For Hoboken and Jersey City residents who’ve been thinking about buying a vacation home, this may be the year to pull the trigger. With travel options likely to be more limited than usual, having a vacation home within driving distance is an appealing alternative.

In this spotlight we’ll focus on one of the state’s closest and most popular beach destinations: Long Branch.

Long Branch is a coastal Monmouth County town with miles of sandy beaches. For a drive of just over one hour, it provides a refreshing change of scenery that feels a world away from city life. And there are even quick-close opportunities on some new homes that allow buyers to move in this summer.

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Most people are familiar with Long Branch at this point. It’s become a popular place to visit and one of the biggest success stories in New Jersey over the last decade-and-a-half. The beachside city has a proud tradition of welcoming prominent guests, including seven former presidents. It suffered a decline in tourism after a 1987 fire, but when the Pier Village shopping and dining complex opened in 2005, the resulting rebound was swift. Long Branch was back on the map as a must-visit oceanfront destination where visitors could find indulgences ranging from gourmet restaurants to ice cream parlors and from high fashion accessories to surf apparel. Even people with no intention of setting foot on the sand come to Pier Village for its al fresco dining, outdoor concerts, art exhibits and other attractions.

It’s unclear exactly when many of these businesses will re-open this year, but how about a longer-term stay? The second half of Long Branch’s transformative growth has been its booming luxury real estate market.

David Schoner, Vice President of CB New Homes of Madison, NJ, says residents of north Jersey and New York City comprise a significant portion of new home buyers in Long Branch, particularly its new-construction luxury condominiums. Such is the case at 365 Ocean, a boutique beachfront condominium building represented by CB New Homes. 

“If you live in Manhattan or across the Hudson River in Hoboken, Jersey City, Edgewater or even Morristown, this is the ultimate weekend escape,” Mr. Schoner said. “After a drive of just about an hour, you can be sunbathing on the beach or sitting on your outdoor balcony overlooking the ocean.”

One key difference between Long Branch and a destination like the Hamptons is the prevailing luxury product is condominiums. They require none of the outdoor maintenance that a single-family home requires. Mr. Schoner notes that one of the reasons home buyers choose to purchase at 365 Ocean is the low maintenance requirements allow them to maximize their free time. With 57 upscale residences at 365 Ocean that offer spacious, modern interiors, plentiful outdoor balcony space, and spectacular ocean views from every home, there is little more left to be desired.

“The quality of construction and the design of the interior spaces is on par with the best of the new luxury buildings opening on the New Jersey Gold Coast and in Manhattan,” Mr. Schoner said. “Our buyers feel at home here right away. In fact, many opt to make this their primary residence, or to use it as a weekend home and a summer home for now, with the option of making it their primary residence later down the road.”

The homes at 365 Ocean consist mostly of two-bedroom, two-bath layouts with up to 2,411 square feet of living space. A small handful of three-bedroom homes are also available. Prices currently range from the low $900s to over $2.7 million.

A variety of quick-close homes are available that allow home buyers just starting the process to move in quickly and still enjoy much of the summer beach season.

365 Ocean is developed by award-winning developer Mark Built Homes. The seven-story building was designed by Marchetto Higgins Stieve Architects, the 2019 American Institute of Architects New Jersey Firm of the Year, with interiors by renowned Chicago-based interior designer Mary Cook & Associates. The common focus of the team behind the community was to create a collection of residences that takes full advantage of the beautiful oceanfront setting.

“365 Ocean is situated on a stunning oceanfront property,” said Michael Markovitz, President of Mark Built Homes. “We knew we had a gem on our hands early in the process and committed to maximizing the community’s potential, with a focus on providing the best of beachfront living to our home buyers. That meant providing our residents with a full complement of resort-style amenities, designing every residence to include ocean views, and including upscale appointments and designer features throughout the building, just to name a few.”

365 Ocean’s generously-appointed residences include soaring ceilings approaching 10 feet in height, oak flooring, gas hookups that accommodate outdoor grills, and glass railings that shield the wind. Gourmet kitchens stand out for their thoughtful design and attractive features, including oversized islands, custom wood cabinetry, maintenance-free quartz countertops, and stainless steel undermount sinks with Kohler fixtures. High-end appliances include an ultra-luxury Jenn-Air refrigerator with ice maker, dishwasher, range with griddle top, and a microwave oven, as well as a Kitchen Aid range hood and exhaust fan.

Luxurious baths are adorned with custom porcelain floors, furniture grade vanities with quartz countertops, and an oversized shower with frameless glass surround in the owner’s suite. Two custom elevators serve all floors of the building and electric car charging will be available in the garage.

Residents of the community have access to an infinity-edge plunge pool intelligently designed so that swimmers and sunbathers enjoy nothing but ocean views while they relax poolside. Additional amenities that foster a live-play oceanfront atmosphere include a club room with wet bar, Wi-fi, charging stations, lounge seating, a theatre television area, and access to an outdoor breezeway with a gas fire pit overlooking the ocean. A state-of-the-art video doorman at 365 Ocean provides 24-hour, seven-day-a-week visitor and delivery management and a lobby concierge will be available Memorial Day through Labor Day. Every residence also comes with two secure indoor parking spaces.

365 Ocean is emblematic of what the new wave of Long Branch development offers both vacation home buyers and new year-round residents. According to Mr. Schoner, the community markets itself as “close, but not too close” to Pier Village. The shopping, dining and festive atmosphere is only a short walk away, but residents enjoy a certain degree of removal that translates into less crowded beaches and a more peaceful residential experience.

“Buyers appreciate the fact that 365 Ocean isn’t located in a redevelopment zone, and our location doesn’t attract day-trippers coming to the beach for the day,” Mr. Schoner said. “We’re an easy walk from Pier Village, with its fine dining, shops, and entertainment, but we’re not in the middle of it.  You have all that at your fingertips but not under your pillow. Instead, you can hear the wind blow and the seagulls sing. We’re selling oceanfront serenity, and that’s something that really resonates with buyers.”

365 Ocean is also just a short drive from a number of shopping, dining, and entertainment options in downtown Red Bank and Asbury Park. Manhattan is also just a ferry ride or train ride away. High speed commuter ferries operate out of the nearby town of Highlands daily, and NJ TRANSIT rail service to Manhattan and Hoboken Terminal is also available via the Long Branch train station, which is within walking distance of 365 Ocean. The Monmouth Medical Center is also just a short walk away.

For more information on the Long Branch beachfront condos at 365 Ocean, visit www.365oceannj.com. Prospective buyers may also contact the builder’s representative, Patrick Ted Hanley, at ted.hanley@365oceannj.com or call 732-749-5797 to arrange for a private appointment. Virtual tours are also available.