At the same time, renting is more expensive, as “rent gains across the country continue to far outpace inflation.” And supply is tight. Since most of the new units being built are at the high end, “the number of modestly priced units available for under $800 declined by 261,000 between 2005 and 2015, while the number renting for $2,000 or more jumped by 1.5 million.”
Can’t buy, can’t rent. For a lot of people, especially in the pricey major metro areas where so many of the good jobs are, the situation looks grim. NBC News sums up the findings this way: “Over 38 million American households can’t afford their housing, an increase of 146 percent in the past 16 years.”
Even people lucky enough to own already aren’t immune. Harvard reports that “the typical homeowner has yet to fully regain the housing wealth lost during the downturn.” Although home values have gone up by as much as 40 percent in swaths of California, Florida and New England since 2000 — and, in 12 metro areas, have even doubled — they have remained stagnant or even gone down by as much as 46 percent in much of the South and the Midwest.