Apartment Rental Demand Unexpectedly Strong

According to the US Census Bureau, apartment absorption, which is the rate at which new units are rented out, is now at the highest level in 3 years.

The report stated that apartment construction has reached a 20-year high in 2017, and remains elevated throughout 2018.

Many experts expected that once Millennials began to enter into the first-time buyers market, the surging demand and strong occupancy for the nation’s apartments would abate. This appears to not be the case. The word ‘unexpected’ seems to defy the prognostications provided by most groups which did not foresee the present strong demand for apartments across the country.

While the strong economy appears to be giving Millennials the opportunity to enter into the real estate market for the first time, it did not have as much of an effect upon the rental market as expected.

Again, one of the reasons for the strong real estate market has to do with the constricted inventory that continues to impact the metropolitan areas across the nation. Some metro areas are showing increased inventory, but overall inventory remains tight.

According to a story on CNBC, both the national average asking rent and effective rent increased 4.9% and 4.6%, respectively, year-over-year from the fourth quarter of 2017. What is even more unusual is that the apartment vacancy rate remained unchanged despite the completion of many new units.

What wasn’t expected was that the tax reform passed in 2017 that doubled the standard deduction, actually reduced the incentive to buy a home. This was another aspect of how the rental market has remained unexpectedly strong.
Counsellors Title provides title insurance, property title searches, on- and off-site closings and escrow services for all 21 counties in the state of New Jersey. Counsellors Title Agency also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program(TM) (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. Headquartered at 504 Hooper Avenue, Toms River, NJ 08753, Counsellors Title maintains an impeccable customer relations standard with hundreds of attorneys, loan officers and REALTORS(R)
Counsellors Title provides title insurance, property title searches, on- and off-site closings and escrow services for all 21 counties in the state of New Jersey. Counsellors Title Agency also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program(TM) (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. Headquartered at 504 Hooper Avenue, Toms River, NJ 08753, Counsellors Title maintains an impeccable customer relations standard with hundreds of attorneys, loan officers and REALTORS(R)
Counsellors Title provides title insurance, property title searches, on- and off-site closings and escrow services for all 21 counties in the state of New Jersey. Counsellors Title Agency also features its own Attorney Settlement Assistance Program(TM) (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. Headquartered at 504 Hooper Avenue, Toms River, NJ 08753, Counsellors Title maintains an impeccable customer relations standard with hundreds of attorneys, loan officers and REALTORS(R)


Monmouth County Single Family Prices Up 8.8%

Ocean County
Single Family November 2018
Key Market Metrics 2017 2018 Change
■ New Listings: 819 885 +8.1%
■ Closed Sales 584 665 + 13.9%
■ DOM* 86 84 – 2.3%
■ Median Px $305K $310K + 1.5%
■ % of Px Rec’d 96.3% 96.7% + 0.4%
■ Inventory 4,201 4,026 – 4.2%
■ Months of Inventory 6.6 6.1 – 7.6%
* Days on Market Until Sale

Monmouth County
Single Family November 2018
Key Market Metrics 2017 2018 Change
■ New Listings 696 625 – 10.2%
■ Closed Sales 578 507 – 12.3%
■ DOM* 64 60 – 6.3%
■ Median Px $400K $435K + 8.8%
■ % of Px Rec’d 97.3% 98.0% + 0.7%
■ Inventory 3,011 2,467 – 18.1%
■ Months of Inventory 5.1 4.2 – 17.6%
* Days on Market Until Sale

New Jersey Median Price Up 5.4%

The booming U.S. economy continues to prop up home sales and new listings in much of the nation, although housing affordability remains a concern. Historically, housing is still relatively affordable. Although Freddie Mac recently reported that the 30-year fixed rate is at its highest average in seven years, reaching 4.94%, average rates were 5.97% ten years ago, 6.78% 20 years ago and 10.39% 30 years ago. Nevertheless, affordability concerns are causing a slowdown in home price growth in some markets, while price reductions are becoming more common.

