It’s no secret that the pandemic has caused real estate prices to soar all across the state, most notably in the suburbs where COVID-19 fears have caused people to flee from cities in droves.

According to an article on NJ.com, one of the ways of quantifying real estate value increases is through the “Case-Shiller Index,” a measure of repeat sales of single-family homes.

In New Jersey, Atlantic City and Ocean City lead the pack. The biggest increase from year to year was in Atlantic City with a 5.7% bump in home sale prices since 2019. Ocean City was right behind that with the growth of 5.6% over the past year.

And just to prove how wildly popular New Jersey has become in terms of new home sales, even the long-avoided Camden area has seen a spike in home prices, with a 4.6% increase.

Comparatively speaking, the article points out, the rest of the country had a median price increase of only 4.2%.

Is this because people are dying to move to New Jersey? Probably not. It may be more a reflection of the fact that the Garden State is actually something of a suburb in and of itself, sitting as we do in the shadow of of two major cities, New York and Philadelphia. No other state has that distinction, which makes us an obvious place to run to when an escape from major city life is in order.

But, as the article points out, it may not be wise to try to jump on the real estate bandwagon right now if you are looking to invest. Mortgages are low and fairly easy to come by right now, and many loans are in temporary forbearance programs. Once the free money and the forgiveness programs run out, it will be time for a lot of these new home-buyers to pay the piper. And we may find ourselves in a very different situation when things get back to normal in the world.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.