In June 2021, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University released a new report entitled “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2021.” The report highlights the surge of housing demands, rental housing vacancy rates in urban and suburban markets, housing cost burden in owners-occupied and renters households over the past year.
According to the authors, financial distress persists as the market recovers, and financial distress levels differ across different households. Renters, People of Color, and low-income households are disproportionately experiencing high levels of financial distress. Accordingly, 80% of the renter and 70% of owners’ households with incomes below $25,000 reported housing cost burden. Black, Asian, and Hispanic-headed households and those making under $25,000 a year were more likely to report have missed mortgage and rent payments. Additionally, they were more likely to report being in forbearance in early 2021 and at risk of foreclosure and eviction.
The report concluded by highlighting some areas for meaningful improvements to housing affordability that policymakers could make, including:
Working together at all levels of government to reduce barriers to creating modestly priced homes in different communities.
Addressing the racial and ethnic disparities in housing cost burden, homeownership, and household wealth.
Expanding rental assistance and programs that provide supports to economically vulnerable households.
Click here to read the report.