ABLE Accounts – Special Savings Plans for Disabled Individuals

Modeled after 529 Savings Plans, Congress passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014. The Act allowed states to create tax-advantage savings programs for individuals with disabilities. Disabled individuals and their families can save money in these accounts without risking losing their governmental benefits (i.e. Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income). Generally, an individual can open one ABLE Account at a time.

Who Can Qualify for the ABLE Account?

In general, an individual must have incurred a disability before the age of 26. If the disabled individual is 26 and receives Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Income, that individual is automatically eligible to establish the ABLE Account.

How Much Can I Put into the ABLE Account?

All individuals may contribute up to $15,000 to this account in each calendar year.

States have set limits for total allowable ABLE savings. State ABLE limits range from $235,000 to $529,000.

If a disabled individual receives Supplemental Security Income benefits (“SSI”), the law has additional limitations. Until the ABLE Account attains an account balance of $100,000, the law exempts the account balance from the $2,000 resource limits for qualifying for SSI Benefits. After the account balance exceeds $100,000, the law will count the excess account balance towards the resource limit. If the account balance exceeds the limit, the law suspends SSI cash benefits to a disabled individual until the ABLE account balance goes below the $100,000 threshold amount.

Also, if a disabled individual is employed and does not participate in an employer-sponsored retirement account (i.e. 401(k) or 403(b)), they can make an additional contribution up to the lesser of: (1) the ABLE account owner’s compensation for the tax year, or (2) the poverty line amount of $12,760 (2021) in the continental U.S., $14,680 in Hawaii and $15,950 in Alaska.

Are the Contributions Tax-Free?

The beneficiary, the disabled individual, is the account owner. Any income earned by the ABLE Account is tax-free. Any contribution to the ABLE Account may not be deductible for federal tax purposes.  However, some states may allow for a state income tax deduction for any contribution made to an ABLE Account.

What Can The ABLE Account Be Used For?

The ABLE Account must be used for a disabled individual’s qualified disability expenses. Qualified disability expenses are expenses related to the disabled individual who incurs expenses related to living a life with a disability.  These expenses usually include education, food, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology, personal support services, health care expenses, financial management and administrative services, and other expenses which help improve health, independence, and/or quality of the disabled individual.

Where Can I Open The ABLE Account? 

You can open the ABLE Account in any state that operates a state-level ABLE program. You do not have to be a resident of that state to open an account in that specific state.

Clients should feel free to contact one of us in the Tax, Trusts & Estates Department if you have any questions regarding ABLE Accounts, tax planning, estate planning (i.e. Wills, Trusts, Living Wills, Health Care Proxies, etc.), and estate and trust administration.

Co-Chairs of the Tax, Trusts & Estates Department:

Martin J. Dever, Jr. mdever@winnebanta.com and Jonathan Kukin jkukin@winnebanta.com

Partners:

Arthur I. Goldberg agoldberg@winnebanta.com

Peter J. Bakarich, Jr. pbakarich@winnebanta.com

Associates:

Doris Brandstatter dbrandstatter@winnebanta.com

Victor Manuel Nazario III vnazario@winnebanta.com

E mail us to make an appointment or to find out more about the process.

Update: New York Simplifies Powers of Attorney

On December 15, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed a law that amended New York State’s Power of Attorney law.  The new law amends New York General Obligations Law, Article 5, Title 5, and becomes effective on June 13, 2021.

The New York State Bar Association advocated for these changes to make Powers of Attorney easily accessible for all types of transactions, to provide legal remedies for improperly rejecting a Power of Attorney, and to clarify the scope of the Agent’s power and obligations.

Here are key highlights:

  1. A Power of Attorney does not have to match the statutory short Power of Attorney form exactly. Any Power of Attorney is valid if the document “substantially conforms to the statutory short Power of Attorney form.”
  2. The bill eliminates the Statutory Gift Rider. Any gifting power may be included in the Modification section of the Power of Attorney.
  3. The bill increases the total basic statutory gifting amount from $500 per year to $5,000 per year to conform with the Internal Revenue Code.
  4. If an individual may be a potential recipient of any gift through a power of attorney, that individual cannot serve as a witness to the execution of an individual’s Power of Attorney.
  5. Third parties can accept and rely on an original Power of Attorney or an attorney-certified copy of a Power of Attorney.
  6. An agent must record all transactions or keep all receipts of payments and transactions conducted on the principal’s behalf.
  7. The agent will be considered a personal representative for health care financial matters.

While the bill made significant changes to New York’s law governing Powers of Attorney, all prior executed New York Powers of Attorney remain valid. Clients do not need to re-execute their New York Powers of Attorney.

