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Affordability shrinks for renters

About 25% of renters spend more than half of income on housing

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Editor's note: This article is republished with permission of Builder magazine. View the original article: "As renters grow in ranks, options and affordability shrink." By CLAIRE EASLEY Rental housing is home to 38 million U.S. households today, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). While households can choose to rent for a variety of reasons, for many of these Americans, it is a matter of economic necessity. The average renter wage in the U.S. is estimated to be $13.52 per hour, according to "Out of Reach," a recent study conducted by NLIHC. Not only does such a wage fall short of what is generally needed to buy a home, but it is also falling increasingly short of what it takes to rent even a modest apartment. The number of renters spending more than 50 percent of their income on rent and utilities, a situation defined as a severe cost burden, is at an all-time high, according to a recent study conducted by Harvard University's Joint Cen...