The second in a series of guides to house hunting in Baristaville.
Home to Seton Hall University, South Orange offers a mix of suburban tranquility and urban flair. Situated between the South Mountain Reservation and Newark, the village shares a school system with sister town Maplewood. The downtown center is anchored by the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), and boasts a gourmet grocery store and scores of independently owned shops and restaurants. South Orange attracts a diverse mix of residents including recent graduates, young families, jazz musicians and artists; it is also a mecca for upper-middle class African-Americans. The town recently elected one of the youngest mayors in New Jersey, providing a fresh influx of energy to the political scene. Crime is sometimes an issue near the Newark border, and the town has increased police presence there in recent months. Housing stock varies from charming single-family homes to luxury rental apartments and stately mansions in the Montrose Historic District. Steep property taxes are offset by access to train and bus lines, spiffed-up parks and green spaces, an affordable municipal pool, and a vibrant cultural scene.
On the market
Home prices range from $159,900 to $1,295,000 with a good deal of selection between $310,000 and $625,000. About 136 homes are on the market. According to Blossom Vernon, vice president at Jordan Baris, Inc., Realtors, South Orange homes priced between $400,000 to $599,999 and over $1 million were selling more briskly than homes than homes in other price ranges.
According to Stanley Greenberg, realtor for Century 21 Realty McCoy, South Orange offers a good school system, cultural and economic diversity, a nice cross-section of housing stock, close proximity to New York City via train and the South Mountain Reservation. He says it’s very similar to Montclair in terms of diversity and proximity to New York City.
Average taxes on a $500,000 home are $17,000.
Population 16,964 people (2010 Census data)
Demographics: 58.2% white, 31.3% black, 3.9% Asian, 4.9% Latino, 1.6% other.
Income: The median income for a household was $87,925 (based on 2000-2009 U.S. Census data, plus inflation), and the median income for a family was $139,120.
Voted in 2008 Election: Obama 81.10%, McCain 17.04%
NJ Monthly High School Ranking: 75 (2010) 89 (2008)
Schools: Tuscan, South Mountain, Seth Boyden, Marshall and Clinton elementary schools, South Orange Middle School, Columbia High School.