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AG settlement starts the clock on short sales

By Jon Prior

March 24, 2012

Mortgage servicers will be kept to strict short sale timelines agreed to under the state Attorneys General foreclosure settlement this week.

Along with the penalties and relief for borrowers, the five largest mortgage servicers must adhere to a set of new standards. Servicers will form internal groups that will conduct quarterly reviews and gauge compliance. North Carolina Banking Commissioner Joseph Smith will approve the groups and monitor the reviews.

Among the standards, however, are new requirements for short sales.

Servicers are required to give a decision to a borrower within 30 days of receiving a completed short sale request package.

The internal group must review all short sale requests in the first two months of the quarter, according to Exhibit E in the settlement filed this week. And if a servicer takes longer than 30 days on more than 10% of the requests, the firm is considered in “potential violation.”

The settlement also requires a servicer to notify a borrower within 30 days if any documents are missing from the request package.

Servicers will also be required to notify a borrower if there is a deficiency payment needed before the short sale is approved, including an approximate amount.

If more than 5% of all short sales approved in a given quarter did not include this disclosure, the bank would be in violation.

“If a real estate broker can get a checklist from the bank detailing what documentation is needed, everything can be provided up front, and the bank will be required to give a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down within 30 days. That’s not a bad deal,” said Chris Hanson of the short sale specialist Hanson Law Firm.

Short sales became notoriously arduous, lengthy, and oftentimes fraudulent process since the foreclosure crisis struck in 2007.

There were 88,303 short sales in the fourth quarter, up 15% from one year prior, according to RealtyTrac. The short sales completed in the fourth quarter took an average 308 days since the borrower entered foreclosure, down from 318 days in the previous three months.

“We continued to see a shift toward pre-foreclosure sales, or short sales, and away from REO sales in the fourth quarter,” said RealtyTrac CEO Brandon Moore in a fourth quarter report.

The Treasury Department released the first national standards for short sales under its Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program, which began in 2010. Its timeline matches the AG settlement.

According to HAFA guidelines, a servicer must consider a borrower for HAFA within 30 days of the borrower either failing a Home Affordable Modification Program test or requesting consideration for a short sale.

Chase said it completes short sales – from receiving full documentation to approval – in a little more than one month.

But under the settlement, there is some enforcement to the guidelines.

When a servicer fails any servicing standard metric, including the short sale timeline, representatives must meet with a monitoring committee overseen by Smith. The servicer will have the right to correct any potential violation by installing an action plan, according to the settlement.

If the potential violation is not cured, a servicer could face a penalty up to $1 million and another $5 million fine for repeat violations.

CONTACT Ian Lazarus, The Lazarus Team, The Landis Co., Realtors, ian.lazarus@mygo2realtor.com , 609-457-0258 for more information about Jersey Shore short sales.

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Plan to turn Bader Field into retail, housing complex revealed at Atlantic City luncheon

By SARAH WATSON and EMILY PREVITI Staff Writers Press of Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY —

Bader Field may one day host waterfront homes, shops and offices built with an emphasis on sustainable design and green technology, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Executive Director John Palmieri said.

“Several thousand new residents, new walkways, access to the water, public parks,” Palmieri said. “Think about what that could be. It’s surrounded by water and it’s right off the highway. It would be exceptional, but the economy has to create the demand for that kind of housing.”

 

 

Palmieri spoke Monday afternoon during a luncheon hosted by the Metropolitan Business & Citizens Association at Resorts Atlantic City. He focused on what people can expect to see this summer as a result of Atlantic City Tourism District initiatives, but also touched on longer-term goals like developing Bader Field.

The CRDA launched the Tourism District last spring in response to legislation effective nearly 14 months ago aimed at reviving the resort. Those laws also required CRDA officials to come up with a Master Plan, which the agency’s board approved Feb. 1.

 

The plan sets out a few long-term concepts, meaning they would be realized five or 10 years from now.

