Inside NJ’s Top Town Rankings

A closer look at notable evolutions in our biennial survey.

Madison Photo by Laura Baer

Madison is the number 1 town in this year’s Top Towns survey, conducted every other year by an independent research firm.

The Morris County borough leads the charge of eight newcomers to the chart’s top 10. Bernards (at number 4) and Chatham Township (5) are the sole holdovers from the top 10 of the 2017 chart. Busting into the top 10 along with Madison are Summit, Bedminster, Harding, Woodcliff Lake, Chatham Borough, Mountainside and Closter. Most of those communities experienced a significant increase in median home price from 2016 to 2018. For example, Closter, at number 10, made a huge chart jump from number 160 in 2017, thanks largely to a 26.6 percent increase in median home price. On the other hand, a 0.7 percent decrease in average residential tax bill fueled Bedminster’s chart rise from 37 to 3. 

Among the other municipalities making notable jumps is Jersey City. New Jersey’s second-largest city (by population) moves all the way from number 298 in 2017 to number 3o. What’s behind Jersey City’s surge? Residents can thank a 29.1 percent increase in median home price and a 7.4 percent drop in average residential tax bill for the 2016-2018 period.

As has been the case in recent years, northern New Jersey dominates the upper reaches of the chart. Bergen County alone has 25 towns in the Top 100. Under our chart methodology, most towns in less-affluent southern New Jersey are hampered by relatively low home prices and poorer-performing school systems than North Jersey.

Point Pleasant Borough, in Ocean County, is the Top Town from New Jersey’s eight southern counties, coming in at number 24.

Meanwhile in Bergen County, Ho-Ho-Kus, which topped the chart in 2017, suffers the double whammy of a 4.4 percent increase in average tax bill and a 5.6 percent rise in median home price. That drops the town to number 58 this year.

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