Every year the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University issues a report that takes a close look at rental markets across the country.
The latest America’s Rental Housing report was recently released at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., including a panel discussion that included Mary Tingerthal, head of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.
The report said that across the country, the decadelong rental housing market expansion may be easing. It found a decline in the number of new renter households, an increase in rental vacancy rates and more tepid rent increases.
The economics of the rental market are also changing dramatically and some would say alarmingly. The report said that nearly 21 million households continue to pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent.
Christopher Herbert, the Joint Center’s managing director, said the annual report paints a complicated picture of the rental market.
“We’re finally seeing the record growth in renters slow down, but while the market has responded to rental housing needs for higher-income households, there are alarming trends that suggest a growing inability to supply housing that is affordable for middle- and working-class renters, let alone those with very low incomes,” Herbert said. “Addressing these challenges will require bold leadership and hard choices from both the public and private sectors.”
Here are other highlights:
• Starts of new multifamily units reached a plateau in 2016 and have now fallen by about 9 percent through October 2017.
• Nominal rent growth in the Midwest and Northeast has remained slow to moderate, with only a handful of markets reporting annual increases above 3 percent over the past year (including Cincinnati and Minneapolis). In contrast, several metro areas in these regions — Bridgeport, Dayton, Des Moines, Pittsburgh, Providence, Syracuse and Wichita — posted nominal rent growth that lagged behind general inflation.
The full report and a video of the panel discussion are at www.jchs.harvard.edu.