The Jersey Shore region experienced a rise in the median sale price of homes as well as an increase in the number of units sold in December, according to the Long & Foster Real Estate Market Minute Report.
Median sale prices rose by 21% in Cape May County and 18% in Atlantic County. The number of homes sold, compared to December 2019, was up by 59% in Cape May County and 1% in Atlantic County. Year-over-year housing inventory continued its downward trend throughout the region.
Housing inventory shortages are expected to continue in 2021, but builders are constructing homes at a fast pace, which will help to be part of the solution in the future. “While I believe the worst might be behind us, we’re not close to coming out of our low inventory environment just yet,” said Gary Scott, president of Long & Foster Real Estate. “Our inventory challenges may not get better, but it shouldn’t get worse, as it’s done consistently over the last three years.” Scott added that as more people in the COVID-19 high-risk age group receive the vaccine, he believes they’ll feel more comfortable having potential buyers come into their homes. Since older generations are aging in place in high numbers right now, it will be interesting to see if receiving the vaccine will have an impact on inventory.
Scott reflected on what stood out to him about the 2020 real estate market, indicating that real estate was the shining light of the economy, exceeding expectations. Historically low mortgage interest rates were the driver, with 14 low interest rate records set last year. “When rates are below 3%, you’re bound to buy and sell,” said Scott. “We also never estimated the almost immediate impact of remote working on consumer behavior in the housing industry.” The ability of consumers to work remotely caused a ‘flight from density’, increasing sales in the suburbs and beaches.
When asked what consumers should be aware of when buying or selling a home in 2021, Scott advised buyers to be prepared and educated on the current real estate market. He added sellers should understand that even though it’s a great market, selling a home is a complicated process involving many steps and they need a professional real estate agent with good training to guide them through it.