Creating Places To Age: Housing Affordability and Aging-Friendly Communities
While New Jersey is an expensive state for all residents, older residents often have particular difficulty paying their housing costs.
This report takes a municipality-by-municipality look at the issue of housing affordability for New Jersey’s older residents, and finds that in many places, older residents suffer significant housing cost burdens.
The report,Housing Affordability and Aging-Friendly Communities, identifies two primary types of places where high percentages of older residents have difficulty paying their housing costs:
- Lower-income communities. These are places with high rates of housing cost burden for all residents, regardless of age. They are primarily places where limited incomes create difficulties in paying for housing of any type. They also tend to have good aging-friendly design characteristics, and include a few higher-demand walkable communities like Englewood, Morristown, Bergenfield, Somerville, and Nutley.
- Single-family-dominant communities. These are places where housing cost burden is a more acute problem for older households than it is for others. They tend to be lower-density, auto-dependent suburban areas where the built environment is not particularly aging-friendly, and they tend to be dominated by large single-family detached homes, a housing type not well suited to older people seeking to downsize and reduce expenses and maintenance responsibilities. (New Jersey Future analyzed the aging-friendliness of each municipality’s built environment in its January 2014 report, Creating Places To Age in New Jersey.) This group also includes places like Englewood Cliffs, Maplewood, Westfield, Pennington, and Haddonfield, that have good aging-friendly land-development characteristics but whose housing stocks consist disproportionately of large units. For another example, see this New Jersey State League of Municipalities article (pdf) from April 2016 on the challenge in South Orange.
As New Jersey’s population ages, ensuring that its municipalities can provide appropriate housing options will become increasingly important. Whether it’s making sure there are enough housing choices to allow lower-income households to remain in their communities as they age, or making sure those households can afford the choices they already have, towns can look to this report as one indicator of how prepared they are to meet the housing needs of their aging residents.
Download the full report (pdf).
Read the April 2016 League of Municipalities article about South Orange.
Download housing cost burden information for the full list of New Jersey municipalities here (pdf, 11″x17″):