BY CHRISTOPHER ESSNER
As the winter months come to a close, and the days of summer approach us, people begin to plan their summer trips to the Jersey Shore. It’s a Jersey tradition to drive up and down the streets of beach towns and see rent signs in door after door.
Sandy changed all that. Many people are still without homes after they saw the storm tear apart the buildings they lived in. This is forcing many New Jersey residents to seek rental properties while they search for a long term solution.
An increase in demand coinciding with a decrease in supply has made it difficult to find rentable housing. Those who are lucky enough to find them have seen the monthly rates skyrocket.
“It’s nonexistent, the rentals around here,” said Christie Winters, program coordinator for the Visitation Relief Center in Brick. “And if there are rental properties around, the rent is too high. It’s just too high. There are a lot of summer homes around here. They’re used to renting the homes out for anywhere between $2,000 to $2,500.”
New Jersey was already number four amongst states with the highest rent rates behind only Hawaii, New York, and California. Sandy funding has the ability to help people pay for rent for a couple of months, but no long term solution exists right now.
A report by the Enterprise Community Partners says more than 250,000 New Jersey residents registered for Federal Emergency assistance. 43 percent of those residents are renters, many of which earn less than $30,000 per year.
Rental rates effect those living near urban centers equally as much as those affected by Sandy. Sitting between two major cities, New York and Philadelphia, makes New Jersey and attractive location to live for young and experienced workers alike.
In the future rental apartments will be highly sought after by people looking for cheaper living options than those located within the major cities. According to the World Health Organization by 2030 six out of ten people will live in a city.
Major cities, such as New York and San Francisco, are already planning to introduce micro-apartments. These small college dorm-like apartments are being marketed to young working Americans who cannot afford larger apartments.
Should this new trend prove viable, New Jersey cities may look to adopt micro-apartment options for New Jersey renters in the future. Until then New Jersey residents will be forced to live in smaller spaces than they are accustomed to.