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The New Jersey housing market showed that it still has a pulse as contract-sales increased by 23% in March despite the continuing stream of grim economic news. The March increase, which is the 3rd consecutive monthly sales increase, is largely due to seasonality as home sale activity typically rises in anticipation of the Spring selling season. That this year’s increase was 23%, compared with a 9% rise last March.

contract sales

A major reason behind the rise in home sales is lower home prices and lower mortgage interest rates that have raised housing affordability in New Jersey from a low of 81% in 2006 to 111% today.

The bottom line is that the current sales pace remains the lowest of the past 5 years. This is directly due to the challenges posed by a weak economy, tightened credit standards, rising food and energy costs and a high amount of unsold inventory, which presently reflects an 11-month supply.

While New Jersey is faring a bit better than most of the country, it remains to be seen if this short-term positive news can become a positive trend.

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