More People Spending More Of Their Income On Rent

New data on U.S. housing costs shows that more than half of the nation’s renters are writing rent checks that are at least 30% of their household income, and one in four renters are paying out half their income for shelter.

According to newly released census data, 53% of renters in 2010 were at or above this 30% threshold, or what the federal government deems as an unaffordable housing cost. That is up from 51.5% in 2009.

Regarding those renters shelling out at least 50% of their household income each month, that number increased to 27.4% in 2010 from 26.4% the year before.

On the homeowning side of things, there were increases in both categories, though there are significantly fewer homeowners living above the “unaffordable” line. 38% of homeowners in 2010 paid 30% or more of their income on mortgage payments, only a slight uptick from 37.6% in 2009. Meanwhile, the 15.1% of homeowners with at least half their household income going to mortgage checks was a small increase from 14.7% the previous year.

An economist for Zillow tells USA Today that he predicts a nationwide 4% increase in rents in the coming year, with demand being driven by foreclosed-upon homeowners getting back into the rental market.

Also worth mentioning are all the households whose rent amount hasn’t increased but whose income has decreased.

Rising rents make housing less affordable [USA Today]