Foreclosure spike underscores N.J.’s unaffordability, say Auth and Sawyer

Foreclosure spike underscores N.J.’s unaffordability, say Auth and Sawyer

Robert Auth

TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey’s second-highest-in-the-nation foreclosure rate for the most recent quarter is alarming but not surprising, say Assemblyman Robert Auth and Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer. Both lawmakers have their finger to the pulse of the housing market as Realtors and say a recent foreclosure report highlights New Jersey’s continuing affordability crisis.

“New Jersey holds the unenviable reputation for being a national leader in foreclosures because of high property taxes and our general high cost of living,” Auth (R-Bergen) said. “Unfortunately, Governor Murphy has done nothing to address the root cause of the problem – out-of-control government spending and taxes. Owning a home and raising a family in New Jersey is quickly becoming out of reach for many residents.” 

On average, New Jersey residents pay more in total monthly household expenses than residents in 48 other states. Housing costs have risen to 36% of income, which is above the 30% threshold that defines living in poverty. A quarter of tenants in New Jersey spend more than half their income on rent.

Beth Sawyer

“Pandemic-related moratoriums and court backlogs just masked a lingering foreclosure issue in New Jersey,” Sawyer (R-Gloucester) said. “The home you can pay for today becomes unaffordable tomorrow because of rising property taxes and other related costs like insurance and utilities. I don’t know how many Realtors can truly say they are handing over the keys to a person’s forever home in New Jersey. It is completely unacceptable that affordability has been among taxpayers’ chief complaints for decades and the problem persists.”

The foreclosure activity report, released by ATTOM Data Solutions, showed New Jersey trailed only Illinois for the highest foreclosure rate in the United States over the first quarter of 2022. One in every 792 housing units was in foreclosure over the first three months of the year, a 69% increase from the fourth quarter of 2021 and a 312% increase from a year ago. Overall, the states with the highest levels of foreclosure activity right now also had the highest number of foreclosures a couple of years ago.

Auth and Sawyer stressed the need for real reform in New Jersey to make it more affordable for families who want to live and work in the Garden State.

“We urge the Legislature to consider proposals to index income taxes to inflation, eliminate the marriage penalty, and increase the property tax deduction for renters. These measures would not only save taxpayers money immediately, but also would address New Jersey’s affordability crisis long-term,” said Auth and Sawyer.