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Home Sales in NJ down? It depend what you mean (and who you blame)

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Greater Princeton

I just got off the phone with a prospective buyer calling about one of my listings. It's a fair priced, newer home in a desireable town. Maybe it's 10k too high but not too bad. So he says, "$439,900 for that? They're out of their minds! The market is terrible, sales are down, banks are failing left and right." He wants a newer home, larger than this for less money. Oh and with a basement. It's just not going to happen.

But this is why he thinks he can steal a home: I mention that home sales have been up each of the previous 4 months showing a steady increase in sales and signs of an improving market. He shoots back with "That's wrong. Didn't you see the news last week that said that they (NAR) originally stated NJ home sales increased 4% but they revised it to say that sales are actually DOWN 30%?"

I can't belive that NAR made such a big mistake and I see an increase in activity, not a decrease so who's right here? He told me to google it. So I did.

http://www.mycentraljersey.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080614/STATE/80614003

Turns out we're both right. I meant that sales are increasing each month over the previous month. I think that is GREAT news.

But he is right in that sales are DOWN 30% from the first quarter of 2007. He sees the market in the tank and thinks he can pick up a bargain. I see sales steadily increasing, competing offers, far lower average days on the market, fewer homes on the market and increasing buyer activity.

He, like many buyers, think that there are lots of desperate banks with REO's, desperate sellers (there are but not THAT desperate that they need to lower their prices by as much as he thinks), and foreclosures in desireable areas begging for offers.

I don't know how I missed that bit of news last week, but I don't feel too bad: NAR really missed the boat on that one. How did that happen?

 

UPDATE: The buyer just emailed me. Get this: "Thanks for sending the 3 listings... Unfortunately, none of them are worth for what they are asking. These sellers are out of their mind!"