Posts Tagged 'west orange'

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.

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 4.45.29 PM

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.
4-delay income
5-moving for work do it sooner

Van Romaine, Drums, Happiness



Among New Jersey’s legendary drummers, there’s Bernard Purdie, Mighty Max Weinberg, Tico Torres and a few others, but one of the state’s current top talents has got to be Van Romaine. He’s been on a roll since making a name for himself with Blood, Sweat and Tears back in 1989.  He currently plays for Enrique Iglesias, Nena (99luftballoons), Steve Morse Band and many other acts.  Van has also played shows or recorded with acts like Joan Osborne, Dixie Dregs, Kansas, Bernie Worrell, Naughty by Nature and Billy Joel (subbing once for Liberty) among others.

Below is a bit of Q&A with Van and farther below is a link to his website, performances and a recent Modern Drummer interview.

1) how and when did you decide you were a drummer?
My father was a huge music and big band fan.  I watched the marching band practice on my street in Glen Ridge, NJ which had a lot to do with it. At age 6 Drums and music chose me which is the way I still see it.
2) do you ever get homesick on the road and if so what’s the best remedy?
Depends on how long, where, and the conditions of the tour I’m on. When I started touring in my early 20’s I only got home sick when it was for a long period of time. Now I get home sick instantly because I miss my kids who are 11 and 16, but it helps me to spend time doing things I don’t get to do much at home like sports, exercise and some sight seeing when I have the time. In the end the music is the real pay off for me so if I’m playing a lot with less down time that also helps. 
3) what’s your favorite country/city to visit?
Melbourne, Amsterdam, Capetown, London, Malta and Berlin are in my top ten.
4) who is your favorite musician/band?
 I’m a huge fan of so many – Miles Davis would top that list though.
5)  were either of your parents or siblings musicians and if so did they influence you?
neither professionally but both of them are and were incredibly musical. 
6) if you had a dinner party and could invite anyone (living) who would it be.
Obama, Neil Young, “Keef” Richards, Sting, Peter Gabriel
7) name a place you still haven’t visited that you’d like to
Brazil and China
8) if you couldn’t be a musician what would you have become?
a lawyer
9) where did you grow up?
I haven’t yet…..but was born and raised in Glen Ridge, NJ

link to modern drummer interview

link to Van’s website

99 Luftballoons live

other youtube performances









New in West Orange



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



Real Estate conditions in local area


The Market in our area looks pretty strong.  Absorption rate is how many months it would take for the entire inventory of that town to sell given current conditions.  Inventory levels remain low and buyers are very active.

Local Market Absorption_08.21.2016



Essex County Property Tax Comparisons

Below is a chart of the average tax load paid by several county towns and the percentage of that tax that goes to the municipality’s school system.

The percentage of the state budget spent on education has grown from about 33 percent to about 38 percent during Gov. Chris Christie’s term.

The Governor’s property tax cap may have helped reduce the annual increase in New Jersey’s property taxes, but unfortunately taxes are still rising faster than the rate of inflation.

The link at bottom shows more Essex county towns and gives a bit more background.


link to more info on NJ tax burdens


Art Bender! party, marathon, create

bairdThe Baird is pleased to be an ArtBender Creativity Hub!

Enjoy 24 hours of creativity in and around the Oranges

in support of Arts Unbound

Two ArtBender opportunities will be at the Baird on Saturday, May 14 from 12pm to 4pm

1) Come play and paint with Denise Hayden of Funky Fun Art and help her create a fun funky mural that will be displayed at Art in the Park during the South Orange Summer Night series, Wednesday evenings in June and July.

2) Add your career to the Careers of SOMA map that will be created by Ken Krasner and you. Stop by and post your career icon or make your own small one. There will be refreshments! When completed, Ken hopes to have the map displayed at a public spot in town.

These two events will take place in the Baird Craft Room

5 Mead Street, South Orange, NJ 07079
Visit ArtBender to learn more and to see the full map of ArtBender creative hubs





Hey South Orange, Maplewood, Orange and anyone else with art to start or finish.

Check out this amazing new art marathon taking place for 24 hours on May 14-15. Below are links to the website and a fun promo.  Get involved!




West Orange Pre-School Fair

PreschoolWest Orange Pre-School Fair on 1/21 at 6:30-8 pm at the West Orange Public Library, 46 Mt. Pleasant Avenue. Come learn about preschool and day-care options in our town! Free and open to the public! We will have multiple preschools and day-cares there to speak with you about different options. For more information call Playhouse Preschool @ 973-736-9451