Permanent shore residents cash out and leave

From the Philly Inquirer:

Housing boom a bust for Shore populations

It was 2004 when Lorraine McCarthy, a full-time resident of this Cape May County resort, sold her duplex a block from the boardwalk and decamped to the mainland.

“The choice we made to move off the barrier island was the same choice that a lot of people who wanted to make some money made,” said McCarthy, who lives in nearby Upper Township. “It was the best time to sell.”

The Jersey Shore’s real estate boom, it now seems, had a more profound effect on the region’s population than many realized.

In beach towns up and down the coast, the number of year-round residents dropped significantly last decade – almost 40 percent in one case, according to recently released U.S. Census statistics that surprised and alarmed some local officials.

“I knew our population numbers were going to be down, but I didn’t know they were going to be down this much,” said Suzanne Walters, who has noticed the voter rolls shrinking during her 15 years as mayor of Stone Harbor. The little borough’s population declined 23 percent between 2000 and 2010.

The robust economy during most of the decade led to a fevered real estate climate, said James Hughes, dean of Rutgers University’s Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.

“A lot of year-around residents at the Shore saw their property values surge, so they took advantage of the market,” Hughes said. Many migrated inland or left the state after their modest year-around dwellings were purchased – and sometimes replaced with larger homes – by people who live elsewhere.

Others, mostly retirees, held on to their properties and still vanished from local census roles, Hughes said, by acquiring winter residences in other states that they declared as their primary residences.

Their motivation: refuge from the Garden State’s notoriously high cost of living.

Having fewer residents also affects schools. In Sea Isle City, where the full-time population shrank 25 percent last decade, the Board of Education has asked the state to order its school district and neighboring Ocean City’s to merge

Between 2000 and 2010, Ocean City’s year-around population dropped about 24 percent to 11,701 residents. Among 10 Cape May County coastal locations, populations in nine declined, between less than 1 percent (Lower Township) and 38 percent (Avalon), according to the census. (Tiny Cape May Point gained 50 residents – an increase of 21 percent.) The towns’ total population dropped about 12 percent.

In Atlantic County, the combined population of Atlantic City, Brigantine, Longport, Margate, and Ventnor dropped about 11 percent to 66,907 during the decade. The greatest losses were in Brigantine (25 percent) and Margate (22 percent).

Meanwhile, the county’s mainland municipality of Egg Harbor Township experienced the second-highest population growth in the state. Galloway and Hamilton, both inland, also were among the top 25 gainers.

“People just cashed out,” said Walters, of Stone Harbor, which had 866 residents last year, according to the census.

“I know a lot of people, longtime residents, that sold and moved over to Cape May Court House on the mainland and used the money to buy a bigger home or pay for their kid’s college education. And a lot of retirees permanently moved to Florida or the Carolinas, where they found the cost of living to be cheaper,” she said.

“A lot of people talk about what we can do to lower taxes and costs and to keep our residents from fleeing the state. Maybe this will be a wake-up call that we need to stop talking and do something about it.”

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64 Responses to Permanent shore residents cash out and leave

  1. Essex says:

    Unless money and overall quality of life are no object, I cannot imagine retiring anywhere in New Joisey.

  2. Mike says:

    If it wasn’t for us BENNYS spending our money down there they would have been out even sooner!

  3. xroads says:


    I’ve been asking myself why i’m raising my kids here when I know in 25 years I won’t be able to retire here and be close to me kids or grndchildren. not that they will be able to afford to live here unless its in my house.

    go home benny!

  4. Confused In NJ says:

    In New Providence the property tax insanity started with the 1997/98 Reassessment when my taxes jumped from $4.5K to $6K that year. It was downhill from there. Another big factor was selling Hillview school to the Morris/Union Jointure for $3M, which became a magnet for Special Needs families. At that time the school budget exploded for 58 special needs students at $100K apiece. Never understood why special needs was not fully funded by the state versus local municipality.

  5. NJCoast says:

    Cashed out at the Jersey shore in ’04, but my mom and 91 yr old FIL keep me from joining my sister, dad, and cousins down here in the Virgin Islands. Downsized 1 mile inland and will leave when they’re both gone, which can be awhile- my mom is 76. In the meantime its nice to have relatives’ houses to crash at in St Thomas.

  6. moose (yesterday’s thread)-

    Go fcuk yourself.

    “With that, I offer to bury the hatchet.”

  7. I will not befriend thug ambulance chasers who shill for banks.

  8. It makes sense for no one except the uber-rich and the destitute to live in NJ. Anyone in between those polar opposites is basically a target for the buttr@pe of spiraling taxes, fees and declining quality of life.

  9. Outofstater says:

    And on a lighter note, Saudi Arabia has mobilized thousands of troops to quell riots. The name of the rebellion is Hunayn – a valley near Mecca where Mohammed was victorious over a confederation of Bedouins in AD630. According to the Koran, God punished the unbelievers, known today as the Saudi royal family? This thing could get really messy in a hurry. And if the House of Saud does fall, we might not like what follows.

  10. “America’s political class might arrest the trend which threatens their government’s solvency (chart below). They might find a palatable solution to the healthcare system’s chronic underfunding. They might defy Churchill’s quip, and skip straight to doing the right thing. But if they don’t, such a spiral becomes a question of when and not if. And what would the Fed do then? Bernanke says the Fed “will not allow inflation to get above low and stable levels.” He says it has learned the lessons of the 1970s. He’s read the books. He can recite the theory. Yet a lifetime reading books about the Great Depression (and writing a few) didn’t help him spot the greatest credit inflation since that catastrophe any more than reading “The Ten Habits of Highly Successful People” would make him successful. It’s the doing that counts. So before lending to the US government for 3.5% over ten years, bear in mind that when it comes to a real inflation fight, not one of the Fed economists you’re betting on has ever been in one.”

  11. stallan54 says:

    If you watch Jersey Shore, I would move as far away from this production crew and cast as possible.

  12. Shore Guy says:

    So, John, get of the couch and let someone else Ger some assistance with their mental health.

  13. Shore Guy says:


    YEARS AGO, highly-placed USG folks told me that We needed to “liberate” Iraq in order to ensure oil flows when the Saudi royal family was overthrown, as Iraq was the only country with the potential to offset the world’s loss of Saudi oil.

    Look ay Iran circa 1977 and Saudi Arabia now and one is is many ways looking at Mirror images.

  14. Outofstater says:

    #14 So, the Saudi royal family flees (with their gold, of course), some sort of religious government unfriendly to the US takes over, the flow of oil is hampered, prices go up as supplies are constrained and then Iraq ramps up to pick up the slack? So the question is, can Iraq adequately fill the gap?

  15. gary says:

    Debt/grim/30 yr:

    What are you all seeing in the spring season so far? Is it dismal? Is the prime selling season dead? What’s the trend so far? I still think the sellers are f*cking insane but that’s besides the point. What are you seeing?

  16. xroads says:


    I’m in Sparta and new listings seem to be coming on at peak prices again.

  17. Shore Guy says:

    Of course sellers are pricing way too high. All It takes is one idiot per house. Sellers will not reduce asking prices unless the market gives them no lookers and no offers.

  18. Kettle1 says:


    if we give BP, exxon and the like free reign and can monopolize a substantial portion of production, then the answer is that Iraq can hypothetically replace a large portion o’s Saudi oil but probably not all of it

  19. 30 year realtor says:

    #16 Gary – Market is still depreciating. Lots of lookers but few buyers. Homes overpriced by about 10% are getting lots of showings but few or no offers. The slide down continues. Agents in my office indicate that outside of compelling life related issues (like new kid, house too small), few lookers are driven to make a decision.

    Can’t see this market going in a positive direction until the issues holding up foreclosure sales are “resolved” and that inventory begins to clear out. Positive employment news will need to be an undeniable trend before I will be a believer. Saudi Arabia boils over and all bets are off. So many reasons to be negative and I can’t find one reason to be positive.

  20. gary says:

    30 year,

    Thanks again for the insight and honesty! :)

  21. gary (16)-

    DOA. The market is toast, and it will not come back within our lifetimes.

  22. Not one buyer I have spoken to in the past six months feels any urgency to offer…even on short sales and REO. They are unanimous in their belief that prices will go down as rates go up and the cost-of-carry continues to spiral out of control.

    They are 100% correct.

  23. The bid/ask spread is so big right now, the market has essentially halted (with the rare exception of the occasional idiot here and there).

  24. gary says:


    Thanks. I honestly don’t disagree with you. If no urgency, why make a move. Unless prices decrease to vulture-like levels, why bother.

  25. BearsFan says:

    25. Debt, can you ballpark how big this spread seems to be in % of ask? Anything stand out as consistent, or too many variables?

  26. speedkillsu says:

    My sister bought a house in belmar “north end” in 89′ for 220K sold it in 06′ for 860 K and without a broker ! ..the only thing she ever did was paint it inside & out ,new roof ,replaced all the windows and pulled the oil tank …converted to gas .She literally laughed all the way to the bank !

  27. gary says:

    speedkillsu [28],

    I would’ve laughed all the way to the bank, too! When a society reaches the level of intelligence that deems the musings of Charlie Sheen as headline news, then we deserve everything we get.

  28. Libtard says:


    From my perch, this Spring looks no different than the Spring two seasons prior. I can’t include last year’s stimulus-influenced Spring as that brought whatever potential morons that either existed or that would have been born in the next few years out to overpay. It really does feel that we have returned to the normalcy of overprices listings and very few sales.

  29. Mikeinwaiting says:

    Stu , head up by me if you want to see a spring that wasn’t. I can here the wind blowing through the listings, think tumble weeds.

  30. Shore Guy says:


    Cm and Sirius have, apparently, dedicated a channel to 24/7 coverage of the drunken buffoon. I doubt hey have one dedicated to retirement planning, or economics, etc.

  31. Confused In NJ says:

    Talk Doesn’t Pay, So Psychiatry Turns to Drug Therapy
    Richard Perry/The New York Times

    “I had to train myself not to get too interested in their problems, and not to get sidetracked trying to be a semi-therapist.” DR. DONALD LEVIN, a psychiatrist whose practice no longer includes talk therapy.
    Published: March 5, 2011

    DOYLESTOWN, Pa. — Alone with his psychiatrist, the patient confided that his newborn had serious health problems, his distraught wife was screaming at him and he had started drinking again. With his life and second marriage falling apart, the man said he needed help.

    But the psychiatrist, Dr. Donald Levin, stopped him and said: “Hold it. I’m not your therapist. I could adjust your medications, but I don’t think that’s appropriate.”

    Like many of the nation’s 48,000 psychiatrists, Dr. Levin, in large part because of changes in how much insurance will pay, no longer provides talk therapy, the form of psychiatry popularized by Sigmund Freud that dominated the profession for decades. Instead, he prescribes medication, usually after a brief consultation with each patient. So Dr. Levin sent the man away with a referral to a less costly therapist and a personal crisis unexplored and unresolved.

    Medicine is rapidly changing in the United States from a cottage industry to one dominated by large hospital groups and corporations, but the new efficiencies can be accompanied by a telling loss of intimacy between doctors and patients. And no specialty has suffered this loss more profoundly than psychiatry.

  32. gary says:

    Stu, you wonder when the sellers are gonna stop banging their head against the wall. They slap an absurd number on their POS, insist on accepting nothing less than x dollars and enlist the services of agent after agent with no sale. Unless, of course, you go fishing on a site like Kannekt and find a potential buyer who’s convinced every year is 2005.

  33. gary says:


    It’s the beginning of the end. The only thing left now is to outline an exit strategy for our loved ones.

  34. Barbara says:

    I’ve now resorted to having my realtor call listing agents on houses that have been up for more than three months to get a feel for their client’s seriousness. I won’t even waste my time for showings at these prices for houses in such lousy condition. Got a fixer? Here’s the fixer price. Not the fantasy price after the remodeling.

  35. gary says:

    Watching some good college basketball this weekend at least enables one to forget the madness… at least for a short time.

  36. Shore Guy says:

    Reflecting on the Inquirer story, It strikes me that the loss of full-time residents has a real potential to allow a complete collapse in local real estate markets. Vacation homes are far from necessities and when push comes to shove it is far easier to walk away from one than a main home.

    We have given up on purchasing any additional properties in either NJ or NY. It is just not prudent.

  37. gary says:

    And despite it all, half of all loans issued are STILL through FHA. That means a buyer puts 3.5% down and is underwater the moment they hand them the keys at the closing. Why hasn’t the hammer dropped by now mandating at least 10% down or more? If you don’t have money, then go away. Everybody doesn’t get a pony.

  38. Shore Guy says:

    Now, a little place in the Keys may well be what the doctor ordered.

  39. Shore Guy says:

    Some get a goat.

  40. Shore Guy says:

    But please!, no sheep in garters.

  41. JonnyBoy says:

    WOW! I don’t really pay attention to the far left leaning CEPR site but here we have a sound posting about not propping up housing and letting it settle to the natural trend. And hey, maybe make sure the banks do the right thing with steps like cramdowns!

  42. Beyond Thunderdome says:

    The way JJ talks about his athletic prowess, I thought maybe this was him dunking. JJ, what’s your vertical leap

  43. xroads says:

    “If you don’t have money, then go away. Everybody doesn’t get a pony.”

    everybody got a four bedroom house with 2 baths and 2 car garage and even if they can’t make payments they still deserve it! its nobodies fault but the banks

  44. fan (27)-

    I can’t quantify it, but I can tell you that in my area, even short sales and REO that are offered at 5-10% discounts to the “regular” market are getting no offers. Therefore, all I can surmise from this is that asking prices, in the aggregate, ain’t enough to get things going right here, right now.

    My agents refer to this situation as Wil E Coyote off the edge of the cliff and air running.

  45. Confused In NJ says:

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke fielded the usual questions about inflation, tax cuts and government debt during a trip to Congress last week. Then a new question popped up: Is the Fed creating another bubble in stock prices?

    Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee he saw “little evidence” that was happening. But he cautioned: “Of course, nobody can know for sure.”

    That’s the problem with bubbles. You only know you’re in one when it pops.

  46. Final doom, dead ahead. C. Sheen is the perfect mascot for the mindless, degenerate state that we’ve entered. The final act of this piece of pathetic performance art should be this pathetic loser dying on his live webcast.

  47. That Lohan skank should die on a live webcast, too. What a piece of human garbage.

    Meanwhile, five US soldiers died this week in Afghanistan. Where’s their pay-per-tweet deal and 24/7 TV coverage?

  48. Firestormik says:

    “At that time the school budget exploded for 58 special needs students at $100K apiece. ”
    It doesn’t sound right. In Edison it’s ~18K vs 12K a year for a regular student

  49. Charles Hugh Smith, knocking it out of the park:

    “I’ve been getting more and more skeptical of education in general over the years. Most adults I run into seem to have basically a third grade education. They can read, if it’s nothing complicated or subtle. They can write, if all you want is simple sentences and don’t care about grammar or spelling. Forget about getting a coherent essay out of most people! And they can do basic arithmetic, although I’m not sure about long division.

    The rest of their education, even for the college educated, is never used, so it’s forgotten. None of the high school math or science or history is retained, from what I can tell.

    So although going from uneducated 19th century to third-grade 20th century might be worth a lot, I’m not convinced that we’ve maxed out on education. I think the current school systems actually destroy the desire to learn for a high percentage of the population. They come out of school hating lectures, study and tests. They feel it’s all been a complete waste. The average adult never reads for pleasure, and I assume, never reads anything non-fiction. Some percentage of the population is out there taking night classes, but I think the average person avoids classrooms for the rest of their lives.”

