At the pandemic’s peak, the housing market slowed to a temporary crawl, but every month since then it’s been making up for lost time. The year-end data from 2020 upholds the anecdotal evidence of a very competitive, ever-changing market.
Comparing all of 2020 to 2019, pending sales, closed sales, and the median sales price were all up at least 5 percent. Of those categories, median sales price saw the most growth with prices up 14 percent in 2020 to $350,000 for all properties. Other metrics, such as days on the market, number of homes for sale, and new listings were all down compared to 2019. New listings for 2020 were down 8.6 percent, compared to 2019, but closed sales were up 5.5 percent for the whole year. Those numbers indicate a strong buyer demand throughout the state.
Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, forecasts low mortgage interest rates are here to stay through the end of 2021 which will keep median sales prices and demand for homes on the uptick in the first quarter. According to Freddie Mac, as of Jan. 21, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 2.77 percent.
“2020 was a market unlike anything we’ve seen before,” said 2021 President Jeffrey Jones. “We saw our membership go from periods of extreme scarcity to booming business within a matter of weeks. We applaud our Realtors adapting to change and continuing to help their clients even in the most challenging circumstances.”
Closed sales were up 37.7 percent last month, with pending sales up 44.3 percent, with many buyers looking to start the new year in a new place. In December, the number of homes for sale was down 40.8 percent, with just 24,396 single family homes, townhouses and condos and adult community homes for sale. Inventory remains a high driving factor of today’s market.
The percent change of closed sales in 2020 was highest in Hunterdon County with 1,857 closed sales in 2020, a 29.1 percent increase over 2019. Sussex County came in second with 2,962 closed sales, a 22.9 percent increase over 2019. Cape May County came in third with 2,444 closed sales, a 17.6 percent increase over 2019. This data is reflective of clients looking for more space and not confined to long commutes due to the continuation of flexible work schedules.
Market competitiveness will likely not subside until potential sellers around the state are ready to list and help offset the extreme inventory shortage.