The Out of Reach report shows what the Housing Wage is throughout the country. The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest and safe rental home without spending more than 30% of his or her income on housing costs based on the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Fair Market Rent (FMR.) The FMR is an estimate of what a family moving today can expect to pay for a modest rental home in the area.
Out of Reach compares the Housing Wage to prevailing renter wages and incomes. The report shows how many hours an individual must work each week for 52 weeks a year at the prevailing minimum wage to afford a modest one- and two-bedroom apartment.
As a new feature this year, Out of Reach 2017 will provide Housing Wages and prevailing renter wages not just nationally and by state, county and jurisdiction, but also at the ZIP code (Small-Area Fair Market Rent) level.
Out of Reach 2016 found that in New Jersey, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,379. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities — without paying more than 30% of income on housing — a household must earn $4,596 monthly or $55,152 annually.
In order to afford a modest two-bedroom home in the Garden State, a family must earn an hourly wage of $26.52, far more than the state’s average hourly wage of $16.98 or the $8.38 minimum wage.
New Jersey had the 5th most expensive rental market in the United States.