It might be warmer in the winter, but renters in sunny Miami and Los Angeles are shelling out more bucks toward monthly housing costs than other U.S. cities.
A study conducted by Apartment List finds that the cost burden for U.S. renters is rising, having soared by 38% since 2000. An estimated 52% of U.S. renters are now cost burdened, meaning these tenants are paying 30% or more of their household income toward rent.
“There are a lot of metros across the country that are experiencing this because in many markets across the country rents are growing faster than incomes,” said Ryan Severino, an economist at New York-based real estate research group Reis, Inc.
Homeownership in the U.S. has slumped to its lowest level since the 1960s. There are now more rental households than ever before in the history of the U.S., according to U.S. Census data.
”The supply of multi-family housing has expanded in the past five to ten years, but it has not keep pace with the rate of increase of rental households," said Andrew Woo, an economist at Apartment List.
Those cost burdens are even more pronounced in sunny Florida, Hawaii and California where 30% of tenants pay more than half their monthly income toward rent, the study finds.
Economists say cities where there is growth in the technology sector, such as San Francisco, Seattle, Austin and Denver, have kept pace with rising household costs. By contrast, cities without a thriving tech component fared worse.
“In Miami and L.A. there is a lack of good paying, highly skilled jobs in both cities,” Woo said. “You don’t hear about people moving to L.A. in droves.”
Despite a sluggish labor market, rents in L.A. shattered a new ceiling. Rents rose by 4.8%, bumping the average rent to $1870 per month, according to a November report released by real estate investment firm Marcus & Millichap.
Many L.A. residents will be lifelong renters because of high home prices, Marcus & Millichap predicts, and the cost burden remains extremely high in the Golden State's most populous city. Some 62% of L.A. residents are considered cost burdened.
But, it's not just residents in L.A. who are squeezed by flat wages and rising rents.
”The situation is even worse in Miami, because there are a lot of immigrants from Latin America who start off with less education and higher rental cost burdens," said the Apartment List economist.
Demand for high-end properties in Miami, especially by foreign buyers, is so strong that developers lack incentive to build affordable housing units in Miami, local real estate experts says.
The Apartment List study crowns Miami as the most burdensome city in the U.S. for renters where 66% of tenants are paying too much of their income to housing costs. The study ranked New York City, the second most expensive city in the U.S. after San Francisco, as the 13th most cost burdensome city. Almost 56% of New Yorkers fork over more than a third or more of their wages to rental costs.
Despite some growth in incomes for those working in the Big Apple, median wages have only increased by 10% over the last seven years while rents have risen by 30%.
The cost in some areas of New York is so high that a renter in Manhattan needs to make at least $130,000 to live alone to pay for a one-bedroom. An apartment of that size typically costs $3,271 per month, according to real estate search engine site StreetEasy.
High rents outpacing income growth is not just a big city phenomenon, economists say.
“Every state except North and South Dakota has more than 40% of renters who are cost burdened," Woo said. "Even in your heartland states, there are still a lot of renters facing cost pressures."
Rising rents are attributed to an overall shortage in the housing supply, but there is some good news ahead, Severino says.
"Supply is going to increase over the next few years, which will eventually alleviate some of the pressure on rent," the Reis economist said. "It's not going to cause rents to decline, but it should cause rent growth to slow down."