Even when they are down they are up

From CNBC:

Home price gains slow down for the first time since May 2020

Home prices are still considerably higher than they were a year ago, when the pandemic caused a massive run on housing, but the gains are finally starting to ease up.

Home prices rose 19.5% in September year over year, down from a 19.8% annual gain in August, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index. That is the first decrease in the annual gain since May 2020.

The 10-city composite rose 17.8% from a year ago, down from an 18.6% gain in August. The 20-city composite gained 19.1% year over year, down from 19.6% in the previous month.

Cities with the highest price increases were Phoenix, Tampa, Florida, and Miami. Phoenix prices were up 33.1% year over year, Tampa up 27.7% and Miami up 25.2%. Six of the 20 cities reported higher price increases in the year ended in September 2021 versus the year ended in August 2021.

Chicago, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., saw the smallest annual price gains, but the increases were all still more than 10%.

Posted in National Real Estate | 150 Comments

Hiring Stalemate in NJ


NJBIA survey: 3 in 4 NJ employers faced hiring shortages this year

Despite waning fears about the COVID-19 pandemic, three out of every four employers said they’ve struggled to find workers this past year, and many said they’re pessimistic about the year ahead, according to the New Jersey Business and Industry Association’s 63rd annual Business Outlook Survey.

The organization also found that 28% of respondents said they plan to sell their business or cease operations due to the pandemic restrictions and cuts to both revenue and staffing. Some were more optimistic: 37% said they did not plan to make any changes and another 31% has adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

“[T]here is no question that the continued challenges are wearing down some business owners,” despite “incredible resolve” many have shown since the pandemic started, NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka said in a Nov. 29 statement.

The survey found that 73% of the 601 business owners interviewed faced problems finding new workers. Many prospective workers – 57% – simply did not show up for their interviews, while 49% opted to stay unemployed and 46% canceled their interviews.

Of those three out of four businesses, 57% reported higher burn-out among current staff, 51% noted a loss in revenue and 50% said they reluctantly had to raise wages to lure in workers.

Seventy-two percent of New Jersey businesses raised wages this year and 73% expected to do so in 2022. Just 24% of employers did not offer a raise this year and 25% did not expect to do so next year.

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, New Jersey Real Estate | 127 Comments

NJ is the state for them!

From Patch:

Every NJ Town’s Average Property Tax Bill In New 2021 List

Tavistock Borough, Camden $30,328

Millburn Township, Essex $24,370

Mountain Lakes Borough, Morris $21,625

Tenafly Borough, Bergen $21,552

Demarest Borough, Bergen $21,377

Glen Ridge Borough, Essex $21,214

Rumson Borough, Monmouth $21,153

Alpine Borough, Bergen $21,042

Essex Fells Borough, Essex $20,413

Princeton, Mercer $20,352

Montclair Township, Essex $19,963

Mendham Township, Morris $19,794

Mantoloking Borough, Ocean $19,304

South Orange Village Township, Essex $19,147

Deal Borough, Monmouth $19,117

Upper Saddle River Borough, Bergen $18,886

Ridgewood Village, Bergen $18,506

Summit City, Union $18,314

Haworth Borough, Bergen $18,270

Saddle River Borough, Bergen $18,210

Posted in Economics, New Jersey Real Estate, Property Taxes | 101 Comments

Thankful for profit$

From Forbes:

Home Prices Hit Record High, Giving Sellers Much To Be Thankful For

Home prices hit an all-time high of $359,975 in the four-week period ending November 21, according to a new report from Redfin, a technology-powered real estate brokerage. This was up 14% year over year, the largest increase since early September.

Prices have risen in the past month nearly four times faster than they did at the same time last year. The unseasonable surge in home prices appears to be drawing in more sellers, as the number of homes listed for sale was down less than 3% from 2020 and up 11% from 2019.

“Rising rents and rising prices on everything from gas to groceries may be motivating more people to buy homes now,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “Buying a home is a type of hedge against inflation, especially with mortgage rates still near historic lows. If high inflation persists, a large home mortgage could seem a lot less expensive in just a few years.”

Posted in Economics, National Real Estate | 83 Comments

October home sales hold strong

From MarketWatch:

Existing-home sales rise slightly as demand remains strong for housing

Existing-home sales moved higher in October despite expectations they would do the opposite, underscoring the strong demand for housing across the country.

Existing-home sales increased 0.8% between September and October, hitting a seasonally-adjusted, annual rate of 6.34 million, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. Compared to a year ago, sales were down 5.8%.

