EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Irina Burciu has been living in an apartment for seven years, but the first-time home buyer closed on a two-story, three-bedroom house late last month here.
Burciu, 29, was fortunate she was able to buy what she was looking for for her husband, child and mother because she sought one of the hottest types of properties on the market.
The Atlantic County housing market is beginning to rebound, according to data tracked by ATTOM Data Solutions, whose RealtyTrac division publishes national foreclosure figures dating to 2006.
The median sales price for an Atlantic County house rose from $126,700 in the first quarter of last year to $150,000 in the first quarter of this year, an 18 percent increase, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
Burciu wanted a house on the mainland because she had mostly lived in Egg Harbor Township for the eight years she has been in this country from her native Moldova. She set a spending ceiling of $220,000 for the home. She needed a house that was ready for her to move in and did not need repairs.
“I wanted something that did not have many damages. I don’t have to do a lot of reconstruction,” said Burciu, who added home repairs and renovations are very expensive. “We have very busy schedules.”
The amount of available, salable, well-maintained housing has been drying up for the past year, said Carlo Losco, owner of Balsley Losco Realty in Northfield.
“So what are we going to have? We are going to have basically a food fight. We already have bidding wars. It’s going to intensify,” Losco said.
Drew Fishman, a broker-associate with RE/Max Atlantic in Northfield, said people are coming back to South Jersey with the growth in Atlantic City, including two new casinos and a Stockton University campus.
The spring market was strong, said Fishman, who added he sold a condo to someone teaching at Stockton University.
When Burciu was looking for her house, her Realtor, Katherina Griko with Keller-Williams Realty Atlantic Shore in Northfield, told her houses that were in good shape and were below $250,000 were selling really fast.
“She didn’t say it was impossible,” Burciu said. “You have to be very prompt.”
With the current interest rates, the bulk of homes being sold that do not need repairs are between $200,000 and $300,000, with an even slimmer pocket between $175,000 and $200,000, Losco said.
“There are very few salable homes in that range,” Losco said. “I’m watching simple $165,000, $175,000 homes selling now for over $200,000.”
During the past 10 years, for the most part, new homes stopped being built because the banks were not lending, Losco said.
Last year, Atlantic County was still a national leader in foreclosures, average prices were down 8 percent month over month and 2 percent year over year in June, according to data provided by the South Jersey Shore Regional Multiple Listing Service.
“With the lack of (home) building, the lack of salable supply, the stress on the properties that are for sale will be out of control,” Losco said.
If some of the bank-owned properties can come on the market faster, hopefully, home sale prices will stabilize, Losco said.
“If it doesn’t, then, the ready-made houses will continue to reap the benefits. They are going to sell fast and furious,” Losco said.