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February 24, 2012

'Severely' overburdened homeowners, renters

How many people spend more than half their income on housing costs? More than you might think.

In the Baltimore area, one in five households with workers pulling down middle-income or lower-income wages fell into that pinched group in 2010, according to a new report by the Center for Housing Policy. That's nearly 85,000 households "severely burdened by their housing costs."

But it's not quite as bad as the nation overall, with nearly one in four of what the center dubs "working households" falling into that category.

The center, which looked at regions and states across the country, considered all renter and owner households with adults who made no more than 20 percent over their area's median income and worked at least 20 hours a week on average in 2010. That means retirees weren't part of the calculation -- and neither were those who were out of work or had their weekly hours cut below 20, a situation that plenty of Americans were stuck in that year.

"Had they been included, the number and share of low- and moderate-income households with severe housing cost burdens would have been higher: overall, 27 percent of low- and moderate income households in the United States — or 18.2 million of the more than 67 million households — had a severe housing cost burden in 2010, up from 25 percent in 2008," wrote the report's author, Laura Williams.

The share of severely burdened working households in the Baltimore area has fluctuated a bit the last few years. It was 19 percent in 2008 and 21 percent in 2009 before dipping to 20 percent in 2010.

The United States, by contrast, has steadily inched upward: 22 percent, 23 percent, 24 percent.

The report looked at both homeowners and renters, finding that tenants were hit with rising rents (up 4 percent) and declining income (down 4 percent) while homeowners' income fell faster than their housing costs (down 5 percent and 2 percent, respectively).  

"Median housing costs for working homeowners declined modestly between 2008 and 2010," the center noted. "Meanwhile, the incomes of working homeowners declined even more, driven in large part by a decrease in the median number of hours worked per week."

Where do you stand?

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 6:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Affordable housing, Housing stats, Renting, The economy


I have an idea: Let's raise taxes on fuel and expand the tax base for sales tax. Also increase the cost of providing power for our homes with an off-shore wind mill project that requires a 75 year payback and a Carnegie-Mellon report predicts 50% of turbines will be destroyed in 20 years. That should solve everything.Or let's increase the flush tax and have the landlords pass that down to the tenants -- who's groceries used to cost $150 a month 3 years ago but now cost $250 a month.This is where we need leadership in Annapolis to stop increasing spending (increased 20% - from 29.5 billion 5 years ago to 35.5 billion now). We need leadership that can make the tough choices and built consensus that we're all in this together. The alternative is for taxpayers to move elsewhere. The state is small enough that most can work in VA, PA or DE. Makes sense to me.

Yes, but its so worth it when you see the expressions of envy on their guests faces as they show off their granite counter tops that they cant put food on.

I am still stunned at the purchases i continue to see on a daily basis. Folks continue to overpay for housing by a lot. Why are they so eager to join the underwater folks that are in so much pain right now.

In other states, FL, NEV, CA etc.., houses have fallen to half the value . It hasnt happened here......yet. So go ahead jump in at 10% off.

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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
Baltimore Sun articles by Jamie

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