Renters grapple with affordability crisis

The share of renters stretched thin by their housing costs has spiked in the last decade, as rental rates have increased and wages have plummeted, according to a report released by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Half of U.S. renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent, up 12 percentage points from a decade earlier, according to the report. Renters facing severe financial burdens — those who spend more than half their income on rent — accounted for much of the increase, rising to a reported 27 percent from 19 percent of all renters a decade before.

Adverse economic conditions appear to have driven the nosedive in affordability. The center said that real median rents (adjusted for inflation) increased by 6 percent between 2000 and 2012, while real median income of renters fell by 13 percent.

“More than ever before, the private market struggles to provide decent housing that is affordable for people of even modest means,” the center said.

Source: Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies