JCHS Releases 2016 State of the Nation’s Housing Report
Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) recently released The State of the Nation’s Housing 2016, its latest annual report on U.S. housing trends. While the report finds that the housing market continues to recover post-crisis, it highlights serious challenges, including all-time high renter cost burdens, growing concentrations of poverty, falling homeownership rates, and tight mortgage credit. The report says that the Low Income Housing Tax Credit is the nation’s primary tool for financing new affordable housing and concludes that demand for tax credit-financed housing has long vastly exceeded its supply.
According to the report, the overall housing market recovery has been largely driven by increased demand in the rental market. Over 36 percent of U.S. households chose to rent in 2015—the highest portion since the 1960s. Rental demand is expected to remain strong as millennials form new households and homeownership rates drop.
The report also finds that rental prices rose by more than 3.6 percent in 2015, outpacing wage increases and often making rents unaffordable. Nearly 21.3 million renter households were cost-burdened (paying 30 percent or more of their income in rent) in 2014, 3.6 million more households than in 2008. Alarmingly, the report also finds that the number of severely cost-burdened households (paying 50 percent or more of their income in rent) is now at a record-high 11.4 million.