Shocker: Rent is very, very high

NYC apartments

A new study reveals that rent is so high that some people spend more than half their income on housing.

The rent’s too damn high. You hear that from Los Angeles to New York.  A new report from the real estate website Zillow says the median rent in July for a condo, single family home or co-op was $1,318 per month.

Part of the problem?

“Rents really never had that reset that we saw in home values,” says Svenja Gudell, a housing economist at Zillow.  Demand increased after the housing bubble burst, she says, because many people lost their homes to foreclosure and had to rent.  

That increased demand has pushed rents up 2 to 5 percent a year, Gudell says, “and incomes haven’t kept up with that growth.”

Zillow says if you compare the national median gross income and median rent, people signing a lease in June paid almost a third of their income to their landlords.

In some places, it’s worse.

“Right now we have over 900,000 very low income households in Florida that are all paying more than half of their income for housing,” says Jaimie Ross, president of the Florida Housing Coalition.  

Ross says they’re just one step away from homelessness.


Cities with the most unaffordable rent

Map created using data from Zillow research, showing U.S. cities with the highest share of income needed to afford median rent prices. (Graphic by Shea Huffman/Marketplace)

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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