“The decade-long surge in rental demand is unprecedented;” according to a Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS) report released December 9, 2015. In mid-2015, 43 million families and individuals lived in rental housing, up nearly 9 million from 2005—the largest gain in any 10-year period on record. In addition, the share of all U.S. households that rent rose from 31 percent to 37 percent, its highest level since the mid-1960s.
But even with the strong rebound in multifamily construction, tight rental markets make it difficult for low- and moderate-income renters to find housing they can afford. As a result, the number of cost-burdened renters set another record last year.
Addressing the challenge of affordability in a time of rising overall demand will require greater efforts from both the public and private sectors to expand the range of rental housing options.
About 90 percent of the rental housing that Freddie Mac Multifamily finances help families with incomes at or below area median income. Known as workforce housing, it is home to people who serve our communities by playing a vital role in our lives, such as teachers, nurses and firefighters. It’s also home to seniors, low-income households that do not qualify for rent subsidies, and aspiring homebuyers. Workforce housing is located everywhere – from the urban core to suburban communities and small towns.
The report findings reinforce the importance of our workforce housing focus. Here are a few highlights:
Affordability pressures affect renters in every state, with shares of cost-burdened households ranging from over a third to well over half. By 2014, only seven states had cost-burdened shares that were below the 2001 national average of 41 percent.
Click the shaded areas of the map to see housing cost burdens for renter households with incomes under $15,000 within each metro and micro area. (JCHS tabulations of U.S. Census Bureau, 2014 American Community Survey)
You’ll see us continue to focus more on the important issue of workforce housing in the future. It’s an important part of our business, our mission — and Freddie Mac’s commitment to moving housing forward.
Access the full JCHS report.
Have a comment or question? Email us to let us know what's on your mind.