Posts Tagged 'nj'

The New Tax Bill and NJ real estate. Moody’s vs Otteau

Among those of us who live in Northern NJ, there seems to be a general view that the new tax law will negatively impact our individual finances (as shown in the map using Moody’s analytics) .  While it is understandable to feel that way, there is a more optimistic (or resilient) view of the new tax law’s effect on NJ real estate, which will be covered here by real estate guru, Jeffrey Otteau.

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My political tendencies may be showing here but, Paul Ryan and Donald Trump basically admitted to trying to penalize high tax states like CA, NJ and IL  (para 5,6,7 of this link  Ryan’s blue state comments  ), even though those states contribute more to the federal coffers than they receive.  Among those being rewarded by the law, MS, KY, AL and many other red states generally receive more than they contribute – New Mexico is the main state that doesn’t fit the pattern. – state contributions
So if you’re worried the new Republican tax law will crush home prices in New Jersey and you’re listening to the media coverage coming out of Washington, then you’re looking to assess impact and take appropriate action.  According to Moody’s, the tax plan will most likely hit NJ and other suburban areas of the bigger, mostly coastal cities harder than it will hit rural, southern, Rocky and Great Plains areas.
But here’s real estate guru Jeffrey Otteau’s optimistic take on the recent changes to the tax code earlier this week.  “There’s no reason to panic here,” said Otteau, president of The Otteau Group. “I heard some bold predictions about Armageddon, about house prices collapsing and losing 10 to 15 percent in value.  There’s NO basis for that.” 
Otteau believes overall NJ home prices will continue to climb in 2018, but at a slower rate than previously predicted, as would-be new homebuyers step back to assess the new law’s impact on their pocketbooks with their accountants.  From my personal view of the market, January has already begun strongly with multiple bids on a few good area listings.
Otteau has a few other reasons for (short term) optimism:

1 – The lower tax brackets will somewhat offset the elimination of deductions

2 – People buy homes for lots of reasons – schools, proximity to work, the freedom and pride home ownership provides, the vibe and culture of an area. Taxes rank lower on the ladder of reasons

3 – The economy has continued to improve (since the lows of 2009) – jobs up and unemployment still low

4 – Interest rates are forecast to rise this year and that will compel buyers to act before they rise higher.

5 – And finally Otteau believes the reduction in the corporate rate will compel more hiring.  I’m yet to be convinced of this one as I believe most of this money will end up with management and in company stocks.

Finally, and said long before Otteau was born, Owning is usually a far better long term financial strategy than renting.

Many locals and their municipalities have already begun taking measures to lessen the impact of this new bill.   South Orange and Maplewood among other towns have made pre-paying property taxes early simpler, but there are more ways to lessen the impact.  Below are six additional suggestions (see link – prep for new tax law – for more explanation of each measure).  Prep for the new tax law
1- increase charitable deductions
2- expenses, which include travel, professional dues, education costs, conference fees, cars and electronic equipment, can be deducted to the extent they exceed 2 percent of adjusted gross income.
3-medical
4-delay income
5-moving for work do it sooner
6-alimony
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Fourth & Valley

 

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I was encouraged at the most recent public SOPAC meeting which discussed plans for the proposed 106-unit development on the Southwest corner of 4th & Valley in South Orange. After many prior meetings over two years in which Village officials and neighbors worked with Meridia, the redeveloper, it appears that area residents are finally feeling that the project will improve the area and deal with potential issues regarding parking and traffic.
Architect James Haley of Haley Donovan made many changes requested by Academy Heights residents, breaking up the facades, setbacks and heights of the building to make it look more varied and organic to the neighborhood. The newest plan also shows a generous amount of public space to be enjoyed by neighbors – something residents said was missing at the Third & Valley development.  Now featured are extra wide (20′) sidewalks – generating more public space and potentially allowing for the widening of Valley Street should traffic studies call for a turning lane or other improvement.

Village President, Sheena Collum said the Village hoped to re-introduce the plan and agreements in January at a Board of Trustees meeting.  The redevelopment plan would then be referred to the Planning Board for approval, then back to the Board of Trustees for a hearing and a vote.

“Third & Valley did not have the robust public process this has had,” said Collum. “Credit the neighborhood for mobilizing.”  Neighborhood residents, David Kraiker, Andrew Kit, Linda Cappaze, Catherine Fisher and myself (and others) got together many times in preparation for our meetings with the town on this project.  Speaking at the SOPAC meeting, Andrew Kit said, “This is the ideal of what a public process should be like.”  We also were vocal about the 320 Valley project that has broken ground nearby.

