Baby Boomers Are Heading Back to the City

Baby Boomers Going Back to the City

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To all my friends, neighbors and colleagues who want to make a lifestyle change because they no longer want the responsibility or environmental foot print associated with living in a large house, here’s the deal: Baby Boomers are Heading Back to the City. The latest research shows that cities in the US are growing in population while demand for the suburban lifestyle is declining.

Suburbia used to be synonymous with the American Dream. In the 1950’s suburban sprawl was the evidence of the middle class attaining a “piece of the pie.” In the New York tri-state area it meant a migration to Long Island, Westchester and New Jersey from Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs. Add an American made car in the driveway and indeed it was the dream come true.

As decades passed, the sprawl got further and the houses got a whole lot bigger. Once our kids fly the coup all that square footage can feel a bit useless. At the same time,  Baby Boomers are also able to return to a lifestyle so many of use were acquainted with prior to settling down and buying our spacious homes. Going out for dinner with friends mid week or taking off for the weekend spur of the moment  are once again options.

For these reasons many people age 50+ (yes technically Baby Boomers are 50+) are opting to return to cities where they can once again partake of the art, culture and ease of city living. At the same time, Manhattan real estate prices have never been higher. However, there are some really great options in Brooklyn, Queens, Jersey City and Hoboken.

Another trend is to stay in the suburbs and live in a smaller home close to a thriving downtown (like Maplewood, South Orange or Montclair) or in one of the luxury rental building these towns now offer. Want to know what your options are? You may find my Baby Boomer’s Guide Where to Move Next  a big help.


Read more about the research from here



7 Berkeley Road Maplewood, NJ 07040

7 Berkeley Road Maplewood, NJ 07040The spring is coming. At least in the real estate market it is. How do I know? Because several new, incredibly beautiful homes hit the market, and 7 Berkeley Road in Maplewood, NJ  07040 is one of them.

The current owners have an incredible sense of style and color so making a very traditional colonial home feel light, bright and modern. Every inch of the home has been updated. With a large formal living room, formal dining room, kitchen large family room and the quintessential Maplewood room on the first floor it can easily accommodate a family of 4 – 5 and is ideal for entertaining.

One of my favorite  improvements made to the house is placing the laundry facilities on the second floor. Let’s hear it for not having to run up and down two sets of stairs.

Beyond the house itself, this is a valuable property because of its great location.  It is ideal for commuters because it is located just several blocks from the Maplewood train station which serves both Midtown Manhattan and Hoboken.  The list prices is $649,000. For more property details click here. Enjoy the pictures and let me know if you want to see this wonderful home in person.

7 Berekely Road Maplewood Nj 07040

7 Berekely Road Maplewood Nj 07040














7 Berekely Road Maplewood Nj 07040

7 Berekely Road Maplewood Nj 07040

7 Berekely Road Maplewood Nj 07040

7 Berekely Road Maplewood Nj 07040

7 Berekely Road Maplewood Nj 07040

Maplewood Real Estate Market Strongest in 6 Years

The Maplewood real estate market was the strongest in 6 years, by the end of 2014. Its the story of a huge comeback – and who doesn’t like a good story about a come back?

Maplewood real estate market trends past 6 Years

In 2008 prices dropped precipitously as inventory started to expand. Maplewood was hit especially hard by the recession because a large percentage of its inventory is ideal for first time home buyers who want to leave the city. These young urban professionals were also the same generation facing enormous college debt, high unemployment rates, lower entry level salaries and major job insecurity (if they had one).

Real estate is a trickle up market. If the first time buyers aren’t out, then those who want to sell and move up to a larger home also have to stay put and so on. In 2011 Congress passed a short term stimulus bill for the real estate market titled “The First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit” which provided an increase in sales, but it went right back down after its expiration.

However, as the economy slowly recovered, unemployment decreased, and jobs became more secure the first time home buyer came back into the market and fueled the recovery organically in Maplewood. This is especially true in the last 2 years when the average sale price of a home exceeded its highest value in 2008- making it the strongest market in 6 years.

