How The U.S. Rental Market Stacks Up To Europe’s

September 2, 2016

What does it mean when the U.S. homeownership rate is at its lowest point in decades at around 63 percent, considering that 59 percent of households in Switzerland are renters?

Michael Carliner and Ellen Marya from the Joint Center released a new working paper that provides context for the rental housing market in the U.S. by comparing metrics with Canada, and 10 European Countries.

For all 12 countries, Carliner and Marya found the share of all households who were paying rent, the median ratio of housing cost to household income, and the share of renters with severe cost burdens.

While the objective of the paper was largely to provide comparable statistics regarding the characteristics of renters and the rental housing stock in a number of developed countries, it underscores the severity of rental housing affordability problems in the US. It doesn't provide a clear answer to the question of how to improve affordability in the US, but it does suggest where to look.

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