What a year it has been for real estate in South Orange, NJ. The 2015 South Orange real estate results reflect rising prices, low inventory levels, homes selling above list price and overall positive feelings about the energy, events and the town’s school system.
I have commented and written about how South Orange never gets the public relations it deserves compared to sister town Maplewood or even Montclair – which has many of the same attributes as South Orange. They are diverse, integrated communities within ideal proximity to Manhattan. Not an easy combination to find.
They also have vibrant downtown centers with lots of restaurants, movie theaters and live performing arts. That’s an even tougher combination to find in a suburb so close to Manhattan.
But it feels like this tide is changing and the proof is in the demand for housing in South Orange. Using the Garden State Multiple Listing Service data, my analysis reveals in 2015 the average sale price was up about 10.6%, the average house sold almost 3.8% above the list price and houses are staying on the market for 15% less time compared to 2014.
What else is contributing to South Orange?’s appeal The township’s governing body has had major changes in the past few years and the newly elected board members are much younger and I think it better reflects the needs of the young families moving into the town.
Will all of this good news on the real estate front, we need to think about how it might erode the essence of what makes South Orange unique. Will the increase in prices produce a less diverse community? In my own personal/professional opinion, I can say the home buyers I work with represent many different ethnicities and cultures. They can’t believe how comfortable they feel about raising their kids in South Orange.
Instead, what I think may happen, is a loss of some of the economic diversity in the community. This is equally as distressing, but extremely hard to prevent. When prices rise, people can get squeezed out and have to look for property in towns that are more affordable. Its not a great thing, but a cycle nonetheless.