Top Reports: Tackling NJ’s Stubborn Housing Problems

The high price of housing is one reason it costs so much to live in New Jersey. The state has also been dogged by a high rate of foreclosures. What are the solutions?

top report 2018
In this series, we’re highlighting important reports of relevance to the state’s problems and future for you to read while we at NJ Spotlight are on our annual winter break.

It’s expensive to live in New Jersey and housing is a major reason why, with the state ranked as the sixth most costly in the nation. One calculation estimates that the state needs 155,000 more homes affordable to those of limited means over the next seven years, yet getting municipalities to allow the construction of affordable housing within their borders continues to be a challenge.

But the Garden State faces other pressing problems in ensuring that all residents have a place to live.

Since the end of the Great Recession in 2009, New Jersey has had a stubborn foreclosure problem and for years had held the unenviable title of state with the highest foreclosure rate in the nation. But that problem is starting to ebb. A report by RealtyTrac last month had New Jersey drop to second worst foreclosure rate, at one in every 996 properties, behind Maryland.

Last September, the Special Committee on Residential Foreclosures created by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner released its report on the foreclosure problem. It gave the good news that the state’s courts had reduced significantly the backlog of foreclosure cases and the time it takes to clear each one. The 31-page report proposed 17 reforms to further improve the process. These include the statutory enactment of foreclosure and mediation programs that contain a funding source and new or revised deadlines at different points of the process to speed it along.

Ways to handle foreclosures factor into a second report that looks to improve housing opportunities in the state, but this document takes a much broader look at the overall issue of housing on a smaller geographic scale: urban areas.

Earlier this month, the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey published Thriving Cities: A New Urban Agenda to help officials in the state’s newly popular cities attract new, pricey high rises while still keeping less affluent residents in the communities they have called home for decades. The 16-page report includes dozens of suggestions for improvement in 13 areas ranging from economic growth to transportation.

Follow this link for the report on foreclosure trends.

Follow this link for the New Jersey’s judiciary’s special report on residential foreclosures.

Follow this link for the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey’s report on Thriving Cities: A New Urban Agenda.

Follow this link for more Top Reports: Winter 2018.