One of those centered on Bader Field, a 143-acre municipal airport that closed in 2006 and was formerly billed as a $1 billion site best suited for another casino by Atlantic City officials, acting on advise from international real estate consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle, or JLL.

 

Four years later, the Chicago-based JLL headed up the four-firm team responsible for compiling the Tourism District Master Plan. As part of that, they considered Bader Field and came up with a different answer.

The property should continue to host festivals, concerts and other events during the next five years or so, JLL’s team found.

 

That will give the other, shorter-term initiatives time to boost the city’s visitor count, economy and, therefore, the value of Bader Field and other tracts in the resort. And within the next decade, the city should line up a developer for a housing and retail complex that highlights bayfront views and water-based activities, meanwhile meeting sustainable design standards with features such as green roofs to reduce heat around the complex and a stormwater management system to recycle precipitation, according to the master plan.

 

“Longer-term usage, as we view it, is to make it into a new neighborhood for Atlantic City, where mixed uses prevail, where affordable housing is part of the mix, where environmental and green technologies prevail, where water views are protected and access to outdoor public spaces are protected,” Palmieri said Monday.

The consulting team suggested building another resort, likely with a casino component, at Bader some time after 2013, according to the master plan.

 

Any development, however, will require extensive investment in utility and transportation infrastructure, Palmieri acknowledged later. Also, any sale of the bayside parcel would have to get approval from state lawmakers if the price exceeds the city budget.

 

The Tourism District Master Plan mentions improving bus service along Route 40, but nothing beyond that.

But the CRDA’s 2009 Atlantic City Regional Transportation Plan estimated that would cost $175 million to expand, realign and otherwise improve Route 40/322 and the Albany Avenue bridge in front of Bader Field.

That figure likely would be lower because previous calculations assumed Bader Field would host a megacasino.

Mayor Lorenzo Langford did not respond Monday to calls or emails seeking comment.

 

But the mixed-use concept Palmieri spoke of matches what the Langford administration is working toward, said Keith Mills, director of city planning and development.

 

“It’s unlikely that in today’s market that a casino interest is going to want to invest in that site knowing the priority of the city and the (CRDA) is to focus on the Boardwalk for the next few years,” Mills said. “Luring the master developer to the table is still going to be a key component of future development. And that’s what Silk & Associates is trying to do, still trying to bring the big boys to the table.”

 

As for the previous report, the economy has changed drastically since then and explains the different advice to go with residential and retail first, delaying resort and gambling, Mills said.

 

Even four years ago, when the gaming market was still healthy, the costs to development baseline infrastructure for the city-owned property were “staggering” — and, therefore, prohibitive, he said.

 

“One of the factors that couldn’t get developers over the hump was lack of traffic access,” Mills said. “Therein lies the impediment to (developing) Bader Field.”

 

Previously, Mills and others envisioned engaging the state in a public-private partnership much like Revel’s $270 million tax rebate over 20 years as provided by the State Economic Development Authority’s Economic Redevelopment and Growth grant.

 

It would be up to the developer to crunch the numbers and demonstrate a financial shortfall before any public money would come into play, Palmieri said.

 

All of that, however, is a long way off.

 

Smaller changes will be noticeably by this summer, such as the 244 new street lights, an army of new red-and-white rolling chairs and 60 ambassadors charged with assisting visitors, addressing quality of life issues.

The 60 ambassadors will hit the street April 30, working 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. on the Boardwalk and Pacific and Atlantic avenues, CRDA spokeswoman Kim Butler said.

 

Bader Field basics

The Atlantic City Tourism District Master Plan calls for mixed-used development five or 10 years from now on the 143-acre former municipal airport, which is entering its second summer as a bayside music festival and event venue.

