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New Jersey has a long and storied history. Whether you know it as one of the original thirteen colonies, or as the home of The Boss, or as the playground of the Jersey Shore crew, the state is undeniably a place of great innovation.
The fifth smallest state by land area, New Jersey is only 7,354 square miles, and as a peninsula, it is bounded almost entirely by water – on the east, southeast, and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by the Delaware River (and Pennsylvania), and on the southwest by Delaware Bay (and Delaware). Only its northern border with New York is “dry,” although the Hudson River forms part of the eastern border between New York and New Jersey. While it may be small in size, it is the most densely populated of the 50 states. New Jersey is at the center of the northeast megalopolis, located between New York City and Philadelphia, and is often described as a suburb of these metropolitan giants. Nearly one million New Jerseyites travel to NYC daily for work. An easy commute to either city makes New Jersey highly desirable for families and for those who prefer to avoid big-city living.
With so much coastline, New Jersey is famous for its beautiful beaches – 210 miles of surf and sand. Due to its coastal configuration, both sunrise and sunset can be viewed over the water from various points on the Jersey Shore. The state has more ocean boardwalks and piers than any other US state. In fact, the boardwalk was invented in New Jersey, and made world-famous by Atlantic City, the center of New Jersey’s gambling enterprises and home of the Miss America Pageant.
Originally inhabited by the Lenni-Lenape people, European settlers began arriving in the early 1600s. By the end of that century the entire area had come under English rule. It was primarily an agricultural society, although maritime and shipping ventures also contributed to the growing economy. New Jersey was one of the Thirteen Colonies that opposed British rule, and during the Revolutionary War it became known as “The Crossroads of the American Revolution” as armies crossed the state numerous times and a number of pivotal battles occurred there.
From its inception, New Jersey has been a bastion of diversity and tolerance. It was the first state to extend voting rights to all inhabitants “of a certain wealth,” including Blacks and unmarried women. Known for its religious tolerance, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Reformists, Quakers, and Anglicans coexisted peacefully. Although it was the last northern state to abolish slavery, New Jersey remained staunchly Union during the Civil War.
New Jersey was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. Still a largely agrarian economy, frequent crop failures and poor soil caused a shift to a more industrialized activity, such as the manufacture of textiles. Iron and zinc mining became leading industries, inspiring the growth of new towns and expanding shipping routes. Inventor Thomas Edison, known as The Wizard of Menlo Park, ushered in a new era with the electric lightbulb, and Christie Street near his research center was the first road in the world to feature electric lighting. Through both of the World Wars New Jersey was a center for naval construction. The opening of the Holland Tunnel between Jersey City and Manhattan in 1927 and the New Jersey Turnpike in 1951 (between NYC and Philadelphia) encouraged the rapid growth of bedroom communities since workers could easily access metropolitan areas.
Today, New Jersey has a strong scientific economy, which includes pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, information technology, telecommunications, food processing, and chemical development. It still has a large stake in agriculture and continues to be a leader in the shipping industry.
Home architecture in New Jersey is eclectic; a mix of old and new. You will find everything from Georgian and Queen Anne styles to farmhouse, cottage, and contemporary homes. As a result of its long history, the state features a log cabin built by Finnish settlers dating back to the 1600s as well as many grand residences built by industrial tycoons. One such mansion, located in Somerset County, was purchased by the King of Morocco for his sons while they attended Princeton University.
So what can New Jersey homeowners expect as they house hunt in the Garden State? Although Realm’s data analysis shows that 93% of residences were outside flood zone areas, most homes are built on raised foundations to accommodate access to plumbing and avoid foundation issues with ground frost. Realm’s data analysis also found that wood floors were the most popular feature in the New Jersey housing market, with mentions in 36,696 recent real estate listings. HVAC work also cracked the top five most popular features, with 26,848 mentions in recent listings.
Ranch-style homes, often with finished basements, became popular at the mid-century mark. Data collected by Realm confirms this trend, showing that the most homes in New Jersey were constructed in 1950. Hallmarks of ranch-style homes include living spaces all on one level with extensive outdoor development and privacy fencing. Once again, data analysis by Realm confirms this, showing that decks (29,864 mentions), patios (23,035 mentions) and fencing (19,885 mentions) were among the most popular features in the New Jersey housing market.
Are houses selling in New Jersey?
New Jersey is one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. As of September 2021, single family homes were selling in 38 days, in contrast to the previous year, when homes were averaging 65 days on the market. Low mortgage rates coupled with limited inventory have been driving the home-buying frenzy. The trend is expected to slow during the fourth quarter of 2021, a time when sales traditionally drop off during the holiday season.
What is the average home price in New Jersey?
The average single-family home price has jumped approximately 24% in 2021. Homes valued around $404,000 in 2020 are typically bringing in around $503,000 in 2021. Many homes are selling over asking price, which is pushing neighborhood values to increase, as appraisers are forced to use those numbers for comps. Inventory is down about 10%, which is partially due to pandemic shutdowns.
Is New Jersey a wealthy state?
Yes and no. Due to its small size and its geographic location between New York City and Philadelphia, New Jersey is often considered to be a “suburb” of these major metropolitan areas. In 2020, New Jersey had the highest number of millionaires per capita in the entire United States. However, at the other end of the spectrum, the city of Camden has a poverty rate of 35.5%. Census Bureau records confirm that there is a wide economic disparity among New Jersey residents. Home values follow suit, so it is wise to consult with an experienced realtor in deciding where to live in New Jersey.
We currently cover most standalone, single-family homes