Affordable Housing, Reports and Publications

Households Spending More on Rents Than a Decade Ago

Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

A new report that looks at the period from 2000 to 2012 shows that while there is more rental property now than before, people are also paying more of their income towards rent. 

The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard new report – America’s Rental Housing: Evolving Markets and Needs – reveals that half of all renters spend more than 30% of all their income on rent, 12% more than a decade ago.  Additionally, households with a severe housing cost burden (paying more than 50% of their income towards housing) have increased to 27% of renters from 19% a decade ago.

Skyrocketing demand for rental housing has resulted in the highest rental rates seen in a decade and the highest rates for 25-34 year olds since the 70’s. The increase in rates is having a disproportionate effect on low-income households as almost half of the nation’s renters make below $30,000, 22% of which earn below $15,000.

Exacerbating this is the fact that not only is new rental construction usually priced for households earning at least $42,000 but of the rental properties that existed in 2001, 12.8% of the most affordable rentals (under $400/month) had been demolished by 2011.
The squeeze is felt on both ends as national real median rents increased by 6% from 2000 to 2012 and, over the same period, the real median income of renters dropped by 13%. 

These finding demonstrate the need to seriously address rental housing and affordable housing policy at the local, state and national levels.

Read the full report - America’s Rental Housing: Evolving Markets and Needs.


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