NJ Realtors: Housing market slows over pandemic-related restrictions, prices stable

New Jersey Realtors announced on Friday that the housing market has taken a direct hit from COVID-19 related restrictions in New Jersey, but the true impact won’t be seen until April and May data becomes available.

“When the restrictions began to be implemented in the beginning of March, there was still a lot of business in the pipeline,” New Jersey Realtors CEO Jarrod Grasso said. “You can tell from the data that this is not a typical March when we normally begin to see the spring selling season kick off.”

In New Jersey, NJ Realtors found that new listings are down 28.3% in March compared to last year. For comparison, March 2020 had 12,956 new listings and march 2019 had 18,073.

Pending sales were down by 11.1% for the month over last year (9,791 in March 2020 vs. 10,907 in March 2019). Closed sales declined by 5% as well, the difference of 427 sales (8,114 in March 2020 vs. 8,531 in March 2019.)

In a member poll from March, more than half of New Jersey Realtors said COVID-19 is highly threatening their financial situation. Six-out-of-ten said housing prices are about the same to a year ago, with 16% saying they are higher.

A large number of members are saying clients are holding off on buying or selling their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic. The housing market prior to it was strong. Year to date, pending sales were up by 2.8%.

The median sales price for a home in the state for March 2020 was $312,500, up 11.6% over last March’s $300,000.

The pandemic did no favors to the state’s inventory, having just 37,041 homes for sale in March 2020, down 28.9% compared to March 2019’s 52,116 homes for sale. When polled, 58% of Realtors said inventory was either a serious or very serious issue.

On March 20, Gov. Phil Murphy said under Executive Order 107, Realtors can operate and show houses to buyers on a 1-on-1 basis or to immediate family members. Open houses are still prohibited.

“There are still buyers who need to buy and sellers who need to sell,” New Jersey Realtors 2020 President Angela Sicoli said. “There are plenty of clients who are in a position where they need to complete a transaction for financial, health, or familial reasons that either existed before the pandemic or arose because of it. Our members are safely doing their best to serve those who need that service right now.”

Some other highlights from the report:

  • Single family closed sales were down 6.8% to 5,648;
  • Townhouse-condo closed sales were down 4% to 1,741;
  • Adult communities closed sales were up 14.4% to 595;
  • single family median sales prices increased 11.7% to $335,000;
  • Townhouse-condo median sales prices increased 8.3% to $276,100;
  • Adult communities median sales prices increased 19.6% to $224,500.
  • The one-year change in closed sales for all properties was down by 5%;
  • The one-year change in homes for sale for all properties was down by 28.9%;
  • The one-year change in median sales prices for all properties increased by 11.6%.