Spring Real Estate Market Nipping At Our Toes: February Sales Review and Overall Outlook

Signs point to a positive spring and summer real estate season. Read why and see how your town did in real estate sales in February.

"I thought I was putting a price on my home. While I hold out -- hoping to get a few more dollars, I am actually putting a value on my happiness." -- a home seller said to Steve Harney, www.kcmblog.com

February Delivered 63 Residential Home Sales and 149 Pending Home Sales Across 6 Northern New Jersey Towns


The Spring Real Estate market is nipping at our toes and signs point to a positive activity season. Whether it's the rock-bottom low interest rates, the weather, the fact a S&P 500 recent Friday close hit its highest level since June 2008, or that there are reports January purchase contracts were up 31% over last year -- even beating the January 2010 number when the home buyer tax credit was in affect - one thing is for sure: able, qualified home buyers are out and making offers on homes to purchase.

Town-by-Town Pending Home Sales Comparison


US/UC in February

Total US/UC

West Orange









Millburn/Short Hills



South Orange



Glen Ridge



*To follow pending sales, click here.

We have experienced multiple offers in our office every single week since the beginning of the year. From South Orange to Summit to West Orange to Montclair, my real estate parner Bob and I have personally been involved in 5 multiple offers in just as many weeks. This is not just multiple offers of last year where the seller would receive many offers and they could all have been under asking price. This is a combination of offers coming above and under asking price. It seems like it all depends on how well the home seller prices his home to garner the most attention combined with savvy marketing and promotions from his REALTOR® who has strong negotiation skills: REALTORS® like us.

We all know we have a long, recovery road ahead of us, but wherever you turn the story is starting to be more from a glass half-full perspective, than a glass half-empty one with shadow inventory being a potential hiccup.

February 2012 Residential Home Sales

West Orange and Maplewood tied for selling the most residential homes in February when comparing 6 area towns. Millburn/Short Hills topped the list for highest average and median sales prices. Overall, though, Montclair led the pack with a good balance of a high number of sales and prices when comparing the towns.

February 2012 Town-by-Town Sales Comparison 





Millburn/Short Hills








Glen Ridge




South Orange








West Orange




The pictures of the homes to the right show homes that sold in February for the closest to $600,000 in each town.

Comparing February 2012 vs February 2011 for 3 Towns

Maplewood, NJ sold one more residential home last month compared to February 2011 (17 vs 16) but the sale prices were lower. The average sales price in February 2010 was $417,285 while the median sales price was $426,500.

Montclair, NJ sold 2 more homes in Feburary 2012 than 2011 (14 vs 12) while improving upon its median sales price posting $587,000 compared to $540,500 last February. The average sales price in February 2011 was $605,417.

West Orange, NJ posted lower average and median sale prices in February of this year, than February 2011, and sold 4 less residential homes. The February 2011 average sales price was $374,847 and the median sales price was $298,000.

To see a video of the residential homes that sold in February, click a town below:

While we see similar sale totals between February 2011 and 2012 for most towns, we won't know how well the increase in pending home sales really affect our area towns until about 60 - 90 days later when we see how many homes currently pending, actually sale.

One of the glitches affecting 2012 sales nationally will be the role of shadow inventory and foreclosures; click here to read the foreclosure review. When this impending inventory dumps more distressed homes onto the marketplace it's not certain how this will stretch the buying pool or impact appraisal values of homes in the area.

Until we can see the market in our rear view mirror there will always be a debate if we have hit rock bottom with prices. What we can probably all agree on, the market will not recover if people aren't purchasing homes. Therefore, to see national momentum in purchasing begin even before the proverbial Spring market begins is a good sign. It's not a sign for home sellers to try to go back to 2005 pricing, though, but a time to prepare their home for sale at the best possible price to draw in the most qualified buyers with professional REALTORS®.


Data compiled using information from the Garden State Multiple Listing Service (GSMLS) as of March 5, 2012. If changes were made in GSMLS after this date they are not reflected here. The MLS is used by Real Estate agents selling properties in Essex County and other areas. This data does not include private sales or new construction not listed through a Real Estate agent and is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Towne Realty Group, LLC. Independently Owned and Operated. Beverly and Robert Meaux, Salespersons, Towne Realty Group.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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