Despite the ups and downs with the weather, the spring housing market has started to bloom. You may have noticed the increase in For Sale and Coming Soon signs. In January there were only 34 homes on the market in Maplewood. This week the inventory has risen to 48 homes. The number of active listings in South Orange has also been hovering in the low 30s. This week South Orange now has 58 homes for sale. Still, inventory remains lower than demand, especially at the lower price points.

The real estate market in SOMA has held strong through the winter. According to the Garden State Multiple Listing Service (GSMLS)*, the days on market in January for Maplewood was less than one month. South Orange's days on market was slightly more at 41 days. 

Sale prices remain high. In 2016, the average sales price in Maplewood was $543,053. The average home price has not been that high since the bubble in 2006 when the average sales price was $543,228. For buyers who have been under water for several years, they should finally be afloat. Given that interest rates are still low, those buyers may want to consider refinancing.

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The height of the market in South Orange was in 2007 with an average sales price of $655,966. The prices in 2016 did not come quite as close as Maplewood. The 2016 average sales prices was $648,659. 

The low inventory will continue to drive up prices as buyers find themselves in bidding wars. Although inventory should rise within the next few months, the number of buyers will most likely rise, too. Not only is spring a popular time to shop for a home, but buyers who have been waiting to see how far interest rates will fall may decide to lock in a low rate before they go up. In addition to the threat of interest rate increases, home sale prices have been steadily rising over the past 5 years. The longer a buyer waits, the more the home prices increase.

If you are thinking of buying or selling this spring, contact me to strategize on the best ways to win a bidding war or the best time to list your home at shannon.severin@kw.com

*Information compiled from the Garden State MLS is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Shannon Severin is a long-time resident of South Orange, mom of 3, and real estate agent for Keller Williams Mid-Town Direct.