Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies

In the Media


Subsidizing the Middle: Policies, Tradeoffs, and Costs of Addressing Middle-Income Affordability Challenges

Housing affordability challenges have crept increasingly up the income scale and have left a record-high share of middle-income renter households with cost burdens. In response, a growing number of states and localities have adopted policies and programs to address middle-income housing needs. In this research, we consider what these programs are intended to do, what the potential benefits are, whom they serve, and the policy tradeoffs that might occur if we prioritize addressing middle-income rental affordability.

The State of the Nation's Housing 2024

Homeowners and renters across the US are struggling with high housing costs. On the for-sale side, millions of potential homebuyers have been priced out of the market by high home prices and interest rates, while the number of renters with cost burdens has hit an all-time high.

Rental Deserts, Segregation, and Zoning

Restrictive zoning and NIMBY attitudes have left nearly a third of neighborhoods across the country with few options for renters. The concentration of rental housing in some neighborhoods and the exclusion of rental options from others reinforces enduring patterns of residential segregation by race and income. In this paper, we use the concept of rental deserts to highlight places that have few rental opportunities for households and define these as neighborhoods where rental units make up less than 20 percent of the housing stock.