JCHS Finds Housing Affordability Challenges at Various Rent and Income Levels

A new analysis by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) highlights the far-reaching impacts of the nation’s housing affordability challenges, with renter households at both ends of the market struggling to find homes they can afford. A growing number of low-income renters are competing for a shrinking number of affordable units, while the rapid expansion in high-income renters is outnumbering the increase in high-rent units. JCHS points out that between 2006 and 2016, the number of renter households earning under $26,000 per year (in 2016 dollars) grew by 1.8 million, but the number of rental units that would be affordable to these households at 30 percent of their income dropped by 500,000. JCHS also explains that although the number of units renting for $2,000 or more grew by 1.65 million between 2006 and 2016, that fell far short of the 2.9 million increase in high-income renter households.

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