Report Details Affordability Challenges
A recent Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies Report found that the rental market continues to improve. According to the report, 2013 was the strongest year for multifamily housing starts since 1998. However, the report also noted that affordable housing remains out of reach for millions of households. In 2012, only 3.3 million rental units were available and affordable for the 11.5 million households with extremely low incomes. This represents a gap of about 8.2 million units.
The report also found that low-income households continue to struggle. Over 80 percent of full-time, minimum wage earners paid more than 30 percent of their income for housing in 2012. In other words, a household would need to earn more than $42,000 a year in order to afford the median monthly gross rent for an apartment built in the past four years. In addition, more than 40,000 households lost their housing vouchers in 2013 because of a $3 billion cut in HUD funding. This occurred even though between 2007 and 2011, the number of households eligible for rental assistance grew by nearly 3.5 million, from 15.9 million to 19.3 million.
The report also stated that the LIHTC program has been the primary source of funding for "developing and preserving affordable housing, supporting construction of nearly 13 million units and rehabilitation of another 783,000 between 1987 and 2013. However, the report also states that over the next 10 years, nearly 1.2 million LIHTC units will reach the end of their compliance periods.