The May 2017 Real Estate News Roundup

As temperatures rise, the real estate market is also heating up. Typically, summer is the most active buying and selling season as families settle into the suburbs just in time for the start of school in September. And this year is no different.

In New Providence and Summit, the number of closed sales increased over last year. It’s no surprise, as these perennially popular towns only grow more desirable thanks to their charm, exceptional school districts, and proximity to Manhattan.

With inventory low across the nation, buyers are competing for properties, outbidding one another at a frantic pace. This is particularly true among first-time homebuyers looking to put down roots in our coveted communities.

In our monthly real estate news round up you’ll also learn other interesting tidbits: An investor who took a gamble on purchasing President Donald Trump’s childhood home in Queens realized an enormous return on investment, while other New Yorkers are choosing to live on cruise ships to beat the high cost of city living.

Now, let’s check out the top real estate news stories of the month.

You’re better off owning a home rather than renting

In addition to the benefit of being able to paint the walls any color you like, owning a home, rather than renting one, is better option, according to recent data. But, as housing prices continue to climb, the challenge may be finding one you can afford — especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. Homes on the market priced below $100,000 fell by 17 percent in April compared to the same month in 2016, while those listed below $250,000 tumbled by 6 percent, CNN reported. This trend is even more significant in popular cities like Manhattan and its surrounding areas, which explains why homes listed below $500,000 in the New Providence and Summit often trigger bidding wars.

Demand for new starter homes sparks opportunity for builders

As prices continue their ascent, eager homebuyers are finding themselves put off by lack of affordable options. But, as the Wall Street Journal reports, this represents a golden opportunity for builders, who are moving away from developing in the luxury space and focusing their efforts on starter homes. It makes sense when you consider that this has been the fastest-growing sector for the past several years. If you’ve noticed a lot of tear-downs replaced with modestly-priced homes that sell quickly in your neighborhood, here’s your explanation.

President Trump’s childhood home proves a lucrative flip

While the Trump name is synonymous with wealth and power, the president’s childhood home was rather humble — especially compared to his Pennsylvania Avenue address. The 2,500-square-foot home, located in Queens, New York, was snapped up for $1.4 million by a real estate investor last December. The relatively modest Tudor, featuring five bedrooms, nearly as many bathrooms, and a two-car garage, commanded $2.14 million in late March, according to CNN. Talk about a sweet and swift profit!

Subletting and setting sail for more affordable horizons

Giving new meaning to the concept of a houseboat, some New Yorkers are choosing to sublet their apartments and live on cruise ships as an affordable alternative to Manhattan’s exorbitant cost of living, the New York Post reported. Considering the average two-bedroom rental commands nearly $4,000 a month — or $133 per night — compared with the average cost of a per-night stay on a luxury cruise liner, which averages $142 and includes food and entertainment, you can understand why some are tempted to say “Anchors away!” If you work remotely, this presents an opportunity to see the world without breaking the bank.

Areas with easy access to cities are booming

Garden State communities with train stations are thriving, attracting residents who seek rail and bus service to Manhattan, the Asbury Park Press reported. That’s great news for communities like Summit and New Providence, which feature Midtown Direct service to New York City.

Millennials are willing to pay up for home improvements

Millennials who renovated their homes spent an average $26,200 last year on the upgrades, according to a Houzz & Home Survey, CNN reported, which represents a 7 percent increase from the previous year. Their enthusiasm for renovating was only surpassed by first-time homebuyers, who spent $33,800, representing 22 percent more.

New Jersey seaside locales take top two spots on list of affordable beach towns

Atlantic City topped the list for most affordable beach for 2017, according to‘s findings. The median home price in the area known for its casinos and nightlife was $117,500. Coming in a close second was Keansburg, which offers a more laid-back beach experience. Home prices in the area, which is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, averaged $150,000. If you’re in the market for an affordable beach retreat, start your house hunting here.