Rental Market Stresses

Impacts of the Great Recession on Affordability and Multifamily Lending

By Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

July 1, 2011

Summary

In the past decade, would-be renters have been increasingly squeezed out by lower real incomes and rising rents and energy costs. Despite record-high vacancy rates and falling rents in some areas, the Great Recession did little to halt the long-term erosion of rental housing affordability. The number of financially stressed renters has grown, while the supply of rental housing that is available to these households has shrunk.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

the number of financially stressed renters has gone up while the availability of affordable housing has gone down

Between 2001 and 2009, the share of renters paying more than 30% of their incomes for gross rent rose from 41.2% to 48.7%. The share of renters paying more than half their incomes for housing rose from 20.7% to 26.1%. 

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