HOUSING MARKET 2018. Monmouth County Area
The year slowed a bit in December because of the Holidays, but through the cold and storms, my buyers continued their search. My sellers kept their houses on the market of which one has gone to contract about 3 percent below their original offer in a cash deal. Others are getting plenty of showings.
Inventory was historically low last year and I believe we will see more inventory come to market this year as we are in the eighth year of an anemic although fairly constant expansion. The stock market, however, is getting long in the tooth. A bear market, however, will not affect housing prices as much as in 2007 as the market will not slump because of a mortgage and housing debacle. The linchpin will be different this time.
The new tax plan will create a lot of demand in the 850k to 1.4 million area as you will be limited to writing off the first 10k in property tax. The sweet spot in size is 3500 square feet. on 1/2 acre. The acre to 2-acre properties are in demand based on income and need for quality schools. Rumson, Monmouth Beach, Spring Lake, and Interlaken are in demand for their low property taxes. Low property taxes are more and more equating to higher prices. Views of the water are in big demand and are where we will see the most appreciation.
Atlantic Highlands views are in high demand. Unfortunately, not a lot of supply there. Homes with views in Atlantic Highlands will be purchased and renovated. Mortgage rates popped a bit last year and as the market and the economic numbers have been solid to start the year off I believe we may see rates accelerate a bit more this year.
Prices were firm last year as the hovered near or just below 2005 prices. Home buyers are extremely educated and price conscious. Sellers are more realistic as appraisers are extremely conservative in their appraisals. Many more homes than usual did not appraise to sale price last year. Millennials are active in the market. They desire close to town with less square footage and a finished product. Townhouses by the water are in and those not are out. Downsizing is occurring at a furious pace. In many cases, older adults are competing with younger adults for the walk to town and restaurants. Asbury has seen a lot of appreciation and will level off in the next year.
There will be more inventory available in Asbury through new builds. Towns around Asbury are getting a lot of looks. Interlaken Wanamassa and West Allenhurst (Ocean) are in high demand with low inventory. (Prices will go higher) Avon, Belmar, and south of has seen big appreciation over the last 4 years and will level off. Rumson, Fair Haven, Little Silver are in demand for their schools, which will continue. Rumson and Fair Haven prices from 1.6 to 2.8 will stay firm and continue to trade if in "new condition". The homes that traded for 3.5 in Rumson just before 2007 are just about to get back to the 3 million dollar level.
Oceanport is ready to go to the next level over the next 5 years as is Atlantic Highlands. They both are working on getting their arms around high property taxes. Middletown is seeing more demand east of 35 and less demand west of 35. Tinton Falls is a high demand are for first-time buyers and those who want to stay under 600k. There is a great deal of remodeling in the neighborhoods off Sycamore West of 35 out past the Parkway. Red Bank is seeing another revival. There, however, is not a lot of available ready supply. Renovations will continue in Red Bank. The ferry to Manhattan has had steady growth for over 25 years. In the next five years, we will see the pace escalate even quicker.
As property taxes are an issue in Monmouth County, they are more so an issue in Westchester, Manhattan, North Jersey and Brooklyn where they are leaving. The ferry makes working and playing in New York easy. The Hamptons are great but too far. They can have their cake and eat it in Northern Monmouth County. Union Beach, Leonardo, and Port Monmouth are going to develop nicely in the next five years as long as their local governments learn from the past and do not go for the money grab. I think they will play a straight hand for the most part as they have received a lot of federal dollars after Storm Sandy and are being watched closely.
A synopsis: 800k to 1.5 million will continue to stay hot in Eastern Monmouth County. In the Rumson area, you can move that number to 2.8. Big 5000 square foot homes on 3 acres will take longer to sell. You have many more couples that are making six figures plus each. They would rather travel than spend on a big house and acreage. They want a finished product. What our fathers told us is finally occurring. The value is in the land! (The build is now less expensive than the land) The town with the lowest property tax rate wins if the goal is the highest home prices. Monmouth Beach is a prime example. Not all residents are happy about this. (60X110 foot lot is now 600k in Monmouth Beach if you can find one; over 1 million on the water, or with a view of the ocean). There is a lack of housing for people that want to live in Florida and keep a place in New Jersey for four months a year to be near children and grandchildren. The team of Bateman, Butler, and Delaney have plans for that, for investors and builders that want to sit down and discuss. (large opportunity)
As some of you know I spent approximately 20 years on Wall Street starting in 1986 and spent a hell of a lot of time looking at research reports and economic reports. As a trader, I saw opportunities in robust economies and bear markets. I successfully managed through the bear markets of 87,92,97,2001,2007 and the flash crash of 2011. I continue to read and evaluate the markets the same way today although with a greater interest in real estate as that knows my daily pursuit.