If you type the words “South Central” into Google, the first result that comes up is a Wikipedia entry for South Los Angeles, a neighborhood “almost synonymous with urban decay and street crime.” But if Glen Ridge resident and Keller Williams realtor Gratia Pelliciotti is successful, the term “South Central” will have an entirely different meaning for denizens of Baristaville: a niche neighborhood that is still a seller’s market, where houses sell faster than any other local neighborhood and often above listing price.
Pelliciotti has been a realtor for three years, and at Keller Williams since Labor Day. But she spent 15 years as a municipal bond credit analyst. “I love running numbers,” she says. She pulls out a thick notebook filled with data about house sales in Glen Ridge and surrounding towns, and points gleefully at chart after chart, much of it highlighted in bright-colored marker.
In early February, she sent out a four-page data-filled mailer to 600 homes in South Central (defined as the area between Bloomfield Ave. and Maolis Ave.), detailing her exciting news. Houses put on the market in Glen Ridge took an average of 63 days to sell in 2010 and the first month of 2011. But in South Central, the average length on the market was only 43 days. (By contrast, houses in Montclair spend about six months on the market, and houses in Bloomfield spend 13 months).
The mailing was so much longer and more data-filled than most realtor mailing that Pelliciotti was “afraid people would snicker,” but she’s had several calls from appreciative homeowners, including one that is likely to result in a listing.
But Pelliciotti, whose Italianate Vernacular Victorian on Ridgewood Avenue won the historic preservation award in 1998 and is well-known for its white picket fence, exuberant gardens and red-white-and-blue buntings on July 4th, has more to offer than data. A 17-year resident of the Ridgewood Ave., Pelliciotti has roots that go deep and wide, and is also a huge fan of the large Victorians than dominate South Central.
Victorians are not currently in favor, Pelliciotti admits — she says some realtors actually mis-list them, purposely, as Colonials — partly because the high ceilings make heating and air-conditioning expensive.
What Colonials don’t have, though, is porches, which face the street and appeal to the more social homebuyer. And South Central is the most social part of Glen Ridge because it houses almost all of the institutions in town: the Congregational Church, the post office, the bank, the train station, the high school and the arcade.
Pelliciotti points to her porch, which faces Glen Ridge High School, and laughs: “It takes a different worldview to live in a Victorian.”
The houses in South Central tend to be bigger and older than most other houses in town, and if the taxes are also higher, that goes with the territory. “We do have some of the choicest houses,” says Pelliciotti. “And the train!”