Housing cost burdens fell for the third consecutive year*. Last year, 39.6 million households spent more than 30% of their income on housing, which is a decrease from 40.9 million in 2012 and down from the peak of 42.7 million in 2010.
However, while housing cost burdens are dropping among home owners, they continue to strain renters**. In 2013, 26% of home owners were considered burdened by household expenses (i.e.: spending more than 30% of their income on housing), compared to half of all renters at 49%.
The number of renter households is on the rise, which partially explains why renter cost burdens are escalating. But this group is also plagued by rising rents that are not matching up to incomes. Median renter costs were up about 5% in 2013 compared to 2001, even though median incomes were nearly 11% lower.
That’s contributed to more renters being “severely burdened” by household costs. In 2013, 11.2 million renters were in this category, meaning they were paying more than 50% of their incomes toward housing costs.
There was also a decline in the number of home owners for the third straight year suggesting that many burdened owners dropped out of ownership and moved into the costly rental market.”
*U.S. Census’ 2013 American Community Survey
**Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies