Housing market (higher prices, less time on market) is sign that N.J. economy is picking up

If housing is the No. 1 sign of a growing economy, New Jersey is doing just fine.

So says the New Jersey Realtors Association, which reported prices were on the rise and properties were spending fewer days on the market during the second quarter.

The median sales price of a single-family home in June was $340,000, up 4.6 percent from last year.

The townhouse/condo median sales price increased slightly to $260,000 in June and adult communities increased 10.5 percent to $210,000 when compared to this time last year.

Single-family homes spent an average of just 57 days on the market in June, down 10.9 percent over last year.

Average time on the market for townhouses and condominiums was down 15.4 percent at 55 days, with adult communities not far behind at an 11 percent decline to 65 days when compared to this time last year.

A strong economy and a quarter point increase to the federal funds rate in June is spurring competition among buyers, with low inventory adding to an already aggressive market, the association said.

The number of single-family homes on the market in June dropped 12 percent over last year to 37,573. The townhouse/condo and adult community market numbers followed suit, dropping 12.6 percent to 9,741 and 6.9 percent to 2,335, respectively, for June.

New Jersey Realtors President Christian Schlueter said he thinks more buying is ahead.

“Many buyers will lock in at the current rate in anticipation of higher rates in the near future,” he said. “Though the 30-year mortgage rate did not increase, this is a common pattern when the federal government increases the federal funds rate, which has occurred twice this year and a total of seven times since 2015.”

There is one downside.

First-time homebuyers, who make up a large share of the market, are struggling to find inventory in their price range.

“The current market is an opportune time for sellers,” Schlueter said. “But we must remain cognizant of the younger individuals — often first-time buyers — may not be able to compete with other bidders. Everyone needs a piece of the pie.”

For the full reports, visit njrealtor.com/data.