The Housing Bust and Housing Affordability in New England The Housing Bust and Housing Affordability in New England

By Robert Clifford

This discussion paper updates analysis in the Center's 2006 Working Paper, The Lack of Affordable Housing in New England: How Big a Problem? Why Is It Growing? What Are We Doing About It? The analysis draws on housing market data through 2008 to provide an in-depth analysis of housing affordability after the recent housing market bust. The paper looks at affordability in the New England states, their largest metropolitan areas, competitor metropolitan areas, and for the nation. The results show that as New England's housing prices have declined, affordability has been returning to the pre-housing crisis levels of the early 2000s. However, declining prices nationwide continue to make owner-occupied housing in most New England states less affordable than in the nation. At the same time more of the region's households are becoming cost-burdened, particularly low- and middle-income homeowners. In contrast, New England has maintained its advantage in rental affordability relative to the nation and renters in the region are far less likely than their national counterparts to face cost burdens.

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