Posts Tagged ‘Cape May County’

The Land of Plenty, … and Poverty

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Cape May County, New Jersey is known for its beaches, the Atlantic Ocean, fishing, boating, golf courses, the zoo, and a myriad of other leisure venues.  Cape May, Avalon, and Stone Harbor are known for their multi-million dollar homes – McMansions, actually – that are second homes to the rich and famous.  Ocean City, Sea Isle, and the Wildwoods attract a mix of wealthy and middle class, all pursuing a relaxed escape from the hectic pace of their everyday lives in metropolitan Philadelphia or New York City.

To many, the county is shangri-la, a place to attain nirvana.  They associate it with “the good life”.

Unfortunately, year-round residents see past that illusion.  They know the ugly truth.  Of 42,000 year-round households, over 4,000 families live below the poverty level, which is an embarrassingly-low $22,050 for a family of four.  Can you imagine trying to make it on $22,050 per year?

Recently released statistics show that the worst conditions are in Woodbine, where 24% of families live in poverty.  Wildwood is next at 20% under the poverty line, with the median income just $30,974.   To extrapolate, that means that another 30% of year-round families in Wildwood make between $22,050 and $30,974.  Yikes!

Families are also struggling in Wildwood Crest with 11% in poverty, West Cape May with 10%, West Wildwood with 8%, and North Wildwood with 6%.

Here’s another telling statistic.  Cape May County had 317 homeless people in 2010.  That number includes 54 families totaling 157 people.  Another 160 individuals were labeled homeless and nine more were classified chronically homeless, meaning they’ve gone a full year or more without a home.

So where do they all live?  Why don’t you see them pushing around a shopping cart with all their possessions, like in Philly or Atlantic City or any big city?  The answer is that the NJ Social Services Department uses a half dozen local motels to house the homeless.  Since most don’t have a vehicle, driving past one of these motels gives the illusion that the rooms are mostly vacant, but they’re not.  Families, couples, and individuals are living in these motel rooms, with little more than a couple beds, a bathroom, microwave, and old TV.  But, at least they have heat.  Some other families are put up in temporary housing provided by churches.  Sadly, some live in the woods, under the Boardwalk, or in dilapidated abandoned homes.  These poor folks don’t have heat in the winter, and stay warm by piling on layers of clothes.

It’s a shame, a disgrace, that our country with so much has so many folks with so little.  Our government “by the people and for the people” isn’t exactly for all the people.  We need to change that.  As individuals, we have compassion.  But as a nation, we have less compassion than we should.  When will we all truly care?

- Mountain Man

Lower Township’s Revaluation

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Sometimes a municipality in New Jersey actually shows foresight and at the same time saves itself a lot of money.  Such is the case recently in Lower Township, Cape May County.

The township completed a full-blown revaluation in 2007, raising the total value of all properties from $1.5 billion to $4.73 billion.  While the new figure was more in line with reality, it came at the time when the real estate market was in a deadfall.  Property values were dropping about a half percent per month.

A petition signed by 1,500 property owners against the new valuations put the township on notice to expect plenty of costly tax appeals.  It would also cause an imbalance in values, since those folks out of a total of 15,930 property owners in the town that didn’t bother to appeal would unfairly be picking up the new burden.

Township Tax Assessor Art Amonette undertook an in-house reval in 2009, which cost just $25,000 instead of the $1 million price tag associated with a full reval.  Smart thinking, big savings!

The completed revaluation shows that the value of the township did indeed decline, from the previous $4.73 billion down to $4.1 billion, a drop of about 15%.  About 15,500 properties had their values reduced, while another 400 saw increases.

The range of change had some properties dropping 30%, as opposed to a high of a 10% increase.  Anyone who’s value dropped more than 15% will see a lower tax bill.  A reduction less than 15% will see the owner’s tax bill increase accordingly.

So once again, the playing field appears to be leveled for Lower Township property owners.  Town officials being proactive was a wise decision all around.

- Mountain Man and City Girl    http://www.MountainManandCityGirl.com

The blogsite of Jewell Real Estate Agency, Wildwood Crest, NJ    http://www.JewellRealEstateAgency.com

Feeding the Hungry in Cape May County

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

We just couldn’t stand by any longer and do nothing about the hunger and nutrition problem here in Cape May County, New Jersey.  It was time to act. 

