By BRIAN IANIERI, Staff Writer The Press of Atlantic City
Judy Hanlin, co-owner of Bay Harbor Realty in Somers Point, said she has seen a slow uptick in home prices, particularly in a second-home market connected to the town’s bar and restaurant scene.
“We saw an increase in volume and a gradual upturn in price. I don’t see us going backwards into the woods. I see us walking out at this point,” she said.
“Before, prices were going down and down. I believe they have definitely stabilized and are starting to make a turn,” she said.
In Atlantic County, the median sales price of a single-family home has crept up nearly 5 percent — to $214,900 — in the 12 months ending in September, according to figures supplied by the New Jersey Association of Realtors.
In Cape May County, the median sales price was $300,000 for single-family homes in the past 12 months, unchanged from the year before, the group’s data says.
In Atlantic and Cape May counties, the volume of home sales in September remained about the same as one year ago, according to regional Multiple Listing Service data.
Cumberland County saw a more significant increase — 78 home sales in September compared with 49 one year ago, according to MLS data.
Cumberland County’s median sales price for single-family homes dropped about 7 percent, to $135,000, in the past 12 months from the year before. However, prices in September alone were $145,000, according to the NJAR.
The figures paint another mixed view of the area’s real estate market, which in the past year has not kept pace with the scale of the national housing rebound.
The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales in September reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.29 million. This was a decline of about 2 percent after hitting the highest rate in nearly four years the month before.
Despite this monthly drop, sales have remained above their levels for the prior year for the past 27 months, the NAR said.
“The housing market is not faltering; it’s just that the rapid improvement has been stunted,” said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors Inc. in Holland, Pa. “I still think the sector has a long way to go.”
Like the region’s employment picture, local real estate markets have not witnessed the levels of growth shown in other areas of the country.
The New Jersey Association of Realtors, which began publishing monthly reports of county and state housing markets last month, said September median home prices in New Jersey are rising and homes are spending fewer days on the market.
In Atlantic County, sellers of single-family homes have received about 94 percent of their listing prices in the 12 months ending in September. This is about 1 percentage point higher than the prior year, the group said.
This list-price figure was about 93 percent in Cumberland County, a drop of 1 percentage point; in Cape May County, it was also 93 percent, a gain of about 1 percentage point, the NJAR said.
Nationwide, 9 percent of September sales were foreclosures and 5 percent were short sales, the National Association of Realtors said. Foreclosures sold for 16 percent below market value; shore sales sold for 12 percent below.