Belleville, the blue-collar suburb adjoining Newark where Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons — the original Jersey Boys — got their start, has long been a destination for first-time home buyers. The pandemic only heightened the township’s profile, especially among New Yorkers.
Last summer, more than 100 potential buyers descended on an open house at a nondescript, three-bedroom, aluminum-sided colonial. After multiple offers, the house sold for $331,000, more than 10 percent above asking. Since then, the market has remained robust, fueled by affordability and commutability.
Brian Maysonet, 38, a sales manager in the beverage industry, and Iliana Alvarado, 36, a law-firm office manager, arrived several months before the lockdown. They paid $310,000 for a three-bedroom, one-bathroom Cape Cod and invested $60,000 in renovations. For the couple and their two daughters, who previously lived in a railroad-style rental in Ridgewood, Queens, the road to Belleville was a process of elimination.
“We didn’t look in the five boroughs because it’s way too expensive, and we knew the taxes in Westchester were pretty high,” Mr. Maysonet said. “And because we work in Manhattan, we eliminated Long Island because of the commute.”
neighborhood’s name — will see its first tenants in September.
Michael Melham, the mayor, said the township pivoted during the pandemic and is allowing developers to incorporate co-working space in place of a portion of their retail requirements.
Mr. Melham sees location as one of Belleville’s biggest draws. “We border the largest city in New Jersey,” he said. “And from our hilltops we can see New York City.”
New Jersey Multiple Listing Service’s website showed 32 single-family houses on the market, priced from $220,000 to $599,000.
From Aug. 1, 2020, to July 31, 2021, the median sale price of a single-family home was $365,000, based on 225 sales, according to the Multiple Listing Service. During the same period a year earlier, before the pandemic’s full effect on the suburban real estate market took hold, 170 single-family houses sold at a median of $325,000.
Belleville’s average property tax bill in 2020 was $10,347.