No one can unequivocally predict the future of a market like real estate since it has so many variables. Because it is a commodities market it is influenced by psychological factors as much as anything else. If buyers think prices are going up they will rush to get in now. And that’s my prediction for the spring 2015 market. Because the interest rates are still incredibly low, unemployment is the lowest it has been in years and the amount of inventory in Maplewood is incredibly low – price should continue on an upward trajectory.

Maplewood Real Estate Market Trends Past 6 YearsWhat’s your opinion? Let me know.



South Orange and Maplewood Attract Performing Artists

Why do South Orange and Maplewood attract so many performing artists who call these neighborhoods home?  Sure every suburban town has its share of famous residents, but I am talking about a significant percentage of well known, hugely talented performing artists in music, film, television and theatre. The attraction of living in South Orange and Maplewood by Broadway and off Broadway actors is so well known that the New York Times recently called it the place “where Broadway comes home to sleep.”  The New York Times actually said it– so it  must be true read it here.

As residents, we can be proud to live alongside such luminaries as:

Andre Braugher - One of the many actors living in South OrangeAndre Braugher – Star of Fox’s smash hit sit com  Brooklyn Nine Nine. He was previously the co star of  the television series “Men of a Certain Age with Ray Romano and star of “Homicide” a long time cop drama in the 1990’s.




Maplewood resident Christine EbersoleChristine Ebersole – 2 x Tony Award Winner for her leading roles in “Grey Gardens” and “42 Second Street.” She also co-starred along Rosie O’Donell in the the beloved film “Harriet the Spy.”




Broadway star Norbert Leo Butz lives in South Orange Maplewood

Norbert Leo Butz – one of only 9 actors to ever win 2 Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical. Last year he starred in “Big Fish” on Broadway and the year prior he starred next to Katie Homes in the Broadway show “Dead Accounts.”




These are just a few, but the list goes on to include Jazz soloist Sarah Partridge, actor James Rebhorn who played Claire Danes’ father on the super hit series Homeland (recently deceased), Grammy Award winner Lauryn Hill and so on. In fact, there are so many seasoned Broadway and off Broadway actors and writers in residence, in 2010 they got together and formed a repertory theater titled Midtown Direct Rep. It is a platform to try out new material in the form of stage readings by these experienced actors. The series takes place in The Loft at the South Orange Performing Arts Theater. The next show is this Sunday, January 25th and you can get tickets here.

So what’s the draw for such incredible talent to call South Orange and Maplewood home? Of course the towns are ideally located close to Manhattan which is a huge convenience for working Broadway actors with families. And, most importantly they offer urban suburbs where artists can enjoy the two town’s many cultural activities.

Thinking of making a move to South Orange or Maplewood view the current homes for sale in each town by price:
Luxury Homes for Sale in South Orange
Homes for Sale in South Orange $500,000-$700,000
Homes for Sale South Orange $300,000 – $500,000

Maplewood Luxury Homes for Sale
Maplewood homes for Sale $500,000 – $775,000
Maplewood Homes for Sale $300,000 – $500,000

If you would like assistance finding your dream home please email Amy Harris today or call/text her at (917) 327-0701.

South Orange Garage Sale

South OrangeGarage SaleThe 5th annual South Orange town wide garage sale will be held on Saturday, June 13th (rain date June 14th). Homeowners who want to do a bit of spring cleaning and those who have collectibles, furniture, accessories, jewelry and anything else that may have value are encouraged to participate.

To get your home on the map and other promotional materials, please email [email protected] with your address.  In addition, you will need to obtain a town permit (cost $10.00). The form is below. Just download it, complete and return to The Village Hall.

We look forward to having another big success.

Download (PDF, 79KB)


Sponsored by Amy Harris Real Estate and Jill Mendelsohn of BHM Estate Sale Services


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6 Year Market Trends for South Orange

Its been a long fight back, but the 6 year market trends for South Orange reveal that values are just about back to where they were in 2008 and the amount of inventory is significant;y less than is was at that time.

This is huge news because house values declined all the way through 2012 and have increased year over year for the past 2 years.  The highest values were in 2006 and hopefully values will continue to rise over the next several years.

South Orange Real Estate Market past 6 years

The other metric which is a great predictor of future home values in South Orange is inventory. The longer homes stay on the market, the more inventory increases, which in turn drives down sale prices. The trends through 2014 reveal that inventory is actually lower than it was in 2008, and just about even with levels in 2006 (when the market was at its highest point in the last 8 years).


housing inventory trends for South Orange for past 6 years

Summary of South Orange Trends and Predictions

With inventory the lowest it has been since 2006 and values still not back to where they were in 2006, prices should continue to rise over the next year or more (not a guarantee) . However, one caveat is that sellers need to continue to price their homes conservatively or they will have the potential to sit on the market, increase inventory and drive down sale prices. So far, by pricing houses conservatively buyer demand has driven the prices up organically. This is ideal.

Good Year for South Orange Real Estate

The December results are in and  we have the data from January – November 2014 and it was a good year for South Orange real estate. November inventory was way down and home sale prices rose considerably over November 2013. View the video market report below:

Why South Orange Real Estate Values Are Strong

Key Contributors

  • Commuter Friendly – With commute time a key factor in making a decision for a home purchase, especially now that dual income households are the majority, proximity to work is a huge factor in determining where a buyer will end up. South Orange has a distinct advantage of being one of the first stops on the Midtown Direct train line.
  • Urban Suburbs More in Demand – Many first time home buyers enjoy living in city environments, but they just can’t get the space they need. With new South Orange buyers coming primarily from Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Hoboken they want to maintain their urban lifestyle, yet live in a more spacious home. South Orange is the perfect antidote to this trend with its cultural offerings, downtown village center and diverse population.
  • Increase in New Home Buyers – The increase in new/first time home buyers translates to current residents having the opportunity to sell and move up or scale down. This creased increased market activity and ultimately increases in home values.

Thinking of making a move. No one know the South Orange (and Maplewood) markets better than Amy. Enlist her expertise and concierge service to get started today.

Help Me Buy a House Now!

Answer 8 quick questions and hit submit and we will contact you with a plan for getting started with your home search that will maximize your time and get you the best possible house at the lowest possible price.
  • First and Last Name
  • Will either buyer need to commute to New York City?
  • Which type of home most interests you? You can choose as many as you want.
  • Choose the home styles you are most interested in. Choose as many as you like.
  • Remember that in most cases you will need to have 10-20% of the purchase price in cash to put down towards the cost of the house.
  • Please let us know about any special needs you may have that will directly impact where you need to live etc.

191 Crestwood Drive South Orange, NJ 07079 Sold

I was recently invited to a neighborhood “Sip & Shop” party at 191 Crestwood Drive South Orange, NJ 07079 which had been recently sold. I think the unusual high turnout for this type of event was due to the fact that neighbors were  just as curious to see what the new owners had done with this dated home as they were to shop for the holidays.

It was hard not to be bowled over upon entering Nureed’s open, bright and expansive home. She, like most of our new residents moved from Brooklyn so she and her family are putting their new space to great use.

Because of her professional design experience with some of the most luxurious brands in the world, she has the necessary vision to see beyond dull, dated interiors and visualize the possibilities. It’s funny because in my experience, most buyers say they want a traditional colonial style home, but they are always more attracted to homes with an open floor plan. And nothing is better than a ranch to accommodate an open floor plan.

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121 Western Drive, Short Hills, NJ 07078 New Construction Dream Home

There is no doubt that the new construction home just built at 121 Western Drive Short Hills, NJ 07078 is a “dream home.” It may not be my version or your version of a dream home, but surely you can appreciate the sheer size, finishes and luxurious amenities that abound in this grand mansion.

121 Western Drive Short Hills, NJ 07078

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