10. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
> Cost-burdened middle-class households: 44.4%
> Median single-family home value: $442,151
> Median household income: $82,380
> Homeownership rate: 61.3%
In Boston, the fast pace of development of affordable housing units for low-income families and the boom in the construction of luxury units for the super wealthy have many middle-income families to purchase homes outside of their ideal budget range. According to statistics compiled by the Boston Department of Neighborhood Development, some 69% of housing units built in the city between 2011 and 2014 were high-end, 19% were affordable, and just 12% were in the middle.
Today, Boston is one of 14 U.S. metro areas in which the middle class is squeezed tighter on housing costs than the population as a whole. Some 44.4% of households earning between $45,000 and $74,999 a year spend at least 30% of their incomes on housing, more than the 35.1% share of cost burdened households across all income brackets and one of the largest shares of any U.S. metro.
9. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
> Cost-burdened middle-class households: 47.5%
> Median single-family home value: $393,206
> Median household income: $95,843
> Homeownership rate: 62.4%
From 2011 to 2016, the population of the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area increased by 7.5%, more than double the national population growth rate of 3.7% over that time. Like in many of the country’s major cities, the influx of new residents created demand for high-end, upper-market housing options, ultimately reducing the number of housing options available to the city’s low- and middle-income families.
The scarcity of middle-market housing options has forced many middle-income families to spend more than the recommended share of their incomes on rent or a mortgage. Some 47.5% of households earning between $45,000 and $74,999 a year spend at least 30% of their incomes on housing, more than twice the 22.0% national share of cost-burdened middle class households.
8. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
> Cost-burdened middle-class households: 47.9%
> Median single-family home value: $420,083
> Median household income: $71,897
> Homeownership rate: 51.0%
In the New York metro area, nearly 48% of households earning between $45,000 and $74,999 annually spend at least 30% of their incomes on housing, more than the 43% share of cost-burdened households in the area across all income levels and more than twice the 22% national share of the middle income bracket.
The squeezing of the middle class is of major concern for a large number of New Yorkers. According to a recent survey conducted by nonprofits Public Agenda and WNYC Radio, 65% of New York metro area residents believe the income gap between the rich and poor is a somewhat serious or very serious problem.
7. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
> Cost-burdened middle-class households: 50.8%
> Median single-family home value: $631,007
> Median household income: $65,950
> Homeownership rate: 47.4%
One factor contributing to climbing home prices in Los Angeles is the slow pace of new home construction. The average time to issue a building permit in Los Angeles is longer than eight months, compared to four and a half months in the typical U.S. metro area. New home construction in Los Angeles from the period 1980 to 2010 was slower than new home construction in the United States as a whole. As a result, the supply of housing in Los Angeles is outstripped by demand. This has led to high home values and has priced many of the city’s middle class residents out of the housing market.
Just over half of households earning between $45,000 and $74,999 in the Los Angeles metro area spend at least 30% of their incomes on housing.
6. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
> Cost-burdened middle-class households: 51.0%
> Median single-family home value: $323,589
> Median household income: $90,123
> Homeownership rate: 65.3%
While the median household income in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area of $90,123 a year is the fourth highest of any U.S. metro area, income in the city is also more unevenly distributed than in nearly any other part of the country. The wealthiest 5% of households in Bridgeport earn 28.3% of all income in the city, the largest share of the 100 largest metro areas.
Income inequality has been shown to affect rent burden. Today, some 51.0% of households earning between $45,000 and $74,999 in Bridgeport spend at least 30% of their incomes on housing, the sixth largest share of cost-burdened middle-class households of all metro areas.