Personal Housing Expenses See Biggest Jump in 8 Years


(Steve Straehley)  It continues to get more expensive to have a roof over one’s head, according to government figures.

According to a report (pdf) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of shelter increased 0.4% last month, the biggest increase since February 2007. The cost of shelter has jumped 3.1% over a year ago, its largest year-over-year increase since January 2008. Part of the increase was due to a big jump in temporary lodging (i.e., hotels), but rent and its homeowners’ equivalent went up a solid 0.3%.

Rent already takes a huge chunk out of Americans’ paychecks, with as many as half of renters paying 30% of their take-home pay for a place to live. High rents affect poorer Americans the most. Not only do they pay more for rent now, but they’re unable to save money to buy a home of their own.

Part of the reason for increased rents is a shortage of available units. Last year’s vacancy rate of 7.6% was the lowest such figure in 20 years.

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