  • Aims to attract young professionals, families, empty nesters who care about environment and cutting-edge design.
  • Homes designed to have a negligible carbon footprint, feature green roofs to reduce heat island effect, would include affordable-housing units.
  • Stormwater collection should include redistribution component for irrigation and graywater uses.
  • Parks connect residential, retail and public areas.
  • Retail encouraged as residents demand it.
  • At least 30 percent of land will be open space.
  • Specialty paving with color accents on sidewalks and crosswalks
  • Lighting powered by the latest energy-saving technologies.
  • Energy stations for electric vehicles

Source: Atlantic City Tourism District Master Plan

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Limited inventory may be responsible for slow start of existing home sales in South Jersey

By BRIAN IANIERI Staff Writer

Limited inventory and lingering misconceptions about storm damage may be partially responsible for this year’s slower start of existing home sales in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties, local real estate professionals say.

Nationally, year-over-year volume has increased for 20 straight months and reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million in February, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. This was the highest in more than three years.

In the region, however, sales volumes of existing homes have slipped for several months, including February, after showing double-digit percentage increases in most area counties in 2012.

Cori Haberkern, broker at Century 21 Atlantic Professional Realty in Absecon and president of the Atlantic City and County Board of Realtors, said lower inventory may be playing a factor, including among homeowners underwater on mortgages reluctant to try to sell.

“I feel there’s less on the market because I think people are holding off — to not have to do a short sale in some scenarios or are not in a position to be able to,” she said.

Most buyers in the market now are buying for a specific reason — to upsize or downsize based on their needs, she said.

In January and February, 307 MLS-listed homes were sold in Atlantic County, 3 percent fewer than the same period of 2012.

Similar trends held in Cape May County, with 243 sales, an 18 percent drop, and Cumberland County with 63 sales, a 17 percent decline, according to regional MLS data.

Carol Menz, broker/owner at Coastline Realty in Cape May, said the region may still be dealing with misconceptions that people think the area sustained significant damage from Hurricane Sandy.

“I think there are a lot of misperceptions, people are unsure about areas that were damaged, also they’re a little fearful of the FEMA regulations and the changes coming to (flood) insurance, how it will it affect them. There’s a lot of myths out there, and people think they won’t be able to get insurance,” she said.

Menz said some of the higher-end buyers of vacation homes had been waiting as prices declined, an area that has been coming back.

“So that market was once a little slower, and we’re seeing that market recover now. And we don’t have an enormous amount of inventory coming onto the market,” she said.

Menz said plenty of people have been coming down to look at real estate, particularly since the region received very little snowfall this year.

On Thursday, the National Association of Realtors, which releases monthly reports tracking existing home sales, said February’s national sales were the highest since November 2009, when a temporary tax credit offering an $8,000 government subsidy boosted sales nationally and in New Jersey.

Homes sold through foreclosure and short sales accounted for 25 percent of February’s national sales, up from 23 percent in January, the association said. On average, short sales in February sold for 15 percent below market value; foreclosures for 18 percent below.

At the end of February, total inventory of existing homes for sale was 1.94 million, which represents a supply of 4.7 months at the current sales pace, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. A year ago there was a 6.4 month supply.

“The only headwinds are limited housing inventory, which varies greatly around the country, and credit conditions that remain too restrictive,” he said

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Improved Atlantic City streets meant to funnel patrons to Revel megaresort

When Revel throws open its doors in April as Atlantic City’s newest casino, it is taking a risk: Can patrons find their way down to the South Inlet, a neighborhood historically ignored by the resort’s casino boom because of its inaccessibility?

ac_revel_roads_700

Or will the new multimillion-dollar thoroughfare that reconfigures the city’s streets and the new “Revel Beach” signs that dot it be enough to entice customers?

The $42 million South Inlet Transportation Improvement Project, when finished in April, will leave a widened boulevard leading into Revel. Starting at Absecon Boulevard, drivers following the new Revel Beach signs will be directed to the newly widened Melrose Avenue, and then Connecticut Avenue. That’s the main entrance, unofficially “Revel Boulevard.”

Massachusetts Avenue, the main way out, also will be improved.

