Tough Times for Low- and Middle Income Renters

The annual report on the rental housing market by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University shows how far and deep the housing affordability crisis has reached.

February 2, 2020, 1:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


A tight rental market means more and more Americans are burdened by the high price of rent, according to the latest report on the country's rental housing from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

"With higher-income households accounting for much of the growth in rental demand since 2010, new supply has been concentrated at the upper end of the market. Meanwhile, rising demand and constricted supply have reduced the stock of low- and moderate-cost rental units, leaving modest-income Americans caught in the middle," writes Whitney Airgood-Obrycki to summarize the findings of the report in a supplementary article.

According to the new report, households with incomes of $75,000 and above accounted for more than three-quarters of the growth in renters (3.2 million) from 2010 to 2018. This shift has significantly altered the profile of the typical renter household and, nationwide, a growing number of renters with incomes between $30,000 and $75,000 are now cost-burdened (i.e. paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing). Even more alarmingly, a majority of lowest-income renters spend more than half of their monthly income on housing. Not surprisingly, these conditions have also led to increases in homelessness, particularly in high-cost states.

The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University released the new report on January 31, 2020, supplemented also by a large number of interactive infographics and a webinar that is now available to watch on YouTube, shown above.

Saturday, February 1, 2020 in Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

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