  50. nj escapee says:

    The weather is beautiful.

    Shore Guy says:
    March 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm
    Now, a little place in the Keys may well be what the doctor ordered.

  51. xroads says:


    I think the fact that practically the entire nation fell for the housing bubble is a sign our education systems suck! how can the fed not see it? its contained to subprime. please I’m a complete moron and I saw it coming wtf? there was only a small percentage who saw this out of all the college educated people out there? if this experience doesn’t prove our education system is in trouble then what does? basic math skills could have saved millions of people from the mess they’re in. third grade teachers should all be fired!

  52. BearsFan says:


    Debt, thanks. The cartoon analogy says a lot. Let me ask some related questions about volume. My aunt is a realtor (south jersey) and obviously saw a rough year 2010 in volume. I’ve asked her recently if they’ve altered their initial approach/sales pitch to sellers to try and encourage some more realistic pricing. She says they try, but most are still in the “im not giving my house away/suspended reality arena” still. At what point does this lower volume begin impacting the brokerage side of the business? How long can we stay in this standoff? I will say anecdotally, from someone who has spent a lot of time in Lowe’s the last few years, that the one in Woodbridge is definitely being impacted. I can breeze in and out now, no lines. This standoff has to start showing its effects further down the trough no?

  53. Punch My Ticket says:

    Clot, got a website for you. I think he might be more cynical than you.

    See for example

  54. BearsFan says:

    (in addition) – Debt, you said a lot when you stated that no offers are coming in as well. As someone who is contemplating kicking the tires on some places and throwing some (what would appear to be) lowball offers, why are these browsers not, at the very least, throwing in some offers, even if they expect them to be rejected. More to the point, what are the conversations taking place between the agents and buyers…are they asking if they should/can submit double digit below ask offers? Are they being discouraged via communication between both agents that would suggest at or near ask is the only viable path? Or are they just finding that they don’t like the properties, and the over-valued ask is insignificant because they’re not interested anyway.

    Sorry for all the questions. I really would love to know what other “potential buyers” are thinking, what kind of reactions they are getting. Are they all just too polite, and overly conditioned to think that 5% below sticker price is the most that they could “politely” offer? thoughts?

  55. Essex says:

    53. Oh please dumbass it is a sign of greed.

  56. Al Mossberg says:



    Yeah that situation has me pretty concerned. That would be the end of the petro dollar.

  57. Al Mossberg says:



    That would make sense. I think when Bush Jr. left office he said that history would prove that his decisions were the right ones. That comment relating to oil supply may prove correct.

  58. chicagofinance says:

    kannekt seldom if ever disappoints:

    Re: WHOLE FOODS/ JC #21
    Anonymous When Whole Foods is allowed to sell organic crack cocaine, then they’ll open a Jersey City location.

    Posted on: 2011/3/3 15:41

  59. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [43] johnnyboy

    It has been the democrats’ position for over a decade that housing was too expensive.

    I said years ago that the market collapse was secretly cheered on by dems in DC, even though dems in localities were looking on in horror.

    The fact that CEPR says let it shake out, don’t prop housing, doesnt come as a surprise. But don’t think that their motivation is the same as those on the right that oppose bailouts.

  60. Diane says:

    Homeless children: the hard times generation
    This was on 60 minutes tonight.

    In Seminole County, near Orlando, Fla., so many kids have lost their homes that school busses now stop at dozens of cheap motels where families crowd into rooms, living week to week.;cbsCarousel

  61. tbiggs says:

    #53 xroads – “out of all the college educated people out there”

    A fair number of college graduates seem to carry a hidden assumption that wisdom and sense were bestowed upon them along with the degree. The great middle of graduates mostly picked up groupthink – and that belief in the superiority of their knowledge makes that all the more dangerous.

    I was lucky to make it out of high school with a diploma, not because I didn’t know the subjects, but because I had a low tolerance for BS and busywork. Yet I easily saw the housing crack-up coming. What I didn’t imagine was how successfully otherwise smart people were able to delude themselves about it.

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