HOUSING AFFORDABILITY challenges are moving up the income scale,according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

At the most recent measure in 2009, 19.4 million households paid more than half of their incomes for housing, including 9.3 million owners and 10.1 million renters. While low-income households are the most likely to have such cost burdens, other families are facing the same challenges.

“Households earning between $45,000 and $60,000 saw the biggest increase in the share, paying more than 30 percent of their incomes for housing, up 7.9 percentage points since 2001," says the Joint Center’s “The State of the Nation’s Housing” report.

Renters, who generally have lower incomes, are more than twice as likely as owners to pay more than half of their incomes for housing, but shares of both groups rose substantially between 2001 and 2009, according to the study.

The share of severely burdened owners climbed from 9.3 percent to 12.4 percent over the decade, and the share of severely burdened renters rose from 20.7 percent to 26.1 percent. The study also looks at the widening gap between the supply and demand for affordable homes.

In 1999, 8.5 million extremely lowincome renter households (with incomes less than 30 percent of area median) competed for 3.6 million units that were aff ordable and were not occupied by higher-income renters. By 2009, the situation was even worse, with 10.4 million extremely low-income renters and just 3.7 million aff ordable and available units.

“The State of the Nation’s Housing" is available at www.jchs.harvard.edu.