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Research Publication

Housing Cost Burdens

May 7, 2012


For several years, housing market conditions have been bleak, with only the rental market showing some recent signs of recovery. Rents have increased, vacancy rates have fallen, and multifamily construction has begun to climb out of its deep recessionary hole.

Unfortunately, recent rental market changes also have included a rise in the proportion of renters with housing affordability problems. This Data Note uses the Census Bureau's American Community Survey to show that the proportion of renters experiencing "housing cost burdens" (i.e., paying at least 30 percent of income for housing) increased from 49.8 percent to 53.0 percent between 2006 and 2010. The proportion of renters with the most severe affordability problems - those spending at least half of their income for housing - increased from 25.1 percent to 27.4 percent during the same period.

In addition to examining rates of housing cost burdens among renters and homeowners, the Data Note tracks changes in cost burdens by age of householder, housing structure type, and state, and explores rent and income trends underlying recent changes in rental cost burdens. Implications of the rise in rent burdens also are discussed.

Fannie Mae Data Note (May 2012) (PDF)