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At a time when the country is faced with a housing affordability crisis, the hope is to reduce housing costs. But, according to this Harvard study, shared here on US News and World Report, that just isn't the case.

BEING ABLE TO FIND AND afford rental housing in the U.S. is becoming increasingly challenging for many Americans – especially among middle-income earners, a new report finds.

A Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies report examining trends in rental housing in the U.S. found that a higher demand for rentals among high-income earners, or households making at least $75,000; a low vacancy rate; the rising costs of housing construction; and a limited supply of new rental housing relative to demand have all contributed to "the shrinking share of lower-cost rentals" since the economic recession.

While low-income Americans have struggled for years with housing costs, the report finds the challenges of paying rent each month are creeping up the income ladder, causing middle-income Americans to feel the pinch.

"To meet the 30%-of-income affordability standard, a household earning $30,000 a year would have to pay no more than $750 a month for housing costs, while a household earning $45,000 would have to pay no more than $1,125. As the stock of units charging such low rents continues to decline, it is increasingly difficult for households with modest incomes to find housing that is within their means," the report said.

The increase in renting among high-income, older and larger households, in particular – driven in part by the rising costs of homeownership – translates to shortages in affordable rental housing in both rural and urban areas across the country, the report said. With higher-income households contributing to much of the growth in rental demand since 2010, development has shifted toward meeting the upper end of the market, often in central city locations that then become unaffordable to middle- and low-income households.

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