Tips & AdviceBest Commuter Towns to New York City for Hybrid Employees

Best Commuter Towns to New York City for Hybrid Employees

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It’s expensive to own property in New York City. The average NYC homebuyer spends $900,000 on a one-bedroom home, and in Manhattan, the average homebuyer pays $1,795,000 on a two-bedroom home. Due to the high cost of living and limited space, people who wish to own may find buying in suburbs or towns outside the city more attainable. However, someone who wants to work in New York City but lives elsewhere must consider that commuting to NYC for work can be time-consuming and energy-draining.

Since COVID-19, more and more companies adopt a hybrid work model, where employees spend some days in the office and their remaining days working from home. While some jobs still require employees to come into the office daily, many employees now follow a set work-from-home schedule or decide when to come in at their leisure. Those who do not commute to work daily may justify purchasing a property further away. According to U.S. Census data, many towns offer lower-priced homes that become more affordable for someone making the median New York City salary of $67,046.

Whether homebuyers are looking to live in a city atmosphere or move to the New York City suburbs, this list features various options best suited for a wide range of individuals and families.

Why would a homeowner decide to live outside of NYC?

Financial savings may convince a homebuyer to consider moving to a suburb outside of the city and commuting to work. It takes over 12 years for most NYC residents to save up for a 20% down payment on an any-sized home in the city. An employee who makes the city’s median salary can save $13,409.20 per year, taking them 26.77 years to save for a 20% down payment on a two-bedroom home in Manhattan that costs a median of $1,795,000. 27 years is a considerable amount of time, further solidifying why a homebuyer may decide to purchase a home outside the city.

The following list evaluates ten towns within commuting distance to New York City and ranks them based on their ease of travel and housing affordability. When determining how easy it is to commute, the list considers both the range of time it takes to drive and the estimated time and number of transfers it takes to use public transportation to get into Midtown Manhattan. Affordability considers how long it would take a person with a New York City job and a median income of $67,046 per year to save for a 20% down payment on a median-priced two-bedroom house in that location. This list factors for two-bedroom housing as it assumes that an employee in a hybrid position will want to use an additional bedroom as a home office.

Best commuter towns for those looking to purchase property quickly

Potential homebuyers who only commute into New York City once or twice a week may not mind a longer commute time in return for a cheaper mortgage. While homebuyers may spend more money on transportation costs like subway fares, gas, etc., they will likely save more than that cost on their housing expenses. The following list contains five cities where homebuyers can save for a 20% down payment in less than seven years, ordered by the longest to the shortest amount of time.

Fort Lee, NJ

Commute time to Midtown Manhattan:

  • Drive: 30 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Public transportation: NJ transit bus for 47 minutes

Median cost of a two-bedroom home: $439,500

Amount of time to save for a down payment: 6.56 years

Fort Lee is a decently-sized area with a population of 39.871, according to 2021 estimates. Technically, the area is a borough on the border of Bergen County and has easy access to the George Washington Bridge, making it a straightforward commute into Manhattan. Potential homeowners can select from condo and co-op units or single-family houses in this area, making it an appealing option for several people.

Stamford, CT

Commute time to Midtown Manhattan:

  • Drive: 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 50 minutes
  • Public transportation: Take the Metro-North New Haven line, then transfer to a bus, 1 hour and 11 minutes

Median cost of a two-bedroom home: $399,000

Amount of time to save for a down payment: 5.95 years

Stamford is the second largest city in Connecticut, with a population of 136,309 people, estimated as of 2021. Homebuyers who enjoy the atmosphere of a small city may enjoy living in this area. The city houses several natural attractions like parks and a marina. Several historical sites reside in the area, creating plenty of exciting daily trips for families and history buffs.

Bayonne, NJ

Commute time to Midtown Manhattan:

  • Drive: 35 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • Public transportation: NJ bus to PATH to subway train, 1 hour and 10 minutes

Median cost of a two-bedroom home: $341,950

Amount of time to save for a down payment: 5.10 years

The city of Bayonne houses 69,211 people, according to 2021 Census estimates. Bayonne resides on a peninsula southwest of New York City and is one of the more difficult commuting locations on this list. Manhattan employees that use public transportation to get to work must make two transfers, leaving more room for error when it comes to delays. However, property is significantly cheaper than in New York City, where the average person can save up for a down payment in a little over five years.

Yonkers, NY

Commute time to Midtown Manhattan:

  • Drive: 40 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • Public transportation: Metro-North Harlem line to a bus, 42 minutes

Median cost of a two-bedroom home: $249,975

Amount of time to save for a down payment: 3.72 years

Yonkers is a city in Westchester with an estimated population of 209,530 as of 2021. Though large, Yonkers houses significantly fewer people than New York City, making it more approachable for those looking to start families or just enjoy a slightly less congested area. Many homebuyers can purchase property in this area and spend considerably less than they would in New York City, as it takes a homebuyer a little under four years to afford a two-bedroom in this suburb.

New Rochelle, NY

Commute time to Midtown Manhattan:

  • Drive: 45 minutes to 1 hour and 25 minutes
  • Public transportation: Metro-North New Haven line then transfer to a bus, 47 minutes

Median cost of a two-bedroom home: $220,000

Amount of time to save for a down payment: 3.28 years

New Rochelle houses a large portion of people, with a population estimated at 81,587 as of 2021. As the seventh largest city in New York, many reside here to maintain a city-style of living while avoiding the chaotic nature of larger areas across the state. New Rochelle also has the cheapest median price point out of all the places on this list, making it the most affordable, where someone making a New York City salary can save for a 20% down payment in a little over three years.

