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Rutgers–Camden report offers strategies for turning distressed properties into community assets

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A Rutgers University–Camden report suggests that recovery from distressed properties in New Jersey may be possible.
A Rutgers University–Camden report suggests that recovery from distressed properties in New Jersey may be possible. - ()

A Rutgers University–Camden report released Monday suggests that recovery from distressed properties in New Jersey may be possible through a coordinated effort of multisector stakeholders.

In collaboration with the Land Dimensions and the Financial Wellness Institute, the report found that New Jersey consistently ranks first or second in foreclosure rates across the United States. The Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs at Rutgers University–Camden addresses public policy issues impacting southern New Jersey through applied research, community engagement and organizational development.    

The report found that the average percentage of renters in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties who pay more than 30 percent of their gross income on housing cost is 57.4 percent, while homeowners in these counties pay 42.4 percent of their gross income.

Data from the report revealed that New Jersey’s inability to address issues that increase the cost of living, including property tax, transportation cost, median-housing cost, and health-care cost, plays a role in the large number of foreclosures in the state.

By way of solutions, the report proposes convening a group of stakeholders, including elected officials and representatives from financial institutions, to discuss the foreclosure process and its effect on the housing market and local economies.

In addition, the report recommends: working with tax-lien holders and municipalities to acquire and rehabilitate vacant and abandoned properties, and repurpose these properties for owner occupancy or rental; creating a South Jersey Revolving Loan Fund to provide nonprofit organizations with capital to acquire and rehabilitate real-estate-owned, abandoned, and vacant properties; and enacting legislation to create land banks – governmental entities or nonprofit corporations that are focused on acquiring and developing vacant, abandoned, and tax-delinquent properties for future development.

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David Hutter

David Hutter


David Hutter grew up in Darien, Conn., and covers higher education, transportation and manufacturing for NJBIZ. He can be reached at dhutter@njbiz.com.

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