New Jersey isn't necessarily the first state that springs to mind when you think of affordable places to live. In fact, the World Population Review has named it the 9th most expensive state in the US. But surprisingly, the Garden State boasts plenty of towns, cities, and communities that won't stretch your budget to breaking point. Even better, many of them are just as desirable as they are affordable. If you're considering a move to New Jersey but are concerned about the impact on your bank account, don't discount it just yet. As our round-up of the 20 cheapest places to live in New Jersey shows, there's plenty of budget-friendly options to consider.
Hopatcong ticks all the boxes. Its crime rate is so tiny, it barely registers. Its schools are well ahead of the curve. Its economy is booming and its community is friendly. Thanks to its lakeside location, residents can enjoy all kinds of outdoor pursuits for free, including boating, fishing, swimming, and more besides. Housing is more than reasonable ($125,000 should be plenty enough to get you a good-sized family home) and the overall costs of goods and services won't tax your budget. It's not often you find somewhere that's both cheap and attractive, but Hopatcong is the exception.
In fairness, Pitman isn't the ideal place for renters. With a median rent of $1,204, there are definitely cheaper places in New Jersey. But if you want to own rather than rent, you'll find few better places. Its low home values (the median is $185,600) and high salaries (expect to draw an income of $75,909) give it one of the best ratios of home price to income in the state, meaning you'll have no problem meeting your monthly mortgage payments.
18. Franklin Park
In 2018, amplemoving.com ranked Franklin Park as one of the cheapest places to live in New Jersey. Three years later, and it's still as cheap as ever. Not only does it have affordability on its side, but it's also got a great range of perks to offer. Its close proximity to the big city attractions of Princeton and New Brunswick is a big boon, while its safe, close-knit community is a blessing. The job market is healthy, the crime rate is low, and it's got plenty of amenities to keep its residents happy. If you want to combine affordability with a great standard of living, it's a winner.
Located within just a short drive of Philadelphia is the Camden County suburb of Bellmawr. It's a suburb with a lot to say for itself. Residents are blessed with a healthy job market, a good school system, and plenty of things to see and do in their spare time. They're also privileged with one of the best house price to income ratios in the state. If that wasn't enough to convince you to give it a second look, it's got the second-lowest median rent in New Jersey at just $898 per month.
16. Haddon Heights
Haddon Heights might have a considerable median home price of $287,400, but don't discount it offhand. After all, this is a city where most residents are earning nearly double the national average. With household incomes exceeding $102,000, keeping up with mortgage payments clearly isn't a struggle. If you're not quite ready to take your first step on the property ladder, you'll be pleased to know Haddon Heights' average rental price is 20% lower than the New Jersey average. If all that wasn't enough to attract you, the short commute into Philadelphia just might.
Runnemede boasts a stunning location near the Runnemede Lake Park, a close-knit, welcoming community, great schools, plenty of amenities, a healthy job market, and, best of all, a cost of living that won't dent your wallet, let alone your savings account. Residents earn a median income of $67,120 but the median home value is just $163,500, representing one of the best home price to income ratios in the state.
14. Gloucester City
If you like your home town to have a historic side, Gloucester City might well be your perfect match. Founded by the Dutch in 1623, the town has history oozing from pores. But its perks go well beyond a scattering of historical sites. Located on the Delaware River, it's within easy commuting distance of Philadelphia, giving its residents easy access to the thrills and spills of the big city. Better still, it's astonishingly cheap. Even if you're on a budget, you shouldn't have too many difficulties in finding a home here. Although the costs vary by neighborhood, there's plenty of options in the sub $100,000 category. Rental properties are similarly inexpensive, as are the costs for transportation, health care, and groceries.
If you dream of living by the coast, you might want to consider Beachwood. This small town of 1100 residents offers easy access to some of the most scenic beaches on the east coast. Best of all, the cost of living puts it firmly within reach. According to Movers NJ, home prices are a full 20% lower than the New Jersey average. If you want a great standard of living but aren't prepared to sacrifice your life savings to get it, Beachwood may well be your ideal destination.
Back in 2015, Only in Your State ranked Clayton as one of the cheapest and most desirable places to live in New Jersey. In the five years since, not a lot has changed. It's still cheap and it's still pretty awesome. The crime rate is way below the state average and its easy proximity to Atlantic City and Philadelphia makes commuting a breeze. It's idyllic setting next to the Glassboro Fish and Wildlife Management Area and Wharton State Forest makes it an outdoor lover's dream. The schools are great, the streets are safe and the cost of living is low - what more could you want?
When it comes to considering how cheap a place is, it's important to look beyond the obvious. At first glance, Berlin's median home value of $239,200 seems expensive. But when you compare it to the median home value for New Jersey as a whole, it's actually more than reasonable. When you factor in the median income of $97,003, it becomes even more reasonable. The overall cost of living is just as attractive as the home prices, leaving residents with plenty of cash in their pockets after the bills have been paid.
Home Snacks ranks the Camden County suburb of Barrington as one of the cheapest places to live in New Jersey. Considering residents are earning a healthy median income of $78,773 but only have to spend $195,300 on a home, it's understandable why. Even leaving aside that hugely attractive home price to income ratio, Barrington is still a great town for the budget-conscious. The general cost of living in terms of transportation, groceries, and other essentials is remarkably low. Thanks to the town's proximity to Haddon Lake, there's also plenty of recreational opportunities on offer that won't cost a dime.
If you want to live somewhere cheap, you'll usually need to sacrifice desirability. But not always. The small town of Beckett not only ranks as one of New Jersey's cheapest places to live, but it also ranks as one of its best. Niche has even gone so far as to name it the number 1 best place to live in Gloucester County. While the median home value of $220,100 may seem high on first reading, the median income of $120,943 makes it more than reasonable. The town itself is quiet, peaceful, and extremely attractive. If you want to live somewhere that combines low living costs with an excellent standard of living, it's a no-brainer.
If you want to live within commuting distance of Philadelphia without having to sacrifice all your savings for the privilege, you might want to consider Audubon. Although the median home price of $212,700 is a little above the national average, it's positively cheap by New Jersey standards. When you factor in the town's median income of $86,806, it gets even more attractive. The overall cost of living is just as appealing, while the town's proximity to the scenic Cooper River Park lets residents enjoy plenty of free outdoor recreation.
Travel just half an hour southeast of Philadelphia and you'll stumble on the town of Stratford. If you prefer saving to spending, you might well decide to stay. With a median income of $79,677 and a median property price of $179,100, the home price to income ratio is one of the lowest in the state. But that's not all this little town has to recommend it. The amenities are bountiful, the job market is booming, and the community is as safe and friendly as you could wish. If you want to save your bucks without losing your living standards in the process, it's a great place to consider.
Somerdale has it all. The median income is a very respectable $72,778 and the median home value is just $170,500, given it one of the lowest ratios of home price to income in the state. The median rent is equally low at just $892 per month. Thanks to its outstanding location near Kirkwood Lake, residents don't have to look far (or pay much) for their leisure activities. As an extra bonus, it's located just half an hour away from Philadelphia, making it a great spot for people who want to enjoy the benefits of the big city without having to pay a premium for the privilege.
5. Crestwood Village
Crestwood Village is a small town with small prices. For just $72,700, you can bag yourself a decently sized three-bedroom property. Rent is a little more expensive, but considering almost 90% of residents own their homes, it's not too much of a concern. Overall costs for transportation, healthcare, and utilities all come on the lower end of the scale. On the flipside, the median income is just as low as everything else. At just $28,708, it's almost half the national average.
4. Winfield Township
Winfield Township is a small town in Winfield County. The median income may be a little low by New Jersey standards, but at $63,971, it's still in line with the national average. Overall, the costs are exceedingly low in comparison to the income level. The property prices are particularly attractive, making it the ideal place for people looking to get their foot on the property ladder without taking on a massive mortgage.
Palmyra is a small city of 7,398 in Burlington County. While desirability and low living costs are rarely synonymous, Palmyra bucks the trend. It's safe, it's friendly, and it's got some of the lowest living costs in New Jersey. Even better, the median housing costs are a full 40% lower than the New Jersey average.
2. Cedar Glen West
Cedar Glen West is a tiny suburb of NYC with a population of just 1,284. The only thing smaller than its population is its median home value. At $36,300 for a single-family home, you can pick up a property for almost $150,000 less than you can almost anywhere else in the country. On the flip side, rental property is slightly above average at $1,005 per month - something which may explain why over 90% of residents choose to own their homes instead. When it comes to utilities, transport, and groceries, the costs are way below the national average.
1. Cedar Glen Lakes
Living within commuting distance of New York City usually comes at a cost. Not so at Cedar Glen Lakes, a small suburb of NYC that ranks as the cheapest place to live in New Jersey. The average cost of property here is just $72,400, over half the national average. If you'd rather rent than buy, you can expect to pick up a rental property for just $389, almost two-thirds less than the national average. In fairness, the median income is no great shakes at just $34,201. But when the cost of living is this low, you'll hear few complaints.
Written by Liz Flynn
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