The national rental vacancy rate in 2014 fell to its lowest point (7.6%) in twenty years, while rents rose at 3.2%, twice the rate of inflation.
The home-ownership rate fell for the tenth consecutive year in 2014 to 64.5%, a 20-year low, while an average of 770,000 renter households entered the market each year since 2004. With the demand for rental housing growing, availability decreased dramatically for the most affordable segment of the rental market.
The number of vacant rental units with rents less than $800 fell 12% between 2013 and 2014, contributing to 90% of the overall decline in rental vacancies.
While 1.2 million apartments were added to the market since 2010, they serve the higher end of the market, with a 2013 median rent of $1,290.
At this rent, more than two-thirds of renter households cannot afford market rent.
In 2013, HUD provided assistance to 4.8 million renters. One-third of all HUD-assisted households were headed by a person over age 62, while another one-third included a person with a disability. However, HUD remains unable to assist many low-income households. While the number of very low-income renters, those with income up to 50% of the area median income, qualifying for housing assistance increased 18% between 2003 and 2013, just 26% received housing assistance in 2013.
The unmet need for affordable rental housing continues to grow, while appropriations for affordable rental housing continues to shrink. The authors note, however, that capitalization of the National Housing Trust Fund would be an important step toward addressing the rising need for additional affordable rental housing.
Click here for the State of the Nation’s Housing 2015.
Click here for an interactive state-by-state map that includes data for each of New Jersey’s counties.