By BRIAN IANIERI, Staff Writer
Maybe it’s for a large family. Maybe it’s a seashore vacation home expecting plenty of summertime guests.
The homes with the most bedrooms – five or more – represent the smallest portion of New Jersey real estate, behind only homes with no bedrooms, according to the Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey.
This five-plus bedrooms segment is well behind the most popular (three-bedroom homes), but it still plays a critical role for homeowners who need space and are capable of paying the higher prices associated with larger homes.
Patricia Gray Hendricks, broker associate at Wilsey Realty in Cape May, said large homes are popular among the region’s second-home owners looking for ample rooms for guests and large families that can include children and grandchildren.
In Cape May, Hendricks said, buyers are drawn to large homes that are not in densely populated settings and are not duplexes.
“The traditional Cape May houses tended to be larger,” she said.
The number of bedrooms in a home is among the most vital pieces of information in sale listings, succinctly letting home hunters know if a property can fit their family and guests.
Among shore properties, homes with at least five bedrooms are generally more prevalent than in other areas.
In Cape May County, they make up 8.6 percent of total homes, the highest percentage in the state, according to the Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey.
In Ocean County, these homes make up 6.5 percent of total homes, the seventh highest percentage in New Jersey.
Atlantic and Cumberland counties were both below the state average of 5.5 percent. Atlantic County had 4.5 percent; Cumberland County, 2.4 percent.
Hendricks had a recent client who wanted a place in Cape May in the three-bedroom category.
“Juxtapose that to the person who’s saying, ‘I’m now ready to have a house at the shore and have people here but not in stages. I want to have my girls and their husbands and their children at the same time,'” she said. “That’s also the reason people sell houses – they’re no longer using the house in the same way.”
Allan Dechert, broker of Ferguson Dechert in Avalon and Stone Harbor, said homes with lots of bedrooms are popular in the second-home region, particularly among three-story properties with master suites on the third floor.
Homes with five-plus bedrooms have their niche, but they can also be too large or too expensive for some families.
Richard Shaffer III, broker-owner at Resorts LTD in Egg Harbor Township, said five- and six-bedroom homes in mainland Atlantic County have a large disparity between asking prices and selling prices.
“If you look at five bedrooms, they tend in some cases to have two master suites, so it’s a good in-law suite for an elderly parent or in-law and then share the costs,” he said. “It’s a great situation for that, but for an average family that needs the space, a four-bedroom 2 bath, you can get a very spacious house. … You can still get a nice size four bedroom, 2 bath for under $300,000 or in the high $200,000s.”