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Study: Imbalance Between Renter Population and Affordable Units

Phil Hall
Mar 14, 2016
The renter population is growing in the 11 largest metropolitan areas

The renter population is growing in the 11 largest metropolitan areas, but affordable housing options in these markets are shrinking, according to the newly-released NYU Furman Center/Capital One National Affordable Rental Housing Landscape report.

Using a definition of “affordable rent” to cover less than 30 percent of a household’s income, the report tracked housing trends in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., between 2006 and 2014. In all 11 metro areas, the renter population grew faster than the inventory of affordable rental units—and by 2014, the typical renter could afford fewer than 40 percent of the units on the market in the previous year in nine of those areas. In the Miami, New York, and Los Angeles metro areas, the typical renter could afford fewer than 25 percent of rental units.

“This study shows that affordable housing is becoming increasingly out of reach for many low- and even moderate-income renters in the nation’s largest metro areas—both in the central cities and their surrounding suburbs,” said Ingrid Gould Ellen, faculty director of the NYU Furman Center. “In all of the metro areas we studied, the renter population grew faster than the housing stock. As supply did not keep pace with this growth in demand, vacancy rates decreased, the average number of people living in a rental unit increased, and, in most areas, rents rose.”

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