Rental vacancy rates are declining, rents are increasing, and low cost rental units are disappearing from the nation’s housing stock. These are among the findings of The State of the Nation’s Housing: 2011, a report of the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University released here today.
The annual State of the Nation’s Housing report summarizes and analyzes recent trends and emerging issues in the nation’s rental and homeownership housing markets, and discusses what might be expected in the coming year.
This year’s report shows that between 2003 and 2009, the number of renters with very low incomes (below 50% of area median) jumped from 16.3 million to 18.0 million. Meanwhile, the number of housing units that were affordable to households at that level, in adequate condition and not occupied by higher income renters, fell from 12.0 million to 11.6 million. The affordable housing shortage for this group thus widened sharply from 4.3 million to 6.4 million units.
At the same time, despite the net addition of 2.6 million rentals to the nation’s housing stock, the number of units with rents of $400 or less in 2009 inflation-adjusted dollars fell from 6.2 in 1999 to 5.6 million in 2009. By 2009, nearly 12 percent of the low-cost rentals that existed in 1999 had been lost—twice the share lost among units renting for $400-799, and four times the share lost among units renting for $800 or more. Many of the low-cost rental units that remain are in older, distressed buildings.
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