With Spring Fully Sprung, County Land Use Re-Blossoms
By C.M. Mattessich
During the week April 30-May 6, more than 145 deeds were recorded at the County Clerk’s Office evidencing property sales throughout the county. The transactions had a cumulative value of more than $73 million.
In a corresponding period last year, April 28-May 4, deeds representing almost $100 million in property transfers were recorded. This year’s lesser total reflects the market slowdown occurring on a nationwide basis, with $73 million remaining a significant, and positive, performance for Cape May County.
Last year at this time, the Herald was reporting on Grande Properties LLC’s sale of approximately $8.7 million in Rio Grande land parcels to Beazer Homes, for development of an age-restricted housing project. Beazer has made substantial progress on the project, with eight deeds for completed homes recorded in recent weeks.
Additional developers have flowed into mainland portions of the county over the past year, and work proceeds apace on projects such as Ryan Homes’ development of a 27-acre parcel off Indian Trail, at the site of the former MacGregor farm (pictured). The parcel was purchased in March 2005 for $1.1 million by local developer Pennsylvania Avenue Development LLC.
Last week’s deeds identified buyers whose hometowns range from Florida to New York. The great majority of buyers, however, continue to come from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The New Jersey towns of Cherry Hill, Marlton, Mount Laurel, and Sewell, provided multiple purchasers in last week’s group, as did the Pennsylvania vicinages of Berwyn, Downingtown, Doylestown, Malvern, Philadelphia, and West Chester.
Also, a significant number of purchasers continue to come from within Cape May County. Typically, these purchases have represented either residents making local investments or families moving from now-pricey homesteads in barrier island communities to spots further inland where they can spend proceeds of their sale at their leisure.
Among last week’s transactions was re-sale of a townhome at the “Links of Avalon” development in Middle Township for $375,000. The current sellers purchased their condo from developer K. Hovnanian in March 2004 for $250,783.
That and 20 additional sales made it a very healthy week for mainland Middle Township. All towns except Cape May Point registered sales during the week, with Ocean City showing a nice turnaround to 31 sales with a cumulative value over $20 million, and even sleepy West Wildwood registering four sales ranging between $50,000 and $950,000.
“For sale” signs appear throughout the county, as is typical for this time of year. Among them is one that will cause a collective sigh among comedy fans: Wildwood’s Casba Club, at E. Spicer and Atlantic Avenues, bears a large red sign announcing that it’s a FSBO (for sale by owner) in a “high rise zone” (pictured). Owner and long-time community member Mark Vito told the Herald that this season’s upcoming schedule is secure at the popular establishment.
Finally, while it may not involve actual or anticipated sales, the county scene is abuzz with landscaping crews as owners engage in their springtime clean-ups and perennial agonizing over whether this is the year that they’re leaving crabgrass behind by switching to all-stone landscaping. Many residents and business owners (like the Star Diner, pictured) are settling on an attractive combination of the two.
BELOW RYAN HOMES PIX (empty field w/winding road):
FORMER FARM – Ryan Homes has begun site work at the former MacGregor Farm in Middle Township, west of Home Depot. 24 homes on 1-acre sites are being offered from the $450,000’s.
BELOW COMEDY CLUB SIGN:
TIMELY SIGN – A sign outside the Casba Comedy Club announces that it’s a FSBO in a “high rise zone.” (The owner assures fans, though, that the upcoming season is secure.)
GRASS, STONES …. OR BOTH? At North Wildwood’s Star Diner, the owner combined the ease of stones with traditional foliage.
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