Real Estate

What’s Keeping Westfield’s Real Estate Market Hot

Mindowaskin Park near Downtown Westfield offers an idyllic place to walk and enjoy nature. Families love the playground, too. Credits: Jill D'Ambrosio
One of Westfield's quaint neighborhoods along Kimball Avenue. Credits: Jill D'Ambrosio
Shoppers in Downtown Westfield stop to enjoy an alphorn performance during December. Credits: Jill D'Ambrosio

WESTFIELD, NJ – For many years, Westfield has been a destination for young families moving from cities to the suburbs and, increasingly, for those who grew up here to return to and raise their own children.

A vibrant business community, a top-notch school system, ease of commutability to New York City and charming neighborhoods have drawn new homeowners to the town for decades and have kept the real estate market here booming this year, even during months that are traditionally slow.

Combined with its unique mix of amenities is Westfield’s low crime rate (one of the reasons Movoto Real Estate ranked Westfield its third-best “city” in New Jersey).

Sign Up for E-News

Though the effect of the overall economy can’t be overlooked, The Alternative Press dug deeper into why Westfield’s real estate, in particular, is so hot right now:

Thriving Local Businesses

“There are weeks that go by that I don’t leave town,” said Lorena Barbosa, broker and owner of David Realty Group, who has lived in Westfield for 10 years. “My doctors are here, my kids’ doctors are here, both supermarkets—Trader Joe’s and Stop & Shop."

In addition to the businesses located thorughout the town, Westfield’s downtown gives shoppers the opportunity to visit a variety of national chains, smaller boutiques, an independent bookstore and a plethora of restaurants in a very walkable and charming setting.

 “Westfield is unique in that we have large square footage spaces in our buildings that attracted national retailers that brought a lot of investment to the downtown revitalization effort,” said Sherry Cronin, the executive director of the Downtown Westfield Corporation (DWC).  “Nevertheless, one-third of our retailers and restaurants have been in business in downtown Westfield for 25 years or more – a testament to the strength of our customer service.”

In addition, the DWC—the management entity of the special improvement district—works with merchants to adapt their brands in their buildings. For example, it often encourages businesses to conduct historic restorations on their buildings’ facades to further enhance the look of the SID.

Downtown Westfield has the fortune to be anchored by such stores as Lord & Taylor and, most recently, Urban Outfitters, Cronin said.

Great Schools

In the Westfield school district’s most recent survey, 86 percent of those who responded said the school system was an important factor in their decision to live here.

“Our enrollment remains one of the largest in 30 years,” said Dr. Margaret Dolan, Westfield’s superintendent of schools. “What I see more and more often are our graduates returning to Westfield to live and raise families.”

Westfield's school district has 6,200 students in pre-K through grade 12 this year. The district has 10 public schools.

At the core of the district’s success is a strong partnership among students, teachers, administrators, parents and an entire community who value education.

“A deep vein of volunteerism runs throughout the Westfield schools, as in the town itself,” Dolan said. “Our high school community service club was singled out this year in a ceremony held by the Department of Education in Trenton.”

One of the challenges for educators today is preparing students for jobs of the future. Westfield teachers help their students to become critical thinkers, and they use variety of instructional methods to keep kids engaged.

Westfield High School, with its focus on college preparatory courses, offers 170 courses, including 19 Advanced Placement classes to its students. In 2012, Westfield High School ranked 17th statewide in combined SAT scores, Dolan said.

Friendliness—Family and Otherwise

“It’s a very family-oriented community,” said Jodi Luminiello, a sales associate at Coldwell Banker and the woman behind the Facebook phenomenon 365 Things to do in Westfield.

One Sunday in October, the downtown was packed with costumed children and adults alike enjoying trick-or-treating at local businesses. Families from Westfield and surrounding towns flock to the yearly Spring Fling and FestiFall street fairs, sponsored by the Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce. The library offers children a spacious, cheerful room for children to explore books, and Memorial pool is a friendly meeting place in the summers.

