Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is The Real Estate Market Starting to Stabilize in Hoboken and Downtown Jersey City?

If you look at the latest Case-Shiller home price index numbers, which showed prices up in seventeen of the twenty markets it tracks and the fourth straight month of gains, you'd have to say: wow, how things have changed!

Even the gloomiest of the major indexes is now documenting month after month that housing not only bottomed out earlier this year, but is steadily racking up price gains.

Sales around the country were 9.2 percent higher than they were during September of 2008 -- pushed this year by first-time home purchasers looking to nail down contracts to qualify for the $8,000 tax credit that's scheduled to end in less than four weeks.

Still more good news: Inventories of unsold homes fell just about everywhere, averaging about an eight month supply in September, down from a 9 month supply in August. A six to seven month supply is considered a balanced market … so we're almost there. We averaged 8 1/2 month supply for Hoboken and about 11 1/2 months for downtown Jersey City for October, just to put things in perspective.

So absolutely, there's a lot of positive news out there this week.

But not all the news has been good. As we've said here at Realty Times before, the marketplace is complex -- and the arrows usually don't ALL point in one direction.

And that is certainly true this week: New home sales dropped unexpectedly by more than three and a half percent in September. And consumer confidence dropped for the second straight month, according to the Conference Board, mainly because of fears about continuing job losses.

Both of those are troubling developments, no question, and the unemployment situation is obviously a major drag on the economy and housing.

But, as the reports on prices, mortgage rates, GDP and existing home sales show -- there's plenty of action out there, and the housing recovery is well underway -- even if it sputters here and there.

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