Blog :: 10-2013

The $400,000 Question: What Do You Get In Montclair?

400k home bloomfieldLast week I was interviewed by the Star-Ledger for an article about how much house a buyer can get for $400,000. As you might expect, the answer depends on where the buyer is looking. Home prices can vary widely from one town to the next, and sometimes from one neighborhood to another within the same town. In Montclair, for instance, $400,000 is considered the entry point for a single-family home in most neighborhoods. You can get a very nice condominium, but a house at that price will be under 1500 square feet and may need some work. Montclair real estate is more expensive than that of surrounding communities for reasons such as its direct train service to New York, proximity to Montclair State University, and numerous restaurants and cultural offerings.

If this is discouraging to potential buyers, the good news is that their dollars will go further in towns right next to Montclair. As I said in the article, $400,000 will buy a very nice house in Bloomfield, Cedar Groveor West Orange. If this is your budget, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me. I'd love to show you some options in these towns as well as in Montclair.

What Will Buyers Pay For My Montclair House? Ask a Nobel Prize Winner.

nobel prizeEarlier this week, three Americans were awarded the Nobel prize for economics. According to the article I read about them in The Washington Post, their work has helped unify the theories behind asset pricing.  Although I'm not a numbers geek, one of the winners has spent years studying housing markets, so I was very interested to learn about his work.

Robert Shiller, a professor at Yale, predicted that excessive optimism about future housing prices would drive present housing prices up way beyond traditional assessments relative to rental rates. This is exactly what happened in much of the U.S. during the mid-2000s. He also predicted that these irrational housing markets would be followed by a period of unusually low returns, or, to put it in lay terms, the housing bubble would burst. Again, he was correct.

With the nationwide housing bubble gone, and prices in Montclair and Glen Ridge quickly on the rise, it won't be long before we see evidence of Shiller's theory again.  Because homes in the best suburbs of New York City will always be sought after, buyers are feeling confident about competing in multiple offer scenarios.  This is what Shiller calls "irrational exuberance"-- the belief that prices will continue to rise indefinitely, so the house can later be sold for even more money. Have we reached this point yet? -I don't know but in the last couple of  weeks, several homes have sold in multiple bids - some with as many as 7 or 8 offers.  I wonder what Robert Shiller would have to say about that.

 

A Great Value in Glen Ridge: 8 Hathaway Place

8 Hathaway PlaceGood news for prospective buyers looking for homes in Glen Ridge: I have a new listing for a great house at a great price. 8 Hathaway Place is a very pretty four-bedroom Colonial in the north end of town. This home has all the charming architectural details one would expect from a home built in 1920, but it also has modern conveniences such as central air-conditioning, an open floor plan  and a finished rec room in the basement. Hathaway Place is a not a through street so this house offers a low-traffic location. It is available for $499,000.

8 Hathaway Place is also ideally located for commuters: it is walking distance to both bus and train service to New York City. The town of Glen Ridge boasts an excellent school district; New Jersey Monthly last year ranked its high school 12th overall out of 328 public high schools surveyed.  The town is also known for its charming gas lamps on every street corner. So if a lovely home at a reasonable price in a charming town with great schools appeals to you, don't hesitate to get in touch with me. I'd love to show it to you or join me at our open house Sunday 10/13 from 2 to 4pm.

Walk Where You Live. Live Where you Walk

familywalkingI recently read an article in The Sacramento Bee that confirmed what I've suspected for a long time: Americans know that walking is good for their health and that they aren't doing enough of it. According to a survey commissioned by the major health-care provider Kaiser Permanente, a whopping 94% of Americans recognize the physical and mental health benefits of walking, and 79% admit that they aren't doing enough of it to enjoy these benefits. These benefits range from weight loss to heart disease prevention to stress reduction..

The survey respondents gave a variety of reasons, including a lack of time or energy, for not incorporating walking into their daily lives. I was especially interested to read that many also said that not being able to walk to shops, schools and services prevented them from walking more. A full 40% of respondents described their neighborhoods as "not very" or "not at all" walkable. They cited a lack of sidewalks, speeding cars, and drivers who talk/text while driving as the biggest barriers to walking in their neighborhoods.

The survey also found that those who live in walkable neighborhoods do, in fact, walk more. It seems to me, then, that buying a home in Montclair or Maplewood (both very walkable communities)  can actually be beneficial to one's mental and physical well-being.

Comments

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