1st Timers Buy Buy Buy

Millennials are all-in. The percentage of first-time buyers jumping into the housing market climbed to 38% of all U.S. single-family home purchases. This represents the largest share since 2000, according to Genworth Mortgage and the U.S. Census. The number of first-timers purchasing new or existing homes reached 2.07 million, which is 7% higher than in 2016. 

The percentage of purchases by first-timers reached a 17-year high, which tracks with the rebound of the U.S. economy beginning in 2017.

The arrival of the Millennial Buyer had a number of economic hurdles to scale, some of which included student loan debt, a slow economic climate, rising real estate prices and low inventory. Many of these issues seemed to turn around over the last 18-21 months as inventory began to grow, new construction climbed and wages and job growth dramatically improved.

The New Jersey Department of Labor reported, “New Jersey employers continued to add to their payrolls in August, according to preliminary estimates produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Total nonfarm wage and salary employment increased for the fourth consecutive month in August, up by 1,600 jobs, to reach a seasonally adjusted level of 4,195,700. The state’s unemployment rate held steady at 4.2% for the month.”

This job growth is reflected not only in the number of first-time buyers but also the health of the local economy, which shows significant hires by such companies as Amazon, in anticipation of a strong holiday sales season.

According to some economists, this demand is reflective of the pent-up buyer demand that has been sitting on the sidelines for years.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

 

Amazon Ready to Hire 9,000 in New Jersey

In preparation for a strong holiday spending season, Amazon is preparing to hire 9,000 full- and part-time workers at its New Jersey fulfillment centers.

In some places, there has been a loss of jobs, as in the case of Toys R Us, Mattress Firm and Lord & Taylor, while Amazon is opening up its employment doors.

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, will host job fairs statewide in an effort to meet the high-volume shipping season. Employees will be expecting to receive Amazon’s new minimum wage of $15 an hour and, according to reports in the Asbury Park Press, may even reach up to $16.15 an hour. Workers are expected to start by November 1st.

One of the benefits of the hiring spurt by Amazon is that its warehouses are located in the middle of the State’s densely populated northeast. The reason for Amazon’s big hiring push this season is due to New Jersey’s jobless rate of 4.2% in August, which is the lowest level in over a decade.

Amazon Employment Grew by 40% Since 2013
Positions at Amazon, which include transportation and warehouse spots, grew 40% from 2013 to 2017 in New Jersey. Amazon now employs 5% of New Jersey’s total workforce. Currently, Amazon has 16,000 employees at 9 fulfillment centers throughout New Jersey.

Location of the Amazon Job Fairs
Monmouth County: Radisson Hotel Freehold: 50 Gibson Place, Freehold Township: Oct. 8 through Oct. 12: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Middlesex County: Crowne Plaza Princeton: 900 Scudders Mill Road, Plainsboro: Oct. 8 through Oct. 30: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Morris County: Best Western: 270 South St., Morristown: Oct. 8 through Oct. 12: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Burlington County: Double Tree: 515 Fellowship Road, Mount Laurel: Oct. 12: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Union County: Crowne Plaza Newark Airport: 901 Spring St., Elizabeth: Oct. 10: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

 

Small Biz Optimism Index Hit All-Time High

The August 2018 National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index for August hit a new all-time high of 108.8, beating out the old record of 108.0 set in July 1983. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index has been tracking this metric for 45 years overall. NFIB Small Business Optimism Index August 2018: Small Business Optimism Smashes Reagan-Era Record in August

This index gauges a small business sentiment as NFIB measures in terms of optimism and expectations translating into actual initiatives taken by small businesses.

According to a press release published by the NFIB, “Expectations (are) translating to growth, profits, and jobs according to NFIB’s leading indicator survey.” It further stated that the August report was, “…topping the July 1983 highwater mark of 108. The record-breaking figure is driven by small business owners executing on the plans they’ve put in place due to dramatic changes in the nation’s economic policy.”

The August survey showed:

  •     Job creation plans and unfilled job openings both set new records.
  •     The percentage of small business owners saying it is a good time to expand tied the May 2018 all-time high.
  •     Inventory investment plans were the strongest since 2005 and capital spending plans the highest since 2007.

“Today’s groundbreaking numbers are demonstrative of what I’m hearing everyday from small business owners – that business is booming. As the tax and regulatory landscape changed, so did small business expectations and plans,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan. “We’re now seeing the tangible results of those plans as small businesses report historically high, some record breaking, levels of increased sales, investment, earnings, and hiring.”

