Saying Connecticut’s housing situation has improved, based on new American Community Survey figures just released by the Census Bureau, would be like saying a hospital patient had been moved out of the ICU but was still in critical condition. By almost every measure, Connecticut’s housing is too expensive and too scarce, even as wealth disparity has increased, driving up the price of housing for low- and moderate-income residents.
Connecticut’s median monthly housing costs are the 6th most expensive in the nation and its median home values are 8th. After the National Low Income Housing Coalition reported last month that Connecticut has the 8th highest housing wage, the ACS numbers show the demand for rental housing increases unabated, with more than 33.1% percent of households now renting, up from 32.6% a year ago and just 30% in 2007. While the housing downturn has brought down the median home values to $268,000 from $278,000 in 2011, Connecticut’s prices are still less than competitive with other states, particularly when fewer than 30% of CT homes are valued under $200,000.
The high ownership and rental prices force more than 39% of CT households to spend more than 30% of their income on housing – 50% of renters and 34% of owners – while more than 120,000 renting households spend a stupefying 50% or more of their income on housing, leaving little for other necessities.
Meanwhile, low-income households – those in the bottom 20% of income earners, making an upper limit of $26,146 per year – saw their incomes drop more than 4% since 2006. The second and third quintiles saw increases of only 1.5% and 6% respectively, while those in the fourth and fifth quintiles saw their incomes rise 10% and 9% respectively.
Click here to access 2012 American Community Survey data on the American FactFinder website.