Real Estate

Spring Real Estate Market in Westfield Heats Up After Long Winter

A house on Wells Street up for sale in April. Credits: Jill D'Ambrosio

WESTFIELD, NJ – Despite a delayed start due to the long, cold winter, the spring residential real estate market in Westfield is in full swing and demand continues to outpace supply as buyers flock to Westfield, local realtors say.

Nancy Kronheimer, a realtor at Weichert, Realtors in Westfield, has seen some houses come onto the market mid-week and get snapped up in days.

“Some of them aren’t even making it to an open house on the weekend,” she said.

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Grace Rappa, a sales associate at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Westfield East Office, said that one of her recently listed properties drew nine offers.

The tight housing market in Westfield is somewhat of an anomaly. Demand for single-family homes around the country, outside of certain big cities, has been weak since the 2008, according to a recent Sunday New York Times article.

Here in Westfield, the harsh winter made preparing a home for viewing a challenge, as potential sellers had to postpone exterior touch ups like painting or window washing, while all but serious househunters may have been deterred by snow and cold.

“The spring market started a little later than usual this year probably due to the inclement weather but, at this time, we are finding the Sunday open houses to be well attended, and homes priced appropriately are seeing multiple offers,” said Marge Cuccaro, broker and office manager at Prudential NJ Properties in Westfield.

In the first quarter of 2014

  • There were 44 closed transactions in Westfield, down from 50 for the same period in 2013, according to Union County market statistics Cuccaro provided. This 12 percent decrease reflects the harsh winter weather and the lack of inventory, Cuccaro noted.
  • Houses spent an average 44 days on the market, compared to 59 days in the first quarter of 2013, these statistics showed.
  • The median sales price was $586,500, up from $557,500 a year ago.

As the weather improves and more properties come on the market, Cuccaro sees more excitement and energy among buyers.

“Our Westfield inventory is definitely picking up and the buyers are out,” she said.

This presents a unique prospect for sellers who are ready to list their homes.

“Sellers who list their homes now have an incredible opportunity, as less competition has focused more buyer attention on available listings,” said Rappa.

Rappa recommends sellers discuss correct pricing of their home with a realtor, even though the current climate seems to benefit sellers.

“For sellers, it is always important to properly price a home. Even in a market that favors sellers, buyers set the price they are willing to pay,” she said.

Kronheimer echoed that sentiment.

“It’s better to price where is should be and let the market bid it up,” she said.

There were 133 properties for sale in Westfield in mid-April, according to Kronheimer, and 11 of those had offers on them. Most buyers are currently concentrated in the $500,000-$800,000 price range, she said.

This season, Kronheimer continues to field calls from potential buyers keen to move to Westfield from Hoboken, Jersey City and New York City.

Kronheimer and Rappa advised sellers to take the time to de-clutter the interior of their homes and spruce up the exterior.

“Even spring plantings and a fresh coat of paint on the front door can greatly increase curb appeal,” said Rappa.

For buyers, realtors suggest preparing buy securing pre-approved financing, discussing important criteria in a new home with an agent and being ready to act quickly.

After house-hunting through the winter, Debi Kapuscinski, a retirement plans manager who works in the financial industry, and her family recently moved into a new home on Manitou Circle from a rental home on Grandview Avenue.

The additional space, a neighborhood with other families and a quiet street and parks for their three young children attracted Kapuscinski and her husband to their new Westfield home.

“The snow and cold discouraged us from many things, but not from finding a house,” she said.

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