As the town’s ‘vision plan’ has named the Valley St. corridor as one of the prime areas it’s looking to redevelop (in addition to South Orange Av & Irvington Av), it is very likely there will be interest in other sites nearby in the near future. If you’d like to get involved with contributing to shaping the future of the Valley St. corridor projects, please reach out to me – ken@kenkrasnerhomes.com

 

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New in West Orange

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From the Edison battery factory and new high-end stores opening up on Main Street to Essex Green Shopping Center additions such as LA Fitness and a new Cambria Suites hotel opening soon behind the Courtyard Marriot, it appears that the town’s commercial areas are beginning to perk up.

Also opening this past year is the City Workshop Men’s Supply Company on Main St, and a new high-end bakery and chocolatier will soon be opening on Main Street along with the Diamond Cuts Salon & Spa on Prospect Avenue.  A new diner will be moving in where the old Eagle Rock Diner used to be.

This growth in business interest in West Orange is helping to strengthen the township’s residential real estate market. “Destination downtowns drive housing values in towns,” Mayor Parisi said. “As our downtown improves, every owner of real estate in West Orange will have more equity.”

The greater demand for West Orange residential real estate is reflected by the fact that a much higher percentage of homes under contract in the last year ended up closing, as opposed to the prior 12-month periods.

Average DOM (days on market) are down from approximately 120 days (5 years ago) to 72 days.  Many are also going over list.

Average home values are also up across all neighborhoods, especially in the Gregory section which has an easy shuttle to the South Orange and Orange train stations and is attractive for people priced out of South Orange and Maplewood or just looking for more for their mone

The West Orange Downtown Alliance is also playing a part by assisting owners with the permit process, and provides grants to help them get their facade in place.

 

link to w.o. downtown alliance

 

NJ Transit Map

 

NJ Commuting routes

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Eats – NJ Monthly Top 25 Restaurants

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NJ Monthly publishes a top twenty-five restaurants in the state and ten are within a 30 minute drive of SOMA.
Here are the top food destinations.  I’ve been to four of them, I’ve got some eating to do.
Maplewood (Lorena’s)
Maplewood (Verjus)
Montclair (Fascino)
Montclair (Laurel & Sage)
Millburn (Common Lot)
Westfield (Chez Catherine)
Hoboken (Cucharamama’s)
Jersey City (Maritime Parc)
Chatham (Serenade)
Morristown (Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen)

South Orange artist, Susan Napack

 

Susan Napack is one of South Orange’s most esteemed and talented artists. Head over to her backyard studio of riches at the annual SOMA Artist Studio Tour on June 5, from 11am to 5pm.  More details are in the two links and please find a fun Q&A below.

  Studiotoursoma link   Susan’s website

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  • Ken: How did you get into art?
  • Susan: I knew by Kindergarten as kids kept saying, “Can you draw one of those for me ?”
  • Ken: Picasso had a ‘Blue period,’ what phase of your career are we in now?
  • Susan: ‘Figurine period’

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  • Ken: Who’s your favorite artist?
  • Susan: William Kentridge
  • Ken: Invite 3 celebrities to your dinner party
  • Susan:  Patti Smith, Michael Stipe (they’d get along great) and John Waters (all around fun guy)
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  • Ken: Where are you originally from?
  • Susan: Westfield, NJ 
  • Ken: Where on earth would you like to go that you haven’t traveled to yet?
  • Susan: Earthworks in Scotland (Celtic Inspired land art – earthworks link )

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  • Ken: If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you have become?
  • Susan:  A Chef

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Development at 320 Valley St., South Orange

At a Jan 4 meeting, approval from the South Orange Planning Board was given for the 320 Valley project to proceed.  It will be a 22-unit apartment building, with 2,400 sq ft of ground floor retail space. As a result of neighborhood residents voicing their concerns, the developers did agree to contribute small sums of money for:

  1. situations caused by increased traffic at the intersection of Valley St., and the future building’s driveway.
  2. tree plantings, since they will be eliminating all the trees in the area in order to build

South Orange Maplewood Homes

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There are more developments planned on Valley all the way down to Roland. The newest proposed project at 320 Valley calls for 22 units with one retail spot available.   Proposal sketch above and current photo far above. All this on a plot that currently only has ONE two-family home – the blue home pictured above.

There are many trees and shrubs (pictured) which give the area respite from the bustle of Valley St.  It would appear that the developers will build all the way down to Valley St. for the retail spot which would eliminate the greenery.  Ora Manor is immediately to the south (not pictured) and extends to the street., so current zoning shows that the proposal is ‘conforming’, but just because it’s conforming doesn’t mean 22 units are good for the residents of the area.  There are still vacancies in retail on South Orange Ave. and Valley and…

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