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Suzanne Macdowell's Blog

By Suzanne MacDowell | Agent in Mount Arlington, NJ

All Real Estate is Local!

In any analysis of market conditions, we would all do well to remember that, just like politics, all real estate is local.  What makes this market frustrating for a lot of New Jersey realtors is that, every day, day after day, we are assaulted by the doom and gloom crowd on national television touting the absolutely worst statistics that can be found.  However, in real estate, the watch words are Location!  Location! Location! 

I recently read a blog posted on a popular real estate site that predicted for 2011 more doom and gloom.  And, while some of the predictions certainly had merit, others did not, at least not for Morris County, New Jersey.

There are areas where the writer and I agree.  For example, he predicted interest rates would stay low through 2011, and I tend to agree.  He went on to predict there would be no resurrection of the Home Tax Credit and I agree with that as well.  However, when applied locally, to Morris County New Jersey and the communities therein, I could not disagree more strongly with his predictions concerning home prices. The gentleman predicts, for example, that home prices will continue to fall and that foreclosures and short-sales continue to represent a HUGE portion of the market. 

While it is true that in some Morris County communities home prices are still depressed, there are pockets that are showing not just stabilization but actual increases.  In Madison, for example, the median sale price has increased 21.1% compared to this same period last year.  And in Chatham, the average price per square foot increased 9.4% compared to the same period last year and the median sales price increased 17.6% compared to the same period last year.  Furthermore, while it is true that foreclosures and short-sales will remain a significant portion of home sales for the foreseeable future, to say they will remain a HUGE portion, at least here in Morris County, may, in fact, be a HUGE exaggeration. 

His analysis goes on to conclude that, when adjusted for inflation, home prices will NEVER recoup the losses of the past 3 years.  While I freely admit the real estate market has suffered greatly in the last three years, it seems to me that the prognosticator would be wise to remember another old adage, “Never say Never!”


By Robert A Basin,  Sat Sep 25 2010, 18:29
The best way to counter what I call "lazy journalism" is exactly what you have done!! Facts and figures go along way, as long as the agent understands them and how to use them. Not being agents, buyers and sellers may not know how to read the numbers, so agents must be experts in their area. How many listings, sales, etc. average days on market in that area is all important

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