Oakland: Best Place to Live for Young Families

Located on the western edge of Bergen County, Oakland is woodsy and a bit remote, but its midsize homes, good schools and low crime rate make it popular with young families.

Located on the western edge of Bergen County, Oakland is woodsy and a bit remote, but its midsize homes, good schools and low crime rate make it popular with young families. Property taxes are reasonable for the area—the average 2012 tax bill was $10,318—while home prices increased 10 percent between 2010 and 2012. The median home sales price in 2012 was $462,500. “It’s a more affordable town, and you are getting excellent schools and excellent programs for the kids,” says Eileen Bassi, a RE/MAX real estate agent.

Many of the homes, Bassi says, are ranches and Cape Cod-style cottages, but newer, larger homes and townhomes are available as well. Students attend Indian Hills High School in Oakland or Ramapo High School in Franklin Lakes; both stand near the top of New Jersey Monthly’s 2012 ranking of public high schools.

Oakland, with a population of 12,873, lacks a walkable downtown, but there are strip malls and restaurants along its main stretch, Route 202. Popular shopping destinations—Willowbrook Mall in Wayne and Garden State Plaza in Paramus—are about a 20-minute drive. Drivers have easy access to Routes 208 and 287, but mass-transit options are limited to a couple of NJ Transit bus stops in town. The nearest train station is 10 miles away in Glen Rock.

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Top 10 Towns for Young Families

Rank Municipality County Average Residential Tax Bill ($) Median Home Sales Price ($) HSPA % Proficiency % Households w/ Children Under 18, 2011
1 Oakland Bergen 10,318.80 462,500.00 95% 46%
2 Hillsborough Somerset 8,161.46 380,000.00 95% 45%
3 Fanwood Union 10,437.03 385,000.00 94% 50%
4 Bethlehem Hunterdon 9,940.92 365,000.00 96% 48%
5 Long Hill Morris 11,087.86 445,000.00 94% 43%
6 Green Brook Somerset 11,375.78 375,000.00 94% 47%
7 Raritan Hunterdon 9,093.68 350,000.00 96% 41%
7 Randolph Morris 11,491.06 487,500.00 94% 42%
9 Alexandria Hunterdon 9,259.93 477,450.00 91% 42%
10 Green Township Sussex 9,805.81 410,000.00 85% 46%
* Includes only municipalities with median home price under $500,000. All data 2012, except where indicated

Read about our methodology.

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