That was then, and this is now. We reported last week that U.S home prices are back on the upswing, rising 7.5% in 2013, according to the National Association of Realtors. Perhaps not by coincidence, renters are seeing more of their income eaten by rental housing costs. According to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Housing Policy's Housing Landscape report, released Friday, an alarming number of U.S. renters spend half of their household income on rental costs:
For the third year in a row, the incidence of severe housing cost burden among working renters has risen relative to the prior year. More than one in four working renter households (26.4%) spent more than half of their income on housing costs in 2011 -- an increase of more than three percentage points since 2008.Of course, that means 75% of U.S. renters didn't spend half their income on housing over the same period. Are they in trouble too?
Maybe, says the center, as the underlying problems linked to household income and rental costs (such as underemployment and thinner paychecks) really haven't gone away.
Homeowners also saw their incomes decline over the three-year span, but now they're seeing the value of their homes rising again, making them more valuable relative to rental units. That's not the case with renters, especially in states such as California, Florida, New Jersey, Hawaii and New York, which rank highest on the list of states with renters facing a "severe housing burden." For them, and million of other Americans, renting a home is just getting harder and harder every year. To gauge whether you should rent or buy, check out this calculator.