There are many justifications for moving to Ocean County; an obvious reason is that it’s home to one-third of the fantastic Jersey Shore--44 miles of the Atlantic Ocean coastline with sandy beaches, inviting surf, fantastic fishing and family friendly boardwalks. Situated along the Garden State Parkway, Ocean County is an easy drive from the metropolitan areas of New York and Philadelphia as well as a short trip to the Adirondacks, Catskills, and Poconos. With particularly good schools, excellent recreation opportunities and ease of travel makes Ocean County the perfect location to buy a home!
1. Low Tax Rates
In comparison to other towns in the tri-state area, Ocean County has some of the lowest tax rates in the region. So, if buying a home with relatively low property taxes in New Jersey is your goal, Ocean County may be the place. The average effective tax rate in the county is 2.05%, second lowest in the state. Likewise, the median annual property tax payment in the county is $5,599, almost $3,000 below the state average.
Again, in comparison to other counties in and around New Jersey, affordability is a main factor for moving to the area. The Housing Affordability Index measures whether a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national and regional levels based on the most recent price and income data. If your TOTAL household income is approximately $80,000, you can afford a home in the $350,000 range in Ocean County.
Median Sold Price:
· Manahawkin - $308,500
· Barnegat - $290,000
· Lacey - $290,000
· Bayville - $303,000
· Toms River - $330,000
· Brick - $309,950
· Point Pleasant Boro - $433,750
3. Record-Low Mortgage Interest Rates
In 2020, the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage hit a record low 16 times, continuing to fall further below 3%. According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed interest rate today is 2.65%. Many wonder how low these rates will go and how long they'll last. Len Keifer, Deputy Chief Economist for Freddie Mac, advises:
“If you've found a home that fits your needs at a price you can afford, it might be better to act now rather than wait for future rate declines that may never come and a future that likely holds very tight inventory.” This sense of urgency is driving many to buy this year.
4. Working from Home
Remote work is a new normal for many businesses, and it's lasting longer than most expected. Many in the workforce today are discovering they don't need to live close to the office anymore and they can get more for their money by moving a little further outside of the city limits. David Mele, President at Homes.com, says:
“The surge in the work-from-home population has rewritten the playbook for many homebuying and rental decisions, from when and where to relocate, to what people are looking for in their next residence.”
The reality is, for some people, working remotely in their current home is challenging, especially when there may be other options available.
A new survey indicates as many as 23 million Americans — more than 10% of the adult population — are planning to move because of remote work, mostly to cheaper and less dense places. The sudden shift to remote work has freed up many Americans from having to live in or near the costly urban centers where job growth had been concentrated.
5. More Outdoor Space
Another new priority for homeowners is having more usable outdoor space. Being at home is driving those in some areas to seek less densely populated neighborhoods so they have more room to stretch their legs. In addition, those living in apartments and townhomes are often looking for extra square footage, both inside and out.
According to the State of Home Spending report by HomeAdvisor, of the households surveyed, almost half reported spending 27% more on outdoor living over the past year. This is a trend that's expected to grow in 2021 and beyond.
It's clear that homeownership needs are changing. As a result, many are expected to move in record numbers this year and given the opportunity of remote work, Americans are showing they want to move to cheaper, larger housing with more outdoor space.
Karl Hess provides expert real estate services to residential buyers and sellers in Ocean County. Contact us today for more information on Ocean County Real Estate and for professional assistance navigating this complex home market.
1. Smart Asset - https://smartasset.com/taxes/
2. Monmouth/Ocean MLS
3. Axios - https://www.axios.com/americans-move-out-dense-costly-cities-remote-work/
4. Homeadvisor - https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/DP6355-StateOfHomeSpending-2020-R4.