Jersey City, NJ - Investment properties

51 Replies

What's up everyone,

I'm a recent home buyer/investor located in Jersey City, NJ. A few months ago, I closed on a condo in the Heights neighborhood (after going through a brutal sellers market), and am currently in the process of closing my first investment property. 

I would love meet more people in the area as well as get some feedback from anyone with experience investing in the JC/Union City/Newark areas. There's definitely a lot of activity going on here and it reminds me a lot of what happened in Brooklyn, NY (lived there for the 8 years prior).

Particularly, I am curious about less touted sections of JC -- West Side Ave, Bergen-Lafayette and the areas around there. Do you see these areas being more popular for rentals now that a lot of JC has become expensive, and does anyone have experience with rental properties in and around there? I know crime and safety and still major issues in this area, which I'm sure is one of the reason why investors haven't piled in here yet. 

Look forward to hearing any thoughts/feedback. Thanks!

-Ani

Hi @Ani Sanyal I would love to connect with you and here your thoughts. I have looked hard at JC Heights in the last 6 months and it's definately been a seller's market. Feel like I just missed the boat on this one although I am continuing to look. My primary residence is on the border of Union City and JC Heights and I can definately see the "Brooklyn" type of transition taking place. 

I think your idea is not a bad one, although I haven't looked that hard at those areas of JC. Union City is also not a bad place to look, and it is very close to JC Heights. I have been focusing on this area as of late. 

Let's connect in person and talk further. There are quite a few people on BiggerPockets in the JC area and it would be fun to all get together to talk real estate. 

Thanks Nick! Just shot you a message. 

Careful along the JC/UC border ... That's the worst area of UC in terms of rents. I have a property a few blocks up on Bergenline and while there are rarely vacancies, the rents are pretty depressed in the area despite all the new construction. You are also dealing with a tenant class that can be a challenge at times. That being said, it's a solid rental market but requires a lot of oversight to protect your investment from constant wear & tear.

I'd be interested in bouncing ideas off each other if you are looking to invest in the area. I also own 2 multis in Hoboken, which I've done well with although that market is incredibly difficult to find any deals that make sense these days.

@Ani Sanyal It's funny you mention the similarity to what's happened in Brooklyn - I manage a couple properties in the area you mentioned and in the area around JSQ, and I've had applicants coming from Brooklyn, mentioning that the rising rents are forcing them out. Being 15-20 min to the JSQ PATH is still pretty desirable, and there are a lot of spots that aren't techincally in Journal Square that are still 15-20 min walking distance to the train.

People are starting to look into the area, and tenants are starting to overlook some of the things that used to be a huge concern. A couple years ago things were much different here. If you're investigating the area take a lunch break New Park Tavern on West Side Ave - awesome burgers.

@Doug O. @Nick Intrieri

@Tim Booz Thanks Tim, it's great to hear someone confirm some of my theories about the area. It's interesting to hear that a 15-20 minute walk is something that tenants are open to. 

Thanks for the lunch recommendation! I know @Nick Intrieri and I are overdo for a catch up, so we might have to check that out soon. Thanks again. 

Hi everyone,

I'm new to bigger pockets and real estate investing. I purchased a condo in the Jersey City Heights section in December. I wouldn't mind hearing from others in Jersey City and / or adding anything to the mix that I can.

I've considered investing again in JC because it seems the property is hot over there but then again, I'm not sure if I'm better off closer to home in Central Jersey. Tomorrow I'm going to look at some rental properties in Brick.

@Denis Deleon , Wherever you invest it's important to know your area. I wouldn't stress too much about finding the perfect city/town. Pick a place and really get to know it well. I've heard some good things from a couple different people about Brick though.

@Denis Deleon There are still some good deals to be had in Jersey City, even though the market has been pretty competitive over the summer. I've been seeing more and more tenants coming from Hoboken and Downtown Jersey City, after being priced out, or looking for more space.

Hello Everyone,

I am sure that you probably notice. There is an insane amount of rentals building being build right now in downtown jersey city and these units will be coming on line in the next 5 years. I think the estimate was there are over 9000 units. I am hoping to get someone opinion on what will happen to the rental market. Also I could not help but thinking that when the rental market slow down. Do you think they might convert all those rental to condo and flood the market? Any idea on what it might do to the price?

Look forward to hear your thoughts on this!

Thanks!

When I purchased my condo in the Heights I was aware that a high-rise was going up near the Path trains. My understanding is that those condos/apartments are going to be on the pricey side so I'm not so sure it will affect the demographic moving into the Heights in Jersey City. 

@Ani Sanyal I feel the Bergen/Lafayette section directly outside of Liberty State Park is going to BOOM over the next 5 years. There is a redevelopment plan for this area and investors are waiting to build there. I am very picky about this area still.

I am waiting to buy my first investment property in Hudson County that I wish to owner occupy. Still hunting...

Originally posted by @Ricky L. :

Hello Everyone,

I am sure that you probably notice. There is an insane amount of rentals building being build right now in downtown jersey city and these units will be coming on line in the next 5 years. I think the estimate was there are over 9000 units. I am hoping to get someone opinion on what will happen to the rental market. Also I could not help but thinking that when the rental market slow down. Do you think they might convert all those rental to condo and flood the market? Any idea on what it might do to the price?

