If we can’t blame New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for the traffic jams, maybe he can’t take the hit for this news either: While home prices are spiking in the rest of the country, in the home state of Tony Soprano, they’re still more than 20% below the 2006 peak, according to a report from CoreLogic.
No, it’s not that people are stuck in traffic and can’t get to the open houses, or that too many goodfellas are getting whacked. It’s that the number of foreclosed properties is high (8.12% according to the Mortgage Bankers Association).
Is it just that those “Joisey” folk live waaaaay beyond their means (Hello, Teresa Giudice!)? Not entirely. It’s a kind of stagnation.
“People are both unwilling to list their homes and are unwilling to buy, in many cases, because they fear that their prices will be undercut when these distressed mortgages finally go to market,” saideconomic researcher Patrick O’Keefe of CohnReznick in Roseland. New Jersey’s population growth is also to blame. It’s half the national average, which in turn keeps the demand to buy a home down.
To be fair to the Garden State (so called, the joke goes, because “Oil, Petroleum, Nuclear, Landfill, and Toxic Waste State” didn’t fit on a license plate), home prices arerising (3% from the year before—about a $150,000 average sales price at last count).
And that’s actually good news, at least for home buyers: Perhaps New Jersey, despite itsrecord high income taxes, can maintain its place as the everyman’s state, and can be one of the last refuges for the middle class in the New York City area.