Sunday, July 16, 2006

Is the Grass Greener in PA?

From the Star Ledger:


When Tim and Kim Kryman went searching for a new house, they considered staying in New Jersey but quickly realized they would have to broaden their search to find their dream home.

The Phillipsburg couple found it in a bucolic hamlet south of Route 80 in Pennsylvania, where a subdivision of 20 large houses was carved out of former pastureland.

"A lot of our friends had jumped the border," Kim said one recent morning as she prepared sandwiches for her twins and for friends visiting from New Jersey. "I love the privacy, but price was a big factor. I'm a stay-at-home mom, and we did not want to have to sacrifice."

The Krymans didn't have to, picking up a new four-bedroom house with hardwood floors and a fireplace on two acres for less than $350,000. Their property taxes will be about $6,500.

They are part of an exodus of New Jerseyans and New Yorkers who have decided the grass is greener on the other side of the Delaware River.
Since 2000, more than 19,000 New Jerseyans have moved to Pike and Monroe counties -- with residents of the North Jersey counties of Morris, Bergen, Sussex and Essex leading the way, according to the Internal Revenue Service, which uses income tax returns to track migration patterns.
While many newcomers have found everything they were looking for in Pennsylvania, some have discovered the commute to distant jobs can be physically taxing and also take a toll on families.

"All of these builders and real estate people sold our new residents a lot of dreams," said John Sivick, the top elected official in Lehman Township, a Pike County community that grew 25 percent in the past five years. "They said you can live in the Poconos and still get to your job in New York and New Jersey. After many years, people have begun to realize the strain they are under."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

• Graphics: On the move

7/16/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The commute to Manhattan more than makes up any savings from lower housing prices. It may cost about $200 or more a month plus 90 - 120 minutes sitting on a bus. Plus, since the average corporate professional works 10-15 hours a day, what other purpose does your house serve, other than a place to crash.

Property taxes of $6,500 on a purchase price of $350,000 is by no means cheap either. From the tone of the article, it seems to be becoming another souless, homogenized place where no one knows their neighbors and where life is just about two things -- Kissing ass at some corporation thinking you are getting ahead, & aquiring more & more material possessions in order to keep up with your coworkers since no one really gives a rats ass what their neighbors think or have anymore.

7/16/2006 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Builders have started to respond to the grueling commute by pushing for large-scale commercial development, hoping to draw a major employer from New York or New Jersey...

He said northern New Jersey planners have told him they are concerned about the growing number of Pennsylvania license plates they see in local office parks.

"County planners worry that, at some point, CEOs will say, 'We can improve productivity in one fell swoop, by moving the business,'" Hawkins said. "Business leaders want their workers at work or at home with their families -- not sitting in a car in between." "

- - - - -
Ut Oh...the settlers are going native. Bad news for me. I better buy a house in PA NOW.


O.K., but only if Bob does, too.


7/16/2006 10:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think people moving to PA are making a big mistake if you're working the drive and expenses will kill you and if you're retired the RE taxes are obscene. Prior to moving to SC I checked out a new cornfield house priced at 275,000 with taxes of 7500. This just outside Reading which looks worst than Newark. The builders answer to the high taxes were "yea but this house would cost twice as much in NJ" what a moron !! All I can say is Buyer Beware. You're better off renting and staying close to your friends and job.

7/16/2006 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The builders answer to the high taxes were "yea but this house would cost twice as much in NJ" what a moron !!

No, their excuse would be 'The property taxes are fully deductible so you get all of the money back on April 15'.

What is the point anyway?? Just to be able to be some corporate drone in Manhattan?? No thank you

7/16/2006 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Otis Wildflower said...

Yeah, the commute to NYC would kill an awful lot of any money saved by moving that far west, but if you need the space and the schools, it's basically all that's left.

Or, find work outside of NYC.. I did, and so far so good.

7/16/2006 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger RentinginNJ said...


From Today’s Bergen Record

Can N.J. afford the rising cost of teachers and cops?

7/16/2006 02:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NJ cops and teachers have Wall Street salaries and fringe benefits except more holidays and 100% job security.

7/16/2006 03:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 4:35

You are kidding about the Wall Street salaries of teachers, right? I see $100k-$200k salaries batted around here for WS; teachers aren't making that. Try mid-$50k with 12 years in and two masters degrees. I couldn't even imagine making over $100k!

7/16/2006 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger RentinginNJ said...

Not quite Wall Street, but still pretty good.

From the article:
“In fact, a teacher with a master's degree at the top of the pay scale typically makes in excess of $80,000.” Plus, you don’t pay a dime toward health care.

It used to be that government jobs didn’t pay that well, so you were given excellent benefits and job security to compensate for the lower pay. Now, the pay for public sector jobs has caught up, but the benefits have only gotten sweeter.

It also provides another argument for regionalization. Local small town Joe Schmoe mayors and councils are simply no match for the PBA or the NJEA with their teams of battle hardened negotiators and lawyers when it comes timer to negotiate contracts.

7/16/2006 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Metroplexual said...

