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Report: Most New Rental Units Affordable Only for the Wealthy

A new report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies adds to what seems, at this point, like a tsunami of bad news for rental housing affordability.
December 10, 2015, 7am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Emily Badger shares insights into a report published yesterday by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies revealing trends in the national rental housing market. Badger doesn't bury the lede: "Last year in America, the median asking rent for a newly built apartment was an astonishing $1,372 a month. That's about 50 percent more than the typical rent nationwide."

Such high prices for new housing offers little in way of relief on housing costs for low- and moderate-income households, explains Badger. In fact, "only about 10 percent of our recently added rental apartments would be affordable to the nearly half of renter households in America who make less than $35,000 a year."

The article shares infographics from the report while explaining the demographic trends creating the demand in the high end of the rental market. But massive growth in the rental market, even among wealthy households, is only part of the story. According to Badger, developers are "also responding to the worrisome dynamic that we've made it very, very difficult in many cities to construct market-rate housing that would be affordable to the middle class or modest renters."

Included among the report's findings is evidence that old rental units are not filtering down into more market rate and affordable price points. 

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Published on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 in The Washington Post
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