Housing Affordability for Renters Index: Local Perspective and Migration

Research Report

Housing Affordability for Renters Index: Local Perspective and Migration

February 26, 2019


This report updates a new measure of homeownership affordability introduced in March, 2018: The Housing Affordability for Renters Index or HARI. The HARI improves upon other affordability measures by focusing exclusively on renters’ ability to buy homes. Renters are unique because first time homebuyers come from this population and they have lower incomes than homeowners. Moreover, unlike other indexes which focus on the average income, HARI evaluates the whole distribution of renter incomes in an area.

The report uses 2017 data and reports on 100 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA), presenting both a local area index that compares renters’ incomes to those of recent borrowers in the same MSA and a national index that compares renters nationwide with recent borrowers in a specific MSA.

This updated report also includes an in-depth analysis of five MSAs using Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs). In each PUMA, we present a local index and a migration index, assuming MSA-wide renters would purchase a house in a specific PUMA.


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