An Expert's Look Back and Forward at Bergen County Real Estate

Looking Back and Looking Forward with Miriam Lambert, Scouted Real Estate Expert

Lately, everyone I speak with is asking the same question….What is going on in the real estate
market right now and what to do you think 2024 will bring? Here are some insights that I can
share that provide current market trends as well as thoughts about the future as we start the
New Year:

  • Housing inventory remains extremely low right now, which is driven by a few factors:
    The time of year, with Winter historically the slowest time of year for sales in the
    Northeast, as well as current homeowners not moving because of the low mortgage
    rates on their current homes, as they don’t want to move into another home with
    significantly higher finance costs.
  • Making it more challenging for buyers is that this lack of inventory is not just a recent
    issue. NJ residential real estate in 2023 had 20% less inventory than 2022 and 2022 had
    20% less inventory than 2021. As you can imagine, given this multiyear inventory issue,
    there is still significant pent up demand, with more buyers looking to purchase than
    houses for sale.
  • Given the lack of inventory, prices are still high, but they are increasing at a slower rate
    than we saw at the beginning of the Pandemic and the few years that followed. With
    some houses, we are still seeing multiple offer situations. However, it is not all bad
    news for buyers. Some listings are sitting a little longer while buyers shop around and
    realize there isn’t anything much better before they come back to the house. The one
    sector where we are seeing a slight increase in inventory and lowering of listing prices is
    in the luxury market, comprised of those houses over $1,500,000.
  • As I alluded to above, interest rates have increased the last few years and ticked above,
    7% in the 4 th quarter of 2023. Although no one knows for certain, there is speculation
    that the US Federal Reserve is expected to cut short term interest rates three times this
    year. News of this pushed mortgage rates under 7% at the end of December but the
    unknown of when the Fed will actually cut rates pushed them back up a bit last week.
    The thought is that mortgage rates will be in the 6% range for most of 2024.
  • Some buyers did decide to wait on the sidelines once mortgage rates shot up in Fall of 2023.
    If you are waiting for the 3% or 4% rates to return before you purchase a house,
    that is not likely to happen anytime soon. My advice would be to continue to save more
    of a down payment to lower your mortgage amount or purchase a lower priced
    home/smaller home than you had expected and upsize as you build equity and save.
  • New Jersey real estate has proven to be a great investment year over year for the last 5
    decades. There have been periods of time where the real estate market has gone down
    but the average year over year increase in value has been 5%. Don’t put off moving on
    and planning your life as a home has utilitarian value and current rates are not bad
    when looking at it from a historical perspective (look back at the double digit rates from
    the 80’s!).

It would be my pleasure to discuss whether it makes sense to buy or sell right now and to assist
in developing a plan that meets the current and future needs for you and your family.

Miriam Lambert / 917-428-1259 / @miriam_lambert