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Tightening Rental Market Eroding Affordability

Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies’ (JCHS)

The recent State of the Nation's Housing 2016 report, published by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS), revealed that the U.S. rental market is tightening, eroding affordability.

By 2015, the proportion of households in the rental market expanded to over 35 percent, which was the largest share since the late 1960s. Construction for multifamily units has increased but it has done so primarily for high-income renters. Consequently, the number of cost-burdened households that spend more the 30% and 50% of their income on housing expanded to 21.3 and 11.4 million, respectively.

The affordability crisis is compounded by the lack of federal assistance. About 75% of households that qualify for federal assistance do not receive it. Others have their needs met by state and local inclusionary zoning practices that create affordable housing opportunities. Those who are not fortunate enough to benefit from either are forced to sacrifice basic needs (food, health, safety, etc.) to pay housing costs.

The report also addresses the recovery of the housing market and the challenges that still remain.

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