Letter From the Developer
OK – Let me just say this right up front. We tried valiantly to get our beautiful new clubhouse open for the fall season, but between COVID, a shortage of workers (this is a national issue now), the supply chain problems with getting materials delivered to the job site in a timely manner, and the approval processes for the electric, plumbing, etc. that every new building must go through, we were not able to make our deadline for our opening celebration.
That said, we did host a community-wide party under tents with catered food, live music and dancing, and a private showing, for the residents of Summerfields West, of the professionally decorated models in the new model pavilion. Everyone sure seemed to have a good time, in spite of the rain that tried, but didn’t succeed, to dampen the party spirits of all the residents. Be sure to check out the video below.
Stay tuned for news on the new date for our clubhouse completion and opening!
In the meantime, sales have been brisk and our lots are filling up nicely. There are some wonderful new residents making Summerfields West their home. Why not give Anne Marie, our Sales Manager, a call at 856-629-2011, for your own private model tour?
Brian Temple, President
The Temple Companies
Developer, Summerfields West
FEATURED MODEL: THE EVERGREEN
1531 Square Feet of spacious living with an open floorplan, lots of sunlit windows, morning room and a covered front porch. Customize this home to your tastes and lifestyle!
See it here, then come visit in person!
FALL HOME MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
Fall is the perfect time to take care of outdoor home repairs and maintenance projects before the shorter – and colder – days of winter are upon us. Check these items off your list this season, and you can rest easy knowing that your home and yard are all “buttoned up” and ready for winter.
- Prune shrubs and cut back and away from the siding or condensers, remove annual flowers, and consider planting fall flowers such as mums or decorate the exterior of your home with fall pumpkins. If you have any trees in your yard, cut back any dead limbs.
- Rake leaves. They may looks beautiful covering your lawn, but over the winter, they will inhibit your spring growth.
- Clean gutters and downspouts. Don’t climb that ladder, however! Call a professional or a grandchild! Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause ice damning or water to pool and damage your roof or siding.
- Take a walk around your property, look for signs of any repairs that may need to be done. Schedule that maintenance before winter sets in.
- Check walkways, railing, stairs and the driveway for winter safety. When the landscape is covered in snow or ice, just walking to the front door can be quite a challenge. Make sure the stairs and railings are sturdy and the driveway is in good repair for easier shoveling.
- Stock up on winter supplies. Check the condition of snow shovels, ice scrapers, pick up a bag of pet – and plant – safe ice melt, if needed, put emergency kits in your car and home, and if you have a snow blower, have it serviced and purchase fuel.
- Shut off exterior faucets and store hoses. This will protect your pipes from freezing temperatures by shutting off water to exterior faucets before the weather dips below freezing. Drain hoses and store them inside.
- Check your safety devices – test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, replace batteries as needed. Also check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and replace it if needed.
- Clean dryer vents. Lint buildup in dryer vents can make your dryer work less efficiently and even cause a fire. Cool, dry fall weather increases static electricity, which can ignite lint that has built up, so now is a key time to get that lint out.
- Deep clean the kitchen. Take a day to tackle some of the more labor-intensive cleaning tasks, and keep your kitchen working efficiently and looking great. Degrease the range hood and filter, clean the over, vacuum the refrigerator coils, scrub tile grout, clean light fixtures, wash the walls and backsplash, wash the garbage can and recycling bins, and clean small appliances.
- Schedule a heating system maintenance checkup. Change your filters and be sure your system is in good working order before turning on your heat.
HOW IS THE REAL ESTATE MARKET IN NEW JERSEY?
Still, the statewide median sales price from May 2020 to May 2021 was up 24%, according to New Jersey Realtors data. And prices are expected to end the year with a gain. Overall, housing prices increased 12% in 2020 and they're on pace to increase 12% again in 2021, according to data from the Otteau Group.
The low inventory and high demand are pushing sale prices higher, causing houses to sell for tens of thousands of dollars over the asking price and generating bidding wars. The median sales price for a single-family home in New Jersey in January was $504,585, a 22% increase over the median price in January 2020.
WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE POST-PANDEMIC REAL ESTATE MARKET?
COVID-19 was devastating for many businesses. Restaurants, health clubs, movie theaters and other enterprises suffered substantial losses due to pandemic shutdowns. However, one industry thrived during the worst of COVID-19: real estate.
Fueled by an out-migration from urban areas and supported by record-low interest rates, the suburban New Jersey real estate market remained blazing hot through the dead of winter and well into the summer. Brokers reported unprecedented traffic and bidding wars once open house presentations resumed, and neighborhoods that were previously out of commuting range for buyers working from New York City became destination communities for employees who now worked remotely.
According to Robert Norman, president at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, New York City Metropolitan Area, the strong market transitioned almost seamlessly from the shutdown to the reopening of the economy.
“The market started to get back to normal by late spring-early summer,” Norman said. “While inventories remained low, buyers began to feel more comfortable visiting homes for sale, and sellers were more willing to allow people to tour their homes. The low inventories created a seller’s market. Our research showed that early in 2021, one in five people wanted to sell their homes. Unfortunately, many did not list their homes because they were afraid they wouldn’t be able to find a home to buy.”
Norman noted that Coldwell Banker agents adapted quickly to the COVID restrictions. He believes that their more effective use of video, social media and teleconferencing platforms are a few of the positive byproducts of the shutdown that are here to stay.
Robert White, president-elect of New Jersey Realtors®, also cited low inventories and a desire to flee urban environments as driving forces in the marketplace. In June, there was a 1.9-month supply of single-family homes in New Jersey. The normal supply is about four months.
“Small communities are thriving,” White said. “New Jersey Realtors are working with people from some of the Garden State’s urban areas as well as buyers from New York and Pennsylvania. Families like the feel of small communities with walkable downtowns and transportation hubs. While many buyers have moved farther from the cities because they can work remotely, they still appreciate the convenience of commuter rail and bus service.”
White noted that the Jersey Shore has been an especially popular destination for buyers coming into the state. Communities from the Highlands to Cape May are much in demand. Shore communities tend to be more intimate, and they offer the outdoor space that former city dwellers crave. In addition to downtown shopping and dining districts, many coastal communities are characterized by strollable beaches and colorful boardwalks.
“Another factor driving the strong real estate market is a surge of younger people who are choosing to buy rather than rent,” White added. “Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages have been hovering around 3% in recent years. Smart young buyers are choosing to lock in these low rates while they can.”
White expects that the market will stay strong well into 2022. He believes markets will begin to normalize and absorb pent-up demand once building material prices stabilize and new-home builders contribute more housing units to the inventory.
One homebuilder that is bullish on New Jersey real estate is Pennsylvania-based Toll Brothers.
“We continue to operate at a very high level with strong demand across the Garden State,” said Craig Cherry, Toll Brothers division president for New Jersey. “We are encouraged by the strength of the housing market, and the limited resale supply continues to drive buyers to our new construction communities.”
Much like homebuyers around the state, visitors to Toll Brothers are choosing where they want to live and not where their job previously required them to live. Toll Brothers has a variety of options, including single-family homes, active adult communities and carriage-style townhome enclaves.
“We’re finding our homebuyers are looking for more square footage, personalization options and more open space within their neighborhoods,” he added. “Since many people are working remotely, home offices and niches for work or school are popular features in most of our floorplans. Our build-to-order business model is also well-suited for this trend.”
Although many people have left cities, like Manhattan, for suburban locations, Jacqueline Urgo, president of The Marketing Directors, sees former city dwellers returning to urban markets. The Marketing Directors is a development advisory and master property marketing and sales force that works exclusively on behalf of property owners and new-home builders.
“We actually started to see a positive shift in the market as early as January with an uptick in rental and sales activity in urban areas, like Jersey City, Hoboken and Harrison,” Urgo said. “These historically popular urban locations were significantly impacted by the shutdown, with widespread closures of restaurants, retail and nightlife, and residents that no longer needed to be near mass transit to get to work in New York City. But with more and more people getting vaccinated and restrictions being lifted, coupled with companies having sent out notices of return to in-person work schedules, we’ve seen a huge influx of residents coming back to these neighborhoods.”
