Harvard Report CoverHarvard Research Center report, The State of the Nation’s Housing 2016, reveals that 11.4 million households paid more than half their incomes for housing in 2014. This is the first time the United States has seen so many residents paying such a large portion of their income on rent. The number of cost-burdened renters, who pay more than 30% of their income on housing, reached 21.3 million.

Demand for rental housing is surging across all age groups, income levels, and household types. With vacancy rates down sharply and rents climbing, multifamily construction is booming across the country, but a lot of new housing is intended for the upper end of the market, with rents well out of reach of the typical renter making $35,000 a year. The median asking rent for a newly constructed market-rate
multifamily unit built in 2015 rose to $1,381 per month, more than 70 percent higher than the median contract rent for all multifamily units.

The report finds that rent burdens are increasingly common among moderate-income households, especially in the nation’s 10 highest-cost housing markets, where three-quarters of renters earning $30,000–45,000 and half of those earning $45,000–75,000 paid at least 30 percent of their incomes for housing in 2014.

The State of the Nation’s Housing report has been released annually by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies since 1988. Now in its 28th year, it continues to serve as an essential resource for both public policy makers and private decision makers in the housing industry. This year’s report provides a current assessment of the state of the rental and homeownership markets; the economic and demographic trends driving housing demand; the state of mortgage finance; and ongoing housing affordability challenges.