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Affordable rental housing still elusive

According to Housing Spotlight: The Affordable Rental Housing Gap Persists, there are more renters today than ever before, but not enough affordably priced rental units to meet the needs of the lowest income households.

The study, released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), found a U.S. deficit of 7.1 million rental units that are appropriate for low income households – ones that make 30 percent or less of an area’s median income.

Nationwide, there are only 31 affordable and available units for every 100 extremely low income renters.

In Florida, it’s even less. The state tied for fourth place with only 21 affordable and available housing units for every 100 families.

Nevada topped the U.S. states with just 15 units of available and affordable housing per 100 renters, followed by Arizona and California (20). Oregon tied Florida for fifth place with 21 units per 100 families followed by Texas (26).

South Dakota (54 units per 100 families) and North Dakota (52) topped the list.

In every state, at least half of all extremely low-income renters spent more than 50 percent of their income on housing costs.

According to NLIHC, extremely low-income renters make up 25 percent of the total renter population, but just 7 percent of all rental units are affordable and available to this group. This report is based on 2012 data, the latest available.

For the first time, this edition of Housing Spotlight also highlights how it is nearly impossible for renters with income at or below 15 percent of area median income to find housing that they can afford. These renters are considered deeply low income by NLIHC. They are most often elderly or disabled households living on fixed incomes, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). There were 4 million of these renter households in 2012, but just 16 affordable and available units for every 100 of them; 90 percent spent more than half of their income on housing costs.

“The housing crisis pushed higher wage earners into the rental market, causing rent increases and a surge in the development of luxury apartments, making it nearly impossible for extremely low income households to find housing that is truly affordable to them,” says Sheila Crowley, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

© 2014 Florida Realtors®