The rental affordability crisis has been drawing increasing attention from the media, government entities and advocacy groups in recent months. As rental markets across the nation grow increasingly tighter, and as rents continue to outpace stagnant incomes, a growing number of renter households across the income spectrum is finding it increasingly difficult to afford their homes and meet the expenses for other basic living necessities. Census data indicate that 46 percent of nearly 44 million renters in the United States spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities.
Without a doubt, the post-Great Recession drop in homeownership and the increase in rental demand — partly driven by demographic shifts — play an important role in the current shortage of available and affordable rental units, especially in hot markets like San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. But the surge in demand cannot be deemed as the sole explanation for the rental affordability crisis that the nation is experiencing. And, as such, we cannot expect demand-based policies to be sufficient to solve the problem, especially at a time when federal assistance programs continue to fall short of meeting the increasing need for affordable housing among low-income households.
The above excerpt was originally published in Inside Sources.
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