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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.
We looked at several factors to create our top ten list, which included income to rent/house price ratios. This way, you will know where the cost of living is the lowest so your income will go the farthest.
What's the cheapest place to live in New Jersey? Topping our list comes Somerdale, a city right over the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border near Philly. You can live in New Jersey and work in Philadelphia: a great option for both your career and your savings.
Other dollar-saving cities in New Jersey include Stratford and Barrington. All in all, these cities on our list have one thing in common, which is their ability to give you great savings on rent. or even houses.
Interested to learn more about our methodology? Read on to learn how we crunched the numbers and to see how your favorite city in New Jersey stacked up on the affordability ranking.
And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about New Jersey and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In New Jersey For 2021
Somerdale is the 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 $170,500 for homes and earn a median income of $72,778, 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 $892, 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.
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 $179,100, Stratford has one of the lowest median home prices on this list, and Stratford residents earn a median income of $79,677, 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.
Audubon is another Philadelphia suburb that won't break the wallet, let alone the bank. With a median rent of $1,031 and a median home price of $212,700, housing in Audubon is slightly pricier than in Stratford. However, Audubon residents also earn slightly more, with a median income of $86,806. That gives Audubon the ninth 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.
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 $195,300, but residents also earn a median income of $78,773, 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.
Despite having some of the most expensive housing on this list, Berlin ranks as the fifth cheapest city in New Jersey. The median rent in Berlin is $1,167, 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 $97,003. If you're buying in Berlin, the median home price is $239,200, which may seem steep, but still represents the tenth lowest home price to income ratio in New Jersey.
Berlin is located about 20 miles southeast of Philadelphia.
Yet another Camden County suburb of Philadelphia, Runnemede is the sixth most affordable place in New Jersey. At a median price of $163,500, Runnemede has the second cheapest homes you'll see on this list. Runnemede residents earn a median income of $67,120, giving the borough the fifth 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.
Haddon Heights is the seventh 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 $972, less than half the statewide average. With residents earning a median income of $102,523, Haddon Heights has the fourth best rent to income ratio in the state. At $287,400, 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.
Bellmawr is a Philadelphia suburb of 11,398 that ranks as the eighth cheapest place to live in New Jersey. For starters, there's no better spot for a Philly commuter to rent, considering Bellmawr features the second lowest median rent in New Jersey at $898.
Bellmawr also has a good local economy, considering residents earn a median household income of $59,646 and unemployment is fairly low. Overall, the cost of living here is 17% lower than the New Jersey average, and housing is 44% cheaper.
The median home price in Bellmawr is $167,700, which is about as inexpensive as you can hope to find in New Jersey. And don't think that Bellmawr skimps on safety just because it's affordable - the overall crime rate in Bellmawr is nearly half the national average.
Another great perk to living in Bellmawr is that you have Philly just across the Delaware River. In just 20 minutes, you can be at the Liberty Bell or running up the Philadelphia Museum steps like Rocky. All without paying big-city prices.
A south Jersey borough of 8,626, Clayton ranks as the state's ninth least expensive place to call home. There's plenty to keep you occupied on a budget in Clayton, like Scotland Run Park and the continuous stream
Clayton is also quite close to Philadelphia, so if you're craving some big-city amenities, you don't have to go far.
Clayton also has incredibly safe streets, which has contributed to a significant increase in property values in recent years. The overall cost of living in Clayton is much cheaper than most of New Jersey, especially in terms of housing.
The median home price in Clayton is $197,600, which is a piece of cake for residents earning a median household income of $69,883. The median rent in Clayton is $1,033 - 22% cheaper than the New Jersey average.
Located in Gloucester County about a half hour south of Philadelphia, Pitman is the tenth most affordable place in New Jersey. The median rent in Pitman is $1,204, which gives the borough a not-so-impressive standing in terms of income to rent ratio. However, Pitman does have the eighth 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 at the local William Heritage Winery.
The median home price in Pitman is $185,600 and the median income is $75,909.
How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Garden State For 2021
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 2015-2019 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 186 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 Somerdale. 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 2021.
Here's a look at the most expensive cities in New Jersey according to the data:
- Englewood Cliffs
- Palisades Park
- Asbury Park
For more New Jersey reading, check out:
- Best Places To Buy A House In New Jersey
- Worst Places To Live In New Jersey
- Safest Places In New Jersey
The Most Affordable Places To Live In New Jersey