Known as the Garden State, New Jersey is a close neighbor of New York City and Manhattan and has a somewhat mixed reputation. Outside the major urban areas of New Jersey City, Trenton, Newark, New Brunswick, Atlantic City, and Paterson, the state incorporate a beautiful countryside dotted with small towns and forested communities. The New Jersey shoreline is also made up of a number of coastal towns, famous for providing summer home destinations and tourism. New Jersey's economy is predominantly supported by shipping, tourism, government, sports and entertainment, and gambling. Because of the variety of difference in locations, some of the most prized neighborhoods to live in outside of New York City are on the New Jersey side in small family towns. As a result, the northern part of the state is a bedroom community for the Manhattan region.
By area, New Jersey is a very small state, ranking 47th in the nation. That said, it's home almost 9 million Americans, making it the most densely populated state at 1210 people per square mile. Part of this is due to NJ's centralized location between big cities like Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. Annually, gross state product is around $487 billion, and per capita income is more $50,000, making it third highest in America.
NJ can be an expensive place to live - as of this writing, home values have risen above $270,000, representing 5% growth in 2013. This median may not be the best way to talk about the state's home values though. The median sales price in the five most expensive cities, places like Avalon and Long Beach Township, top $1 million. On the other end of the spectrum, homes in Camden or Trenton will cost anywhere between $80,000 to $125,000.
Newark's reputation is something of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it's New Jersey's largest city, the second biggest city in the New York metro - after NYC, of course - and a major transportation hub in the United States. On the other, the city was named the most dangerous in America less than 20 years ago, and though the situation has improved, crime rates remain above the national average. Though poverty remains a large problem, many jobs are located in the city, from finance and insurance to manufacturing.
Jersey City, NJ's second largest city, has undergone a major transformation over the past 20 years. Located just minutes from lower Manhattan via the PATH train, Jersey City is now a financial hub and home to many who make the short commute into NYC each day. Downtown Jersey City features Newport, a largely residential community, Exchange Place, sometimes called Wall Street West, and a beautiful waterfront walkway along the Hudson River.
Paterson, NJ is the second most densely populated American city, trailing only New York City. Though it was hit hard by Hurricane Irene, the city is on the road to recovery.
New Jersey residents and those considering a move to the Garden State will want to find a reputable bank to work with. Fortunately for consumers, there are a seemingly limitless number of options to choose from, beginning with community banks and ending with giants like Bank of America and TD Bank. Of course, NJ is also home to Valley National Bank, a local bank with branches across the state. Below, we've outlined a few of your choices. You can find a complete list of NJ banks here.
The big banks:
Though this abundance of choices is good for consumers, it can also make comparison shopping feel a bit overwhelming. How do you even go about determining which bank can offer you the highest interest rate on your certificate of deposit? Luckily, RateZip.com was built to answer these types of questions. You can use our financial search engine to quickly and accurately compare quotes from multiple financial institutions.
For those relocating to the area, RateZip.com can help with up-to-date lending information on rates from regional lenders. The most popular type of mortgage in New Jersey is the 30 year fixed rate home loan. With this type of mortgage, the interest rate and monthly payment remain constant for the entire 30 year life of the loan. Less popular but making a comeback is the adjustable rate mortgage, or ARM. You'll often see ARMs described as 1/1, 3/1, 5/1, and so on. The first number represents how long the initial interest rate will last; in this case, 1, 3 or 5 years. The second number signifies that the rate will then adjust annually based on an agreed upon index.
Residents of New Jersey may also be interested in jumbo home loans. These are mortgages for homeowners looking to buy a property that falls above the conforming loan limit set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In more expensive areas of NJ, you'll need a jumbo mortgage to buy your home. Jumbo rates tend to run a bit higher than conventional interest rates, though this gap has closed in recent years.