Median sale prices appear more palatable than asking prices, which are driven up by garotte-tight inventory, but they still reflect the boom. In May, according to Redfin, the median sale price of homes in Cape May was $655,000, based on 25 transactions, a year-over-year increase of 65 percent. The figure for West Cape May was $735,000, based on one transaction, a year-over-year increase of 33.6 percent. And the figure for Cape May Point was $925,000, based on two transactions, a year-over-year decrease of 21.7 percent.
As of June 15, a six-bedroom Cape May cottage built in 1920, four blocks from the beach, was listed for $1.65 million, with annual taxes of $8,465. A six-bedroom shingled house, built in 2018 at the western edge of West Cape May, was listed for $1.5 million, with taxes of $8,283. And an 1898 two-bedroom cottage a block from Lake Lily, in Cape May Point, was listed for $849,000, with taxes of $3,300.
In the early 1990s, Deanna Brown moved from New York to her grandmother Antoinette’s house in Cape May and opened a hotel named in her grandmother’s honor. When her father moved into the attic after her mother died (the rooms were needed for paying guests), he made dollhouses as a hobby and Ms. Brown displayed them on the front porch.
“I realized things in Cape May are really simple and lovely, and less stressful,” said Ms. Brown, now 74. “I knew I couldn’t get rich, but I knew I could live longer and be happier.”
Ms. Schifalacqua, the retired jockey, said the disadvantage of the close-knit community is that “everyone knows everyone else’s business, and everyone knows about your family for generations, and everyone’s related in one way or another.”