Best commuter towns for those who go to NYC at least once a week

Employees who commute to Manhattan several times a week may prioritize proximity to the city, meaning they are willing to pay more to spend less time commuting. While homebuyers may spend more on their mortgage if they purchased in an area further away from the city, they can still buy a home several years faster in the following locations than in New York City. Each site offers a commute time of under an hour by car and public transportation, and public transportation options do not exceed one transfer.

Jersey City, NJ

Commute time to Midtown Manhattan:

  • Drive: 26 minutes to 1 hour
  • Public transportation: NJ transit bus, 47 minutes

Median cost of a two-bedroom home: $599,000

Amount of time to save for a down payment: 8.93 years

Home to roughly 283,927 residents as of 2021, Jersey City features a relatively higher population density that still pales in comparison to that of New York City. This area combines history and a modern artistic atmosphere, making it an attractive location for artists who work in Manhattan. The Statue of Liberty also technically resides in this city. Homebuyers can select between various property types, as the area boasts condos and multifamilies. Some homebuyers may consider purchasing an investment property in this area, allowing them to live in one portion and rent out the remaining units to supplement their housing expenses.

Carlstadt, NJ

Commute time to Midtown Manhattan:

  • Drive: 28 minutes to 55 minutes
  • Public transportation: take two NJ transit buses, 35 minutes

Median cost of a two-bedroom home: $408,161.25

Amount of time to save for a down payment: 6.09 years

*Note at the time of completing this list, there are no two-bedroom homes for sale in Carlstadt. RealtyHop calculated the median cost of a two-bedroom home by finding the average percentage difference between three and two-bedroom homes in surrounding areas, then applying that percentage decrease to the median purchase price of a three-bedroom home in Carlstadt.

Carlstadt is a small borough in Bergen County that is home to just 6,341 residents as of 2021. Those looking for proximity to Manhattan while simultaneously living in a small town should look to this area when deciding where to purchase a property. The town maintains much of its history, preserving many buildings and homes built before WWII, many with German styles of architecture. Due to the small population, the housing market remains relatively small, and those looking to purchase property here may have to wait longer to find a home that matches their search criteria.

Newark, NJ

Commute time to Midtown Manhattan:

  • Drive: 35 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Public transportation: NJ transit, transfer to subway, 35 minutes

Median cost of a two-bedroom home: $294,000

Amount of time to save for a down payment: 4.39 years

With a large population of 307,220 as of 2021, many potential homebuyers can select from a large variety of low-cost homes. Employees can save for a home in this area in a little over three years and then spend only 35 minutes commuting into Midtown, making this location one of the most appealing on our list. The most populous city in New Jersey, Newark features entertainment options, is home to the NHL’s Devils, and boasts a multitude of economic industries and education opportunities. Should someone decide to stop working in New York City, they will have options to consider in Newark.

Hoboken, NJ

Commute time to Midtown Manhattan:

  • Drive: 22 minutes to 50 minutes
  • Public transportation: PATH to the subway, 25 minutes

Median cost of a two-bedroom home: $799,000

Amount of time to save for a down payment: 11.92 years

Hoboken is a smaller city with a population of 58,690 as of 2021. Right on the edge of The Hudson River, commuters can easily access Manhattan from this location, perhaps getting to work faster than some New York City residents. Those looking to purchase a home can choose from a wide range of amenity-filled condos or spread out in a townhouse. Throughout the city, residents can walk along the pier to view the Manhattan skyline, explore the local history museum, and take pride in living where Frank Sinatra was born. While Hoboken hosts the most expensive housing market on this list, the average employee can still afford a two-bedroom home in this city fourteen years faster than they can in New York City.

Union City, NJ

Commute time to Midtown Manhattan:

  • Drive: 22 minutes to 45 minutes
  • Public transportation: NJ bus, 21 minutes

Median cost of a two-bedroom home: $452,500

Amount of time to save for a down payment: 6.75 years

Home to 65,638 residents as of 2021, Union City features various styles of housing types, from condos or co-ops to townhouses and multi-families. Single buyers and families can select from a wide array of potential homes when buying property and then experience a short commute whether they decide to drive or ride public transportation into Manhattan. Homebuyers spend six years and nine months saving for a down payment, making this city an appealing option to those looking to buy a home.

Conclusion

Potential homebuyers who do not have to commute to work in New York City daily may decide to purchase property elsewhere. Those who want to own a home in the next few years may consider buying in Yonkers, where a New York City salary can help someone save for a down payment in a little over two years. Someone who prioritizes a quick commute may instead decide to live in Union City, where it takes only 21 minutes to get into Midtown. While every area on this list provides a less expensive housing alternative and proximity to New York City, Newark may offer the most appealing blend of location and affordability.

No matter where homebuyers decide to settle down, they can begin saving for a down payment now and take advantage of this time to prepare for their purchase. Homebuyers can improve their credit score to qualify for low-interest mortgages. First-time homebuyers should look for programs in their respective state and city to learn about additional financing opportunities they can pursue to afford their new home.

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