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Harvard's the State of the Nation report cover

Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies State Of The Nation’s Housing In 2022 Highlights a Post-Pandemic Affordability Crisis

by Kayleigh Pratt, Senior Policy Analyst
July, 2022

In June 2022, the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) of Harvard University released its annual “The State of the Nation’s Housing” report. In Connecticut across the country, housing costs continue to rise at a time when households no longer have access to COVID-related protections such as eviction and foreclosure moratoria and emergency rental assistance funding. The report details a persistent and pervasive housing affordability crisis, most severely impacting low-income households and households of color.

In the report, JCHS examines market pressures impacting costs for rental housing and homeownership, finding that demand continues to rise for both, exceeding pre-pandemic levels. This demand is coupled with record-low rental vacancies and homes for purchase. Along with market pressures we’ve come to expect – millennials looking to purchase first homes, the aging population needing to either downsize or retrofit their homes to age in place, and the high cost of land acquisition and construction – comes a unique set of post-pandemic pressures. Among these is the rising cost of single-family rentals, signaling a growing demand for larger living spaces suitable for remote work.

Options for purchase or rental are further squeezed by investors, who are purchasing and flipping homes to resell or rent. In 2022, investor purchases accounted for 28% of purchases, up significantly from prior years (19% in 2021 and 16% in 2017-2019).

All these pressures negatively impact low-income households already struggling to afford housing. With increasing inflation and rents, renters are being priced out. According to National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), Connecticut’s Housing Wage, or amount needed to afford a moderately priced 2-bedroom rental, reached $27.37 in 2022.

While housing production is picking up nationally, new units are likely to alleviate some of the pressure from the moderate- to high- income households, further reinforcing a need for housing assistance directed at low-income households.

To learn more and read the full report, click here.