionally busy spring market, which is just now kicking off, coincides this year with historically low interest rates, so we are keen to see how this motivates both buyers and sellers.
Overall, town-by-town data paints an inconsistent picture in the first quarter:
Towns of Note
Bernards Township, Madison and Summit are almost always solid performers, across all price ranges. Their vibrant downtowns, diverse housing stock and relative ease of access to transportation contribute to yearover- year gains more often than not. However, in the first quarter of 2019, all three towns showed declines in sales in every price range, and a commensurate rise in month’s supply. This shift could denote a natural and healthy balancing, but these towns are often a harbinger for the broader market so we will be watching them closely.
Some Good News
The Chathams, Florham Park, New Providence and Morristown all turned in much better results during the first quarter of 2019 than they had for the same period last year. Chatham Township was a notable success with an overall increase of 33%, increased sales in every price range, and low to balanced month’s supply.
Harding Township had three times as many sales under $1 million as compared with the same period last year, and the sometimes-sleepy Far Hills posted strong first-quarter sales, largely due to increased activity among the townhomes at the Polo Club. Chester Borough made strong gains as well, and now enjoys a very healthy five months supply for homes priced under $1 million.
Possible Market Corrections?
Some towns that have traditionally performed well across all price ranges instead posted disparate results during the first quarter. For example, in Millburn/Short Hills-- often the envy of the high-end market-- yearover- year sales decreased by 40% over $1 million, yet increased by 75% for homes priced under $1 million.
Westfield and Warren posted similar increases in volume for homes priced under $1 million (+43% and +48%, respectively), while at the same time their $1 million - $2 million segment dropped by 25% and 57%
While outcomes were variable across our markets during the first quarter of 2019, as is sometimes the case, second quarter volume often levels out those peaks, so we anticipate a clearer picture will emerge as the spring progresses. In the million-plus price range, where we saw some high performers fall short of past performance, overzealous pricing could be at play. As always, the lesson to sellers is to remain conscious of right pricing. Properties that are priced correctly for the current market will be selected by buyers, who in today’s market have many options available. A Turpin agent can help you assess how today’s conditions
affect your particular position. I hope you will not hesitate to call on one of us to assist you or visit www.TurpinRealtors.com/Reports
John Turpin, President