BOSTON (CBS) – Nearly 40 percent of all Americans are renting their homes. That’s the highest share in half a century. WBZ business reporter Jeff Brown says it’s not getting any cheaper either.

Harvard’s annual study on rental housing in America contains some pretty sobering numbers:

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jeff Brown reports

“We found there was an increase of nine million people renting since 2005, and that gain is bigger than any decade we’ve had in the country’s history,” said Chris Herbert, who led the survey by the school’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

“The increase really was widespread including many people who are in their 40’s and 50’s even who are feeling the after effects of the housing crash.”

And paying the landlord is not getting any cheaper: And that hurts because things aren’t going well at work.

“We’ve also had a period of time where we’ve seen the typical renter’s income falling,” Herbert says.

That is not an appealing recipe.

“So it’s both a combination of that increase cost of renting as well as that fall in incomes that together have combined to push record number of renters into the unaffordable category.”

Herbert says pretty much every city believes its rents are sky high, but it is true in Boston.

“Boston does stand out in that it is somewhat more expensive or difficult for people with moderate income to find housing they can afford,” Herbert says.

Even though there are more places to find, there’s a catch.

“We’re seeing a substantial increase in higher income households looking to rent and builders so far are mainly concentrating their supply on that end,” Herbert says.

But for the rest of us, good economic news doesn’t seem to be coming home with us.

“The unemployment rate has come down to 5% now, but as of yet that hasn’t translated yet into any kind of meaningful gain in household income,” Herbert says.

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