In a county that has hundreds of multi-million dollar vacation homes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay, there is a flip side to the coin.  Of 42,000 yearround families, nearly 4,000 households live under the poverty line ($22,050 for 4) and another 9,500 have social security as their sole source of income.  The unemployment rate is around 13%, and when you add in those who have basically given up ever finding gainful employment the jobless rate approaches 30%. 

As realtors, we get the opportunity to go into a lot of people’s homes every year.  In one home we had listed last year, we noticed that the five kids had different colored lips.  We soon discovered why.  The only food in the house was those frozen sugar-water ice pops that come in tear-away plastic tubes.  The refrigerator was empty except for condiments and the freezer was full of different flavored ice pops.  It’s sad.  In the homes of the elderly, we have seen them subsist on Saltine crackers the last days of the month.  They are proud and they don’t complain.

While so many have so much, these others have so little.

This month, we organized “The Free Meal Center” with a volunteer Board of Directors and incorporated as a New Jersey secular, non-profit, charitable organization.  By the way, the politically correct term nowadays is “meal center” and no longer is “soup kitchen”.  We found a 4,000 square foot former restaurant centrally located in the middle of the county on the main highway, Route 9, and negotiated a purchase price.  It has four dining rooms, four restrooms, a large kitchen area, and parking for 40 cars on the 2.2 acre property.  We will be able to seat 100 or more at a time.

We take possession of the building March 15 and hope to be up and running by Memorial Day.  We will serve lunch Monday through Saturday, plus breakfast on Saturday.  Meals will be free and open to anyone who walks through our doors.  We won’t even ask their names.  Our volunteers will treat everyone with respect and dignity.

The building does need a bit of work.  Part of the roof needs repairs, the interior needs painting, the bare kitchen needs equipment, and we need tables and chairs.  A few other repairs may become evident once we’re in the building, but its all no big deal.  We can do it.

We’ve undertaken becoming a 501(c)(3) tax deductible entity and expect to be approved in the spring.  Our website, http://www.TheFreeMealCenter.com should up on-line by next Tuesday, February 16, 2010.

If you’d like to help us help these less-fortunate folks, you can donate through our website next week, or mail a check to The Free Meal Center, PO Box 863, Cape May Court House, New Jersey  08210.  We’ll mail you back a tax deductible receipt.

Thanks for caring.

- Mountain Man and City Girl    http://www.MountainManandCityGirl.com

The blogsite of Jewell Real Estate Agency, Wildwood Crest, NJ  08260    http://www.JewellRealEstateAgency.com

RIP New Jersey COAH

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

A New Jersey State Senate bill recently introduced would abolish the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH), taking implementation of low and moderate income housing standards from the state and putting it in the hands of municipalities.  It’s about time.

COAH came into existence in the late 1970′s as a result of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Mt. Laurel Decision, which basically said that municipalities cannot zone against low and moderate-income housing and must supply affordable housing.  COAH set quotas for each of the state’s 567 (now 566) municipalities.

The quota system was unfair to many municipalities, setting unrealistically high numbers for some towns.  Here in Cape May County, Middle Township is still required to offer 932 more affordable units by 2018 and Upper Township still owes over 500.  It’s unrealistic and puts a heavy burden on taxpayers, who must fund new schools and services to meet the demand of so many new residences.

Senate Bill S1, sponsored by Raymond Lesniak and Christopher Bateman, and its companion State Assembly bill A2057, would abolish COAH.  It would also do away with State-imposed calculations of affordable housing needs.  Instead, it would permit municipalities to determine their own needs.  The State Planning Commission would assist towns in facilitating opportunities for affordable housing.

The bill would require municipalities to re-examine their master plan and adopt an ordinance that provides an opportunity for an appropriate variety and choice of housing.  They must show that they have complied with their obligations under the Fair Housing Act.  Any municipality not enacting ordinances by December 31, 2011, would be required to have any developers set aside 20% of their project for low or moderate or work force housing.

What does all this mean?  COAH and its assigned numbers of affordable housing units will be put to rest.  But municipalities aren’t off the hook.  They must still offer affordable housing, but on their own terms, not Trenton’s.

-Mountain Man and City Girl    http://www.MountainManandCityGirl.com

The blogsite of Jewell Real Estate Agency, Wildwood Crest, NJ    http://www.JewellRealEstateAgency.com

My Toyota

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

After owning three successive Dodge Dakotas, we bought a new Toyota Tundra last May.  It is a 2009 4-wheel drive pickup truck with the full-sized backseat.  We asked the dealer to make three modifications as a condition of purchasing the vehicle.  They agreed, then did none of them.  No wonder car dealers have a reputation for “say anything to make a sale.”

Anyway, our Tundra was one of over four million Toyotas recalled last summer because of a reported problem with the driver’s floor mat slipping underneath the pedals.  Our mat is secured by a big plastic clip and it can’t be moved even with force, so we filed the recall notice in the “if it ever becomes a problem” folder. 

Now Toyota has begun a recall of over one million vehicles – again ours is on the list – because the accelerator sticks.  An advocacy group, Safety Research and Strategies, has said that since 1999 Toyotas have had 2,274 incidences of “sudden unintended acceleration” leading to 18 deaths in 275 crashes.

We haven’t received the recall notice yet, but even when we do there is no hurry to get out Tundra back to the dealer.  Toyota hasn’t yet come up with a solution to the problem.  It’s some sort of multiple problem concerning interconnected linkage.  It’s not just spraying it with WD-40 or replacing a single part and everything is okay.

Our Tundra is our third vehicle, so we don’t drive it often.  We use it to get from our home in Cape May County, New Jersey to our vacation log home in mountains of Pocahontas County, West Virginia.  It’s 396 miles each way. 

We needed the 4-wheel drive in case of snow or ice going through the mountains, and the large size gives us plenty of room to bring along all the tools, supplies, etc that we always seem to need.  But other than those trips (about 12,000 miles a year), our Toyota stays parked under cover in New Jersey.  We each drive smaller, more economical vehicles in our everyday New Jersey life.

Toyota has put out some warnings of what symptoms to look for in advance of your gas pedal sticking.  They say the pedal may gradually become harder to depress, and there may be a roughness or chattering when pressing or releasing the gas pedal.  It that happens, call your Toyota dealer.

If the pedal does stick at full acceleration, follow these steps:  Brake hard, but don’t pump the brakes, just depress the brake pedal enough without going into a skid.  Then throw the engine in “neutral”.  While the engine will still be running at excessive RPM’s, it won’t be pushing you along anymore.  Don’t turn the engine off until you’re safely stopped and off the road.  Got all that?

We’re sure Toyota will figure out a solution to the problem soon, then we can all take our vehicles to the dealer for the repairs.  We’re just sorry that we have to go back to the incompetent dealer that we bought it from.

- Mountain Man and City Girl    http://www.MountainManandCityGirl.com

The blogsite of Jewell Real Estate Agency, Wildwood Crest, NJ    http://www.JewellRealEstateAgency.com

Jersey Shore – The TV Show

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

I’m not really one to watch MTV.  It’s not my generation.  I’m a couple generations past that.  So when I read in the newspaper that Italian-American groups were repulsed and offended by the show “Jersey Shore”, it piqued my interest.

I feel qualified to have an opinion about the Jersey Shore (the place, not the show) because, heck, I live here.  Our real estate office is located in Wildwood Crest, Cape May County.  We’re just four blocks from the beach and the beginning of the 39 city block long Boardwalk.  From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the population on our island swells from 14,000 yearround to over 250,000.

Our closest metropolitan area is Philadelphia.  It’s predominantly Italian and Irish heritage.  And it’s a rite of passage for families and their kids to vacation here.  It’s also an unofficial “tradition” that kids in their late teens and twenties come here in the summer to party.  Party hard!  Party hard away from their elders, out of sight of those who might inflict family repercussions.

I have a little more insight than most because I also owned a bar here from 2002 through 2004.  Though my tavern was off the beaten track and it attracted an older (30 to 75) crowd, I did become acquainted with many other bar owners and I did make the late night rounds more than once.

Long story short, I recently did catch two episodes of Jersey Shore.  It’s about these eight Italian-American young twenty-somethings who come to the shore town of Seaside Heights, NJ, about 50 miles north of us.  They have an assortment of MTV-generation names like Snooki, JWoWW, and The Situation.  The Situation?  Give me a break.

Anyway, they primp and argue at their rented beach house, then go out and drink and carouse, and inevitably come home and be promiscious with a newfound partner.  They call it “hooking up”.  You can call it what you like.

They also get into fights and do other immature, egotistical things.  They are an extreme example of typical summertime behavior.  Tone it down a little bit and they’re just like the others who go “Animal House” at the shore.

