Houses in Ocean City, New Jersey

The Best Places To Buy A House In NJ In 2021

Andrew Dehan6 minute read
September 23, 2021

The Garden State – New Jersey – home of Bruce Springsteen, the Jersey Shore and The Sopranos. Snugged up between New York City and Philadelphia, New Jersey is the most densely populated state in America. Yet it offers a lot of variety in landscape and lifestyle.

Whether you’re looking to live near a large city like NYC or Philly, invest in a house on the beach or moving to a quiet township, New Jersey has it. Read on to learn the best places to buy a home in New Jersey.

Where Is The Best Place To Live In New Jersey?

The best place to live in New Jersey depends on who you are and what you want. Jersey has bustling nightlife, cultural diversity, farmland and is close to two of the country’s largest cities. Whether you’re commuting to a job in NYC or Philadelphia, want a house on the shore or are looking for a quiet and affordable home within reach of a large city, New Jersey’s got it.

As anyone who’s spent time in Jersey will tell you, there’s a significant difference between North Jersey and South Jersey. Where northerners are enthralled by the bright lights of New York City, southerners are often overwhelmed by Philadelphia. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “This state is a barrel tapped at both ends.”

This split is evident culturally. Northerners root for New York teams, call their sandwiches subs and refer to pork roll as Taylor Ham. Southerners, on the other hand, root for the Eagles, eat hoagies and call their Taylor Ham “pork roll.” Northerners tend to be direct and move at a quicker pace where Southerners are more polite but may not say what they’re thinking.

Here’s our recommendation on the best places to buy a home in New Jersey. For a complete list of homes available right now, check out New Jersey homes for sale.

You know your dream home.

We’ll help you find it.

Hoboken, NJ: Best Place To Buy A House In North Jersey

Aerial View of Hoboken, NJ

If you want to be close to NYC, Hoboken is a great place to be. Right on the Hudson River, getting to Manhattan is just a trip through a tunnel (Holland or Lincoln). It’s much more affordable than nearby areas, has lower crime than the national average (and neighboring Jersey City) and has a low unemployment rate (4.2%). Not to mention, Hoboken has its own downtown area, so you won’t have to go far to get a piece of nightlife or culture.

Look at homes for sale in Hoboken and check out Hoboken real estate trends.

  • Median Home Sale (August 2021): $749,000
  • Total Population: 52,677
  • Household Income: $127,523
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.2%
  • Average Commute Time: 39.4 minutes

Cherry Hill, NJ: Best Place To Buy A House In South Jersey

Nearby Evans Pond in Cherry Hill NJ

Chances are, if you want to move to South Jersey, you want more space and easier access to nature. Cherry Hill has this, while still being just 8 miles from the center of Philadelphia. An employment hub of South Jersey, Cherry Hill benefits from being an edge city to Camden and Philadelphia, but also only an hour commute to Trenton or Princeton.

On top of its great location, it’s quiet and affordable. Violent crime in Cherry Hill is about half the national average, and the cost of living in Cherry Hill is much lower than most places in the rest of the state. If you want a home with both natural beauty and the bustling city within a short drive, Cherry Hill’s a great spot.

Look at homes for sale in Cherry Hill and check out Cherry Hill real estate trends.

  • Median Home Sale (August 2021): $350,500
  • Total Population: 72,037
  • Household Income: $97,069
  • Unemployment Rate: 5.0%
  • Average Commute Time: 27.9 minutes

Red Bank, NJ: Best Place Overall

Aerial View of Red Bank, NJ

Located just south of the Navesink River, Exit 109 on the Parkway, Red Bank is a great place if you still want to be able to commute to NYC, but also want to be close to the boardwalk. Red Bank splits the difference. It’s not South Jersey, but it’s not quite North Jersey either.

With many boutiques, clothing stores and restaurants, Red Bank has a bustling business district and brings in droves with entertainment festivals. Add the fact that Red Bank has a lower cost of living than average in Jersey, especially this close to NYC. On top of this, low crime rates and a solid school system make Red Bank the best overall place to buy a house in New Jersey.

Check out the great homes for sale in Red Bank and look over the latest real estate trends.

  • Median Home Sale (August 2021): $406,000
  • Total Population: 11,979
  • Household Income: $75,114
  • Unemployment Rate: 6.8%
  • Average Commute Time: 29.5 minutes

Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Best If Money Is No Object

View of The Bronx From Englewood Cliffs, NJ

If you’re looking for a big and beautiful home, the small town of Englewood Cliffs is the New York City suburb to check out. For those with the money to spend, Englewood Cliffs offers great homes, a low crime rate and even a couple beaches on the Hudson. All just a drive across the George Washington Bridge from NYC.