• Single Family Closed Sales were down 1.0% to 6,376.
• Townhouse-Condo Closed Sales were down 6.3% to 1,861.
• Adult Communities Closed Sales were down 2.2% to 622.
• Single Family Median Sales Price increased 6.6% to $319,900.
• Townhouse-Condo Median Sales Price increased 2.0% to $255,000.
• Adult Communities Median Sales Price increased 11.4% to $206,000.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that the national unemployment rate was at 3.7%. Low unemployment has helped the housing industry during this extensive period of U.S. economic prosperity. Home buying and selling activity relies on gainful employment. It also relies on demand, and builders are showing caution by breaking ground on fewer single-family home construction projects in the face of rising mortgage rates and fewer showings.

Monmouth County Features Virtual Tours

Holiday season is a great time for Monmouth County
The cultural and Heritage virtual tour series was launched this year. This is an interactive platform which includes a different digital tours featuring historical natural cultural and artistic attractions within New Jersey’s Monmouth County. 

These tours include Revolutionary War sites natural landscapes and even events that happen in certain downtown regions of the towns in Monmouth County.

The Historic Monmouth Crossroads: A 4-century-old path that winds from the Sandy Hook Bayshore in Highlands through Middletown, Holmdel and Colts Neck, all the way to Millstone. It was a prominent thoroughfare for Colonial and British troops during the Revolutionary War, but there are other surprises along the way, like the Evil Clown of Middletown on State Route 35.

MOCO Cultural Byway: The trail begins in Matawan before winding through the heart of the Two River area and down the shoreline to Asbury Park, documenting artistically and culturally significant sites along the way. From the massive satellite installations atop Telegraph Hill in Holmdel, which were once used as an anti-aircraft defense system during the Cold War, to the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, to Monmouth Park in Oceanport, this tour best defines the Jersey Shore experience.

Bayshore Drive: The tour allows residents and visitors to travel along local streets to explore the region’s downtowns and waterfront destinations. Once comprised of colonies of summertime bungalows and maritime industries, the area is now active year-round. The Bayshore region is characterized by traditional downtowns and denser residential neighborhoods set against the natural beauty of the Raritan and Sandy Hook Bay coastline.

Two River Tri-way: This is the shortest tour in the byway series, but it provides historic context regarding the importance of the Two River peninsula in the overall countywide narrative. Beginning in Red Bank, the tour travels to points east along River Road where a trolley once carried passengers between Red Bank and Rumson.

Women In The Lead

Where is the next market niche of buyers?

Who is the next group of home buyers going to be?

Very possibly, according to a recent survey, it will be single women.

Research shows that wage disparity is not stopping single women from getting into this market. They appear to be making the intelligent choice of buying a home.

According to data acquired from the US Census Bureau, the 2017 American Community Survey, it indicates that single women homeowners who live in metropolitan areas have become very proactive in the purchase of their owner-occupied homes.

One of the reasons why it seems that women are taking that big step is because American wage disparity between men and women has dwindled to just $0.20 less than the male counterparts.

Right now, according to a recent study, single women own about 22% of homes as compared to just 13% owned by single men.

In the 50 largest metropolitan areas, on average, single women own 70,000 more homes than single men.

New Orleans seems to top the list, where 27% of homes are owned by single women, as compared to single men, who only own 15%.

OVERALL
In general, the poverty rate has declined for the last few years, according to the US Census Bureau, in 24 states. Only in Vermont did it increase from 10.2% to 11.9%.

From 2015 to 2016, the poverty rate decreased in 17 out of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas. Poverty, interestingly enough, did not increase in any of these 25 most populated metropolitan areas.

NAHB – Builder Confidence Drops 4 Points

Housing Affordability Continues to Weigh on Market
According to the National Association of Home Builders: Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes fell four points to 56 in December on the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index (HMI) as concerns over housing affordability persist. Although this is the lowest HMI reading since May 2015, builder sentiment remains in positive territory.