The Italian-American groups call Jersey Shore demeaning and not reality.  “That’s not how our kids act,” is their general feeling. 

Bottom line: 

Is this behavior the norm at the shore in the summertime?  Yes.  It’s called “sowing your oats” before settling down to a lifetime of responsibility and 2.3 kids and a soccer-mom vehicle and a mortgage.

Should Italian-American groups be offended?  No.  Get over it.  It’s also Irish-American kids and CEO’s kids and teachers’ kids and mayors’ kids.  And your kids!

- Mountain Man and City Girl    http://www.MountainManandCityGirl.com 

The blogsite of Jewell Real Estate Agency, Wildwood Crest, NJ    http://www.JewellRealEstateAgency.com

The Little Town That Could

Monday, January 11th, 2010

The Borough of Woodbine is located in the northwest corner of Cape May County, in southern New Jersey.  Situated in the Pinelands National Reserve, Woodbine is physically located about 20 miles from the very affluent beachfront communities of Avalon and Stone Harbor and 30 miles from trendy, historic Cape May.  But in perception, they are a million miles apart.

Woodbine shouldn’t be underestimated.  It’s the hidden gem of the county.  And continually preparing itself for future prosperity.

The rural, wooded town of 2,700 folks boasts an airport, a museum, the largest employer in the county, plenty of industry, an elementary school, recreation commission, volunteer fire department, and Belleplain State Park.

The 700-acre airport – one of only three in the county – is part of the 1,216-acre Woodbine Municipal Airport Economic Area.  It employs 27 workers with an annual payroll of two-thirds of a million dollars.  The 50-acre business park has a public sewer system in place in anticipation of future businesses locating there.  An existing rail line opens more possibilities.  A new golf course proposed by a private developer on the remaining land was scuttled when a glut of new golf courses in the county made it financially impractical.

Being one of only five towns in the 1.1 million acre Pinelands to receive the coveted Town designation, Woodbine is able to offer sewers for residences, plus commercial and industrial businesses.  That makes it attractive to businesses throughout Cape May County looking to relocated to more spacious and less pricey properties.  And the general purpose tax rate hasn’t increased in 19 years.

The little town is experiencing continual improvements.  The Sam Azeez Museum of Woodbine Heritage recently completed a $2 million renovation and voters recently approved a $3.8 million project to upgrade the school, which includes solar panel installation.  At the former landfill, Garden State Ethanol is in the permit process which will lead to building a 25-million gallon a year plant that will convert algae to ethanol.

The town owes much of its success and progress to Mayor William Pikolycky, who’s been in office for a couple decades.  Last year alone he garnered $4.2 million in grants for Woodbine.  In the past he has gotten bike trails and walking trails funded and built, and made many infrastructure improvements to the vibrant, multi-ethnic community.

So while many local communities march on as well-to-do seashore tourist locales, little Woodbine chugs along with an eye to the future.  It truly is the Little Engine That Could.

- Mountain Man and City Girl

http://www.MountainManandCityGirl.com

Catholic Schools reeling in Cape May County

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Just one day after school officials called rumors of Wildwood Catholic High School’s closing unfounded, the Diocese of Camden announced that the school will close at the end of the school year this June.  It’s just the latest round in the demise of the Catholic church in Cape May County.

In 2007, St. Raymond’s elementary/junior high school in the Villas section of Lower Township was closed by the Diocese of Camden, which oversees the Catholic goings-on in southern New Jersey.  Students, parents, and teachers were saddened, outraged, and in shock.  Students were offered the chance to transfer to Star of the Sea in Cape May or St. Ann’s in Wildwood.

Then in 2008 the Diocese announced the closing of Star of the Sea elementary/junior high school, merging it with St. Ann’s elementary/junior high school.  That didn’t sit well with Star of the Sea parents, who didn’t like the prospect of their kids be bussed to lowly Wildwood, a decidedly less affluent community.  The parents are still fighting the closing, recently taking out ads on the radio to drum up support for keeping Star of the Sea open.  Tuition at the school is around $3,500 for Catholic kids and a thousand dollars more for non-Catholics.

The diocese also previously announced the closing of the Assumption church in upscale Wildwood Crest, offering just summer services when tourists are in town.  Parishioners picketed and instituted a letter writing campaign to keep their church, which is self-supporting and not losing money, from merging with St. Ann’s.  The move by the Diocese was part of a plan to merge 14 Cape may County parishes into eight.

