New Jersey Prices Show Pandemic’s Effect on Real Estate

In the last year, the pandemic has prompted some to rethink their living arrangements. For some, that’s meant dramatic shifts from urban to rural life; for others, it’s involved seeking out more space in a suburban setting. Just how much the pandemic has affected the nation’s real estate market is still an ongoing concern — and given that the pandemic is still a concern, this story is far from over. But data from one state offers a microcosm of how the last year has shifted real estate dramatically.

The state in question? The place where pork roll and Taylor Ham are debated with a Socratic intensity — New Jersey. (Full disclosure: I grew up in central Jersey; also, central Jersey absolutely exists.) A new report from Alison Preis at compared single-family home prices in the Garden State from the first quarters of 2021 and 2020 and found a startling increase in what home buyers are paying.

This data comes from New Jersey Realtors, a trade association based in the state. “The average home price for the first quarter of 2021 was $500,628 or 24% more than the $403,785 for the first quarter of 2020,” noted Preis.

Coldwell Banker Realty’s Robert White pointed out that many homes are selling for more than their asking price. “[T]hat is forcing values to increase because appraisers are coming out and appraising at those higher numbers,” he said. The process shows the domino effect of a hot real estate market, with a number of factors — such as buyers making offers over the asking price to secure a house — contributing to the higher prices. It offers would-be home buyers — and home sellers — plenty to think about.

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