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Thursday, June 20, 2024

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Report Says Affordable Housing Remains Out of Reach

For Rent Sign in front of a house
1000Photography/Shutterstock.com
For Rent Sign in front of a house

By Vince Conti

COURT HOUSE – The annual Out of Reach report of the National Low Income Housing Coalition does not have good news for renters in Cape May County.

The report looks at states and their counties across the country, calculating an “affordable housing wage” and comparing that to actual renter mean wages in each area. 

In New Jersey, the hourly wage needed to support a decent, not fancy, two-bedroom housing unit at fair market value for rents is $33.50 per hour. The average renter wage for a housing unit in New Jersey is 24.40 per hour.  

This means that many renters are in housing that forces them to spend a high percentage of gross income on housing. Affordable, in this sense, means the ability to pay fair market rents without spending more than 30% of gross income on housing. 

In Cape May County, the report calculates that the hourly wage needed to afford a two-bedroom unit is $29.82. While the county amount needed is below the state average, the estimated mean hourly wage of the county’s workers is well below the threshold wage needed.  

The result is, according to the report, that renter households in the county need, on average, 2.8 full-time jobs to afford the two-bedroom unit. 

The report is just further confirmation of problems often discussed with respect to homelessness, young family flight from the county and workforce availability.  

The problem – the lack of affordable housing for low-income renters – has been with the county for years. This year’s Out of Reach report argues that things are getting worse, not better. 

With rents soaring and inflation remaining high, the report argues that affordable housing is increasingly out of reach. 

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