Affordable Housing, Community Development, Homelessness, Housing Policy Briefs, Reports and Publications

JCHS Reports Rental Market Still Unaffordable for Many

Joint Center for Housing Solutions

In December, the Joint Center for Housing Solutions of Harvard University (JCHS) published a new report, “America’s Rental Housing 2017.” The report provides a comprehensive snapshot of the nation’s rental market. Overall, nearly half of renters are cost burdened, or spending more than 30% of their income on housing.  

While JCHS notes a slowing of rental market demand following several years of large surges, the report concludes renter households are still projected to increase by nearly 500,000 annually from 2015-2025. The report also notes an aging rental population, where the median age of renters was 40 in 2016, compared to 38 only a decade earlier. Further, renter demographics are increasingly diverse in terms of race and ethnicity, as well as income level and familial status.  

In addition, the report notes a slowing single-family home rental supply, and an increase in high-end multifamily rental units. Notably, the median rental price for new apartments is $1,480, representing a 27 percent increase between 2011 and 2016. A rental cost of $1,480 would be considered affordable to households with incomes of at least $59,000. In comparison, the median renter income is $37,300.  

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