Montclair's $1.6M price tag

Dated: July 13 2023

Views: 99

Like many people, I’m an optimist and a skiptic. I didn’t want to believe what I was reading earlier today on a colleague’s Thread (it’s the new Twitter), so I had to validate it on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) myself. And there it was, undeniable, in black-and-white, two-decade old Verdana typeface, and simple block report formatting. In June 2023, the average price of a single-family home sold in Montclair was $1.6 million. I’m attaching the data because I know you’re skeptical, too.


There was one significant anomaly. A property sold for whopping $9.5M towards the end of the month. And if we remove this outlier from the rest of small group of 38 homes, the mean price drops to $1.4 million from $1.6M. Wow. You would not be wrong if you characterized Montclair as a mostly million-dollar listing town.


There are some significant trends to how comfortable buyers are when they tackle the competitive playing field of our local real estate market. Out of a total of 38 homes sold in June, 26 went $100K or more over list price. The average being +$218K; and if you take out the $9.5M sale anomaly, the average winning offers  are +$264K above listed price. With the highest coming in at $701K above ask. It's a race where wallets sprint, and dreams chase. (Sometimes ChatGPT waxes poetic.)


The fascinating tales of many of Montclair's incoming residential real estate clientele. Picture these hypothetical yet typical, marketing personae: A couple meets in Brooklyn (or Manhattan, Hoboken, or Jersey City), and in the natural "let's start (or grow) a family," they suddenly crave more space and a more suburban lifestyle. With their messy hair-bun/man-bun propped back, lattes in hand, and the bitter cold after the start of the new year, they embark on a journey to the burbs.

Diversity of thought (and some other Fair Housing things I'm probably restricted from writing) are important to them, so they search for a place where roots can grow, and a family can flourish. Many are drawn by friends and family, while others stumble upon Montclair through the winds of curiosity. Some venture to New Rochelle in Westchester, Montclair, South Orange, Westfield or any other progressive-leaning Narnia-like suburban town. And so, the race begins, minus the COVID quarantine-year restrictions of 2020, from to city to suburb in the circle of life as the yearly home hunting season begins.

Here, the residential real estate year starts officially on the Sunday after the Super Bowl. Brokers know better than to compete with NFL Sunday Ticket for your attention at open houses. The first wave of early-bird buyers take us to the end of March or April, when deposits for many private and pre-schools are due, and sadly we lose our first group who may tackle it next year. But the spring market charges on through Memorial Day for a second push for those who can still close on their house by the end of summer, ensuring the kids are settled in their new schools come fall.


There's one smaller but significant homes sales blip at the end of the year, but it can't hold a candle to the energy and demand of the spring market. And this year, unless some economic miracle occurs, we're bracing ourselves for even higher demand as we head into summer, with more buyers than ever before. No one has a crystal ball to my knowledge. They would have won tonight's Power Ball drawing. And maybe hen they could afford the $1.6M average home sale price.


So, what do you think summer and fall will look like? Will rising interest rates dissuade motivated buyers? What does it mean for development in Montclair and our ability to adapt to the realities of the rising cost of living? Do you think we’ll continue with this growth period for years to come? Interested in your thoughts.



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Moses Oliva

Moses Oliva is a licensed Real Estate Broker Associate with Weichert Realtors® where he is a top performer. Moses was recently selected to chair of the NJ Association of Realtors® Po....

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