Once an overlooked, run-down city west of the Hudson, Jersey City is now the fastest-growing metropolis in the state, according to NewJersey.com. As rents continue to rise in New York, Jersey City’s proximity to Manhattan — and opportunity for more space at a better value — has transformed it into a destination for young families in the tri-state area.
Downtown is booming, with luxury high rise rentals going up like wildfire along the Hudson River waterfront. It’s no surprise, considering it’s less than 10 minutes from the Grove Street Path station to lower Manhattan. “Basically, Tribeca’s in your backyard,” says Brett Bacek, a licensed real estate agent for Nest Seekers International’s Jersey City office.
The majority of his clients are families relocating from Brooklyn and Manhattan. “It’s a great place to move in the interim,” he says. “They don’t want to make the conversion into the burbs yet, if at all, and they want the access to the city. They want enough space to be comfortable to live and also to be close to work.”
Take Jaime Maser, owner of beauty PR firm Maser Communications. In June she moved with her husband from SoHo to Paulus Hook, a neighborhood in downtown JC, to start a family.
“We crossed the river ... and doubled the size in terms of space, going from a one bedroom/one bath to a three bedroom/two bath with laundry in the unit — huge when you have a newborn,” says the new mom.
“It’s the perfect steppingstone for us. We knew we weren’t ready for the ’burbs, and Jersey City provides citylike creature comforts and vibes but in a much more doable way than Manhattan.”
There’s just one problem: For those looking to buy, rentals are more prevalent than condos, according to Natalie Miniard, owner of JCity Realty.
“Jersey City’s done a great job—now everybody wants to stay, but unfortunately, the ownership opportunities are few and far between,” she says. “We’re losing a lot of great people to the ’burbs, not because they necessarily want to move there, but because they don’t really have too many options [to buy] in the area.”
Although there are 7,000 new housing units set to come on the market in Jersey City, “only about 1,200 will be condominiums. The rest are rentals,” says Martin Brady, the executive VP of sales and leasing at the Marketing Directors, a development advisory firm.
But the influx across the river won’t stop any time soon, especially with the impending L train closure, says Bacek: “To pay $4,000/month rent in Brooklyn to have to take the bus to work isn’t very sexy.”
New in the neighborhood: 99 Hudson Street
In January, ground broke on this mixed-use condominium downtown, which at 900 feet and 79 stories is projected to be the tallest tower in New Jersey, and the sixth largest residential building in the country, transforming Jersey City’s skyline. Completion expected in 2019.