Radio Iowa (CFED)
By: Matt Kelley
July 4, 2014
A report from a national non-profit group finds a large percentage of Iowans are spending a sizeable portion of their incomes on housing, but overall, Iowa ranks very favorably compared to the rest of the country.
Kasey Wiedrich, senior research manager at the Corporation for Enterprise Development, says this part of the study focused on people who rent their living quarters.
Wiedrich says, "In Iowa, it is about 45% of renters are spending more than 30% of their income and that 30% is really the threshold set by the housing industry to look at what constitutes unaffordable."
While affordable housing can be key to helping working families gain and keep financial stability, for many Iowans, the combined costs of rent and utilities are taking more than their share of the monthly budget.
"Really, the rule of thumb is that you should be spending less than 30% on your housing costs," Wiedrich says. "When you spend more on your housing costs, that means you have less money for other things and to save so if something would happen, you have a cushion to rely on."
She says 45% of Iowa's renters are considered "housing cost-burdened."
"While that actually does seem pretty high, compared to other states, Iowa is actually doing pretty well," Wiedrich says. "Nationally, it's over half, so it's 52% of renters are spending more than 30% of their income on housing, and Iowa ranks 6th compared to the other states, so it's the 6th best."
For homeowners in the state, the rate is significantly lower, with about 22% of Iowans considered housing cost-burdened.