Saturday, December 05, 2020

Over the last seven month we have all been striving to rebound back to our normal lives. However, just when I deluded myself into thinking that we were slowly making progress, with many tragedies, unfortunately, along the way, it didn’t take long to admit that anomalies and aberrations of lifestyle and occurrences continue to prevail. The tentativeness of schools remaining open, the full attendance at synagogues indoors, the restrictions of simchas and gatherings, the wearing of masks in public, the social distancing and “air hugs” have all become the norm we accepted as a way of confronting the virus.

Every facet of life was affected. My flights to Israel this past Pesach were disappointingly delayed, only to realize again that we weren’t going this past Sukkot as well, barring me from visiting our grandchildren over the chagim. We booked for next Pesach 2021 all over again, with the goal that by that time we will be able to resume normal life again, but with a question mark?


To ensure that we are well informed of the virus updates, we have all become obsessed with following maps. Our incessant focus is on tracing COVID-19 graphs flattening the curve with charts designating red, orange and yellow zones depicting either the spiking or diminishing in the locales. As a needed diversion to following the trends of the pandemic, these graphs and maps have been recently transformed to focus on maps analyzing the red, blue and electoral counts to intelligently follow results of the presidential election. So we shifted gears for a little while from COVID maps to presidential maps and the diversion was welcome by all. But, just as I thought we were winding down with our presidential win, accusations of the validity of ballots and recounting of the votes seem to hover, creating further anxiety and instability during this difficult period in our lives.

So, our world has been turning topsy turvy, transforming from one focus to another while adjustments are being made along the way on many levels. At this time in reporting to you current real estate trends, I dare say that the spiking trends on COVID continue daily throughout the world. However, the good news is the reporting of an effective vaccine is around the corner that is 90% effective. We’re all hoping for a cure.

As a real estate agent, I acknowledge the need of housing, which is truly always pressing. Whether one owns a home already, needs to enlarge or downsize, looking to run from the city whereby big buildings offer confined spaces and elevators have become undesirable, housing needs are always changing, evolving and remain a top priority. While the virus is raging, home needs in the suburbs have spiked interest. Multi-offers have created bidding wars and the low mortgage rates allow for higher buying power. What is the result? A strong seller’s market.

In contrast to a seasonal slowing of the housing market post the summer days, current strong buyer activity has continued into this fall of 2020. The combination of stronger buyer activity in the market this year and the continued limited supply of homes for sale, it has become an accepted standard that speedy sales and multiple offers have become the standard—while housing remains hot even though the weather is cooling.

Single-family closed sales were up 43.3% to 1,509. Townhouse-condo closed sales also increased 22% to 472. Interestingly, single-family median sales price of homes reported by NJMLS increased 18% to $525,00 while median sales prices for townhouses-condos also increased 5.9% to $360,000.

Keep in mind that mortgage rates remain near record lows, which is a motivator to buy, allowing for a purchase of a more expensive home for less monthly costs. However, be aware that the Mortgage Bankers Association have also been tightening lending criteria, making it more difficult for some buyers to meet the qualifications to be eligible for a loan. And, ironically, despite unemployment, which remains substantially higher than a year ago due to the pandemic, buyers are vigilant and coming in droves this fall to purchase the home of their dreams.

So, the “new abnormal” is here to stay for a while. What has been a constant is the need, desire and love of owning your home to thrive in. Remember, your home is truly your castle…today more than ever!

Ruby Kaplan is a real estate agent licensed in both New Jersey and New York. She is a Circle of Excellence Award recipient and a premier Zillow agent. Kaplan is licensed in NJ and NY and has ABR certification. Her passion is to help people meet their housing needs and goals. Having bought, sold and built homes, she has acquired an expertise to represent both sellers and buyers. She is sensitive to her clients’ needs and has a driven commitment to oversee all her transactions with honesty, integrity, knowledge and dedication. 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]