Urgo believes we are likely to see some hybrid version of remote working and a return to the office as the year progresses.
“Quite honestly, I think a lot of workers are just tired of Zoom calls and juggling kids and pets and other interruptions while trying to get their work done,” she said. “People also miss the interaction you get from really being face to face as opposed to being just faces on a screen.”
As the entire country readjusts from unprecedented disruptions in everyday life, it is clear that people are reconsidering where and how they live. No one yet knows which changes brought about by the pandemic will endure and which will fall by the wayside. However, one thing is sure. Our perception of the road ahead has been forever altered by the COVID-19 experience.
Reprinted with permission, Jersey’s Best, 2021
HAPPENINGS AROUND TOWN
Autumn Lake Winery
870 W. Malaga Rd.
Friday, November 5, 5pm
A go-to artist for many clubs throughout the region, Jason has directly supported artists like Bronze Radio Return, Donovan Frankenreiter, Trevor Hall, Brendon James and Jack Grace. Nestled comfortable atop classic soul, R&B, and rock influences, songs like “Overload” and “Everybody Needs Love” epitomize Jason’s ability to rouse hearts and minds in the same breath. For ticket information, visit the Autumn Lake Winery at autumnlakewinery.com. Call 856-863-3737.
The Fillmore Philadelphia
29 E Allen St
Wed, Nov 10 – Thu, Nov 11
The Holding Company presents Billy Strings, Grammy Award winner, at The Fillmore in Philadelphia, PA. Doors open at 6:30pm. The show starts at 8:30pm. Ticket information is available at Ticketsmarter.com. Billy Strings is known as an electric performer, keeping the improvisational tradition of bluegrass alive.
Blue Cork Winery and Vineyard
1093 Blue Bell Rd
Sunday, November 14
Cork High & Bottle Deep Half Marathon
8:30am – 11pm
2nd Year Run the Vineyards Half Marathon on a scenic flat course to and from the amazing Blue Cork Winery in Williamstown, NJ. Finish with wine, food trucks, live band and more at the pristine courtyard. All participants to receive a special hoodie, finishers medals and souvenir wine glass.
Fall dinners are sure to satisfy your craving for cozy weather comfort food and keep family and friends well fed in the process. Some people call it back to school season. Maybe we could call it slow-cooker season?!
Slow Cooker Mushroom Mac and Cheese
PREP TIME: 20 min
COOK TIME: 2 hrs30 min
12 oz Sharp cheddar grated
4 oz Gruyere
2 oz Parmesan, grated
4 oz Cream cheese, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup Butter
1 tsp Dijon
1 tsp Hot sauce
1 Tbsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp Nutmeg 2 tsp Sea salt
1 tsp Freshly ground pepper
2 cups Milk
1 (12 oz) can Evaporated milk
16 oz Macaroni or cavatappi pasta
1 lb. Cremini mushrooms, stems removed, quartered
1 tsp Minced fresh thyme
1 Tbsp Chopped chives or flat leaf parsley, for serving (optional)
- In a large crockpot add the cheddar cheese, gruyere, parmesan cheese, cream cheese, 4 tablespoons of the butter, Dijon, hot sauce, garlic powder, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
- Pour the milk and evaporated milk over the top of all the ingredients and stir to roughly combine.
- Cook on low for 30 minutes to give the sauce a little head start before adding the pasta.
- After 30 minutes, remove lid and stir all ingredients together. Add the pasta and submerge into the liquid cheese sauce. Cook for 1 hour on low.
- Melt the remaining 1/2 cup butter. In a large bowl, toss the mushrooms with melted butter, remaining salt, remaining pepper and fresh thyme. Arrange mushrooms over the top of the mac and cheese.
- Close the crock pot and cook for 1 hour longer, mushrooms and pasta are tender. Give everything a nice big stir.
- Top with chives and flat leaf parsley.