American Rents Through The Roof

If it feels like rents are sky-high, you’re right. Some now paying more than half their income on rent. Some say crisis. We’ll dig in.

Sign stands outside property for rent Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in south Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Sign stands outside property for rent Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in south Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

They talk about a lot on the presidential primary campaign trail. Rubio’s memory and Hillary’s e-mail and Trump’s wall. But one big issue that’s hardly drawn a peep is the high price of rent in America today. For many people, super-high. Way over the one-third of income they say should be the limit. Sometimes, over half of people’s income, just for rent.  That is crisis level. Why is this happening, and what can we do about it? This hour On Point, American rents, over the moon.

— Tom Ashbrook


Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin, the national online realty firm. (@NelaRichardson)

Christiana Foglio, founder and CEO of Community Investment Strategies, a low- and moderate-income housing development firm. (@cisnewjersey)

Ed Murray (D), Mayor of Seattle, Washington. Former Washington State Senator and State Representative. (@MayorEdMurray)

From Tom’s Reading List

NPR News: Rental Property Shortages Contribute To Record High Rents — “To the economy now and whether it’s time to say goodbye to an old rule of thumb, never spend more than a third of your income on housing. The number of Americans who spend more than that, in some cases, way more than that, is on the rise. And among the hardest hit are renters.”

Redfin: Housing Isn’t Sexy Enough For Politics? Here’s Why We Disagree — “Maybe not, but it’s one of the most important. Housing accounts for about 18 percent of our economy and homeownership remains one of the most effective ways for Americans to build wealth. A healthy real estate market is key to a virtuous cycle that creates jobs and stimulates consumer spending. And when things go wrong, housing can push the economy and people’s lives to the brink.”

Harvard Join Center For Housing Studies: America’s Rental Housing — “Rental housing is home to a growing share of the nation’s increasingly diverse households. 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. “


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