If you rent instead of own, like us, a new study released Tuesday by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies says you’re barely making ends meet. According to their findings 25% of renters in the United States are spending more than half their annual income on their rent and utility bills. Wow! The experts recommend spending no more than 30 percent of your income on living costs, but thanks to an extended visit from Mr. Recession, that’s not looking much like a viable option for renters these days. Put simply, we renters are all over-extended, low on cash, and stuck there, experts say.
Now this really turns my frown upside down – especially since lately I’ve been advocating renting over owning for a few more years, mainly because we just can’t afford a mortgage right now and the risks that come with aren’t ideal for us. Here I am thinking that since New Jersey is known for having some of the highest property taxes in the country, we’re also getting screwed on rent too. But, maybe our grass is a little greener at the moment. For starters not a single state in New Jersey makes the Most Cost-Burdened Renters List (phew!), and although we pay the equivalent of a small mortgage ($1560) each month to live in our spacious but not nearly modern, two-bedroom apartment, that plus our utilities equals less than half of our monthly income. It does help that we’re splitting costs in our home whereas others are paying the same bills with one income.
It does sound like we’re doing alright compared to other renters in other states, BUT the fact still remains that once you factor in all the other bills and the unreal costs for groceries and gas these days, we’re struggling too. So where does that leave us? Screwed if we rent and even more screwed if we don’t? Sigh…Mr. Recession, please go back to where you came from, now! We’re newlyweds and we’d still like to hold on our little dream of saving up for our little house, with our little yard, and our little kids running around all through it. Who are you to take it from us? Huh? That is all.
Are you feeling the squeeze in rental and living costs in your neck of the woods? Roll call: What’s the “cost of living” like in your ‘hood?
photo: Tiger Pixel
- Study: Rental Affordability Worsens After Recession (blogs.wsj.com)
- Affordable rental homes hard to find (money.cnn.com)
- Soaring Costs Force Some Renters To Chose Between Shelter And Food (huffingtonpost.com)