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NJ: “Out Of Reach” For Many Renter Families, New Report Shows

Flickr User, Stu Spivack

33% of New Jersey residents are renters, yet many families are struggling to afford rent an utility costs in 2012, according to report out today “Out Of Reach:  America’s Forgotten Housing Crisis” by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

“For a full-time individual earning the renter wage, a two-bedroom unit is unafforable in nearly every state. New Jersey ranks as the third most expensive state, behind Hawaii and California” said Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Crowley says based on the mean wage for renters in New Jersey, which is $16.40 and the housing wage, which is $25.04, there is a huge gap.

“That means that its costing families much more to rent than what they are making these days. People can’t afford to buy a home, so they rent, but these prices are unattainable fore most families in the state” said Crowley.

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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