Harvard: Many renters are having a tough time
The number of renters paying more than half their income on housing and utility costs jumped to record levels as a result of the economic hard times, the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies said in a new report.
Titled "America's Rental Housing: Meeting Challenges, Building on Opportunities," the report found that one in four renters, or 10.1 million households, spends more than half their income on rent and utilities and that roughly another quarter of renters, or 26.2 percent, spends between 30 percent and 50 percent of their income on rent and utilities.
Among the reasons why: While the demand for affordable rental housing is increasing, the supply of affordable rental housing is shrinking. Some rental housing was demolished, and in other cases, owners decided to forgo federal subsidies and convert properties to market-rate rentals, the report said.
“In the last decade, rental housing affordability problems went through the roof,” Eric S. Belsky, managing director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and an author of the study, said in a statement. “And these affordability problems are marching up the income scale. In real terms, it means more people have less money to spend on household necessities such as food, health care, and savings.”