By Evelyn Lee
Home sales in northern New Jersey have fallen behind places in southern New Jersey, according to a new analysis by PolicyMap, a data provider administered by The Reinvestment Fund, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit community development financial institution.Five of the 10 New Jersey municipalities that experienced the highest increases, by percentage, in median home sales prices between the first quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008 were located in South Jersey, the analysis said: Bridgeton City, Atlantic City, Millville City, Glassboro and Ventnor City. Bridgeton City, with the highest percentage increase in the state, saw its median home sales price jump 43.10 percent from the beginning of 2007 to the start of 2008, according to PolicyMap.
Meanwhile, eight of the 10 municipalities with the largest decreases, by percentage, in median sales prices during the same period were located in northern New Jersey, the analysis said. West New York had the biggest percentage drop in median sales price, which fell 53.32 percent from the first quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of 2008.
“A couple of these areas that had the slowest growth [over the past few years] are faring OK and continuing to see an increase in sales price,” says Elizabeth Nash, data manager at Policy Map, who wrote the analysis. Meanwhile, “areas that had really fast growth are falling more quickly.”
But the analysis does not necessarily present an accurate picture of the state’s housing market, since it doesn’t take into account urban or suburban phenomena that may have affected home prices in the state’s municipalities, says Donald Scarry, principal economist at New Jersey Economics in Mount Laurel. Nor does it reflect the current economic situation. “Since the first quarter of 2008, the economy has changed dramatically,” he says. Now, “it’s an entirely different economy.”
Still, the analysis may indicate how the northern and southern parts of the state have been affected differently by the economy, Scarry says. “Philadelphia, since it’s not as large and doesn’t have as large a financial sector as New York, doesn’t have the volatility in bonuses and employment that has affected northeastern New Jersey and southwestern Connecticut,” he says. “That’s probably the phenomenon that’s going on.”
Click here to read this article by Evelyn Lee which appeared on NJ Biz on December 12, 2008.