While overseen by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, the project was underwritten by the South Jersey Transportation Authority, with one-third of the eventual funding coming from the state Department of Transportation.

The undertaking is the largest in the city since the $330 million Atlantic City Expressway Connector opened in 2001. That project made it easier to get to the Marina District and led to the development of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa two years later.

The project “allows for the anticipated increase in traffic to be able to access that part of the city in a consistent manner,” CRDA spokeswoman Kim Butler said. The road likely will have to handle well in excess of 10,000 drivers per day when it opens.

Revel also is expected to increase traffic along the White Horse Pike onto Absecon Boulevard and into the South Inlet.

State traffic counts have not been updated since May 2007, but figures from then show 27,151 vehicles on average used the Atlantic City Expressway on a given day.

Similarly, a 48-hour traffic study conducted on Absecon Boulevard between Pennsylvania and Virginia avenues in late January 2011 found the road accommodated about 9,800 cars per day.

Keith Mills, the resort’s planner, said the advance roadway planning would pay off.

In one example, the tangled intersection of Delaware, Melrose and Mediterranean avenues with Absecon Boulevard will be simplified for casino traffic. Delaware Avenue north and Mediterranean Avenue west of the intersection will be closed at the intersection, Mills said.

If they were not closed off, Mills said, with the arrival of Revel those local roads would “bog down to a much more intense intersection.”

Revel officials, preparing for their opening this spring, would not respond to questions it asked be submitted in writing. Executives there previously had supported the project.

Tom Woodruff, president of the Atlantic City Jitney Association, said it is tough to tell before the casino opens, but he said the new roads “certainly look good.”

He said the planning likely would alleviate a bottleneck during weekends and special events in front of the Showboat Casino Hotel.

In a new move, the resort’s iconic jitneys will pick up and deliver passengers at the porte cochere.

Elsewhere in the resort, casino visitors who want to ride the small buses must wait outdoors. The move was at the casino’s suggestion, association Vice President John Lanfranchi said.

Both he and Woodruff approached the topic cautiously.

“I think it’s going to make it somewhat challenging, but I don’t think it’s going to be difficult,” Lanfranchi said, while Woodruff said “it’s new territory for us and we are willing to try anything.”

However, some taxicab interests said they were concerned this shut them out.

Paul Rosenberg, president of the Yellow Cab Co., which controls many of the city cab licenses, said casinos would have to line up in the garage off New Jersey Avenue, halfway between the Boardwalk and Oriental Avenue, and wait to be signaled by staff at the porte cochere.

He was concerned that could hinder cabs. If there were a major event, he said, cabs afterward would have to turn across as many as 2,000 cars exiting the garage roadway.

“There’s a potential to be a five- to 10-minute wait for a taxicab,” he said.

Woodruff said he did not want a fight with the cabs. “We are not trying to infringe on their territory.”

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Housing Crisis to End in 2012 as Banks Loosen Credit Standards

After seven years of declining housing prices and banking and mortgages problems experts see crisis ending in 2012. With home prices back to realistic levels banks are loosening credit. With interest rates at 40 year record lows with is the year to snatch up that Jersey Shore home before prices rebound. IML

By: Krista Franks Brock

Capital Economics expects the housing crisis to end this year, according to a report released Tuesday. One of the reasons: loosening credit.

The analytics firm notes the average credit score required to attain a mortgage loan is 700. While this is higher than scores required prior to the crisis, it is constant with requirements one year ago.

Additionally, a Fed Senior Loan Officer Survey found credit requirements in the fourth quarter were consistent with the past three quarters.

However, other market indicators point not just to a stabilization of mortgage lending standards, but also a loosening of credit availability.

Banks are now lending amounts up to 3.5 times borrower earnings. This is up from a low during the crisis of 3.2 times borrower earnings.

Banks are also loosening loan-to-value ratios (LTV), which Capital Economics denotes “the clearest sign yet of an improvement in mortgage credit conditions.”

