For many New Jersey residents, housing costs translate to monthly rent of $1,000 or more, often for a shoebox apartment. And it’s no surprise the state ranks 6th among the most expensive home rental markets in the country.
A report, jointly released Wednesday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, found that to afford a “modest two-bedroom home” at fair market rent in New Jersey, full-time workers must earn $31.96 an hour, or $26.29 an hour for a one-bedroom; that’s to afford a modest and safe rental without spending more than 30% of income on housing costs. According to “Out of Reach,” California ranked 1st for the highest hourly wage ($39.03) necessary to afford a two-bedroom rental. The report found that across the country, a renter needs to earn $24.90 per hour to afford a modest two-bedroom rental home or $20.40 per hour to afford a one-bedroom (without spending more than 30% of income on housing costs).
Although New Jersey’s minimum wage has been increasing, a minimum-wage renter working 40 hours a week still can’t afford a one-bedroom rental home at the average fair market rent of $1,367, let alone $1,662 for a two-bedroom rental.
“Having a safe, stable housing is essential to our post-pandemic recovery, but that is out of reach for too many New Jerseyans. While our state’s elected officials have worked tirelessly to provide expanded resources to ‘Build a Thriving NJ,’ like restoring the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, rents have continued to skyrocket,” said Staci Berger, president and CEO of Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey.
In a recent Eagleton Poll, 87% of Garden State voters considered the cost of housing a serious problem. Many ranked rent control as one of their top choices for making homes more affordable.