Many New Yorkers might consider NYC the best city in the world, but not everyone feels the same way. Sure, there are plenty of perks to living in The Big Apple such as world-class restaurants, storied cultural institutions, and hard-to-beat convenience. However, access to everything New York City has to offer doesn’t come cheap. Renting in NYC is expensive for the size you get and overall cost of living is significantly higher than other parts of the United States. On top of that, you have to pay extra tax for living in NYC!
Instead of staying in NYC, many people have opted to move to New Jersey for the cheaper rents and larger living spaces. In fact, around 320,000 people commute from NJ to NYC on a daily basis! Before you decide to take the plunge you should first familiarize yourself with all the aspects of living in NJ and working in NYC beforehand.
Pros of living in New Jersey while working in NYC
There’s a lot to love about New Jersey and more people are starting to leave the city for greener pastures. Here are some reasons why people are making the decision to live the commuter life.
New Jersey has access to several large cities: New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. No matter where you live, you’re not far from a major highway and there’s also many public transportation options that can shuttle you between NYC and Philadelphia.
If you want more time in nature, New Jersey offers plenty of outdoor options from hiking to skiing to camping. It’s also home to Wharton State Forest, which is the largest single tract of land within the NJ State Park System with over 120,000 acres spread across three counties. During the summer you can enjoy the many beaches New Jersey has to offer. While the Jersey shore might have gotten a bad rep due to the reality TV show, there are plenty of towns that boast beautiful beaches such as Wildwood Crest, Cape May, Stone Harbor, and Ocean Grove.
If you plan on commuting to New York City for work, you’ll want to focus your search on the northern part of New Jersey. The popular locations in New Jersey tend to be those that have direct access to the PATH trains which can take you into Manhattan in about 15-20 minutes. Of course, due to its proximity to Manhattan, you can expect to pay higher rents but it’s worth it if you don’t want to waste 30+ minutes on your morning and evening commute. In some cases, commuting from Hoboken or Jersey City might actually be faster than commuting from some of the outer boroughs, especially if you work in Midtown.
Speaking of location, New Jersey is also home to Newark International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world just behind Kennedy International Airport in New York City. The airport is easily accessible by the NJ Transit system and you can find a direct flight to almost anywhere in the world. It’s perfect for people who travel a lot either for business or pleasure.
Lower Cost of Living
One of the biggest reasons why people choose to move to New Jersey while still working in NYC is because it’s cheaper. Sure, cities like Hoboken and Jersey City might see comparable prices, but you’re probably getting more indoor and, in some cases, outdoor space. Heck, it might even be feasible to buy an actual house in New Jersey for the price you would pay for a co-op or condo in NYC. With that said, New Jersey has some of the highest property taxes in the United States, so if you do choose to buy, make sure you know what you’re getting into.
Your salary also goes a lot further in New Jersey. The cost of everyday necessities such as food, gas, and utilities tend to be lower. Plus, your paycheck will go further in New Jersey because you’re dealing with fewer taxes. Say goodbye to the New York City income tax and hello to a lower income tax. While you will need to file two tax returns if you live in New Jersey and work in NYC, you will receive a tax credit for any taxes that you paid for New York. That prevents you from being taxed on the same income by both states. Just make sure to file your New York State tax return first to receive the tax credit.
Speaking of taxes, you’re also paying less in sales tax overall. New York has a sales tax of 8.875% while New Jersey has a sales tax of 6.625%. If you shop in an area that is designated as an Urban Enterprise Zone, you will only have to pay half the standard sales tax rate. You’re saving money while you shop!
Great Quality of Life
If you have kids or plan on having them, one of the most important choices when choosing your home location is its school system. Luckily, New Jersey has some of the best schools in the nation. In fact, New Jersey has the second-highest high school graduation rate with around 90.6 percent of students graduating and the state’s public school has been named one of the best in the nation. Of course, that depends on where you live. If you have children, you might want to move to the following school districts:
- Millburn Township
- West Windsor-Plainsboro
New Jersey is also home to the prestigious Princeton University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, and Seton Hall University.
