When Nicole Dallara and her future husband, Michael Gangino, were ready to move out of their parents’ homes in Marlboro and Old Bridge, N.J., six years ago, they knew what they didn’t want: to live in the kind of suburban developments they grew up in. They also knew what they did want: to find a shore community with a walkable downtown and plenty of activity.
They quickly discovered that they were priced out of hot spots like Asbury Park and Belmar, so they looked farther north, heading around the coast’s bend before landing in Keyport, a more affordable one-square-mile borough in Monmouth County, facing Raritan Bay.
Instagram, where she shares news and photos from Keyport and neighboring areas with her nearly 8,000 followers.
7,200 residents — 15.6 percent of whom identify as Hispanic, 5.3 percent as Black, 3.8 percent as Asian and 6.8 percent as two or more races — Keyport, the mayor said, is “the most diverse municipality along the Bayshore, and maybe anywhere in Monmouth County.”
Aside from a few small multiunit complexes and the new developments to come, the bulk of the borough’s housing consists of single-family or two-family houses built in the early to mid-20th century. Some grand and many modest Victorians are interspersed with Cape Cods, Craftsman bungalows and ranch houses, some of them upgraded.
“We’re not seeing a lot of teardowns,” said Lawrence Vecchio, 65, a broker-owner of the VRI Homes real estate agency, who was born in Keyport, left to raise a family, and returned in 2015, building a three-story house and office building on the waterfront. “There’s been a lot of acquisition and improvement, with people redoing the older homes, but keeping the original character.”