Michael J. Bovaird

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The New Jersey real estate market has undergone many changes over the last few years, and this has many would-be home buyers asking the same questions: Is now a good time to buy a home in New Jersey? From a cost perspective, would it be better to buy in 2018 or wait until 2019?

Here’s an updated look at real estate and economic trends in the state, to help you answer these important questions.

New Jersey House Values Expected to Rise

Statewide, home prices in New Jersey have risen over the last few years. They are expected to continue rising, in most parts of the state, over the coming months. These trends are important to all home buyers, whether you end up buying a house in 2018 or 2019.

The research team at Zillow, for example, recently predicted that the median home value for New Jersey would rise by around 2.1% over the next 12 months. Granted, this is just one forecast. But the general consensus among economists and housing analysts appears to be that home prices in the state will likely continue to rise.

So, purely from a cost perspective, now might be a very good time to buy a house in New Jersey. Buyers who postpone their purchases until later in 2018, or 2019, could encounter higher housing costs.

Mortgage Rates Level Off in Spring

Mortgage rates have settled down a bit, following a steady upward climb during the first two months of the year. This is another trend that could affect many home ...


Home values in most New Jersey towns and cities rose steadily during 2017. This prompted the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to raise the conforming loan limits for all counties in New Jersey, for 2018. So the jumbo mortgage threshold went up as well. Additionally, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) increased the limits for FHA loans in New Jersey.

2018 Conforming & VA Loan Limits for New Jersey

A conforming loan is one that meets or “conforms” to the size restrictions used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponosored corporations that buy mortgages from lenders. Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans have the same limits as conforming mortgage products, at least for 2018.

Here are the 2018 VA and conforming loan limits for all New Jersey counties:

...

Home prices in Bergen County, New Jersey rose steadily over the last couple of years. And the price growth that occurred during 2017 prompted federal housing officials to raise the FHA and conventional conforming loan limits for 2018.

In Bergen County, the FHA and conforming limit for a single-family home rose to $679,650 for 2018. The jumbo loan threshold went up as well. Anything that exceeds $679,650 is considered a jumbo mortgage product.

Recap: Know Your Mortgage Lingo

Before we go any further, we should define some of the terminology used here. Knowing these terms is the first step to understanding how loan limits work.

  • Conventional: A conventional home loan is one that is not insured or guaranteed by the federal government. This sets it apart from FHA and VA loans, which doreceive government backing. Depending on the amount being borrowed, conventional loans can either be “conforming” or “jumbo” as defined below.
  • Conforming: A conforming loan is basically a conventional mortgage product that meets the size restrictions used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These are the two government-sponosored corporations that buy mortgages from lenders. Fannie and Freddie have size limits for what they can purchase, and when a mortgage product meets these limits it is referred to as a conforming loan.
  • ...

In a previous article, we discussed some of the strategies for minimizing your down payment. But what about those borrowers who have little or no money saved for an upfront investment? Here’s an overview of the zero-down-payment mortgage options available to New Jersey home buyers.

Zero-Down Mortgage Loans in New Jersey

If you’re planning to use a mortgage loan to buy a house in New Jersey, there’s a good chance you’ll have to make a down payment of some kind. But there are some programs that offer 100% financing to eligible borrowers. Here are two government mortgage programs allow home buyers in New Jersey to buy with zero down.

  • VA loans: Most military members and veterans are eligible for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loan program. This unique program offers 100% financing to qualified borrowers, which means there is often zero down payment required. Borrowers who use VA loans can also avoid mortgage insurance, in many cases.
  • USDA loans: The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers home loan options to borrowers in rural areas who meet specific income requirements. This program is primarily geared toward buyers with low to moderate income. It too offers 100% financing to qualified borrowers. But only a small percentage of home buyers in New Jersey qualify for this ...

The 30-year fixed-rate conventional mortgage is by far the most popular type of home loan in New Jersey and nationwide. In this article, we’ll look at the primary components of this mortgage option, and when it might make sense to use it.

Features of the 30-Year Fixed-Rate Loan

Home buyers and homeowners in New Jersey have a lot of options when it comes to mortgage financing. There are many different loan products available today, and they all have unique features.

The most popular loan option is the 30-year fixed-rate conventional mortgage. But what does this terminology mean to you, as a borrower? Let’s take a look.

Nearly all home loan options are made up of three primary components:

  1. Loan term — The “term” of the mortgage loan refers to how long you have to repay it. With all other things being equal, a longer term will result in a lower monthly payment since the payments are spread out. As you might have guessed, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has a repayment term of 30 years.
  2. Loan type — Mortgage loans in New Jersey can either be conventional or government-backed. “Conventional” is a term used for home loans that are originated (and sometimes insured) within the private sector, with nogovernment backing. FHA and VA loans, on the other hand, are insured or guaranteed by the federal government. Conventional mortgages are the ...

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County 1-Unit 2-Unit 3-Unit 4-Unit
ATLANTIC $453,100 $580,150 $701,250 $871,450
BERGEN $679,650 $870,225 $1,051,875 $1,307,175
BURLINGTON $453,100 $580,150 $701,250 $871,450
CAMDEN $453,100 $580,150 $701,250