Two towns in Union County, including the No. 2 ranked Summit, are among the top 10 “Best Places to Live in New Jersey,” according to New Jersey Monthly magazine’s September edition.
The survey, conducted by Leflein Associates, an independent research firm based in Ringwood considered home values, property taxes, crime rate, school performance and a “lifestyle factor” in determining its rankings of 513 of the state’s 565 municipalities.
Mountainside was rated second in Union County and ninth in the state. Two years ago, Summit was rated 28th and Mountainside 13th in the magazine’s biennial list. This year, the magazine listed Summit’s median home value as $987,583 and Mountainside’s median home value as $601,500.
Berkeley Heights, which was the best place to live in Union County two years ago at No. 6 in the state, fell to 23rd in the state but was still ranked as the third best in the county.
Cranford came in at fourth best in the county and No. 36 in the state, up five spots from two years ago, while New Providence, which was ranked ninth two years ago, slumped to 47th, and Westfield came in at No. 49.
Madison, in Morris County, was considered the best place to live in the state by New Jersey Monthly, with Bedminster and Bernards Township in Somerset and Chatham in Morris County rounding out the top five behind Summit.
Union County had five towns in the top 50; Morris County had the most towns in the list with 11, and Bergen and Essex counties each had seven towns in the top 50.
Other Union County towns to make the list were: Scotch Plains at No. 82, Garwood at No. 125, Fanwood at No. 160, Clark at No. 168, Springfield at No. 199, Kenilworth at No. 273, Union at No. 336, Roselle Park at No. 363, Rahway at No. 394, Roselle No. 395, Elizabeth at 427, Linden at No. 431, Hillside at No. 439 and Plainfield at 491. Winfield Park was the only Union County town not listed.
The rankings differ from the Pittsburgh-based rankings and review site Niche.com, which earlier this year listed Princeton Junction, Upper Montclair, Princeton, Princeton Meadows and Ridgewood as its top five places.
It also is widely different from Money magazine, which last year issued its periodic national report, including only two municipalities per state. Parsippany-Troy Hills was No. 26 and Union was No. 43. Those rankings only included towns with populations of 50,000 or more.