In the last decade, affordable housing for renters declined nationwide. Rent levels rose, real income stagnated, and the supply of affordable housing shrunk, forcing rental households to pay a greater share of income than ever before for rent and utilities. Households spending more than 30 percent of income on housing are considered moderately burdened and those paying more than 50 percent severely burdened, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
. By 2009, about half of all renters were at least moderately burdened, including about 26 percent that were severely burdened—about twice the rates recorded in 1960—says a new report
from Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. With Americans expected to hold off on buying homes while continuing to rent over the next few years, rent levels will climb further unless fresh, affordable housing enters the market. Unfortunately for tenants, "with unemployment expected to remain high for the next few years and rental markets beginning to tighten, competition for affordable housing will likely intensify," the report states.
to see the 25 cities with the most severely cost-burdened renters.