UPDATED WITH PHOTOS AND NEW NUMBERS
GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (CNBNewsnet)(September 21, 2022)--Twelve years ago, we looked at the housing market in the City of Gloucester City. Former Mayor William James and the council were worried as blight was absorbing sections of the city. They were concerned too about the number of homes converted into apartments.
The numbers today reveal that rental properties have increased from 1946 to 2,987 in 2022; or 1,041 more, according to records acquired in an OPRA request by CNBNews. When you compare the number of rentals to the number of residences (4,663) obtained from the latest census, rental properties outnumber homeowners by 64 percent.
DO RENTAL PROPERTIES DEVALUE SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES?
There have been many studies on this topic. Some confirm that rentals depreciate a neighborhood, and others suggest the opposite.
Keith Ihlanfeld from Florida State University wrote a paper in 2019, “Not In My Neighborhood: The Effects of Residential Rentals on Single-Family Home Values.”
Single-family homeowners have long expressed a distaste for residential rentals in their neighborhoods, believing that rentals will adversely affect neighborhood quality and lower house values. Prior study of this issue is thin and has not been able to establish causality from correlation. In this paper, I utilize a twelve-year panel of neighborhoods from the Miami, Florida metropolitan area to study the impacts that four different types of rentals have on the values of single-family homes. Causality is more firmly established in comparison to previous research by estimating house value models that include time and neighborhood fixed effects and that treat the rentals as endogenous variables. My results show that, regardless of the type of rental, adding an additional rental unit to the neighborhood or increasing its neighborhood share at the expense of single-family owner-occupied homes, lowers home values, especially if the rental unit is of lower quality. READ more
On the other hand, The Urban Institute recently released an affordable housing case study from Alexandria, Virginia. The results indicate that affordable housing has a positive, if not zero, effect on property values.
- “Affordable housing units in above-median-income census tracts are associated with a 0.06 percent increase in property values, and affordable housing units in below-median-income tracts are associated with a 0.17 percent increase in nearby property values.”
- “Affordable housing units in Alexandria are associated with an increase in property values of 0.09 percent within 1/16 of a mile [one city block] of a development, on average” and “no effect on properties between 1/16 of a mile and 3/16 of a mile.”
GLOUCESTER CITY RESIDENTS TELL A DIFFERENT STORY
A resident from the Riverview Heights section of Gloucester City has had numerous run-ins with an out-of-town landlord about the condition of his property. According to the resident, that rental property located on North Harley Avenue has been abandoned. Recently he had to call the police because there were people inside the bungalow ripping out the copper pipes and electric wires.
BURGLARY TAKING PLACE IN BROAD DAYLIGHT--Below and above are photos of one of the suspects who is loading the stolen material, including an air conditioner taken from the second floor, into the back of his car. Police were called, but the suspects got away.
Below the hole in the wall was where the air conditioner had been
“They pushed the enclosed window air conditioner on the second floor and let it fall to the ground. All that is left is a large hole where the AC was. I called the police, but the individuals got away. I asked the officer to let me know if the thieves were arrested, but I haven't heard from them.”
The Riverview Heights home that was broken into by thieves has been abandoned by the out-of-town landlord. Left behind for nearby residents to view is a backyard full of junk. Ask anyone of them if they believe affordable housing/apartment rentals are suitable for a community, and you will receive a resounding NO!
Presently Gloucester City has more rentals than homeowners
In June, a resident in the 200-unit block of Cumberland Street contacted CNBNews because trash from a nearby apartment building had been lying in an alleyway for over a month (see above photos). The debris was attracting rats and mice. Neighborhood residents called the police about that problem. They also called them about abandoned cars parked in the exact location. But city officials never answered their plea. As a result of our articles, both issues were rectified. The landlord for that apartment building lives in New York City. For similar stories/photos click HERE
Above a rental property in the 200-unit block of South Broadway; old furniture and other trash dumped in the fields across from the Cold Springs School complex, Cold Springs Drive. As a result of a search of the trash by CNBNews, mail with a Philadelphia address was discovered. Police were notified.
Home after home on the west side of Broadway has been purchased by out-of-town and local speculators. In 2010 there were 812 rental properties on that side of Gloucester City. Twelve years later, there are 1,179 rentals. Many of these individuals are using LLC corporations to hide behind, according to Shelterforce, an independent, non-academic publication covering the worlds of community development, affordable housing, and neighborhood stabilization.
The large institutional investors are heavily concentrated in moderately priced, middle-class suburbs with good schools. The private REITs and smaller investors focus on homes in the lower-priced markets, which would make sense for organizations that operate under fewer constraints than large public companies and have less reputational risk. In these markets, the continued shortage of affordable rentals enables them to charge rents almost as high as those in stronger markets, but for properties that are considerably more distressed in areas where acquisition prices are lower and there is less pressure to invest in fixing up the property.
Landlords of all sizes often invest through a limited liability corporation, which is often used to shield the identity of a particular investor. A recent example of a wealthy, private individual using LLCs to purchase real estate is Sean Hannity of Fox News.
CNBNews OPRA request also discovered that the City of Gloucester City owns 172 properties. Why the city is involved in the real estate market is a mystery. Their record of failures includes the development of the Southport industrial properties, the Freedom Pier restaurant, and most notable the $7.1 million of taxpayers' money spent on the Chatham Square debacle. To see the complete list of those rentals, click HERE
HOW MUCH DOES THE CITY COLLECT FOR RENTAL INSPECTIONS?
According to our 2010 article, the city collected a total of $230,746 in fees as of August 13, 2010. Twelve years later, the numbers haven't changed that much. The inspection fee in 2010 was $175.
2019 Rental registration fees totaled ......................$323,045
2021 Rental registration fees totaled ......................$318,465
2022 Rental registration fees through July.............. $100,560
SOME OF THE BIGGEST RENTAL OWNERS IN 2022 INCLUDE:
SOURCE Gloucester City Housing Department
GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (August 15, 2021)--The Gloucester City Police and Housing Departments have been aggressively cracking down on those individuals who are violating the city's housing codes. In just one week Patrolman William Johnson, the designated Housing Police Officer for the City issued 46 housing citations between the dates of July 16 and July 24. CNBNews has been documenting images like the one below for several months now. We blame the lack of Community Pride in our City as one of the primary reasons. It is obvious too from the police action taken recently that there are a number of landlords, tenants, and homeowners, who could care less about our City. (CNBNews photo from January 2021 Me and Peyton Meandering)
ABANDONED PROPERTIES ARE LISTED BELOW: