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Renters More Likely to Be Cost-Burdened, Study Finds

A study by scholars at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University finds that renters around the country are more likely to pay a larger share of their income on housing than homeowners do.
September 10, 2019, 9am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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How much of your wages are spent on housing costs? If you spend 30% of your income on rent or a mortgage payment (and property taxes), you are considered rent-burdened by the Joint Center for Housing of Harvard University. Pay over 50% and you are severely rent-burdened. According to the Center’s recent "State of the Nation’s Housing Report," high rents and low wages mean renters are more likely to find themselves burdened or severely burdened.

Cities with economic opportunities are often expensive to rent in, and more than 50% of renters in Reno and Nevada find themselves in that position. Chris Herbert, the Center's manager, says part of the problem is the housing market. "More and more people are struggling to get into homeownership because of the lack of entry-level homes and tighter lending practices," Shannon Wright reports for NPR. "He said local governments can use zoning laws, building codes and the building approval process to improve the situation."

The other aspect of the problem has to do with wages. Home prices have grown faster than wages, particularly for those at the lower end of the income scale.

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Published on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 in NPR
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