Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Rent Is Eating Up a Record Share of Americans' Disposable Income

If it feels like the rent keeps going up, you’re not alone: The share of U.S. disposable income that went toward such spending totaled 3.81 percent in the third quarter, marking the highest share in data going back almost six decades.

Rising shelter costs have accounted for most of the inflation in the U.S. during this economic expansion. While part of the rising rental share of spending may result from falling homeownership in recent years, the price index for rental of tenant-occupied nonfarm housing rose 3.7 percent in the year through September, according to data published Monday by the Commerce Department, near the fastest pace seen in the last decade.

Nominal disposable personal income in September was up just 2.9 percent from a year earlier, marking the 22nd straight month in which it grew at a slower rate on a year-over-year basis than rental inflation.

— With assistance by Alexandre Tanzi

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