New Jersey’s real estate market booms during the COVID-19 pandemic

The real estate market is booming nationwide, including in New Jersey. The pandemic and low-interest rates have combined to create the best market in a generation for sellers.
Real estate experts say that there is a lot of demand when it comes to real estate. Mercer County is among the hottest markets north of Interstate 195. Data released on Monday showed that the median price of single-family homes increased almost 27% between March 2020 and March 2021.
“We saw houses sell $100,000 over the asking price. And that doesn’t mean they were underpriced,” says Christie’s realtor Donna Keena.
Data has also shown that homes in every county in New Jersey are going for an average of 90% of the asking price or more.
“We have interest rates, right? We have the pandemic, low inventory and all the Millennials are first-time homebuyers,” Keena says.
Keena says she saw a surge of buyers in Hudson and Essex counties that began slowly during the height of the pandemic.
“The people that were buying from [New York City] saying, ‘Get me out. I’ll pay whatever. Get me a house, I want to get out of the city. I want to get out of the luxury condos, the luxury apartment buildings. I don’t want to go in an elevator or stairs to go out into the fresh air,’” Keena says.
New Jersey Realtors president-elect Robert White says that things have really flared up starting at the end of 2020.
Data from the realtors showed that the median home prices in Bergen, Morris and Ocean counties all grew by double digits in one year. And the boom even spread to more remote areas of the state away from New York City like Warren and Gloucester counties.
“There’s certain towns within those communities that again are second homes or Shore towns that will drive those prices up,” White says.
But White says that this boom may not last.
“It’s not a bubble. I would never call it a bubble. We’ll see a more normalized market, maybe third to fourth quarter of 2022. As long as the interest rates stay at that 3% mark, it affords so many buyers the ability to purchase a home,” he says.
Those seeking to purchase a home should be aware that they could wind up owing more on a home than it is worth.