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McMansions Rise, Along With Overcrowding

July 12th, 2002 by

  • The latest Census figures illustrate a significant mismatch between the type of housing being built in New Jersey, and housing needs.
  • The number of luxury homes with eight or more rooms, excluding bathrooms, rose by 127,000 units in the past decade. That’s more than 10 times the increase in homes with four to six rooms (including the typical three-bedroom home), which grew by only 11,000 units.
  • This market imbalance is forcing New Jerseyans to double up. The number of crowded households in New Jersey (more than 1 resident per room, not counting bathrooms) jumped 42 percent in the past decade, with an estimated 154,000 households affected.
  • Worse, the number of severely crowded households (more than 1.5 residents per room, not counting bathrooms) leaped 74 percent.

Housing Not Meeting Market Needs

Almost a million new people made New Jersey their home during the past 20 years. Forecasters at Rutgers University project New Jersey will get another 908,000 new residents in the next 20 years.

New Jersey needs more housing. But not more of the housing it’s getting today.

The places where overcrowding has gotten dramatically worse in the past decade suggest there is a tremendous and unsatisfied market demand for redevelopment – in Hudson and southern Bergen counties, along the Route 9 corridor in Monmouth/Ocean, and along the Atlantic City Expressway in Camden and Atlantic counties. The dramatic rise in overcrowding along the Route 1 corridor, most strikingly in Middlesex and eastern Somerset counties, strengthens arguments for investment and redevelopment in New Brunswick and Trenton, and for new development in these places that addresses the needs of middle and low-income workers.

Adequate housing isn’’t simply a social issue, it’s an economic imperative. New Jersey cannot continue to grow its business base without offering workers an affordable place to live.

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