Nathan Colmer | The Van Dyk Group
C: 609.290.4293 | O: 609.492.1511
Buying a home is a major investment and many would-be buyers are not sure if a second home or vacation home on Long Beach Island is right for them. I have put this page together to give a good starting point for those looking to buy a home in the LBI real estate market. Here you can find a basic overview of some common LBI real estate questions including flood insurance, building a new home, locations on LBI and current market trends.
Long Beach Island is located off the southern coast of New Jersey. This summer resort is family focused and is clean, safe and fun! LBI does not have a boardwalk, but does have a busy downtown in Beach Haven where you can find numerous stores, restaurants and amusements. In addition, there are a number of attractions scattered throughout LBI, many within walking distance of the residential areas.
Above all else, location is the number one driving factor in determining a home's value. LBI is generally divided into "the north end" and "the south end". The north end areas include Barnegat Light, Loveladies, North Beach, Harvey Cedars and Surf City. The south end areas include Ship Bottom, Beach Haven and most of Long Beach Township. Generally speaking, the north end of LBI is more expensive and far less commercially developed. The south end of LBI offers more reasonable prices and has more in the way of "beach attractions" (mini-golf, ice cream, amusement parks, etc). Property locations are further defined by "being on the oceanside" or "being on the bayside". Oceanside, oceanblock and oceanfront homes are considered to be east of Long Beach Blvd while bayside, lagoon front and bayfront homes are west of Long Beach Blvd. Properties east of Long Beach Blvd will typically trade at a higher price point as not having to cross Long Beach Blvd for beach access is considered a premium.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, flood insurance became a hot topic for the Long Beach Island real estate market. There are many rumors of flood insurance premiums exceeding $10,000/ year...which is simply not true! Flood insurance is determined by several factors, the most important of which are:
The first factor insurance companies look at is the first floor elevation above Base Flood Elevation (BFE). This elevation is determined by combining the natural ground elevation of an area with the foundation system of a home. Most of Long Beach Island is in an A8 flood zone. This means the first floor of the home should be 8 feet above sea level. The ground levels on Long Beach Island will range from two feet to twelve feet above sea level and when these ground levels are combined with a home's foundation, a majority of homes on LBI are already at or well above the base flood elevation (keeping insurance costs very low). Flood insurance issues are more common on the bayside areas of LBI, but even on the bayside it is possible to find a small Cape Cod not elevated on pilings that still have very affordable rates.
There are a number of housing options on LBI. By far, the most common sale in the LBI real estate market is a single family home. These makes up the majority of the sales activity we see each month. Single family homes can range from the low $300,000's to over $10,000,000 depending on the lot size, location and structure. In addition, the LBI real estate market has condos, duplexes, commercial properties, vacant land, interval-ownership and storm damaged homes for sale.
Building a new home can be one of the best investments possible! While building does offer some challenges in financing and logistics, the payoff can be well worth the effort. I specialize in this kind of transaction and have extensive experience pairing a buyer with a location and builder. These projects, once finished, create and average of 30% instant equity in the home. For example, if you were to purchase a building lot and construction a new home for a total investment of $1,000,000, the finished home would be worth about $1,300,000 in the current market! This is an excellent way to maximize your investment and obtain your LBI dream home for far less money!
Summer rentals are the lifeblood of the Long Beach Island economy. Typically, the summer rental season will last ten "prime" weeks in July and August with a number of "off season" weeks in June and September. Rentals help to make LBI affordable for many homeowners by giving the option to rent all or part of the summer season. This rent helps to offset the costs of owning a home on Long Beach Island. Summer rentals also help to limit downturns in the LBI real estate market. During the financial crisis of 2008 when most of the county was witnessing high levels of foreclosures, LBI was relatively sparred thanks to summer rentals! Homeowners who found themselves in financial trouble were able to rent their home and cover the expenses thus avoiding a short sale or foreclosure. This helps to stabilize LBI's market value and make it a safer investment.