More Americans Struggling to Pay the Rent

More Americans Struggling to Pay the Rent

Fro Rent
By Beth Braverman

As the portion of Americans renting rather than owning their homes has grown in recent years, so has the number of Americans for whom the monthly rent check has become a burden.

In 2013, almost half of all renters were spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing, with more than a quarter paying half their income to their landlord, according the "State of the Nation’s Housing 2015" report issued today by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Rising rents aren’t just impacting low-income consumers. One in five renters earning $45,000-$75,000 is paying at least a third of their income in rent.

Related: There’s Only One Way Rents Will Go: Sky High

The increase in rental rates represents a byproduct of the falling home ownership rate, which dropped to 63.7 percent in the first quarter of this year, the lowest level since 1989. The rate has fallen for the past eight years and appears poised to continue its decline.

That puts the 2010s on pace to be the strongest decade for rental growth in history, and the national vacancy rate fell to just 7.6 percent, its lowest level in 20 years, according to the Harvard report. The trend reflects increased demand from millennials, as well as a growing preference for renting in households aged 45-64 and higher-income households.

Rents rose 3.2 percent last year, twice the rate of overall inflation, spurring builders to begin construction on more multi-family units than in any years since 1989. “And if job growth continues to pick up, we could see even more demand, as young adults move out of their parents’ homes and into their own apartments,” Joint Center senior research associate Daniel McCue said in a statement.

Chart of the Day: Long Way to Go on Coronavirus Testing

Healthcare workers with ChristianaCare test people with symptoms of the coronavirus in a drive-thru in the parking lot of Chase
Jennifer Corbett
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The White House on Friday unveiled plans for a new effort to ramp up testing for Covid-19, which experts say is an essential part of limiting the spread of the virus. This chart from Vox gives a sense of just how far the U.S. has to go to catch up to other countries that are dealing with the pandemic, including South Korea, the leading virus screener with 3,692 tests per million people. The U.S., by comparison, has done about 23 tests per million people as of March 12.

After Spending $2 Billion, Air Force Bails Out on Planned Upgrades of B-2 Bombers

The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies over the Missouri Sky after taking off from the Whiteman Air For..
© Hyungwon Kang / Reuters
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The Air Force has scrapped a planned upgrade of its B-2 stealth bomber fleet — even after spending $2 billion on the effort — because defense contractor Northrup Grumman didn’t have the necessary software expertise to complete the project on time and on budget, Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio reports, citing the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.

Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters that the nearly $2 billion that had already been spent on the program wasn’t wasted because “we are still going to get upgraded electronic displays.”

Big Hurdle for Sanders’ Plan to Cancel Student Debt

Chip East / REUTERS
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Bernie Sanders wants to eliminate $1.6 trillion in student debt, to be paid for by a tax on financial transactions, but doing so won’t be easy, says Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal.  

The main problem for Sanders is that most Americans don’t support the plan, with 57% of respondents in a poll last fall saying they oppose the idea of canceling all student debt. And the politics are particularly thorny for Sanders as he prepares for a likely general election run, Mitchell says: “Among the strongest opponents are groups Democrats hope to peel away from President Trump: Rust Belt voters, independents, whites, men and voters in rural areas.”

Number of the Day: $7 Million

NY mayor cites climate stance in endorsing Obama
By The Fiscal Times Staff

That’s how much Michael Bloomberg is spending per day in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination, according to new monthly filings with the Federal Election Commission. “In January alone, Bloomberg dropped more than $220 million on his free-spending presidential campaign,” The Hill says. “That breaks down to about $7.1 million a day, $300,000 an hour or $5,000 per minute.”