“Home sales remain resilient, despite low inventory and increasing affordability challenges,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, said in the report. “Inflationary pressures, such as fast-rising rents and increasing consumer prices, may have some prospective buyers seeking the protection of a fixed, consistent mortgage payment.”

Economists polled by MarketWatch had projected existing-home sales to come in at 6.2 million.

On a regional basis, existing home sales only rose in the South and the Midwest. Meanwhile, the number of homes sold declined in the Northeast on a monthly basis, and remained flat in the West.

The median price for an existing home sold in October was $353,900, up more than 13% from a year ago. Unsold inventory was at a 2.4-month supply, equal to the previous month. A 6-month supply of homes is considered to be a sign of a balanced market.

All-cash sales represented nearly a quarter of all transactions in October, up on both a monthly and annual basis.

Posted in Economics, National Real Estate | 215 Comments

NJ unemployment a miserable 7.0%

From ROI-NJ:

N.J. employment continues on comeback trail, DOL says

New Jersey grew its employment for the 10th consecutive month in October, according to the Department of Labor & Workforce Development, with the unemployment rate ticking lower as well.

Preliminary estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show total nonfarm employment in the Garden State grew by 20,000 jobs, to a seasonally adjusted total of 4.025 million jobs. The unemployment rate shrank by 0.1 of a percentage point, to an even 7 percent for the month.

The job gains were consolidated in the private sector, which added 22,000 jobs, while the public sector shrank by 2,000 positions.

Adding to the good news, estimates for September were revised higher, to a month-over-month increase of 26,300 jobs, up from the estimated 21,500 jobs added.

Overall, the state has now recovered approximately 72% of the jobs lost in March and April 2020 to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eight of the nine private industry sectors added jobs for the month, the DOL noted, led by professional and business services, which added 8,900 jobs. Only information lost positions, with a decline of 300.

Posted in Economics, Employment, New Jersey Real Estate | 94 Comments

Halfway there

From MSN:

House Bill Raises SALT Tax Cap; Senate Still To Vote

Among the items passed by the House of Representatives Friday morning in the Build Back Better Act was an increase in the state and local tax (SALT) cap.

The $2 trillion bill, which passed 220-213, increased the cap from $10,000 to $80,000. That would increase the amount that taxpayers can deduct from their tax returns.

The legislation now has to go to the Senate for approval.

The cap was set at $10,000 in 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed during the Trump administration. Previously, taxpayers could fully deduct state and local taxes.

It was estimated that the reduced cap cost New York homeowners $30 billion, or $2,600 per home.

Posted in National Real Estate, Politics, Property Taxes | 66 Comments

“I really look forward to Republicans attacking me on restoring the SALT deduction for homeowners in my district”

From the Star Ledger:

Biden bill to bring back property tax deduction for most N.J. homeowners

Following President Joe Biden’s signature Monday on a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, the House later this week is expected to turn its attention to a $1.75 trillion proposal that would restore most of the federal deduction for state and local taxes.

While still subject to further changes, the legislation scheduled for a vote by the end of the week would increase the amount allowed to be deducted up to $80,000 through 2030, with the $10,000 cap returning in 2031.

The second bill would also for one year also extend the expanded child tax credit for lower- and middle-class families, which was part of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus lawthat passed over unanimous Republican opposition.

According to a study released Monday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a progressive research group, the expanded credit would benefit 1.6 million children in New Jersey and lift 93,000 above the poverty line.

Another 388,400 working New Jersey adults without children would benefit from the bill’s expanded earned income tax credit, the center said.

In addition, two-thirds of those taking the deduction in New Jersey, the state with the nation’s highest property taxes, had income between $75,000 and $200,000, according to Internal Revenue Service statistics.

“I really look forward to Republicans attacking me on restoring the SALT deduction for homeowners in my district,” Malinowski said.

Posted in Economics, Employment, New Jersey Real Estate, Property Taxes | 260 Comments

LI hitting a wall?

From Long Island Business News:

Long Island home prices head lower again

The prices of Long Island homes dropped for the second straight month in October. 

The median price of closed home sales in Nassau County last month was $650,000, down from the $661,500 median price from September and the lowest since June, according to numbers from OneKey MLS. 

In Suffolk County, the median price of closed home sales last month was $520,000, slightly lower than the $525,000 median price recorded in September and also the lowest since June. 

However, the median prices in both counties are still significantly higher than a year ago. The median price of closed home sales in Nassau last month was 10.5 percent higher than the $588,000 median price from October 2020. 

The $520,000 median price in Suffolk last month was up 10.6 percent from the $470,000 median price recorded a year ago. 

