New Jersey is located on the eastern coast of the U.S. and while it boasts its own culture and attractions, it’s also in close proximity to New York City and Philadelphia. New Jersey is well known for the Jersey Shore which includes Atlantic City and Ocean City, popular gambling and boardwalk destinations. It also thrives on the healthcare industry and many people commute from New Jersey to neighboring NYC and Philly — in fact, a surge in commuters is expected in the coming decade.
As the home of Princeton and other elite colleges like Rutgers University, 40.7% of residents hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher as compared with 37.9% nationwide. Science and engineering jobs make up a large portion of New Jersey’s job market along with construction and utilities, financial services, and health care.
The median home price in New Jersey is $471,472, up 12.8% from one year ago. But compared with the median home prices of $778,733 in New York City, it may offer a viable option for those willing to commute into the city or find a job closer to home.
The cost of living in New Jersey varies quite a bit depending on where you live. Some areas fall below the national average, while others are significantly higher. As far as utilities are concerned, the average electricity cost in New Jersey comes to 17.27 cents/kWh, slightly above the national average of 15.42 cents/kWh. Three quarters of New Jersey homes rely on natural gas as their primary heating fuel.
In order to narrow down to the cheapest places to buy a house in New Jersey, we took into account median home values, median income, and average cost of living. But individual lifestyles greatly impact the affordability of an area and impact all of the factors we looked at.
Phillipsburg is nestled on the forks of the Delaware River and Lehigh River and is a historic town that has made its way into modern times. With their heritage and location, Phillipsburg Downtown Association has worked to bring attention to its historical significance as well as revitalize businesses in the area.
The city is currently undergoing an extensive renovation of the Phillipsburg Union Station. In the mid-1800s, five railroads ran through Phillipsburg, and to celebrate the history of railroads in the area, Platinum Star Services organized Phillipsburg’s first Railroad Festival in September of this year to celebrate 170 years of railroad. Delaware River Railroad Excursions also offers various train tours throughout the year.
2. New Brunswick
New Brunswick is home to Rutgers University, which also has campuses in Camden and Newark and is The State University of New Jersey. As an integral part of the town, Rutgers offers attractions for both students and the community, including Rutgers Farm, a teaching farm where members of the community can take time out and watch the animals and even pick up eggs and goat milk soap from the Rutgers Farm Store.
Also known as Hub City, New Brunswick is home to Johnson & Johnson headquarters and a Bristol Myers Squibb Research & Development facility, making this town a leader in the healthcare industry.
Hightstown was founded by John and Mary Hight in 1721 when they bought 3,000 acres from Britain and built a log cabin for themselves. They later built a mill, blacksmith shop, and a few other buildings that the town grew around. Today, Downtown Hightstown hosts a variety of yearly events like the Harvest Fair and Memorial Day Parade.
Because it’s the capital city of New Jersey and the Mercer County county seat, you may think that Trenton is the largest city in the state, but it actually ranks 10th for population. Trenton is located on the Delaware River just across the border from Pennsylvania and was the site of George Washinton’s famed Delaware Crossing.
During the summer, you can catch a collegiate baseball game at Trenton Thunder Ballpark and visit one of their farmer’s markets, or choose one of their more than 60 parks. There is also a wealth of museums to explore, including the Trenton City Museum, New Jersey State Museum, and Old Barracks Museum.
5. Toms River
Toms River has lots of amenities and a low crime rate, but along with these perks comes a higher cost of living. The median home price in the area, however, is still lower than New Jersey’s overall median home price, and living in Toms River means access to the Barnegat Bay and lots of beaches.
Tucked inland, Clayton is a small town of just under 9,000 people, adjacent to the 2,337 acre Glassboro Wildlife Management Area. It’s just under an hour from Atlantic City and all that the Jersey Shore has to offer. But Clayton offers its own attractions with the Heritage Glass Museum and nearby parks. It’s close to Glassboro, so there’s even more to do just a short drive away.
7. Atlantic City
Typically known for its wealth of casinos, Atlantic City also offers affordable living and some of the perks of living in a coastal city — Atlantic City Cruises, Atlantic City Parasail, windsurfing, fishing, free beaches, and the boardwalk.
8. Egg Harbor
Egg Harbor lies just outside of Atlantic City and offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of the shore while still being in close proximity. It’s home to Storybook Land, a nursery rhyme themed amusement park that has been part of Egg Harbor since 1955.
9. Gloucester City
Located on the banks of the Delaware River just across from Philadelphia, Gloucester City offers a lower median home price and access to all the city has to offer. It is also near other cities like Oaklyn Audubon, Brooklawn, and Camden, so there are lots of areas to explore.
Pitman boasts breweries and Broadway. Local breweries offer a chance to taste local beer and The Broadway Theatre puts on shows and concerts throughout the year. You can even order a murder mystery for a party or a night with friends with Murder Mystery to Go. Just to the south, Glassboro offers even more to do, including the Edelman Planetarium and the South Jersey Museum of American History.
Find the perfect home with a local real estate agent
New Jersey offers a window into early American history along with a vibrant scene of modern entertainment, beaches, and coastal activities. But finding the perfect home in the right spot requires the help of a professional. That’s why we pair you with a trusted local agent to help guide you through the process of finding and buying a new home in the Garden State.
Header Image Source: (Edan Cohen / Unsplash)