New York Times | By Antoinette Martin | January 12, 2012
Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times
A restored three-bedroom house on Greenwich Street in Alloway, in Salem County, has been on the market for six months and is now priced at $186,000.
For whatever reason, homes sales picked up in New Jersey in the latter part of 2011. A new statewide market report shows contract signings increased in six of the seven months from May through November, compared with 2010.
Also, the inventory of homes for sale shrank every month since May, according to Jeffrey G. Otteau, an analyst, whose Otteau Valuation Group in East Brunswick does monthly reports for the real estate industry; he called the latest news a concrete sign that the market was “stabilizing.”
His December report was the first one in several years to sound a hopeful note. Until the state’s huge foreclosure backlog comes back on the market — and how fast that happens is important — the market may improve sometime this year to the point that prices stop declining and perhaps even modestly start to rise.
But that is the statewide picture. A great division in market fortunes between northern and southern Jersey — and urbanized areas close to Manhattan and more rural regions — became clear during the recent recession and remains stark in the fresh statistics. Mr. Otteau predicted that the gap would shape the timing and pattern of potential recovery, and several agents in the field agreed with him.
“Simply put,” said Dawn Rapa, a Coldwell Banker Elite agent working in rural Salem County, “the only people I’ve seen selling their houses recently are those who absolutely had to — because they were in financial disarray, a job change, divorce or death.” Read more about New Jersey Rural Areas Slower to Rebound