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Study examines link between homelessness and rising rents

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 by Chad Swiatecki

new study from the real estate research outlet Zillow takes a look at the link between rates of homelessness and the price of local rents. The data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development show that communities where residents spend more than 32 percent of their income on rent experience a rapid increase in homelessness. The 32 percent threshold is the most dramatic tipping point in the ratio of income/housing cost, with a notable but less pronounced uptick when rents represent 22 percent or more of an individual’s total income. On average, U.S. renters spend 28.2 percent of their earnings on housing, an increase from the historical average of 25.8 percent. The bad news for Austinites comes from GoBankingRates.com which shows that the cost to live comfortably in the city has risen by $18,531 in the past year to a total income of nearly $80,000 per year. That increase made Austin second in the study in total cost increases. And finally, the folks at RentCafe tell us local rent prices and square footage of apartments are moving in opposite directions. From 2008 to 2018 the average apartment in Austin has shrunk from 955 square feet to 878 (an 8 percent drop) while monthly rents have grown by 55 percent, from $869 per month to $1,347.

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