Experts may disagree on the definition of what constitutes affordable housing, but if luxury hot tubs are involved, you're probably looking in the wrong place.
A study of the need for affordable housing in New Jersey towns was found to have listed 20,000 houses that sold for more than $300,000, according to the Fair Share Housing Center.
New Jersey is in the middle of a complicated legal struggle over affordable housing. The state supreme court found last year that Gov. Chris Christie's affordable housing agency was not doing its job and transferred its authority to local courts in an attempt to create more housing. Faced with greater court scrutiny, 280 N.J. towns hired Philadelphia-based Econsult Solutions to advise them on their affordable housing obligations.
But Econsult's definition of affordable housing seems a little, well, Trump-ish. They used a process called "filtering" to find homes that have decreased in value as they aged and become affordable, although Fair Share claims Econsult's analysis includes homes that have actually increased in value instead.
The group found some fairly opulent examples among the thousands of six-figure homes in Econsult's report.
• A four-bedroom Paramus home that is currently on the market for $999,000 and includes a “luxury whirlpool” and two walk-in closets.
• A four-bedroom mansion in Marlton featuring a Jacuzzi and swimming pool that last sold for $441,000.
• A two-bedroom condo in Washington Township, Bergen County, in an age-restricted gated community that last sold for $467,000. The unit features a private terrace.
• A Monmouth Beach home overlooking the bay that features three bedrooms and an in-ground pool. It last sold for $485,000.
"It's just not common sense that Shore homes worth $500,000 are affordable for working families," Fair Share attorney Adam Gordon told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
A lawyer for Econsult told NJ.com that high interest rates and high medium income means sometimes affordable housing can appear very expensive.
"It's not science, it's not easy to measure, and it's very complicated," Jeffrey Surenian told NJ.com.
New Jersey's median income is the second highest in the U.S. at about $72,000, although a million dollar mansion would be a stretch on that salary. But affordable housing isn't supposed to be for the people making $72,000, it's for the many people who make less than that. That's how a median works.