Prices are soaring and the option to buy is receding for millions of tenants nailed by rising rents

The price of rented accommodation in the United States is up 26% since the early 2020s. The number of tenants with unaffordable rents and utilities — those paying 30% or more of their income — is at an all-time high. Half of the nation’s tenants are in this situation because rents have risen more than incomes for decades and the pandemic further complicated the situation, according to an annual report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, which also points out that buying a home is increasingly expensive, preventing millions from climbing onto the property ladder.

Home prices are 47% higher than they were four years ago. Median prices are five times the median household income. In the 1990s, they were just three times higher. Add to this the cost of mortgages with interest rates exceeding 7% and the fact that home insurance that has been rising steadily.

The conclusion drawn by the Harvard think tank is that solving this crisis — in addition to other housing crises regarding the record number of homeless, those in inadequate housing or subject to the threat of climate change — requires the private and non-profit sectors to join forces with the public authorities at all levels of government.

  • thanks_shakey_snake@lemmy.ca
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    1 month ago

    “Solving the crisis … requires the private and non-profit sectors to join forces with the public authorities at all levels of government.”

    So as long as everybody coordinates toward the same common goal, we should be okay.

    …Welp, we had a good run.

  • otp@sh.itjust.works
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    1 month ago

    The price of rented accommodation in the United States is up 26% since the early 2020s

    The best part is that it’s still the early 2020s…

    • RBG
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      1 month ago

      The even better part is that probably prices have been rising since way before that.

  • Admiral Patrick@dubvee.org
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    1 month ago

    I am ever thankful for the semi-charmed kind of life I seem to have.

    Back in 2019, I was 3 years into saving for a house and planned to start shopping in 2022. An unfortunate life event caused me to have to accelerate those plans from “in 3 years” to “in 3 months”.

    Had to settle for a smaller house than I was originally looking for and dip deeper into my savings than anticipated, but I was able to find something nice and close on it by the end of 2019 along with a good mortgage deal.

    I didn’t realize how fortunate that unfortunate life event was until 2020 was in full swing. By the time 2022 rolled around (when I was originally going to buy a house), I would have been in less of a position to buy than I was in 2019, despite 3 extra years of savings.

    It’s the only one relevant to this post, but that’s not the only unfortunate life event that turned out to be a huge blessing in disguise.

    • ripcord@lemmy.world
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      1 month ago

      Yeah, I got super lucky that I bought my first place in 2011 when the prices in my area had been decimated and juuust really starting to recover. If I’d bought today it’d be a struggle to get anything close to what I have.

      I remember someone on here telling everyone they were stupid and whiney because they weren’t just buying cheap houses and fixing them up like he did.

      Turned out he did the same as me - found some really outrageous deals because he bought just after the housing market collapsed in 2008. And couldn’t understand that…this was not an option in 2023/24

      • grue@lemmy.world
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        1 month ago

        If I had listened to my parents in 2009, when they told me I was too young and couldn’t afford a house, I’d be absolutely screwed today.

  • Blackout@kbin.run
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    1 month ago

    What do I need home owners insurance for? I got a gun. The tornadoes should get insurance out on me. That said mine went up 20% this year.

    • SlippiHUD@lemmy.world
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      1 month ago

      I’ve got Knob and Tube wiring in part of my home, so only the state of Ohio is willing to insure me, and my insurance premiums stayed the same. So at least I have that going for me. My bank still raised my mortgage by 20% because apparently they can’t set up an escrow properly and apparently that’s my problem now.

      • Supervisor194@lemmy.world
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        1 month ago

        My bank still raised my mortgage by 20% because apparently they can’t set up an escrow properly and apparently that’s my problem now.

        This just happened to me, it’s because insurance for the year jumped 30%. 🤯 I don’t like it, but it’s difficult for the mortgage company to predict that kind of shit. You can change your insurance, and I went looking, but everything I found was even more expensive.

        • SlippiHUD@lemmy.world
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          1 month ago

          Sure, but zero costs changed for me, insurance premium was the same, taxes were the same, interest rate was the same (fixed interest loan). And yet somehow they low balled it and now it’s my job to fix it.

  • tal@lemmy.today
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    1 month ago

    You can have short term price shocks, like if there’s a huge, unexpected flood of people into or out of an area. Demand for housing can change more-quickly than supply of housing.

    However, over time run, supply catches up, and the price of housing is set by two things:

    • The cost of construction. What does it cost to get the land, get the materials, and get the labor to build more?

    • The cost of capital. How difficult is it to get ahold of capital to do construction?

    In cities, it does cost more to get land, but you can also build up, and the land value becomes less and less significant as the heght increases.

    In cities – especially expensive places like San Francisco or New York – a major factor is usually that there’s some form of height restrictions. That is, it would be possible for someone to obtain capital, buy land, build a building on it, and make a reasonable return, but there are zoning ordinances or the like that prevent this. Sometimes there are outright height restrictions. In London, there are restrictions on buildings that obstruct a network of views to various landmarks, which has a similar effect. Developers have an interest in building as long as they are allowed to do so. Eliminate height and similar zoning restrictions that prevent construction, and it will show up.

    This is an article that I really like, was run in The Atlantic some years back, focusing on why housing is so expensive in New York City, due to a history of planning restrictions on construction:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/03/how-skyscrapers-can-save-the-city/308387/

    California in particular has seen spread of the YIMBY movement (that is, a counter to NIMBY, where people want to block construction near them) aimed at removing restrictions on housing construction.