Home Rentals Continue To Become Less Affordable

Dated: 03/21/2016

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The number of renters who spend more than half their income on housing is at its highest level in half a century, according to a Harvard University study.

About 26 percent of renters — or 10.1 million people — spent more than half their pre-tax household income on rent and utilities, according to the study. Most experts recommend renters spend no more than 30 percent of their income on housing. 

Additionally, the cost of renting continues to rise as vacancies remain low. The number of renters have increased over 8 percent nationally, according to Census Bureau figures, and rents continue to climb nationwide. 

Many experts blame the shortage of affordable rental housing on rentals failing to keep up with demand. Although many new projects are building today, most came to a standstill in 2009, particularly with a shortage of apartments. 

"It's a real squeeze for the lower-income and moderate-income families, and we're even starting to see it affecting middle-income families too," says Erick Belsky, managing director of Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. "The prospects for improvement anytime soon are dim."

Rents are expected to continue to climb as developers try to play catch up to meet the demand, analysts say.

Affordable rental housing is most scarce in the western United States. In the West, only 53 units were available for every 100 very-low-income households that are looking to rent, according to a separate study by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That compared with 65 in the South, 66 in the Northeast, and 87 in the Midwest.

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Tory Sartwelle

Specializing in Houston's Inner Loop areas and nearby Clear Lake, Friendswood, Pearland, Seabrook, Kemah, League City, Santa Fe, Alvin, and surrounding areas. I help people buy, sell and lease the ....

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