Have you recently accepted a job in New York City? If so, then congratulations! As you prepare to begin your new position, one of the most important steps you’ll need to take is to secure a place to live near your place of employment (if you haven’t done so already). It’s no secret that New York City is one of the most expensive places in the world to live—but believe it or not, working in NYC doesn’t mean you have to live there.
In recent years, more people have begun moving to New Jersey and commuting to their jobs in different areas of New York City, such as Manhattan. Specifically, Jersey City has become a hot-spot for those who work in NYC but want to live somewhere more affordable, all while still being close enough to the Big Apple to commute to work daily.
Before you sign a lease on an overpriced studio apartment in Manhattan, then, be sure to at least explore your options in Jersey City. You may be surprised at how much more affordable it is to live here and how easy the daily commute to your job in New York City can be. By having a better understanding of what living in Jersey City is like, as well as some of the pros and cons of living there while working in New York City, you can ultimately make an informed and confident decision.
About Jersey City
Jersey City, New Jersey is situated along the Hudson River and part of Upper New York Bay. As the second most populated city in New Jersey, its population is estimated at 247,597 as of the 2010 United States Census. Some people actually consider Jersey City to be a “hidden NYC borough” due to the fact that the commute is significantly shorter between Manhattan and Jersey City than it is between Manhattan and many other NYC neighborhoods.
While not nearly as large as New York City, Jersey City is still a relatively large city and offers plenty in the way of arts and entertainment, dining, and more. Major employers in the city’s bustling downtown area include Barclays and Goldman Sachs.
Benefits of Living in Jersey City
Whether you’ve already accepted a job offer in New York City or are seeking employment in the Big Apple, there are many reasons to consider calling Jersey City home.
Lower Overall Cost of Living
Despite the proximity, the overall cost of living in Jersey City is significantly lower than any of the neighborhoods in New York City. According to Numbeo.com data, overall consumer prices in New York City are more than 25% higher than they are in Jersey City. Groceries, dining, and general consumer goods are also much higher in NYC than they are in Jersey City. If you’re looking to make your budget stretch as far as possible, then, you’ll get a lot more out of your money when living in Jersey City as opposed to an expensive NYC neighborhood like Manhattan.
More Affordable/Available Real Estate
In addition to the overall cost of living being more affordable in Jersey City, real estate (both rentals and purchases) is much more affordable and easy to come by in Jersey City. In fact, rent prices in New York City are estimated to be around 65% higher than rent in Jersey City.
Let’s look at a specific example for comparison. According to Business Insider, the average monthly cost of living in Jersey City is about $2,000. This includes a mortgage payment of about $1,300, in addition to property taxes and similar costs. In Manhattan, the average monthly cost of living is more than $4,500 per month, including a typical mortgage payment nearly $3,700.
With lower mortgage and rental costs in Jersey City, this may mean you’ll be able to afford a nicer/larger place or that you’re able to pocket that extra money that you otherwise would have spent on your costly NYC rent. Many people also find that they don’t need to find roommates to afford a place to live in Jersey City, whereas you may find it necessary to find one or several roommates to comfortably afford a place in an NYC neighborhood like Manhattan or Queens.
There also tends to be less competition for places to live in Jersey City, which could make it less stressful for you to find and secure a place to live. All too often, the biggest challenge of moving to NYC is finding and securing a place to live before it gets taken off the market.
The sales taxes in Jersey City are also much lower than that of New York City’s. Specifically, NYC has a whopping 8.5% sales tax, whereas Jersey City’s is just 3.5%. This means you’ll save even more money on the goods you purchase while living in Jersey City. New Jersey also has no sales tax on clothing/apparel items, so you can save money if you need to stock up on a new wardrobe for work.
Potential Drawbacks to Consider
While there are plenty of advantages to living in Jersey City while working in New York City, there are some potential drawbacks to consider as well.
Commute Costs and Time
When you live in Jersey City and work in NYC, you’ll have to commute. Depending on where your place of employment is located and what time of day you need to travel in/out of work, you could end up spending a fair amount of time on your daily commute. Commuting can also add up in terms of cost. However, it is worth noting that even if you lived in New York City, you’d probably still have a commute to get to your work each day.
You may be able to alleviate some of your commute costs and time by inquiring with your employer about potentially working remotely one or two days a week. More employers are open to this option than ever before, though it may not be appropriate for all industries.
For those who love New York City and its unique vibe, the simple fact is that you cannot recreate the NYC lifestyle anywhere else. Jersey City, like living in Weehawken, has a lot to offer and has its own unique culture, but it is by no means similar to that of New York City. With this in mind, those who are really looking forward to becoming a “true New Yorker” may not be happy living in Jersey City.
