Since 1980 in the Washington, D.C. area, rents (adjusted for inflation) have grown by 86 percent. During that same time period, real incomes have increased by only 33 percent. As The Washington Post reports, nowhere else in the country have rents increased by that much.
Cities such as San Francisco, New York, Boston, and Los Angeles have also increased greatly making it hard for renters to keep up, even as residents in these cities tend to earn more.
If that isn’t bad enough, in cities such as Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Detroit, wages have held steady or even decreased, but rents continued to rise. However, Las Vegas and Phoenix, which were the two cities hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis are actually fairing quite well thanks to a substantial increase in housing stock that has helped to hold down rent increases.
Austin, Texas is the one city in the country where rents have kept pace with incomes. With more people renting now than ever, most cities are finding it difficult to provide enough rental units to meet demand, leaving no secret as to why rents have increased so much.
As rents continue to outpace wages, the result is an increase in the amount of cost-burdened renters. Since 1960, the percentage of renters who are struggling to get by has more than doubled.