Harvard analysis finds middle income-renters in Nashville among most cost-burdened

A new report from Harvard University examining the U.S. rental housing market finds middle income renters in Nashville are among the most cost-burdened in the country.

“America’s Rental Housing 2020″ report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University examined the rental housing markets nationwide, detailing income, housing costs, construction, and vacancy rates.

Overall, the report found there is an ongoing decline of low-cost rental units while the demand for high-income renter households is growing.

The report finds the trends are squeezing the middle, households earning between $30,000-$44,999 per year. Cost-burdened is defined as households paying more than 30% of income on housing which leads for little spending on other essentials such as healthcare, food, or transportation.

In Nashville, the total percentage of households earning between $30,000-$44,999 which were cost-burdened rose from 39.3% in 2011 to 67.7% in 2018. Even those earning between $45,000-$74,999 have seen an increase, with 12.2% considered cost-burdened in 2011 to 22.8% in 2018.

The spike among cost-burdened Nashville renters in the $30,000-$44,999 range ranks Nashville 3rd among the Top Ten most populous metro areas for the largest growth of middle-income renters struggling to make ends meet according to Bloomberg’s analysis of the report.

Overall, Nashville renters have seen a decline in the percentage of those considered cost-burdened, dropping from 48.3% to 44.7%. The report adds there are 112,321 Nashville households which are cost-burdened, the average renter household income being $42,000 with an average monthly rent of $1,076.

Income and changes in homeownership are leading to the changes in the rental marketplace. The study found nationwide in 2019, 22% of renters were earning $75,000 or more, the highest levels on record. As for how renters look at homeownership, the report states many could stay where they are because they are satisfied with their situation.

” Fully 75 percent of renters overall, and 72 percent of genX renters, stated that renting best fits their current lifestyle. In addition, 62 percent of renters said that they were satisfied with their overall rental experience,” the report states.

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