Historic Forest Hill, Newark vs. Maplewood: Much More House, Much Less Money

567 ridgeMy name is Brian McCabe. As a Realtor who concentrates on the Forest Hill real estate market, I often find myself selling the outstanding value that Forest Hill affords North Jersey home buyers. A recent value comparison that I did for a Forest Hill buyer pitted Forest Hill against Maplewood.

Before laying out the details of the comparison, a caveat: the word value means different things to different people. Some values are purely dollar and cents. Some are nearly spiritual as in “I will pay anything to live in Montclair,” or Maplewood for that matter. If a buyer isn’t “spiritually” committed to one town or another, I believe that historic Forest Hill can hold its own quite nicely. It has the high quality housing stock, the historical heritage, and the undeniable value that sets it apart from other North Jersey communities. And, it’s nested in Newark, a city that is on the march forward … a city that some real estate writers refer to as the next Brooklyn.

So, here are the details: the buyer’s budget was between $400,000 and $500,000 and the down payment would total 20% of the purchase price in order to avoid private mortgage insurance. So, with those basics, here is what that budget recently bought in both locales.

comparison table

On the basis of the numbers, Forest Hill is the clear winner because it delivers more house for a lot less money. But what about aesthetics? Here are both houses side-by-side:

comparison houses

View all MLS listing pics for both properties (pdf format)

Once again, Forest Hill is a clear winner.

In summary, I confess to being a big cheerleader for Forest Hill. I knew it as a kid growing up, and I know it as an adult selling real estate there.  As I said in a recent post, if the amazing houses bring you to Forest Hill, your equally amazing neighbors will keep you there.

Can I show you around? You can reach me at 973-865-1863 or by email at brianmccabe@njproperty.net.



Categories: All Posts, Forest Hill, Older Homes

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2 replies

  1. Agree with all of your observations but you didn’t mention 1) the lot size – whether or not they were comparable, but knowing the lot and landscaping at the Forest Hill home, it is done incredibly well with beautiful front yard and large, well done for back yard living and entertaining space, the picture of the Maplewood home does not have appealing front yard landscaping; 2) architectural details – the Forest Hill home has wood paneling, historically significant light fixtures and incredible stained glass, with significant impact upon entering of elegance and historically well preserved; and 3) although you capture the difference in size, it is almost a 50% larger home… I purchased in Forest Hill about 10 years ago, moving from Manhattan, because of the historical nature and size of the house, but have been most impressed by the neighborhood – safe, quiet, strong neighborhood association and very social neighbors. Moved for the house… stay because of the neighbors!

    • So nice of you to respond to my post, Chuck. And, lot size was not mentioned because, more often than not, Forest Hill lot sizes are smaller than those found in more suburban areas. However, I would argue that lot size is a minimally significant factor for most buyers since excess area contributes to tax load while contributing little to livability.

      I truly see Forest Hill as a treasure, both for the home’s and for the cultural richness of the residents. Obviously, you feel the same. 🙂

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