Rent Unaffordable in 90 U.S. Cities

Several recent reports lend credence to the “rent is too damn high” narrative. But exorbitant rents aren’t just a story in New York City or San Francisco—median rent is higher than 30 percent of median income in 90 cities in the United States.
April 17, 2014, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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David Wilson

“An analysis for The New York Times by Zillow, the real estate website, found 90 cities where the median rent — not including utilities — was more than 30 percent of the median gross income,” reports Shaila Dewan.

“Nationally, half of all renters are now spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing, according to a comprehensive Harvard study…” That figure rose from 38 percent just in 2000. The problem is such that Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan recently declared the current moment to be “the worst rental affordability crisis that this country has ever known.”

Most of the personal stories reported by Dewan are set in Miami, which is the second-least-affordable rental market in the country, where median rent is 43.2 percent of median income.

“Part of the reason for the squeeze on renters is simple demand — between 2007 and 2013 the United States added, on net, about 6.2 million tenants, compared with 208,000 homeowners,” and the growing demand created by the country’s shifting demographics is not expected to decline before the rental stock, and its costs, catch up.

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Published on Monday, April 14, 2014 in New York Times
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