Forty years ago, my husband Nick and I were in the market to buy our first home together. The housing market then, about 20 years ago, was similar to the current housing market in that the supply was low, demand was high and paying above asking price was the norm. People were lined up outside homes to try to be the first one in and with the best offer.
Our goal was to find the perfect place in Bergen County, New Jersey, but we found that the market there was widely out of our price range. We settled for a cute, little condo in Rockland County, New York for about $47,000 (above the asking price) in Pomona with an interest rate of 17.75%.
Within less than two years, the real estate market drastically changed, our condo appreciated, and we were able to sell it within 4 days of listing. We scrambled to purchase a small home in our dream town of Dumont in Bergen County with a new, significantly lower interest rate of 12.75%.
Although similar, today’s market compared to the one Nick and I experienced has two main differences – much higher demand and significantly lower, record-breaking interest rates. Even though we paid above asking price, homebuyers today are paying an exuberant amount above asking price due to the intense demand. When we lowered our interest rate to 12.75%, we were ecstatic. Compare that to the current interest rates hovering in the 2.1 to 2.9% range, it’s unheard of.
In the six-month period from early February to early August 2021, the average sold price of a home in Southwest Orange was $642,882 compared to $497,296 for the same time a year ago. Homes sold during that same period in an average of 6 days compared to 54 days during the start of the pandemic.
There are already signs the market is starting to cool, a little, as we are seeing the amount of days a home is listed increase from 6 to 24 days in the month of August. Regardless, we are still a popular destination for transplants; the pandemic is just the most recent reason for an influx.
While interest rates may have fluctuated over the three plus decades that Nick and I have lived here, the one constant has been growth. West Orange specifically has always been a desirable area and is known as a great place to work and raise a family with excellent schools, have fun, discover nature and enjoy theme parks while soaking in the Florida sunshine.
One of the newer communities in West Orange is Horizon West; an Orange County master-planned community that was developed after the freezes of the late 80s and early 90s left the orange groves unable to produce fruit. To learn more about this evolving community and the importance of its economic impact, join the West Orange Chamber for our Horizon West Report Luncheon on September 9. Visit https://wochamber.com/event/horizon-west-update-report/ to sign up.