For more information:  John Wooding
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Email: jpwooding@gmail.com

 

FOR RELEASE

New Jersey Rental Homes Cost More in 2012
2012 Out of Reach report underlines need to preserve housing budget

NEW BRUNSWICKAccording to a national report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), New Jersey is the fourth most expensive place in the nation to rent a two bedroom apartment: Hawaii, Washington, D.C., and California lead the nation as least affordable.  A New Jersey family must earn an hourly wage of $25.04 in order to afford to rent in the Garden State, where more than one third of residents rent their home.  In 2011, New Jersey ranked in the top five and this year’s status represents an 18% increase over a five year period.

"New Jersey has become less affordable in the last year," said Diane Sterner, executive director of the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ.  "We need our leaders to invest in New Jersey's future, and help create the homes our residents need and empower municipalities to transform their neighborhoods into vibrant, affordable, safe communities.” 

To gauge affordability, the NLIHC and the Network both use the widely accepted measure that no more than 30% of a person's income should be spent on housing.  As the Fair Market Rent (FMR) in the state for a two bedroom rental is $1,302, a family must earn $52,081 annually in order to afford a two bedroom rental.  Using that formula, a minimum wage worker would have to work 138 hours or 3.5 full time jobs per week, 52 weeks per year to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.  Another alternative would be for a household to have 3.5 minimum wage earners working 40 hours per week year-round.

The typical renter in the state earns $16.40 per hour which is $8.64 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest 2-bedroom rental at FMR.  An estimated 62% of New Jersey renters do not earn enough to afford a two-bedroom unit at the FMR.

According to Out of Reach 2012, Middlesex County is the 6th most expensive county in the state where the FMR for a two bedroom is $1,324 and an estimated percent of renters unable to afford such an apartment is 51%.  Indeed, preliminary data from the January 2012 Point In Time Count of the homeless population in Middlesex County indicates that there are between 742 and 911 people in Middlesex County without a place to live. Coming Home of Middlesex County, Inc. was created by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2009 to implement the County’s 10 year plan to end homelessness. “With a new, active board and staff, further commitment from the Freeholders and the cooperation of County public housing authorities and service providers, Coming Home is aggressively moving to implement the plan, facilitate the building of more permanent housing units and preventing further homelessness,” states John Wooding, Chair of Coming Home.  The Out Of Reach Report detail sounds a prescient warning that Coming Home is addressing in Middlesex County. For more information, contact Coming Home’s Executive Director, Eileen O’Donnell at eodonnell@cominghomemiddlesex.org.  

Results of the Out of Reach 212 report were released today at events in Newark, Union, and Trenton.  Participants included housing advocates, renters, special needs providers, and community developers.

The report was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a Washington, D.C.-based housing policy organization, and the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. The report provides the Housing Wage and other housing affordability data for every state, metropolitan area, combined non metropolitan area, and county in the country.

The New Jersey data from Out of Reach 2012 is also available at http://bit.ly/xdIMW0.

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