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Rent Putting an Even Bigger Dent in Budgets

KentWeakley/Thinkstock(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) -- Those who can, own homes. Those who can't, rent.

It's the American way of life but one that's changing and not for the better, according to a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

The Great Recession of 2007-2009 not only waylaid the housing industry but also affected the availability of apartments, researchers say.

What's happened is that people who can't afford to buy homes are also finding it difficult to rent apartments within their price range.

A century ago, one in four renters were cost-burdened -- that is, they paid more than 30 percent of their income for housing. Today, half of renters are in that position and among that group, 28 percent or 11.3 million people are severely cost-burdened, meaning at least 50 percent of their income goes towards housing.

The Americans socked the hardest are people earning $15,000 or less, who wind up spending half their salaries for a place to live.

There will be more bad news, the study says, if Congress eliminates the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, which provides incentives to build low-income housing.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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