National Rental Housing Landscape Report Finds Poor Households Continue to be Severely Cost-Burdened

New York University’s Furman Center released their annual National Rental Housing Landscape report on October 5. The report looks at rental market data from 2006 to 2015 for the 53 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. The report finds a recent decline in the share of all renters who are cost-burdened, paying more than 30% of their incomes on rent, but finds that three out of four of very low income renter households are severely cost-burdened, paying more than 50% of their income on rent. 

Median rents grew at an annual rate of 1.9% across the 53 metropolitan areas from 2012 to 2015, while median incomes grew at an annual rate of 1.8%. Despite rising rents, the share of cost-burdened renter households declined by 1.2 percentage points in that period from 48.9% to 47.7%. This recent decline can be partly explained by an increase in higher income households in the rental market.

Despite the recent decline, the share of renter households in 2015 with cost burdens was still 0.6 percentage points higher than in 2006 and much higher than in 2000.

Rental challenges are particularly severe for low and fixed-income households. In the 53 metropolitan areas, just 17% of newly available units were affordable to very low income (VLI) renter households, those earning less than 50% of the area median income (AMI). More than 75% of VLI households were severely cost-burdened. In contrast, approximately 5% of households earning more than 120% AMI were cost-burdened.

The 2017 National Rental Housing Landscape Report is available at: