The Matzav Shmoooze: Who Destroyed the Lakewood Real Estate Market?

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Dear Editor, recently reported on the fact that Lakewood has the fastest rising housing prices in the country.

But please report the truth: The main reason for this price surge in Lakewood is a result of real estate agents trying to create bidding wars in order to raise the price and with it the dollar size of the commission.

This is combined with agents pressuring potential buyers to offer more and enticing people to sell by giving the seller high valuations.

In other words, much of the insane uptick in prices is due to manipulations by the agents.

These agents have also been to blame because, for the last 5 years, they’ve been visiting people in New York and elsewhere, drawing them to buy houses in Lakewood, Jackson, Toms River and the vicinity.

So thanks, agents, for destroying the market and making it now unaffordable for an average family to buy a house. Job well done. Hope you can sleep well at night.

A Frustrated Wannabe Homeowner


    • I dont get it, you guys are being Motzei shem ra on the highest level.
      Prices dont go up unless people are willing to pay for it, stop with your they did this blah blah.

      I’m also hurting from the market, and I believe it will R”L (because CH”V that yidden should be hurteven when they MAY have made rash decisions) crash, theres just no way so many people can afford this stuff. I make more than most Bichasdei Hashem, and when I wanted to buy in the neighborhood I currently rent, i was shocked to find that one has to be in the top 10 percent of earners to be able to (responsibly) afford a home there.
      I am upset about it, but NO ONE did ANYTHING to harm me. Its “not fair”, (whatever that means), but thats life. stop blaming others for your lack of income, or your sensible yet unrewarding decisions.

  1. There is no mitzvas yishuv Lakewood
    You can move to Jackson and lead a productive life without Lakewood traffic or minyan factories
    I am more worried about developments in Lakewood that vet potential buyers to make sure they are the right “type” that’s not capitalism it’s more like sodom

  2. Dear Angry Jealous Wannabee Homeowner:

    Thanks for your totally ludicrous hate-filled letter filled with Motzei Shem Rah. Any place that has an uptick in sales – in other words people show a stronger interest the prices rise. What happens when 20 ppl want to move to i.e. Brookwood 1 and there are only 5 houses for sale. We have what is called a bidding war. Meaning ppl are willing to pay above asking price to get the house and hope that by the time they sell – most likely when they are 60-70 the price of the house will be more than they paid. (Which most likely will be the case.) This has nothing to do with the agents trying to make an extra couple of bucks. Every Lakewood agent I have dealt with ( and there has been many) all have been cordial and really nice. Explained everything clearly. Period. Did they ever advise to bid higher. They never told me I had to, though they have in certain neighborhoods told me that it is likely someone will bid higher than asking price. But they never ever pressured me to bid higher than asking. They let me bid what I wanted. So thanks for all your sheker – and to all those reading his letter pls be aware that it isnt factual. The agents in Lakewood are amazing people helping out the amazing Lakewood and surrounding communities in any way they can!!! Thank you to all you amazing agents doing your amazing job!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I feel your frustrations, as I, too would love to buy a house in Lakewood.

    However, as I see it the people coming from New York are coming to Lakewood because the housing here is more affordable (comparatively) than where they come from. Add to that the fact that there is already infrastructure in place (Chadorim, shuls, mikvahs, multiple high-end Kosher groceries) and it is a no-brainer for them to come.

    Anecdotally, while I was a bochur, I learned in a Yeshiva near Boro Park for a while, and I chapped a shmooze with someone who was selling their house in BP and buying in Lakewood, he gave me all of these reasons plus the fact that his house in Lakewood comes with 3 parking spots.

    Additionally, if there was no massive demand for these homes, the techniques that you are describing would fall flat.
    just think about it, if there are 50 houses available, and 30 people looking to buy, and you try to get me to engage in a price war, I am just going to move on.

    So I don’t think that it has that much to do with the agents and more to do with the rising cost of living in NY

  4. Well said! The pumped up prices are ruining it in the 55+ communities also, where the fixed income retirees are dealing with the same greed.

