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Realtors' association launches database to improve housing tracking

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The New Jersey Association of Realtors has launched a new database to streamline how Garden State housing statistics are tracked, providing a better picture of the market here and making much of the research available to businesses outside the real estate industry.

The new system analyzes and collects data provided by all nine multiple listing services used by Realtors around New Jersey, allowing the Edison-based organization to generate monthly reports for municipal, county and statewide markets.

Jarrod Grasso, the group's CEO, said the project eliminates its reliance on regionalized reports issued by its national counterpart, which didn't provide it with a true sense of local areas.

The database, developed and run by Edina, Minn.-based 10K Research and Marketing, also ensures each transaction is counted only once despite being reported to more than one listing service, Grasso said. That was an issue in past attempts to compile the data.

"The issue that it caused is that you were inflating housing statistics — for better for worse," Grasso said. "So this way, now we have a true picture for what's really going on here in the state."

The monthly 10K reports track data such as new listings, closed sales and median sales price for single-family homes, town homes and adult communities. Members of the public can access county and state reports at www.njar.com/10k, while municipal reports are only available to NJAR members.

Grasso noted the latest report for August has some favorable indicators, including a 13.7 percent rise in closed single-family home sales and a 6.8 percent uptick in the median sale price, to $315,000, from August 2012. He also said the state's inventory was down about 30 percent, to a supply of eight months.

"One of the big key aspects to our housing recovery is clearing out short sales and foreclosures," Grasso said, noting that having foreclosures handled by the courts has led to a backlog in New Jersey. "So, seeing that inventory starting to drop means that we're starting to clear out those distressed sales."

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