A report released on May 28 by the Furman Center at New York University and Capital One examines affordable rental housing availability between 2006 and 2013 in the 11 most populous U.S. cities. In each city, the share of low income renters spending more than half of their income on rent increased. (For the purposes of this study, low income renters are households with incomes at the 25th percentile of incomes for all renter households in each metropolitan area.)
In nine cities, falling vacancy rates and rising rents made it harder for households to find affordable rental housing. The 11 cities in the study are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
The renter population has grown in all eleven cities. Nine cities experiencing double-digit growth rates, and five (Boston, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington) had growth rates of more than 20%. By 2013, renters were the majority in nine of the cities. In every city except Atlanta, the increase in the number of rental units lagged behind the increase in the number of renter households.
Due to the growth in renter population and subsequent rise in demand for rental housing, inflation-adjusted median gross rents rose in nine cities (Dallas and Houston are the exceptions). The median rent in Washington, DC jumped 21%, followed by New York City where the median rent grew by 12%.
In seven of the cities, more than 51% of renters have a rent cost burden, spending more than 30% of their income for rent and utilities. The share of residents with a rent burden increased in six cities (Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington DC). Miami had the greatest percentage (36%) of renters with a severe rent burden, those spending more than half of their income for rent and utilities, while San Francisco had the lowest, 21%. At least 75% of low income renters were severely rent burdened in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.
The study is based on data from the 2006 and 2013 American Community Survey (ACS).
The study, Renting in America’s Largest Cities, is at http://furmancenter.org/files/CapOneNYUFurmanCenter__NationalRentalLandscape_MAY2015.pdf