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Regional Spotlight—The December 2013 housing market report from the New Jersey Association of REALTORS® shows that over the course of the year, the housing market proved to be strong. In fact, closed sales were at the highest levels since 2005, to 94,671 units, up 18.1 percent. There are still fewer homes to comprise the total state inventory, but new properties came on the market in greater numbers than during 2012, so if that continues, 2014 will see a well-balanced market.

“To see that 2013 was such a strong year for the housing market is a true sign that the economy is turning around,” says Cindy Marsh-Tichy, 2014 NJAR President. “With greater consumer confidence, both buyers and sellers are jumping into the market and proving that New Jersey is still a great place to buy and sell homes.”

Annually, home prices rallied to a three-year high and the median sales price climbed 3.1 percent to $283,500. Comparing New Jersey to the rest of the United States, the median sales price in New Jersey far exceeds the national median price of $197,100. This follows suit with trends in previous years. The state’s 6.6-month supply of inventory is higher than the national 4.6-month supply, which is a sign of a balanced market.

In December, the single-family home market saw a one percent increase in median sales price to $304,000. In the same category for the entirety of 2013, there was a healthy 3.4 percent increase to $310,050. The number of days on market for single-family homes dropped 12.1 percent for the year to 94 days. The total number of homes for sale in December dropped 10.4 percent to 39,336, providing 6.9 months supply of inventory, a 25 percent drop from last year. Conversely, new listings were up slightly in December to 4,576 homes, a 0.8 percent increase. For the entire year, it was a 5.8 percent increase to 122,168 new listings.

When looking at the townhouse/condo market, similar trends emerged. The median sales price in December increased 7.1 percent to $255,000, and increased 2 percent for the year to $250,000. The days on market decreased 26.1 percent in December to 85 days, and for 2013, the category decreased 18.4 percent to 93 days. The total number of townhouse/condos for sale decreased 15 percent in December to 11,219 properties and the months supply was at 6.3 percent, a significant 30 percent drop over the same time last year. New listings were down 2.9 percent to 1,588 in December, but were up 3.2 percent for the year to 36,535.

Finally, in the adult community market, the median sales price increased a notable 14 percent to $155,099 and annually, 15.6 percent to $152,000. The number of days on market also dropped 28.3 percent in December to 76 days, and was down 21.1 percent for 2013 to 86 days. The number of homes for sale in December was 2,509, down 19.1 percent over the same time last year and the months supply is a dramatic 29.6 percent lower with just 3.8 months available. This correlates strongly to the large increase in median sales price, with so many fewer properties of this type on the market.

“Overall, the market is continuing to improve at a steady pace with a 3.1 percent increase in the median price in 2013 to $283,500,” says Jarrod C. Grasso, CEO of NJAR. “That’s about $90,000 higher than the national median sales price, so it’s a very positive way to end the year.”

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