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Jacksonville Named City Where Greatest Percentage of Renters Are “Severely Rent Burdened”

By Siddharth Mariappan

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According to a recent report from housing advocacy group MakeRoom.org, 28% of renters in Jacksonville — more than in any other metropolitan U.S. city — are paying 50% or more of their income for housing. Since an affordable rent is considered one that consumes 30% or less of income, housing experts consider renters with housing costs of more than 50% of income to be “unaffordable” or “severely rent burdened.”

Unaffordable Rents Rise More Than 30% in JAX in Past Decade. The report, titled “Mid-size U.S. metro areas face largest growth in share of renter households paying unaffordable rent,” studied rental changes over the period 2005-2014. It found that the percentage of Jacksonville renters paying at least 50% for housing grew from 21.3% in 2005 to 28.4% in 2014, an increase of more than 30%. That put JAX #1 on MakeRoom’s Top 10 list of the most severely rent burdened cities. The report noted that in each of the most severely burdened cities, “construction has failed to keep pace with the rising demand for non-luxury rental homes…. In the Jacksonville metro area, half as many apartments were built as there were new renters from 2005 to 2014.”

Mid-Size Cities Like JAX Feel the Squeeze Most. MakeRoom’s report pointed out the impact of unaffordable housing:

“The growth in the share of renters paying unaffordable rent highlights how many Americans continue to be left behind despite a recovering national economy. When renters must pay such a large share of their income on rent, they are often forced to choose between paying their rent and paying for groceries, medicine, childcare and other essentials…. Focus tends to center around affordability issues in high-density, high-cost coastal cities, but the data shows that mid-size cities across the country have felt the squeeze most during the past decade.”

MakeRoom cites four major reasons why rentals are becoming increasingly unaffordable throughout the U.S.:

  • rising demand for rentals after the foreclosure crisis led to declining home ownership

  • low supply of rentals

  • funding cuts for programs supporting affordable housing, and

  • stagnating incomes

Home Ownership May be More Affordable Than Renting. Often the cost of a mortgage is less than the cost of rent. And, with programs requiring as little as 3% down, home ownership may be more possible than you think. Are you ready to consider making the move from renter to home owner? Just give me a call at 904-570-1216 or email me at jonkbrooks@gmail.com and we can discuss your options.

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