By: Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service
BOSTON – Nearly half of all renter households nationwide are now spending more than 30% of their income on rent, according to a new report by the online service Apartment List.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, spending more than 30% of your income on housing means you’re cost-burdened.
Chris Salviati, a housing economist at Apartment List, says this is the first time renter cost burden has increased since 2014.
“This jump that we have seen over the past year, I think, does really speak to the worsening of the housing affordability issue,” he states. “If you’re following the 2020 primaries, virtually all of the Democratic candidates now have plans that they have released to address the housing affordability crisis.”
Salviati points to cities such as Boston, with lots of good, high paying jobs, but lacking the housing infrastructure needed to keep up with demand. He says cities across the country are experiencing similar growing pains.
There’s also the issue of homeownership. Salivati notes it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people in their 20s and 30s to purchase their first home, and that’s having a ripple effect on renting costs.
“There has been a severe lack of new construction, particularly for starter homes, and so millennials, and folks who are reaching an age and point in their careers where maybe previously they would have been purchasing homes, a lot are continuing to rent,” he explains. “And so that does add this tightness to the rental market, which drives up prices.”
In the St. Mary’s County area, renters are shelling out an average of 37.1% of their income on housing. The Washington, D.C. Metro area shells out a staggering 47.5% of their income.
Salviati says that should be an eye-opener when considering where to live.
“Which, again, is well above that 30% threshold,” he points out.
The report also found that nationwide, the cost of median rent grew faster than renter income for the first time in nearly a decade.