Credit Suisse Bank has a really neat way of looking at the local housing market – they send out a monthly questionaire to top real estate agents on over 40 housing markets in the US. As one of the agents surveyed by Credit Suisse, I get the these reports and find them to be very valuable.
The Credit Suisse “Monthly Survey of Real Estate Agents” for the New York – Northern New Jersey area is really quite accurate. It found that January had an inventory build up which put pressure on pricing. No doubt the 7 major snow storms we had then caused many buyers to stay home. However, concerns over jobs and year end bonuses that were less than in the past also had an effect. The sum total was pressure on pricing and homes on the market longer.
At the same time, agents were seeing signs of pent up demand, frustration with renting and fear of higher interest rates. 56% thought the activity level was more than expected, 31% saw it as what they expected and only 13% saw activity as less than expected.
Near term prices will soften a bit more but as the weather changes, so will the mood of many buyers. Halfway through February, I can report that activity has definitely increased. If you look at the activity ratios of a few towns, you’ll see they’re under or just over 5 to 1 which is great:
Tenafly is 4.3 to 1, Cresskill is 4.2 to1, Teaneck is 6 to 1, Dumont is 4.3 to 1, Englewood is 4.8 to 1 , River Edge is 2.9 to 1 and Oradell is 3 to 1.
Buyers are snapping up the bargains that are now out there and are locking in interest rates as soon as they can. Without snow and ice to slow things down, the real estate market will be very active this spring.