February 11, 2015
Nation of Renters
NYU’s Furman Center and Capital One have produced an interesting graphic, Renting in America’s Largest Cities. The graphic highlights the growing trend of renting in urban communities, but also the increasing expense of doing so. The press release about this study provides some highlights:
- In 2006, the majority of the population in just five of the largest 11 U.S. cities lived in rental housing; in 2013, that number increased to nine.
- As demand for rental housing grew faster than available supply, rental vacancy rates declined in all but two of the 11 cities, making it harder to find units for rent.
- Rents outpaced inflation in almost all of the 11 cities. Rents Increased most in DC, with a 21 percent increase in inflation-adjusted median gross rent, and least in Houston, where rents were stable.
- In all 11 cities, an overwhelming majority of low-income renters were severely rent-burdened, facing rents and utility costs equal to at least half of their income.
- Even In the most affordable cities in the study, low-income renters could afford no more than 11 percent of recently available units.
- In five major cities, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Miami, moderate-Income renters could afford less than a third of recently available units in 2013.
Rental housing clearly has an important role to play in providing stable homes for American households, particularly in big cities. While rental housing has been the stepchild of federal housing policy for far too long, it is good that it is finally get some attention and resources.
I look forward to the Furman Center’s follow-up report, which will provide more detail than the graphic does. I am particularly curious about whether the researchers have addressed the difference between housing affordability and location affordability in the longer study. I would guess that the relative affordability of the cities in this study is greatly impacted by households’ transportation costs.| Permalink