According to a recent report from Harvard’s Joint Center of Housing Studies, rental market conditions in the United States have changed fundamentally since the Great Recession, according to America’s Rental Housing 2020, a new report published January 30, 2020. The reports hows how it has become harder than ever for middle-income Americans to pay the rent. [Interactive Chart]

In Texas the report shows that the number of households that were moderately or severely housing cost burdened has grown from 1.3 million in 2008 to over 1.7 million by 2018. Moderately cost-burdened households are spending somewhere between 30 percent and 50 percent of their household income on rent and other housing costs while those in the severely cost-burdened category are spending 50 percent or more of their income on housing costs.

The Texas Tribune reports in an interview with Whitney Airgood-Obrycki, a research associate at the Joint Center for Housing Studies, that the number of renter households in Texas is growing at twice the rate of other states. In addition, while housing is being built at a record pace, almost none of it falls in what could be described as “affordable housing.” Airgood-Obrycki observed that almost all of the new housing stock is high-end.

The report shows that the demographic profile of renters is changing rapidly. Households with incomes of $75,000 and above accounted for more than three-quarters of the growth in renters (3.2 million) from 2010 to 2018. This shift has significantly altered the profile of the typical renter household and, nationwide, a growing number of renters with incomes between $30,000 and $75,000 are now cost-burdened (i.e. paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing).

Airgood-Obrycki tells the Texas Tribune that Dallas is at the extreme end of a situation where almost all of the housing built is in the luxury category but with so much growth in the high-income renter households there, inventory is being scooped up at a record pace. She notes that eventually those units will trickle down to the low- and middle-income segments, but it will take a really long time. Meanwhile, low- and middle-income renters will continue to share more of the housing cost burden that will have a lifelong impact—to both residents and the overall economy.

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