Since 2007, the average home around Lake Hopatcong lost about $89,000 of its value, which amounts to more than a quarter of its worth. But the area has generally stayed on par with the rest of the New Jersey with regard to home values, based on data provided by RealtyTrac Inc., and two of the four towns that surround the lake are faring better than most of the state.
In January 2007, the average home in New Jersey was worth $382,184, but by July of this year, that number had dropped 27 percent, down to $278,222. Homes in Hopatcong, Lake Hopatcong, Landing, and Mt. Arlington saw a similar reduction: In Hopatcong, the average home value dropped 30 percent during that 43-month span, from $292,248 to $204,287, and in Landing, the drop was 28 percent, from $354,717 to $255,581. Lake Hopatcong and Mt. Arlington fared slightly better, with just a 23 percent drop in Lake Hopatcong (from $354,712 to $271,620) and a 24 percent drop in Mt. Arlington (from $382,891 to $292,037).
But there is a silver lining. Though the drop over the last several years was steep, all four towns—as well as the state as a whole—appear to be on the upswing, at least temporarily. Just from April to July, average home values in Hopatcong rose $5,000; in both Lake Hopatcong and Landing they rose about $15,000; and in Mt. Arlington the values increased by nearly $35,000, according to RealtyTrac statistics. Statewide, values increased by about $21,000 during that three-month span.
Foreclosure rates across the four lake towns were similar relative to one another, with Hopatcong and Landing’s rates higher than the state average, and Lake Hopatcong and Mt. Arlington’s rates lower. The foreclosure rate across New Jersey is about 2.9 percent of households, according to census and RealtyTrac data. In Hopatcong, there are 187 homes in foreclosure, or about 4.6 percent of the borough’s 4,083 homes. In Landing, the foreclosure rate is 3.4 percent (61 of 1,773 homes). Lake Hopatcong homeowners have a 2.4 percent rate, with 70 homes in foreclosure within the 07849 zip code (which includes 2,912 households). Mt. Arlington has fared the best, with a 2.2 percent foreclosure rate: 34 of the borough’s 1,537 homes are currently in foreclosure.
State and federal governments have programs in place—such as the Statewide Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program out of the N.J. Office of the Attorney General—aimed to assist homeowners who may face foreclosure, including access to counselors and attorneys. But from the buyer’s perspective, a federal program that provided tax credits to first-time homebuyers expired in June, and a bipartisan state bill that passed the legislature in Trenton this spring—which would have provided credits of up to $15,000 to homebuyers—was vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie last month, who said the state could not afford the measure.
Regardless of whether such housing policies are passed, or are even effective, Lawrence Yun, the chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, said in a statement last month that he is still hopeful that the housing situation is bouncing back. “There could be a couple of additional months of slow home sales activity before picking up later in the year,” he said, “provided the job market continues to improve.”
Hopatcong Home Values (07843)
Lake Hopatcong Home Values (07849)
Landing Home Values (07850)
Mt. Arlington Home Values (07856)
New Jersey Home Values, Statewide
Statistics and charts provided by RealtyTrac, Inc.