The Wall Street Journal reports that apartment rents continued to rise nationwide, but when adjusted for inflation household incomes are what they were in 1990:
The average monthly rent for an apartment rose to $1,099 in the second quarter, up 0.8% from the first quarter, according to data to be released Wednesday by real-estate research firm Reis Inc. REIS +0.18% That was the 18th consecutive quarter of rent increases. For the 12-month period ended in June, rents rose 3.4%.
Effective rents—which tend to be lower than asking rents—were up in all 79 U.S. metro areas tracked in the Reis report. West Coast cities that have been the model of recovery continued to top the list of highest rent growth for the quarter and over the past 12 months…
But household incomes have stagnated, resulting in a financial squeeze for a growing number of renters. Median household income was $50,017 in 2012, below 2007’s peak level of $55,627, after adjusting for inflation, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
Later in the article they point out that vacancy rates stabilized, which might indicate that supply is catching up with demand, but at least one economist thinks that housing affordability will be an issue for years to come:
But Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s, says affordability problems will likely remain, especially for lower-income households. “There’s going to be a very severe housing-shortage problem,” he said. “People are going to be in very difficult situations. This is a problem that’s going to be increasingly severe over the next few years.”