TRENTON – A person in New Jersey would need to earn $25.04 per hour, or more than $52,000 a year, to comfortably afford an average two-bedroom market-rate apartment in New Jersey, making the Garden state the fourth most expensive state in the country in which to rent an apartment, a report released Tuesday said.
The Housing and Community Development Network said the expensive rents make the apartments unaffordable for several working-class and professional residents, people who are working such jobs as emergency dispatchers, security guards, bus drivers, dental technicians, reporters, and hairstylists, among others.
The group said that a person who earns the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour would need to work 140 hours per week to afford the two-bedroom apartment.
“New Jersey has become less affordable in the last year,” said HCDN-NJ Executive Director Diane Sterner. “We need our leaders to invest in New Jersey’s future and help create the homes our residents need and empower municipalities to transform their neighborhoods into vibrant, affordable, safe communities.”
Sen. Shirley Turner, (D-15), Lawrence, who was at the HCDN press conference, said the staggering rents show more needs to be done to address the high unaffordability rate in renting a market-rate two-bedroom unit.
Housing advocates spoke highly of a bill proposed by Sen. Ray Lesniak, (D-20), Elizabeth, that seeks to transform blighted or foreclosed properties into affordable housing units.
According to the study, Bergen and Passaic counties are the most expensive for renters, where the average two-bedroom apartment costs $1,515, and tenants would need to earn $60,600 per year.
Cumberland County was the least expensive, at $1,017 a month. A person would need to earn $40,680 a year to afford a two-bedroom apartment there, according to this report.
Some 33 percent of all residents rent in the Garden State. The typical renter in New Jersey earns $16.40 per hour, only two-thirds of the amount needed to afford rent comfortably, according to the advocates.