Looking Back... and Forward Predictions and Wishes for 2011

The last couple of years have been tempestuous for everyone involved in the real estate industry, and the New Jersey market is certainly no exception. 2010 has been a wild year for real estate across the country, and industry experts say that the direction 2011 takes depends upon many factors; political, economic, and financial.

The stability of the economy and the stock market, or whether the government will offer new incentives for homebuyers are two of the many factors that could influence the markets for co-op and condo apartments in the coming year. Possible changes in political leadership resulting in heavier taxes on real estate sales could also sock it to HOA boards and managers.

“2010 was one of the most challenging years that our industry has ever seen,” says Bonnie Bertan, president of Association Advisors, a property management firm in Freehold. “Associations had to face the obvious obstacles—a struggling economy, falling property values, large cut backs in salaries and bonuses—and when that wasn’t enough to deal with, Mother Nature bombarded these communities with a tremendous amount of snow and a very dry summer.”

Slowdowns and New Deals

Despite suggestions from some quarters that the economy is in recovery mode, fears remain that we may yet experience a so-called “double-dip” recession. Even so, many tri-state real estate industry professionals are hopeful that the worst has passed. Apartment pricing in many areas has stabilized (though down to levels of two or three years ago in some communities), ending a downward slide in many areas, and prices in some areas—particularly in towns closer to Manhattan—seem to be on the upswing again.

Allan “Dutch” Dechert, president-elect of the New Jersey Association of Realtors (NJAR) and principal of Ferguson Dechert Real Estate in Avalon, said forecasting is difficult without knowing what will happen with crucial factors affecting housing such as employment, property taxes, foreclosures and prices. “The challenges we see right now are job uncertainty and mortgage availability,” Dechert said. “Banks are looking hard at mortgage applications these days.”

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