A net 10 percent of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months compared to the prior three months, up two points. August is the ninth consecutive strong month of reported sales gains after years of low or negative numbers. The net percent of owners planning to build inventories rose six points to a record net 10 percent, the 14th positive reading in the past 22 months. The frequency of reports of positive profit trends rose two points to a net one percent reporting quarter on quarter profit improvements, the second highest reading in the survey’s 45-year history.

As reported in last week’s NFIB’s monthly jobs report, a seasonally adjusted net 26 percent of owners plan to create new jobs and 38 percent of owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, both survey highs. Sixty-two percent of owners reported trying to hire, with 89 percent of those owners reporting few or no qualified applications for their open positions. A record 25 percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem, up two points from last month.

Other take-aways are:

+ Not all booms are the same

+ Booms are sector specific (note: all the retail closures, note the decline of financial advisors such as stock brokers)

+ Booms usually identify emerging sectors (though they do not immediately follow. Example: the Internet bust was followed by the explosion of the digital platform as a must-have.

+ Booms also have country-centric – meaning not all nations will participate in a boom.

Signs Show Buyer Demand Falling

New Jersey still offers real estate buyers a value while a recent report on New York City real estate indicates that buyer demand for properties is in the middle of a major shift.  city buildings during nighttime

New York City has been one of the hottest real estate markets in the country.

The median sales price for a property in New York City in 2013 was $1,067,000.

In September 2017 that number hit $1.52 million period but since that time the average median sale price for property in New York City has fallen to $1.3 million.

In addition to that number of sales have fallen dramatically from 5 years ago to less than half of what they were in October 2013.

According to a story from CNBC, offers for properties have begun to come in at 20 to 25% below asking prices. This is clearly an anomaly.

What appears to be one of the reasons for the drop in buyer demand is a clear surge in the number of homes that are available for sale in the city. In addition to that the higher rent apartments are also coming down in price. The CNBC report indicates that days on market “are soaring.”

How does this affect New Jersey? Well, New Jersey has never been in, the overbought condition that New York City has been in. New Jersey’s properties have always tracked with New York values, making their values less exposed to the incredible emotional fluctuations that seem to affect New York City real estate.

According to the National Association of Realtors, Hudson County has also seen a decline in the number of new listings and in the number of closed sales, new listings down by 16% and close sales down by 16.3%. Yet the number of days on market has fallen dramatically by nearly 24% year-over-year. In addition to that, median sales price has increased 7.5% year-over-year. And it appears that the New Jersey inventory in Hudson County has fallen an equally dramatic 25% from 509 to 381. The month supply of inventory in Hudson County for August comes in at 4.4 months, which is a 27% decrease from 2017.

The bargain prices as presented for single family homes in Hudson County of $385,000 for median sales price represents a huge difference from the $1 million plus price tag for Manhattan properties.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

Trackable Trends: NJ Ocean & Monmouth Townhomes and Condos

The New Jersey Realtor reported townhomes and condos properties for sale decreased by 10% to 9,698, while the inventory supply also dipped by 4.7%.

But the top line indicates that closed sales of about 2,400 for the month of August is just 2% higher than last August and the median sales price came in at $259,000, which is basically equal to that of 2017.

Also the average sales price for a condo or co-op was flat with 2017 at $331,358. There also doesn’t seem to be a price war going on for condos and co-ops, with the percent of price received coming in at 97.5%. Days-on-market also fell to 56 days on market. This is a 12.5% decrease from 2017.

Ocean and Monmouth County
The good news for single-family homes in Monmouth County is that median sales price jumped by 8.8% from 2017 to $460,750.

Ocean County experienced a similar spike in the median sales price for single-family homes in August climbing to $310,000, which is a 6.9% increase from August 2017.

Ocean County seems to be eating-through what had been once a huge supply of inventory, falling to 6.7 months supply of inventory or 4,413 homes for sale in August. A sidebar statistic for Ocean County can be seen in the number of new listings for condos and townhomes, which increased by 18.6% in August 2018 from August 2017. The number of closed townhomes and condo sales increased by a comparable percentage to 16%. The townhome condo market in Ocean County also appears to be red hot, climbing 9.2% year-over-year to $206,250 while the inventory has dropped by 15% to 545 townhouse and condos for sale.
you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

Fort Monmouth Memories: Homing Pigeons

Fort Monmouth, New Jersey was once home to the U.S. Army Signal Corps Breeding and Training Center for military carrier pigeons. grey pigeon on grey metal rod

One such famous bird, President Wilson, undertook a mission that would save many American troops.

