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new jersey department of environmental protection  


Living with the Future in Mind
Goals and Indicators for New Jersey's Quality of Life
First Annual Update to the Sustainable State Project Report 2000

Indicator 20

Additional  Decent Housing Indicators

19 - Rent Affordability

21 - Housing Choice

Home Prices vs. Income

The relationship between per capita income and average home sale price: Income increasing faster than home prices

  Things to think about 

Although average income is rising, income inequality, or the gap between the rich and poor, appears to be widening in the state. We also donít know if housing inequality is widening.

Homebuilding technology exists to significantly reduce environmental impacts of, for example, energy use. Despite the fact that this technology has proven to save homeowners substantial amounts of money in the long term (the duration of a mortgage, for instance), it has not been widely incorporated into the housing market.



Home ownership helps build financial equity for New Jerseyans and establishes us as long-term stakeholders in our communities. It also builds pride in the places where we live and gives children and families a stable place to grow. Since 1990, income has risen significantly faster than home prices. This suggests that more of us are able to buy a home.


One of the biggest economic goals of many New Jerseyans is to own a home. For most people, their home will be their largest investment. We store our savings in our homes as "equity." We also store our most valuable assets at home Ė our safety, our families, our peace of mind. The availability of desirable housing for employees is a major consideration for businesses deciding where to locate.


How and where we build our homes may be the single most important factor in how much we impact our environment. Depending on where and how they are built, homes use different amounts of land and energy and generate different amounts of traffic and pollution. The most valuable homes are often those with tree-lined streets, near pristine environments and parks. Conversely, those near waste dumps, polluted rivers, or environmentally damaged sites are worth the least.


Homes give people a reason to care. Homeowners tend to take a long-term interest in community issues such as promoting education and fighting crime. Desirable homes help shape close communities where children play safely, where parents can visit each other in nearby parks, and where housing values rise along with the well-being of the community.

Knowledge Gaps

Although homes are more affordable, the data do not tell us the locations of the homes involved. Therefore, we donít know if the overall quality of homes is improving as affordability improves. For example, we cannot tell how safe the homes are, the quality of the school districts that serve them, the levels of racial segregation in the regions where they are located, their environmental impact, or how close the homes are to neighbors, key services, public transportation, and jobs. The data also do not reflect regional variations in home prices and income.

Note: See the Technical Appendix for information on the use of different data sources and a change in the description of this indicator since the 1999 Sustainable State Project Report.

Data Sources: US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, US Bureau of the Census, NJ Department of Labor, and Regional Financial Associates

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Modified: April 27, 2007

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