According to new research by Harvard University, almost 40 million Americans "live in housing they cannot afford." Homeownership has gone down and rental prices keep going up, meaning that millions of residents are forced to pay more than they reasonably should.
In the study, the researchers determined affordability by people's ability to pay 30 percent of their income or less on the cost of housing, which may include their mortgage, insurance and taxes.
Homeownership keeps declining, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies' detailed and comprehensive 2017 State of the Nation's Housing report, in part because homes prices in many markets have continued to go up while wages have not kept pace. In 2016, "the homeownership rate fell to 63.4 percent, marking the 12th consecutive year of declines."
A lot of people who would like to buy are stuck renting, Harvard reports: "The surge in rental demand that began in 2005 is broad-based — including several types of households that traditionally prefer homeownership."