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Market Trend Report

New Jersey’s northeastern tip is home to a number of communities whose proximity to New York City makes them an excellent choice for commuting professionals.

Bergen County, which counts Westwood, Washington Township, and Hillsdale among its boroughs, is linked to Manhattan via the George Washington Bridge. Aside from traveling by car or bus, residents can reach the Big Apple by train and ferry.

The housing stock in Bergen County is comprised of single-family homes, multifamily homes, townhomes, apartments, and condos. Historic homes and new construction are both available, although the latter is more limited. While single-family homes can typically be found in virtually all the sections of the boroughs, rentals are much more concentrated in downtown areas.

Let’s take a look at the current state of the region’s real estate market.

Recent numbers
According to the most recent S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index, home prices in the NYC metropolitan area – of which Bergen County is a part – are still rising, albeit at a slower pace than the rest of the country. Values in the region increased by 1.7% from August 2015 to August 2016.

In the 12-month period starting from July of last year, the average residential property units sold per month in Bergen County was 380.8. Average days on market was 67, and the median sales price remained fairly steady at $452,096.

The rise of multifamily housing
Multifamily housing has been gaining ground in recent years. In late 2015, single-family homes made up just 40 percent of new construction, taking a dip from its previous share of 75 percent.

The high demand for space in NYC, coupled with a tight market, has spilled over to northern NJ and spurred growth in the multifamily sector. Three in five housing units are multifamily homes, many of which are rentals. This trend is particularly evident in northern NJ’s NYC commuter shed.

A similar spillover effect is expected to take place in commercial real estate, especially the office sector. NJ has lower occupancy costs, giving the area an edge over NYC, where rates for office space are going up.

Market drivers  
NYC’s substantial employment gains have led to a sharp increase in housing demand, and along with it, high shelter costs. North Jersey’s real estate market is poised to benefit from this.

  • The boroughs of Westwood and Washington Township provide affordable housing and larger living spaces in transit-connected neighborhoods, compared to fewer housing choices and greater competition for space in Manhattan.
  • Properties within close range of transit stations that provide access to Manhattan continue to attract millennials who are building careers in NYC, as well as property investors.
  • Advantageous market conditions and affordable financing in the past year have kept property investors active in the local real estate market.
  • Household growth and moderate employment growth also contribute to real estate developments, particularly apartment constructions.
  • An increase in mixed-use developments, where office and retail spaces have been constructed alongside residential units, has revitalized areas by the waterfront.

What to expect
Existing home sales are expected to remain steady, and the housing demand will be supported by easier access to credit and low mortgage rates.

Major projects that are underway are expected to give local real estate a boost. The Bergen Loop, to be funded by the Port Authority and Amtrak, is a proposed section of the new Hudson River rail tunnel that will give NJ residents a direct connection to NYC.

If you’re looking to make your home in North Jersey or you’d like to explore your investment options here, you may call The Mischel Group at (201) 851-1781 or send an email to smischel@kw.com.