For green space, you can’t go wrong with the town’s many beautiful parks, such as Mindowaskin, which is located next to the municipal building near the downtown shopping district.

Like Dolan, Luminiello also sees a strong sense of volunteerism among all ages in Westfield, such as with Greta’s Run, a 5K run/walk held in September to raise funds for special needs programs at the Westfield Area Y in memory of a Westfield High School student. After Superstorm Sandy, the community banded together as well.

“A lot of people opened up their houses to others, to come in and get warm, charge up their phones, computers,” said Luminiello.

Easy Commuting

Workers who commute to jobs in New York City can take the train from Westfield or can opt to catch a bus. Proximity to major highways is also a plus, residents say.

In March, NJ Transit plans to test out a “one-seat” ride during off-peak hours on the Raritan Valley Line, the train line that runs through Westfield, using new dual-powered locomotives. Currently, riders who commute into New York must transfer from a diesel-powered train to an electric-powered train in Newark.

While the one-seat ride could be a big advantage for Westfield real estate—significantly raising home values if the town ever gets a direct ride during peak hours, according to the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition— it will ultimately be just “one more reason people want to come to Westfield,” said Luminiello.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Union Man Convicted on All Charges in 2013 Murder, Dismemberment of Cranford Girlfriend

October 18, 2017

UNION, NJ – A Union man was found guilty on all charges in the case of the murder and dismemberment of his girlfriend nearly four years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Thomas K. Isenhour announced Wednesday.

The jury convicted Matthew Ballister III, 47, of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree desecration of human remains, third-degree hindering apprehension, and several ...

Andy’s Gang

October 18, 2017

Back when I was a kid, television was in its infancy, actor Andy Devine hosted a TV show called “Andy’s Gang.” If I close my eyes, I can still picture the sponsor breaks, where the host would pause to present products that children like myself would later beg their parents to buy. (As a boy I, like most kids, made for easy targets of manipulation by this kind of direct ...

We’re Updating Westfield’s Snow Ordinances

October 18, 2017

Last year, our town council enacted rules prohibiting street parking when it snows three inches or more. As promised, our Public Safety Committee has reviewed the data collected from last year’s snowstorms, including which sections of roads do not have sufficient off street parking. We are recommending that the council amend the ordinance to provide for alternate side of the street ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, October 19, 2:00 PM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

Retired & Senior Volunteer (RSVP) Information ...

Giving Back

Mon, October 23, 7:30 PM

First Congregational Church , Westfield

Faith & The Front Page

Religions And Spirituality

Carousel_image_0a79fbeb43aa83318911_davidweinstein2

Tue, October 24, 8:00 AM

Shackamaxon Country Club, Scotch Plains

Cybersecurity: You Are at Risk

Business & Finance Education Government

Madeline Moss Hosts the Westfield Together Candidates in Downtown Store

October 18, 2017

Margaret McHenry of Madeline Moss Interiors hosted an event for the Westfield Together candidates in her beautiful store in Downtown Westfield. 

“I'm ready for a change that will benefit all the residents of Westfield,” she said, adding, “Vote for Shelley Brindle, Linda Habgood, Mike Dardia, David Contract and Dawn Mackey.”

Westfield Police Blotter: Businesses Report Thefts & More

October 18, 2017

October 11, 2017 3:55 p.m.

A resident of Kent Place reported being the victim of a fraud. Victim reported that an unknown suspect(s) made a purchase of approximately $1,927.68 worth of merchandise and charged it to her credit card. Victim stated she was notified via email.

 

October 12, 2017 2:43 p.m.

Timothy J. Kane, age 34, of Middleton, NJ, responded to WPD to satisfy two ...

New Rate for Business Travel

If you or your employees are planning on traveling for business, you'll want to know that there are new per-diem rates for certain expenses, which are in effect from Oct. 1 2017 to Sept. 30, 2018.

