You don’t have to move to NYC to have good job prospects. If you’re a young professional in NJ, you might want to look locally for jobs. Sure, you don’t have to limit yourself, but NJ is home to 15 Fortune 500 companies and over 750,000 small businesses. Of course, not all cities are created equal. If you’re a young professional, you’ll want a location that has plenty of great jobs, a decent nightlife, and affordable rents or home prices. While it’s getting harder to find all three things, it’s not impossible. If you’re looking to make a move, then below are some of the best NJ cities for young professionals.
Despite its negative reputation, Jersey City has quickly become a favorite among young professionals for a variety of reasons. Jersey City is the second most populated city in New Jersey right behind Newark. Thanks to this, it offers plenty of amenities such as amazing restaurants, great nightlife, and cultural institutions such as the Liberty Science Center. And if that’s not enough, you’re a short PATH ride away from NYC.
Compared to NYC, Jersey City’s rents are affordable. You might see similar prices, but you’re getting a lot more space than what you might find in the hot neighborhoods of Manhattan or Brooklyn. There’s also plenty of work in Jersey City. Nicknamed the Wall Street West, Jersey City is home to major financial institutions such as Citigroup, Fidelity Investments, and Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation.
If you like shopping, then you’re in luck! Jersey City has several shopping districts including Newport Mall. Some portions of the city are part of the Urban Enterprise Zone where you can pay reduced sales tax on your items.
While technically a town, Montclair offers some stunning views of the surrounding area. If you manage to snag a home in higher locations, you can even get views of the NYC skyline. This quirky location offers the trappings of a quiet, suburban life, but also keeps it exciting as they have a lively food scene, wonderful cultural establishments such as Montclair Art Museum and Wellmont Theater, and a bustling downtown. If you’re looking to connect with other young professionals, there are many networking groups dedicated to specific industries and businesses.
While it’s further away from NYC than Jersey City, you can still get there in under an hour via the NJ Transit. Of course, you could drive, but dealing with the traffic getting into NYC and then finding a parking spot might not be worth it. Average rent in Montclair tends to be a bit on the higher side, but you’re getting a lot more bang for your buck. Buying a home also isn’t cheap, but you might be able to find a decent starter home for around $500,000-$630,000.
Much is great for people just getting started in their careers. Average rents in North Bergen is around $2,000 with 2+ bedrooms venturing into the $3,000 territory. While this might be high for single renters, it’s a great option if you plan on having a roommate. Not only do you get two actual bedrooms, you can also expect an actual living room and separate kitchen for these prices. That’s more than you can say for 2 bedrooms in Manhattan! And while you don’t have the PATH train taking you to Manhattan, North Bergen does have easy access to NYC thanks to both bus and light rail services. You can also hop on a Jitney commuter bus for access to the George Washington Bridge Bus Station, the Newport Centre, and other local stops.
Much like Jersey City, portions of North Bergen are part of the Urban Enterprise Zone so you pay 50% less in sales tax in these areas. Job-wise, you can choose from a variety of companies though the largest include Hudson News and Liz Claiborne. If you’re in the freight industry, you’ll be happy to know that the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway operate five facilities in North Bergen. After a hard day at work, you can kick back at the New Jersey Beer Company.
It might be small in size, but Hoboken is one of the best NJ cities for young professionals for a variety of reasons. The first reason is competitive rents. While the rents in Hoboken are rising due to demand, it still remains cheaper than some areas in Manhattan and Brooklyn. For many, saving a couple hundred dollars a month is definitely worth it. Plus, it’s a short 15-minute ride into Manhattan, making it a faster commute than if you were traveling from some areas of the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens.
Just because you’re close to Manhattan doesn’t mean you have to travel there. In fact, there’s plenty of things to do in Hoboken. Despite its quaint, small-town vibe Hoboken has a wide selection of bars and restaurants to visit due in part to the local college in the area, Stevens Institute of Technology. You can enjoy a pint at Moran’s for a more chummy atmosphere or go clubbing at Wicked Wolf. Want to learn how to decorate cakes? Go to Butter Lane for some delicious pastries and baking classes.
Of course, since you’re so close to NYC, you pretty much have all the benefits of living in NYC without having to pay NYC taxes or prices! It’s the perfect happy medium for those who want the trappings of city life without the price tag.
This little town might not seem like much at first, but it offers pretty much everything you could want. Of course, there’s the spectacular views of the Hudson, but it also offers fine dining, such as The River Palm Terrace, as well as affordable comfort options. On top of that, it’s a short bus ride to NYC so you can head into the city if you’re tired of the Edgewater scene. While costs have risen over the years, Edgewater still remains affordable. Average rents for a one bedroom is around $2,500 with the average size of an apartment coming in at just over 1,000 square feet. Home prices aren’t cheap, but you can find something for as low as $500,000.
What sets Edgewater apart from the other areas is its diversity. It is a very ethnically diverse area and boasts the largest Japanese-American concentration in New Jersey when combined with nearby Fort Lee. It’s home to Mitsuwa, a very large Japanese grocery store that offers Japanese produce, snacks, and pastries. There’s also a Whole Foods for organic produce and Trader Joe’s if you want something a bit more affordable. There are five other shopping areas where you can enjoy local restaurants, shops, and more.
Ready to Make Your NJ Move?
There are so many amazing places to live in NJ, but if you’re a young professional, you probably want to stay close to the action in NYC without having to live with 4+ roommates. In that case, these NJ city options are a great starting point.
If you’re ready to move, make sure to hire trusted NJ movers (like us). They’ll help get you settled into your new place as soon as possible.
Is New Jersey safe?
As with any state, it depends on where you move. When you live in an area with more people, there will likely be more crime. However, for the most part all of the cities listed above are safe.
Do I have to pay extra taxes in NJ if I work in NYC?
You will have to file your tax returns in both states. Luckily, you aren’t subject to the NYC income tax and you don’t pay double taxes. Just make sure to file your NY state taxes first so that when you file in NJ you receive a tax credit for any taxes you’ve already paid.
Is commuting more expensive than if I lived in NYC?
Yep. Even if you’re off the PATH train you have to pay $5.50 round trip for the PATH on top of the $5.50 for the regular metrocard round trip for a total of $11 for just one round trip from Hoboken or Jersey City to NYC. Things get more expensive the further out you go so it’s up to you to decide if the savings in rent, taxes, etc. is worth it.