Accidental Millionaires | July Market Update – Wayne Piersanti

I had a casual conversation with my neighbor recently. He bought a second home in the Tranquility section of Lower Township a couple of years ago, and with retirement looming, he just listed his primary residence in Connecticut.  Most of the people looking to buy his home were from the NYC area – a one hour commute by train. A June 18th CNBC report suggests this might be the “new norm”

The article’s key points are: As the real estate market began to recover in May, home searches in suburban zip codes jumped 13%. That doubled the pace of growth in urban areas. More than half of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas are seeing increased interest in the suburbs.  “Millennials once piled into the cities….. apparently they are now piling out. The stay-at-home orders brought on by coronavirus have more potential home buyers looking for properties in the suburbs. The flight to the suburbs is real and growing, as coronavirus changes the way people live”. Contracts on Manhattan apartments plunged 80% annually in May.

“Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research echoes this data. “This migration to the suburbs is not a new trend, but it has become more pronounced this spring…After several months of shelter-in-place orders, the desire to have more space and the potential for more people to work remotely are likely two of the factors contributing to the popularity of the burbs.”  Stewart Miller, Chairman and former CEO of Lennar homes adds “There’s no question that there are people who are fleeing the cities. There’s no question that the second home has been a place of refuge. There’s no question people are rethinking whether they want to be in high rise rentals with common spaces as amenities vs. having a home of their own with a backyard.”  New Yorkers aren’t the only big city dwellers who have been decamping for suburbs, smaller cities and rural areas. It began with the affordability crisis in cities such as San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles and has only picked up momentum during the pandemic, according to Glenn Kelman, CEO of the national online brokerage Redfin.  The effects of COVID-19 have made many people “wary of living in close quarters,” he says. On top of that, the freedom to work from home means “a huge percentage of people are now looking further afield.”

What better way to work from home than from southern Cape May County? But it seems that the cat is out of the hat. Trying to buy that dream home down the Shore has gotten a little bit more daunting. As of this writing, there are only 37 active residential listings on the entire Cape Island. 12 of these listings are in Cape May City, ranging in prices from $529,900 for the Octagon House at 1386 Lafayette Street to $3,000,000 for an expansive circa 1800 Queen Anne Victorian licensed for 8 guest rooms. Only 2 of the 12 listings are under $900,000.  The average listing price of the current listings in Cape May City is $1,779,790.  13 of the listings are in Cape May Point with an average listing price of $1,016,923. There are 12 active listings in West Cape  May.  Only 5 are priced lower than $759,900.  10 e. Mechanic Street comes in at  $610,000 on a 100 x 76’ lot. The average listing price there is $942,299.  We bought our duplex in Cape May City in  1986 because we loved the town.  It seems that those who bought back “in the day” have become “accidental  millionaires.”


There are 15 condominiums available in Cape May City. 3 are at the Marquis de Lafayette, starting at $119,900.  The Marquis de Lafayette has a usage policy requiring owners to rent their rooms as hotel rooms. Other condos in town are priced from $329,900 to $1,150,000.

The upshot of all this, is If you’ve been sitting on the fence, there has never been a better time to list your Cape Island home. We need Listings! Our full time team of knowledgeable and experienced agents is ready to take your calls.  Who knows? In  35 years, you just might be the next “accidental billionaire!”

(P.S. Nevertheless, all is not lost.  A savvy buyer can still find  primary or secondary housing at a third of the price of buying on the island. More information is a phone call away).

This is Wayne Piersanti, Broker-Salesperson for Coastline Realty, keeping it real. For information on any of these listings, I can be reached at (609) 540-3374 or

Also, we can assist you in finding a just the right buyer for your home. Coastline Realty is Cape Island’s top producing, fill service real estate agency, consistently representing the most buyers & sellers in the Cape May Area.

(Information was compiled from the Cape May Multiple Listing Service and deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)

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