Feb 5, 2024 - News

The cost burden on renters in Richmond is higher than in NYC

Data: Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies; Chart: Axios Visuals

Richmond's rent prices are so unaffordable that the financial strain on renters here is worse than some of the largest and most expensive cities in the U.S.

Driving the news: At least 52% of Richmond renters spent 30% or more of their income on rent in 2022, per a report released by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies last month.

  • That's higher than the cost burden on renters in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and D.C. — and the national average.

Why it matters: Researchers said rent hikes during the pandemic "put unaffordability at an all-time high," but the financial assistance to help renters navigate them has dried up and left them without a safety net.

  • Rent increases are also outpacing income gains.
  • This in turn could put people at greater risk of eviction and homelessness, which was on the rise in the Richmond region and the U.S. last year.

Catch up fast: Richmond renters have been pushing back on rent hikes over the past several years, with frustrations and fears mounting over whether they can afford to stay.

  • The average Richmond rent can vary from $1,231 per month to more than $1,500 depending on location, according to Apartments.com.

Between the lines: In 1999, New York City was the only city where renters were spending more than 30% of their income on rent.

  • Now it's becoming the norm for the first time in at least 25 years, per economists at Moody's Analytics.
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