NJ: 4th Most Expensive State For Renters, Report Shows [POLL]
New Jersey is not exactly known for affordable living, with property taxes and car insurance rates some of the highest in the nation.
According to a new national report, New Jersey ranks as the fourth most expensive state for renters.
The report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, "Out Of Reach: America's Forgotten Housing Crisis" finds that in New Jersey, the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,302 and to afford this, without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household must earn $52,081 annually.
"This forces many people to work two jobs, double up or move in with someone else to help split the rent. Others are skimping on everyday necessities and cutting down on food costs and car expenses to cover the cost" said Sheila Crowley, President of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
For a full time worker, they must earn $16.40 an hour, more than twice the minimum wage, in order to rent a modest, two-bedroom unit.
"Those working at minimum wage or even above, including bartenders and child care workers can barely afford to pay this high of rent, let alone buy a home."
She says more than 30% of New Jersey residents are renters, yet many families are struggling to afford the cost of rent and utilities combined.
"A lot of these towns and counties are simply out of reach for the average middle-class family in the state."
Bergen and Passaic counties are the most expensive places for renters. The cheapest rent is in Cumberland County.
Nationwide, California and Hawaii have the highest rents.
New Jersey data:
In New Jersey, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,302. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities - without paying more than 30% of income on housing - a household must earn $4,340 monthly or $52,081 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into a Housing Wage of: $25.04
In New Jersey, a minimum wage worker earns an hourly wage of $7.25. In order to afford the FMR for a two-bedroom apartment, a minimum wage earner must work 138 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or a household must include 3.5 minimum wage earners working 40 hours per week year-round in order to make the two-bedroom fair-market rent affordable.
In New Jersey, the estimated mean (average) wage for a renter is $16.40. In order to afford the FMR for a two bedroom apartment at this wage, a renter must work 61 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or, working 40 hours per week year-round, a household must include 1.5 workers earning the mean renter wage in order to make the two bedroom FMR affordable.
"Clearly this data supports much of what we already know about New Jersey…that it is an expensive state to live in or rent and that many low-income and middle -class families are struggling to be afford housing in many communities" said Crowley.
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