Building Bergen December 2020 Newsletter

An Interview with Deirdre Dillon, Mayor of Ramsey

For Deirdre A. Dillon, Mayor of the Borough of Ramsey who has been in office since 2015, governing during the COVID-19 pandemic has involved a lot of coordination, communication, and community cheerleading with her 14,000 residents.  She stays in constant contact with the President of the local Chamber of Commerce while sharing with local business leaders the information she receives from the Governor’s office and other sources.

The Borough has worked with the Borough Health Inspector to facilitate restaurants’ efforts to offer outdoor dining and other dining alternatives.  For restaurants that did not have readily available outdoor locations, Mayor Dillon was able to offer a Borough parking lot as an alternative.  Outdoor dining has been extended until December 31, for restaurants that have invested in tents and heaters.

Local zoning regulations does not permit drive-in movie theaters, so the Borough Council passed a special resolution not to enforce the prohibition, thereby allowing the local movie theater to show drive-in movies in the middle school parking lot.

Overall, the Mayor and the Borough Council are trying to make it as easy as possible for businesses in their community. To date, says Mayor Dillon, most local stores and restaurants have remained in operation.  While there are several empty storefronts in the community, most of those predated the pandemic.

Building Bergen Talks with Dr. James W. Hughes

Bruce R. Rosenberg, a Principal at Winne Banta Basralian & Kahn, P.C., recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. James W. Hughes, Ph.D. on changes that have occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Bergen County and New Jersey.  Dr. Hughes, who is a nationally known expert in Urban Planning, is a Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Policy Development and Dean Emeritus of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.  Dr. Hughes said that the economic world we knew in February has disappeared, but while Northern New Jersey was hit harder than the nation initially, the area is bouncing back a little better. While New York City had driven much of the regional growth before the pandemic, there has been a reversal, and New Jersey is more of a growth leader.  This may herald a comeback for the suburbs in commercial real estate.  Dr. Hughes described a “hub and spoke” model, in which corporations are headquartered in New York City, but they are establishing more satellite offices in the suburbs.  To view the interview, click here.

Until we can renew our traditional Building Bergen in-person programs, we look forward to providing you with additional virtual interviews in the near future.

Bergen’s Residential Sales Market Remains Hot

By Robert Abbott

The residential sales market in Bergen County is still considered very hot. The recovery from the peak of the pandemic in the spring is eye-opening. The number of units sold has already surpassed the 2019 year to date numbers: 6,195 units have closed this year which reflects a 3% increase over last year’s closed units! Sales volume for those units has increased by 15% for year to date. This reflects the fact that higher-end properties are also selling in this market. The number of days on market has decreased by 5% which is now showing 57 days from list to contract. The median sold price is up 11% which is up to $555,555.

The biggest issue now is lack of inventory for homes below a $700,000 price point. This is proven because inventory is down by approximately 22%*. Overall, it is a sellers’ market in select price points. Now that the election has passed us, I believe the market will maintain its strength in Bergen County. Buyers staying on the sidelines and not getting into this market are making a huge mistake. Interest rates are at an all-time low and properties are appreciating at such a high rate, why wouldn’t they want to jump in?

If any prospective buyer or seller wants an individual evaluation of a specific town or property, we are more than happy to offer a market overview.

*All data taken for this article was provided by New Jersey Multiple Listing Service Residential Property Statistics.

Robert Abbott is Broker/Owner with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Abbott Realtors.  He can be reached at bhhsabbott@gmail.com or (201) 891-2223.