Apartment rent rising faster than wages in Pennsylvania, New Jersey

Apartment rent rising faster than wages in Pennsylvania, New Jersey

Are local rentals out of reach? The average Pennsylvania worker can't afford decent housing, according to a new study.

Are local rentals out of reach? The average Pennsylvania worker can't afford decent housing, and New Jersey residents aren't faring much better, according to a new study.

Multifamily apartment units are 11 percent higher than last year and 20 percent higher than 2007, all while wages have stagnated, according to the Federal Reserve Index.

"Exposed brick open beam ceilings," described Nat Hyman, an Allentown developer who is in the midst of renovating his Linden Lofts apartment complex, which start at $850 per month.

Hyman's finished fifth floor is full, and he expects to easily sell out the rest. Since the NIZ went into effect, his rent prices have skyrocketed 15 percent to 20 percent and will go higher.

"Right now, it's good to be an apartment landlord," he said.

His prices could be considered cheap. A new report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found a Pennsylvania renter needs to make $17.57 per hour to afford rent on an average two-bedroom home. That's $2.41 more than the average worker makes.

It's the seventh largest wage gap in the country and one 24-year-old Brittany Amparo knows well.

"I make a lot less than that, and it's tough." she said.

It took the Starbucks supervisor two months to find a place that fit her budget before finally finding Hyman's property.

"I couldn't find anything for $850 in a nice area. It was all $900 and up," she said.

In New Jersey, Garden State workers must rake in $25.17 an hour for a two-bedroom rental home.

"New Jersey has an affordable housing plan. It's called Pennsylvania," said Alan Jennings, a community activist.

Jennings said that's just one factor driving up prices. Home ownership is at its lowest point since 1989.

Jennings said the rash or foreclosures during the recent recession and the lack of home-buying from millennials are other factors driving up rent. With stagnant wages, Jennings said many can't keep up.

"That's is why the Sixth Street Shelter has 100 people in their shelter and why every other Lehigh Valley shelter is full," Jennings said.

Jennings, who serves on the board that oversees the tax-friendly NIZ district, said he's proposing requiring low-income housing be attached to new housing developments inside the zone.

"For every 10 units, one would have to have affordable to low to moderate income families," he explained.

Back at Linden Lofts, work continues in preparation for more rental contracts to come.

"The function of supply and demand. At some point, a threshold of where you can't go any higher, until we hit that rents will continue to escalate," Hyman said.

The cheapest state is South Dakota at $13.41 an hour while Hawaii is the most expensive at just over $31 an hour.

Shop Talk

What's new in the business community!

If you know of local business openings or closings, please notify us here.

· Hop Daddy’s Brewing Co. will open its its new brewery, restaurant and beer garden in downtown Allentown on Nov. 15.

.Kabab and Chutney, an Indian restaurant, recently opened on 3812 Easton-Nazareth HWY Easton. The hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Sunday (closed on Tuesday).

Jersey Mike's Subs will open in Allentown on November 6. A grand opening and and free sub fundraiser will be held from Wednesday, November 6 to Sunday, November 10 to support the Salvation Army.

.Outside the Box Sneaker Boutique opens this Halloween in the lower level of Main Street Commons, 559 Main Street, Bethlehem. The grand opening is on October 31 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

.LVHN opens ExpressCARE in Palmerton on Oct. 29.

· Bath & Body Works is scheduled to open at the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley on October 26.

· A Frutta Bowls franchise will open on the ArtsWalk in downtown Allentown in mid-December 2019.

· Toys R Awesome, a new retro store in the Village West Shopping Center, has opened on 3022 West Tilghman Street.

· The Carbon Chamber & Economic Development Corp.  will welcome Panther Creek Pharmacy in Nesquehoning to Carbon County. The Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting Celebration will take place on Friday, Oct. 25 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the pharmacy at 74 W. Catawissa Street.

· ShopRite will open a full-service supermarket on Friday, Nov. 1, with a 10 a.m. ribbon cutting at the ShopRite of Stroudsburg in the Stroud Mall. 

· Foundational Health, a holistic wellness center, opened in Bethlehem at 1403 Center Street.  Foundational Health offers personalized nutritional coaching, weight loss plans, group coaching, infrared sauna with halo-therapy (salt therapy) and chromotherapy (color therapy).

· Taco Bell to open at site of former Wind Gap Professional Center off Route 33 in Plainfield Township.

· Dr. Joseph Patruno named chief wellness officer of Lehigh Valley Health Network, to address and promote the well-being of healthcare professionals and caregivers at LVHN.

· Big Lots will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 12. It will celebrate the grand opening of five newly remodeled stores throughout the Allentown area.

· The Peppermint Stick Candy Store of Boyertown is opening a second location in the High Street Terminal on 300 E. High Street in Pottstown. The grand opening is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 11.

· Madona Antiques Gallery will open in about a month at 283 Fifth Street in Whitehall Township. It will sell antique English, French and American furniture and lighting.

· Mealey's Furniture going out of business and closing all stores

· Green Earth Marketplace to celebrate renovations and new ownership with a ribbon-cutting event on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 9:45 a.m. at 1328 Chestnut Street in Emmaus

· Lehigh Fine Foods to hold grand opening celebration Saturday, Oct. 5 from 12-2 p.m. at 1301 Chestnut Street in Emmaus

· Grand View Health announces 5-year, $210M expansion plan. The most significant investment is the construction of a 5-floor expansion next to the Sellersville hospital, which will include a new emergency department and more.

· Roosevelt's 21st in Bethlehem to close on September 28

· 1847 Financial Lehigh Valley is hosting an Open House Celebration in recognition of the grand opening of their new space in Allentown. The event will take place on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. at 1550 Pond Road Suite 140 in Allentown.

· CBRE has arranged a lease for Venture X, a workspace community for entrepreneurs and businesses, at Gateway at Greenway Park in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This will be Venture X’s first location in Pennsylvania. 

· A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for You've Got Maids and The Gathering Place at 351 W. Broad Street in Quakertown on Sept. 26 at noon.

· Fischer's Tuxedo is celebrating 100 years in Quakertown. A ribbon-cutting on their next 100 years is set for Tuesday, Sept. 17 at noon.

· Multisport Fitness will host a grand opening celebration on Sept. 26 from 5-8 p.m. at the gym, located at 2016 South Delaware Drive in Upper Mount Bethel.

· The Vibe: Connect and Thrive fitness studio had a grand opening Sunday, Sept. 8 at 202 S. 3rd Street, Suite C, in Hamburg. 

· Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley has relocated to 2132 South 12th Street, Suite 401, in Allentown.

· LVHN ExpressCare to open in Lehighton on Sept. 3. The urgent care facility at 363 North First Street will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

· Dog grooming service to open along North Sixth Street in Allentown

· NY Gyro opened their second location at 129 E. Third Street in Bethlehem.

News Direct From Regional Businesses

A Service from PR Newswire

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


AP News Alerts

Forecast Updates

Breaking News