Pay Up Jersey City – Just like the rest of us

From the Jersey Journal:

Jersey City homeowners uneasy as long-delayed revaluation begins

A five-letter word is causing heartburn in every neighborhood in Jersey City.


The citywide property revaluation, Jersey City’s first since 1988, is finally underway, with inspectors knocking on doors, homeowners nervous about what their tax bills will be next year and Mayor Steve Fulop urging calm.

Fulop faced a roomful of grim-faced Downtown residents on March 28 to tell them what to expect.

“I know there’s a lot of fear because people assume the worst,” he told them before adding, “It’s going to be disruptive. I don’t want to mince words.”

Downtown property owners are expected to take a big hit since home values there have soared since the city last conducted a reval. But residents everywhere, from Merritt Street down in Greenville to Secaucus Road up in the Heights, say they fear higher property taxes, overassessed homes and a Jersey City that will be unaffordable for many longtime residents.

“This is going to kill me,” said Rosalie Narciso, a 71-year-old retired woman who lives in a Third Street brownstone. “It’s going to absolutely kill me.”

The 1988 reval, which came 17 years after the previous one, produced dramatic shifts in property values — the tax base soared from $800 million to $5.6 billion — followed by steep tax increases Downtown and in the Heights. A citizen group alleged wide disparities in assessments.

The revolt was bad news for then-Mayor Anthony Cucci. He was trounced when he sought re-election in 1989, receiving fewer than half the number of votes of the eventual winner, Gerry McCann. Cucci came in fourth place.

“The reval killed him,” City Clerk Robert Byrne said.

Fulop critics have said his fear of a repeat voter revolt led him to postpone this reval, with new assessments now not scheduled to be public until after the Nov. 7 mayoral race. Fulop has denied this, saying he stopped the reval in 2011 to make sure it is done fairly (last year New Jersey ordered this one to proceed and wrap up by Nov. 1).

“The last time the city did a reval, when I was 11 years old … many people throughout Jersey City lost their homes,” he said during an April 2015 meeting with local activist group Jersey City Together. “If it’s not done fairly the same thing from 1988 will happen.”

Since the last reval was nearly 30 years ago, the average property in Jersey City is assessed at just 23.66 percent of its market value.

The state says revals should be conducted when that figure dips below 80 percent, arguing that local taxes are not distributed fairly if the assessed-to-market-value ratio is so low (taxes are tied to assessment). One resident’s home could be assessed at its 1988 value, their neighbor’s home at its 2017 value.

Critics of the mayor point to his house as an example of unfair taxation.

In 2015 Fulop and his wife bought a four-bedroom house on Ogden Avenue, a leafy street in the Heights overlooking the Manhattan skyline. The sale price was $845,000. Its assessed value is $104,000, just 12 percent of its market value. The Fulops’ annual tax bill is $8,009.

This entry was posted in Gold Coast, New Jersey Real Estate, Politics, Property Taxes. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Pay Up Jersey City – Just like the rest of us

  1. grim says:

    From CNBC:

    US existing home sales surge in March, reaching highs not seen since 2007

    U.S. home resales rose more than expected in March to the highest level in more than a decade, The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced on Friday.

    Existing home sales climbed 4.4 percent for the month, while economists were expecting a smaller increase of 2.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates.

    Sales have now increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million units as of last month, the NAR said. This is the highest level the gauge has seen since February 2007.

    While the number of homes on the market rose 5.8 percent to 1.83 million units last month, housing inventory was down 6.6 percent from one year ago, implying that demand is outweighing supply.

    Properties typically remained on the market for 34 days in March, compared to 45 days in February, the NAR added.

    “The early returns so far this spring buying season look very promising as a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market and were successfully able to close on a home last month,” Lawrence Yun, a chief economist for the industry group, said in a statement. “Sales will go up as long as inventory does.”

  2. grim says:

    From Barrons:

    Existing-Home Sales Up 4.4% in March; Biggest Jump in 10 years

    Spring home selling season is off to a good start.

    Sales of previously owned homes rose 4.4% in March to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.71 million, according to a Friday report from the National Association of Realtors.

    It was the strongest pace of sales since February 2007 and faster than even the heady gains economists were expecting. They forecast a rate of 5.65 million.

  3. grim says:

    From MarketWatch:

    Existing-home sales hit a 10-year high in March as homes fly off the market

    Tight inventory is still the biggest factor in the marketplace: supply was 6.6% lower compared to a year ago. There were 1.83 million homes for sale on the last day of the month, which represented 3.8 months of supply at March’s sales pace. Properties stayed on the market for only 34 days.

    That nudged the national median sales price to $236,400 – a 6.8% gain compared to a year ago.

    Regionally, sales surged 10.1% in the Northeast and 9.2% in the Midwest, and ticked up 3.4% in the South. In the West, sales fell by 1.6%.

  4. The Great Pumpkin says:

    What does the future hold?

    How a Single Gene Could Become a Volume Knob for Pain – WIRED

  5. Fast Eddie says:

    I worked for McCann and then Cucci. We knew the McCann family well as they used to frequent our Tavern. Who would have thought Ogden Avenue would be in the discussion as a sought-after street? The light rail changed that game and then the rent mentality of the millennials further pushed the deal. Central Avenue was in state of decay for the last 20 years, I’m curious to know if what happened around Grove Street/Newark Avenue will happen to Central Avenue.

