The Best Towns in North Jersey for MF Investing

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Hey Guys - I'm looking to purchase a small MF in Northern New Jersey and was looking for any thoughts, recommendations or advice on which towns are the best to keep an eye on. In particular, I'm curius about towns with preferential taxes and easy commutes to NYC. Thanks!

@Andrew Rodriguez Hudson County towns like Jersey City and Bayonne are becoming very popular spots for people to commute into the city from. In a lot of cases it’s a faster commute than I had when I used to take the subway to downtown Manhattan from Brooklyn. I’m getting a lot of applicants for my Jersey City apartments from people who work in the city but are priced out. Those are definitely towns to look at.

@Andrew Rodriguez

How are you.

Would suggest following NJ Transit stop specifically neighboring communities near the express stops - this would follow up investigating schools and taxes that could balance well with rents and potentially house hacking. let me know if you have any questions. Regards Joe Scorese

Thanks, all. This is very helpful. 

We're going to house hack for at least 2-3 years, so I'm looking primarily for cash flow to cut our out-of-pocket expenses as much as possible in the near term, and obviously provide some income long-term after we move out and keep it. I just started looking along NJ Transit stops, so good to hear. I'm also digging deeper into properties in Bayonne along the light rail. Definitely interested in hearing any experience with Bayonne, particularly near the 34th St. Light Rail. 

Hi Andrew, my wife and I recently bought a nice 2 family in Bayonne, 3 min walk to 45th st light rail.  We are house hacking it and doing a lot of the work ourselves (i.e. painting, backsplash, moldings, etc), and are hoping to get a tenant into one of the units next month.  Bayonne is very attractive for several reasons, based on your goals, and as a licensed NJ realtor, house hacker, and RE investor, I would be very happy to chat about Bayonne with you. 

Also be aware of rent control.  Each city in Hudson county has a different implementation and rules for rent control.  In my experience Union City is the worst, followed by West NY, then Guttenberg, then JC.  Can't speak for the others from first hand research.

Rules vary in terms of the threshold for eligibility, eg: >2 or >3 units, rate of growth allowed each year, rate at which capital expenditures can be translated into increases.

@Max Vishnev Hey Max! I have been looking around Bayonne for a 2 family to house hack as well. How have rent prices varied for units there? One of the properties I am looking at have 2 units both 2 bedroom/1 bath. Any idea on the price ranges for those units? Trying to get a more accurate number in my analysis but I have seen price ranges for 2 bed rooms/1 bath range from $1,300-$1,800 depending on the condition of the unit. Happy house hacking! Hope to get into that game soon.

Hey @Jeremy M Danan !  Glad to hear you're looking at Bayonne 2-families to house hack.  I think that's a great idea.  Just today, we saw a U Haul truck across the street, with a man and woman unloading.  Turns out they are moving in (relocating from the Journal Square area in JC, with two little kids.  We went from renting in Brooklyn to buying in Bayonne, because Brooklyn prices are insane.  This family is moving south from JC, because JC prices (in some parts) are pretty high now too.  So Bayonne is benefiting from both of these migration trends, not to mention all the new development and the ferry to Downtown NYC coming soon.

Now, to answer your specific questions regarding rentals (which is a great question): I looked at MLS for all RENTED 2br/1bath apts that were listed since Jan 1 of this year. 114 of them have been rented, at an average price of $1,520. So right around the mid-point of what you are seeing. The price range was $1,200 to $2,000.

I hope this helps.  Feel free to message me if you need any help with your search.  I'm a licensed agent and Bayonne resident.

@Max Vishnev Great to hear from you and your input on rental prices in Bayonne. That was really helpful. Bayonne and the westside/greenville area of jersey city have been my primary target locations for house hacking. I definitely will reach out to you for any questions or help with my search.

@Jeremy M Danan I can definitely recommend the West Side for house hacking i own a few properties right around the train station and ive done well there. Prices are lower than most of the city and its still a pretty safe area with easy access to NYC. 

thoughts on how to assess safety? I been around JC area- solid place. However as I drive further south, it does get a little dicey.  Im all for a solid value investment but not so sure i would be ok with getting haggled on my way to the NJ transit

@Gary Kong Best way to assess safety is to ask the locals, ask business owners in the different neighborhoods, check NJ.com for news updates on where crime is most common. I've lived in Jersey City all my life so I could be of a little help on how to assess the safety of different parts of JC. In my opinion, if I have to rank safety in JC, I'd rank as followed, with 1st being the safest and last being the least safest as of right now. Hope this helps! 

1st - Downtown/Waterfront
2nd - The Heights
3rd - Journal Square/McGinley Square
4th - Westside/Lincoln Park
5th - Bergen-Lafayette
6th - Greenville

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