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Rental Housing Squeeze Tightens Across Greater MN

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 By John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN, Contact
August 31, 2011

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The number of people now renting in Minnesota continues to rise, right along with their monthly housing costs.

Pressure on the rental market comes as the number of home owners in the state has fallen by 20,000 during the past five years, says Chip Halbach, executive director of the Minnesota Housing Partnership.

"With all of the foreclosures and also just the general state of the economy, it's been much harder for people to be in home ownership, and therefore there's a lot more demand for rental."

On top of the economic issues, when adjusted for inflation, rents have risen in 80 of Minnesota's 87 counties in the past decade, Halbach says. During the same time period, the income of the average renter dropped by 17 percent.

"In the state, nearly one in seven households are paying over half of their income for basic housing and the associated utilities, which of course means that you're restricted in covering other basic living costs like food, health care, transportation."

Affordable rental housing is also vital in rural Minnesota, Halbach says, because most of the counties that have the highest percentages of renters are outside the Twin Cities.

"If you look at the top 10 counties for renters, in terms of a percent basis, eight of those 10 are in greater Minnesota."

As of 2010, Halbach says, 27 percent of Minnesota households were living in rental housing, up significantly from mid-decade.

More data is online at mhponline.org.

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