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A Quarter of American Homeowners Are Considered ‘House Poor'


A Quarter of American Homeowners Are Considered ‘House Poor'

A growing number of homeowners are spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs, leaving more than 1 in 4 Americans financially burdened

May 30, 2023
Small model houses on tall stacks of coins represent house-poor Americans
Image: mimadeo / stock.adobe.com

A recent analysis of monthly housing costs and median income data by the Chamber of Commerce found that more than one-quarter of all homeowners in the U.S. are considered “house poor,” meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs. The study revealed that Miami, Los Angeles, and New York City have the highest share of “house poor” residents, with more than four in 10 homeowners in each city exhausting their household incomes on housing costs. 

With the exception of New York City, the top 10 cities in the United States with the most cost-burdened homeowners are all located in either California or Florida, The New York Times reports.

The “30 percent” rule is a longtime piece of personal finance gospel that advises keeping all housing expenses, including rent or mortgage payments, property taxes and utilities, from cutting into more than 30 percent of your monthly income.

From 2015 to 2019, the percentage of U.S. homeowners who were considered financially strapped dropped each year, from 29.4 percent in 2015 to 26.5 percent in 2019. But the pandemic has now started to erase those gains.

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