Housing affordability challenges intensified during the Great Recession and since, but those challenges have been building for several decades. Several factors contributed to the decline of affordable housing in the U.S., including stagnant wages, high unemployment, the housing boom and bust, and a shift by consumers to rental housing.

The housing market boom and bust created major affordability problems for current and potential homeowners that rippled out into the rental market and beyond. And while those in the lowest income brackets continue to be the most profoundly affected by the shortage in affordable housing, those in the middle-income brackets also are being squeezed. Affordability problems have impacts beyond the housing market – including reducing the tax base and eroding consumer spending and confidence – and can impact a company’s decision to locate in a particular area.