Below, we’ve gathered some information about the real estate market in Bergen County, and added some helpful tips for home buyers. It’s must-read material for anyone planning to buy a home in Bergen County, New Jersey in 2017 or 2018.
Bergen County Real Estate Market Update
Home prices across the county have risen steadily over the last couple of years. And they’re expected to continue rising (to some degree) into 2018. That’s the first thing you should know about buying a home in Bergen County. If you postpone your purchase, you might encounter higher housing costs due to ongoing appreciation.
Granted, you should never make a home purchase until you’re absolutely ready. Just understand that house values in the county are expected to continue moving north over the coming months.
According to the real estate information company Zillow, the median home value for Bergen County rose to $456,100 as of October 2017. That was an increase of 4% from a year earlier. Looking forward, they are predicting additional but smaller gains for the next 12 months (ending in October 2018).
Here are some relevant statistics from the New Jersey REALTORS®:
Single-family detached homes: The median sales price rose from $490,000 in August 2016 to $507,000 in August 2017, according to the state’s Realtor association. The supply of homes dropped to five months this August, a 25% decrease from the same month last year. This means there are fewer properties for sale this year compared to last. But five months of supply is still sufficient, so those buying a home in Bergen County, NJ should have plenty to choose from.
Condos: The median sales price for condos in Bergen County increased slightly in August to land at $348,888. The number of days on market until sale dropped from 81 last August to 66 days in August 2017. This suggests an increase in demand for condos. Months of supply dropped from 7.6 last year to 4.9 in the fall of 2017, so there appears to be less inventory.
The takeaway from all of this is that prices are higher now than last year, and there are fewer properties listed for sale. But the inventory situation in Bergen County is still pretty good, especially when compared to other parts of the country where it is severely limited. Those buying a home in Bergen County during the latter part of 2017 or early 2018 should have plenty of choices.
Mortgage Rate Trends and Forecasts
According to the weekly market survey conducted by Freddie Mac, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage loan was 3.85% for the week of October 6, 2017. Thirty-year mortgage rates had been hovering in that range for several weeks, prior to their latest report. This represents a great opportunity for those buying a home in Bergen County, New Jersey in 2017.
But there’s no telling how long rates will remain at these low levels. In fact, economic forecasts from both Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association suggest that interest rates will gradually rise over the coming months. Economists with both of these groups expect mortgage rates to be higher in 2018 than they are right now. Based on these outlooks, a case could be made for buying a home in Bergen County sooner rather than later.
Tips for Buying a Home in Bergen County, NJ
Whether you’re a first-time buyer in Bergen County, or a “veteran” who has owned homes in the past, you can benefit from taking these proactive steps:
Research the market in advance. Pay particular attention to the specific neighborhoods or subdivisions where you want to purchase a house. Use websites like Realtor.com, Zillow and others to see how much homes are selling for in your desired area(s). Pay particular attention to recent sales prices, as these are a good indicator of current market trends.
Find a local Real Estate Agent with knowledge of the market. Take the time to find an agent who has expertise in the area you want to buy a home is critical. You also want an experienced agent with expertise in fast negotiation, leveraging escalation clauses, and winning bidding wars.
Get preapproved for a loan. If you’re like most home buyers in Bergen County, and you need to use a mortgage loan to finance your purchase, you can benefit from getting pre-approved before house hunting. We can review your current financial situation and tell you how much you might be able to borrow. This will help you focus your home search on the kinds of properties you can afford. It could also make sellers more inclined to accept your offer.
Make a strong offer based on “comps.” Is the seller’s asking price realistic, or far-fetched? The best way to find out is to look at recent and comparable sales (or comps) within the same area. You can use this information to make a smart offer backed by current market data. Making a strong and realistic offer will increase your chances of acceptance.