You may end up landing your dream job, but the income might not be what it takes to live near the job. What do you do? Reduce your cost of living, of course.
But what is good about Jersey? It is actually a great place to start your career.and your savings account.
New Jersey is known for its food. Specifically, this Garden State has some amazing blueberries and corn. If fresh produce isn’t your thing, don’t worry because New Jersey is also known as the Diner Capital of the World. You can start your day with a nice coffee and a bagel.
New Jersey is also close to major urban centers, especially New York City. If you want to work and spend your weekends enjoying the New York City high-life, but don’t want to spend a killing on rent, then New Jersey will soon be called your home.
Interested yet? We know we love a good “Taylor Ham” pork roll on the way to NYC.
The 10 Most Affordable Places To Live In New Jersey For 2020
Median Household Income: $80,233
If you want to live the high life in New Jersey without spending big bucks, there’s few better than Stratford. The Camden County borough has the second lowest ratio of home price to income in the state, so you won’t feel like you’re living in one of the most expensive states in America if you move to Stratford. At $182,900, Stratford has one of the lowest median home prices on this list, and Stratford residents earn a median income of $80,233, so there’s no problem paying the mortgage off. Stratford also scored a 8/10 or higher on almost all of our Snackability scores, so it’s an all-around great place to call home.
Stratford is located a half hour southeast of Philadelphia.
Median Household Income: $81,884
Audubon is another Philadelphia suburb that won’t break the wallet, let alone the bank. With a median rent of $985 and a median home price of $206,700, housing in Audubon is slightly pricier than in Stratford. However, Audubon residents also earn slightly more, with a median income of $81,884. That gives Audubon the sixth best ratio of home price to income in New Jersey. If you’re trying to stretch your cash even further, hanging out at Cooper River Park won’t cost you a thing.
Median Household Income: $70,951
Somerdale is the third most affordable place in New Jersey thanks to a combination of low home prices and well-paid residents. Folks in Somerdale pay a median price of $168,800 for homes and earn a median income of $70,951, giving Somerdale the third lowest ratio of home price to income in the state. Rent in Somerdale is slightly cheaper than the top two cities on this list at $939, but taken as a proportion of income, renting in Somerdale is less cost effective than buying. Hiking at Kirkwood Lake is free, so nature-lovers won’t have to break out their wallets to have a good time in Somerdale.
In what’s becoming a pattern, Somerdale is also in Camden County, within a half hour of Philadelphia.
Median Household Income: $75,720
Another Camden County suburb of Philadelphia, Barrington ranks as the fourth cheapest place to live in New Jersey. Buying a home in Barrington will set you back $202,900, but residents also earn a median income of $75,720, so you’ll be able to pay off that mortgage before the new-house smell has time to wear off. If you’re into fishing, you can cut down on your entertainment and grocery budget by casting your line out at the nearby Haddon Lake.
Median Household Income: $75,791
Located in Gloucester County about a half hour south of Philadelphia, Pitman is the fifth most affordable place in New Jersey. The median rent in Pitman is $1,119, which gives the borough a not-so-impressive standing in terms of income to rent ratio. However, Pitman does have the fourth best ratio of home price to income in the state, so we’d definitely recommend buying instead of renting if you want to take full advantage of the borough’s affordability. On a side note, Pitman is a semi-dry community without liquor stores or bars, so that’s bound to save you some extra money. And if you’re still itching for a drink, you can always pick up a bottle (or six) at the local William Heritage Winery.
The median home price in Pitman is $181,200 and the median income is $75,791.
Median Household Income: $93,261
Despite having some of the most expensive housing on this list, Berlin ranks as the sixth cheapest city in New Jersey. The median rent in Berlin is $1,183, which is the highest you’ll see on this list. However, that’s still about 70% cheaper than the average rent in New Jersey. Berlin residents also earn enough to easily cover their housing, with a median income of $93,261. If you’re buying in Berlin, the median home price is $237,700, which may seem steep, but still represents the eighth lowest home price to income ratio in New Jersey.
Berlin is located about 20 miles southeast of Philadelphia.
Median Household Income: $61,859
Yet another Camden County suburb of Philadelphia, Runnemede is the seventh most affordable place in New Jersey. At a median price of $165,000, Runnemede has the second cheapest homes you’ll see on this list. Runnemede residents earn a median income of $61,859, giving the borough the tenth best ratio of home price to income in the state. Having a picnic and watching the sun set over Big Timber Creek at Runnemede Lake Park is an always-accessible cheap option for a date night.
Median Household Income: $95,230
Haddon Heights is the eighth cheapest place in New Jersey and the only place on this list to get a perfect 10/10 on our overall Snackability score. While rent in New Jersey may be 20% more than the national average, you wouldn’t know it in Haddon Heights, where the median rent is $885, less than half the statewide average. With residents earning a median income of $95,230, Haddon Heights has the third best rent to income ratio in the state. At $287,600, Haddon Heights has the most expensive median home price on this list, but because of the high median income, it’s still fairly affordable to buy here.
Haddon Heights is located in — you guessed it — Camden County, about 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia.
Median Household Income: $71,962
With a population of 19580, Glassboro is the biggest place to make this list. Both the median home price ($196,000) and the median income ($71,962) are in the middle of the pack for this list, and give Glassboro the 16th lowest home price to income ratio in New Jersey. At $1,164, the median rent in Glassboro is the second highest on this list and makes renting much less economical than buying, especially when considered as a proportion of income.
Glassboro is a half hour south of Philadelphia, in Gloucester County.
Median Household Income: $53,514
Located in northwestern New Jersey, across the Delaware River from Pennsylvania, Phillipsburg ranks as the tenth most affordable city in the state. Phillipsburg has the cheapest home prices on this list, with a median price of $135,300. Folks in Phillipsburg earn a median income of $53,514, which gives Phillipsburg the seventh lowest home price to income ratio in New Jersey. A relatively high median rent of $958 gives Phillipsburg the worst income to rent ratio on this list, so definitely buy here if you want to take full advantage of the town’s affordability.
Phillipsburg is the only place on this list NOT in Camden or Gloucester County and within a half hour of Philadelphia.
How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Garden State For 2020
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:
- How much do money do I make?
- How much do I have spend to live there?
You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.
For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it’s actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.
With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2014-2018 around incomes and costs. They are:
- Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
- Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
- Median Home Price
We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).
You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in New Jersey to figure out which is the least expensive.
What you are left with is a “Cost of Living Index” by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.
So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 187 places in New Jersey that have more than 5,000 people.
The place with the lowest cost of living in New Jersey according to the data is Stratford. You can download the data here.
There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. New Jersey Cheapskate
If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in New Jersey, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in New Jersey for 2020.
Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in New Jersey according to the data:
- Englewood Cliffs
- Palisades Park
For more New Jersey reading, check out: