Beachfront vs. Bay Front: A Guide to Buying & Selling Waterfront Property

Ocean City, New Jersey, is a coastal community known for being a family-oriented resort style town. As a destination spot famous for its beautiful beaches, OCNJ has become a world-renowned vacation and coastal living real estate market. Thanks to the famous boardwalk area, bustling downtown sector, and waterfront lifestyle, Ocean City, New Jersey has plenty to offer to homebuyers from all over the world.

Though OCNJ may conjure up exciting images of family fun along the boardwalk and long sandy beaches, there is another side to the area that’s much more private and relaxed. The Beachfront area of town is a busier neighborhood with plenty of vacation properties for sale and rent. The other side of the area is called the Bayfront, Bay Area, or the Riviera, and is popular for those looking for a primary or secondary home with easy access to docks and water sports.

When buying and selling waterfront property in Ocean City, NJ, it’s important to know the difference between these two neighborhoods and what to expect when entering into the Ocean City, NJ real estate market.

Beachfront vs. Bay Area of OCNJ

The two waterfront living areas of Ocean City are called Beachfront and Bayfront or Bay Area. While the Beachfront and boardwalk areas of Ocean City, NJ are more well-known, the other side of the island is known as the Bayfront or Bay Area of OCNJ. This western-facing location is much more relaxed, private and exclusive as compared to its Beachfront counterpart.

Here we’ll explore the differences between the two areas with our guide to buying and selling waterfront property in Ocean City. With endless opportunities for outdoor activities, water sports and family-friendly fun, investing in Beachfront or Bayfront homes in Ocean City, NJ can sometimes be overwhelming. However, this guide will help you choose the ideal home from a wide range of coastal living properties in order to meet your needs and budget.

If you’re considering buying or selling waterfront property in Ocean City NJ, it’s important to know the difference between Beachfront and Bayfront areas. When deciding between the two areas, you’ll want to consider what they both have to offer in the following areas:

  • Lifestyle
  • Property types
  • Price ranges
  • Additional costs
  • Location and streets
  • Selling your home

Read on to learn more about the difference between Ocean City, NJ’s Beachfront and Bay Front luxury real estate market and how to make the right decision for you.

Beachfront vs. Bayfront Lifestyle

If you’re looking to purchase a home in Ocean City, NJ, you’re likely dreaming of your ideal waterfront lifestyle. Living on the coast provides ample opportunities for water activities, boating, fishing, lounging on the beach and enjoying all that coastal living has to offer. But the Beachfront and Bay Area properties in Ocean City, NJ offer vastly different lifestyles for you to consider.

Exploring the difference between the Beachfront and Bay Area lifestyles will help you to decide which better suits you and your family.

Beachfront Lifestyle: Waterfront living is what most people imagine when they think of buying or renting a home in Ocean City, NJ and this is exactly what the Beachfront neighborhood has to offer. Ocean City’s Beachfront neighborhood provides an active and adventurous lifestyle.

Surf lessons, skim board and paddle board rentals are available for those wishing to get out and experience the ocean waves. Or for those preferring to spend their time catching some rays and playing on the sand, there are dozens of different beaches to choose from along this 8-mile coastal shoreline.

Ocean City, NJ’s beachfront neighborhood is world-famous for its white sand beaches and proximity to the beautiful family-friendly boardwalk. This busy area attracts tourists year-round with its peak times being during the summer months. Beach tags must be worn by all beachgoers over 12 years old from June until September during peak beach season.

For all these reasons, the beachfront neighborhood is the ideal living situation for those who thrive in an active and busy area. Yet, for those wishing to experience a laid back lifestyle, the Beachfront area may not be the most suitable location. Instead, you may want to consider Bayfront or Bay Area real estate.

Bayfront Lifestyle: For retirees, families or those looking for a calmer more peaceful lifestyle, look to the Bayfront area. For Bayfront homeowners, the lifestyle is more laid back compared to the Beachfront area or along the Ocean City boardwalk. Ocean City’s Riviera is located along the bay and is known for its luxury properties and relaxed waterfront lifestyle. Facing West, Bayfront property owners can view beautiful evening sunsets along the bay coastline.

Nestled away from the hustle and bustle of beachfront living, Bay Area homes for sale in OCNJ offer a more private lifestyle. Bay Area home ownership offers the perfect location for boating, fishing and water sports. With plenty of neighbors and other locals, the community feel of the Bay Area is great for families or active retirees.

Beachfront vs. Bayfront Property Types

One of the most appealing aspects of Ocean City, NJ’s real estate market is the diversity in property types available to suit any lifestyle and price range. Whether you’re looking for a retirement home, a family home or vacation destination spot, you’ll be able to find it in either the Beachfront or Bay Area of Ocean City, NJ.

Depending on your preferred lifestyle found in either Beachfront or Bay Area, you’ll be able to find the right property type waiting for you that can meet your living needs.

Beachfront Property Types: While lot sizes are modest in the Beachfront area of Ocean City, NJ they offer priceless waterfront living. For those looking to buy beachfront homes in OCNJ, there are plenty of property types to choose from. Condos, townhomes, bungalows and single family homes are available throughout the Ocean City Beachfront neighborhood and nearby the boardwalk.

Beachfront properties in OCNJ can be the perfect place for families to live or for a vacation property for a nice getaway. With so much tourist activity, Beachfront homes can also make excellent investments to list as vacation rental homes to tourists when you’re family isn’t using it.

The OCNJ Beachfront rental market is also extensive with plenty of options for long or short-term vacation rentals. If you’re looking for a rental option, then Ocean City’s Beachfront may be the ideal location for you. With plenty of condos, townhomes, upper or lower floors available to rent, you and your family will be able to settle into the ideal luxury waterfront property with the price and convenience of renting.

However, if you’re looking for a larger more secluded home, you’ll be hard pressed to find them along the busy Beachfront area. You may instead want to look at the Bayfront area for larger homes offering spacious and private living.




Bay Area Property Types: Known for their luxury appeal, large waterfront estates and luxurious single-family homes with gorgeous bay views make up the bulk of the homes for sale in OCNJ’s Riviera located on the bay. Many Bay Area homes have exciting features like private docks, floating docks and pool houses. Many properties also have private and direct access to the bay. Condos and townhome properties are also available in the Bayfront area with direct and private dock access.

With the larger homes in the Bay Area section, you’ll have plenty of additional storage for kayaks, paddleboards and other water toys. Most homes in the Bayfront area capture the beautiful Ocean City sunsets and will have plenty of balcony and deck space for cooking and enjoying your time outdoors.

Beachfront vs. Bay Area Price Ranges

The Ocean City, NJ waterfront real estate market offers family-friendly living but generally at luxury prices. Both the beachfront and Bayfront areas of town offer properties for sale at or above the $1 million mark. Some properties can be found for under the $1 million mark in certain locations. Of course, much of this will depend on the specific location and type of property in question.

Beachfront Property Price Ranges: If you’re looking to purchase beachfront property in Ocean City, NJ then consider the wide range of listing prices depending on your desired property type. Condos or townhomes can start at a listing price of $400,000 or under, and can reach well above the $1.5 million mark for more luxurious or newer properties. Single-family homes in the beachfront area quickly climb up toward, and over, the $2 million mark for some newer and larger homes.

Rental properties in the area can fall within a price range of $1,200 per week for smaller units to $12,500 per week or higher for larger or newer properties.




Bay Area Property Price Ranges: Ocean City’s Bayfront area sees some of the town’s highest price points available. Most properties in the Bayfront area are larger or more luxurious single-family homes valued at over $1 million. In terms of condos or townhome properties in the Bay Area, these homes are generally listed at a price range of $700,000 and above.

Beachfront vs. Bay Area Additional Costs

Beyond the sale or rental price of your desired property, you’ll also want to consider some of the additional costs associated with buying or renting waterfront property in OCNJ. These include HOA fees, maintenance expenses and insurance costs.

