As Nicole Friedman explains in The Wall Street Journal, the housing crisis can be understood as a 20-year-old supply-and-demand problem:
Between 1968 and 2000, the United States built an average of about 1.5 million new housing units every year. But in the past two decades, in part because of a slowdown during the Great Recession, the country has added only 1.225 million new housing units every year.
Today, the country is 6.8 million units short of what was needed to meet new housing needs and to replace units that were aging or destroyed by natural disasters.
The upshot: Between 2001 and 2019, median rents rose faster than median renter incomes in nearly every state, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. In only 7 percent of counties can a minimum-wage worker afford a one-bedroom rental.
America’s Housing Crisis Is a Choice
Blake Kittridge has lived in Denver for 4 years. He moved into the Infinity LoHi building in the middle of the pandemic. He likes living there but recently, they told him they are raising his rent by more than $800 a month.
“I know that this is more of like a price-gouging thing,” he says. “The entire reason they are raising my rent like they are is because they believe they can get that on the market so they can push me out.”
He rents a one-bedroom apartment for $1,650 per month. His landlords just told him rent for next year is going up to $2,490 per month.
Ron Throupe, an associate professor of real estate at the University of Denver. He just completed a second-quarter study about the rental market in Denver. He says rent is up on average by $107 for the quarter.
“That’s the largest rent increase quarterly we’ve ever seen in this survey,” Throupe says.
For almost a year, a federal moratorium on evictions allowed tenants who suffered economic losses from the coronavirus pandemic to stay in their homes.
Now, the moratorium’s scheduled expiration at midnight on Saturday has left renters around the country packing their belongings and facing an uncertain future as they search for housing options. Already, homeless shelters have been adding beds in preparation for an influx of people in need of a safe place to live.
The Census Bureau’s most recent Household Pulse Survey, which captures the impacts of the pandemic, found that 3.6 million people thought it was somewhat or very likely they would be evicted within the next two months.
For Tenants Nationwide, a Scramble to Pay Months of Rent or Face Eviction
A federal eviction moratorium is scheduled to end on Saturday. Many tenants are packing up and facing an uncertain future.
Andy Bales, the CEO of the Union Rescue Mission, requested a security guard accompany himself and host Tonya Mosley during their interview. And as the interview started, they came across a person agitated by their presence.
Bales says this happens just about every day, especially during the pandemic. The lack of sidewalk space in front of the Union Rescue Mission demonstrates that Skid Row is “the worst it’s ever been,” he says.
“This whole street was completely clear. But now it’s rare that you can find a sidewalk that you can pass,” he says. “It’s packed with people devastated by homelessness.”
Legal Minds Clash On How To Fix The Homeless Crisis On LA’s Skid Row
Here & Now
There are many contributors to the problem. The horrors of childhood trauma and poverty, mental illness and chronic drug abuse surely add to the likelihood that someone lives on the streets. But Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, says the primary cause of the crisis is simple: Housing has gotten way too scarce and expensive.
A few years ago, a team of economists at Zillow found that once cities cross a threshold where the typical resident must spend more than a third of their income on housing, homelessness begins to spike rapidly. When incomes don’t keep pace with the cost of rent, a cascade effect ripples through the housing market: High-income folks start renting places that middle-income folks used to rent, middle-income people start renting places that low-income folks used to rent, and low-income folks are left scrambling.
“It’s sort of a game of musical chairs,” Roman says. “And people who have a strike against them — because they have mental illness or a substance abuse disorder or a disability — are the least likely to get the chair.”
Homelessness wasn’t always this bad. “In the 1970s, there was an adequate supply of affordable units for every low-income household that needed one — and we really didn’t have homelessness,” Roman says.
How California Homelessness Became A Crisis
Planet Money, NPR
Average Denver Home Price Hits $674K, Up $40K in a Month from r/Denver
Median home price is a much better measure since it is less skewed by huge transactions at the top end. Median is still bad at ~$560,000.
The same report has median stats too, up 30k since last month.
Sheesh. That’s bad news for us wannabe homeowners.
Seriously, how do people just starting off afford houses now? I’m lucky enough to have bought our first place 13 years ago when it was still possible to by a place with a 2 in the starting digit. How can people just starting out even hope to buy a house for half a million dollars minimum?
Is everyone up to the eyeballs in debt?
its a lot of out of state money coming in. Sell their home in Cali or New york for way more value and pay cash here.
And I imagine investment firms as well just gobbling up properties so they can rent them out at exorbitant rates.
The Californians Are Coming. So Is Their Housing Crisis.
Is it possible to import growth without also importing housing problems? “I can’t point to a city that has done it right.”
From the comments section:
The problem with multi-family dwellings in the US is that there are insufficient noise-mitigation requirements. This leads to unlivable situations and neighbors at war with one another…
Income inequality deserves more than a passing mention, and acceptance as a fact of life. The housing-affordability problem is more about wage suppression than housing costs. Median income has stagnated since 1980, even has labor productivity has continued to rise. Nearly all the gains from income growth have gone to the top 10%, and most of that has gone to the top 1%…
Our immediate neighbors, however, are mostly terrible. Noisy, rude, filthy, not to mention brashly flouting public health law which affects us all when living in small spaces. The sidewalks are covered in broken glass and debris. My BIPOC daughters are sexually harassed if they walk in the wrong direction. We have hit-and-runs on a regular basis…
Plus, the comprehensive planning (and no mass transit) we have is a joke. We’re well on our way to becoming any western sprawling area. At least some of the foothills were saved.
Once you’ve lured people to a place, which the city of Boise has done with its PR firms for the past 15 years, you can’t turn them away. So for me the question is: can’t you build better?…
All it takes is one noisy neighbor constantly ruining the peace and quiet in your own home. I’d live in a cardboard box before I’d return to a situation where I’d be vulnerable to that again….
As a California who currently lives in Montana, the sentiment is palpable. I no longer tell people where I am from and have experienced instances of discrimination from repairmen to hairstylists when calling from a California area code.
The biggest problem that causes the housing problem is good public transportation. If we had a system like anywhere else in the world then people would not be in a pickle with having to live close to work. No need to own so many cars. We can actually walk on the present almost non-existent sidewalks. There can be more family friendly neighborhood parks with BENCHES. I find it so strange that we cannot take our elderly parents to green areas here due to lack of seating.