March 2, 2011 (Shirley Allen)
The Center for Housing Policy reports that the three county region of Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties has the nation’s biggest burden when it comes to monthly housing costs. Out of 752,041 working households, 42 percent of the residents of the region spent more than half of their income on housing 2009.

According to the Center, the region also lead the nation in 2008, when 39 percent of the homeowners devoted more than half their income to housing.

Residents in the Los Angeles area ranked second at 37 percent according to the report. Orlando, Florida, and Riverside, California, tied for third at 35 percent. The 2009 data is the most recent available.

“It’s a dubious distinction, isn’t it?” said Keith Wardrip, the author of the report and senior associate for the nonprofit research group in Washington, D.C.

California and Florida were the top two states with 33 percent each of working households spending more than half of their income on housing. That tops 2008, when the figure was at 30 percent.

The report attributes the increasing rate of burden on homeowners who were coping with high priced homes that they purchased during the housing boom, adjustable rate mortgages used to purchase those homes and a lackluster job market with high unemployment and downward pressure on wages.

“While large price declines in recent years have helped buyers afford homes, costs for many existing homeowners who bought near the peak of the housing boom have remained the same or increased while their incomes have dwindled,” Wardrip said.

Housing costs for homeowners are defined as first and second mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, utilities and any association fees. Housing costs for renters include rent and utilities.

Tags: monthly housing costs, biggest burden, homeowners, housing boom, price declines, dwindling income, mortgages, renters