Meanwhile, home sales remained brisk in October. 

There were 2,976 homes contracted for sale in Nassau and Suffolk counties in October, that’s up slightly from the 2,931 Long Island homes contracted for sale in September, but down 22.4 percent from the 3,831 homes contracted for sale in Oct. 2020.  

Pending home sales in Nassau climbed 10.6 percent from the previous month, rising from 1,239 in September to 1,373 last month. However, pending home sales in Suffolk saw a 5.3 percent month-to-month decline, falling from 1,692 in September to 1,603 last month. 

Posted in National Real Estate, NYC, Price Reduced | 159 Comments

Real estate is never normal

From the NYT:

Will Real Estate Ever Be Normal Again?

The third time Drew Mena’s manager asked him about relocating to Austin, Texas, he and his wife, Amena Sengal, began to seriously consider it. They had deliberated each time before, in 2017 and 2018, but landed on a hard no: Drew and Amena had lived in New York for more than 10 years, and they loved it. They owned a two-unit townhouse in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, and they felt lucky to have it, with its yard and the kind of close-knit neighbors who compete to shovel one another’s sidewalks after a snowfall.

But now it was August 2020, and the pandemic had changed their calculus. When the city shut down, their daughter, Edie, was 7 months old; Drew and Amena co-parented while working full time, one at the kitchen island, the other at the breakfast table. In May, they escaped to Drew’s family’s cottage in New Hampshire, and gradually their tether to the city began to fray. When the relocation offer came in from Drew’s employer, an asset-management company, they started browsing listings online, and it looked as if they could get a lot more space in Austin. They would certainly save money on everything else, like gas and groceries. The world is ending, they said to themselves. Why the hell not?

Posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, National Real Estate | 187 Comments

Does expungement create labor market flexibility and economic benefit?

I’ve got to imagine nearly a million people in this region essentially locked out of labor market flexibility, now being able to seek out new/better jobs, etc – will have a significant benefit on local market economics and poverty rate. Thoughts?

From Gothamist:

NY & NJ Will Erase Nearly A Million Marijuana Convictions. For Some, Clearing Their Record Gets Tricky

Leon Sarvis was in college in 2008, hoping to become a gym teacher, when he said he was convicted in a New Jersey court on charges of marijuana possession and drug distribution for having a scale. Sentenced to two years of probation, he said he was fired from his job working with the disabled. And he gave up on the bachelor’s degree because he knew it wouldn’t help him get a job due to his criminal record.

“That obviously messed everything up,” Sarvis said. “So I had to change focus elsewhere. I drive trucks now—that’s a big field for a lot of people who have convictions.”

Until recently, marijuana convictions in New Jersey and New York posed barriers to jobs, education, even custody of children, particularly for Black residents, who’ve faced disproportionate police enforcement in the war on drugs. But since both states passed legislation legalizing the use of cannabis earlier this year, those convicted on marijuana charges now have an opportunity to wipe their records clean.

In New York, which legalized cannabis in September, 198,000 records have already been expunged and another 203,000 convictions are in the process of being expunged and no longer show up in background checks, according to state data.

“When completed, the actions of these measures will have expunged the records of over 400,000 New Yorkers, a staggering reminder of the impact that cannabis prohibition had on so many,” Alexander said.

In New Jersey, which legalized the drug in February, the state Supreme Court’s automated system has expunged, dismissed, or vacated 362,000 marijuana and hashish cases, including possession of marijuana and hashish, and distribution of less than an ounce of marijuana or five grams of hashish. Convictions for possession of drug paraphernalia and being under the influence of a controlled substance are also being removed from records if the cases are linked to marijuana offenses. And at least 1,200 people in the state have been released from probation.

In total, more than 750,000 marijuana convictions are being expunged in both states, wiped out as if the arrests never happened. But some charges may be more complicated to untangle. In New Jersey, for example, if someone faced a marijuana offense along with a non-drug charge, such as assault, the entirety of their criminal record will still be intact, requiring judicial review before such cases can be removed.

Posted in Economics, New Jersey Real Estate | 87 Comments

Quits skyrocket

From CNN:

A record number of Americans quit their jobs in September

A record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September as the sheer volume of available jobs is empowering workers to have their pick.

Workers are quitting in search for better pay or better jobs, representing a fundamental shift in America’s labor market.”

Labor now has the initiative, and the era of paying individuals less than a livable wage has ended,” said Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM US. “This strongly suggests that rising wages are going to be part and parcel of the economic landscape going forward.”

