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April M. Short – Why Now Is the Worst Time in American History to Be a Renter

If you’re having trouble keeping up with rent, you’re not alone. Renting in the U.S. has never been as expensive as it is right now.

According to a new report [3] by the online real estate database Zillow, rents have never taken up this much of the American paycheck. Mortgage prices have remained relatively stable over the last several years, while rent has skyrocketed. A Bloomberg article [4] points out that the cost of homeownership is actually at a historic low, while the rate of homeownership is also lower than it has been in years. With home ownership is at its lowest rate in five years, apartment living has become increasingly competitive and some landlords appear to be taking advantage of the situation.

To come up with its estimates, Zillow tracked data going back to 1979. It found that while the longstanding average income percentage an American spent on rent between 1985 and 1999 was 24.4, today a median renter is spending an average of 30.2 percent of her income on the rent for a median-priced apartment. This is up from 29.5 percent one year ago.

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