Newark, Jersey City among the least affordable cities for renters, survey finds

By Tom De Poto/The Star-Ledger
on January 21, 2014

In Jersey City and Newark, rents exceed 30 percent of a person's monthly gross income. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Jersey City and Newark rank in the Top 20 of the least affordable cities in the country when it comes to renting an apartment, according to a survey by Apartment List, a search engine for apartment listings.

The survey found that in Jersey City (ranked 4th worst nationwide) and Newark (15th worst), the average monthly rent based exceeds the recommended 30 percent of income-to-rent ratio.

Financial experts believe rent should not be more than 30 percent of monthly gross income.

New York, San Francisco and Boston topped the list.

In Jersey City, according to Apartment List, about 49 percent of income is spent on rent while the median household income is $57,520. In Newark, where median household income is $35,696, it’s about 35 percent of income.

Newark and Jersey City were the only two New Jersey municipalities studied in the 100-city survey.

The report found that the average listing prices for a one bedroom apartment in Jersey City rose more than 4 percent to $2,352, while two-bedrooms rose 1.2 percent to $2,913.

In Newark, one-bedroom listings jumped nearly 5 percent to $1,040, while two-bedrooms climbed 4.1 percent to $1,371.

New Jersey’s vacancy rate remains below the national average of 4.2 percent at 3.3 percent. That figure is down from 5.2 percent at the peak of the recession, according to the Otteau Valuations Group.

Nationwide, renters in 20 percent of the 100 cities surveyed pay more on rent than what is recommended by financial experts.

“The standout trend we are seeing on a national scale is that the gap between income and rent is growing,” John Kobs, founder and chief executive officer of Apartment List, said in a statement.

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