The nation had 10.4 million open jobs that month as the worker shortage crisis continues, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed Friday. It was a modest decrease from the 10.6 million open jobs in August.

Jobs particularly increased in the health care and sector and in state and local government.

“The Delta variant is still visible in the September JOLTS report,” said Nick Bunker, director of economic research at the Indeed Hiring Lab, in emailed comments. But he noted “we do know from the October jobs report that the labor market did get on more stable ground.”

The slowing demand for workers in the leisure and hospitality industry was the cause of the modest decline in available jobs in September. 

“The pace of people quitting across the labor market is remarkable,” Bunker said, “but the concentration among a few sectors is eye-popping. Quits are up the most in sectors where most work is in-person or relatively low paying.”

Posted in Economics, Employment, National Real Estate | 78 Comments

NJ #3 in post-pandemic foreclosures

From the Philly Inquirer:

Foreclosure starts tick up in Pennsylvania, N.J., and nationwide

Three months after the end of a federal foreclosure moratorium intended to keep people in their homes during the pandemic, foreclosure activity continues to increase across the region and nationwide.

Most foreclosure filings — including default notices, scheduled auctions, or bank repossessions — are on vacant and abandoned properties or loans that were in foreclosure before the pandemic, according to real estate data provider Attom. The moratorium covered about 70% of the nation’s mortgages and about 80% of Philadelphia’s home loans.

Other policies preventing lenders from starting the foreclosure process will expire at the end of the year, when many homeowners will exit forbearance plans that allowed them to delay mortgage payments during the pandemic.

Last month, lenders started the foreclosure process on about 10,800 properties nationwide. That’s up 5% from September and more than double the number of foreclosure starts in October 2020, according to a foreclosure market report that Attom is to release Wednesday.

From September to October, Pennsylvania and New Jersey were among the states with the biggest increases in foreclosure starts.

New Jersey had the third-highest rate of foreclosure activity in the country last month and has consistently been at the top of this list. One in every 3,438 housing units in the Garden State had a foreclosure filing, compared with a rate of 1 in 6,675 nationwide, according to Attom. Only Illinois and Florida had higher rates of foreclosure filings.

Posted in Economics, Foreclosures, New Jersey Real Estate | 358 Comments

Ivy calling Kool-Aid again

From the Real Deal:

Strong housing demand a mirage, says analyst who called previous crash

Everyone seems to be betting the house on a new home these days. Multibillion-dollar private equity firms. Joe Schmo house-flippers. Even savvy tech firms.

Everyone except Ivy Zelman, that is. The analyst who called the top of the housing market in 2005 is once again waving a red flag. It’s beyond contrarian: She’s pretty much in a category of one.

“The perception that housing is drastically undersupplied and that a strong demographic picture lies ahead is creating a false sense of security,’’ according to a report by Zelman’s firm entitled “Cradle to Grave.’’ “By our math, both single-family and multi-family production are already ahead of normalized demand and estimates of a housing deficit are grossly exaggerated.’’

Posted in Demographics, Economics, National Real Estate, New Development | 238 Comments

NJ (closer to) getting SALT tax relief

From CNN:

Congress passes $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, delivering major win for Biden

Congress has passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, delivering on a major pillar of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda after months of internal deliberations and painstaking divisions among Democrats.

The final vote was 228-206. Thirteen Republicans voted with the majority of Democrats in support of the bill, though six Democrats voted against it. 

The bill now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law, following hours of delays and internal debating among Democrats on Friday, including calls from Biden to persuade skeptical progressive members of the Democratic caucus.

The legislation passed the Senate in August, but was stalled in the House as Democrats tried to negotiate a deal on a separate $1.9 trillion economic package, another key component of Biden’s agenda that many Democrats had tied to the fate of the infrastructure bill.

The legislation will deliver $550 billion of new federal investments in America’s infrastructure over five years, including money for roads, bridges, mass transit, rail, airports, ports and waterways. The package includes a $65 billion investment in improving the nation’s broadband infrastructure, and invests tens of billions of dollars in improving the electric grid and water systems. Another $7.5 billion would go to building a nationwide network of plug-in electric vehicle chargers, according to the bill text.

In a sign that a deal is getting closer, House Democrats have also resolved another sticking point: How to deal with state and local tax deductions, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. Democrats from the Northeast and West Coast have been pushing to loosen the caps imposed by the 2017 tax law.

Under the new SALT deal, deductions would be capped at $80,000 per year over a nine-year time span, according to Rep. Tom Malinowski, who helped cut the deal.

Posted in Economics, Politics, Property Taxes | 90 Comments