As mortgage rates rose and the pandemic ended, experts warned New Jerseyans to hang on for an inevitable slowdown in the housing market.
"Interest rates haven't affected anybody," said Diane Turton, president and founder of Point Pleasant Beach-based Diane Turton Realtors. "We just had a deal with 18 offers, and it went way over asking. Bidding wars, still. Selling in record time. I mean, I've been doing this 56 years. I've never seen a market with such low inventory."
Median sales prices at the Jersey Shore held their ground in April, the New Jersey Association of Realtors reported, in a sign that buyers continue to outpace sellers, defying national trends.
The month continued a pattern for the local housing market that has began with a fury when the pandemic hit in 2020. Buyers searching for safety from COVID-19 flocked to Monmouth and Ocean counties, taking advantage of record-low interest rates and technology that allowed them to work from home.
Now that mortgage rates have climbed and more workers are being called back to the office, is the housing market cooling?
Only a little.
In Monmouth County, the median sales price in April was $682,500, up 12.8% from the same month a year ago. Sellers got 101% of their list price, down from 104.8% last year, the Realtors Association said.
In Ocean County, the median sales price in April was $500,000, down 0.5% from the same month last year. Sellers got 99.8% of their list price, down from 104.1% last year, according to the Realtors Association.
Prices could begin to fall, but not many people seem to want to move. New listings in Monmouth and Ocean counties in April were down nearly 30% from last year, the data shows.
"With price points, I look at them and say, really? And in three days they hit their price," Turton said. "You go buy something and you've got one choice versus 100 choices, that's a huge difference."
"There's only six houses for sale in Sea Girt. We used to have 40," Turton said. "Spring Lake we used to have 80. They've got, like, 12. That's what's driving these prices."
So we might as well dream big. Let's, for a moment, pretend we need a cellar for our 3,500-bottle wine collection. Or a swimming pool even though we live a few feet away from a beach. Or a gym and home theater. What's available?
Here are the five highest-priced homes for sale in Monmouth and Ocean counties, according to the Monmouth Ocean Regional Realtors.
1. Address: 318-322 Route 537, Colts Neck.
Details: 25,000-square-foot home sits on 160 acres. It has 7 bedrooms, 8 full bathrooms and a 7-car garage. A grand staircase connects to three levels. Amenities include a 3,500-bottle wine cellar and tasting room, a 12-seat movie theater, a game room, and a fitness center.
List price: $24.9 million.
2. Address: 7 Yearling Path, Colts Neck.
Details: 18,000-square-foot home sits on 127 acres. It has 9 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. Amenities include a home theater and outdoor saltwater pool.
List price: $20,999,000.
3. Address: 18 Clay Ct., Middletown
Details: 17,000-square-foot home on the Navesink River. It has six bedrooms and eight bathrooms. Italian-style villa includes a movie theater; 1,500-bottle wine cellar and tasting room; a 20,000-gallon aquarium; an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub; and an outdoor wood-fired pizza oven.
List price: $17.5 million.
4. Address: 211 Cedar Ave., Long Branch
Details: 8,775-square-foot home on 1.2 acres. It has eight bedrooms and six bathrooms. Amenities include marble entry foyer; high-end kitchen; a bar and game room; an outdoor, heated saltwater pool and jacuzzi; a patio with built-in fans and a sound system with outdoor speakers.
List price: $14,899,000.
5. Address: 1805 Ocean Ave., Spring Lake
Details: 12,000-square-foot home on a half-acre lot. It has seven bedrooms and 10-1/2 bathrooms. Features include a 180-degree ocean view and a lower level with a gym, theater, and private quarters for guest or staff.
List price: $12,995,000
1. Address: 1087 Ocean Ave, Mantoloking.
Details: 4,938-square-foot home on 1.4 acres. It has five bedrooms and six full bathrooms. Features include beach access, three-car detached garage, open-kitchen ceilings, high-vaulted ceilings.
List price: $12.9 million.
2. Address: 1063 Ocean Ave, Mantoloking
Details: 3,261-square-foot home on 1.1 acres. It has seven bedrooms and 6-1/2 bathrooms. Features include beach access, decks off the second-floor bedrooms with ocean views.
List price: $8,499,000.
3. Address: 423 Princeton Ave, Brick
Details: 11,868-square-foot home on .7 acres adjacent to the Metedeconk River. It has six bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. Features include four fireplaces, heated outdoor pool and hot tub, a bulkhead and boat lift.
List price: $7,999,999
4. Address: 12 Plainfield Ave, Lavallette
Details: 6,011-square-foot oceanfront home. It has five bedrooms and 5-1/2 bathrooms. Features include primary bedroom with a private balcony; gym and home theater with a wet bar; outdoor area with an expansive deck and grill area.
List price: $7,890,000
5. Address: 7401 Ocean Blvd., Long Beach Township
Details: 7,000-square-foot home on .3-acre lot on the oceanfront. It has eight bedrooms and 7-1/2 bathrooms. Features include three levels of living space; a swimming pool and spa on an elevated courtyard; and an outdoor bar with a fireplace.
List price: $7,399,000
Michael L. Diamond is a business reporter who has been writing about the New Jersey economy and health care industry for more than 20 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Shore housing market stays hot. If you have $25M these can be yours