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Every generation of Seattle renters is highly rent-burdened, report says

Boomers, Xers, and millennials alike


41 percent of Seattle-area millennials spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent, according 2015 U.S. Census data and a new report by apartment-listing site Abodo—the accepted standard of affordability.

It’s a high burden for the metro’s highest renter population. More than half of millennials rent, at 52.8 percent.

But that high rental burden extends to the generations before them. Only 33.2 of Seattle-area members of Generation X rent, but out of those that do, around the same number of them—41.4 percent—spend more than 30 percent on their rent.

Baby boomers have the highest rate of homeownership out of the three, with 75.3 percent owning their own home. But out of those that rent, they also have the highest rate of rent burden, at 49.3 percent.

It speaks to a large income gap between boomers who own and boomers who rent. Homeowning boomer households have double the typical annual income than renter boomer households: $81,000 and $41,000, respectively.

This speaks to a general gap between homeowners and renters in the metro, although both have a high cost burden: The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) found that based on that 2015 data, 45.4 percent of renters in the metro have cost burdens—with 22.7 percent severely cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than half their income on rent.

That’s compared to 25.4 percent of homeowners with a cost burden.

That same data from HCHS found that median owner income in the metro is $96,400, compared to $50,000 for renters.