Indeed 2015 was a very good year for real estate in South Orange and Maplewood. Both towns are in demand by the next generation of home buyers. The qualities of both villages are as highly valued as ever and maybe a bit more so.
The majority of new buyers are young couples in which both members have full time jobs, sometimes in New York City. Therefor the proximity to Manhattan has never been more critical. While in the 1990’s and early in the 2000’s couples were willing to move further west in New Jersey (like Randolph) to get larger homes at better values, SOMA buyers value quality of life (less time on commuting the better) over the size of the home.
This is in perfect keeping with the “Millenial” generation which also values “walkability” over many other aspects of a community. Ever eco-conscious, these families want to be able to walk to the train, to town for a coffee and socialize with neighbors. The statistics show the towns without train stations and towns centers are not experiencing the same kind of demand as SOMA.
In large part, the home buyers attracted to SOMA are currently living in and enjoying the benefits of an urban environment (Brooklyn) and want to duplicate that as much as possible. With housing prices in these areas skyrocketing, SOMA is an obvious alternative.
Overall, sale prices were up in both towns with South Orange prices up almost 11% and Mapelwood’s just under 5%. These increases are year over year, over year – leading to a 4 year high.
What will the spring market hold? Because the inventory in both towns and interest rates remain historically low and so many buyers lost out in multiple bid situations in 2015 – we project (without 100% certainty) it will continue to be a robust market. Tell us what you think.