Joyce Jewell Newsletter Late Winter 2016

Buyer’s Agency
February 13, 2016
Seller’s Agency
February 22, 2016

Joyce Jewell Newsletter Late Winter 2016


The Borough of West Wildwood has committed to do a full revaluation of their 981 properties this year, their first since 2003.

Back in 2003, at the height of the real estate boom, most properties were undervalued so a majority were revalued upward.  The circumstances are the opposite this time around, with an expected downward tilt in the offing.

West Wildwood did a modified reassessment in 2008, which is done in-house at a lower cost with little boots on the ground.  The borough has appropriated $118,000 to do this new reval.  The current total of $250 million in ratables is estimated at 105% of actual value.

Superstorm Sandy caused a number of homeowners to raise their structures above the flood elevation.  Others built concrete driveway ramps to get their vehicles above flood levels.  Since 2003, about a hundred new homes have been built, including a couple dozen since Sandy.

A typical revaluation sees one-third of the properties rise in value, one-third drop, and one-third stay the same.  West Wildwood should see more drop than rise.



Wildwood Crest held a referendum vote on Tuesday, January 26th to decide whether the borough should spend $500,000 to add a median to Pacific Avenue.  The residents voted 592 to 312 to reject the proposal.

A December 4th special meeting was standing room only as citizens voiced their opinions on the project.  The proposed median would have been similar to that on Central Avenue in North Wildwood.

The city commissioners had voted 2-1 to put the controversial decision on the ballot.  Proponents cited safety and aesthetics.  Opponents pointed out that the money could be better spent and the project, which would detour traffic up to nine months, was fixing a problem that doesn’t exist.



Cape May Court House – and in effect all of Cape May County – has been ranked the No.9 best place to retire in New Jersey by Smart Asset.

The NYC financial company used factors such the number of doctors offices, retirement care centers and recreation centers, free transportation, tax rate, and such amenities as libraries and our free public zoo.

With the county population being one-fourth “over 65”, these criteria are important when seniors decide on a place to retire.  Cape May County also has the mildest winters in New Jersey, plus close proximity to Philadelphia and NYC.

This was the second year that Smart Asset did its study.  Englewood Cliffs in Bergen County ranked No.1 both years.  Marlton in Burlington County, at No.4 both years, and Newton in Sussex County, No.7 both times, were the only other repeaters.

Cape May Court House is also the location of the hospital, numerous surgical and medical testing facilities, and dozens of attorney’s offices.  The county also boasts nine golf courses, water activities, restaurants galore, and plenty of motels and B&B’s.



The Roosevelt Boulevard Bridge, which links Marmora to the south end of Ocean City, will be getting a much needed resurfacing next fall after the tourist season concludes.  Built in 1964, the bridge is the most used in the county, with 20,000 vehicles per day.

The bridge is 1,628 feet long, with a 14-foot travel lane in each direction.  Resurfacing the bridge will require replacing 13 of the 31 spans, with the remainder being taken down three inches and then built back up with new material.  The cost is $6 million and would require one lane being closed at a time during the project.

The county explored adding a bike lane and/or pedestrian lane, but that proposition would escalate the cost to $10 million or more.  They even examined building a free standing bike/pedestrian bridge, but the lengthy permitting process and unknown costs ruled that out, too.



The city of Cape May is proposing to drill a new water well into the 800-foot deep Atlantic City Sands aquifer.  The city was the first in NJ to construct a desalination plant, which was necessitated by salt water intrusion into its wells.  The city’s water utility also supplies the US Coast Guard Base, West Cape May and Cape May Point.  The new well would give the area sufficient water for another 20 years.



Being primarily a vacation home market, real estate in Cape May County is different than that in the rest of the state.  Our real estate market also can’t be compared to the suburbs of big cities, since we are an isolated peninsula that is too far from Philadelphia/New York City/Baltimore to be considered “bedroom communities”.

Our market is driven by the economy.  It’s that simple.  In prosperous times, sales and rentals are brisk.  If not, well…

Right now, the economy is good.  Un-employment is low, the dollar is strong, the stock market is up, and the price of oil and gold are at 5-year lows.  These factors add up to 2016 looking like it could be the best year in the local real estate market since 2006.  If you’re thinking of buying or selling a property, now just might be the time to give me a call.


I love to talk about real estate and our island.  I am always glad to share my insights, observations, and visions.

Stop by our office at 5602 New Jersey Avenue and chat.  Or give me a call at 609-780-7131.  I answer my phone 8am to 9pm EVERYDAY and you always get a real, live person.  That’s service!

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