 

New rates includes expenses for transportation industry meals and incidental expenses rates, among others.

 

What you need to know.

Dog Found in Westfield Monday

Dog found Monday morning at Dudley and Prospect. Taken to Westfield Police station. 

 

Tips Make Your Home Photo-Ready and Market-Worthy

You’re selling your home, or you’re starting to think about it, but your house hasn’t been updated or painted in years. You want it to look its best before presenting it to prospective buyers, but you don’t know where to begin.

Home Staging Tips
Sprucing up your home can be as simple as adding a new coat of paint, inside and out, or as extensive as interior renovation ...

Westfield 6th Grader Named Jets ‘Upstander of the Week’

Jackson Dowden, 6th grader at Edison Intermediate School in Westfield, has been selected the New York Jets Tri-State Upstander of the Week.  

Christine Cabrales, physical education teacher who nominated Jackson, stated, “Jackson was nominated by the Edison Physical Education staff because he influences people in a positive way. He proves that he is a role model for ...

Establishing, Revising And Enforcing Time-Sharing With Children

In all cases of divorce or separation where children are involved, the issue of time-sharing (previously referred to as “visitation”) is a significant issue to be addressed.  Unless the parents have agreed to an equal shared custodial arrangement, an appropriate schedule of time-sharing is particularly important for all those involved: the custodial parent, the non-custodial ...

Saving for Higher Education Part 2 – What is your savings strategy?

Most people want to save for their children’s education but what is the best strategy? 

There are three different savings strategies from which you can choose: 

1)         save for 100% of all education costs so that your child has no liability

2)         save a specific dollar amount and ...

Family Health

Second Opinion on Breast Cancer Program Offers Peace of Mind

A breast cancer diagnosis can change a person’s life. And during such devastating news, the sheer amount of information regarding treatment and follow-up care can quickly become overwhelming. However, patients are not alone in this fight. Atlantic Health System’s Breast Cancer Second Opinion Program at Carol G. Simon Cancer Center, Overlook Medical Center, is helping provide peace of ...

Westfield Area YMCA Announces Fall 2 Session Registration

Registration for the Westfield Area YMCA Fall 2 session program registration begins at 6:00pm on Thursday, Oct. 12 for Full members and at 7:30 a.m., Monday Oct.16 for Basic and Non-Members. The Fall 2 Session runs from Oct. 29 to Dec. 23.

Youth basketball league season is gearing up at the Y with a 3-week pre-season ...

What is Co-Dependency? Learn How to Establish Healthy Boundaries

October 15, 2017

JOIN OUR NEW GROUP

Mondays October 23 at 6:30 or Wednesday’s October 25 at 1:00 p.m.

Codependence is a false attachment to a person, place or thing. It becomes a false sense of importance. It is a learned behavior to take care of others’ needs at the expense of our own. It is driven by the excessive need for others’ approval.  Rather than being ...

'The Honeymooners' smart, snappy production

Smart, sassy production of ‘The Honeymooners’ takes off at Paper Mill

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – “And away we go” indeed. The creative team at the Paper Mill Playhouse has taken the seeds of “The Honeymooners” from 1950’s television and turned it into a smart, snappy musical.

Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton are still up to their get-rich-quick ...

Obituaries

Oct 24, 1926 - Aug 14, 2017
Elizabeth H. List, 90, of Westfield and Cape May, NJ, died peacefully surrounded by her family ...
Read more

Video: Firefighters Battle Five-Alarm Blaze in North Plainfield

October 17, 2017

NORTH PLAINFIELD — Firefighters continue to battle a five-alarm fire that began in the early hours of Tuesday morning at the vacant Villa Maria facility at 641 Somerset Street. At 10 a.m. the fire was still burning and fire companies were being rotated, continuing to operate by hitting hot spots of active fire, authorities said.

Somerset Street South was closed and ...