In contrast to a low of 74 percent reached in mid-2010, banks are now lending at 82 percent LTV.

While credit conditions may have loosened slightly, some potential homebuyers are still struggling with credit requirements. In fact, Capital Economics points out that in November 8 percent of contract cancellations were the result of a potential buyer not qualifying for a loan.

Additionally, Capital Economics says “any improvement in credit conditions won’t be significant enough to generate actual house price gains,” and potential ramifications from the euro-zone pose a threat to future credit availability.

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Sales of existing South Jersey Shore Homes rise in January by 4.3%

By ELAINE ROSE Staff Writer Press of Atlantic City

Housing sales increased in January over the same period last year, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday, with sales of existing homes up 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.6 million sales.

Sales of single-family homes rose 3.8 percent; the number of first-time homebuyers, a key element for a housing recovery, went up slightly and represented 33 percent of all sales. A healthy market usually shows firjerseyshoreacp_400

first-time buyers making up 40 percent of sales.

“Things are actually going well. I’m kind of excited about how the year is starting off,” Anthony D’Alicandro, president of the Atlantic City and County Board of Realtors and owner of Coldwell Banker Casa Bella Realtors in Linwood, said Wednesday.

Atlantic County saw a 1.3 percent increase in the sales of existing homes last month, D’Alicandro said, when including single-family dwellings, condominiums and townhouses.

Sales had declined sharply in the fourth quarter of 2011, not because of a lack of buyers, but due to a shortage of homes on the market, D’Alicandro said. That is because New Jersey was slower than other states to allow foreclosures to continue after the “robo-signing” scandal of late 2010.

“New Jersey is just starting to see a pickup in inventory,” D’Alicandro said.

Prices are likely to remain flat for some time, as a glut of foreclosures starts to hit the market, D’Alicandro said. Banks will work aggressively to get the distressed homes off their lists, and some have not been well-maintained.

Banks have relaxed their lending standards a bit, and prospective homebuyers can get financing, provided they have good credit and an acceptable debt-to-income ratio, D’Alicandro said.

Mortgage rates weren’t a concern for Nick and Crystal Briglia, who looked at a home for sale in Galloway Township on Wednesday evening, along with their son, Dylan.

Nick Briglia said his family rented a home in Absecon for the last year while he worked on construction of the Revel casino hotel in Atlantic City; they like the area and want to stay. They have money saved up and hope to buy a home outright.

“Our lease is up, and I figure I’m paying too much for rent,” Briglia said.

Real estate agent Hader Rivas of Re/Max Atlantic in Northfield said he is getting busy showing homes to prospective buyers. In fact, he just sold a unit earlier Wednesday, he said.

“They’re finally coming off the fence and (realizing) there are a lot of great deals out there,” Rivas said. “Phones are ringing and people are looking.”

Sales declined somewhat in Ocean City, but a lot of people signed contracts to buy homes, D’Alicandro said. Once the deals close, the increases will show up in the February and March numbers, he said.

But an increasing number of contracts are being canceled, D’Alicandro said. Sometimes the buyer can’t get financing or an appraiser says the home is worth less than the agreed-upon price. But the biggest reason for ending contracts is that short sales — or selling the home for less than the money owed on it — either don’t get approved by the bank or the buyer becomes frustrated at how long the process takes.

In the remainder of Cape May County, 110 housing units of all types were sold in January, compared to 86 in January 2011, said Brian Groetsch, president of the Cape May County Association of Realtors and an agent with Re/Max At the Shore. The median sales price was down slightly, from $315,000 last year to $307,500 this year.

Average sales prices rose from $509,378 to $553,927, indicating that high-end properties, especially in beach towns, are selling well.

“I think this mirrors much of what the NAR’s research shows, in that there is pent-up demand, even for second homes, and that many buyers are taking advantage of the affordability that is present in the current market,” Groetsch said.