Beachfront Additional Costs:
Condos or multi-family units in the Beachfront area will usually be subject to monthly HOA fees. These will include city services such as trash removal, water and sewage. Additionally, you may need to consider flood insurance if you are building a duplex or single family home. Part of coastal living is the potential for damage or wear and tear that can occur due to exposure to the elements. Often times, you’ll also need to factor in costs such as maintenance and cleaning as required.

If you are renting property along the Beachfront area, you will have your month rental costs. Be aware that you may perhaps be required to pay a certain amount toward rental commission and maintenance. Additional tenant’s insurance may also be required for certain rental properties.

Bay Area Additional Costs:
In addition to the purchase cost of Bayfront properties, you may also require flood insurance to protect your home from natural disasters. Private docks will also require regular maintenance costs, especially when prepping for the summer season.

Beachfront vs. Bay Area Location & Streets

When getting to know the Ocean City area, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the location and prominent streets within the Beachfront and Bay Area neighborhoods.

The Beachfront neighborhood is on the eastern side of the city and includes the following streets:

  • Wesley Avenue
  • Ocean Avenue
  • Atlantic Avenue
  • Central Avenue

The Bayfront or Bay Area neighborhood is on the western side and consists of the following:

  • Bay Avenue
  • Bay Road
  • Pleasure Avenue
  • The Riviera Neighborhood (between 16th Street and Tennessee Avenue)
  • Lagoon Areas

Beachfront vs. Bayfront Selling

If you’re looking to sell your waterfront home in Ocean City, NJ you’ll need to consider your property location as an important factor in valuing and marketing your home. Beachfront properties in OCNJ can command a high price point when attracting buyers looking to invest in an ideal family vacation home. Keep in mind you’ll be marketing toward an active lifestyle-oriented buyer looking for proximity to beach access and nearby boardwalk and downtown shops and restaurants. Be sure to highlight property features that accommodate these lifestyle needs.

Bayfront properties typically command a higher price point and as a result, can spend more time on the market before they sell. Be sure to market your Bayfront area home to buyers looking for permanent or vacation property investments. Bayfront area homes appeal to buyers seeking a quiet and more private lifestyle. Focus on the benefits the area has to offer including a tight-knit community of neighbors, private beach and dock access and the ideal living situation for those interested in watersports and activities.

Keep in mind the best times to sell your Ocean City, NJ Bayfront home is midsummer and into the fall. During this time buyers are looking to make their purchase as prices become more affordable. Families want to find their dream family vacation home to live in for many summers to come.



Buying & Selling Luxury Real Estate

When buying or selling waterfront property in OCNJ, be sure to consider that it’s a luxury real estate market. Ocean City, NJ is a destination area, considered a world-renowned resort for family-friendly living. To find the right property for your lifestyle and budget, or to get the most value for your home, contact the top realtors in Ocean City, NJ for your real estate transaction.

Goldcoast Sotheby’s International Realty is Ocean City, NJ’s top choice for the best realtors in OCNJ. As market experts, real estate agents at Goldcoast Sotheby’s International Realty can help attract the right buyers looking for their dream home in Ocean City, NJ. Browse our waterfront listings or contact our OCNJ real estate office today for more information on finding the right Ocean City, NJ real estate agents for your luxury property purchase or sale.


Comments (3)

  • This is a very useful resource for anyone looking to buy a beachfront or bayfront property. As you have rightly mentioned, there are a lot of adventure activities that one can indulge in while living at a beachfront property, such as the Jersey Shore. A real estate agent with wide experience in this area can be of help with the buying/selling process and help you make the right decision.

  • Thanks for the tips on buying waterfront homes. After reading this, it turns out I’m looking for bayfront property, not beachfront. I never knew the difference, but being older, a quieter lifestyle is definitely more up my alley.

  • My brother has been looking into buying property on the beachfront. Highlighting the active lifestyle required to thrive on the beachfront is very helpful. He loves the business of cities and will really enjoy the beachfront.

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