On October 5th, 1918 this heroic pigeon flew across enemy lines from a detail of American troops delivering a critical message requesting artillery fire, which protected them from German fire.

Within the age of digital communication, it is easy to forget that pigeons were critical communication resources because they were so dependable when it came to getting messages back and forth between the front line troops and those supporting them behind the lines. This pigeon, President Wilson, traveled approximately 25 minutes back to the military base in order to communicate that artillery fire was needed to cover them. The pigeon came under enemy fire from the Germans, losing a leg, and was shot also in the chest.

He later recovered and was sent to Fort Monmouth for U.S Army Signal Corps Breeding and Training Center. There he would retire and live for another 11 years.

According to the accounts, the bird flew from his location in France approximately 25 miles, calling for him to fly through enemy lines. The Germans saw the carrier pigeon and began firing upon him. His injuries did not impede his arrival.

This clearly is a remarkable account in the light of unreliable telephone, telegraph and radio transmission capabilities. There were no mobile phones at this time, neither were there drones. Who would have believed that the fate of our nation would rest, in some part, upon the flight of a pigeon?

Carrier pigeons were also used in World War II, where 32 pigeons were awarded medals for heroic actions. It seems that even after radio was introduced into the Infantry, pigeons were still the easiest and most reliable way to coordinate tank units without exposing troops to enemy fire.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

Vacation Homes Becoming a Revenue Stream

It is very possible that New Jersey’s Gold Coast will become the next place real estate buyers will look when purchasing a vacation home.

According to a new study, individuals are now buying vacation homes with a profit perspective. It’s not just getting away but having a way to make more by their own investment into real estate. Vacation homes are the classic example of a way to “kill two birds with one stone.” Buyers now look to get a nice getaway place for their vacations while also benefiting from assorted ways of renting out their home when they’re not there through such digital portals as Airbnb and other websites.

The economy continues to remain strong for sellers and buyers. August retail home sales increased only 0.1% as the buyers no longer jumped at every house on the market. This economy is getting stronger with each quarter, with consumer sentiment rising strongly to near record levels in early September. In addition to that, August industrial production rose for the third straight month, up 4.9% year-over-year. Also, inventories were up in July by .6% from June and up 4.3% as compared to 2017.

All this leads to individuals looking to do something constructive with their additional cash surplus.

As the global tourism industry continues to grow, international tourists are increasing year-over-year by 7% to a record 1.3 billion in 2017.

This provides a great opportunity and often expansion of the vacation home niche.

More than ever, it appears that buyers are viewing their vacation home buying with a consideration for the possibility of renting out their properties and thus creating a very viable stream of additional income.

Based upon a new study published by Savills and HomeAway, vacation homeowners back in 1970 basically used their properties for themselves.

Now vacation home owners who rent out their properties to travelors has escalated and skyrocketed to over 2/3 of those individuals with a second home saying they rent out their vacation property for some portion of the year to cover ownership costs.

For these entrepreneurial vacation homeowners, 1/3 of the revenue generated by the homes covers ownership costs, and another third of those who own vacation properties actually turn a profit. According to the report, the average gross yield was 6.4%, or 3.9% after costs excluding taxes.

New Jersey represents a large vacation home market. The New Jersey housing market median home value is now $318,800, according to Zillow. Home values in the Garden State have gone up 8.0% over the past year with Zillow predicting they will rise 7.5% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in New Jersey is $188. The median price of homes currently listed in New Jersey is $334,000 while the median price of homes that sold is $273,900. The median rent price in New Jersey is $2,000.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

New Jersey Fall Festivals

 

New Jersey hosts many Fall Festivals which provide great entertainment and a way to experience the season and the colors. Here are some up-coming events.  orange pumpkins

 

 

 

Homes Sold Above Asking Price Fall

But they are still asking… and nearly one-quarter of homes sold are above asking price.

This has been one of the most unexpected real estate boom markets in the last quarter of a century. Prior to this, all the boom markets had plenty of inventory and at times low interest rates but there was always a house available to buy. 

In this case, inventory shortages have dramatically reduced the options available to motivated buyers.

Redfin reported that the number of homes sold above asking price, based upon its recent report, fell to only 23%. The typical suspects in this case are Seattle, Las Vegas, Denver and Portland. But the 22.9% figure of homes selling above asking price is considerably less than those that sold during the month of June 2018, where 29% of all homes sold above asking price.

According to the report, they see the slowing home price growth, which came in at just 4.7% in August, as a reflection of the cooler market demand.

From an outside perspective this is actually bringing some sobriety into this marketplace, which was initially governed by historic inventory shortages and low interest rates.

Some of the record numbers for homes selling above asking price were reported in the Seattle region, where in 2017 50% of homes were selling above asking price. Now, just 30.3% of homes were sold above asking price.

According to the report, affordable regions such as Buffalo, Indianapolis and Las Vegas are showing that competition continues to make these areas where properties will sell above asking price.

With August results nationwide, it appears that inventory is increasing and sales are maintaining a healthy balance without double-digit jumps in the number of sales year-over-year.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

Anchor Tenant at Monmouth Mall, Lord & Taylor, to Close in January 2019

Lord & Taylor, which has been in the Monmouth Mall since 1990, will be closing its doors in January 2019 after nearly 60 years.

In February 2016, Kushner Companies, which is the owner of Monmouth Mall, announced conceptual plans to redevelop the mall into a pedestrian-friendly live-work-play environment. The development will come at a cost of about a half a billion dollars. The new mall will be renamed to be Monmouth Town Center or the Heights at Monmouth, which will include a different tenant mix, including a hotel, a residential component and outdoor plaza along with bike and pedestrian friendly green spaces.

Lord & Taylor will close as many as 10 stores within the next few months. For the Monmouth Mall employees, the company will attempt to find jobs for all of its 124 employees at its other locations.

Lord & Taylor had to notify the New Jersey State Department of Labor at least 60 days in advance of any planned mass layoff.

According to reports, there are a total of 13 Lord & Taylor stores in New Jersey, which has a total of 50 stores throughout the nation, most of which are on the East Coast.

The Monmouth Mall opened on March 1, 1960, as a 600,000-square-foot, 14-building, 50-store open-air center, originally called “Monmouth Shopping Center.” It was built on what was then a farm owned by the Valentino Family of the nearby city of Long Branch, New Jersey. Original anchors of the mall consisted of Bamberger’s (at that time a subsidiary of Macy’s) and Montgomery Ward. After pulling out of New Jersey, Montgomery Ward became Alexander’s in 1975. The mall was enclosed and expanded to its current size in 1975.

 

Trackable Trends: Affordability in New Jersey Real Estate

Single Family
New listings for single family homes in New Jersey in August fell just slightly, less than 1% to 10,888. And pending sales increased by 2.2% for the same month, also closed sales increased just slightly to 9,023. New Jersey median home sales for single family homes jumped by 3% to 340,000, while the average sale price increased 2.1% to $416,000.

Affordability
Affordability and inventory continue to rule the New Jersey real estate market. The inventory of homes for sale in New Jersey dropped by 11% year-over-year in August to 36,964. This reduction also had an impact upon the total month supply falling to 5.3 months, which is a decrease of 13.1% from 2017.

This Real Estate Market Is Different
What is different about this real estate bull market compared to the market of 2006-7 is that interest rates continue to rise slowly and credit criteria have also increased dramatically, making it more challenging for first-time buyers to come into the market. The tight credit market makes it harder for home-flippers to scoop up REO or foreclosed properties, as the number of these properties has fallen dramatically as well.

So the outlook moving forward for this market should be characterized not as one that is losing its steam but rather as one that is finding a healthy level of buyer-seller demand. At one point, people would be willing to keep their home on the market for six months; that was the normal amount of time expected to sell a home. Now people are much more fluid and liquid, and the economic condition is much better. Now homes come on and off the market with great speed and also a great amount of buyer competition.

Moving forward we are expecting the market to stabilize with modest price increases with houses most likely appreciating in the 3% range. This would reflect the average household income increase of 2.6% which was reported by the US Department of Commerce.

If you have any questions about this information or title insurance, please contact Ralph Aponte: 732.914.1400.

Counsellors Title Agency, www.counsellorstitle.net, founded in 1996, is one of New Jersey’s most respected title agencies, serving all 21 New Jersey counties with title insurance, clearing title, escrow, tidelands searches, and closing and settlement services for commercial or industrial properties, waterfront properties and marinas, condominiums, townhouses or residential single family homes. Counsellors Title also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program™ [ASAP], which is an individual resource customized to fit the needs specifically of real estate attorneys, including, Documentation, Preparation, Disbursement of Funds, Attendance at Closing, HUD Preparation or Post-Closing Matters.

New Jersey Fall Festivals

There are dozens of Autumn Festivals in New Jersey. Here are a few we thought would be of interest. woman throwing maple leaves

 

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