Harvard: New multifamily home construction not enough to help all rental demand

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Even though new multifamily construction is helping meet the demand for rental properties across the United States, more work needs to be done to help disadvantaged households find affordable housing, says a recent blog post from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

In the article “New Multifamily Construction is Out of Reach for Most Renters,” Joint Center Research Analyst Elizabeth La Jeunesse notes that the 2010s is on track to be the strongest decade for renter growth in history even though the incomes of renters haven’t kept up with rent costs.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the American Community Survey, the Harvard researcher states that the difference between “affordable rent levels” and “median asking rents” was greatest in the Northeast and West, while Midwest and South were the lowest. In the Midwest, the “median asking rent” for newly constructed multifamily rental units was $1,120, while the “affordable rent level” was $730. (Affordable housing is defined as no more than 30 percent of gross household income.)

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