June 17, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Phenomena of Change in Real Estate and Beyond

In my last article before the presidential elections, I focused on relationship building within the world of real estate and beyond. The concept of augmenting the very foundation of relationships has proven to be the underlying motivator in consummating a transaction to be successful with both short- and long-term lasting results.

After the new president of the United States was elected this year, I am now shifting my thesis to the concept of “change” in our journey of life. So much has happened in 2020, and I continue to wonder what else has changed aside from having a new president, and in contrast, what might have not changed at all in the past year.

In Kohelet, perek aleph, pasuk 9, it clearly states, “There is nothing new beneath the sun! Whatever has been, is what will be, and whatever has been done is what will be done.” Actually, for what we are all going through, I find this to be encouraging. The constant of nature continues to function with its rhythm and patterns. The sun on a daily basis rises in the morning and sets in the evening.

So, I ask myself, what has changed and does it apply to everything, nothing or somewhere in between?

There is no debate that so much in our personal lives has truly changed in 2020.

The social distancing, the masks, the air hugs, outdoor davening, the solo Super Bowl parties, the simcha and holiday Zooms with family and friends. Need I go on?

What has changed, for example, is the new CDC suggestion of wearing a double mask, one disposable underneath or N95 with a cloth mask on top. What changed is the availability of vaccines, for those who can actually get the vaccine. What changed is no more discussion of “flattening the curve.” What changed is the threat of other strains of COVID mutations from the UK and South Africa. What changed is that my husband can go back to the barber shop. What changed is being able to get my nails done in a professional salon. What changed is the opening of shuls, slowly, with davening in small groups inside and out. What changed is the allowance of more generous indoor dining capacity. What changed is I learned how to play chess and do so with my grandson in Israel on chess.com, since I am still waiting to be with him in person.

Last year at this time, on the infamous Purim 5780, the virus was still an enigma without a full understanding of its impact. It was difficult to accept that our accustomed revelry on this holiday of fun had to be drastically curtailed with short notice. Following the realization of this virus in our midst, cancellation of programs and flights to Israel for Pesach, which was only three weeks away. It was clear that the only place Pesach was to be held was home sweet home, whether you wanted that or not.

So what else has changed? Purim 5781 brings with it the full knowledge of how the pandemic affected our lives. Pesach is fast approaching and we are in a state of flux all over again. There are no definite answers in sight, but we are all hopeful the vaccine is the ultimate salvation.

The anti-Semitism and theme of destruction of our people that was central to Purim during the time of Queen Esther and Mordechai continues to rear its ugly head today. Bigotry, profiling and hatred continue to rage throughout the world. That has unfortunately not changed. But what also has not changed are our basic needs, our seasons, our holidays, our daylight and sunlight and our bitachon that Hashem has a bigger plan for all of us.

Sadly, we have suffered the loss of many people we love. Within this time, baruch Dayan haEmet, I’ve lost my older sister, Bracha Abramowitz, my cousin, Ari Gold, a wonderful neighbor, Avi Aviner, plus many others. I wonder who will replace the wisdom of the giants Rabbi Dr. Twerski, Rabbi Feinstein and Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and so many more gedolei haDor. But for those who are still here, Hashem has blessed us with the gift of life and we have the charge and expectation to live it to the fullest.

So, getting back to real estate, I have witnessed a change in the patterns of real estate based on the reaction to the pandemic. Virtual tours have replaced some in-house open houses and closings are done virtually or with fewer people in attendance. For the in person open houses, realtors are seeing long lines, bidding wars to achieve clients’ purchases to procure the home of their dreams, and multi-offers with an increased pool of buyers fleeing from once-coveted city life.

My monthly snapshot and overview on the changing patterns of activity:

Although December is typically one of the slowest months of the year, this year, strong buyer demand, coupled with low interest rates, allowed for a healthy sales pace in spite of a new wave of COVID-19 infections and a softening job market.

Single-family closed sales were up 52.8% to 1,632, townhouse/condo closed sales were up 33.9% to 537 and adult communities closed sales up a whopping 200% to 24. The NJMLS reports single family median sales prices increased 13.6% to $500,000.

Townhouse/condo median sales price at $345,000 and adult communities median sales price increased 62% to $414,750. In all categories of housing, increased pricing was the norm in median sales prices. Now that could be good news or bad news, depending if you’re on the buying or selling end. Overall, it’s proving to be a solid healthy growth in the industry.

The monthly snapshot reports an increase of 48.5% in one year change in closed sales for all properties, a decrease of 34.4% in homes for sale manifesting a low inventory, and an increase of 9.9% change in median sales prices for all properties.

For market area changes, Zillow reports typical home values in Englewood are $446,644, going up 9.3% over the past year in the middle price tier of homes; Teaneck typical homes values to be $455,608, with an increase of 8.1% over the past year; Bergenfield home values to be $432, 639, reflecting an increase of 8.1% over the past year, and New Milford typical home value at $456,847, with home value increased by 7.5% over the past year in the middle price tier of homes. If you are curious about any other locale, feel free to contact me for more detailed information.

The housing market of early 2021 continues the trends we saw in the second half of 2020. Reflecting low inventory and multiple offers, the market continues to show a healthy pace.

Remember, your home will always be your castle. Hoping for a good year on many levels in 2021 and praying for only positive changes along the way.

Have a Freiliche Purim to all!

Ruby Kaplan is a realtor licensed in both New Jersey and New York. Visit www.rubybobbyhomes.com  for more information. The Ruby and Bobby Kaplan team/United RE/ will promote your home with the best of social media and create alerts for your criteria of housing needs. Your Housing Needs Are Our Priority! Ruby can be reached at 201-314-4152 or on her cell at
917-576-4177 or at [email protected].

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