Want 2 Bedrooms? You Might Have to Work 127 Hours Per Week
Affording a decent place to live is out of reach for many New Jersey renters, according to the findings of an annual nationwide report.
In order to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment in the Garden State, a family must bring in $26.52 per hour, or $55,152 annually, based on the widely accepted measure that no more than 30 percent of a person's income should be spent on housing.
Based on those numbers presented by the Out of Reach 2016 report, a minimum-wage worker in New Jersey would have to work 127 hours weekly to keep that two-bedroom home affordable. Even at the state's average hourly wage of $8.38, a worker would need to be clocked in for 64 hours per week.
The fair market rent in New Jersey for a two-bedroom rental is $1,379, the report states. Rents are highest in Hunterdon, Middlesex and Somerset counties.
"People who provide tremendous services to our economy and security are generally unable to afford that housing wage," said Staci Berger, president of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. "We're talking about preschool teachers, accounting clerks, child care staff, home health aids, bus drivers, security guards, janitors."
According to Berger, more than a third of New Jersey residents are renters. Renters make up two-thirds of the households in Hudson County.
“We have a supply and demand problem in New Jersey, more renters are entering the market and fewer affordable home options are available,” Berger said in a press release accompanying the report. “We need federal and state leaders to put resources into making more homes affordable for more people. Now is not the time to cut housing resources in their budgets.”