Space is one of the biggest draws to Englewood Cliffs. Not only are the homes larger, but the lots are, too. It’s not uncommon to see homes on quarter- to half-acre lots. Sure, the cost of living is high, but if you can afford a home in Englewood Cliffs, you can afford to live here.

Check out some of the beautiful homes for sale in Englewood Cliffs and explore Englewood Cliffs real estate trends.

  • Median Home Sale (August 2021): $2,188,000
  • Total Population: 5,354
  • Household Income: $134,629
  • Unemployment Rate: 7.4%
  • Average Commute Time: 34.3 minutes

Little Egg Harbor, NJ: Best Place For Quiet Affordability

Little Egg Harbor, NJ

On the opposite end, if you’re looking for somewhere quiet and affordable that’s still not too far from the city, Little Egg Harbor is a great place for families and young professionals. Your money goes much further in Little Egg Harbor compared to the rest of NJ, plus there’s low crime rates and good schools.

Its location near the shore, as well its proximity to wildlife areas like the Bass River State Forest, make Little Egg Harbor a great place for nature lovers. It’s close to Atlantic City, and only a little over an hour drive from Philadelphia, too, making trips to the city for a night out or game day doable.

Look into these great homes for sale in Little Egg Harbor and research the Little Egg Harbor real estate trends.

  • Median Home Sale (August 2021): $279,000
  • Total Population: 22,007
  • Household Income: $63,590
  • Unemployment Rate: 6.2%
  • Average Commute Time: 37 minutes

Belmar, NJ: Best Place To Buy A House On The Shore

Belmar NJ Beachfront

Maybe you’re not looking for a place to commute from. Maybe you want a place where you can get away from it all or rent out as an investment property. What you need is a shore house, and you should start your search in Belmar. Belmar’s a small shore town with easy beach access and a cute downtown area.

It’s located near Asbury Park, making that town’s cool boutiques and nightlife within reach, but with much less crime. It’s also surrounded by popular beach towns like Spring Lake, Sea Girt and Avon-By-The-Sea, but without the elevated cost of living and real estate prices. With Belmar, you get nearby culture and attractions in a town with beachfront access and great nearby restaurants and attractions.

If you’re looking for your own shore house, or solid investment property, Belmar is a good place to get started.

Check out homes for sale in Belmar and learn about the local real estate trends.

  • Median Home Sale (August 2021): $685,000
  • Total Population: 5,540
  • Household Income: $ $74,942
  • Unemployment Rate: 6.8%
  • Average Commute Time: 31.1 minutes

Methodology And Factors Considered For New Jersey

This list is entirely subjective and was created using data derived from Rocket Homes℠ home sale data, the U.S. Census Bureau and BestPlaces. Besides the specific data bulleted out under each place above, we considered crime rates and health costs to make this list.

Here’s how each of these affected the end results of this list.

Crime Rates

In order to be considered for this list, places had to have crime rates below the state and national average. This knocked out Camden, Trenton, Newark, Atlantic City and many of Jersey’s larger cities. It also increased competition. For example, Hoboken was named best city in North Jersey over places like nearby Jersey City due to its lower crime rate.

Health Costs

Given that access to affordable healthcare is a huge factor for many Americans, we took it into account when developing this list. One contributing reason why Cherry Hill was named the best place in South Jersey was because its healthcare costs are over 7% below the national average. Lower costs healthcare costs were also a deciding factor in naming Englewood Cliffs and Little Egg Harbor winners in their categories as well.

The Bottom Line

There’s more to Jersey than most people may think. Whether you’re looking for a home near a powerhouse city, a quiet spot next to a pond or a beach getaway, New Jersey has it all. Because of its proximity to NYC, Philadelphia and the ocean, you’re always close to somewhere interesting. While it’s been the butt of jokes and hasn’t always looked the greatest on TV, neither has Florida, and people are still moving there.

Deciding where you want to live in Jersey has a lot to do with what your needs are and your budget. In general, the closer you get to NYC, the higher the cost of living. Use Rocket Homes to research, connect with a real estate agent and find your dream home.

Need a real estate agent?

Match with a local expert.

Apply For A Mortgage Online

Andrew Dehan

Andrew Dehan is a professional writer who writes about real estate and homeownership. He is also a published poet, musician and nature-lover. He lives in metro Detroit with his wife, daughter and dogs.