The Center for Housing Policy at the National Housing Conference released Housing Landscape 2015: An Annual Look at the Housing Affordability Challenges of America’s Working Households. Working households are defined as those with members working an average of 20 hours per week with income of no more than 120% of the area median income (AMI). In 2013, 21% of working households spent more than half of their income on housing costs, making them severely cost burdened. While the share of working households with a severe housing cost burden fell from 24% in 2010 to 21% in 2013, many of the lowest income households still faced unaffordable housing costs.
Among working renter households, the share facing a severe housing cost burden fell from 25.6% in 2010 to 25% in 2013. This slight reduction is attributed to incomes rising faster than housing costs for this group between 2010 and 2013. Over this three-year period, median incomes for working renters grew by 6.7% while median housing costs rose by 4.9%. The percentage of working homeowners with severe housing cost burden fell from 22% to 17% between 2010 and 2013 due to median housing costs decreasing by 7.2% while median incomes grew by 6.1%.
Non-white working households were more likely to face a severe housing cost burden than white working households. Among white working households, 18.4% were severely cost burdened, compared to 24.7% of black, 25.2% of Hispanic, and 28.1% of Asian or Pacific Islander households. For black and Hispanic households, the authors conclude that lower household incomes contributed to higher rates of severe cost burden. On the other hand, Asian and Pacific Islander households had higher median incomes than white households, but tended to live in areas with high housing costs, contributing to their high rates of severe cost burden.
The percentage of severely cost-burdened households varied by income as well as by race and ethnicity. Only 11.6% of low income working households, households with incomes between 51% and 80% of AMI, were severely cost burdened. In comparison, nearly eight out of ten (78.9%) extremely low income (ELI) working households were severely cost burdened. ELI households have incomes of no more than 30% of AMI.
The analysis is based on data from the 2013 American Community Survey. Statistics for states and Metropolitan Areas are available in the appendices of the report.
The full report is at http://www.nhc.org/Landscape2015_final.pdf