While the report is good news, it’s not quite time to celebrate, Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors of Holland, Pa., and Margate, said Wednesday in a statement. Many of the homes being sold are “distressed,” or foreclosures and short sales, and some segments of the market are still not doing well.

A continuing supply of distressed homes should keep prices low, Naroff said. Also, nearly 25 percent of sales were to investors, not people planning to use the unit as a primary residence. That is good for a growing demand for rental housing, but won’t give a boost to the industry as a whole.

“While the housing market is slowly improving, there is little reason to think that the non-distressed segment of the market is poised to take off,” Naroff said. “Until the housing problems are resolved, which could take another three or more years in some regions, don’t expect sales or construction to pick up rapidly.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approves almost $10 million for initiatives to improve Atlantic City

By EMILY PREVITI, Staff Writer Press of Atlantic City
ATLANTIC CITY – State officials approved nearly $10 million for initiatives aimed at improving the resort during the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority board’s meeting Tuesday – its first since the Tourism District Master Plan was adopted earlier this month.
About $1.2 million will pay for 990 trash and recycling bins along the Boardwalk and throughout the rest of the Tourism District. Scheduled to arrive 200 at a time in bi-weekly shipments starting in April, the new canisters feature locked tops – preventing animals from getting into them. They are also designed to allow in less rainfall, which will greatly reduce wastewater that can result from a downpour, said CRDA Deputy Director Susan Ney Thompson.

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Another $1.8 million will cover costs to continue demolishing dilapidated properties throughout the resort. The agency has worked with city officials on that initiative, resulting in either the demolition or owner-financed improvements of dozens of buildings last year, city records show.
Steel Pier also secured final approval for plans and a $6.1 million loan for the $20 million first phase of an overhaul planned for the 1,000-foot-long structure. The three-part project is expected to cost $102 million when it is completed by the end of 2015. And the CRDA board supported launching five feasibility studies, each costing about $50,000 and targeted at a particular component of the Master Plan.
The fastest visible results likely will be seen with Atlantic Avenue façade improvements and innovation pavilions on the Boardwalk, Thompson said.
Within the next year, one demo pavilion will be established and others could be running before 2013, said CRDA executive director John Palmieri.
The agency will spend another $50,000 figuring out exactly how and where to upgrade blighted, inactive areas between the Boardwalk and Pacific Avenue so they look better until more permanent development occurs. Known as Boardwalk flex fields, the spruced-up areas could feature sculpture gardens and other “soft, passive uses” on land that ultimately will be used for sports fields and sporting activities, Palmieri said.
The CRDA will lease targeted properties from current owners, he said.
“If a month later, somebody wants to invest a sizeable amount of money in a project, it’s theirs,” said Board Chairman James Kehoe.
The board will also determine which of the nearly 80 properties that “need attention” along Atlantic Avenue they should prioritize for the façade improvement program, Palmieri said.
It will, among other things, require owners to get rid of overnight security gates to qualify for the government subsidy.
“We’d encourage them to come on a volunteer basis at first, but after that, we’d use every legal tool available to us,” Kehoe said when asked by Tourism District Advisory Board Commissioner William Cheatham whether the agency would engage in any “arm twisting” to get businesses to get on board with the program.
With a long-running façade improvement program of its own, Main Street Atlantic City will work closely with the CRDA to facilitate the initiative, said Pam Fields, executive director of the organization.
“We’ve done it before,” Palmieri said of the program. “But we want to be a bit more focused and strategic, and identify those key properties we should be paying attention to,” Palmieri said. “We understand how important it is … to reintegrate these commercial corridors into the city’s heart and soul.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

CRDA Funding Initiatives
$9.9 million for Atlantic City Tourism District initiatives
$6.1 million: CRDA loan to Steel Pier for first phase of three-part renovation
$1.2 million: 990 trash cans and recyling bins from Recyling Resource Inc.
$1.8 million: limit on contracts with companies to board up and demolish buildings citywide.
$300,000: Atlantic City Community Development Program. Includes grants up to 30 percent of production costs – no more than $25,000 – to groups to put on live entertainment that is free and open to the public.
$250,000: feasibility studies for five initiatives recommended by the Atlantic City Tourism District Master Plan.
They are:
Boardwalk flex fields
Atlantic Avenue facades
Corporate-sponsored innovation Boardwalk pavilions
Inlet Beach park, a landscaped vantage point meant to draw attention to and provide an observation area for Absecon Inlet’s picturesque views
Increased activity along Pacific and Michigan avenues through patio-style dining and street-accessible retail in converted ground floors of casino parking garages.
$150,000: limit for spending on transportation consulting from AECOM/Shropshire LLC.
$127,960: contract for façade improvements to 3100 block of the Boardwalk. The block begins with between Montpelier and Chelsea avenues and is home to businesses including Celebrity Corner pizzeria and bar.
Ian Lazarus
The Lazarus Team
The Landis Co., Realtors
609-457-0258
ian.lazarus@mygo2realtor.com
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Sea Isle City, NJ Polar Bear Plunge Event 2012

Video of the Polar Bear Plunge 2012 in Sea Isle City. Watch the mass of people plunge into the atlantic ocean for this very very freezing ritual. February 18, 2012 the temperture was 51 degrees when the participates when in the water at approximately 2pm. The media suggested over 40,000 people were on the beach that afternoon. What a great day for Sea Isle City.

Produced by The Lazarus Team, The Landis Co. Realtors. 609-457-0258, Ian and Rami Lazarus

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Online vacation site ranks Wildwood Boardwalk as best in the nation

By CAITLIN DINEEN, Staff Writer Press of Atlantic City

Wildwood’s Boardwalk reigned supreme in an online ranking of the best boardwalks in the United States by tourism web site Family Vacation Critic, beating out Coney Island and nine other tourist spots.“Wildwood is one of the most popular and kitschiest boardwalks in the country,” reads the site. “The Doo-Wop architecture evokes a nostalgic, honky-tonk atmosphere along the five-mile, free beach — rated the top beach in New Jersey.”Other boardwalks listed: included Santa Cruz Beach, Chicago Navy Pier, Old Orchard Beach Pier & Boardwalk in Maine, Kemah Boardwalk in Texas, Virginia Beach, Mission Beach Pacific Boardwalk in California, Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, Long Beach Boardwalk in Oregon, and Ocean City Boardwalk in Maryland.The web site described Wildwood’s combinations of games and rides as just one of the reasons the Cape May County boardwalk won.“The two-mile stretch of boardwalk has everything you could want, from funnel cakes to game houses and enough amusement rides to rival Disneyland,” the site reads.Wildwood officials said they were glad to be recognized.“It’s a great honor to be recognized as the number one Beach Boardwalk for Families in the nation,” John Siciliano, Executive Director for the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority said in a press release Friday. “We owe this recognition to the hard work and determination of the hundreds of small business owners who bring their vision and innovation to the myriad of shops, attractions, arcades, games and eateries that together make the Wildwoods’ Boardwalk second to none.”Family Vacation Critics is produced by The Independent Traveler, Inc., which also produces Cruise Critic, a cruise news and review Web site.This is not the first time the Wildwoods boardwalk has received accolades.

Last year, they were listed as one of National Geographic Traveler’s “Top 10 U.S. Boardwalks” and in 2009 they were a top ten boardwalk by Forbes Traveler’s.

Ian Lazarus

The Lazarus Team

The Landis Co., Realtors609-457-0258ian.lazarus@mygo2realtor.com

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Sea Isle City, NJ Real Estate Data Report

Cape May County

Sea Isle City

Population in July 2009: 2,914. Population change since 2000: +2.8%

Males: 1,391 (47.8%)
Females: 1,523 (52.2%)

 

Median resident age: 51.3 years
New Jersey median age: 36.7 years

Zip codes: 08243.

