L.A. is America's biggest rental market, according to a new Harvard report. And that's not necessarily a good thing.
Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies this week unleashed a bleak look at rental life in the nation. Among the United States' 20 most populous cities, Los Angeles was number one for the proportion of folks -- half of us (52 percent) -- who rent, researchers said:
The report, titled "America's Rental Housing: Evolving Markets and Needs," suggests that our sky-high home prices lead so many to rent:
Most of the markets that have larger shares of renters are coastal metros with high home prices ...
The saddest news to come out of the report is that, while rents nationwide have gone up 6 percent between 2000 and 2012, income has actually decreased an average of 13 percent, adjusting for inflation.
Furthermore, the Harvard researchers say more than one in three (35 percent) of Americans now rent, up from 31 percent in 2004.
The bottom line is that Great Recession-afflicted Americans have rushed to an increasingly unaffordable rental market, resulting in more of our cash going to rent every month.
One in four households is paying more than 50 percent of their income on rent, the Harvard folks say.
See also: California Is America's Poorest State.
That means less cash for trivial things like, say, food.
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Eric Belsky, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard, states:
With little else to cut in their already tight budgets, America's lowest-income renters with severe cost burdens spend about $130 less on food each month, and make similar reductions in healthcare, clothing, and savings. And while many choose longer commutes to lower their housing costs, the combined cost of housing and transportation means even less remains for other expenses.
So, yeah, if a whole paycheck is going to the rent in L.A., you're not alone.