From the Star Ledger:
The roughly one-third of New Jersey households comprised of tenants face rents that rank among the most costly in the nation, according to a new report, which shows only California, the District of Columbia, Hawaii and New York are less affordable than the Garden State.
A renter in New Jersey must earn $25.17 an hour — or $52,347 a year — to afford the average fair-market rate of $1,309 for a two-bedroom rental, according to the annual report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
The report, which defines affordability as a tenant not spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities, has ranked New Jersey among the top five most expensive places to rent in the country for years.
Arnold Cohen, senior policy coordinator for the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, said many in the state fall under the income threshold needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
“People that are taking care of our children, people that are taking care of our elderly, people that are taking care of us as we go shopping in stores on a daily basis, folks who we depend upon for our very livelihood, cannot afford a place to live here,” he said.
The average hourly wage of renters in New Jersey is less than $17, the “Out of Reach” report found, meaning they would have to work 59 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom rental at a fair-market rate.
A renter earning the state’s minimum wage — $8.38 an hour — would have to work three full-time jobs to afford the rent for a two-bedroom place, according to the report.
Affordability varies for renters throughout the state, with Hunterdon, Middlesex and Somerset counties posting the highest rate for two-bedroom rentals in the state at $1,495.
Though rents are less expensive in Sussex, Cape May and Gloucester counties, according to the report, tenants in those three counties make an average hourly wage of less than $10.