In December 2015, Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies issued a report called “America’s Rental Housing.” The news is not good for low-income families. Rental costs are increasing and wages are stagnant which means that housing options are shrinking. Almost half of US renters are spending more than 34% of their income on housing–meaning that they are “housing burdened.” Here are some additional findings of the study identified by the National Alliance to End Homelessness:
- The number of available rental units is startlingly low. In the first three quarters of 2015, the national vacancy rate was at its lowest point in 30 years – only 7.1 percent.
- Rents are increasing faster than inflation. In all major metro areas in the America, rent growth has outpaced overall inflation in 2015
- Rents are rising while incomes are falling. In 2014, median housing costs for renters rose 7 percent since 2001. The median income for renter households, however, decreased 9 percent in inflation-adjusted terms in the same time period.
- More and more Americans are severely burdened by housing costs. In 2014, the number of renters paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing costs increased to 11.4 million—a record high.
- Nearly all minimum-wage workers are severely burdened by housing costs. In 2014, a full-time minimum wage worker made $15,000 per year. 72 percent of renters with incomes at or below this level paid spent than 50 percent of their incomes on housing.
- Low-income renters simply do not have enough units available to them. In 2013, 11.1 million extremely low-income renters (i.e., those earning less than 30 percent of area median income) were vying for only 7.2 million housing units that they could afford. This means there were only 34 affordable rental units for every 100 extremely low-income renters.
Use the Interactive Map to see the status of rental burden in your community.
Read the entire study HERE .