On April 30, 2010 there were 451 homes listed for sale in Teaneck, Bergenfield and New Milford on the NJMLS. The average list price was $432,000 and 42 houses sold that month with an average sale price of $396,000.
I thought it would be appropriate to start my “Tales of a Seasoned Broker” with this seemingly random information, not just because it brings us back to the middle of my career as a real estate broker or because everyone was putting in brown maple wood kitchens, but because according to the historical records, April 2010 was the last time the average monthly mortgage rate was over 4.98%, as it was this past April, 2022.
So how does our market compare to these numbers 12 years ago? Well, for starters, in all three of these towns together there are currently only 84 homes for sale, which is less than 1/5 the inventory available 12 years ago. The average list price is $766,000,which is almost double what it was then. Most shockingly, though, is that even with these high prices and scant inventory we somehow managed to top the amount of homes sold with 59 sales in the month of April, almost 40% more than it was all those years ago!
I know my strengths, and economics and Federal Reserve monetary policy is not one of them. But if the stated goal of all of these interest rate hikes is to slow the real estate market down, at least in this one small section of America I can’t say I am seeing any evidence yet. Is this a last minute, almost panicked, buying frenzy before rates go up even higher? Will we start to see prices evening out as the cost of borrowing money becomes so much greater? Will brown kitchens come back in style?
I am not a Wall Street banker so I don’t have the brazenness to make a prediction on how this will all play out, but I will share one thing that all my years of selling here has taught me: If changes are coming, they come differently to communities where houses are not the only thing being sold. If a town has invested in itself, has a good school system, has a reputation of having good neighbors and being a true community, then the price of a house is not the only thing the buyers will be looking at. Sometimes, quality of life wins out over the cold black bottom line of a monthly payment. These communities, while very much still part of the national story, will absorb fluctuations to the system in their own unique way.
*All data taken from NJMLS statistics for 4/1/2010—4/30/2010
Nechama Polak is the broker of record and owner of V and N Group LLC located at 1401 Palisade Ave in Teaneck. [email protected] 201 826 8809.