2013 was a year of extremely low interest rates and reasonable housing prices in New Jersey. So what can the state's homebuyers and sellers expect for 2014?

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This time next year, those involved in the housing market may be in an even better position.

"We will be looking back at a market that was pretty strong, price appreciation was probably about average, which is probably, you know, 2 to 4 percent," said Peter Reinhart, director of the Kislak Real Estate Institute at Monmouth University.

Reinhart thinks 2014 will be a pretty good year for housing in New Jersey. However, he said the market may be somewhat muted by higher mortgage rates, which he blames on the Federal Reserve's action to reduce the stimulus package.

"I don't think it will be a rapid vault of interest rates that will cut off the market," Reinhart said, "but I just think that we'll see a rate rise to probably a little over 5, to maybe 5.25 percent."

We can also expect a modest loosening of housing inventory, according to Reinhart, as real estate owners who were holding out for prices to improve finally decide to sell.

Mortgage lenders are still expected to use caution in approving mortgages, because risky lending practices were in part to blame for the collapse of the housing market. Reinhart recommends that potential homebuyers review their credit rating, keep debts low, maintain a stable employment history and set aside as much of a down payment as possible.

He also recommends bringing lots of patience during the mortgage approval process.