Urban Institute: Mapping America’s Rental Housing Crisis

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From the start of the housing bubble to now, there is virtually no place left in the U.S. unaffected by housing costs, regardless if you are currently looking to buy or rent. While there are many reasons for this occurring, the mainstream media has perhaps focused more on home buyers than on renters.

Our neighbors to the south in Oregon made national news earlier this year as they were the first state in the nation to impose rent control, adding weight to discussions in Washington State. Oregon’s new law caps annual rent increases at 7%, which outpaces both national inflation rates (3.0% highest annual increase since 2009) and wage growth (2.36% average annual increase from 2009-2018).

If Oregon’s law was applied to $800 monthly rent during year-one, rent would increase to $1,122, or by just over 40% in five-years.

While local renters are a little better off historically than in the state and U.S., the estimated number of renting households during 2018 in Chelan and Douglas Counties facing a moderate housing-cost burden was 2nd highest, and a severe housing-cost burden was highest, each in their respective series.

The Assisted Housing Initiative, a project of the Urban Institute, has another way to show the housing cost burden of renters. Offering an interactive called Mapping America’s Rental Housing Crisis, the project is self-described as the “best estimate of the affordable rental housing gap and federal assistance for extremely low-income (ELI) renter households at the county level in the United States.”

The main premise of the project is since 2000 in the U.S., rents have increased in the U.S. while at the same time, the number of renters needing affordable housing has also increased.

Using HUD and USDA housing assistance options on for the 5-year period of 2010-2014 in the U.S., the Urban Institute estimates that there were approximately 11.775 million (ELI) households, with only about 5.374 million adequate, affordable, and available housing units. In comparable terms, there were 46 adequate, affordable, and available housing units for every 100 ELI renter households in the U.S.

During 2014 in Chelan County, there were approximately 1,867 ELI households with 1,171 adequate, affordable, and available housing units. In comparable terms, there were 63 adequate, affordable, and available housing units for every 100 ELI renter households in Chelan County. It’s estimated an ELI family of four in Chelan County during 2014 earned a maximum of $23,850.

During 2014 in Douglas County, there were approximately 881 ELI households with 563 adequate, affordable, and available housing units. In comparable terms, there were 64 adequate, affordable, and available housing units for every 100 ELI renter households in Douglas County. During 2014, an ELI family of four in Douglas County earned a maximum $23,850.

by Chelan-Douglas Trends Staff