With all these closings happening, the biggest shock is the demise of Wildwood Catholic High School, an institution on the island since 1948.  The North Wildwood school boasts state titles in soccer and basketball, and their rivalries with Wildwood High School and other county high schools are legendary.  In the 1990′s, the school’s enrollment increased from 250 to 374 students.  A $1.5 million addition was built onto the school to handle the increase. 

But in these tough economic times, with tuition at the Catholic high school running about $6,000 per student, many parents balked at sending their kids there.  And yes, religion is less common in families than in previous times.  Enrollment is now down to 194 at Wildwood Catholic High.  The school will lose a half million dollars this year, with expected red ink of $900,000 next year if they stayed open.

Catholic parents of high schoolers will now have several options of where to send their kids next year.  To stay parochial, the options are Holy Spirit High School in Absecon (35 miles), St. Augustine in Richland (45 miles), or St. Joseph in Hammonton (52 miles).  Locally, the students can attend their home public high schools which are Wildwood HS, Lower Cape May Regional HS, Middle Township HS, Ocean City HS, or Cape May Technical HS. 

Unlike St. Raymond’s, which now sits unused and gathering dust, Wildwood Catholic will not be mothballed.  The school will become the new home of the St. Ann and Star of the Sea merger and used for church activities, offices, and ministry.  It presumably will be called Cape Trinity Catholic School.

- Mountain Man and City Girl

http://www.MountainManandCityGirl.com

A Common Sense Solution

Monday, January 4th, 2010

The little borough of West Cape May, like other towns in New Jersey, has to provide affordable housing thanks to the Mt. Laurel decision back in the late 1970′s.  But unlike most municipalities, West Cape May has come up with a novel plan that is offering incentives and fewer building restrictions.

The Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) was created out of that controversial court ruling that mandated a required number of low and moderate income units for each of New Jersey’s 566 municipalities.  West Cape May needs to provide just two units by 2018, but they’re offering breaks for those creating the first 10.

Called “accessory apartments”, they can be in garages, above stores, in existing homes, or even new construction, as long as they’re in an area of the town where public sewer and water already exist.  No planning board approval would be necessary, just the usual construction permits.  The landlord would have to sign an agreement stipulating that the unit be rented below the market rate for 15 years.  But the town’s $25,000 to $75,000 incentive would help make up the difference.  After 15 years, the landlord is free to charge the usual market rate.

The borough will create a pool of tenants after determining their eligilibility based on income.  Landlords can ban smoking or pets or such, and do criminal backgrounds and credit checks, plus charge a security deposit.  The rent can’t be raised as unless a tenant leaves and a new one moves in.

In an expensive shore resort area like the Cape Mays, rentals are beyond the financial scope of many young families.  City officials hope that this will allow more to stay in the area and not move on to less pricey locales.

While West Cape May is just two units short of its COAH goal, two other Cape May County municipalities have a rougher road ahead.  Middle Township is mandated to provide 934 units and Upper Township 566 by 2018.  That would overcrowd the schools and burden the two towns’ services, not to mention the added real estate property taxes that residents would be forced to shoulder.  The towns have minimal areas of infrastructure and over 50% of each municipality is either federal, state or preserved land and not buildable.  Providing this absurd number of units definitely would promote sprawl and change the character of the towns.

Perhaps Governor-elect Christopher Christie, who has spoken out against COAH, will do something to abolish this forced build-up of semi-rural communities.

- Mountain Man and City Girl

http://www.MountainManandCityGirl.com

Just a Feeling

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

As realtors, we often get hunches about our own individual local real estate market, whether it’s Monterrey, California or Baton Rouge, Louisiana or Bangor, Maine. 

Here at Jewell Real Estate Agency, we have a feeling about 2010.  A strong feeling.  All the pieces seem to be falling into place that 2010 is going to be a great year.  The best since 2005.

Our local real estate market is Cape May County, a small tourist-oriented county at the very southern tip of New Jersey.  While we have just 96,000 yearround residents, the summer population swells to 750,000 or more on any given day.  Our beautiful Atlantic Ocean beaches and back bays and famous boardwalks attract vacationers from Philadelphia and eastern Pennsylvania; New York City and the surrounding areas of northern New Jersey, southwestern Connecticut, and New York state; plus some fun-seekers from Maryland,Washington, DC and eastern Canada.

