The housing crash and subsequent decline in home prices has made it tough for Minnesota renters. In nearly every county across the state there's a serious shortage of rental housing that's affordable to the lowest-income residents, including a big increase in the number of families that pay more than half their income for housing.

That's according to a comprehensive report on the state of housing in Minnesota from the Minnesota Housing Partnership (MHP) called 2012 Counties Profiles. You can see the full report by clicking here.

Here's a summary of findings:

  • The counties with the biggest shortage of inexpensive rental housing is in the metro area and a band of counties extending northwest, including Stearns, Benton and Sherburne Counties. St. Louis, Crow Wing, Clay and Yellow Medicine were also on the list.
  • The biggest declines in median home sales prices across the state are in the in the northern "collar" communities, including Wright, Sherburne, Isanti, Anoka, Chisago – the same places where the lowest-income renters are having the most difficulty finding housing. Price declines in those areas range from 26 to 36 percent, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Revenue.

The MHP's Chip Halbach said that in communities with big home price declines, there's a big shortage of inexpensive rental housing because so many homeowners who couldn't sell for what they owed on their house end up walking away from their home and are now competing for rental housing. "This points to sustained housing challenges," he said.