Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Jersey Communities: Hightstown and Freehold

Recently I helped a family sell their home in Hightstown, NJ, in Mercer County, and buy in Freehold, NJ, of Monmouth County.  These two communities in central New Jersey are similar, and their move shows how a family can retain the best qualities of a lifestyle in New Jersey and still have many living choices.

Highstown Borough is located at Exit 8 of the New Jersey Turnpike in central New Jersey.  Hightstown was incorporated as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 5, 1853, within portions of East Windsor Township. The borough became fully independent c. 1894. Additional portions of East Windsor Township have since been annexed.

Hightstown Borough offers the charm and relaxed lifestyle of small-town America, but is a convenient and close retreat for commuters to the major urban centers of New York and Philadelphia. Victorian and Colonial influences can be seen in the local architecture, and housing options vary in both style and price range. A public transit system and easy access to major arteries add to the overall appeal of an old-world atmosphere. Free bus service is also available to the shopping centers and nearby Mercer County Community College, located in West Windsor. Recreational amenities in the borough and Mercer County include tennis courts, a fishing lake, swim clubs, and athletic fields.

Real estate in Hightstown NJ is a mix of single family homes and condos.  Currently the median price is $275,000, consisting mainly of 75 single family resales, and 13 condos.  The Robertson Douglas Group is building a new Enchantment development (active adult community) in the borough off of Wyckoff Mills Road. The ongoing construction of new homes in several developments in nearby townships, including the Estates at Princeton Junction and Centex's Elements at West Windsor (active adult), offer choices in new home construction and age group living options.

Freehold Township is termed "Western Monmouth's Family Town."  Originally inhabited by the Lenape Indians, in 1623 the Europeans organized the New Jersey-Hudson River area into the Province of New Netherlands.  Throughout the intervening three centuries it has been a place where people could raise their families, earn their living and live out their life in some measure of peace. Then as now, it has been a community of farms and churches, homes and neighborhoods. It has strong roots in a rich colonial tradition and an illustrious past, including the Battle of Monmouth in the War of Independence.  Most of the history made here, however, has been of the personal kind; of families and arms and small businesses, and the enduring values these institutions produce now and in the future.

Freehold Township offers attractive suburban neighborhoods that cover a sweeping 39-square-mile area interspersed with vast tracts of open land, lush woods, and commercial development. The selection of housing is diverse enough to suit every taste and budget, from vintage older homes that are ideal for renovation to contemporary construction and horse properties. The Freehold Raceway is one of the East Coast’s best known racetracks.  There are award-winning parks, an excellent school system, low tax rates, and shopping at Freehold Raceway Mall.
Real estate in Freehold NJ is varied and affordable.  The median price of current listings is currently $316,000, including 273 single family homes and 103 condos.
You can see how many lifestyle choices you have in central New Jersey, Mercer County, Monmouth County, or surrounding areas.  The real estate offers homes at almost any price, from 1st-time-buyer affordable to large homes on acreage.  Search homes for sale in Mercer County and Monmouth County, and contact me for a free relocation package to Hightstown or Freehold NJ.
Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gains in 4th Quarter Real Estate Sales in New Jersey

Strong gains in existing-home sales were the predominant pattern in most states during the fourth quarter, with many more metro areas seeing prices rise from a year earlier, according to NAR, the National Assn. of Realtors.

Sales increased from the third quarter in 48 states and the District of Columbia; 32 states even saw double-digit gains.  Year-over-year sales were higher in 49 states and D.C.; all but three states had double-digit annual increases.

Total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, jumped 13.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.03 million in the fourth quarter from 5.29 million in the third quarter, and are 27.2 percent above the 4.74 million-unit level in the fourth quarter of 2008.  Distressed property accounted for 32 percent of fourth quarter transactions, down from 37 percent a year earlier.

In the fourth quarter, 67 out of 151 metropolitan statistical areas reported higher median existing single-family home prices in comparison with the fourth quarter of 2008, including 16 with double-digit increases; one was unchanged and 84 metros had price declines. In the third quarter, only 30 MSAs showed annual price increases and 123 areas were down.

The national median existing single-family price was $172,900, which is 4.1 percent below the fourth quarter of 2008; the median is where half sold for more and half sold for less.

“This is the smallest price decline in over two years, with the most recent monthly data showing a broad stabilization in home prices,” Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist, said. “Because buyers are taking on long-term fixed rate mortgages, avoiding adjustable-rate products, and trying to stay well within their budgets, the price recovery process appears durable."

Northeast Results:  “In the Northeast, markets with lower median prices that have avoided wide swings, such as Buffalo, are generally showing consistent price gains,” Yun said. “Even so, some of the higher cost areas are showing signs of stabilization, such as Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y., and Boston.”

Condos:  Metro area condominium and cooperative prices – covering changes in 54 metro areas – showed the national median existing-condo price was $177,300 in the fourth quarter, down 4.8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008.   Eleven metros showed increases in the median condo price from a year earlier and 43 areas had declines. In the third quarter, only four metros experienced annual price gains.

Contact me for a detailed analysis of any real estate market in Mercer County, and Burlington, Monmouth, and Middlesex Counties as well.  If you are thinking of buying or selling in Hamilton, West Windsor, Ewing or other Mercer Counties locations, I'm the expert you need on your team.

Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tax Tips for New Jersey Real Estate Owners and Investors

While you should always ask a tax professional any question you have on your specific situation, here are some general tips as you prepare your 2009 tax return, which may save you money.

1.  Take advantage of deductions and credits for green remodeling and appliances.
2.  Take advantage of lower property valuations.  Consider gifting real property as part of your estate planning.

1.  Are you a dealer or investor?  Proper planning and decisions can affect the disposition of the properties for tax purposes.
2.  Allocation of land costs.  If you sold more than one parcel of land this past year, you need to allocate the costs among them, equitably.  There are several methods to consider.
3.  Take advantage of lower property valuations.  Possibly you can convert your corporation into an LLC for tax reasons.
4.  Accounting for lease income.  Do you use cash accounting or is there a better alternative.

These are some questions for your tax advisor and think about them early, so you can put into place in 2010 what will benefit you the most at tax time next year.

For questions on New Jersey real estate, valuations, and best areas for bargains, call or email.  Here's a page where you can search homes and land for sale in Mercer County - there are plenty of reasons to purchase Mercer County real estate in 2010.

Joe Giancarli, Sales Associate
RE/MAX Tri County