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Affordable Housing , Housing Policy Briefs , Reports and Publications

Housing Cost Burden Increased for Renters

5 June 2012
Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire

A new report from the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute shows an increasing number renters are paying more than 30% of their income for housing. This change in rental cost burden has greatly affected those 25 years old and younger and those who live in the west. According to the brief - Renters More Often Burdened by Housing Costs After Recession - nationwide there has been a 3.3% increase in the percent of renters who are cost burdened, from 45.7% in 2007, to 48.9% in 2010 (19.4 million households). In this brief, a renter is “cost burdened” when he or she spends more than 30% of their income on rent and utility costs.

The brief looked at rental cost and cost burden by region. In the northeast, between 2007 and 2012, there was a 2.5% increase in cost burdened renters, from 46.6% to 49.2%. The increase was more pronounced in the rural northeast with a 4.3% increase and less in the central city with a 2.9% increase. The west is the only area where the cost burden exceeded 50%. It increased from 48.2% in 2007 to 51.6% in 2010.

Additionally, this brief also looked at the rental cost burden based on age and income. The under 25 crowd has the largest rental cost burden and also experienced the largest increase in cost burden with a 4.7% increase to 59.7% in 2010, up from 55% in 2007. More than 75% of renters earning less than $20,000 were cost burdened in 2007 and this population only experienced a 0.9% increase in 2010. The brief posited that the 0.9% increase in cost burdens for renters earning less than $20,000 indicates the effectiveness of housing programs for low income households and that without these programs the increase would have been much higher.

For the full report click here