  5. Yawn. The real estate ganovim, oops I mean agents, and house flippers did the exact same thing here in Brooklyn from the late 90’s and on. They created this false narrative that it was “a sellers market” and it’s all about “supply and demand”. They put fear and panic into the gullible shvers and shvigers and….the phantom bidding wars started. Yup, a fully attached (both sides) 3 small bedrooms house with a collapsing roof, no driveway or parking, and the Q train running thru your backyard was going for a half a million dollars. Better give me an answer by tonight because I already have an offer for $600,000.00. Than they moved their genaiva to Marine Park and killed that neighborhood. The olam has now shifted to North Woodmere, where at least over there you get more for your dollar. These evil “agents” would pump up the goyishe seller, saying that “what, are you nuts? You want to settle for only 400k?! The Orthodox Yidden will pay 800k for your shmata!” These greedy real estate agents have a special place in gehenom waiting for them.

  6. “But please report the truth: The main reason for this price surge in Lakewood is a result of real estate agents trying to create bidding wars in order to raise the price and with it the dollar size of the commission.”

    yes, that is how capitalism works, if the value is there, the unseen hand of the market will set the price there.

  7. “This is combined with agents pressuring potential buyers to offer more and enticing people to sell by giving the seller high valuations.”

    If people are paying that price, that is how much it is worth.

  8. the cost of building one side of a duplex today is close to $400,000. Add to that the cost of the land, and you can’t build a duplex for less than $600,000 today.

  9. Your nativity is seen through this letter.
    You obviously have no idea how real estate works .

    I’m a frum realtor working in Lakewood area .
    You think I enjoy putting in offer after offer on houses and having my buyer not get it because there were 10 offers on it ?
    No , I enjoyed when the market was easier and I had more inventory available to show and my buyers were able to make calm decisions and offer 10k below asking and secure the home.

    News flash to you – this is going on in Many areas in many states not just the small town of Lakewood .

    I have a strong network of realtor friends in New York , Florida and NJ.
    This is going on in all areas .

    Ever heard of the concept of supply and demand ?
    There is limited inventory now and there are many buyers due to :
    1) Historically low interest rates
    2) covid – many people are looking to upgrade to bigger spaces to spend time with their families or move closer to their children .
    3) many looking to get out of the city or Brooklyn etc .

    It is not our fault as realtors that buyers from New York want to come here and offer 10k over asking a home in order to secure so they don’t lose it to someone else .
    You think if a home is listed for 500k and it sells for 515k there is such a major difference in commission ?
    On average agents work 2-3 months on a deal and they get paid 2-2.5 percent once it’s closes .
    Do the math , afew dollars difference in purchase price is really not something we care about or even glance at .

    Also note , when we list homes . It is waaaaay easier for us to sell if it is priced lower . We don’t need to market them a lot and the lower the price the easier it is for us . So I’m just wondering how are WE driving the prices up ?
    When a seller asks me what they can get for their home and what it should be priced at . I look at the data , the comparable sales in the neighborhood and decide based off that a recommended list price .

    I tell my sellers all the time I don’t create the market I just interpret it . It is the buyers that determine what the home will sell for .
    We are brokers . We broker the transaction. We help the seller and buyer connect and negotiate .

    I feel bad that you think this way . Maybe you had a bad experience . I hope you buy your dream home very soon.

  10. At the end of the day, its demand that drives the market price. Agents can hike whatever they want but is theres no demand (and a surplus of housing) then no one will pay these insane prices and they will be forced to lower.

    So no, its not just the agents at fault, its also the buyers who are willing to pay

    • why is it anyone’s “fault”
      we are in galus, when we were in Europe we constantly had to stay on the run from Goyim trying to kill us.
      Here in America, we are again on the run (see below), just instead of goyim trying to kill us and take our houses, it is frum people offering us more than we paid for our houses.

      When yeshivaleit first came to America after WW2, the first place we settled was Williamsburg, and Boro Park. When increased demand raised the prices, we moved to Lakewood. Now increased demand is pushing us into unknown territories again, but at least nobody is killing us!

