I say check them both out! Both communities have a lot to offer. Easy commuting to NYC. Scotch Plains is slightly further to commute to Summit. There are a good amount of homes for sale in each community with colonial, split and ranch styles in your price range. I live in Livingston for 18 years and and my daughter has gone through the school system here. I only have wonderful positive comments for the fine schools we have.
I have worked with clients in Scotch Plains and also know the area well. Please visit my web site http://prudentialnewjersey.com/carol.eisenstein and see the Helpful Links section for school information in NJ, as well as NJ transit , Livingston and Scotch Plains. Also if you email or call me, I would be happy to provide you with any other info including listings to view. You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my cell # 973 879 3282.
Livingston gets my vote as well. Livingston has a great school system, nice double decker express buses to NYC and is a very nice place to live. You may also want to consider Berkeley Heights, New Providence, and Springfield all are nice towns with good schools and transportation to Manhattan with low taxes and a myraid of choices in home styles in your price range.
If you would like to discuss the market further feel free to give me a call at 973-570-0388. I'd be happy to help you.
All the best!
Livingston gets my vote! (ofcocurse it does - it's where my office is!!) The good news is, you will have a large number of homes to choose from in your price range, too.
There are some other towns in the area that might work for you as well. Visit my website, and you will have access to a number of listings in different towns, not just Livingston.
If you email me, and I will be happy to provide you more specific information.
Best wishes whatever you decide!