Look forward to hear your thoughts on this!

Thanks!

When you look at this from the supply side, this obviously does not bode well for the area. An influx of supply, in a vacuum, will drive prices down.

The flip side, however, is the impact on demand, which is always hard to peg. In the long-run, the hope/assumption is that development in the area will have a net positive effect on values as the increase in supply will be more than offset by an increase in demand as people witness and, ultimately, buy into all the re-development that the area is experiencing.

Another point to consider that another poster brought up is that most of the new supply will be at a higher price point, as development of higher-end product pencils out more easily than it does for affordable units. As such, one could argue that the increase in higher-end inventory will drive up the price of the remaining stock as product will shift toward the higher end of the spectrum.

Ultimately, a lot of investors are banking on the premise that the new luxury rental & condo market will provide a boost to values all around -- that a rising tide will lift all boats, so to speak.

@Chris Daliani Chris, thanks for the insight. I've been exploring that area you mentioned, and it is slowing changing in terms of demographic. St. Peters University being right there definitely helps spur that change as well, but it's been only pockets here and there.

I'd like to get into Bergen/Laf early, but the inventory down there is surprisingly low. Hopefully that changes over the next couple months, but we shall see. 

Originally posted by @Ani Sanyal :

@Chris Daliani Chris, thanks for the insight. I've been exploring that area you mentioned, and it is slowing changing in terms of demographic. St. Peters University being right there definitely helps spur that change as well, but it's been only pockets here and there.

I'd like to get into Bergen/Laf early, but the inventory down there is surprisingly low. Hopefully that changes over the next couple months, but we shall see. 

Ani, St. Peters is by Journal Square, not Bergen/Lafayette ...

Bergen/Lafayette is still sketchy, I don't care what other investors are saying. Take a ride down Atlantic Ave into the heart of that area, and all you see is bars on windows and caged in porches.  Just because the barrier of entry to an area is lower, doesn't guarantee that it will explode in coming years. People have been talking about it for the past 10 years, and yet it remains a C/D area.

Hi Everyone!
I am in the process of closing on a 3-familiy Brownstone in the Bergen Lafayette neighborhood in JC. My fiance and I spent the past few months checking out JC Heights, McGinley Square, and felt the BeLa area has the best "bones". Berry Lane park, with NYC views, the Garfield & MLK Light Rails, arlington park farmers market. The blocks surrounding the park such as madison, bramhall resemble blocks in Hamilton & van vorst parks.
Would love to hear others thoughts about the bergen lafayette neighborhood!

Interesting @lauren Griffin bc my realtor said that was a long term play as well.  I don't have the patience to wait that long since the area needs a lot of work but good luck to you! 

--@Ani Sanyal I just closed on a property in the heights, it's my first true investment property as the one I have downtown JC was more accidental since I had to move out....it's a 1BR and I'm happy I got it under 200k as the properties seem to be on the upswing especially near Riverview Park.   Did you buy a 1BR or 2BR?  

Hi everyone! Kind of bumping this thread although it hasn't been active in a while. Just closed on a 2 bedroom 1 bath in Union City, NJ but closer to 495. I spent quite a while looking in JC heights, it's been a really tough market lately!

Some rough areas discussed here. My fellow electricians from these areas would literally let every other passenger on the light rail know I was with them. Essentially "protecting" me while riding from Exchange Place station thru the Garfield Ave station and finally to West Side Ave station where I would park. Any updates on these neighborhoods?

Hi all, 

I also have an investment property in the Heights. It's a multi-family right off of Palisades, so for now it's been a pretty good investment. Inventory is low, which is why I think prices are kinda over-inflated for some properties..IMHO.

Hi Ani! I see it has been over a year since you posted. Curious as to what you have been up to and whether you have invested further in JC. I live in JC and I am very familiar with the market, so I would love to hear about your journey since this post!

Hi folks,

Me and my wife is moving from Charlotte, NC to jersey city/Hoboken area for a better job opportunity. We own a few properties here in North Carolina and are looking to buy a property on JC instead of renting... what's you guys take on a first time Jersey property buyer ?!

How are the taxes in comparison

@Bony Mathew We don't really have standard condos in the more popular areas. They're mostly row homes and apartment buildings that have the condominium form of ownership, but not your typical condo development you're used to seeing. There is an area of JC on the other side of 440 that is a bit removed from the "up and coming" part of the city, but it's a beautiful development, very family friendly, clean and safe, and far more reasonably priced than down here. More comparable to Bayonne pricing probably. It's called Society Hill if you want to check it out. If you have a little bit more capital and want to invest Downtown to lease out, real estate is hotter than it's ever been, but price tags are steep and most of these places are old and need some love. The alternative if you just want some smaller scale steady income, is buying a unit in one of the newer buildings. You can usually collect rent far in excess of your carry costs, but again, big ticket initially and not as huge an upside as some alternatives. Then there is the option of buying in one of the neighborhoods that haven't quite gotten there yet, but should if you have a few years to hold onto the property, like JSQ or Bergen Lafayette, but the rental rates right now are pretty low as the neighborhoods aren't the most desirable and inventory is low on flips or fixer-uppers. Anyway, welcome to NJ and best of luck!

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