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More than a quarter of working renter households spends more than half of income on housing

The Center’s new Housing Landscape 2013 report, which I co-authored with my colleague Maya Brennan, is out today. It finds that severe housing cost burdens among working renter households rose for the third consecutive year due primarily to falling incomes and rising rental housing costs. Nationally, working renters saw their housing costs rise by 6 percent from 2008 to 2011, while their household incomes fell more than 3 percent. Renters are stretched so thin by growing housing costs that many face impossible choices.

While severe housing cost burdens stayed relatively stable for working homeowners between 2008 and 2011, working homeowners have not avoided the effects of falling incomes. In fact, while housing costs among homeowners fell some 3 percent over the study period, household incomes among these homeowners fell even more than they did for renters, down more than 4 percent over the three-year span. Roughly one in five working homeowners experienced severe housing affordability challenges throughout this period – despite falling home prices and mortgage interest rates.

Between 2008 and 2011, the rates of severe housing cost among working households increased in 24 states and 18 major metropolitan areas. Only 1 state and 2 metropolitan areas saw decreases in severe housing cost burden rates during this time were few.

For many more detailed results, find the full report at

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