Rented housing typically becomes a "burden" when it eats up more than 30 percent of a person's their income, according to Lisa Sturtevant, director of the National Housing Conference.
Sturtevant pointed out that more renters are spending more than that amount since the downturn began in 2008.
The effect of rising rents trickles down to other parts of the economy. When renters are "housing cost burdened," there's less money available to make other consumer expenditures, which drive local and regional economies, Sturtevant said.
"The message is that renters are facing increasing challenges in finding affordable places to live in the period after the downturn, even in relatively low-cost areas like Syracuse" in Upstate New York said Sturtevant.
She said that the least affordable areas in the country are places where there's been extremely fast job growth such as San Francisco, San Jose and New York City.
She added that the most affordable major rental markets include places with slower job growth such as Wheeling, West Va.; Erie, Pa.; Springfield, Ill. and Winston-Salem, N.C.
--By Christina Scolaro
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