One in a continuing series spotlighting real estate markets in the region's communities.

If the person who drew Oaklyn's boundaries had held the pen a bit steadier, the Ritz Theatre wouldn't have been on the Haddon Township side of White Horse Pike.

The location didn't make much difference to Jim McAleer and Gary Schaal when they were growing up in the Camden County borough in the 1960s.

"We always went to the movies there, except when they started showing adult films," says McAleer, who moved to Oaklyn with his parents when he was 7 years old.

In the last two decades, largely through the efforts of artistic director Bruce Curliss and many dedicated area residents, the Ritz has become a major regional live-theater venue.

Oaklyn, however, remains "a town of hardworking families, who believe in community pride," says McAleer, a resident of Haddon Township for the last three decades and owner of Solar Electric New Jersey.

"When we were growing up, we knew every police officer by name and they knew you, so you didn't get away with anything," says McAleer, who was Oaklyn's director of public safety as a borough councilman in the early 1970s.

Schaal, now a Medford resident, grew up "three doors away from Jim, and his grandfather lived in the house between us."

Except for his four years at Ursinus College, Schaal lived in Oaklyn until 1975, when he married and moved away. His mother lived in the same house he grew up in until her death in 2010 at age 91, which he says is not unusual for Oaklyn.

"Older people tend to live there all of their lives," says Schaal, a consultant in the new-home construction industry.

Now, he and McAleer say, younger people are moving into Oaklyn and buying up those houses when they become available, upgrading them for 21st-century living.

McAleer's nephew "bought Gary's mom's house and did just that," McAleer says.

The word cute probably wouldn't sit all that well with the guys who frequent the Oaklyn Manor Bar - the venerable watering hole on West Clinton Avenue that might be better known than Oaklyn itself, or so they say.

But that's how Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors agent Val Nunnenkamp describes the borough - convenient, too, because Oaklyn residents are a short distance from the Westmont and Collingswood PATCO High-Speed Line stations to Philadelphia, and NJ Transit buses are readily available.

There are 24 houses for sale in the borough, ranging in price from $74,700 to $225,000, he says.

Some are bank-owned houses, a few are short sales (the bank has agreed to accept less than the amount owed on the mortgage) - not unusual for the three South Jersey counties, which are still awash in distressed homes, according to data from RealtyTrac, the foreclosure search engine.

Eleven houses currently are under agreement, at prices ranging from $47,900 for a three-story-plus twin, to $179,900 for a nine-year-old Colonial with three bedrooms and 21/2 baths, Nunnenkamp says.

There's some new construction here, but what you will likely find are small single-family detached homes (lots of bungalows), rowhouses, and twins that are primarily older.

Nineteen houses have settled in the last six months, priced from $39,900 for a 11/2-half story bungalow, to $270,000 for a 16-year-old two-story single overlooking Newton Lake.

That house, rehabbed two years ago, spent just 19 days on the market in the spring. Average time on the market in the first six months of 2015 was 68 days.

Property taxes are high here, as they are in most South Jersey municipalities. And, as is the case with many boroughs, the school district accounts for the largest share of property taxes.

Oaklyn is the only district in New Jersey that still keeps the kindergarten-through-ninth-grade format, with students in 10th through 12th grades attending Collingswood High.

It's no surprise that younger buyers here are doing a lot of work on their houses.

"When I was growing up, there was one bathroom for my two brothers and me," McAleer says. "My mother didn't have a chance."

Town By Town: Oaklyn Borough By the Numbers

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Population: 4,015 (2013 est.)

Median household income: $61,232

Area: 0.694 square miles

Settlements in the last three months: 14

Homes for sale: 24

Average days on market: 68

Median sale price: $142,500

Housing stock: 1,847 units, mostly older singles, twins and rowhouses

School district: Oaklyn, K-9; Collingswood High School, 10-12

SOURCES: U.S. Census Bureau; City-Data.com; Val Nunnenkamp, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors.

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