November 27th, 2000 by Tim Evans
- Only a third of all New Jersey households are families with children under 18, making only one in three households a primary market for new single-family homes (per 1990 census).
- Yet from 1990 to 1999, 83 percent of all building permits issued in New Jersey were for single-family homes.
- This imbalance severely limits the choice of new housing for those without young children – two-thirds of the market – who may want, or are financially limited to, other types of new housing, including condos and apartments.
Any builder will tell you, the large, new single-family homes sprouting up around New Jersey have ready buyers. But odds are good it’s not market demand at work, but the lack of any other choice for the majority of buyers.
More than half of the 558 municipalities that issued building permits in the 1990s did not issue a single permit for multi-family housing – the condominiums and apartments generally preferred by households without young children.
Moreover, nearly two-thirds of the municipalities that did allow construction of new multi-family housing are located in the built-up northern counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union.
As a result, young professionals, couples and families with older children who may want a new apartment or condo are largely limited to four heavily urbanized counties in New Jersey. This majority share of the market has few choices about where to live. In more than half the state, the housing needs of these households are not being addressed at all.
B. Tim Evans, NJF Research Director,