Tue Apr 15 2008
What you’ll pay: $435,000
What you’ll get: A three-bedroom, 1,550-square-foot single-family row house downtown near Hamilton Park
Distance to midtown: Depending on traffic, at least 30 minutes
Families considering a move to Jersey City should heed Rachelle Migdal’s words: There’s nothing to fear about the Garden State. “The biggest problem I have is called New Jersey,” says the Weichert Realtors broker. “But once buyers get here, everything changes.” Those who do cross the Hudson will find a market with both inexpensive starter homes and high-end condos. “The main appeal is value,” Migdal says. “If you come here with a Manhattan mentality, you’ll be surprised what you can get for the same cost. Instead of an unimpressive apartment facing a brick wall, you can have granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances. You’re tangibly getting something for your money.”
Jersey City, the state’s second-largest burg after Newark, comprises six wards that are further divided into several neighborhoods. Downtown, with its row houses and brownstones, has seen the most development, with condos cropping up near the Grove Street PATH station. That area is the heart of the “new” Jersey City, with appealing stores like Duck Duck Goose (16 Erie St between Bay and 1st Sts), a children’s consignment shop that hosts twice-monthly storytimes. Less-gentrified districts, like Journal Square and the more residential Heights, are to the north and west.
Kathleen Moschella, mother of seven-month-old Sophie, moved with her husband, Paul, to the Heights last summer. “We were looking for a bigger place,” she says, “and we had the choice of living in an 800-square-foot two-bedroom apartment in Hoboken or a four-bedroom house here.” The couple found a 103-year-old townhouse with details like ceiling medallions, original crown molding and (nonworking) coal fireplaces. “I always wanted to live in a Victorian,” she says. “I just never thought I would.”