At the metro level, the picture is more varied, with rent growth outpacing income growth in many metros.In the metros that fall above the dotted line, income has grown faster than rents; below the dotted line, the opposite is true.
Nationwide, the growth in renter incomes has outpaced rent growth for the past few years, causing a decrease in the share of cost burdened renters.
Additionally, with nearly half of renters spending a third of their income on rent, and a quarter of renters spending half of their income on rent, rental affordability remains an important concern.
Cost-burden rates are driven by both changes in rent and changes in income, leading renters in some pricey cities, such as San Francisco and Austin, to fare better than renters in struggling metros, such as Chattanooga and Hartford.
Although this rapid increase in renter income and a decrease in the share of cost-burdened renters appears to be good news for low-income renters, this overall trend appears to be driven by an increase in high-income renters, rather than an increase in income for low-income renters.
From 2005 to 2016, the share of renter households earning over 120 percent of the area median income (AMI) increased by 4.1 percentage points, while the share earning under 80 percent of the AMI fell by a similar amount.