Property Prices, American Dreamin’ in AC – Tuesday’s Roundup

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Property Prices
Have Atlantic County property prices bottomed? The answer is yes, according to house price data company Zillow, which is forecasting average home values in Atlantic County will rise 1.3 percent through July 2018. According to the site, home values bottomed out at an average valuation (the median ‘Zestimate’) of $175,000 in August 2016 and are forecast to reach $182,000 next summer. What is really interesting is the forecast for specific locations: Zillow expects average valuations in Northfield, Pleasantville, Estell Manor and Egg Harbor City will rise more than 5 percent, while Margate, Ventnor and Mullica Township are set to see declines.

Of course, it’s worth noting that Zillow has faced a lot of criticism for the accuracy of its forecasts, which seem to fail at the local level in particular. Still. Salem and Cumberland Counties bottomed out in 2015 and have been rising since, according to Zillow, while Cape May County has also been climbing (although Zillow is forecasting valuations there will flatten out over the next 12 months). Is this just a sign the national housing bubble is finally touching South Jersey, or is there a real pickup in home values? We’re interested in hearing your thoughts. And thanks to Jim Kennedy (@aceconpolicy on Twitter) for bringing this to our attention. Got an idea for something we should look at? Get in touch!

American Dreamin’ in AC
Atlantic City is a great – and affordable! – place to own a second home, says Elizabeth Terenik, Atlantic City’s former planning director, in an op-ed for NJ Spotlight. Here’s a taster of her argument that shore towns are designed for families, which is hard to fault: “Shore towns provide a freedom that kids can’t experience in the suburbs — freedom to earn and manage money at a young age; to stay out of the house all day; and to find the shortcuts to make curfew.

A surfer enjoying the weekend’s waves in Brigantine. Photo by Connie Pyatt. See more of Connie’s work via her website and on Instagram, @Connie_Pyatt_Photography.

This kind of freedom leads to vital character traits such as self-sufficiency, independent thinking, good decision making, and a strong work ethic…For a kid, life in the suburbs is the opposite of freedom.” Plus, when you’re a parent, the beach is the perfect place to entertain kids and – literally – unplug from modern life. There are other reasons to be bullish. Atlantic City is the country’s most affordable beach town in this study by Redfin last year and it’s walkable and bikeable, with a walkability score second only to Miami’s. Also? “Second-home buyers that feel homogenized by other shore towns will love Atlantic City’s diversity,” writes Terenik. Go and read the piece. Separately, the Press of Atlantic City reports that the city’s tourism market is still expanding, according to Stockton University’s Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism.

In the rest of the day’s news, Atlantic City police rescued a man threatening to jump from the 10th floor of Caesar’s parking garage yesterday, Dr Kauffman’s arraignment date has been postponed by a week, Dem. gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy has set a goal of offering free community college tuition, an arcane tax-policy decision could help hold utility bills lower, read this feel-good story about the return of Atlantic City Boys & Girls Club to the Chelsea neighborhood, a Hammonton landmark is for sale, and Rep. Frank LoBiondo talked about his plans to boost apprenticeship opportunities in an interview with SNJ Today yesterday. All that and more below:

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