Last week got me thinking about the Hilton Section of Maplewood, NJ. First off, on my regular round of broker open houses I stopped in to two of the most adorable and affordable houses on the market in Maplewood currently– 79 Franklin Ave. priced at $358,000 and 206 Franklin Ave. priced at $379,000 both with taxes under $9,000 which is quite attractive for Maplewood. Their charm and on-trend interiors were delightful to see. It was a sunny day and there were was a nice amount of activity on the street with pedestrians, mom’s pushing strollers, etc.
In a neighborhood that saw too many foreclosures and poorly maintained homes popping up in the economic downturn, this was really nice to see. I knew things were looking up for Hilton, Maplewood’s most affordable neighborhood, when I sold one of my listings in the Spring of 2015. The house at 33 Menzel Ave. was renovated by an investor and sold with multiple offers. At the Sunday open house there was a line of people waiting to get in 10 minutes before the start, and there I met a stream of buyers, many from NYC, looking for well-priced opportunities in Maplewood.
As it’s difficult to find homes “across Springfield Avenue” selling for anything less than $450,000 at the bare minimum, the Hilton Neighborhood is a great choice for buyers in the $300,000 range. Although, today a house on Hilton Avenue closed over $400,000 – a big milestone in my opinion.
Later in the week I had coffee with Cindy Price, a local journalist and photographer, who I discovered moved to the The Hilton neighborhood from Brooklyn in 2014. Cindy says, “The Hilton Neighborhood has been a great fit for our family. For starters, it gave us a way to break into Maplewood’s white-hot market on a small budget. It’s a modest neighborhood, but we’ve felt safe and welcomed here by our neighbors. And for us, a smaller home was ideal coming from a 800 square foot apartment in the city. And, best of all, our taxes are lower!”
Mayor Vic DeLuca, a long-time Hilton area resident, has also noticed an uptick in the amount of pedestrian activity in the neighborhood. He says that there are “a lot of new faces” in the neighborhood and because it’s a very walkable area there are more and more people out strolling in the evenings– couples, people walking dogs, parents with strollers or folks stopping in at the new Walgreens on Springfield Ave. He noted that there is great camaraderie that has built up on the often crowded jitneys to the train station. The Mayor has also noticed more Hilton residents investing in upgrading their homes.
The biggest challenges that remain, according to the Mayor, are the ongoing retention of desirable business on the Springfield Ave. retail corridor. In addition, special police details have been assigned to maintain residents’ perception of safety in areas of the town that happen to border higher crime neighborhoods. He notes that people with growing children may feel that they will grow out of Hilton area homes because they are on the small side. Yet, what might be seen as challenges to the area by some — smaller homes many with one bath, busier streets with more traffic —might not seem so daunting for people coming from more urban areas and small apartments. “These are homes that you can maintain yourself for relatively little expense,” notes Mayor DeLuca.
Other than affordable prices and lower taxes here are some other nice perks of living in Hilton:
-Active neighborhood Association (Hilton Neighborhood Association) to handle quality of life issues
-Close to Whole Foods, Target, Trader Joes in neighboring towns
-Proximity to De Hart Park, Maplecrest Park, Hilton Library
-Local festivals like MayFest, Harvestfest and seasonal farmer’s market
-Jitney service to Maplewood Station
-Close to major highways
Allison Ziefert is Maplewood, NJ based realtor and the #1 individual real estate agent at Keller Williams Mid-Town Direct in Maplewood, NJ. A local market expert, Allison specializes Maplewood, NJ real estate and homes and South Orange, NJ real estate and homes as well as Millburn/Short Hills, NJ, West Orange, NJ and surrounding towns. Allison’s success as a Maplewood/S. Orange realtor is driven by earning great testimonials from sellers and buyers of homes her marketplace. You can read her testimonials at www.azhomesnj.com/testimonials