Black Tenants Getting Hit Particularly Hard by Rising Rents, Making Affordability More Difficult

Black Tenants Getting Hit Particularly Hard by Rising Rents, Making Affordability More Difficult

On the income front, Black men earn 87 cents and Black women bring in 63 cents to every dollar a white man makes, national data show. The statistics are powerful as they show paying for rent will perhaps become more difficult for Black tenants to afford.

And costs are surging. In a new study titled, “U.S. Rent Prices are Rising 4x Faster Than Income (2022 Data),” the national median rent price soared 149 percent from 1985 to 2020, while overall income climbed just 35 percent during the same time.

Moreover. the rent-to-income ratio nearly doubled from 9 percent to 17 percent in that period. With rent increasing about four times faster than income since 1985, the study surmises that Americans are “forced to move to cheaper, subpar units” or spend much more of what they make on rent.

The study found insufficient affordable housing fuels the shocking rate hikes. It reported home values rose 17 percent in 2021, pricing many would-be homeowners out of the market and boosting the demand for rental units. Yet it expanded with vacancy rates declining 5.6 percent last year—the lowest since 1984—as “landlords have the power to mark up prices for a limited number of available units.”

Simultaneously, wages are not matching rising rent prices, and 58 percent of renters are now living paycheck to paycheck. The study maintains if rent prices jumped identical to income since 2000, the median rent in 2020 would be $586 monthly compared to $894.

The findings do not offer an encouraging scenario for Black renters.

“With so much competition, Black renters and people of color typically have to submit more applications than white renters,” says Jamie Seale, the study’s author. She explained application fees can add up if they have to apply to multiple properties.

Seale pointed out when they get an apartment, Black renters and people of color are asked to pay security deposits more often than white renters, and the deposits they pay are typically higher.

In terms of tips, renters could ask their landlord if there are discounts for long-term leases. Seale says it costs landlords money to move tenants in and out, so they might be willing to offer a lower monthly rate if renters agree to stay for a longer period.

She adds that renters should take advantage of any referral bonuses for recommending the apartment to friends or family who end up signing a lease.

If possible, look for apartments in the winter, when demand is low and vacancy rates are higher.

“Landlords lose money each month they’re not collecting rent, so they may be more willing to offer tenants a deal.”

The study too disclosed that the rent-to-income ratio is 89 percent higher for millennials than it was for baby boomers at the same age in 1985.

Check out more details including rent prices across U.S. cities here.