The Morris County housing market softened a bit in the third quarter, with sales up modestly but prices a little flat. Over the longer-term, we’re seeing sustained increases in buyer demand that are likely to have a meaningful impact on prices by 2016.
Sales. Morris County sales were up modestly in the second quarter, rising 5.7%. This marked the fourth straight quarter with year-over-year sales growth, capping a rolling year where sales were up 9.4%. Indeed, the 1,768 quarterly sales and the 5,492 yearly sales represented the highest totals since the height of the seller’s market. Clearly, buyer demand in Morris remains robust.
Prices. This continued surge in sales activity, though, has not had a sustained impact on pricing. We’ve seen Morris pricing bouncing around for the last year or so – up one quarter, down the next. And this was a down quarter, with the average falling 2.6% and the median down 1.6%. Over the longer-term, though, the trend is encouraging, with the rolling year average price up 1.5% and the median up 1.3%. If buyer demand continues to strengthen, it’s just a matter of time before we see more meaningful price appreciation.
Negotiability. The negotiability indicators – the amount of time sold homes were on the market, and the rate at which sellers were able to retain their full asking price – were basically flat. The days-on-market was up a tick for the quarter, but down for the year. And the listing retention rate was up just slightly for both the quarter and the year.
Going forward, we expect that the Morris County market will continue to grow through the end of the year and into 2016. With homes still at historically affordable prices, interest rates low, and a generally improving economy, we believe that buyer demand will stay strong and drive more meaningful price appreciation by the spring market of next year.