Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The State of U.S. Housing 2019

The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies has released its 2019 report into the State of the Nation's Housing. It has also released four interactive maps illustrating some of the report's findings.

Among some of the center's key findings on the state of housing in the United States are; rising land prices, large regional differences in housing affordability and the decline of low-rent stock. Despite these pressures on housing the center also found that the share of US households paying more than 30% of their income on housing has declined for the seventh year in a row (in 2017). These four findings can be explored in more detail on the center's interactive maps.

The Burdened by Housing Costs (2017) map shows the percentage of households in each county who pay more than 30% of their income on housing. The map allows you to view the percentage of homeowners and renters burdened by housing costs separately. Comparing these two views reveals that renters are far more affected by relatively high housing costs than homeowners. In fact, although the numbers burdened by housing costs have declined overall, the numbers of renters burdened with housing costs continues to rise.

One reason why the numbers of renters burdened by housing costs are increasing is because the low-rent stock in most metro areas has declined since 2011. You can see how much low-rent stock has declined across the country on the Low-Stock Decline interactive map. This map shows the percentage change in the number of rental units below $800 in different metro areas.

The other two interactive maps, the Rise in Residential Land Prices and the Housing Affordability map show some of the pressures on housing affordability. Both maps show large variations in land prices and housing affordability in different regions. Both land price and housing affordability pressures are incredibly high in California, compared to many other regions of the United States.

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