For most of us, there’s no place like home. Then again, the market for homes is not what it used to be. Falling home prices, rising taxes and the financial pressures facing most towns have reshaped the nation’s real estate landscape.
Of course, some towns are more susceptible than others to the latest shift. Our 2011 list of New Jersey’s Top Towns reflects that reality—with the state’s most affluent towns dominating the rankings. What’s more, the top-ranked towns in our list are generally in northern counties such as Bergen, Morris and Somerset, where much of the state’s wealth is concentrated. Conversely, the rural and southern counties—hard hit by job losses and foreclosures—fare poorly.
Michael Greenberg, a professor at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, who served as an advisor for this year’s rankings, says the results “correspond closely to the distribution of wealth to the advantaged and less advantaged—and the resources and services that go along with that.”
This year’s survey was conducted by Leflein Associates, a Ringwood-based research company; click here to view the methodology. Note that we have made some methodology changes that significantly affect the results. Several factors have been dropped since the 2010 rankings (population change; open space; joblessness), and we no longer rank towns with populations below 1,500, since it is difficult to get statistically significant data on small municipalities.
CORRECTION: The main list of Top Towns and the breakout rankings listed below have been revised to reflect a correction in the calculations for Home Values. In the original rankings, for certain towns, we inadvertently used 2011 data to determine the median property tax bill, instead of 2010 data. This made a significant difference for towns that underwent a reassessment between 2010 and 2011.
Click on the links below to view the corresponding Top Towns information: