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Why is NJ’s Population Shifting Away From Suburbia? [AUDIO]

For the past 50 years, the American dream was all about buying a home in the Jersey suburbs, but that’s now started to change.

Flickr User Hoboken Condos

Rutgers economist James Hughes says as the economy slowly improves, “A demographic and economic transformation is taking place – and for the next 10 years or so, suburbia is not the favored location.”

Hughes says, “The 3 dynamic growth sectors are the children of the baby boomers- the eco-boomers – in their 20’s and 30’s – it’s a rental housing generation – they want to live in high activity environments, such as Jersey City and Hoboken.  They don’t want to live in a far-flung suburb…The second growth sector…are aging baby boomers – they are resizing in the housing market- they’re rattling around, by themselves, in a big suburban single family dwelling – they’d rather be in a walking environment – and the 3rd growth sector…are foreign born population.  New Jersey ranks 3rd among all the states in the percentage of the population foreign born – and their location choices tend to be much more urban and much more dense.”

He adds, “All 3 of those in the short term, really point to rental housing demand, higher density housing configurations, not single family units…I think we’re going to see real segmentation among the suburbs – some suburbs, with certain attributes – are still going to be favored locations- other will not…Many suburban homes were built between 1950 and 1970, and the question is – that stock is now aging, how viable is that in the 21st century?”

Eventually however, Hughes says, “Those eco-boomers are going to become active parenting adults, and so if we’re looking maybe 10 years down the road, we may now have a reverse-swing to suburbia.”

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