Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Affordable rental homes hard to find

rental housing, affordable housing, rental, rent, harvard joint center for housing studiesAffordable rentals are few and far between. By Tami Luhby, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Can't afford to buy a home? You might have a tough time finding a cheap place to rent too.

A record number of renters are spending more than half their income on housing, according to a report released Tuesday by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. And more middle-class folks are feeling the pinch.

One in four renters -- or about 10.1 million households -- spend half their paychecks on rent and utilities, the study found. And the number of middle-income renters in this predicament more than doubled to 7.5% during the last decade.

This is due in large part to rising housing costs and weak income gains, as well as a flood of new renters who either lost their homes in the foreclosure crisis or can't afford to buy now.

"In the last decade, rental housing affordability problems went through the roof," said Eric Belsky, managing director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. "And these affordability problems are marching up the income scale."

Another 26.2% spent between 30% and 50% of their income on housing. One in five of those in middle-income quintile are paying that much for rent, up from 9% a decade ago. The middle-income quintile make between $42,000 and $62,900.

The center defines "affordable" as less than 30% of household income.

Making matters worse, the supply of affordable rental housing has been shrinking. Nearly 12% of low-cost market-rate rentals that existed in 1999 were demolished or lost from the housing stock by 2009. And there is little new multi-family buildings being built in the wake of the housing crisis.

This dwindling supply clashes with the increased demand. An additional four million people were renting in 2010, compared to 2005, Belsky said. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,425.77 -77.22 -0.42%
Nasdaq 5,211.52 -20.81 -0.40%
S&P 500 2,172.67 -7.71 -0.35%
Treasuries 1.58 0.01 0.57%
Data as of 2:52pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.10 0.27 1.67%
EMC Corp 28.94 0.26 0.92%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 6.44 0.00 0.08%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 10.49 -0.49 -4.46%
Apple Inc 105.62 -1.20 -1.12%
Data as of 2:37pm ET
Sponsors

Sections

Martin Shkreli, the reviled drug company CEO who faces federal criminal charges, nearly doubled his $3 million investment in KaloBios. More

Global central banks are showing signs of gold buying fatigue. Gold demand at these powerful institutions recently dropped to a five-year low. More

Thanks to special deals in Ireland, Apple was able to avoid paying tax on most of its global profits for years. More

Following an order from the Department of Education to stop admitting students on federal financial aid, the for-profit technical school has stopped enrolling new students. More