Relocating for work is always a challenging process – for both the employee who is transferring and the company who is moving them. Employees are often resistant to relocating, and statistics show that moves to locations where the cost of living is high are the offers employees resist most.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the New York City area is the move most often refused. In 2017, Kiplinger ranked it the most expensive city in the country, with a cost of living nearly 128% above the U.S. average. The median home value is the highest in the nation and so is the average rent for an apartment: an astounding $4,239 a month. Residents also pay a 43% premium at the grocery store and health care is a third more costly than average. Even the price of a movie ticket is nearly 50% higher than anywhere else.
The good news is that workers relocating to jobs in Manhattan have numerous options when it comes to choosing a new city or town. Many of the suburbs that are just a stone’s throw from the city offer all the perks of urban living – including world-class restaurants, entertainment, and culture as well as high-quality medical facilities, top schools, and a diverse mix of communities. Add to this the ability to travel to the city, the beach, or the mountains in an hour or less, and you’ve got one of the most desirable destinations in the region: Bergen County, New Jersey.
Living in Bergen County and working in New York City has numerous advantages for relocating employees. Located in northern New Jersey, Bergen County is the most populous county in the state, offering something for everyone – from family-friendly villages to thriving transit-centric downtowns. Here are 10 reasons why living in Bergen County is better for Manhattan-based employees:
1. More Affordable Housing
In 2016, the price per square foot for housing in New York City was $1,759, a 31% increase over 2015. In New Jersey, the median price per square foot was $169, and prices only rose about 5% over the previous year. Bergen County’s proximity to Manhattan keeps home prices higher than most other counties: in 2016 the median price for a single-family residence was $465,000. However, even after factoring in the state’s high property taxes, a house or apartment will cost less in New Jersey.
2. Preferred by Young Professionals
Bergen County is ranked third among New Jersey counties preferred by Milliennials (based on data from the U.S. Census, FBI, BLS, and other sources.) Young professionals are drawn to the wealth of job opportunities and access to affordable housing, as well as the array of restaurants, nightlight, recreation, and entertainment options.
3. Family Friendly Vibe
Bergen County has always been a popular destination for families. Highly-rated schools, low crime rates, community programs, children’s activities, and access to restaurants, shopping and a variety of other resources are just some of the reasons they choose to make their homes here. In its annual rankings of Best Towns for Families, NJ Family magazine ranked 29 Bergen County towns in the 2017 Top 100 Best Towns for families in New Jersey, with Glen Rock coming in at number 3.
For families or singles getting to know a new neighborhood, the process can be pretty overwhelming. A relocation service like Suburban Settlers can provide a custom roadmap to everything from finding a new doctor, a dentist, or veterinarian to the best shops, parks, and gyms. We even offer one-on-one “confidence tours”, personally escorting employees through their new community. We show them the best restaurant, retail, and recreation options, as well as places locals frequent. They get the benefit of our insider knowledge and feel at home in their new surroundings, faster.
4. A Manageable Commute
Among the top 15 Best Commuter Towns in New Jersey in 2017, 10 towns are in Bergen County (municipalities with rush hour train travel times of 50 minutes or less). This is a testament to the county’s bus, train, and ferry services, which provide access to the city and all parts of the county. For many residents of northern New Jersey, getting to the office in Manhattan takes the same amount of time city dwellers spend traveling by subways and buses. The cost of commuting is a factor, but it’s likely to be outweighed by the savings of living west of the Hudson.
5. Highways and Byways
Having a car in New York City is costly. The monthly fee to park in a garage can run from $250 to $500 or more, not to mention dealing with city traffic and a shortage of street parking. Bergen County offers ample parking and easy access to just about anywhere, whether shopping for groceries or driving to a business meeting in Philadelphia. Bergen’s extensive transportation network – comprised of nearly 3,000 miles of state highways and local roads – connects the county with New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and beyond.
6. Top-Notch Schools
Bergen County is known for its great schools. Public elementary, middle, and high schools consistently achieve Blue Ribbon status and students go on to some of the finest colleges and universities after graduating. In fact, New Jersey has the second-highest high school graduation rate: in 2016, 89.7% of students graduated and eight out of 10 attended college. Some of the state’s finest private schools, both secular and religious, also call Bergen County home.
Finding the right schools or childcare options is essential for helping employees and their families settle into their new neighborhood. Suburban Settlers can be instrumental in doing the required research, making qualified recommendations, and organizing onsite visits either before or after the move.
7. Fabulous Food
From diners and delis to fine dining destinations, Bergen County’s food landscape features some of the best restaurants in the state. Many are helmed by accomplished chefs creating unique American and international cuisine that rivals their Manhattan neighbors. Whether it’s authentic corned beef sandwiches and pizza; Asian Fusion, Lebanese, and classic French; breakfast, brunch, or a late-night snack, foodies flock to Northern New Jersey for great food and memorable dining experiences.
8. The Great Outdoors
New Jersey’s natural wonders are often underrated, from its 127 miles of ocean coastline to mountains crisscrossed by hiking trails – not to mention spectacular views of New York City’s skyline. Bergen County residents have a short drive to beaches, mountains, and lakes, and access to nearly 9,000 acres of county parkland featuring playgrounds, walking/jogging/biking paths, tennis and basketball courts, horse riding stables, ice skating, swimming, fishing, festivals, and concerts.
9. Culture Close to Home
The New Jersey State Opera, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and the New Jersey Ballet Company are all located in the northern part of the state. Bergen County has its own performing arts center, local theaters and art museums, and concert and performance venues ranging from intimate supper clubs to arenas and stadiums. Sports fans can enjoy professional football, basketball, and soccer without crossing the Hudson.
10. The Best of Both Worlds
Bergen County’s blend of suburban and urban offers Manhattan-bound workers the best of both worlds. At Suburban Settlers, our mission is to help ensure that the process of relocating is less daunting for employees and their families. And that once they feel truly at home in their northern New Jersey community, they will be reluctant to move anywhere else.