New Jersey Median Sale Price $296,000

September Median sales price for a single family home rose by 4.2% year-over-year to $296,000 from $284,000.

Ocean and Monmouth Counties reported the highest number of pending sales.

Millennials Late to Home Ownership

According to a Stanford study, home ownership for Millennials is taking longer. This could have a significant impact upon retirement planning.

One of the reasons for the delay could be attributed to the student debt that many Millennials carry. But then, as Millennials statistically may live longer than the earlier Boomer generation, the delay may just be a statistical bump in the road.

Even though overall home ownership fell to 63% in 2016, which was the lowest level in more than 50 years, the real estate market seems to be on more stable ground right now, and buying may not be as risky. The all-time high for home ownership took place in 2005, which preceded precipitously, the great crash in 2007 and 8. That’s when subprime lending was at an all-time high.

According to the Stanford study, home ownership among Millennials stands at approximately 35.8%. This compares to home ownership among the Baby Boomer generation at the age of 30, which reflected a 48.3% ownership rate.

Another factor that is contributing to the delay in home ownership is the statistic that the median age for the first marriage is approximately 30. In 1960 the average Boomer was married in their early twenties, which then would factor into the delay in home ownership for this current generation.

So at this particular point, while the economy is strong, Millennials should begin to adopt saving strategies that will result in their ultimate home ownership.

Family Ideas for a Fun Halloween

Maplewood Village Halloween Parade – Maplewood
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Maplewood’s time-honored tradition returns for Halloween fun for the whole family! Village streets close to traffic for an afternoon of trick-or-treating, music, prizes, and more.

Ragamuffin Parade and Costume Contest – Hoboken
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
This Hoboken tradition features local live music, floats, and, of course, lots of fantastic costumes. Wear your Halloween best, and you might just win a prize.

Halloween Parade – Toms River
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
This is one the largest parades of its kind in the world (according to the Guinness Book of World Records), so be sure to arrive early to see the floats and festive Halloween-themed attractions.

Trick or Treat at Physick Estate – Cape May
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Some spooky costumed characters are waiting for your little trick-or-treaters on the grounds of this Victorian house museum. Pose for pictures in between filling up your bags with candy.

Glassboro Fall Festival Trunk or Treat – Glassboro
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Fill your bags with candy from dozens of cars that have trunks filled with treats. It’s like going to 50 houses in 15 minutes.

Fanwood Halloween Celebration – Fanwood
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Kick off this annual spooktacular on the front lawn of the Fanwood Memorial Library, departing for LaGrande Park at 6;15pm followed by a costume contest for kids of all ages.

Trends to Track – Teaming Up

A growing number of real estate sales agents are part of a sales team, according to a survey published by the National Association of Realtors. three people putting hands on top of each other above brown wooden table

This survey identifies that 26% of those responding to the survey were members of a real estate team, leaving 73% not a member of a real estate sales team.

This new sales phenomenon within the real estate industry is described and defined as two or more real estate sales people or licensees who work together to provide real estate sales services.

The conspicuous reason for the growing popularity of sales teams is that it allows individual members to shine and thrive within their own skill sets and strengths.

Another particular reason for the popularity of the sales team is the complexity of the real estate transaction, which involves social media, print, sales, staging, financing, and a multitude of other skill sets that come together in order for a transaction to come about.

Most common functions on a sales team included acting as the agent, followed by a broker, marketing, administration, and transaction coordinator.

Workloads and responsibilities are increasing and specialization is being required in the different areas of expertise.

The validation of the sales team concept is proving out within the statutory configurations, in that 24 states have statutes or regulations in place that address real estate sales teams.

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.

 

Trends to Track – Market Shifts

A number of developments were reported this week which begin to point to a slight shift in the trajectory of the real estate market nationwide. 

First, for the most part, inventory continues to shrink, though in some markets it is actually increasing. In the New Jersey market, inventory continues to erode, giving less choice to buyers.

And as buyers become slower to jump into the appreciated real estate market, the median tenure for homeownership has now jumped to 10 years; this is up by 10% from the prior year.

