Despite the impression that the last open space in New Jersey is about to be paved over, there is still plenty of elbow room, a state consultant said yesterday.
“All of the growth and development that has occurred in the 240 years since our nation was founded has used 1.42 million acres, or 28 percent of the state’s total area,” Henry J. Mayer of Rutgers University’s E.J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy told a meeting of the state Council on Affordable Housing.
Of the state’s 4.98 million acres, about 1.24 million acres — mostly in South Jersey — are undeveloped and unconstrained, available for future development, Mayer said, estimating the open acreage could absorb nearly 1 million new houses and apartments.
A second report presented to COAH found declining housing prices in New Jersey’s cities and older suburbs are expected to make 47,306 houses affordable to people with low and moderate incomes by 2018. But affordable housing will continue to be hard to find in the suburbs and Shore area, according to a state consultant’s finding.
The report found that as some cities attracted wealthier homebuyers or rural towns grew into suburbs, they lost housing that was once affordable.