It’s pretty well known that we in New Jersey pay the highest property taxes in the country and it’s not particularly close. So, which counties in New Jersey offer the best return on those formidable property taxes?

SmartAsset, a financial website, crunched some numbers and came up with a ranking of the top ten counties in New Jersey, based on what you get for your money. Generally speaking, they looked at property taxes paid, school rankings and the change in property values over a five-year period.

To measure the quality of schools, they analyzed the math and reading/language arts proficiencies for every school district in the country. They created an average score for each district by looking at the scores for every school in that district, weighting it to account for the number of students in each school. Within each state, they assigned every county a score between 1 and 10 (with 10 being the best) based on the average scores of the districts in each county.

Then, they calculated the change in property value in each county over a five-year period. Places where property values rose by the greatest amount indicated where consumers were motivated to buy homes, and a positive return on investment for homeowners in the community. They used that data to create a property tax index to reflect where property taxes gave the most bang for the buck.

The top ten New Jersey counties are:

  1. Union County
  2. Essex County
  3. Bergen County
  4. Camden County
  5. Cape May County
  6. Monmouth County
  7. Passaic County
  8. Ocean County
  9. Atlantic County
  10. Sussex County

Bergen County got high marks for their schools, while Camden and Cape May counties both saw property values increase by over 34%.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

NJ towns that actually cut property taxes in 2020

New Jersey property taxes went up by $158 for the average homeowner last year, making the average residential property tax bill $9,111. Here are the municipalities that saw their average tax bill decrease.

COMPARE: Highest 2020 property taxes in each county