EL PASO, Texas -- Nearly one in every two renters in El Paso is cost-burdened by their rent payments, according to a new study published in the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.
Cost-burdened renters are those who are paying more than 30 percent of their monthly income for rent. Slightly more than 23 percent of renters in El Paso are severely cost-burdened, meaning they pay more than half of their monthly income to rent.
Those numbers are even higher in Las Cruces, where more than 58% of renters are cost-burdened and just under 28 percent of renters are severely cost-burdened.
"When you have a large percentage of the population that is paying more than 30 percent in rent, that implies that those households are going to struggle to make the transition from renters to homeowners," said Tom Fullerton, an economics professor at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Fullerton said those who are severely cost-burdened will struggle saving money.
Fullerton also said the numbers don't surprise him, but pointed to the fact that many larger cities with higher income profiles are seeing similar statistics of renters being cost-burdened.
"So many communities throughout the country that have much higher income profiles than El Paso and Las Cruces, and yet they face almost identical percentages in terms of the overall number of people who face severe renting costs, and are struggling to make it from paycheck to paycheck," he said.
Fullerton warned the numbers might not paint a full picture and pointed to the fact that Las Cruces has a high number of student renters as a potential reason the numbers of cost-burdened renters are higher in that area.
To view the cost-burdened percentages across the country, you can view the study here.