According to a recent survey, housing affordability ” continues to be an issue” in Morris County, where the median price of a new single-family house is close to $1 million and half of the renters spend close to a third of their income on housing.
According to the 2022 Development Activity Report, released last week, the county is still going through a tremendous building boom, even though affordable homes may be hard to come by. The most applications for permits in 22 years were submitted by developers last year to build more than 4 million square feet of warehouse space.
According to the county Office of Planning and Preservation’s annual evaluation, developers also requested approval to build more than 1,900 townhomes and apartments, the third-highest amount in the previous ten years. Most of the ideas were centered on current rail lines or significant thoroughfares like Route 80, with Dover, Denville, Parsippany, Roxbury, and Mount Olive seeing the most activity.
A look at some of the report’s other conclusions follows.
It’s a World of Warehouses
Morris County wasn’t exempt from the New Jersey-wide uptick in warehouse development as developers try to meet the demand for distribution centers brought on by the rise in online shopping.
The three most extensive applications submitted to the county were all for warehouse projects: the 2.5 million square foot Roxbury Commerce Center, which would be built on the site of the former Hercules Munitions plant; the 654,000 square foot Parkview Business Center, also in Roxbury; and the 375,000 square foot expansion sought by IV 1 Logistics in Mine Hill.
Rentals in Morris County: Not So Inexpensive?
Court-ordered affordable housing settlements with communities are to blame for a large portion of the new building. Developers are also permitted to add market-rate homes in those developments, and the results may be seen in the data.
The investigation discovered that “Most of the proposed developments were luxury rentals that have projected rent levels higher than the median rent level for the county,” pointing out that the usual monthly rent in Morris County for a two-bedroom unit is $1,871. In Morris County, “Approximately 45.3% of renters in Morris County are paying 30% or more of their gross income for rent.”
Of the 1,902 townhouse and apartment units proposed last year, the Brookside project in Montville, with 266 apartments, and the proposed residential development between East Blackwell and South Salem streets in Dover, with 252 units, were the two most significant applications.
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Office Buildings and Single-family Dwellings Are Outmoded
According to the county, significant subdivisions that construct detached, single-family homes continue to shrink, increasing the cost of those who do. For a single-family detached home in Morris County, the typical transaction price in 2021 was $928,423. The average townhome was the new, attached property with a median transaction price of $743,014.
According to the county, office parks are becoming extinct in the age of virtual work. “We continue to see a trend in the proposed redevelopment of former office building sites to a mixed-use combination of residential/retail/office use and/or warehousing,” the county said.