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More Households Are Spending More Than Half Of Their Income On Housing


(by Laura Williams, Center for Housing Policy) According to the new Housing Landscape 2012 report from the Center for Housing Policy, nearly one in four working households spends more than 50 percent of its income on housing. Let that sink in for a moment.

The new report, based on the latest data from the American Community Survey (2010), took a look at the housing costs for working households – those earning up to 120 percent of their area median income and who worked at least 20 hours each week. The picture is not good.

The percent of severely burdened households increased significantly between 2008 and 2010, driven in large part by low-income renters. They saw the costs of renting increase by 4 percent during those two years, even while their incomes declined.

Twenty-four states and nineteen metro areas also saw their rates of housing cost burden increase, while the number that declined can be counted on one hand (with a couple of fingers left over).

The underlying causes are lower employment, lower incomes and, for most, increased costs. Homeowners present some exceptions to this latter case, but only if they’ve taken advantage of the down market and been able to refinance or purchase at newly lower prices. Many have not had those opportunities.

Download this report here.

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