Clients should feel free to contact one of us in the Tax, Trusts & Estates Department if you have any questions regarding your existing Powers of Attorney or any of your other estate planning documents (i.e. Wills, Trusts, Living Wills, Health Care Proxies, etc.).

Co-Chairs of the Tax, Trusts & Estates Department:

Martin J. Dever, Jr. mdever@winnebanta.com and Jonathan Kukin jkukin@winnebanta.com

Partners:

Arthur I. Goldberg agoldberg@winnebanta.com

Peter J. Bakarich, Jr. pbakarich@winnebanta.com

Associates:

Doris Brandstatter dbrandstatter@winnebanta.com

Victor Manuel Nazario III vnazario@winnebanta.com

E mail us to make an appointment or to find out more about the process

RESTAURANT REVITALIZATION FUND EXPECTED TO LAUNCH EARLY APRIL

The SBA plans to launch a phased rollout of the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (the “RRF”) in early April.  The RRF is similar to the Paycheck Protection Program (the “PPP”), except its amounts are based on pandemic-related lost revenue rather than payroll costs and it is administered directly by the SBA instead of through bank loans guaranteed by the SBA.

What Businesses are Eligible for the RRF Grant?

The businesses eligible for the RRF grant are ones where the public or patrons assemble for the primary purpose of being served food or drink, including without limitation restaurants, food stands, food trucks, food carts, caterers, saloons, inns, taverns, bars, lounges, brewpubs, tasting rooms, taprooms, and licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer (the “Eligible Business”).  The Eligible Business cannot own or operate more than 20 locations.  Affiliated businesses will be considered and are defined as those businesses in which (i) the Eligible Business has an equity interest or right to profit distributions of not less than 50%, or (ii) the Eligible Business has managerial control, as determined by any arrangements or agreements in existence as of March 13, 2020.

State and local government-operated businesses, publicly-traded companies, companies owned or operating in more than 20 locations as of March 13, 2020 (regardless of whether the locations do business under the same name), and businesses that received, or have submitted an application for, a grant under the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits and Venues Act (the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant) are not eligible for the RRF grant.

May an Eligible Business Apply for the RRF Grant if the Eligible Business Received a PPP Loan?

Eligible Businesses that have received a PPP loan may apply for the RRF grant; however, the amount of the PPP loan must be subtracted from the RRF grant calculation.

What is the Amount of the RRF Grant?

The RRF provides grants up to $10 million per Eligible Business or $5 million per physical location of the Eligible Business.

Pandemic-related revenue loss is calculated by subtracting the 2020 gross receipts of the Eligible Business from the 2019 gross receipts of the Eligible Business.  If the Eligible Business was not in operation for the entirety of 2019, then the calculation is the difference between (i) the average monthly gross receipts in 2019 multiplied by 12 and (ii) the average monthly gross receipts in 2020 multiplied by 12.

What Expenses May the RRF Grant be Used For?

The RRF grant may be used for the following expenses during the covered period, currently defined as February 15, 2020 through December 31, 2021 (the “Covered Period”):

  1. Payroll costs and paid sick leave;
  2. Principal and interest payments on mortgages, not including prepayments of principal;
  3. Rent payments, not including prepayments;
  4. Utilities;
  5. Maintenance expenses (including to accommodate outdoor seating);
  6. Operational expenses;
  7. Certain covered supplier costs;
  8. Supplies, including personal protective equipment and cleaning materials;
  9. Food and beverage expenses within the Eligible Business’s scope of normal business practice before the Covered Period or other dates as determined by the SBA; and
  10. Any other expenses the SBA determines to be essential to maintaining the Eligible Business.

Does the RRF Grant Need to be Paid Back?

Any unused portion of the RRF grant will need to be paid back to the Treasury.  In addition, if the Eligible Business permanently closes before December 31, 2021, that Eligible Business must pay back the RRF grant.

What is the Certification Requirement for the Application?

As part of the application, the Eligible Business must make a good faith certification that the RRF grant is necessary to support ongoing operations and that the Eligible Business has not applied for or received funding under the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

When Does the Application Process Begin?

The application process is not yet open, but we anticipate it opening in the very near future.  We recommend that you prepare to apply right away, as funds will be available on a first-come first-served basis.

The RRF is providing a 21-day priority window to Eligible Businesses that are owned and operated or controlled by women, veterans, or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and has set aside $5 billion for the smallest Eligible Businesses, meaning those with gross receipts of $500,000 or less in 2019.

We will be monitoring and providing updates as new information becomes available.  The attorneys at Winne Banta Basralian & Kahn, P.C. are available to answer your questions and guide you through your tough business and financing decisions.

WINNE BANTA SCORES SIGNIFICANT LITIGATION VICTORY BASED ON LACK OF JURISDICTION

Winne Banta recently scored a significant litigation victory for its client, a major airline, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. The Court dismissed the Complaint against the airline, finding that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. Also, the Court declined the plaintiff’s request to transfer the case to a different Federal Court.

The Court determined that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the airline in a suit filed by a passenger in his home county in upstate New York for an alleged injury that occurred while aboard a flight from Florida to New Jersey. Winne Banta removed the case to Federal Court and immediately moved on behalf of the airline to dismiss the Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. A Federal Court can exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant in two main ways – by general (all-purpose) jurisdiction or specific (incident-based) jurisdiction. Courts acquire general jurisdiction over corporate defendants only in their states of incorporation or where they are headquartered. Since the airline was neither incorporated nor headquartered in New York, the Court concluded that it lacked general jurisdiction over the passenger’s claim. Courts acquire specific jurisdiction over a defendant, even a non-resident corporate defendant like an airline, if there is a substantial nexus between the subject incident and the state in which suit is filed. In this case, even though the plaintiff was not injured in New York, he argued that the airline was subject to specific jurisdiction on the theory that the purchase of his airline ticket from his home in New York and his round-trip travel that initiated in upstate New York were sufficient to establish a nexus to New York, for purposes of conferring jurisdiction over the airline. The Court rejected this argument, holding that the purchase of a ticket in New York was not sufficiently related to the cause of the alleged injury, which occurred out of state.

Alternatively, the passenger requested that the Court transfer his case to another federal district, rather than dismissing the action. He argued that a dismissal, rather than a transfer, would likely bar him from re-filing elsewhere because of statute of limitations issues. The Court denied the request, concluding that a transfer would unduly reward the passenger for his lack of diligence in prosecuting the action (he filed suit just before the statute of limitations expired), and for his selection of a forum (New York), which he knew or should have known had no “colorable basis for venue.”

The firm’s insurance defense practice is led by partners Carolyn Geraci Frome and Michael J. Cohen.

PPP Loans to Very Small Businesses

Although Very Small Businesses, i.e., those employing fewer than 20 employees, sole proprietorships, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals (“VSBs”) were given exclusive access to apply for PPP Loans in the two-week period commencing February 24, 2021, the absence of revisions to the Maximum Loan Amounts formula for VSBs (and accompanying application) precluded VSBs from acting.  VSBs have been waiting since the President’s February 22, 2021 announcement of changes to Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) funding calculations to provide meaningful relief to VSBs.

On March 3, 2021, the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) released rules and guidance regarding VSB Loans which closely follow our guidance of February 23, 2021.  Although the PPP rules provide extensive detail regarding program changes for VSBs, the following guidance is designed to aid VSBs filing Form 1040 to assess PPP Loan amounts and uses.

Calculating PPP Maximum Loan Amount (MLA):

 

  1. No Employees. If you have no employees, using your 2019 or 2020 1040 tax return (whichever has a greater gross income), take the gross income amount from Line item 7 or net profit from Line 31, not to exceed $100,000 (“Income”).  Divide Income by 12 and multiply by 2.5.  This is your maximum eligible loan amount not to exceed $20,833.  Add to that the amounts of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (“EIDL”) between 1/31/2020 and 4/3/2020 you seek to refinance (caution, see below).  If you are using your 2020 Form 1040, you must include your 2020 Schedule C as part of your PPP loan application regardless of whether you have filed your 2020 federal income tax return.
  2. With Employees.
    • ِِA. Compute 2019 or 2020 payroll limited to amounts paid to U.S. employees (“Payroll”):
      • i. An amount not to exceed $100,000 from either (i) net profit from Line 31 of Schedule C, or (ii) gross income from Line 7 from Schedule C minus employee payroll costs from Lines 14, 19, and 26 from Form 1040; plus
      • ii. Employee wages and tips (Form 941, Line 5c, Column a) for each quarter “plus any pre-tax employee contributions for health insurance or other fringe benefits excluded from Taxable Medicare wages & tips; subtract any amounts paid to any individual employee in excess of $100,000 on an annualized basis, as prorated for the period during which the payments are made or the obligation to make the payments is incurred;” plus
      • iii.  Portions of Schedule C, Line 14 attributable to employer contributions to employee group health, life, disability, vision and dental insurance…; Schedule C, Line 19 retirement contributions; “and state and local taxes assessed on employee compensation (primarily under state laws commonly referred to as the State Unemployment Tax Act or SUTA from state quarterly wage reporting forms).”
    • B. Divide Payroll by 12 and multiply by 2.5. This is your maximum eligible loan amount.  Add amounts of EIDL loans between 1/31/2020 and 4/3/2020 you seek to refinance (caution, see below).

