Harvard study reveals major problems in nation's rental housing market

By KBJR News 1

December 20, 2013 Updated Dec 20, 2013 at 12:07 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- A report, released Thursday, by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, reveals major problems in the nation's rental housing market.

The report says across the country housing has become too expensive for the middle class to afford.

The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies report shows affordable rental housing is extremely tight in larger markets like New York and San Francisco, but also in smaller cities, like Duluth.

"It's a landlord's market. Totally a landlord's market. The demand for rentals is high," said landlord Kristi Ducharme.

For many Northlanders, money that would have likely been spent on transportation, food, or healthcare has had to go towards rent... just so they can have a place to live.

"I pay over 60% of my income on just my rent," said Don Hawn, a resident of Duluth.

The study says more than 40% of all renters are considered "rent-burdened."

"What you pay for, you know, is more than what you can really afford," said Hawn.

And the rental housing burden in Duluth is also negatively affecting landlords.

"We have bills to pay, and the city of Duluth makes it really tough for us to even make an income off the properties....The money I make, goes all back into the unit itself," said Ducharme.

"A very tight housing market is going to also create some real pressure on people looking to find affordable housing," said Rick Ball of the Duluth Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

...real pressure felt not only in the Northland, but all over the nation.

The study says that there are many rental assistance programs nationwide that support the most vulnerable families and individuals.

Elsa Robins