My friends and family know how proud I am of being a real estate investor here in my adopted home of New Jersey. I support my family well with my business and enjoy a good living. Plus, I get out and about, looking at properties across the state and seeing which neighborhoods are beginning to flourish. It’s important for my business to know the dynamics of individual neighborhoods from a boots-on-the-ground perspective, even in counties where investment opportunities seem ripe according to the market reports. If you are looking for some of the best places to invest here, too, let me tell you about the up and coming neighborhoods in NJ across three cities that I’ve checked out recently and believe hold the most investment promise.
Where Are the Most Promising Up and Coming Neighborhoods in NJ?
It’s hard to make generalizations about almost anything in New Jersey. We have one of the most culturally-diverse states in the country, socio-economic extremes, and a good mix of urban centers against a backdrop of natural wonders— all in the fourth smallest state. That means there’s a lot to choose from when developing your investment niche. And, whatever your investment choice, things look good for the real estate market as statewide statistics by the New Jersey Realtors Association show an overall trend of rising prices. The current moderate seller’s market, however, could give way by the year’s end to stagnating wages and generational trends that favor delayed home buying. Already, houses are spending an average of 63 days on the market and prices are rising slower than inflation. This means two things for your real estate investment business: Sell now if you have property on your hands and, if you don’t, you may have more to choose from as the year unfolds.
Statewide data won’t show you where the best towns for buying investment property in NJ are this year, though. At the local level, you’ll see a patchwork of highs and lows with a lot of variance from city to city, depending on factors like unemployment rates, wages, crime, and taxes. Within this broad array of conditions, there are a number of up and coming NJ neighborhoods where you will potentially be able to find a good deal on a house to rehab and sell—but you need to know where to look. Here’s my top three neighborhoods that are on the upswing.
Greenville Neighborhood in Jersey City
Jersey City is being rediscovered. As more and more New Yorkers are giving in to the frustrations caused by the high cost of living, Jersey City is getting a boost of buyer interest because the commute is manageable and the real estate is more affordable. This is a continuation of a process that started in neighboring Hoboken but, as Hoboken’s prices have surged, Jersey City is receiving new residents who are willing to go a little farther to afford a home. That means you’ll likely have an easier-than-average time selling your rehabbed investment property. But, can you find distressed properties to renovate in the first place? Most likely. You see, the city recently carried out its first property tax revaluations in 30 years this year, impacting practically all properties but especially historic downtown and older neighborhoods. As a result, many homeowners are now being faced with a tax bill that is now out of range for their income. This means that there will likely be more distressed property for sale here.
One older neighborhood that actually benefits from the tax revaluation, however, is Greenville. Residents here have long complained that their tax rate is unfair compared to downtown developments, contributing to growing disparity and depressed home prices. But, with the new tax rates set, some Greenville homeowners could see their property tax bill slashed in half. This has positioned Greenville growth and, in fact, the market here is already clearly on the rise now. The median 1-4 unit house price rose 32% from this time last year. If you are able to acquire a distressed property in this neighborhood, it’s likely that you’ll have no trouble selling it for a good price.
Western Edge of Hoboken
Hoboken has been a perennially high-performing real estate market in recent years. Being the closest city to New York by public transportation has been a great benefit to the city, leading to a large spurt in population and a lively entertainment and nightlife scene. Upon first blush, it may seem like Hoboken has already reached its peak and you are already priced out of this market. It’s true, market data by Pure Properties shows that overall home sales have slowed by 10% since last year and prices are extraordinary—the median home price for 1-4 family units has reached $1.76 million.
But what is happening city-wide doesn’t necessarily reveal what’s going on at the neighborhood level—especially those neighborhoods on the western edge of Hoboken, adjacent to Jersey City Heights. This is the more modest part of the city, with a large proportion of 1-4 family homes. As Hoboken continues to enjoy its status as New York’s hip neighbor, redevelopment is moving westward. Luxury mid-rise housing is springing up in that half of the city and moving continually farther west, replacing some of those small residential buildings and creating a more densely-populated, prosperous environment. This spreading gentrification will likely drive up prices significantly, as it already has in most of the rest of the city. This is the perfect time to acquire a distressed property in the western part of Hoboken, while the transition is still in progress. If you find one and renovate it, you’ll be on the right side of the market swing when it’s time to sell.
Ironbound Neighborhood in Newark
Newark has had, and deserved, a questionable reputation for many years. This is reflected in the city’s high foreclosure rate, which is close to three times the national average and still slightly higher than the state average. Nonetheless, we may be seeing the tide of change coming in finally. Crime is at its lowest in years and the economy is finally looking better. And, we should remember that Newark is the home of several educational institutions, a national center of the insurance industry, and an emerging tech hub. Now, other major employers are arriving or expanding their presence here and bringing with them a new stable of workers who need accessible family housing.
I am concentrating on investing in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood, often divided into North, Central and South Ironbound. It is a colorful and centrally-located district known for its ambiance and entertainment options. While Central Ironbound has already become unaffordable for many homebuyers, the gentrifying wave hasn’t made it all the way through the district. A transition is underway though as developers eye the area. A hydroponic farm has already moved into an abandoned steel factory in the neighborhood and confectionary giant Mars Wrigley will be moving into a warehouse converted to office space in 2020. With the right leads, you can stay ahead of the curve and benefit from the changes that are happening fast in this neighborhood.
These are just a few of the bright spots on the investment map of New Jersey. There are many other promising communities to invest in. Bayonne and Weehawken will soon be attracting as much attention as Hoboken and Jersey City in the New York metropolitan area. Asbury Park, for instance, is also catching up fast to its pricier neighbors on the shore. These are all excellent places to buy, renovate, and sell undervalued homes. What you need is a successful lead-finding strategy, though.
Finding Your Way To Up and Coming Neighborhoods in NJ
There’s nothing like hitting the road to meet motivated home sellers in up and coming neighborhoods with high investment potential. I get qualified leads like these because I am an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee. Distressed homeowners call me directly because they are familiar with the nationally-known and trusted “We Buy Ugly Houses®” multi-channel advertising campaign. HomeVestors® franchisees, like me, have bought over 95k houses since 1996. That’s how well it works.
Contact HomeVestors to find out how you, too, can enjoy the advantages of receiving qualified leads in the up and coming New Jersey neighborhoods.
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