RentCafe: The top housing trends in N.J. that defined the decade

The housing market in the United States over the past decade has gone through a serious transformation, especially when it comes to renting, according to RentCafe, which analyzed and gathered the 15 most important housing trends that defined the ’10s.

The ‘renter by choice’ rose during this time due to the recession, economic expansion and changing attitudes toward family and homeownership, according to the report. Rentership rates have expanded across the board, with young families to seniors in cities and suburbs shifting away from homeownership.

“The demographic distribution switched to renter-majority in many cities, and those on the Northeastern coast now have the highest concentration of renters in the country. Economic development and employment opportunities expansion made cities from New Jersey magnets for renters,” Mihaela Buzec, reasearch analyst, RentCafe, said.

Here are the top findings for New Jersey, according to the online rental service:

Three of New Jersey’s cities made it to the top of the list of cities with the highest share of renters. Newark came in third with a 75% renter-majority population, followed by Elizabeth (No. 4, 73% renter-majority) and Jersey City (No. 6, 67% renter-majority).

When looking at who those renters are, a trend stands out, RentCafe found.

Compared to 2010, the number of wealthy renters in Jersey City doubled. At the start of the decade, only 9% of renters represented households earning more than $150,000. Today, the total number of high-income households that rent are more than 12,600, or $18%. Jersey City is also the “youngest” city nationwide, with nearly 39% of its population made up of millennials.

Looking at apartment and construction trends, although apartments in Newark are currently bigger than they were in 2010 (694 square feet), the city came in second after Seattle for having some of the smallest dwellings in the nation (average of 706 square feet). In Jersey City, about 14,000 new apartments were delivered over the decade out of a total of 125,000 units in Metro New York, representing 11% of the housing units built in that metro area during that time.

Over the decade, Edison saw the highest jump of single-family renters at 41%.

“For New Jersey, this decade has been a dynamic one, with many developments and changes in both construction, costs, and the renter population. Looking at the trends of the decade, we see more people choosing to rent because of the flexibility and comfort rental apartments now provide, and we look forward to see how this industry will further develop,” Buzec said.