WRI, in partnership with Land Dimensions and the Financial Wellness Institute, has completed a study essential to understanding the livability of the state.

The study focuses on the South Jersey housing market, examining the lack of home ownership options in parts of the South Jersey region, how the problem adversely affects the economy, and how the foreclosure process limits the availability of affordable, entry level, and workforce housing. The report offers several solutions to the problem.

Critical facts include:

  • In Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, and Gloucester counties, more than half of renters spend 30%+ of their income on housing; more than 40% of homeowners in the counties (excluding Camden — 36.5%) spend 30%+ of their income on housing.
  • As of May 2018, the foreclosure rate in New Jersey was one per 639 housing units, nearly three times the national rate of one per 1835 and among the worst rates in the country.
  • A single foreclosed, vacant, or abandoned home that is improperly secured can result in economic loss not only for the property itself, but also to neighbors and the broader community. With a median home worth approximately $200,000, the foreclosed and abandoned house itself loses $70,000 in value, imposes close to $100,000 in property value loss to its surrounding neighbors, is responsible for $14,000 worth of crime per year in the immediate community, and is associated with $1,500 in police and fire department costs per year in municipal budgets.

WRI, the Financial Wellness Institute, and Land Dimensions will be convening a forum in the fall to unpack the findings and potential solutions, and bring together interested stakeholders to advance regional efforts to address the challenge.