Use of PPP Loan Proceeds:

  1. If you calculated MLA using (i) Schedule C, Line 31, proceeds can be used to pay net profit from Line 31, not to exceed $100,000; (ii) Schedule C, Line 7, proceeds can be used to pay business expenses plus owner compensation (“Proprietor Expenses”) during the year used to calculate MLA, not to exceed $20,833. For VSBs lacking employees, Proprietor Expenses equals gross income; and for VSBs with employees, Proprietor Expenses equals gross income minus payroll costs;
  2. Payroll Costs to employees (residing in the United States);
  3. To the extent they are deductible from Form 1040, Schedule C:
    • a. Mortgage interest payments, business rent payments, and business utility payments;
    • b. Covered operations expenditures;
    • c. Covered property damage costs;
    • d. Covered supplier costs; and
    • e. Covered worker compensation expenditures;
  4. Eligible expenses not subject to loan forgiveness (i.e., loan only):
    1. Interest payments on debt incurred prior to 2/15/2020; and
    2. Refinancing of EIDL loans made between 1/31/2020 and 4/3/2020 (for loans made after June 5, 2020, maturity reset to 5 years of PPP loan).

Safe Harbor Limitations.   The presumption granted other PPP loan recipients of less than $2 million as to the necessity of the loan request for the continued operations of the business does not apply to First Draw VSB borrowers using gross income to calculate MLA and reporting more than $150,000 in gross income on Line 7 of Schedule C.  The new rules provide that the SBA may review and revoke such a loan upon a determination that the loan is not necessary to support the continued operation of the business.

Second Draw Loans.  If you have applied and received funding previously, you are eligible for a Second Draw provided you have expended all prior PPP loan proceeds and can demonstrate revenue shortfalls of 25% in a 2020 quarter relative to 2019.  For a general discussion of Second Draw applications, go to the discussion at the following link.

The Maximum Loan Amount of Second Draw PPP Loans for Schedule C filers:

  1. No employees: the amount calculated in Paragraph 1 of the MLA Loan Calculation discussion above not to exceed $20,833 ($29,167 for NAICS Code 72 VSBs);
  2. With employees: the lesser of
    1. $2,000,000 or
    2. The product of
      • A. 5 (or 3.5 for NAICS 72 VSBs) times
      • B. The sum of either (i) an amount not to exceed $100,000 from either (a) net profit from Line 31 of Schedule C, or (b) gross income from Line 7 from Schedule C minus employee payroll costs from Lines 14, 19, and 26 on Form 1040; and (ii) the average total monthly payment for employee payroll costs incurred or paid by the borrower during the same year elected by the borrower.

Do Not Wait to Apply. Fortunately, the exclusive VSB only PPP application window has been extended to March 17, 2021.  Unfortunately, funding is limited.  Note also that the PPP loan application window is scheduled to close on March 31, 2021.  In short, submit your application as soon as possible.

What you need to do.

  1. Contact Your Bank. If you haven’t secured a bank, find one immediately.  Here is a link to locate participating banks in your area.
  2. Obtain the new application. The First Draw and Second Draw form applications published by the SBA can be found here, but you want to make sure you follow the application published by your bank.
  3. Gather the requisite documents: As per the application gather your documents.  Chief among them is your Federal Income Tax Return. Obtain your income tax return from 2019 or 2020 (whichever contains higher gross receipts).

Whatever questions you may have regarding the PPP or any other matter that you believe impacts you or your business, our attorneys are ready to guide you and may be reached at 201.487.3800.

As always, we are here to serve you.

Winne Banta Basralian & Kahn, P.C.

Download PDF format.

Estate Planning Essentials and Information Letter to your Family, Executors and Trustees

Tax, Trusts & Estates Department of Winne Banta Basralian & Kahn

Next steps if your plan is in place

You have taken the time and effort to place your legal and financial affairs in order with current signed Wills, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies and Living Wills.

Have you made it simple for your heirs and fiduciaries to locate your important papers and assets?

Have you made the necessary provisions for your digital assets, for example, your usernames and passwords for online access?

In today’s digital age it is so simple to supply this information.