“We are hearing from builders that consumer demand exists, but that customers are hesitating to make a purchase because of rising home costs,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder from LaPlace, La. “However, recent declines in mortgage interest rates should help move the market forward in early 2019. The fact that builder confidence dropped significantly in areas of the country with high home prices shows how the growing housing affordability crisis is hurting the market,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “This housing slowdown is an early indicator of economic softening, and it is important that builders manage supply-side costs to keep home prices competitive for buyers at different price points.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

Follow Up | Follow Through

Following Up After the Triple Play Conference National Association of Realtors’ Triple Play, which ran December 3-6 in Atlantic City, was a fantastic event. Counsellors Title Agency hosted its annual booth there for the fifth year in a row. The Convention Industry Council has figures: 225 million attendees participated in 1.9 million conventions, conferences, congresses, trade shows and exhibitions, incentive events and corporate meetings. The value in any conference event is the follow-through. One idea is to make 2 lists as soon as you get home: the people you met and the people who were there that you didn’t meet.

Next, consider the goal that you have for the relationship moving forward. Remember, even those people who don’t or can’t use your service can refer someone to you who can. So keeping in touch is a great way to keep your referral pipeline filled.

Also, in light of the fact that your conversation with them gave you a number of things that they needed or were looking for, in your correspondence, be sure to reference them.

At the very least, definitely send them a holiday card wishing them a great holiday. Remember the purpose of the conference!

Exposure. Introduction. Engagement. Opportunity.



Christmas at The Olde Mill Inn

December 17th – 21st: Holiday Lunch Buffet (11:30am – 2:30pm). A cozy fireside lunch in the historic Grain House Restaurant for the whole family! Dec 18, Dec 19, Dec 20, Dec 21. 

Image result for The Olde Mill Inn new jersey

December 24th: Christmas Eve Buffet (4pm – 8pm).

December 31st: New Year’s Eve Dinner (5pm – 10pm).

Reservations for all events strongly recommended: 908-696-2315

225 Route 202, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

Trends to Track – Mortgages

Two interesting developments were reported this week and both involved mortgage rates.

Mortgage rates fell this week, according to Mortgage News Daily. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell 21 basis points in the past week, from 4.94% to 4.73%. This shows a reversal from trends posted back in November when mortgage rates hit an eight-year high of 5.05%.

Just as stocks were falling, real estate may again show some bounce-back.

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The drop in the rates could translate into a $70 per-month savings for home buyers on a $300,000 loan and translating into a yearly savings of $900 a year.

Many buyers are anticipating rates will only go higher in 2019, which brings me to the second story.

It was reported by The Mortgage Bankers Association that total mortgage applications rose by 2% over the course of the last week. Even though the number of applications is significantly lower than it was in 2017 by 19%, the uptick during the month of December shows that people still have an appetite to own their own home.

Overall mortgage interest rates remains 89 basis points higher than it was a year ago while home prices are also higher than they were in 2017. Affordability, inventory shortages, and slow housing starts are all contributing to a tighter housing market.



Mall Overhaul After Christmas

Just two more weekends to shop for Christmas and then comes the big change.

Monmouth Mall appears to be destined for a massive overhaul. This will all start with the closing of the storied Lord & Taylor, which has been an anchor tenant of the mall for over three decades.


Monmouth Mall is not the only mall anticipating major transformation over the next few years. According to CNBC, mall owners across the country are now ready to do whatever it takes to make their properties relevant and viable.

According to the CNBC report, more than 146 million square feet of retail space will be shut down across the United States, impacting malls and shopping centers. These numbers were generated by the research group CoStar.

In some ways this is the Amazon effect. Millennials find it easier and more convenient to just click their purchases on their smartphones and accept deliveries at home.

This is not just an Amazon phenomenon but rather many brands are choosing to go completely digital, such as the shirt brand UNTUCKit.

The amount of floor space shutting down in 2018 went up approximately 40% as compared to the reported 105 million square feet of space that was closed in 2017.

In Monmouth County Sears recently closed down their store, which represents approximately 100,000 square feet.

The other major retailer based in New Jersey, Toys R Us, recently closed down all of its stores.

This is all good news for the liquidators, who seem to be catching an uptick in Christmas spending.

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