The number one reason for a slower market has to do with the rising interest rates that banks are charging buyers to mortgage their homes.

Also, the new construction rate still is not meeting demand with labor shortages and higher material costs.

In many markets across the country, houses have recovered most of what they lost in the Great Recession of 2008 but still there are numbers of towns and communities that have yet to recover.

But this September there was a shift in one important market metric: foreclosures.

Black Knight reported that mortgage delinquencies had spiked, bringing September’s delinquency rate to the highest level in a decade.

According to the report, mortgage delinquencies increased by 13.2% in September, which represents the highest monthly increase since November 2008. Currently, according to Black Knight, the U.S. delinquency rate is 3.97%.

Historically, September normally brings an increase in mortgage delinquencies. Since 1999 over 80% of Septembers reflected an increase in mortgage delinquencies.

The other factor that is working itself into the numbers is the impact of Hurricane Florence. We have yet to see the impact of Hurricane Michael, but according to metrics, the eastern area of the United States hit by Hurricane Florence showed a spike of 38% month-over-month in delinquencies. It also indicated that more than 6,000 borrowers missed a payment as a direct result of the storm.

One factor that was atypical was that of foreclosure starts, which fell by 15.1% from August to September, representing an 18-year low. The number of foreclosure starts nationwide, according to the report issued by Black Knight, was 40,000 for the month of September.

Another metric pointing to a cooling-off period was discovered in the report issued by Lending Tree, which indicates that the average home payment on a U.S. home fell in the third quarter of 2018. The report found that the average down payment decreased by nearly 10% in the third quarter falling, from $52,480 to $47,265.

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.

 

Homebuilder Sentiment Stays High

As mortgage rates continue to climb, presently the sentiment of builders improves. One reason for the improved homebuilder sentiment is the result of falling lumber prices. Higher material and labor costs clearly impact the price of homes being built, especially for the first-time home buyer, but still prices continue to rise moderately, staying ahead of inflation.

The National Association of Homebuilders published a sentiment survey for October indicating that the sentiment climbed just slightly by one to 68. According to the survey, any score above 50 is viewed as being positive.

On a year-to-year basis, the homebuilders’ sentiment index is unchanged from October 2017.

Another reason for the positive sentiment is due to the solid economy. As unemployment continues to fall and full employment continues to become normal, builders are motivated to build with the expectation of new buyers continuing to enter the market. Just last week, it was reported by the U.S. Census that the percent of first-time buyer purchases increased from 33% to 38% of all purchases.

Another reason for the optimism, of course, is the fall of lumber prices, which is due to increased supply of lumber.

Another important factor affecting homebuilder sentiment is the traffic numbers, which increased by 4 points to 53 in the homebuilder index. This increase by four indicates that there is growing demand for new homes being built.

The mortgage rates have increased by a full percentage point year-over-year from 2017, while affordability continues to be a restraining factor, the strength of the economy and the general shortage of inventory continues to give builders reason for their optimism. Another metric factoring into the housing market is that for 73 consecutive months, the number of houses foreclosed has fallen on a nationwide basis.

Sept Ocean & Monmouth County Sales

 

Ocean County                                                                
Single Family September 2018
Key Market Metrics    2017 2018      Change
■ New Listings        1,046   1,111    + 6.2%
■ Closed Sales           633       574   – 10.5%
■ DOM*                    73       70       – 4.1%
■ Median Px         $304K    $306       + 0.7%
■ % of Px Rec’d     96.6% 96.5%     – 0.1%
■ Inventory           4,625    4,393     – 5.0%
■ Months of Inventory 7.2   6.7       – 6.9%
* Days on Market Until Sale

Monmouth County
Single Family September 2018
Key Market Metrics    2017 2018     Change
■ New Listings           950   842        – 11.4%
■ Closed Sales           633   574       – 9.3%
■ DOM*                    56    59          + 5.4%
■ Median Px          $410K   $450K   + 9.8%
■ % of Px Rec’d      97.8% 97.9%    + 0.1%
■ Inventory            3,350     2,870   – 14.3%
■ Months of Inventory 5.7    4.8      – 15.8%
* Days on Market Until Sale

Counsellors Title Grows Salesforce Again

Ken Sikorski and Debra Balak have joined Counsellors Title Agency’s growing sales force of licensed title producers helping to serve all 21 New Jersey counties through its home office and branch offices in Monmouth, Union and Essex counties.