You’re also not missing out on too much even if you don’t live in the heart of NYC. New Jersey has plenty of cultural institutions, entertainment, restaurants, and other amenities to the point where there’s no reason to really go into NYC. If you’re a lover of the arts, then you’ll be thrilled to know that New Jersey is home to 700 arts organizations. Sports fans can head over to the MetLife Stadium to watch both the NJ Jets and NY Giants play. Afterwards, you can grab a bite at some of the delicious restaurants that dot the state. Speaking of which, if you’re looking for some of the best NY pizza slices, they’re in New Jersey!
Cons of living in New Jersey while working in NYC
Living in New Jersey isn’t all sunshines and rainbows. There are some downsides to consider before you decide to make your move.
It’s not New York
There’s something about New York City that is enticing to people from around the world. For some, it’s the possibility of making it big in their field whether that’s as an actor, tech innovator, or investor. For others, the convenience of NYC is the biggest draw. Everything you could possibly want is at your fingertips and can probably be delivered to your door. And since the public transportation system is fairly reliable, you don’t need a car in NYC. In fact, about 50 percent of NYC residents don’t have a driver’s license.
While you can get a lot of those same benefits in certain areas of New Jersey, the further away you get from the city, the fewer amenities you can expect. Plus, places like Hoboken and New Jersey City might be busy, but even it simply doesn’t have the same energy as NYC. Some people thrive off that buzz. If that’s you, it can be hard to find that anywhere else.
The PATH train might not be horrible, but if it goes down you don’t have too many other transportation options to get into the city besides a ferry and maybe a bus. In the worst case scenario, there might not even be any alternative transportation options. This issue becomes worse the further away from NYC you move so if you have to depend on NJ transit buses or trains, you might not be able to make it into work.
Unless you work directly off the PATH or NJ Transit stops in Manhattan, your commuting costs will be higher than if you live in NYC. Sure, the PATH train costs the same as a fare, but since you cannot use your monthly Metrocard for the PATH, you’re effectively paying double the price if you need to take the subway to your job. It’s the same for the NJ Transit trains and buses. The fares aren’t too expensive, but it adds up when you combine it with your subway fare.
The unreliability of public transportation is one of the reasons why many New Jersey residents opt to drive to work. This comes with its own costs, of course. You’ll have to pay for insurance, gas, maintenance, and more. Plus, you’ll have to deal with horrible traffic during rush hour. What should be a 20 minute drive will often take over an hour during the morning and evening commute. You’ll also have to pay high tolls to get into NYC.
In almost every other aspect, New Jersey is cheaper when it comes to taxes. That is until you get into property taxes. New Jersey has some of the highest property taxes in the United States. If you plan on buying a home, you can end up paying a very high tax rate depending on the area. In most cases, the cities/towns with the best schools tend to have the highest property taxes.
While property tax rates tend to change over the years, the average property tax for a home in New Jersey (2.42%) is nearly three times the amount as in New York City (0.88%). Of course, you might end up paying more in actual tax in NYC versus New Jersey as your rate is calculated by multiplying the taxable value of your property by the current tax rate for your property’s tax class.
And while you have the benefit of owning your home instead of renting, it also comes with more costs. In general, when you rent you don’t have to pay for heat or hot water. However, when you own your home, you have to pay for everything! That means extra bills on top of your mortgage, homeowner’s insurance, HOA fees, taxes, etc. This can really eat into your savings.
Moving to New Jersey
Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons of living in New Jersey and commuting to NYC it’s up to you to decide whether you want to relocate or not. If you do decide to make a move, make sure to call up qualified NJ movers to help you out so you can get started on the right foot.
Do I need a car in New Jersey?
It depends on where you choose to move. In major cities such as Newark, Hoboken, or Jersey City you can probably get away with not having a car. With that said, it is convenient as you will have the freedom to travel to other areas of the state.
Is moving from NYC to New Jersey considered a local move or long-distance move?
Moving to New Jersey from NYC is considered a local move and you will be charged an hourly flat rate like other local moves.