2021 American Housing Survey Finds Significant Cost Increases for Renters

Date Published: 
October 7th, 2022

HUD and the Census Bureau recently announced the 2021 American Housing Survey (AHS) results. The AHS, produced every two years, is the most comprehensive analysis of the nation’s housing inventory and covers a variety of important housing topics, including the composition and quality of the nation's housing stock; rents, mortgages and other housing costs; and neighborhood conditions. The newly released 2021 survey is the first publication since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and shares insights on rising housing costs.

Since the survey was last conducted in 2019, HUD reports that homeowners saw sharp increases in home values and were able to borrow at low interest rates. Renters, in contrast, experienced significant cost increases, such that the median renter now pays nearly the same as the median owner in total housing costs; however, owners have many more square feet per person, 800 square feet compared to 500 for renters.

Other interesting insights found in the survey included: 

  • Median housing costs for renters rose more than owners; the median renter now pays nearly the same as the median owner for total housing costs. Between 2019 and 2021, national median monthly total housing costs increased from $1,137 to $1,200 for owners, 5.5 percent over two years, and from $1,071 to $1,184 for renters (excluding renters with no cash rent), 10.6 percent over two years. 
  • Inability to pay rent payments was similar in 2021 to pre-pandemic times; mortgage payments were better. The data show that in 2021, relative to 2017, renters’ inabilities’ to pay rent were similar, about 7 percent. 2021 renters were likely helped due to the CARES Act and other interventions, including federal unemployment insurance benefits and foreclosure and eviction moratoriums. 
  • Pet ownership rose modestly from 2017 to 2021; Approximately 63.8 million households in the U.S. owned at least one pet in 2021, a 7 percent increase from 2017. 
Resource type(s): 

Sorry, this content is only available to members.

If you're a member of CLPHA, please click here to log in.

If you have not created your CLPHA.org account, it’s easy to create one. Click here for step-by-step instructions.

You can also click here to watch a webinar site tour that shows CLPHA members how to create website accounts for themselves and provides an overview of the site's functionality.

Otherwise, we invite you to learn more about the many benefits of CLPHA membership.