Will high priced housing be the demise of the Northeast?

From CNN:

Housing prices put Americans on the move

The movement of Americans from north to south is trending as strong as ever, according to the latest report on net domestic migration released today from the Census Bureau.

And, it seems, housing prices are driving the trend. The net out-migration of residents is from high-priced northeastern and West Coast cities to more affordable housing markets in the Sun Belt.

“Many are surmising that housing values are so different around the country that it’s impacting migration,” says Marc Perry, a demographer with the Census Bureau. “Some people are cashing out housing and moving to cheaper areas. Others who don’t own homes are moving so they can afford to buy one.”

That makes losers out of metro areas like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, and makes Dallas, Atlanta and Phoenix, where housing has been much more affordable, into big net gainers.

Of the 25 largest metro areas, the New York region lost the most people, with an average annual net outflow of 211,014 residents from 2000 through 2004. That calculates to an average loss of 11.4 people per thousand per year. The median house price in the New York area last year was $427,600, about twice the national median.

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38 Responses to Will high priced housing be the demise of the Northeast?

  1. bairen says:

    This puts a big hole in reinvestor101’s theories.

    Go to http://realestatebook.com and compare the following. Edgewater, NJ 07020 to Concord, NC 28027 (a bedroom community of Charlotte). You will find that while housing costs 3 to 5 times more in Edgewater, both the average and median incomes are only 30% higher. (Click on the More Info link for a house and then Neighborhood Information to get the demographics.) Factor in prop taxes are only about 1% in Concord and you will see why people are moving out of NJ.

    Try it with your town and for other areas in Charlotte or Raleigh and it is quite amazing.

  2. I must say, before 2 years ago there was NO WAY i would ever have moved from NNJ. I just love it up here to much. I am very close with my family and this happens to be where they are located. Also, there are a lot of jobs in my field up here. But with housing prices the way they are, as well as taxes being so high in a lot of towns, I have considered a move elsewhere.
    What I will have saved for a downpayment up here could buy a house outright in texas.

    I am doing application development now, and I really could do it from anywhere in the country. More and more jobs are becoming telecommuting friendly. It amazes me all the time that it is even something I would consider.

    I have 2 engineering degree’s, so it would be a shame for the NNJ/NY area to have a Brain Drain because of housing prices.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is a familiar pattern. I have engineering degree as well but I cannot afford the live here.
    People with degrees are leaving the area..But no need to worry, plenty of illegals will come to replace us.
    Tax rates are going up along with crime rates so maybe it is better to live elsewhere anyway..

  4. UnRealtor says:

    Buyers opt out of the real estate ponzi scheme — properties sitting with no buyers.

    Sellers running out of options fast…

    Millburn, 07041

    145 Sagamore Rd
    MLS 2232691
    DOM: 99 days

    12 Farview Road
    MLS 2238107
    DOM: 85 days

    93 Pine Street
    MLS 2255716 (re-listed under new MLW #)
    DOM: 237 days

    842 Ridgewood Rd
    MLS 2261581 (re-listed under new MLW #)
    DOM: 128 days

    926 Ridgewood Rd
    MLS 2254989
    DOM: 92 days

    6 Bodwell Terrace
    MLS 2240267
    DOM: 85 days


    Chatham, 07928

    19 Susan Dr
    MLS 2225566
    DOM: 131 days

    12 Mountainside Dr
    MLS 2250321
    DOM: 58 days

    53 Tallmadge Ave
    MLS 2243058
    DOM: 70 days

    And Chatham inventory is going through the roof:

    3-Mar-06 / 85 / 15
    8-Mar-06 / 87 / 17
    14-Mar-06 / 93 / 20
    30-Mar-06 / 104 / 28
    6-Apr-06 / 111 / 28
    20-Apr-06 / 122 / 35

    Add in a ‘For Sale by Owner’:


    Price started at “$975,000 Firm” now dropped to “$919,500 Willing to negotiate”.

    No suckers signing up — DOM over 60 days…

  5. UnRealtor says:

    Those homes above account for 25% of the total available inventory in Millburn.

    So 25% of the inventory there has been sitting for about 90 days, and longer.

  6. NJGal says:

    And Bairen, for some jobs, like attorneys, the salary is places like Charlotte isn’t even that much lower than in NY, which makes places like Carolina so attractive (and is the reason my husband and I are still pondering that move). It just underlines that there are no fundamental reasons why housing is SO high here.

  7. Michelle says:

    Anon 11:01

    JULY 2005
    – Violent Crime Down 2 Percent; Nonviolent Crime Down 4 Percent –
    TRENTON – Attorney General Peter C. Harvey today released the 2004 Uniform Crime Report (UCR) that indicates that the overall crime rate in New Jersey dropped by 4 percent compared with the previous year, and that the rate of violent crime decreased by 2 percent.

    Why do you think crime is on the rise?

    I think it’s too early to start screaming “brain drain”. My husband and I represent 2 degrees that just moved into the state and know 8 highly educated people who just moved to NYC. Go visit Raleigh and Asheville and Charlotte and see what kind of intellectual stimulation you find outside of your job…we walked around down there looking at DOZENS of houses with enough cash in our pockets to live mortgage free. We agonized over the decision but couldn’t do it.

    Moving south is not a slam dunk. There are clear objective benefits but for some people there are subjective drawbacks strong enough to keep them in more expensive locales. For us, we love the cultural, intellectual, and entertainment opportunities here, plus we have family here. And we’re not the only brains that won’t be drained southward.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It is sad when someone with an engineering degree can not afford to live here. Keep milking the cash cows (tax payers) eventually maybe everything will end up like Asbury Park did.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Michelle, I wouldn’t let your guard down yet — you are quoting 2004 crime figures-that was the height of punch-bowl time.

    Much more important will be what happens in this year of layoffs and foreclosures, and next year if a recession hits. Went out and bought a locking gas cap too — for the first time since the 70s.

    But in terms of crime you have to be careful about the south just as much too – there are areas more dangerous than here now.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I read somewhere that if you removed the south from the national statistics for violent crime you would have a violent crime rate on par with Europe. The south is a messed up place filled with paranoid people with lots of guns

  11. Anonymous says:

    “Go visit Raleigh and Asheville and Charlotte and see what kind of intellectual stimulation you find outside of your job…”

    NASCAR is what passes for intellectual stimulation in those there parts. ROFL

  12. chaoticchild says:


    I am also in application development. I would like to know what areas would you considered with a “good” supplier application development jobs.



  13. skep-tic says:

    I’m just finishing up law school now, so I was recently considering jobs in a few diff’t cities (Boston, NYC, and Charlotte).

    entry level salaries for lawyers in Charlotte are below that of NY/Boston, but only by about 20%. But the cost of living down there is probably half. You can get a really nice 4 BR / 3Ba solid brick colonial in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Charlotte for $500,000. This would probably be about a 15 minute drive if you worked downtown.

    if you wanted to go cheaper than this, it would be easy. just extend your commute time to a half-hour and you could get a similar place for about $300,000-$350,000.

    Now Charlotee isn’t Shangri-La, obviously, or I would have moved there. While good jobs definitely exist there, there aren’t nearly as many of them as there are in the NE. And the long term potential money-wise obviously isn’t the same as NYC.

    The nice areas in and around Charlotte are sophisticated, and there are plenty of refugees from the NE.

    but as you get further out of town, it definitely starts to seem hick-ish. Not to say that there probably aren’t a lot of nice people in the more rural areas, but if you are from the NE and are envisioning living on a 10 acre spread, you will probably feel out of place.

    the city culturally would be a disappointment if you’re coming from the NYC-area.

    Basically, if you can get a good paying job down there, your lifestyle will be something like the following: nice, big new house, maybe slightly McMansion-y, in a neighborhood of similar houses that surrounds a golf club. Golf basically year-round. Kids in private school (schools suck). Easy commute to work. Not much to do on the weekend except go to mediocre restaurants and more golf.

    I can see how this would be appealing to some, but it just didn’t do it for me.

  14. skep-tic says:

    I should add that I have relatives in Atlanta, and Atlanta is way more sophisticated than Charlotte. People from the NE who are considering moving south should check out ATL. It is more expensive than Charlotte, but nicer, and still much cheaper than the NE.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’m from NC and it would be nice if people did not assume we are all hicks or that there is something wrong with being from a rural area. It’s not wrong, its just different. NASCAR is a very large employer in Charlotte and the surrounding area, and yes some people do enjoy it. It’s no less mindless than Yankees baseball. And not ALL the schools suck. I graduated from a local high school and went on to a top 25 college, top 25 law school and now I have a pretty good job… in NJ. Not to mention that if you put a little extra effort in, your kids will have an advantage at schools which want geographical diversity. Instead of them seeing another cookie-cutter resume from NJ, your kid will be unique.

    And you cannot argue with the price of housing. I fully understand that the appreciation of housing in Charlotte and Raleigh and those areas will not be dynamic, but isn’t the whole point here to have a nice house to live in. And if you can’t (or won’t) pay for the prices in NNJ… you won’t have a house. I don’t want to offend anyone here, but for the anonymous poster who took the potshot re NASCAR… a lot of those NASCAR fans have nicer houses than you, and have less education and less income. But, you’re right, they are the dumb ones.

    It is this mentality that will keep prices in the NE high. “We can’t get a good education for our kids in NC, we can’t get intellectual stimulation in NC, we can’t get.” I’m sure there are huge numbers of NJers who believe this, and that is fine. But if that is the prevailing mentality, then I say… if you wanna stay in NJ, turn out those pockets. Pay up and compete with 22 million other NY area folks for the education and intellectual and cultural stimulation.

  16. grim says:

    I most certainly lack “culture”.

    A good weekend for me is going running or hiking with the wife and dog, laying out in the backyard, visiting friends and family. I’d rather be swinging a hammer or sawing wood than shopping at a mall.

    Good restaurants? I might miss them, but I like cooking just as much. TV for me consists of the Food Network. I’m an Alton Brown (Good Eats) devotee. I have a hand full of favorite restaurants locally, but most of the time we find ourselves stopping at the usual big chains to grab a bite to eat. There are thousands of them, everywhere.

    I do ride my road bike (bicycle) quite a bit. I’ll miss the racing scene up here, but I’m sure I’d enjoy year round riding just as much.

    Going “out” and havings things to “do”? Eh. Maybe I’m just getting old, but I’d rather hang out on the deck with friends, family, a cooler of beer and a grill.

    I’m the kind of person that would rather have an extra hour of time in the day. Can I work on Wall St? Yep. Do I? No. My commute consists of a 10 minute drive, a whole 4 miles. I probably bike it in 12 without breaking a sweat.

    We do like to travel, but that really wouldn’t be impacted by moving. If anything we’d have a bit more money to spend on travel, etc.


  17. Michelle says:

    Hey, I actually enjoy NASCAR on occasion and even looked into working for them in Charlotte. We go to a couple of races a year and will be checking out Pocono for the first time this summer.

    But still, NC just didn’t cut it with us. It’s a very diverse country we’ve got here, and people are different in each area, and each area has its plusses and minuses. ATL, for example, boasts some of the worst traffic in the country right now, although it’s got fabulous entertainment and restaurants plus cheap housing.

    My husband paints and he visits the MoMA evrey day he can get away for lunch (as members, it’s free admission). It inspires him and enriches his life to do that, while obviously many people couldn’t care less if they ever step foot in the place.

    Luckily there are many different types of people so we don’t all want to move to the same place, nor does the whole country end up being homogeneous. While I’m not saying that NNJ will never significantly decline in population, it’s unlikely that a mass southern exodus will make it a bunch of ghost towns, either.

  18. skep-tic says:

    to the anonymous poster from NC,

    didn’t mean to offend you. just wanted to offer an assessment of the Charlotte area that other people from the NE might find valuable. obviously, there are both good and bad places to live in every state. while Charlotte wasn’t a great fit for me, I can definitely see why many people enjoy living there (which is why I considered moving there in the first place).

  19. Anonymous says:

    “NASCAR is a very large employer in Charlotte and the surrounding area, and yes some people do enjoy it. It’s no less mindless than Yankees baseball.”

    Them’s fightin’ words!

  20. Anonymous says:

    “I most certainly lack “culture”.

    A good weekend for me is going running or hiking with the wife and dog, laying out in the backyard, visiting friends and family. I’d rather be swinging a hammer or sawing wood than shopping at a mall.”

    Grim, I’m with you 100% on the housing bubble issues, but I don’t understand or agree with the thinly veiled contempt for NJ and/or its culture. What about the theatre, music, museums, art galleries, educational oportunities of living in the NYC area? If you’re going to try to denigrate the “culture” of NJ or the Northeast in general, at least try to address its real advantages, not pretended ones (e.g. “shopping at the mall”).

    It seems that, notwithstanding the purported subject matter of this blog, one of its repeated themes is how horrible it is to live in NJ as opposed to in more culturally backward areas where houses are cheaper. Perhaps it should be renamed the “I hate NJ blog”.

  21. UnRealtor says:

    “NASCAR is what passes for intellectual stimulation in those there parts. ROFL”

    The irony from the narrow-mindedness in your statements is not doubt lost on you.

    Such narrow-minded snobbery makes me embarrassed to say I’m from NY/NJ…

  22. Metroplexual says:

    I found ATL to be a decent restaurant town (Korean and Mexican in the north). But still a bit of a backwater.

    Yeah, CNN is based there as is the weather channel and a few fortune 500’s but still it is a poorly planned city that has exploded in the last decade and a half. Traffic is reeeeally bad! My cousin used to live there also and to commute 7 miles it would almost take an hour. You can keep it.

    As for Charlotte, it is a bit sleepy for me although the ride north on I-77 is quite pretty with the poppies and the view of the mountains.

    Hell I like SLC or Denver better than those burgs and they are not in bad bubbles either. I would move west before I would move south.

  23. UnRealtor says:

    “If you’re going to try to denigrate the “culture” of NJ or the Northeast in general…”

    Grim did no such thing — he didn’t denigrate anything, but instead celebrates good times with family and friends.

    When you’re laying on your bed dying, will you look back to when you saw the “Vagina Monologues” (now that’s “culture,” eh?) or the times you spent with family and friends?

    The people in the south are definitely more family oriented. I would say people up north in general are the ones who have a screwed perspective on what’s important in life.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I moved up here from Asheville, and I totally loved it. There are tons of restaurants, galleries and lots of local music stuff and great bookstores. I live in Morristown right now, and I am really baffled by why every empty store lately turns into a bank. I would move back to Asheville in a second if there wer any jobs. Another problem is Asheville is having a housing buble too, at least in my opinion. While cheaper than New Jersey, housing prices have still doubled in the last 5 years, without any industry besides tourism that I can see. While it is great being so great to the city by living here, I really loved it more than Morristown or Madison or Summit.

  25. Michelle says:

    SO funny…

    Yet we just CHOSE to live in Morristown instead of Asheville.

    Different strokes for different strokes.

    I will say that I prefer Asheville to Morristown per se too, but the proximity to NYC is awesome and for those of us who do enjoy it, it can’t be beat.

    A note about shopping – don’t underestimate the value of cgood stores. While in WNC I realized that if I wanted a new pot, for example, there was no Williams Sonoma to go and browse. I happen to like certain stores that jsut don’t exist in some of these idealized places.

    Some suburban conveience/trappings aren’t that awful.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I have to say there isn’t a Williams-Sonoma in Asheville, but there is a restaurant supply place downtown and a locally owned store that sells Williams-Sonoma type stuff, Complements to the Chef. Hendersonville has a different locally owned place like Willimas-Sonoma, but the name escapes me right now. One thing that I personally loved about the area is the lack of chains; Asheville must support 20 different coffee shops, and only one is a Starbucks, and that is fairly recent.

    I really wish there was more going on Morristown; we like to walk places, and what is there? A gap, a Starbucks, Century 21. I recently read that Jimmy’s is closing and turning into a bank, but I’m not sure if that is going through. I miss even the antique mall that used to be here. There are a couple boutique stores, but the one bookstore left a couple years ago. I’m really surprised that there are all these little colleges around – Drew, St. Elizabeth, and Fairleigh Dickinson – but you would never know it. I’m hoping the town picks up after they finish with Epstein’s and the train station project, but I’m not too hopeful.

    Now I’m all homesick!

  27. I can honestly say that if you don’t just LOVE it around here, you should move.

    NYC is fabulous, amazing, inspiring.

    If you can’t appreciate it, then it’s too gosh darned expensive around here to waste your time.

    By the way, anyone who compares NYC sports fans to fans in other parts of the country is asking for trouble. I have to politely disagree with anyone who finds an equivalence. Even Chicago is a pale “second city” in this regard.

  28. UnRealtor says:

    An interesting ‘test’ for various states, is how many Sharper Image stores exist.

    Where they build stores filled with extremely overpriced gadgets has to mean something.

    Texas: 22 stores

    New Jersey: 7 stores

    North Carolina: 5 stores

    Florida: 17 stores

    Georgia: 5 stores

    I’d trade 3 NJ Sharper Image stores for a Sonic drive-in. :-)

  29. UnRealtor says:

    “NYC is fabulous, amazing, inspiring. If you can’t appreciate it, then it’s too gosh darned expensive around here to waste your time.”

    When I was younger, I used to be fascinated by NY City — plays, museums, etc.

    As I got older, and entered the workforce, it just seems over-crowded, smelly, dirty, and a commuting hassle.

    Add in the factor of some lunatic shouting “allah is greatest” while blowing themselves up on a crowded train.

    The only thing that keeps me near NY City are the salaries. But at some point, we’ll have saved enough to get out.

  30. grim says:

    Denigrate? What? Come on. I’m not a bad guy. Everyone was just expressing their preferences, so I expressed mine.

    Said it here many times, the thing that keeps me rooted to this area is family.

    I love NJ. I’m the kind of guy that defends NJ against stereotypes when out of the state. Northern NJ is the center of the world as far as I’m concerned, there isn’t anyplace as convenient.

    Does it have the culture of NYC? No. But NYC is 15 minutes down the road. I have the shore an hour away. I have the slopes an hour away. Heck, just about everything is 15 minutes away.

    I didn’t talk about the one thing that is most important to me about this area.. Universities. I enjoy being minutes away from good schools. For kids? No, but I’m a lifer as far as education goes. I’m working on my second masters degree (MBA) currently, and I’ll likely move on to a PhD when I’m done there. In what? Doesn’t matter, I just love learning and mastering new things.

    Why does everyone think I’m such a bad guy?


  31. grim says:

    Do you think I’d be so concerned about New Jersey economics if I didn’t care about the state?

    The reason I speak out is because I care… Because I know we can do it better.


  32. “When I was younger, I used to be fascinated by NY City — plays, museums, etc.”


    I’ve come full circle. Grew up in Queens, left, saw many different places. Now I feel as if I truly appreciate the place with all its faults.

    Also, the last 6 or 7 years have been good for NYC. It really stands as an outlier for many different reasons. All the travel for business or pleasure over the last 5 years has only reinforced my opinion.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I have been blessed to work all over the world. I have see much. My family is in NJ, PA and Conn. That is why I am here. Family is the most important thing. I always find myself returning. I hope that people do not read these blogs and forget what is really important. Hint: It has nothing to do with the size of your house or keeping up with the Jones mentality. This market is frustrating, but it is turning. Do not feel bad because you rent. That just fits your lifestyle at the moment. It means nothing in the long run. Everyone needs to relax. Everyone is on this blog because you have something in common. Do not lose sight of this.

  34. bairen says:

    For those of you looking down on NC. The Raleigh-Durham area has the highest Ph.D. capita of any area in the US. So I guess they spent a little bit of time away from NASCAR and Larry the Cable Guy.

    Charlotte has Universities, parks, restaurants, museums, plus you are 2 to 4 hours away from tons of weekend trips. If I was young and single I would prefer New York area. But I have a family so NC has more appeal.

    I’m with Grim on entertainment. We tend to watch the Food Network and Discovery more then anything else. i’d rather go for a walk or sit in a park then watch a play. I prefer a Zoo to a museum (NC Zoo is one of the best ones I’ve been to)

    As for shopping Charlotte has the same chain stores that are in NJ. If there’s something I want but not available I can use the internet.

    The snob comments on this particular thread are one of the reasons real estate is so high in NJ compared to the south.

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