Kenneth Sikorski
Ken will work in the Toms River office and in the Freehold office located at 54 Hudson Street, Suite 201-B, Freehold, NJ 07728.

“I am truly looking forward to joining such a market leader as Counsellors Title Agency. Its reputation for service and professionalism will only enhance my ability to deliver the highest standard of service to my clients,” stated Ken Sikorski.

In addition to his widespread industry expertise, Ken’s background includes commercial properties, farmlands, subdivisions, vacant land and residential properties. He also possesses experience with wetlands, tidelands, green acres, and farmlands and preservation within the State of New Jersey.

As a senior title examiner and licensed title producer, his professional expertise also includes extensive research and examination of public documents, deeds, mortgages, liens, judgments, easements, maps, contracts and agreements, to name a few. He has reviewed thousands of problem or defective titles involving tidelands, track searches and other complaints.

Debra Balak
Debra brings an extraordinary wealth of knowledge and experience within the title insurance and settlement services industry, including 10 years of experience as an owner-operator of a full-service title & settlement agency; 5 years as a manager for a midsize title agency with multiple branches throughout the state; and numerous years’ experience in search, settlements and file coordination as a processor.

Debra’s expertise also includes managing and coordinating employees working on multiple files with lenders, attorneys and real estate agents on a daily basis to coordinate timely examination of files, title commitments and closings.

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.

September Prices Up – Sales Slow Down

The National Association of Realtors announced that existing-home sales declined in September after a month of stagnation in August. All four major regions saw no gain in sales activity last month.

Total existing-home sales, https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 3.4 percent from August to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.15 million in September. Sales are now down 4.1 percent from a year ago (5.37 million in September 2017).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says rising interest rates have led to a decline in sales across all regions of the country. “This is the lowest existing home sales level since November 2015,” he said. “A decade’s high mortgage rates are preventing consumers from making quick decisions on home purchases. All the while, affordable home listings remain low, continuing to spur underperforming sales activity across the country.”

The median existing-home price2 for all housing types in September was $258,100, up 4.2 percent from September 2017 ($247,600). September’s price increase marks the 79th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory3 at the end of September decreased from 1.91 million in August to 1.88 million existing homes available for sale, and is up from 1.86 million a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.3 last month and 4.2 months a year ago.

Properties typically stayed on the market for 32 days in September, up from 29 days in August but down from 34 days a year ago. Forty-seven percent of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month.

“There is a clear shift in the market with another month of rising inventory on a year over year basis, though seasonal factors are leading to a third straight month of declining inventory,” said Yun. “Homes will take a bit longer to sell compared to the super-heated fast pace seen earlier this year.”

This report comes from the press release issued by the National Association of Realtors.

Click here for the full announcement

Ways to Improve the Appearance of Your Home Part 2

Replace Outdoor Welcome Mats
Your outdoor welcome mats say a lot, especially if they are old, worn and discolored. They preview what someone should expect to see on the inside. Make sure to replace them at least once a year. They are called Welcome Mats for a reason. white house under maple trees

Declutter Your Home
The living space becomes brighter and more attractive. You don’t realize how a cluttered house clutters a mind. A decluttered house has the ability to give you a fresh perspective on everything.

Wash Your Walls
If you haven’t washed the walls in your home in a few years, you are in for a surprise. Underneath that film you can’t see is the beautiful paint you put on, and it is just waiting to shine. Remember, don’t forget to get those corners that nobody sees.

