Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies Releases Report on America’s Rental Housing

On December 14, the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) released a new report, America’s Rental Housing 2017, which found that the unprecedented growth in the rental housing market is slowing amid persistent rental housing affordability challenges, especially for lower-income households. These challenges include rental housing cost burdens; the shortage of rental assistance; the potential loss of affordable rental homes by 2020 because of their expiring affordability requirements; and the need to rebuild and repair of damaged rental units after this year’s natural disasters. According to JCHS, the number of cost-burdened renter households — defined as those spending more than 30 percent of income on housing — dropped from 21.3 million in 2014 to 20.8 million in 2016. However, at the average annual pace of decline between 2014 and 2016, it would take another 24 years for the U.S. to return to its 2001 level of 14.8 million cost-burdened renter households. JCHS notes that addressing the nation’s rental affordability challenges will require a federal, state and local policy landscape that supports the efficient provision of affordable rental homes, and a regulatory environment that does not cripple innovative solutions for expanding rental housing affordability. Learn more about JCHS’ new housing report in Enterprise’s blog post.

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