There’s reason to celebrate when it comes to housing costs — sort of.
Just under 21 percent of homeowners with a mortgage were cost-burdened as of 2018, according to U.S. Census data, down from nearly 29 percent a decade ago. “Cost-burdened” is defined as spending at least 35 percent of monthly household income on housing costs.
However, the catch is that one reason homeowners feel less burdened by housing costs is that there are simply fewer homeowners. The Census Bureau notes that the home-ownership rate has dropped from nearly 68 percent 10 years ago to around 65 percent today.
Many former homeowners who couldn’t bear the costs have turned to renting, and the U.S. rental population is as large as its ever been. And unlike in the housing market, the rental market has not seen a dip in the percentage of people who are cost-burdened.
From a mobility program perspective, this highlights the value of rental assistance. The trend of fewer people buying homes and more people renting is likely to continue, and this new data indicates that many of these renters will have their budgets squeezed. Benefits such as lease-breaking and lease-negotiation assistance, rental tours and online toolkits could make a huge difference for your relocating employees by helping them settle into an affordable home in their new location. If you either A) aren’t offering rental benefits or B) aren’t sure your current rental benefits are hitting the mark, now might be a great time to take a fresh look at how you’re supporting your relocating renter population.
While homeowners may be less burdened by housing costs, fewer people actually own their homes. Ten years ago, the home-ownership rate was 67.9%, but now it’s 64.8%. Many of those people who are no longer homeowners have been pushed into the rental market. The country’s rental population has also grown to its largest size ever for as rising home prices and student-loan debt have forced young adults to delay homeownership.