NLIHC launches a new series of research briefs using data from a variety of sources to highlight different affordable housing topics. The first issue of Housing Spotlight focuses on the breadth of housing problems facing renters in America today, and how renters have fared in the housing market since the start of the recession. The data in this brief come from the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS).
The brief shows that rents continue to rise, despite stagnating or declining renter household incomes, leading to an increase in the number of renters paying more than 30% and, in many cases, 50% of their income towards housing costs. The percentage of renter households spending more 30% of their income on housing increased from 50% in 2008 to 53% in 2010. Breaking this cost burden down by income makes apparent that the lowest income households are much more likely to face this housing problem than their higher income counterparts.
Other changes highlighted in the inaugural issue of Housing Spotlight include the continuing decline in the homeownership rate as more people choose to rent, and the loss of units at the affordable end of the rental market. There were one million fewer units renting for $500 a month or less in 2010 than there were in 2007, but more than two million more units priced above $1250 a month. With fewer affordable rental units available, lower income households are left with fewer housing options.
Future issues of Housing Spotlight will examine the latest data on the shortage of affordable and available units to low income households, characteristics of the nation’s subsidized housing stock and much more. Housing Spotlight will be provided first to NLIHC members as a member benefit. The first edition is available on NLIHC’s website at http://nlihc.org/library/housingspotlight