A perfect storm for evictions is forming all around us. A new report reveals that rents are rising four times faster than incomes in the United States. In recent years, the rate of rent price growth has tripled, making housing increasingly unaffordable for millions of Americans. For some households, it now takes more than three full-time workers to afford the typical two-bedroom rental.
Researchers found that in many areas, rent prices shot up over 200%, and are likely to continue to rise in 2023. This means that many struggling U.S. families are about to lose their homes as they fall behind payments, and evictions start to pile up all across the country. That’s what we’re going to break to you in today’s video.
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Over the past three years, home prices jumped by almost 47%, and today, they remain about 38% more expensive than they were in 2019. Higher mortgages are also pricing many would-be homeowners out of the market. As a result, demand for rents is soaring, and a shortage of affordable rental units is creating a perfect storm for evictions, experts say.
Right now, rental vacancy rates are at the lowest level since 1984, which is giving landlords, especially corporate landlords, much more power to mark up prices for a limited number of available units. On the other hand, we all know by now that wages aren’t keeping pace with rising rents in the U.S.
In point of fact, wages aren’t keeping pace with anything these days, and 58% of renters are currently living paycheck to paycheck. About the same rate, or 57% to be precise, are now paying more than 30% of their income on rent.
In cities with minimum wages above $7.25, it takes an average of 2.5 full-time minimum wage workers to make the typical two-bedroom rental affordable, meaning renters would spend no more than a third of their income on rent. In cities with a $7.25 minimum wage, it takes an average of 3.5 full-time workers to meet this threshold. “Income disparity does really play a big role and impact the affordability outlook for a lot of renters,” Chen added.
From 1985 to 2022, the national median rent price rose 151%, while overall income grew just 35%. That’s to say, the average rent rose over 4 times faster than wages. Overall, the cost of living in the U.S. increased by 89% since the mid-1980s, according to the firm’s calculations. In other words, Americans have experienced a steep decline in their purchasing power across the last four decades, and they have been forced to move to cheaper, subpar units or spend significantly more of their earnings on rent.
We’re going to see cases of evictions reaching crisis levels in the months ahead, especially as big companies start to layoff their workers en masse. Many renters are hanging by a thread at this point, and as the economic downturn that is now unfolding all around us accelerates, millions of U.S. households will be pushed over the edge.
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