Harvard Report Highlights Recovery, But 20.6 Million Families Still Struggling

Published by Michael Novogradac on Monday, July 1, 2013 - 12:00am

Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) released its annual “The State of the Nation’s Housing” report on Wednesday. The good news is that JCHS found that the housing market is recovering and the nation added 258,000 new rental units, the most since 2004. The bad news is that that number barely puts a dent in the number of affordable rental units available for low-income families.

JCHS found that millions are still struggling with severe housing cost burdens. Here are a few of the statistics for those at lower income levels.

  • While 258,000 new rental units were built last year, renter households increased more than 4 times this amount (1.1 million).
  • Rents rose by an average of 2.7 percent for the year.
  • 20.6 million American households are spending at least half of their income on housing.
  • From 2007 through 2011, the number of extremely low-income renters increased by 2.5 million. During the same time, the nation lost 135,000 units affordable to those at the lowest incomes. This expanded the shortage of affordable rental units to 5.3 million.

The report concludes that although the single family home foreclosure crisis has subsided, millions of families are still struggling to find affordable quality housing units. It cites the success of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program’s ability to provide housing to moderate- and low-income families.

This is only a sampling of the information contained in the report. I encourage you to look at the full report on our website or tune in to Tax Credit Tuesday on July 2 for more from the report.