According to the National Association of REALTORS®, condos have become increasingly popular among home buyers in New Jersey and across the nation over the last few years. When compared to a single-family detached house, condominium units offer smaller sizes, less maintenance, and in many cases lower prices. Here are five tips for buying a condo in New Jersey in 2017 or 2018.
A Look at the NJ Condominium Market in 2017
One of the first things you should do before buying a condo in New Jersey is to research the local real estate market, with an emphasis on condominium sales and prices. Here are some quick stats from the state’s Realtor association:
- In July 2017, there were 2,198 closed sales for townhouses and condos in New Jersey, an increase of 5.1% from a year earlier.
- The median sales price for condos and townhouses climbed to $260,000 in July 2017. That was an increase of 4% from the same month a year earlier. And prices appear to be rising still, heading into the fall.
- New Jersey condos are also selling a bit faster today than they were a year ago. In July, the “median days on market” was down to 61, a 14% decline from the same month in 2016.
5 Tips for Buying a Condo in New Jersey
With those stats out of the way, let’s look at some tips for buying your first condo in New Jersey.
1. Include association fees within your budgeting process.
Both houses and ...
Housing and economic forecasts are an imperfect science. Mortgage rate forecasts for New Jersey are the equivalent of an educated guess. Still, they do offer some useful insight into how the market might change over the coming months. And if the latest predictions prove accurate, that change could be summed up with just two words: gradual rise.
Two Mortgage Rate Forecasts for New Jersey Borrowers
According to the latest forecasts, mortgage rates in New Jersey are expected to rise gradually through the end of 2017 and also throughout 2018.
On September 20, the economists at Freddie Mac publish their latest long-range forecast for the U.S. economy and the housing market. Among other things, this report includes an outlook for lending rates.
Freddie Mac’s analysts expect that the average rate for a 30-year fixed home will end up averaging 4.0% for 2017. Looking beyond that, they expect the benchmark 30-year loan to average 4.4% during 2018. This is just one of several forecasts that suggest New Jersey mortgage rates could climb over the months ahead.
Similarly, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) updated its ...
FHA-insured mortgage loans are a popular financing option among home buyers in New Jersey. They’re especially popular with first-time buyers, though they are not limited to this group. Here’s a quick look at the basic FHA loan requirements for New Jersey borrowers, updated for 2017.
FHA Loan Requirements in New Jersey
The Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage insurance program is managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). So it is HUD that establishes all of the guidelines and requirements for FHA loans issued to New Jersey borrowers.
Many of these guidelines can be found in HUD Handbook 4000.1, also known as the Single-Family Housing Policy Handbook. But that resource contains nearly 1,000 pages, and you’re a busy person. So we’ve pulled out a few of the most importantrequirements for an FHA loan in New Jersey.
Related: A forecast for the NJ housing market
A Minimum Down Payment of 3.5%
New Jersey home buyers who use an FHA loan to purchase a house must make a down payment of at least 3.5%. Specifically, that’s 3.5% of the purchase price or the appraised value, whichever is less. HUD refers to this as the minimum required investment, or MRI.
The good news is you can obtain down-payment funds from a third party, such as a family member or employer. FHA allows for “gift funds” from a variety of sources, including family members, ...
With fall right around the corner, some New Jersey home buyers are already looking ahead to 2018. And many are asking the same questions: What will the real estate market be like next year? Are home prices expected to continue rising? Is now a good time to buy a house, or should I wait a while?
To give you a bit more insight, we've rounded up some noteworthy statistics, trends and forecasts for the New Jersey housing market stretching through the summer of 2018.
Forecast for NJ Housing Markets Through 2018
Home prices in New Jersey have risen steadily over the last couple of years, following a broader national trend. But there's a chance we could see slower growth in the months ahead. New forecasts from the housing research team at Zillow suggest that home price growth could slow down in most cities and towns over the coming months.
But first, a look at current prices. According to New Jersey REALTORS, the median sale price for single-family homes sold across the state rose to $330,000 during the summer of 2017. The median for condos and townhouses rose to $260,000.
Zillow's forecast for the New Jersey real estate market suggests smaller gains over the next year or so. By their estimation, home prices in the state rose by around 5% over the last year (from Sept. 2016 to Sept. 2017). Looking forward, they expect the state's median home value to rise by a more modest 1.5% over the next year. This forecast was issued in September ...
What is a Survey?
A survey is a graphic description of a property, similar to a map, outlining its legal boundaries, dimensions and other features such as structures, roads, driveways, fences, easements, setbacks, flood zones and elevation. It is typically ordered by your attorney or the title company.
The cost varies depending on the size and complexity of the property along with other features such as staking each property corner. Without corner stakes the cost of a survey ranges from $700-$1,000.
Why get a Survey?
Surveys are conducted to determine the boundaries between parcels of real estate and are used to determine the exact legal area of ground that will be transferred when a property is sold. A land survey will give you important information including if the property is in a flood-zone and if the deed shown to you by the seller indeed reflects the correct size of the property being transacted. The Survey will also determine whether all structures are completely within your property’s boundaries and meet municipal requirements for the required distance, commonly known as setback, from your property’s border.