We almost exclusively sell vacation homes – including condos and townhomes - and multifamily homes, with an occasional commercial property.  We sell a few primary homes each year, mostly off the islands on the mainland.  There just isn’t a great demand.  The seasonality of our location makes us unattractive to yearround living for a young family just getting started.  There just isn’t enough yearround employment to suit their needs, so the younger generation tends to migrate toward the Philadelphia area and its jobs.  The primary homes we do sell are mostly to retirees looking to enjoy the quiet shore life, plus the restaurants, fishing, and attractions of Cape May, the Wildwoods, and even Atlantic City 35 miles to the north.

So back to the countdown to 2010. 

We are already showing properties every day, a phenomenon lacking over Christmas break the last two years.  Joyce wrote two contracts yesterday – both accepted – and we’ve got plenty of showings today and tomorrow, right up to New Year’s Eve.

People seem eager to buy right now.  There’s an enthusiasm amongst prospective buyers that has replaced the overall reluctance evident in 2007 through the first half of 2009.  Maybe it’s the low interest rates or the bargain basement prices of real estate.  Maybe it’s that folks are tired of sitting on the sidelines and putting off buying that American dream second home.  Or perhaps it’s because many in the media have given the green light to purchasing real estate and abandoned their doom and gloom prophecies.

Whatever the reason, we have a bounce in our step and a twinkle in our eyes.  The new year looks very promising.  I think I’ll stick a bottle of champagne under the seat of my truck.  After my last property showing tomorrow afternoon, I think I’ll break out the bubbly and toast the good times ahead.  Wanna join me?

- Mountain Man

http://www.MountainManandCityGirl.com

Second Homers

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

The real estate market in Cape May County, New Jersey is based on second homes – vacation homes - whatever you want to call them.  The county is evenly divided – 50% of residences are primary homes and 50% are second homes.  At our real estate agency, both our island office in Wildwood Crest and our mainland office in Swainton sell about 90% second homes.  Primary homes are a small part of our business.

Cape May County has a lot going for it to attract families with the financial ability to afford a vacation home.  There’s the beaches, the boardwalks, fishing and boating, 12 golf courses, a great free zoo, bird-watching, restaurants, state parks, museums, and shopping.  Eco-tourism alone accounts for $522 million per year.  With low crime, no industry, and tolerable traffic, it’s the recipe for an inviting vacation destination.

While much of the country still suffers from a stagnant real estate market, here at the shore the market is back on the rise.  Perhaps analyzing a few numbers will help us understand not only why we are doing okay, but also why we’ll flourish in the future.

There are 6 million households in the United States that own a second home.  Numbers released from a 2007 poll indicate that 22.8 million American households (out of 105 million total US households) expect to purchase a second home in the next 10 years.  Wow, that’s a staggering number.  Let’s postulate, being very conservative, that two-thirds of those families will not realize that dream.  That still leaves 7.6 million families that will purchase a second home, more than doubling the number of vacation homes nationwide.

corb2196.jpg

What do people look for in a vacation home?  Good question.  The answer is either water – an ocean, lake, or river – or mountains.  Not too many families want their getaway to be in rural Iowa or downtown Cleveland.  Naturally, Cape May County has the Atlantic Ocean, along with wide, sandy beaches, moderate temperatures, and it’s easily accessible by car from anywhere in the middle Atlantic states.  We’re not Maine, we’re not Florida, in weather extremes or distance.  Thank heavens!

Obviously, affluence has a lot to do with where second home families originate.  The highest median home price is in California, so that would be the best market.  Hawaii and Washington, DC are second and third, but they’re too small for the home prices to mean much.  The next “real” market is Massachusetts in fourth place, then New Jersey is fifth. 

Metropolitan New York City with 18.7 million people, Philadelphia and its suburbs with 5.8 million people, along with all of New Jersey, are the primary sources for folks interested in buying second homes at the South Jersey seashore.  All are within a two and a half hour drive, the accepted norm.  That is a tremendous pool of families from which to draw potential vacation home owners.

The demographics are a strong argument why Cape May County’s real estate market will continue to grow and prosper.  One figure still sticks in my mind – 22.8 million households expect there’s a good chance they’ll buy a second home in the next 10 years.  Kinda gives me goosebumps.

- Mountain Man