Estimated median household income in 2009: $49,648 (it was $45,708 in 2000)

Sea Isle City: $49,648
New Jersey: $68,342

Estimated per capita income in 2009: $38,750

Sea Isle City city income, earnings, and wages data

Estimated median house or condo value in 2009: $625,556 (it was $257,200 in 2000)

Sea Isle City: $625,556
New Jersey: $348,300

Mean prices in 2009: All housing units: $689,584; Detached houses: $696,079; Townhouses or other attached units: $808,378; In 2-unit structures: $620,794; In 3-to-4-unit structures: $549,378; In 5-or-more-unit structures: $497,407

Median gross rent in 2009: $250.

Recent home sales, real estate maps, and home value estimator for zip code 08243

Sea Isle City, NJ residents, houses, and apartments details

  • White alone – 2,771 (94.5%)
  • Hispanic – 146 (5.0%)
  • American alone – 15 (0.5%)

    Jan. 2011 cost of living index in Sea Isle City: 112.0 (more than average, U.S. average is 100)

Ancestries: Irish (38.8%), German (24.0%), Italian (22.3%), English (12.7%), Polish (6.3%), United States (5.0%).

Current Local Time: 4:41:18 PMEST time zone

Incorporated in 1907

Elevation: 6 feet

Land area: 2.20 square miles.

Population density: 1323 people per square mile (low).
For population 25 years and over in Sea Isle City:

  • High school or higher: 85.2%
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher: 28.3%
  • Graduate or professional degree: 9.8%
  • Unemployed: 6.5%
  • Mean travel time to work (commute): 22.0 minutes

For population 15 years and over in Sea Isle City city:

  • Never married: 23.1%
  • Now married: 54.9%
  • Separated: 1.9%
  • Widowed: 11.8%
  • Divorced: 8.4%

94 residents are foreign born (2.3% Europe, 0.5% Asia, 0.4% Latin America).

This city: 3.3%
New Jersey: 17.5%

According to our research there was one registered sex offender living in Sea Isle City, New Jersey in July 2011
The ratio of number of residents in Sea Isle City to the number of sex offenders is 2914 to 1.
The number of registered sex offenders compared to the number of residents in this city is near the state average.

Median real estate property taxes paid for housing units with mortgages in 2009: $3,088 (0.5%)
Median real estate property taxes paid for housing units with no mortgage in 2009: $4,231 (0.7%)

Nearest city with pop. 50,000+: Vineland, NJ (28.6 miles , pop. 56,271).

Nearest city with pop. 200,000+: Philadelphia, PA (63.6 miles , pop. 1,517,550).

Nearest cities: Avalon borough, NJ (2.0 miles ), Strathmere, NJ (2.0 miles) , Stone Harbor borough, NJ (2.7 miles ), Cape May Court House, NJ (2.9 miles ), Woodbine borough, NJ (2.9 miles ), Ocean City, NJ (3.2 miles ), Corbin City, NJ (3.3 miles ), North Wildwood, NJ (3.4 miles ).

Single-family new house construction building permits:

  • 1996: 74 buildings, average cost: $65,300
  • 1997: 125 buildings, average cost: $85,800
  • 1998: 146 buildings, average cost: $86,900
  • 1999: 203 buildings, average cost: $97,400
  • 2000: 240 buildings, average cost: $99,900
  • 2001: 193 buildings, average cost: $119,400
  • 2002: 172 buildings, average cost: $99,200
  • 2003: 207 buildings, average cost: $112,500
  • 2004: 169 buildings, average cost: $131,100
  • 2005: 237 buildings, average cost: $166,200
  • 2006: 149 buildings, average cost: $186,300
  • 2007: 86 buildings, average cost: $181,200
  • 2008: 86 buildings, average cost: $141,800
  • 2009: 72 buildings, average cost: $136,400
  • 2010: 36 buildings, average cost: $198,200