Asbury Park, N.J. has long been thought of desolate and crime-ridden, writes Leigh Kamping-Carder for The Wall Street Journal, but in recent years it has been transformed, attracting second-home buyers and empty nesters who want walkable, urban living in a vacation destination.

Home prices are up, a long-stalled redevelopment of the waterfront is beginning to take shape and the restaurant scene is booming: Residents have to make reservations at eateries like Pascal & Sabine even in the off season.

Asbury Park is on the Jersey Shore, less than 90 minutes from New York City. But unlike other shore towns, Asbury offers a beachside version of city life. Its desirable real estate isn’t mansions but condos on the waterfront and downtown.

In 2015, 437 homes sold in Asbury Park, up from 312 properties in 2014, said Robert White, a managing broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. The median sale price in the fourth quarter of 2015 was $308,000, up 9% over the prior year, and homes spent 16% fewer days on the market, according to

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