Are you considering making the move from Manhattan to the New Jersey suburbs? You’re not alone. Many city dwellers have already left the most expensive city in America, while others are weighing the advantages. One study published by the U.S. Census Bureau found that nearly one million more people have left New York than moved to New York since 2010, and another cites the cost of living in New York City as 120% above the national average.

The numbers might surprise you. According to numbeo.com, the monthly cost of living in Manhattan, excluding rent, for a four-person family is now almost $4300. Compounding the problem, the gentrification of several boroughs around Manhattan over the years has put once affordable neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Staten Island out of reach.

Perhaps you’re a city-lover growing tired of cramped living quarters and sky-high rent. Or maybe you’ve got one foot out the door and can already envision yourself strolling through local farmers’ markets under a canopy of colorful fall leaves.

Wherever you are in the decision-making process, here are 5 things to know about moving to the NJ suburbs:

1. Commuting from northern NJ to New York City is doable

If staying close to the heart of Manhattan is high on your priority list, then buying a northern New Jersey home could be the answer. With the convenience of the Midtown Direct train line, you’re a short ride away from your favorite restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. The daily commute isn’t bad, either. The average northern New Jersey commute time rings in around 30 to 45 minutes from towns located along the Midtown Direct. In fact, more than half of those who work in NYC live in outlying suburbs and take public transit into work.

2. NJ versus New York City property taxes

Compared to Manhattan, the property tax estimates for a comparably valued home in the suburbs may surprise you. Property worth $1,000,000 in Manhattan has an approximate annual property tax bill of $19,250. In Essex County, New Jersey where towns like Millburn, Short Hills, South Orange, and Maplewood are located, the estimated annual property tax bill would be about $20,500. In Union County, the annual tax bill is estimated at $18,700 for a $1,000,000 home.

In fact, for acreage and a home in the suburbs, the property tax bill is similar to what you might pay in New York City for a small condominium. In the city, there can also be pretty hefty common fees and monthly parking charges. In northern New Jersey, the Midtown Direct makes the commute into the city expeditious, and at the end of the day, you come back to more space, a backyard and a garage for your car.

If staying close to the heart of Manhattan is high on your priority list, then buying a New Jersey home could be the answer.

3. Living space: bigger is better (and cheaper) in the suburbs

A move to the suburbs can mean finally getting that home office or the freedom and space to add to your family. It also satisfies the innate need for space and tranquility at the end of a stressful day.

Dak Kopec, director of design for human health at Boston Architectural College, notes that “Home is supposed to be a safe haven, and a resident with a demanding job may feel trapped in a claustrophobic apartment at night.” There’s a small chance of getting space in the city that is larger than what you can buy in the suburbs for the same price. According to NeighborhoodX, Manhattan’s average price per square foot is a whopping $1,773, while the median New Jersey list price per square foot is $171.

moving from Manhattan

4. Owning a car: level up

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 76.7 percent of Manhattan residents do not own a car. High storage costs, parking nightmares, and traffic congestion are all contributing factors. In fact, by the latest estimates, the average cost of monthly parking in Manhattan is approximately $430, but it can run as high as $1000 per month.

Buying a home with a garage makes car ownership possible. Suburban dwellers love car ownership and the flexibility it brings. For families with busy children and schedules, cars are a must.

5. The white picket fence appeal to the suburbs

In addition to value, today’s homeowners are looking for a connection to their neighborhoods and communities. They are also in search of excellent public schools. Suburbs offer neighbors to greet on the sidewalk and socialize with on the weekends or at weekday school events. There are playgrounds, recreational activities and sports run by the towns. Having a backyard offers the opportunity to grow a garden, host a barbeque, adopt a dog, or build a pool – whatever your vision of the American dream may be.

Children can walk or ride a bike to school as many northern New Jersey towns are highly walkable and full of family-friendly activities. From swimming lessons at the local YMCA,  children’s activities at the town library or local playground, suburbia offers many advantages to life in the city.  

If you’ve been considering a move to the suburbs of northern New Jersey from Manhattan, I would love to assist you. Contact Victoria Carter at (973) 220-3050 or email victoria@victoriacarter.com.

2 Thoughts on “Moving from Manhattan to the New Jersey Suburbs: 5 Things to Know

  1. Menka Bihari says:

    Hi,
    We are a family of four with a 4 and a 8 year old. We are thinking on relocating to NJ from PA for a work opportunity in Manhattan. What neighborhoods should we be looking at? Looking for a single family home (4 Bed), newer construction preferably, yard space a must and with public transportation close by. Budget 500-800k.

    • Victoria Carter Victoria Carter says:

      Hi Menka, I would highly recommend West Orange. It has excellent schools, and you can find new construction within that price range. West Orange runs a free jitney bus service to both Orange Station and South Orange Station. I would love to assist you. Feel free to call me on (973) 220-3050 or email me at victoria@victoriacarter.com.

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