Pros and Cons of Living in New Jersey vs. Westchester
Commute to NYC
Pros and Cons of Living in New Jersey for NYC Commute:
Multiple Transit Options: New Jersey offers a variety of transportation options, including NJ Transit trains and buses, as well as the PATH train. Note that this is only good if you are looking to move to NJ towns that have an NJ transit train station in town or are on the PATH line.
West Side Advantage: If your office is located on the west side of Manhattan, living in New Jersey can be particularly advantageous since you will get into Penn Station or Port Authority. Coming in from New Jersey makes for a shorter and more efficient commute to Manhattan’s west side.
Not Convenient to Midtown East: If your office is located in Midtown East, commuting from New Jersey might not be the most convenient choice. Metro North trains from Westchester will get you into Grand Central Terminal. You are better off living in Westchester if your office is in Midtown East.
Lacking Transportation Options: If you are looking into moving to NJ towns that are not on the NJ Transit train line, then it’s really difficult to commute into NYC. Your options are the bus which is excruciatingly slow and prone to delays from traffic congestion or you have to drive into the city in your car.
Lack of Direct Trains: Depending on where you live in New Jersey, your town may not have direct NJ Transit trains to NYC, which means you will need to transfer trains in Secaucus.
Conversely, if you live in Westchester, every Metro North train station in Westchester is a direct train to NYC. There is no need to transfer trains.
Pros and Cons of Living in Westchester for NYC Commute:
Direct Access to Midtown: The Metro North train from Westchester will take you into Grand Central Terminal. Living in Westchester is ideal if your office is located in Midtown East, saving you valuable time on your daily commute.
Direct Trains: All the Metro North trains from Westchester to NYC are direct trains, there is no need to transfer trains when it comes to commuting from Westchester.
Near Train Stations: Westchester is smaller than New Jersey so the train stations are not as spread out. That means wherever you live in Westchester County, chances are you are within a 10 minute drive to a Metro North train station. While in New Jersey, the NJ transit stations are further apart and spotty, there are places in New Jersey that are far from a train station.
Beautiful Grand Central: Commuting into Grand Central is a much nicer experience than commuting into Port Authority or Penn Station. Grand Central is a much nicer station than Port Authority or Penn Station.
Westchester vs NJ: Commute to NYC
The winner when it comes to commuting to NYC will depend on where you work. If you work in the westside of Manhattan, then you are better off living in New Jersey. If your office is in midtown East, then you are better off living in Westchester County.
Check out: Reasons to Move to Westchester County
Property taxes is a major consideration when you are deciding whether to move to New Jersey or Westchester County. New Jersey has notoriously high property tax rates and Westchester County also has high real estate taxes. Let’s compare the property taxes for both Westchester vs New Jersey.
Comparing Westchester Property Taxes vs. New Jersey Property Taxes
It’s hard to compare property taxes if you don’t know which town you are moving into. Let’s take a look at a few houses in Westchester to get an idea of how the property taxes compare.
Westchester Property Taxes: For example in Scarsdale, NY, a home priced at $1 million had a property tax of $21,816 a year while in Larchmont at $1 million had property taxes of $18,240 and in New Rochelle a $1.1 million had property taxes of $24,936.
New Jersey Property Taxes: If you take a home in Montclair, NJ priced at $1 million, the property tax is $20,472 a year while a home in Summit, NJ priced at $1.195 million, has a property tax of $14,076 and a $1 million home in Demarest, NJ had property taxes of $14,784.
Based on the examples above, I’d say both New Jersey and Westchester have comparable property taxes. They are both high (higher than Connecticut for sure!).
It’s really hard to compare property taxes because you will need to know the specific town, some NJ towns have higher property tax rates than others.
Also, you need to find out when the assessment is for your town and how they calculate property taxes. If your town reassesses property taxes every time there is a sale, then chances are your property taxes will go up.
You should also find out how the town calculates property taxes, if it’s based on purchase price then that might also mean your property taxes will go up after you buy the home.
Check out: Best NJ Commuter Towns to NYC
NJ vs. Westchester Property Taxes
There is no clear winner when it comes to property taxes for Westchester vs New Jersey since they are comparable.
You will pay less in sales tax when you live in New Jersey vs Westchester County. The sales tax in New Jersey is 6.625% while the sales tax in Westchester County is 8.375%. New Jersey also has the advantage of having tax exemptions on food, clothing, prescription drugs and over the counter drugs. That means you don’t pay taxes on your groceries and clothes in New Jersey.
New Jersey vs Westchester: Sales Tax
The winner for sales tax is New Jersey!
Your shopping options are much better in New Jersey vs Westchester County. There are many malls in NJ and also many Big Box retail stores like Target and Walmart. You don’t have to drive far to get to a mall or a big box store when you live in New Jersey.
While if you live in Westchester County, there are a handful of malls and barely any big box retail stores. In lower Westchester County, you only have the Westchester Mall, Cross County Mall and Ridgehill Mall and there are no Walmarts (the one in White Plains closed) and only 3 Target stores.
New Jersey vs Westchester: Shopping
The winner for shopping options is New Jersey. Hands down, New Jersey has more variety when it comes to shopping.
If you want to have access to beaches, then you are better off living in Westchester County versus New Jersey. In Westchester County, there are beaches in New Rochelle, Larchmont and Rye. These beaches are open to Westchester County residents so no matter where you live in Westchester, you have beach access.
There are also many private beach clubs in Westchester County if you want to live the country club/resort lifestyle in Westchester.
Check out: Best Beaches and Pools in Westchester County
While if you live in northern New Jersey, there are really no beaches nearby. If you want the beach lifestyle in New Jersey, then you will need to move to Jersey Shore towns like Rumson and Fair Haven which means you will have to commute into the city via the high speed ferry. You are looking at an hour and half commute into NYC which may be a little too long if you have to go into Manhattan for work every day.
New Jersey vs Westchester: Beaches
When it comes to beaches, you are better off living in Westchester County. In Westchester, you can enjoy the luxury of being just 5 minutes away from the beach while still having a manageable 40-minute commute to NYC.
By living in Westchester, you get the best of both worlds, allowing you to spend your days at the beach and watch a Broadway show at night – you can do both when you live in Westchester County!