There was more good news for Bergen County homeowners in 2014. The gains were modest, but still in a positive direction. The average single family home price was up 0.6% from 2013 to 2014 and 4.3% since 2012. The median home price in Bergen County was up 1.1% from 2013 to 2014 and 7.1% from 2012.

These were the towns with the largest gains in average single family homes price in Bergen County. I excluded any towns with less than 20 total home sales in 2014.

Top 10 Improving Bergen County Towns in 2014

 

  1. Cresskill              +39.2%
  2. Little Ferry           +21.5%
  3. Demarest            +20.6%
  4. Saddle River        +20.2%
  5. Bogota                +17.7%
  6. Englewood Cliffs   +17.2%
  7. Garfield               +15.7%
  8. Ho-Ho-Kus           +14.6%
  9. River Vale            +13.5%
  10. Montvale              +11.5%

 

Taking a closer look at the list, its interesting mix of towns. Bogota, Garfield, and Little Ferry are at the lower end in price range in Bergen County with the remaining towns all higher end towns. Little Ferry (-20.1%), Garfield (-11%), Montvale (-12%), Cresskill (-8.8%), and Demarest (-2.3%) saw a nice rebound year after being down from 2012 to 2013.

Predictions for 2015

With most real estate and economic experts agreeing that 2011 was the bottom of the real estate market, we should see more modest gains in 2015 for most towns in Bergen County. New Jersey overall still has a very high inventory of foreclosures and underwater homeowners before we can truly say the local real estate market is healthy again. New Jersey currently ranks as the #2 state in the nation in foreclosure rate. This can partly be attributed to the extensive length of time the foreclosure process takes in New Jersey.

Mortgage rates should remain low for most of the year, with a chance they will increase towards the end of 2015. The mortgage rates will increase as the overall economy and job market improves. Increased mortgage rates give the buyer less buying power.

We should also see more housing inventory available for buyers in 2015 with more homeowners not underwater and ready to step up to larger, more expensive homes. Many sellers have been on the sidelines and may finally be ready to list their homes for sale. In 2013 and 2014, housing inventory have been low. This has resulted in properly prices/homes in good condition receiving multiple offers, bidding up the price. Overall in Bergen County in 2014, single family home sales were down 6.2% from 2013 to 2014 due to the lack of inventory.

FHA recently reduced the down payment requirement to 3%. This should help first time homebuyers in 2015 along with the low mortgage rates. The days of no-money down are gone, but 3% is achievable for many homebuyers.

I wouldn't exactly call this a real estate boom in 2015, but slow steady improvement is good and I see another good cycle for real estate ahead in Bergen County in the next 7-10 years in my humble opinion.