Why 122,000 Atlanta renters cannot buy homes

by Peter Thomas Ricci


Earlier this week, we reported on the sobering findings of the Joint Center of Housing Studies’ latest report, which found that millions of households in America are struggling with housing costs, much to the detriment of housing markets across the country.

That housing crisis particularly apparent here in Metro Atlanta, where more than 122,000 renters face cost burdens, meaning they devote more than a third of their monthly income to housing; even worse, among low-income renters who make $15,000 or less, an incredible 80.7 percent face severe cost burdens, meaning they devote more than half of their income to housing.

America’s housing plight in 2016

As we have long documented, the mixture of rising costs and slowing (if not falling) earnings have wreaked havoc on housing affordability, despite the conventional wisdom, rising rents do not incentivize consumers to buy homes; rather, they negatively impact consumer savings and render homeownership further out of reach.

Housing is still moving forward – here in Metro Atlanta, home sales are up over last year – but the Joint Center’s numbers clearly show that a huge swath of American households are unable to participate in that growing marketplace, and such inequities could very well harm housing’s future prospects.

Metro Area Share of Low-Income Renters with Severe Cost Burdens Number of Renter Households with Cost Burdens Renter Median Monthly Housing Costs
Atlanta 80.7% 122,300 $790
Boston 62% 108,600 $660
Chicago 75.5% 222,600 $770
Dallas 83.5% 163,000 $730
Houston 79.5% 140,200 $720
Los Angeles 82.4% 342,400 $980
Miami 79.6% 157,400 $870
New York 73.2% 584,700 $890
Phoenix 81.4% 107,000 $750
San Francisco 69.3% 96,400 $880
Seattle 71.8% 78,000 $800

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