Is housing inventory really that low in New Jersey?

The economy is starting to rev up, the Dow is making all time highs and unemployment is low. What are people likely to do? Buy a new house of course. Great for those folks in the real estate sales business, right? Yes, assuming that people actually want to sell. But if there isn’t a home to buy what happens? Buyers go out to the store and come home unhappy.

Increasingly, word from those who like talking about those things is that inventory is drying up. Is that the case? Let’s take a look at the Essex County market. Essex is a good county to take a look at because it is populous, and has a mix of urban and suburban markets. Lots of data and lots of communities to analyze.

Currently Glen Ridge, Verona and Maplewood have the tightest supply of listings and there are 6 municipalities with less than 2 months of inventory currently on the market. Anything under 3 months is a fairly tight scenario where buyers will find the need to make compromises and be ready to move when that property comes up on Zillow or wherever else you are looking.

The towns that have more supply tend to be urban, where there still is a lot of distressed and foreclosure inventory available, or towns where a significant proportion of property is high end.

For most of the mid range moderately priced suburban communities in Essex county we indeed see that inventory is very low right now.

Traditionally, markets in NJ heat up with the spring so it will be interesting to see whether sellers come out to play. If not, it seems likely we are in for a spring of bidding wars and increasing prices. In the last few years we’ve seen exactly that but its been a short term traffic related effect where the glut of buyers out looking soak up the spring listing inventory and the market settles down into the summer and fall. Will the improving economy allow some follow through after the hot spring market we seem poised to experience? We will see…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *