Who can afford to live at the shore?

From the Press of Atlantic City:

Jersey Shore real estate becomes less attainable for young, working families

When Daniel and Dana Smith bought their Ventnor Heights home in 2009, it was “a little rough around the edges.”

There was an oil tank in the backyard that needed to be removed. It needed new floors and carpeting. After Hurricane Sandy, they had to raise the 1950s cottage. But the property cost $165,000 and was within a few blocks of the beach, which was where the couple wanted to raise their three kids, Daniel, 7, Nora, 4, and Carter, 1, after they both grew up on Absecon Island.

Since moving in, Smith said he has seen several other young families buy homes in the Heights and live in the community year-round, particularly because of its affordability and proximity to the beach. Many of the families were either lifelong friends of the Smiths or have become regulars at impromptu Friday night barbecues.

But the Heights, which has maintained its affordability, is likely the exception in New Jersey’s shore communities, not the rule. Nowadays, if there are young families in beach towns throughout New Jersey, they are likely just visiting. As real estate in shore towns grows ever more expensive, it is becoming increasingly difficult for young families like the Smiths to call New Jersey’s shore communities home.

“If you drive around, look at new construction. No one is building working-class or middle-class construction anymore,” said Kevin Gillen, a senior research fellow at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Gillen studies the housing market at the Jersey Shore and found that in 2014, sales of shore houses and condos priced at $1 million or more reached all-time highs — even higher than during the peak years of the housing boom. Between the 2000 and 2010 Census, Brigantine lost 519 households with children under the age of 18. Ventnor lost about 300, and Ocean City lost nearly 400. During that time, Ocean City lost a total of 3,677 year-round residents, about 24 percent of its 2000 population.

In some communities, this trend has alarmed local officials, who are trying — with mixed results — to make their towns more welcoming to young residents.

But Gillen’s research shows that Sandy took the largest toll on older homes near the bayside in shore communities, which is typically where young families can afford to live. In their place, larger, luxury homes are being constructed.

This entry was posted in Demographics, Economics, Housing Recovery, Shore Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Who can afford to live at the shore?

  1. dentss Dunnian says:

    Pretty soon this will be all of New Jersey …unaffordable

  2. Essex says:

    Michael says that NJ is different.

  3. Hughesrep says:

    It’s not. Dumba$$es everywhere.

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