From the Star Ledger:
Seemingly everyone knew this tiny cliffside town — all 1.4-square miles of it — would one day become a dynamic real estate market.
Barbara Tulko, a Weehawken resident since 1974 and a realtor since 1984, remembers diverting bubbly first-time buyers in the 1980s looking to live in Hoboken up to neighboring Weehawken. It had the same key features the more well-known community had — views and easy access to Manhattan — but was less crowded and considerably less expensive.
Mary Ciuffitelli, a 37-year Weehawken resident, would advertise various properties she owned as the “extreme West side” — because it was nearly an extension of Manhattan.
But in 2017, Weehawken requires no diversionary tactics or aggressive sales pitches.
Because of demand from buyers who have been priced out of New York City, Hoboken and Jersey City — and who are now scooping up luxury waterfront condos — median home values in the town of under 15,000 residents increased nearly 25 percent over the last year. It’s the highest surge in the state.
Median home values are now at $757,500, compared to $488,000 in 2012, and Zillow predicts that figure will hit $809,000 by July 2018. The price continues to rise as a surge of waterfront development has taken place in the town through which the Lincoln Tunnel and it’s daily 50,000 number of drivers pass, including construction of The Estuary (589 rental units), The Avenue Collection (177 condos), and RiversEdge (236 units) and RiverParc (280 units).
Yet the spoils of gentrification are rarely evenly distributed — and a closer look at the boom in Weehawken reveals tensions and fault lines. In a town where 55 percent of students in their school system are on free or reduced lunch, the largest property value increases have largely been concentrated near the waterfront.
And with the cliffs of the Palisades sharply dividing longtime residents, who live at higher, inland elevations and share a western border with Union City, from new city transports down along the Hudson River, some say that the town has split into two.
“You could say you know everyone in Weehawken,” says Enrique Romero, who grew up there. “Before you go down there.”
“We created now a new city,” says Gabe Pasquale, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Landsea Homes, one of the developers of the waterfront.