Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rent cost becomes a serious burden

Affordability problems for renters have skyrocketed over the past decade both in number and the share of renters facing them, according to a new report on rental housing from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

The inability of so many to find housing they can afford dramatically impacts the health and well-being of U.S. renters, as lower-income households cut back on food, healthcare, and savings, just to keep up.  The report, "America's Rental Housing: Evolving Markets and Needs," finds that half of U.S. renters pay more than 30 percent or more of their income on rent, up an astonishing 12 percentage points from a decade earlier.

Much of the increase was among renters facing severe burdens (paying more than half their income on rent), boosting their share to 27 percent. These levels were unimaginable just a decade ago, when the share of American renters paying half their income on housing, at 19 percent, was already a cause for serious concern.

Renters currently make up 35% of the population and could benefit by looking at their purchase and mortgage payment options.

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