Potential Tax/Withholding Confusion
Any time you’re living in a different state than the one in which you work, there can be some confusion when it comes to tax withholding and paying your state taxes. You may need to consult with a tax professional to make sure you’re paying the appropriate amounts to each state; otherwise, you may face underpayment penalties when it comes time to file.
The good news is that it’s extremely common for people to live in New Jersey while working in NYC, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to work this out and avoid problems.
Jersey City Real Estate
Now that you have a better understanding of the inherent pros and cons of living in Jersey City while working in New York City, you may be wondering what to expect when it comes to seeking out Jersey City real estate. Whether you’re interested in buying or renting, there are some important things to keep in mind.
Which Neighborhood is Right For You?
Start by getting a better feel for the different neighborhoods in Jersey City; this way, you can ultimately narrow down which neighborhoods will best suit your lifestyle and budget. For example, if you want the “big city” feel, then you’ll probably want to look in downtown Jersey City for your next home or you may want to check out Hoboken. There are plenty of condominium and apartment buildings in downtown Jersey City, though single-family homes here can be a little more difficult to come by. Still, downtown is a great place to live if you want to be within easy walking distance to nightlife, restaurants, and much more of what Jersey City has to offer.
Another popular neighborhood to consider is that of Paulus Hook; this particular neighborhood is the closest to Manhattan, making for the shortest commute if that’s where you’ll be working. It’s actually only one mile across the river from Paulus-Hook to Manhattan. This neighborhood also has a charming small-town feel with plenty of great local shops and restaurants.
The Bergen-Lafayete neighborhood is another one to consider, especially if you’re looking to live somewhere that is rich in culture and diversity. There are a lot of luxury rental options here, but if you’re on a budget, you’ll have options for both buying and renting as well.
Getting to NYC From Jersey City
If you’re interested in living in Jersey City while you work in NYC, you’ll want to take some time and research your transportation options so you know just how to get to work each day. Perhaps the most popular commuting option to get between New Jersey and New York City is the PATH train, which runs 24 hours a day and provides direct routes from Jersey City to Midtown Manhattan, downtown Manhattan, and most of Brooklyn.
In addition to the PATH train, there are also plenty of bus lines that run directly from Jersey City to different parts of New York City. These tend to be independently run, so prices can vary. Still, this is an option worth checking out. Just be aware that you may be prone to being stuck in traffic if you need to commute during popular times of day, such as rush hour.
Ferries across the Hudson River are another great transportation option—and depending on where in Jersey City you live, this could be the most practical and affordable commuting choice as well. And of course, you’ll enjoy beautiful skyline views (and no stand-still rush-hour traffic) when you take the ferry in to work.
Tips for a Smooth Move
Leaning towards moving to Jersey City and commuting to work in NYC? If so, there are some tips you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure that your move goes as smoothly as possible.
Hire a Team of Professionals
When it comes to loading and transporting all of your belongings, hiring a team of professional movers is one of the best choices you can make. This is especially true if you’ll be moving to or from a high-rise, where getting items in and out can be a real challenge. You will also need to hire a Jersey City maid service that is familiar with all the cleaning procedures in the city.
Consider a Broker or Real Estate Agent
While real estate is more affordable and readily available in Jersey City than it is in New York City, there is still some competition. By working with a real estate agent or broker, you may have an easier time finding a place that suits your needs and budget. These professionals will also help to ensure you’re getting a fair deal while serving as a line of communication between you and the seller or landlord/property management company.
Keep an Open Mind
If you have your heart set on living in a specific neighborhood in Jersey City, try to keep an open mind to seeing rentals or homes for sale in other parts of the city as well. Keeping an open mind can go a long way in taking the stress out of your home search and ultimately making it easier to find a place that works with your lifestyle needs and budget.
Inquire About Relocation Assistance
It never hurts to ask if your employer offers any kind of relocation assistance as part of your job offer. Some employers will kick in a certain dollar amount to go towards your move. This can help to cover the costs related to hiring movers or even furnishing your new place.
Don’t Overlook Professional Cleaners
Before you move into your new place, consider hiring professionals to perform a thorough move-in cleaning so you can save yourself the time and hassle of cleaning the place yourself. From there, you can move all your furniture in with confidence and not have to lift a finger when it comes to cleaning. Maid Sailors is proud to offer move-in/move-out services to take the stress out of your next move. If you’ll be moving out of a place in New York City, you can trust us with your move-out cleaning as well!
Overall, living in Jersey City while working in New York City can be a smart move—both from a budgetary and practical standpoint. You’ll be able to make your budget go further and have an easier time finding a great place to live.