Apartment List’s new study 2018 Cost Burden Report: Despite improvements, affordability issues are immense suggests that despite some improvement in trends relating to rent-burden in America’s growing cities since 2014, there is still a long way to go to ensure that all Americans can comfortably afford decent housing. Due to changing demographics in the renter population, it is difficult to track trends in rent and income as they relate to rent-burdened households, however, the report helps readers unpack the message behind the evolving data. The following are a few highlights from the report:
Nationally, the share of renters who are cost-burdened fell slightly from 49.7 percent in 2016 to 49.5 percent in 2017. This is the sixth straight year that this figure has decreased, and the 2017 cost burden rate is the lowest since 2007.
That said, much of this decrease in the cost burden rate is attributable to an influx of high-income households to the rental market. The total number of rent-burdened households in 2017 was greater than the 2007 level by 3.1 million households. On the positive side, the number of rent-burdened households has fallen by 774,000 since its 2014 peak.
The median renter income grew faster than the median rent for the sixth straight year. Although this is also driven by an influx of high-income renters, there is some indication that renters further down the income distribution may be starting to experience gains.