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A Complete Guide to the Cost of Living in New Jersey

By Amy Wood in New Jersey


7 hours ago

The cost of living is an important consideration when you’re thinking about relocating to a new area. Whether you’re moving to a bigger home or downsizing after retiring, housing prices, taxes, salaries and other costs may affect your decision. These five factors influence the cost of living in New Jersey.

Home Prices

Home prices vary depending on the town and the age and size of the house. According to Zillow, the mean prices for homes in our area are:

  • Montgomery Township          $745,000
  • Hillsborough Township          $436,411
  • Princeton                                  $825,000
  • Somerset                                  $329,000
  • Bridgewater                             $484,900
  • Scotch Plains                           $577,000

As you probably recall from your high school or college statistics class, mean is the average of all prices. Upscale homes generally sell significantly more than the mean price. Brand new homes can also be a little more expensive. These homes are maintenance free, offer environmentally friendly features and provide modern amenities that make them more comfortable and convenient than older homes.

Jobs and Salaries

Central New Jersey is home to many large corporations, including MetLife, AT & T, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, InVentiv Health, Nestle Health Science, Somerset Medical Center, Avaya and others. Although many New Jersey residents are employed by these companies, you’ll also find job opportunities with small and medium-sized businesses, including law firms, accounting or marketing agencies, manufacturers, stores and restaurants.

Expanding your job search to New York City and Philadelphia offer many more opportunities. Both of the cities can be reached in an hour or two from Central New Jersey.

Home prices may be higher in New Jersey than in many other parts of the country but so are salaries. The Occupational Employment and Wages 2017 report, authored by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (published in January 2019) includes average salaries for these Central New Jersey jobs:

  • Computer Network Architects           $134,480
  • Personal Financial Advisors               $124,270
  • Nurse Practitioners                             $115,600
  • Pharmacists                                          $113,180
  • Systems Software Developers           $112,820
  • Electrical Engineers                             $111,580
  • Technical Sales Representatives       $103,340
  • Management Analysts                       $103,170

Throughout the state, the average salaries of the highest paid earners include:

  • Orthodontists                                                 $263,880
  • Psychiatrists                                                   $252,470
  • Dentists                                                           $200,970
  • Family and General Practitioners               $216,890
  • Petroleum Engineers                                    $187,370
  • Marketing Managers                                    $177,000
  • Information System Managers                   $175,830

Property Taxes

Property taxes comprise a healthy percentage of your mortgage payment and shouldn’t be overlooked when you’re considering buying a New Jersey home. Patch.com compiled a handy list of average property taxes throughout the state. This is what homeowners in Central New Jersey pay on average annually, according to their data:

  • Princeton                                    $19,388
  • Bernardsville Borough             $15,362
  • Montgomery Township           $15,112
  • Scotch Plains                             $13,419
  • Somerville                                  $9,761
  • Branchburg                                $9,419
  • Hillsborough                              $9,279
  • Bridgewater Township             $9,144


Childcare Costs

Quality, reliable childcare must also be considered when you’re tallying the cost of living. According to NJ.com, Somerset County parents pay a median price of $1,000 monthly for infant daycare. The price rises to $1,425 in the 75th percentile. Preschooler costs in Somerset County are $945 median and $1,135 for the 75th percentile.

If you’re looking at homes in Union County, you can expect to pay  $1,050 for infant daycare  and $1,586 for the 75th percentile. Parents of preschoolers pay $950 median and $1540 for the 75th percentile.

Other Costs

The cost of utilities, groceries, transportation and healthcare also affects your monthly budget and cost of living. Taking a look at two Central New Jersey townships, Hillsborough and Scotch Plains, can you give you an ideal of comparative costs. According to Bestplaces.net, the overall cost of living in Hillsborough is 140.2. (The national average is 100 for all categories.) Other categories include transportation (140.9), grocery (106.7), utilities (110.9) and healthcare (88.7).

The cost of living in Scotch Plans is 145.9. Healthcare is below average at 88.7, while transportation (152.1), grocery (107.3) and utility costs (104.5) are above the national average.

Are you relocating to New Jersey but haven’t found the ideal home yet? Country Classics’ new home communities in Central New Jersey offer all the amenities and features you need, including gourmet kitchens, large family rooms and luxurious master bedroom suites. Contact us for more information about our newest communities.

Amy Wood

Vice President of Operations at Country Classics

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