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Deidre Schmidt on America’s Rental Housing 2020

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University recently released their America's Rental Housing 2020 report, outlining the extremely tight rental market nationwide and the rising number of cost-burdened renters. Local governments are often on the front line of these issues, and because of Minneapolis' bold plan to end single-family zoning to expand the rental supply, this year's report was released in Minneapolis. Our President and CEO, Deidre Schmidt, joined a panel of experts at the release event to speak on the affordability crisis, housing stock, preservation, and more.

One of the key highlights of the report is the influx of higher-income households to the rental market—in fact, per the report, "households with real incomes of at least $75,000 accounted for over three-quarters of the growth in renters (3.2 million) from 2010 to 2018." Of these higher-income earners, many are in age groups or family types that are traditionally more likely to own their homes. This increase in higher income, older, and larger households has influenced the demand, and the industry has responded in turn. New rental construction continues to cater to the expensive end of the market, with very little new construction offering affordable options.


And it's not just new construction—the overall stock of affordable housing is actually shrinking. Another key finding from the report stated, "The decline in low-cost units brought their share of the national rental stock down from 33 percent in 2012 to just 25 percent in 2017." Neighborhoods change and gentrify, and previously affordable rents rise to meet demand, or alternatively, are purchased and up-scaled as luxury apartments, driving out established, long-time residents from their neighborhoods.

These findings are just several of the many in the report and the panel discussion. It's an important conversation, and a critical time to be having it. Affordable housing is a foundational yet shrinking element in the stability and success of our local communities.

When cities have affordable housing options, it means people can live near their workplaces, make long-lasting community connections, afford other critical areas of life, participate in local economies, engage as community leaders, and focus on personal goals. We simply cannot build strong neighborhoods if people can't afford, or are priced out of, their homes. The conversation around the issue of affordable housing is more prominent now than ever before, and we're proud to be one of those voices advocating for homes that are affordable for all.

Watch the release event below:


(The entire recording covers a great deal of important information. The panel Deidre speaks on begins at roughly 46:30)


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