NYU Furman Center and Capital One Release National Affordable Rental Housing Landscape Highlighting Rental Housing Trends in America’s Largest Cities
Rents outpaced inflation in many major U.S. cities, leaving low- and moderate-income renters more burdened by housing costs
Nine of the 11 largest U.S. cities have seen falling vacancy rates and
rising rents, which are hurting lower- and middle-income renters.
“Affordable” rent should comprise less than 30 percent of a household’s
income. With the exception of
“Housing is a significant expense. So, when faced with rapidly rising
rents, many households have less discretionary income for other
necessities like food, utilities, and transportation,” said
Since 2006, there has been an increase in the share of low- and moderate-income renters who are severely rent-burdened— meaning they face rent and utility costs equal to at least half of their income. In 2013, over a quarter of moderate-income renters were severely rent-burdened in seven of the cities in the study, while a significant majority of low-income renters in all 11 cities were severely rent-burdened. The percentage of low-income renters facing severe rent-burdens continued to rise in each of these cities and low-income renters are often most acutely impacted by the lack of affordable housing. The study also found that in five cities, the proportion of moderate-income renters experiencing severe rent burdens grew remarkably, while in other cities, the situation for moderate-income renters either changed little or even improved.
“A substantial majority of low-income renters in these cities face rents
equal to half or more of their income,” said
“The lack of affordable rental housing is a serious issue today. We know
that addressing the challenge and getting ahead of the need requires
more than just putting up new buildings, it requires a constant focus,
innovative solutions, and deep public-private collaboration,” said
The number of renters is growing, but many struggle to find available units
In 2006, the majority of the population in just five of America’s 11 largest cities lived in rental housing. By 2013, that number increased to nine cities.
- The rental population is booming – nine out of 11 cities saw double-digit growth in the number of renters, and five of those cities saw growth exceeding 20 percent.
As demand for rental housing grew faster than available supply, rental
vacancy rates declined in all but two cities, making it harder to find
units for rent.
The greatest drops were in cities with high vacancy rates in 2006:
Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Dallas.
But even in cities where available rental units were already
scarce in 2006, like
Bostonand San Francisco, units for rent became even scarcer by 2013.
- The greatest drops were in cities with high vacancy rates in 2006:
Rents are rising, and incomes are not keeping up everywhere
Incomes lagged well behind rents in five cities, with America’s two
largest rental markets—Los Angeles and New York City—faring the worst.
However, in three cities—Chicago,
Los Angelesand New York City, the median rent grew over 10 percent between 2006 and 2013 while the median renter’s income remained stagnant or even declined.
For many, rent burden is on the rise
An overwhelming majority of low-income renters are severely rent-burdened—facing rent and utility costs equal to half their income or more—and that share grew between 2006 and 2013 in every city studied.
- In about half of the cities, the share of moderate-income renters who were severely rent-burdened grew even more between 2006 and 2013.
- By 2013, in seven of the 11 cities, more than one out of every four moderate-income renters were severely rent-burdened.
Affordable rental housing out of reach for many
In all but three cities, the number of rental units that are affordable to the typical renter fell between 2006 and 2013.
- In five cities, in 2013, moderate-income renters could afford less than a third of the recently available rental units.
- For low-income renters, the situation is more dire: in most cities, they could afford less than a tenth of recently available units in 2013.
Even in the most affordable cities in the study,
Bostonand Washington, DC, low-income renters could afford no more than 11 percent of recently available units.
The complete NYU Furman Center and Capital One National Affordable Rental Housing Landscape and additional information are available online at www.CapitalOneInvestingforGood.com and www.furmancenter.org/NationalRentalLandscape.
U.S. Cities – Rental Facts at a Glance
In 2006, the majority of the population in just five of the largest 11 U.S. cities lived in rental housing; in 2013, that number increased to nine.
As demand for rental housing grew faster than available supply, rental vacancy rates declined in all but two of the 11 cities, making it harder to find units for rent.
Rents outpaced inflation in almost all of the 11 cities. Rents
increased most in DC, with a 21 percent increase in inflation-adjusted
median gross rent, and least in
In all 11 cities, an overwhelming majority of low-income renters were severely rent-burdened, facing rents and utility costs equal to at least half of their income.
Even in the most affordable cities in the study, low-income renters could afford no more than 11 percent of recently available units.
In five major cities, including
About the NYU Furman/Capital One National Affordable Rental Housing Landscape Research Study
The study commissioned by Capital One and conducted by the NYU Furman
Center, analyzes rental housing affordability trends in the central
cities of the 11 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. This study
delves more deeply into recent trends in rent levels, rent burdens,
affordable units, and the gap between the number of low-income
households in need of affordable housing and the number of existing
affordable units. Data analysis is based on data from the
About the NYU Furman Center
The NYU Furman Center advances research and debate on housing,
neighborhoods, and urban policy. Established in 1995, it is a joint
center of the
About Capital One
NYU Furman Center
Shannon Moriarty, 617-824-0069
Capital One Bank
Angela Solomon, 212-834-1949