From the Record:
And, yes, it is an oncoming train.
But in this real estate market — more than any other — that’s a good thing.
Homes in towns with rail stations at their heart or nearby fare much better than those in any other market, said real estate guru Jeffrey Otteau, who has been analyzing New Jersey real estate for 30 years.
“It’s not enough to have a rail station,” Otteau said. “But it’s a really good start.”
In an October report, Otteau found that nine of the top 10 New Jersey housing markets either have a train station or are less than a mile away from a rail stop. In Bergen County, Midland Park and Ridgewood made the list.
That top designation was determined by how long it would take to sell out the homes currently on the market, Otteau said. Statewide, the figure is 13 months; in rail-friendly towns it ranges from two to five months.
Homes near train stations are also worth more. In a 2005 survey of towns in Essex, Union, Somerset and Morris counties, Otteau found that homes within walking distance of a rail station sold for 5 percent more than those houses where residents would have to drive to the station.
Those increased values were even more evident in a slow market. This year Otteau revisited that survey, in central New Jersey, and found that homes within walking distance had values 10 percent higher than their counterparts’. Otteau said the findings would “certainly” hold true for Bergen County rail towns.
“This is true in the northern half of New Jersey,” he said. “The closer you get to Manhattan, the greater the effect.”