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Property tax relief

Where to find it in the nation’s highest-taxed state

Created date

October 10th, 2014

Last year, New Jersey homeowners paid an average of $7,885 in property taxes, according to the State Department of Community Affairs. While that seems high compared to the national average of around $1,000, some towns tower above that number with average property tax bills of more than $20,000. 

In fact, Money magazine states, “If you don’t want to grind your teeth at night over your property tax bill, steer clear of Manhattan’s New York suburbs and those in northern New Jersey.” 

But a pocket of relief exists in northern New Jersey. You just have to know where to find it. 

Less than half

Community members at Crest, an EricksonLiving community in Pompton Plains, N.J., aren’t giving property taxes a second thought. 

“Most people moving to Cedar Crest are moving from a house where they pay an average of $700 to $1,500 a month in property taxes,” says Cedar Crest Sales Counselor Ruth Phillips. “When they move to Cedar Crest, they’re paying less than half that amount.”

Cedar Crest, an Erickson Living community in Pompton Plains of one- and two-bedroom apartment homes within an amenity-rich, village-type campus, divides its property tax amount among all residents based on apartment size and days of occupancy. By simply moving from a large house to a more manageable living space, residents significantly decrease their property tax bill.

Phillips says that most people move to Cedar Crest to escape house and yard maintenance in favor of one-level, maintenance-free living. “Moving from a house in New Jersey or New York, you’re generally seeing significant savings,” Phillips says. 

New Jersey and New York, from where most Cedar Crest community members move, claim the top two property tax rates in the nation.

“Plus,” Phillips continues, “you get to use all the community’s amenities, and you’re only paying property taxes on your apartment home.” Cedar Crest has a medical center and pharmacy with full-time physicians and pharmacists, a state-of-the-art fitness and aquatics center, four restaurants, a pub, a café, community gardens, classrooms, and a performing arts center, all on-site. 

In addition to space savings, Cedar Crest residents qualify for most of the New Jersey rebate programs, including the Homestead rebate. “Because we are a CCRC (continuing care retirement community) and residents are considered ‘homeowners’ on their New Jersey tax return, they can qualify for most of the rebate programs,” says Michelle Lynch, business analyst.

No more big bills

Aside from reducing their property tax amount, Cedar Crest residents never have to worry about coordinating several monthly or quarterly bills like electric, mortgage, and property taxes. 

All costs, including property taxes but excluding telephone, are bundled in each household’s monthly service package. The package also includes a flexible meal plan and use of all amenities. 

“The monthly service package adds to the level of convenience that we offer,” Phillips says. “Not only does moving to Cedar Crest simplify your home life by reducing maintenance, it also reduces the amount of time and energy spent on finances. Residents have more time to pursue the things they want to do rather than those things they have to do.”

That’s why Cedar Crest has more than 180 clubs and activities like a hiking club, Bible and Torah study groups, a travel club, and arts groups. 

As Phillips says: “At Cedar Crest, people right-size their life, and they pay less, too.”



Why is my property tax so high?

Your property tax is determined by six basic factors:

1. Market value of the property you own

2. Cost of municipal and county programs and services

3. Costs of your local public schools

4. Availability of other revenues to cover those costs

5. Tax exempt properties in your municipality 

6. Total value of all the taxable properties in your municipality