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Unable and Unwilling to Move [AUDIO]

The slow progress of New Jersey’s housing recovery has been causing many people to think twice before selling their homes.

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Since the end of the economic downturn, home prices in the Garden State have bounced back to 2004-like levels, meaning there is still plenty of distance to make up. Making matters worse, according to director of economic research Patrick O’Keefe at CohnReznick in Roseland, the number of listings and closings in New Jersey fell significantly between the beginning of 2013 and the start of this year.

The situation has presented the same dilemma for many residents looking to move: the price they’d have to offer on their home is too low, while the price is too high on the home they’d like to purchase. Those would-be sellers, meanwhile, are in the same position, unwilling to bring their prices down and continuing the cycle.

“The market is still working through the imbalances of the housing bubble, and in New Jersey, because our economy is growing a little bit slower than the rest of the country, that resolution is taking longer,” O’Keefe said.

O’Keefe cited a nearly 6 percent drop in home prices during the first four months of 2014, according to the same time period last year, as well as a 12-percent drop in closings.

“It’s the fact that prices have not reached a level where perspective sellers would be willing to sell the home,” he said. “They’re just not seeing prices out there that are attractive.”

Housing activity in this region typically heats up during the warmer months, but so far, “spring hasn’t sprung,” according to O’Keefe.

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