Like Campwoods Grounds, homeowners lease their land; however, here they also own co-op shares. They pay an annual maintenance fee of about $2,800, along with school taxes to the town of North Salem and property taxes to either North Salem or the town of Southeast.
The co-op board does look favorably on those who know someone in the community, said Ms. Rubini. “While they are not a diverse community, we are an open-minded co-op,” she said. Of two people she said who were turned down, “one was for financial reasons and the other for multiple DWIs.”
A mix of cultures is what Diane Tolley, 62, a broker for Coldwell Banker Realty in Mendham, N. J. found 30 years ago when she bought a two-bedroom, one-bath cottage for $78,000 at Woodland Lake, a 28-acre co-op that had once been a summer bungalow colony in Mendham, about 32 miles from New York City.
Reasonable house prices are what originally drew Ms. Tolley, then a single mother with three children, to the co-op, which at the time had a mix of Jewish and Irish families. “It’s Mendham’s best-kept secret,” she said. She has since moved out of Woodland Lake, but she has been the broker for subsequent owners of her former home over the years.
None of the 36 houses there are now for sale, but a two-bedroom, one-bath house with taxes of $4,596 and a monthly maintenance fee of $335 recently sold for $257,000.
Over the last six months, the average sale price of a Mendham home outside the co-op was $922,581 with taxes of about $19,000, said Bryan Seavey, a broker with Turpin Realtors in Mendham. Recent Zillow listings included a $439,000, two-bedroom, two-bath home with taxes of about $8,780, and a $7,495,000, nine-bedroom house with a tax bill of $127,685.
Mr. Seavey, who is also a builder, recently renovated and rented out five two-bedroom, one-bath cottages in Mendham that he believes were once part of a bungalow colony in the 1930s. The houses from the former colony are now just part of the larger Mendham community, but they tend to be less expensive than other homes in the area because of their smaller size.