From the Star Ledger:
1) “New Jersey has quite a bit of affordable housing, but number one, not enough, and not necessarily in the right places.”
The overwhelming majority of affordable housing that’s available is in urban areas — far from the suburban places where there are jobs available.
2) “There are far more people who are eligible for affordable housing than there are units. As a result, most [eligible] people, the great majority of those people..spend more than 30 percent, often more than 50 percent, of their income for rent.”
3) “Let’s say you have a family income of…22,000, which means maybe you have somebody who’s working full time as a nurse’s aid or in a Wal-Mart or something, and trying to support 2 or 3 kids, and you’re paying $900 dollars a month for housing, which…is a pretty low rent compared to the average in New Jersey. After you’re done, you’ve got about $1,000 per month for everything else. … As long as everything goes well, you can somehow survive, but if anything goes wrong you’re over the edge.”
4) “The housing market has tiers. … If you don’t have first-time buyers, whether it be affordable or just above the affordable, then the whole housing market stalls. So you might be pretty well off. Your house might be worth $800,000. Well, it’s not going to stay at $800,000 or go up, if there isn’t this constant influx of new buyers into the market.
1) There’s currently a mismatch between what home buyers are looking for (smaller, higher density homes, closer to public transit and walkable downtowns) and what’s available (larger, single-family homes in suburban communities). The mismatch is due largely to local zoning laws, which were generally established in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and which haven’t kept pace with demand.
2) Demand for rental properties is on the rise, in part because of the difficulties that people — especially young adults with short credit histories and large student debts — face in getting a mortgage than in past years. Outdated zoning laws, onerous approval processes and financing difficulties also makes it hard for developers to build enough rental properties to meet rising demand. With more people competing for a limited number of rental units, rental costs are on the rise.
3) Cities like Trenton and Newark are full of boarded up and abandoned homes that can be purchased inexpensively. But these homes don’t help solve the problem of supply. Crime and poor city services deter buyers from wanting to move into these areas. Plus, many of these homes require “gut rehab,” which would be prohibitively expensive for many buyers.
4) “Most of New Jersey, by its nature, particularly because of its proximity to New York, particularly because of the nature of its work/job base, is going to be a more expensive state than most in this country.”