Finding a home that meets your needs without breaking the bank can be a serious challenge. State-wide, New Jersey has a median home value of $343,500. When you add in maintenance costs and property taxes, it can be difficult for many to buy and own a home.
That's why we've compiled a list of affordable cities in New Jersey to help you find a new place to live. All of these places are more affordable than average, meaning you can get more bang for your buck.
Looking for the most affordable places in New Jersey is a start, but you'll save even more money by working with a great agent.
The top New Jersey real estate agents know the local market and where to find pockets of more affordable homes. They can also help negotiate a better price when you do find your dream home.
At Clever Real Estate, we can match you with agents in any area you're interested in — even multiple areas at the same time. You can interview as many agents as you like until you find the perfect place to call home — all at no cost or obligation to you.
Most affordable cities in New Jersey
Whether you're looking for a quiet small town or a trendy suburban neighborhood, it's possible to locate pockets of affordability throughout New Jersey.
Here are our top picks for New Jersey residents on a budget:
At first glance, Audubon might not seem like an inexpensive place to live. It gets a cost of living score of 111 — 11% above the U.S. average at 100. However, median home prices are lower, at only $210,900 as compared to $327,700 for the rest of the state.
The real advantage, however, is the median income. At $77,066, it’s 39% higher than the U.S. average. This is more than enough to cover the extra cost of living expenses and still make your paycheck stretch farther.
Audubon itself has a ton of amenities available to its residents. On the off chance that you can’t find something to do, Philadelphia is a quick 20-minute car ride away.
Who wouldn’t love to live in a place called Pleasantville? It must be quite...pleasant.
In reality, New Jersey’s Pleasantville is a great spot to live — close to the famous Atlantic City. You can live close enough to go enjoy the myriad of shows, events, and casinos without paying the high cost of living associated with the city.
Pleasantville scores a mere 108 on the cost of living index and the median home value is a modest $157,900. Interestingly, though home values are 15% lower than the national average, rent prices are 22% higher. Thus, you should definitely consider purchasing a home if you want to move to Pleasantville — or think about buying an investment property in the area.
Even after you've found a more affordable place to live in New Jersey, moving there can be expensive. By working with a Clever Partner Agent, you'll have an expert in your corner and you may be able to take advantage of Clever Cash Back.
When you buy a home with a Clever agent, you might be eligible for up to 0.5% cash back to use on anything you want. For the average home value of $343,500, you'd pocket $1,718 to help you move (or splurge on a great housewarming gift for yourself).
Looking for a small town atmosphere that’s great for raising a family? Check out the tiny town of Berlin, NJ. With less than 8,000 residents, you’ll start getting to know folks pretty quickly.
The cost of living index is 114, less than New Jersey’s index of 125. Median home prices are accessible at only $230,500. Top that off with a median income of $87,697 (50% higher than the U.S. average) and you have a place to live that won’t destroy your paycheck each week.
If you get tired of the small town vibe or just need a day in the city, Philadelphia is a mere 30-minutes away by car. It’s even close enough to work in Philadelphia if you can’t find the job you’re looking for in such a small town.
Rahway is a pleasant community not too far outside of New York. It’s a small town but there is plenty to do, including lots of family-friendly activities. The Union County Performing Arts Center alone offers concerts, plays, musicals, independent films and more that residents can check out.
The cost of living index is slightly lower than New Jersey as a whole at 120. Even though the index is 20% higher than the U.S. average, so is the median income — making it a wash. Median home values hover at an affordable $265,300.
If you don’t mind the commute, you could even opt to live in Rahway while working in NYC or Manhattan. Rahway is only about 15 miles from Manhattan, but the traffic can slow your commute down considerably.
If city living is for you, Trenton is a great option for keeping your cost of living down. Even as New Jersey’s capital city, the median home price is very affordable at only $100,000. The cost of living index is also desirable at only 97 — 3% lower than the U.S. average.
There is plenty to do and see and history buffs, in particular, will enjoy the city. Not only are there several museums and memorials but also you can see the only original barracks from the French and Indian war that still exist in the U.S.
There are lots of amenities that you can take advantage of in the city. Plus, even though the median household income is only $34,412 there are plenty of opportunities for higher paying jobs.
The benefits of a great real estate agent
If you're just researching affordable places to live, you might wonder why you need a real estate agent. They're the ones that help you once you've already decided on a house, right?
Not necessarily. The truth is, it's never too early to start looking for an agent. In fact, talking to a realtor early on in the process can help you narrow down your options much faster than doing research on your own.
A real estate agent's job is to know everything about their local area. They'll find the best deals in desirable neighborhoods — and might just help you snag your dream home for an affordable price. Let a Clever agent help you discover your options today — all while you enjoy 0.5% cash back!
Frequently asked questions about affordable places to live in New Jersey
In addition to shopping in some of the most affordable areas, you'll want to work with an experienced real estate agent. They can find you hidden gems at low price points. A good agent can also negotiate like a pro to get you a lower sale price and more buyer incentives. You may also be able to take advantage of home buyer rebates.
We recommend using the 28/36 rule to know how much house you can afford. This means your housing expenses shouldn't exceed 28% of your income, and all of your total debt shouldn't exceed 36%. Learn more about how to calculate your home buying budget.