I have been an advocate for regionalization for years. NJ home rule is the problem, where you have superintendents for school districts which have no schools. Additionally you have county supers. Too many government entities where only a few are really necessary. this is where your tax dollars go folks. Give up home rule revise the statutes to get rid of the redundancy and taxes will go down. Oh yeah, cops and teachers do get paid too much. What I do requires a masters degree in most states, in NJ teachers are mostly from second rate colleges. They have one of the more powerful unions in the country and it shows. As far as the salary, if you are only making the mid 50's when you are at the top of the range you are either an idiot who barely made it through undergrad or your too lazy to have gone through to get your masters or doc ed. (purposely not capitalized or filled out, totally a b*ll sh*t degree) Anyway, almost all contracts have written into them that cost of higher education will be paid by he district. All of these degrees automatically raise your range of pay.

7/16/2006 07:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Top of the guide" on a teachers' salary guide tends to take 20+ years, metroplexual. As a 12 year teacher with TWO masters (both 4.0) & planning a doctorate (Ph.D), I'm neither an idiot or lazy. The district I teach in pays for 9 credits a year. I take 9 credits a semester.

I wish I made $100k or put in $6,600 for family health care (as per the article). I don't, and neither do the majority of teachers.

That said, I do appreciate teaching in this state. I do make a decent living and love what I do. I also do feel that some regionalization would be a great thing for this state. I like reading what Mine Hill & Wharton are considering. I don't see how combining two small districts into one administration is a bad thing at all. However, it's not all the schools' faults about the state of our union. More fire equipment in Bergen County than in NYC? The nightmare of the state run schools in the inner city? The double dipping on all levels? These are the problems, imo. Not to mention the cost of housing in NJ. I know a teacher living on ONE teacher income of $47k. That's barely above poverty level in Morris County.

7/16/2006 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger Space Ghost said...

Commuting to NYC from practically anywhere in PA is a nightmare. Figure nearly 5 hours a day door to door and thats if all goes well, and if your office is near Midtown.

There are areas in NJ you can commute to from PA, but to NYC does not work for the vast majority of people.

7/16/2006 08:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My error. Not barely above poverty level, but $10k under the self sufficiency wage for Morris Cty.

Don't worry, she's working a second job.

7/16/2006 08:25:00 PM  
Anonymous njrefugee said...

It's amazing to me how everyone here complains about NJ and yet discounts PA as a practical move to make. There's no one spending five hours a day to commute to NYC and the Lehigh Valley as well as the Pocono area is seeing a vast migration of New Jerseyeans. There's far less people complaining about the commute than they are about prices and taxes in NJ.

Please stay in NJ. We want to keep eastern PA a secret.

7/16/2006 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Space Ghost said...

t's amazing to me how everyone here complains about NJ and yet discounts PA as a practical move to make. There's no one spending five hours a day to commute to NYC and the Lehigh Valley as well as the Pocono area is seeing a vast migration of New Jerseyeans

For a regular commute to NYC, I think 1:45 to 2 hr to PA is what a bus would take, assuming no major traffic tie-ups, and no snow or inclement weather. Put in 15 minutes to get to the bus stop on PA side and 15 minutes to get to your home, and you are closing into 2.5 hrs 1 way, which amounts to 4.5 - 5 hours a day. In fact, such buses have low frequencies so you would need to arrive early at both ends just in case you miss. Furthermore, if you come down Route 80, add extra time in NYC to go down Henry Hudson, which can be very crowded at office times.

And if you;re just slightly off midtown and require a subway ? I think 4:45 - 5 hours is probably reasonable except on a very good day.

By car is only marginally better, and involves driving 4 hrs yourself every day.

I for one do not complain about NJ. Proximity to NYC gives my wife and myself far higher salaries than we could get elsehwere (except every more expensive places like California), and I that tradeoff is one I can make

7/17/2006 12:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not low frequency at all on those bus schedules.

Check out the commuter forum for info:

7/17/2006 06:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This continues to prove my point about some people. Why would you so negatively affect the quality of your life to live in a nice new home! You should live near your job, it is better for you, your family, and the environment. Also schools in NJ are much better than those in PA. Also if the market falls than they are really in trouble as this exodus has just begun and if the market falls it will end abruptly. So I think people need not be lured by the shiny new home and just stay put for a while. There is no holy grail either you are paid lower and live cheap or are highly compensated and are forced to spend a lot on things. Pick your cannot HAVE BOTH!!!

7/17/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Allura said...

Since DH works for a company along 287, and it looks like he might stay there a while, we're seriously considering moving out to the border, around Easton, PA or such. Even ignoring taxes for the moment (they're not THAT much better in PA), it's looking like we should be able to spend $50-100K less on the house. And maybe even get some land at that price. That'd be worth.

Now, if he was commuting to way. My father does that commute from central NJ and it's killing him, to be blunt. His knees always hurt from sitting on the bus, and he has to get up so early he's not getting enough sleep. I wish they'd sell their house and move. Or retire.

7/18/2006 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Sluggy said...

I think a major recent development that is not being considered is the approval of the NYC-Scranton passenger rail line. After 20 years of trying they finally got approval and $150M to start work on the line. With telecommuting more and more popular, I think properties in the pocono valley are likely to get hot over the next few years. Running along rt 80, it might a little far for the Easton-Bethlehem area but for areas north of there(which are even lower priced right now) it's something to consider

7/18/2006 08:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be cautious in buying in PA. I remember they where advertising on HOT 97. "Why rent when you can buy in PA" Now for those who dont know HOT 97 is a rap station in NYC. I think lots a people got screwed in Poconoos. Its as bad there as it is in some parts of Brooklyn. At least if you owned in brooklyn and you close to subway you could sell at a profit. Homes close to NYC is the best way to go

7/20/2006 11:59:00 PM  

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