Thursday, March 23, 2023

The lyrics of a popular song sung by Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” truly depict today’s turbulent times. Sudden changes are always difficult to face and the challenges are now evident in our daily lives.

I barely recognize the prices of yesteryear when a yummy Shabbat chicken used to cost between $10 and $12; it now carries a sticker price of $21 for the same size. Remember the days of a takeout order of two chickens with two side dishes plus coleslaw as the topper for a whopping total of $14.99? Now you’re lucky to get one bird for that price. Food prices overall are escalating while size is shrinking.

Gas prices have escalated to a point when we have raised the bar of expectation, leaving us with no choice but to adjust to the increase. We are now ironically relieved to proudly fill up at a stop with prices in the low $4-a-gallon range. Acting as if our new find is the greatest accomplishment of the century, we just can’t wait to go home and boast to our family and friends that we found the cheapest service station around, charging the bargain price, while we also caution all to wisely rush over to fill up before gas is depleted at that stop.

So, as a realtor, the ultimate question for me is how do the economic fluctuations affect our coveted real estate market? Certainly, even in housing trends, the confusion and enigmas continue to prevail. Although recession is looming, housing prices continue to be high, causing a threat to new first-time homeowners, coupled with a raise in interest rates approaching 6%, which further reduces the purchasing power in buying a home. Both home sales and mortgage applications have fallen sharply from a year ago.

Rising inflation, soaring home prices and increased mortgage rates have now combined to cause a slowdown in the U.S. housing market. The facts are that the rising costs of homeownership have stymied many prospective buyers. Nationally, the median sales price of existing homes recently exceeded $400,000 for the first time ever, a 15% increase from the same period just a year ago according to the National Association of Realtors. However, existing home sales continue to soften nationwide along with housing supply delays. The monthly snapshot indicates a one-year change in closed sales on all properties down 12.9%, a one year decrease in homes for sale down 27.2% for all properties and in contrast, a raise of 8.4% in median sales price on all properties.

In Teaneck alone, the 12-month indicator on town data show an average list price of $867,222 with 43 days on the market and a total of 386 under-contract listings, and final “sold” price average of $592,137. In Englewood, the stats display differently with an average list price of $1,302,945 with 160 under-contract listings and average days on the market of 61 with 166 units sold with an average sold price of $1,069,846.

I hope this provides a synopsis of what is transpiring. But I always caution that home is where the heart is. No one has a crystal ball to know if housing prices will go down or up based on said variables. So, get a piece of the rock and become that “Happy Homeowner.” Those who analyze and figure out the market might be losing out and wasting precious time. Consider the down side of waiting and you just might bite the bullet. Go for it! You’ll be glad you did.

Ruby Kaplan/EXP REALTY/Licensed in New Jersey and New York/917-576-4177

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