Home prices flat in region, sales up strongly in New Jersey

By KEVIN POST, Press of AC Staff Writer | Posted: Thursday, February 11, 2010 |

Home prices in southern New Jersey were flat in the fourth quarter of 2009, while federal incentives to buyers boosted sales in New Jersey by 34 percent over the prior year, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.

The median sale price for homes in the greater Atlantic City market – in which the Realtors included Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties – fell to $222,700 from $223,000 the prior quarter, a drop of about a 10th of a percent.

That followed at 2 percent increase in the third quarter and provided more evidence that housing prices in the region have stabilized.

Southern New Jersey prices in the fourth quarter were 2.8 percent lower than the year before, while U.S. prices declined 4.1 percent during the same period, the Realtors said.

The region also outperformed the Northeast, where prices fell 5.6 percent in 2009.

U.S. home sales increased 13.9 percent in the quarter and 27 percent for the year.

Jarrod C. Grasso, chief executive of the New Jersey Association of Realtors, said a third straight quarter of increasing sales and stabilizing home prices are encouraging signs for the housing market.

“It appears the market has found its footing,” Grasso said in a statement. “As the general economy begins to recover and jobs are added, the pace of housing sales should accelerate.”

He said tax credits for first-time home buyers and now for repeat home buyers joined other factors – low interest rates and lower prices – to increase real estate sales.

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