The good news: vacancy rates in most neighborhoods hover around 10% and the stock is fairly large. The bad news: the high vacancy rates are mostly seasonal. The student community has a special liking for Bayonne, and the liking extends to most neighborhoods. So if your apartment hunt coincides with the summer break, be prepared to hustle and jostle with the crowd to grab the apartment of your choice. Hunting for an apartment isn’t easy anywhere, so why should it be any different in Bayonne?
How Much Does it Cost?: A house in Bayonne does not come cheap. However, the rates compare favorably with other upmarket communities in New Jersey and there are pockets of affordable housing in there as well.
What Do You Need?: Luck, and loads of it. However, it pays if you manufacture your own luck rather than wait for a (unlikely) supernatural intervention. Bayonne is spread out fairly large, and each neighborhood has its unique characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. Start your apartment hunt well in advance, so that you have adequate time to research, compare options and look out for a good deal. It pays to approach the hunt professionally, impress the landlord with credentials and references and close the deal as quickly as possible. Even when there may be many apartments going abegging, value for money apartments are rare, and good bargains are even rarer. So have the checkbook ready, and if you really like an apartment, sign first and ask questions later.
Kennedy Boulevard/W. 63rd Street: Streets lined with grand Victorian mansions make this neighborhood sought after. Lucky for you or anyone else on a budget, rentals here tend to be slightly down to earth. You can easily move into an apartment in a renovated Victorian mansion without a mansioneer’s salary. $$$
Kennedy Boulevard/W. 48th Street: Tired of dealing with partying college kids but don't want to give up the charm of living in a historic home turned into apartments? Then skip down the numbered streets to this section of town. $$$
Avenue A/W. 29th Street: Live near the waterfront on your shoe-string budget. You might have to forgo snazzy apartment amenities, but you'll find yourself in a completely walkable neighborhood with a pleasant breeze coming off the water. Not too bad, huh? $$
Kennedy Boulevard/W. 20th Street: In what counts as an urban, densely populated neighborhood in this town, residents in this 'hood like to proclaim their eco-friendly virtues by eschewing cars for bikes and using the carpool lane. $$$
Kennedy Boulevard/W. 12 Street: You are likely to live with a whiff of history here, with most of the buildings dating back to the 1940s. W. 12th Street is a relatively upmarket stretch of Kennedy Boulevard. $$$$
Bergen Point: If you carry a briefcase to work and would never imagine removing the Bluetooth from your ear, you'll feel right at home with the other go-getters and fancy executives of this area as your neighbors. More than half the working population in this neighborhood have executive jobs, yet average rental values remain modest. $$$
Broadway/E. 44th Street: If your idea of a good life is fixing up an old colonial or Victorian home set in its pristine charm, in a street line up with many such residences, this is the neighborhood for you. If nothing else, this neighborhood stands out for the sheer number of historic residences. Six out of every ten residential real estate here date back to 1939 or even earlier. $$$
Broadway/E. 41st Street: You can score a pad overlooking the bay if you search hard enough. Just understand that college students call the shots here, so be prepared for a life of excitement and lots of corner stores selling pizza. $$
Avenue C/W. 17th Street: The demo skews young here -- really young -- so as long as you're OK with that and that the most creative culinary cuisine involves pizza and falafels, you should be fine here. The diversity and vibrancy come at relatively cheap rentals, and you're more likely to land an apartment here, as most residences are renter-occupied rather than owner-occupied. $$
Lexington Avenue/E. 5th Street: Do not be deluded by the relatively low rentals here. This, and a higher than average vacancy rates are for a reason. Unlike most other neighborhoods, this is far from convenient public transportation. But alas, those are probably the two most exciting aspects of this neighborhood. $$
Port Johnson: Ahh, this is the neighborhood everyone aspires to. If you want to flaunt your money (and you'll need lots of it!), make a beeline for this nautical nabe where all your neighbors just ooze wealth. $$$$$
College students have a special liking most neighborhoods of Bayonne. So if you are planning to move in during the pre-semester rental rush, be ready to race it out to write the advance check.
As a new Bayonnite, you could find yourself spending much less in gas than you're used to thanks to the public transportation such as trains and buses that makes commuting a breeze.
Bayonne thrives on its diversity and a large number of immigrants. If you prefer to live with people of Italian, Irish, Polish, Arab or Dominican ancestry, this place is for you. About one in four residents are born in another country.