  11. Author is Right On!
    It’s about time someone exposed what developers have created here . It is also true that some of the “ Olam “ purchasing in certain areas have this elitist and snobby attitude. Yet; the developers and their realtors have created this crazed market !
    No doubt !
    About time someone expressed it all.
    And none other than these developers bask in kavod where ever they go .
    Finally someone had the guts to say it the way it is !!!
    Crooked means of buying properties and developing them , and “ creative “ purchasing and zoning privileges , AND this is what is left !
    A messed up city !

  12. It’s the developers and realtors who know how to pull strings and create the hype .
    They offer classes on how to “ make it in Lakewood “ health insurance Etc. Btw
    They do not educate you about walking on route 9 North or south or any of the roads with out sidewalks !
    Everything is irresponsible and greedy !
    Yes ; some snootiness in the developments true …. the Torah Ugedulah people are generally snooty , others too …
    But the real issue is the greediness of the developers and realtors !
    Hands down!!!

  13. @frum realtor

    Thanks for explaining this so clearly .

    I’m also a realtor in the community and everything you said was so clearly depicted .

    It’s equally challenging for us realtors in this market .

    Besides the countless hours i spend showing homes, putting in offers im also left trying to create inventory .

    Wishing you all hatzolacha looking for a home and imyh real soon i look forward to the spring where hopefully there will be a huge surge in inventory and where we can place all of you in beautiful affordable homes .

    kol tuv

  14. Covid resulted in supply and demand war. Brokers have no say. Even the mosy unsuccessful broker sold everything they had. Its simple supply and demand. Yes agents are price manipulators to get listings but not now.

  15. Frum Realtor, thank you for your beautiful, clear and eloquently-expressed explanation. You sound like a wonderful, fine, clear-headed person who would be a pleasure to work with.

  16. Real estate agents have an incentive to raise prices. Only Hashem can judge, and we should all be careful with our business dealings of course.
    Unfortunately I have met many unscrupulous real estate agents and have little faith in the industry. People have the option of selling independently but once you sign, you are at the mercy of their levels of honesty and Yiras Shamayim.
    I have been personally greatly disappointed in the past.

  17. You know what is so great? It’s great when there is a letter posted to this site on a niche topic that inevitably draws those in the field who receive a link to the article to comment. And then you see the difference in tone, thinking, and general competence between the one-time poster and I would say a good 70 percent of comments from “regulars” who sport their quackery, extremism, and general foolishness here yomam valaylah.

  18. Please stop bashing agents and developers! I am no fan of agents but facts are facts. Regarding developers,
    Cost of land, labor and material have went up so much but people don’t want to pay for the house market prices so as a result many developers will have no choice but to cut costs with quality or charge you for everything. Someone has to pay for it. The rich are not paying for your house unless your part of the Squad socialist of America… If your shver didnt buy you one (mine definitely didn’t!!!) you got to work hard instead of blaming agents developers and the world.

  19. OP – have you sat down with any real estate professional to figure out what you can actually afford? Maybe buying in Lakewood is out of reach, but Toms River , Jackson etc might be affordable for you.

  20. I bought in Jackson 3 years ago for $275K with a few family’s all paying in that range. 2 BROKERS/AGENTS found out about this area, they went knocking door to door to HIKE up the pricing over $650K
    These jerks told my neighbor (a goy) I’ll get you someone form Brooklyn that will pay you over $650K. and it worked.

    • Exactly my point. The greedy RE agents will never admit that. Don’t worry. Yesh din viyesh dayin. They’ll get what’s coming to them in the end.

  21. Unsuccessful agents use the price manipulation to get a listing but they will fall short when they cant deliver (regular norma time and not during covid). When you have no inventory for sale yes unsuccessful agents will use the price game to get a listing but professional brokers/agents dont do that game. I am no agent no broker and no fan of the industry but facts are facts and when everyone is leaving democratic cities to the suburbs or to republican states automatically prices of houses go up. I suggest you reach out to the top agents that dont use price manipulation to get a listing and I am sure you will see with such low interest rates you get more for your money now then when prices of houses where lower. Keep in mind early 2019 for around 7 month the market was very dry… covid gave it a wakeup call and supply and demand kicked in. Capitalism works on supply and demand.

  22. In other words, people are being presented rational arguments after which they use their own free will to move and to pay a market rate for a home in a desirable location.


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