Many clients provide a copy of their personal information letter to our firm to be held with their documents.  Electronic versions can also be placed in our secure electronic vault.  Others distribute a USB fob which contains all this information.

What if you have not started your planning or your planning needs to be reviewed?

The Covid crisis has changed the way we all look at planning.  The estate planning process can and should be providing relief from the anxieties related to our own mortality.

We recognize that estate planning and end of life decisions can be overwhelming.  We have counseled clients that making these decisions and choices when they are healthy; provides them with the ultimate degree of control. We have witnessed that as clients complete their planning, it eases their mind and reduces the burdensome details for the family when the time comes.

Employers can assist in the process

For our corporate clients, they have utilized our department to offer a companywide casual breakfast or lunch session to offer estate planning information, as part of their employee wellness program.  Employers have read the studies that speaking openly about one’s own mortality makes you a happier person and improves your relationships. Corporate theory suggests if your employees are happier, then you have a more productive employee.  The cost to an employer is minimal.

The essential information that should be included is below:

  • The location of your important documents (legal, tax and financial) and all necessary contact information relating to your estate.
  • Information regarding your funeral/burial plans
  • Detailed personal and account information that is password-protected
  • Digital assets and online accounts – provide each account’s username and password.

Below are a few current websites that may prove useful for your non-legal needs.

Cake is a free service that catalogs users’ end-of-life wishes, instructions and documents.

Lantern, a new company, which calls itself “the single source of guidance for navigating life before and after a death.”

LifeWeb360, which creates multimedia memorial scrapbooks.

Martin J. Dever, Jr. mdever@winnebanta.com and Jonathan Kukin jkukin@winnebanta.com

Co-Chairs of the Tax, Trusts & Estates Department

Arthur I. Goldberg agoldberg@winnebanta.com and Peter J. Bakarich, Jr. pbakarich@winnebanta.com – Partners

Doris Brandstatter dbrandstatter@winnebanta.com and Victor Manuel Nazario III vnazario@winnebanta.com – Associates

E mail us to make an appointment or to find out more about the process.

Paycheck Protection Program for Very Small Businesses, Sole Proprietors, Self Employed and Independent Contractors

 

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is revising the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in a few key areas to increase its attractiveness to smaller businesses impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Chief among the revisions is offering PPP loans exclusively to the smallest businesses employing fewer than 20 employees, sole proprietorships, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals (VSBs) from Wednesday, February 24, through Wednesday, March 10, 2021.

In addition, it is believed that the SBA will revise the PPP loan application for VSBs in the coming days significantly increasing availability of PPP funding to VSBs.  Under the PPP funding formula in place since early 2020, PPP funding is based on the number of employees of the business and calculated at 2.5 times payroll costs.  The de minimis PPP funding available to VSBs having few employees has failed to provide the necessary financial assistance to VSBs.  VSBs having no employees have been directed to utilize Line 31 (net profit) from IRS Form 1040 Schedule C.  The low net profitability of many VSBs has again negated the PPP as a viable funding source to aid in the continued operations of these businesses.  Although formal guidance has not yet been published, it is believed that the SBA’s revision to the PPP loan application will predicate PPP financial assistance upon the VSB’s gross income (likely capped at $100,000).

We recommend that VSBs contact their lenders immediately and closely monitor the SBA COVID-19 Guidance Page for information pertaining to a revised PPP loan application.

Whatever questions you may have regarding the PPP or any other matter that you believe impacts you or your business, our attorneys are ready to guide you and may be reached at 201.487.3800.

As always, we are here to serve you. Winne Banta Basralian & Kahn, P.C.

NJRA Small Business Lease Emergency Assistance Grant Program

Governor Phil Murphy and Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver recently announced $5 million in funding for Phase 2 of the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA) Small Business Lease Emergency Assistance Grant Program.  This commercial rent relief program provides grants up to $10,000 for COVID-impacted small businesses and nonprofits located in NJRA’s 66 legislatively designated communities.  The NJRA designated communities are listed here:  https://www.njra.us/media/SBLEAGP/Eligible%20Municipalities.pdf.  Applications for this program open Monday, February 22nd, at 9:00 a.m. at https://www.njra.us/ and are on a first-come-first-served basis.  Eligible applicants include small businesses leasing commercial space in mixed-use buildings, small businesses leasing space in commercial buildings, small businesses leasing space to operate a storefront business, and small businesses occupying no more than 5,000 square feet of space.

 

Whatever questions you may have regarding the NJRA Small Business Lease Emergency Assistance Grant Program or any other matter that you believe impacts you or your business, our attorneys are ready to guide you and may be reached at 201.487.3800.

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.