‘Money’ ranks Manalapan,

Marlboro among top towns

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

They are two of the hottest places to live in the East. According to the January 2004 issue of Money magazine, Manalapan has been ranked as the No. 2 community in which to live in the eastern third of the United States with a population of less than 100,000 residents. Marlboro has been ranked No. 14 in that same group.

A total of 26 municipalities were ranked in this category. No. 1 was Sugarland Run district, Va., followed by Manalapan, and then No. 3, Centreville, Va.; No. 4, Randolph, N.J.; No. 5, North Andover, Mass.; No. 6, Franconia, Va.; No. 7, Wellington, Fla.; No. 8, Collierville, Tenn.; No. 9, Brentwood, Tenn.; and No. 10, Chantilly, Va.

Money magazine’s "Hottest Towns" article notes that Manalapan has 34,018 residents, a median household income of $91,245 and a median home price of $410,000. Marlboro has 37,875 residents, a median household income of $108,759 and a median home price of $379,975.

The magazine noted that 271 cities nationwide were initially selected by OnBoard LLC, a real estate information company. Those cities had the highest median household incomes in the nation and above average population growth.

The article goes on to state, "Based on careful examination of MOSAIC lifestyle segmentation data, we narrowed the list further by identifying those towns with demographics that closely mirrored that of the typical Money reader: college educated, working professional and well above average median income."

Another criteria for selection is the town’s proximity to a major city. The limit was 60 miles so that residents of the community selected could easily enjoy the cultural opportunities in the city.

The rankings were divided into three regions — east, central and west — and two population categories — over and under 100,000 residents.

Manalapan Mayor Drew Shapiro was pleased to report the good news.

"After hearing of our Top 10 rating in New Jersey Monthly magazine, I didn’t think anything could top that," Shapiro said. "Upon hearing the news that we were rated No. 2 on the East Coast in a national magazine, this obviously is a testament to the people here in Manalapan, the people at town hall, as well as the people that are governing along with me.

"All the residents are shareholders, and we have an obligation to make sure their investment in town is a good one," he said. "I know that a lot of people focus on taxes, but I think they need to know what they’re getting for that investment of property taxes. We have great schools, great services here in town, and now with this rating, I believe this is an indication their investment is going to increase."

The mayor said he believes that the people who have, in the last year, had their houses reassessed or reappraised have noticed that their home’s value has gone sky high.

"I believe if they look at the increase in their taxes as compared to the increase of their equity, they will see that this is definitely a great town to live in," Shapiro said.

Marlboro Councilwoman Mary Singer said, "It’s absolutely phenomenal. I’d like to think that I contributed in some small part to that. Marlboro is a wonderful town and I’m very pleased it got this recognition. I’ve always emphasized the positive aspects of the town. It’s a wonderful place to live."