Wash the Kitchen / Bathroom Cabinets
The older your cabinets are, the more of a chance that there is an accumulation of grime, grit and film. Especially in the kitchen, the fumes and smoke go all over. If your cabinets date from the ‘80s or ‘90s, there is probably a lot of film debris you haven’t seen in years. Another tip is to use a cleaner with a fragrance that gives you an additional scent of cleanliness.

Paint Using Neutral Colors
Consider a fresh coat of paint if scrubbing the cabinets doesn’t do the trick. Avoid using loud colors, but rather select a neutral color that will work with whatever is put into the cabinet. Then, in the event that you want to sell, you don’t have to repaint it.

Clean Up the Landscaping
In as little as a year or two, without regular attention, your landscaping can look overrun. Bushes become too big for the yard, trees have overhanging branches that need to be trimmed.

Curb appeal starts at the curb. Trimmed bushes, manicured lawns, flower pots and pavers make the home experience remarkable. Remove all the dead leaves, branches and dead annuals.

Power Wash
Power washing the outside of a home is not just an aesthetic; it will remove the built-up grime from your sidewalks and cement porches, outside walls and the deck.

Change the Light Bulbs
The appeal of the bathrooms, bedrooms, dressing room and living rooms often comes down to proper lighting. So great lighting starts with great bulbs.

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.

 

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Ways to Improve the Appearance of Your Home Part 1

There are a number of low-cost ways to improve the appearance of your home whether you are preparing to sell your property or just spruce-up your home with some easy-to-do tricks. You don’t have to spend a lot of money making your home look spic and span. white house under maple trees

The fact is that it becomes just a matter of time before the shine of a paint job can fade and the hardware on the front door can lose its luster. These are some ways you can improve the curb appeal of your home.

■ Replace: discard and replace the outdoor welcome mats. That should be done every couple of years.
■ Declutter: discard broken, stained, chipped or dated material that you have accumulated in your drawers. There is also that closet, the one that you put EVERYTHING into. That includes the refrigerator. Don’t forget clothing you haven’t worn, jackets, shoes, kitchen utensils, mugs, goblets, Tupperware, tablecloths, bedding, pillows, and curtains.
■ Wash the walls: especially in the hallways. You would be surprised how resilient that paint job is once you take a couple layers of dust and stuff off of them.
■ Scrub and/or paint the kitchen cabinets.
■ Scrub and/or paint the bathroom cabinets.
■ Paint where necessary. If it is cracking or chipping or it hasn’t seen a paintbrush in a decade, now’s the time. And when you paint, definitely select neutral colors. The bright airplane blue is not what you want. Use neutral colors.
■ Clean up the outside landscape surrounding your house. This year especially, New Jersey has had some record rains during the summer and so the undergrowth has overtaken parts of the yards and the flower beds. Trim back the trees and bushes as well.
■ Power wash the siding and the sidewalks.
■ Change the light bulbs or even update light fixtures where appropriate.

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

Monmouth Mall Sees More Resident Resistance

According to a recent report in the Asbury Park Press, a number of Eatontown residents have filed suit in court looking to overturn the approval for the redevelopment of the Monmouth Mall.

Litigation is not something new with respect to this project. These residents believe that the Monmouth Mall redesign is looking to turn the 1960s-era shopping mall into a town center called The Heights at Monmouth, which does not reflect the middle class population of Eatontown.

The filing was made on September 27th in State Superior Court, Freehold. The judge assigned to the matter, Monmouth County Assignment Judge Lisa P. Thornton, will rule on concern that the mall redesign will overdevelop the property. The group that filed the suit goes by the name Eatontown Residents for a Greater Monmouth Mall.

The mall’s owners, Kushner Cos. and Brookfield Properties, seek to change the overall footprint of the mall by creating open-air corridors featuring commercial and retail uses, restaurants, entertainment, medical facilities and 700 apartments.

Kushner and Brookfield state that the mall needs to respond to pressures exerted by the surge of online retail sales against traditional brick and mortar stores.

Currently, the Monmouth Mall is the borough’s number one taxpayer, producing over $5 million a year in municipal, school and county taxes.

 

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