  6. Joe says:

    It’s a form of good-old-NJ-corruption that property revaluations are only ever done in rising markets, constantly driving taxes up but never down. But then again, NJ residents are the ones who are dumb enough to let it keep happening.

  7. PumpkinFace says:

    None of the b.s. PILOT programs will be affected.

  8. Raymond Reddington says:

    Joe, how are taxes ever going to go down when your state is 49 billion in debt, not including health benefits?

  9. chicagofinance says:

    A reval in itself does not increase taxes…..why would you think that?

    What is does is stop long time residents from secretly stealing money from their newer (possibly deeper pocketed) neighbors (at least in JC)……if you have a sh!trty house that is in sh!tty condition and is worth sh!t, then you have no worries…..if you are paying the same taxes as you did in 1988 with only a modicum of increase in 30 years….well go fcuk yourself….most places have an annual reval…..the only corruption is NOT having one to buy votes of long timers…..

    Joe says:
    April 22, 2017 at 1:17 pm
    It’s a form of good-old-NJ-corruption that property revaluations are only ever done in rising markets, constantly driving taxes up but never down. But then again, NJ residents are the ones who are dumb enough to let it keep happening.

  10. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    Taxes in NJ are just the future cost of Pumpkin’s presently untreated mental problems. It’s the cost of society.

  11. Blue Ribbon Teacher says:

    My town did a reval last year and my taxes went down $200.

  12. leftwing says:

    Seeking real estate advice.

    I have a piece of land slightly west of 287. Nice, but not in demand, fair amount of supply. Want to get rid of it.

    Had listed it a couple years back. Not a great experience, which was likely predictable. Relative to a house land is a harder sale and the value (commission) is less. If I were an agent I wouldn’t waste much time on it either. Why work harder on something that is going to get me less?

    Instead of using a listing agent this time I was thinking of FSBO with a full commission (6%, $30K) to a buyer’s agent. I also would reach out to local builders, architects, and engineers and offer them essentially the same deal (probably a smaller amount), a finders fee for bringing a buyer. Thinking of a Zillow listing, print up a decent quality glossy fact sheet with photos, sign a binding agreement on the fee.

    Any thoughts from our resident realtors? How would a brokerage office react to something like that? Pass it round or bin it? Any suggestions on the way to approach realtors? Go to the office manager, hit agents directly with emails?

    Grim, 30, Clot any input appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  13. Grab them by the puzzy says:


    “Not a single member of Congress who represents SW border supports Trump border wall request for $1.4 billion”

  14. Grab them by the puzzy says:


    “Who’s gonna pay for the wall?”
    “At a later date!”
    “And how will they pay?”
    “In some form!”

    Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall.

  15. 30 year realtor says:


    MLS is the only way to go. You will never reach as many agents or buyers via your own crude marketing as will see the MLS listing and associated internet marketing. Selling properties does not take hard work from listing agents. The hard work is getting the listing. Properly priced properties sell!

  16. Grab them by the puzzy says:

    therein lies the rub

    30 year realtor says:
    April 23, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Properly priced properties sell!

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  18. The Original NJ ExPat says:

    Joanie loves Cucci

  19. leftwing says:

    30, agree for a house. My problem is (I think) that it is land which screws up economics.

    Agents just aren’t incentivized to work for a land sale after the splits on the lower commissions for more work (and I don’t blame them). Last selling agent we had promised to have a little reception at the site, kind of an ‘open house’ without the house. And to reach out to builders, architects, etc. None of it happened. Insult to injury twice she called me when someone wanted to walk the property and asked if I could do it since she was otherwise committed and I “knew the property as well as anyone”. No joke.

    I asked her at the beginning shouldn’t we offer some additional incentive, as in a $20k bonus to a buyer agent, her response was that it was too much and a $200 Amazon card would suffice.

    I feel like I’m a little trapped. The most “successful” agents in the area are the blue haired, duck booted grandmother types simply taking orders like a McDonalds cashier. The area doesn’t really lend itself to young aggressive types.

    If a buyer is specifically looking for land in the area I feel they will find it, where ever listed. If I hire an agent I need someone who actually markets it to potential *buyers*. An agent that converts someone on the fence of buy new/build to build (on my lot). An agent that converts someone looking at lots in the town next door to my town (on my lot). Maybe it’s my financial background but I thought tossing some additional meaningful dollars to agents working with buyers would work.

    I think just MLSing it again with a regular brokerage is pushing on a string. Any other suggestions? Know a really aggressive agent on the 287 corridor north of 78 who will actually work it for additional success based comp? Or is there an incentivizing split structure – 2%/2% with $20k to either agent that brings buyer? Are those cheap fixed rate MLS listing services legit, would I get buyer agent attention going that way and offering a straight up 5% to buyer agent?

    Maybe I’m wrong but unlike houses land is actually a sale and more focused at that. I don’t think my issue will be exposure, but actually reaching those parties in contact with buyers potentially interested in building.

    Thanks for thought so far. All suggestions welcome…..

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