CAPRE Panel: What is the Resident Profile in Bergen County?
by Josh Anderson
FORT LEE, New Jersey – People inside and outside of the multi-family real estate sector often refer to anything across the Hudson River as “Jersey” but as most insiders know, there are many submarkets within that monolith entity. So what speculative investors, developers, and property managers want to know is, how are residents of Bergen County different from those elsewhere? What is the Bergen County resident profile?
Paul A. Santoriello, President of Taylor Management Company, thinks that’s a good question, because there’s a big difference in the way people live in Jersey City and Hoboken relative to elsewhere. “For example, take some of the towns in Bergen County that do have actual train access,” he begins. “Those trains still have to go to Hoboken or Secaucus to make a transfer. So I think that people that are very transportation-oriented, especially who need to get to Manhattan, would probably prefer Jersey City or Hoboken, and pay that premium to not sit in traffic for two hours everyday.”
However, Santoriello says that when you get to Bergen County, the “resident profile” is a mish mash. “We have young people at 18 years old whose parents are paying $5000 a month for an apartment,” he says. “You can’t pencil that into your pro-forma or tell your bank that’s what you’re relying on, but there are a lot more diverse scenarios in the tenant list.”
Anthony Vulpi, Vice President of Development at Mill Creek Residential agrees with most of these points. His firm, which owns properties operating in both Morristown and Jersey City, allows him a proper vantage point for comparison. Vulpi says that in Jersey City, over 90% of his residents commute to Manhattan using public transit, and they only have a parking ratio of .25 spaces per unit. Says Vulpi, “I don’t even think they’re all leased.”
In Morristown, however, his residents enjoy a parking ratio of 1.5 spots per unit. He estimates that maybe 10% of his tenants going to the train station and commute to New York City. “So there’s definitely a different profile in Morristown,” he begins. “It’s pulling residents from neighboring Morris County or who work there, but want an upgrade. That’s different from Jersey City, where we’re getting a lot of people moving from Brooklyn or Manhattan. That’s two different markets.”