New Jersey Home Price Increases Show How the Pandemic Affected Real Estate

One state's real estate market offers a lot to ponder

NJ trains
Home prices in the Garden State rose dramatically in the last year.
Shane Lynes/Unsplash

In the last year, the pandemic has prompted some to rethink their living arrangements. For some, that’s meant dramatic shifts from urban to rural life; for others, it’s involved seeking out more space in a suburban setting. Just how much the pandemic has affected the nation’s real estate market is still an ongoing concern — and given that the pandemic is still a concern, this story is far from over. But data from one state offers a microcosm of how the last year has shifted real estate dramatically.

The state in question? The place where pork roll and Taylor Ham are debated with a Socratic intensity — New Jersey. (Full disclosure: I grew up in central Jersey; also, central Jersey absolutely exists.) A new report from Alison Preis at compared single-family home prices in the Garden State from the first quarters of 2021 and 2020 and found a startling increase in what home buyers are paying.

This data comes from New Jersey Realtors, a trade association based in the state. “The average home price for the first quarter of 2021 was $500,628 or 24% more than the $403,785 for the first quarter of 2020,” noted Preis.

Coldwell Banker Realty’s Robert White pointed out that many homes are selling for more than their asking price. “[T]hat is forcing values to increase because appraisers are coming out and appraising at those higher numbers,” he said. The process shows the domino effect of a hot real estate market, with a number of factors — such as buyers making offers over the asking price to secure a house — contributing to the higher prices. It offers would-be home buyers — and home sellers — plenty to think about.

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