Another national survey is out that points to the struggles people face to make a monthly housing payment.
In the past three years, more than half of adults have taken steps that include getting a second job, racking up credit card debt, cutting back on health care or not saving for retirement in order to pay their rent or mortgage, according to the nonprofit John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
The study adds to the body of knowledge demonstrating the continued sacrifices made by Americans to secure and maintain adequate living arrangements.
Despite the many reports that show some sectors of the housing market improving, the data show that it isn't improving for everyone, and particularly not for renters.
In its most recent analysis of rent trends, Zillow found that on a national level, rents increased 2.3 percent year over year in April and were up 6.5 percent in the Chicago area. But the local increases varied greatly among local municipalities and Chicago neighborhoods.
For instance, annualized rents in Chicago were up only 1.7 percent in the Brighton Park neighborhood but increased more than 17 percent in Portage Park.
The growing issue of rental affordability was also highlighted late last year by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. It found that half of U.S. renters paid more than 30 percent of their income on rent, compared with 19 percent a decade before.
A number of take-aways from the survey, conducted for MacArthur by Hart Research Associates, shows the shifting attitudes on housing that have emerged post-recession:
Consumers remain financially strapped, and there's growing recognition by the public of those facing difficulties in their own communities. Only 1 in 4 adults think the housing crisis is over. Most people surveyed think the crisis is either continuing or going to get worse, and housing challenges are acute for people who have recently entered the workforce, for families with average incomes and for those looking to live in a good school district.
Julia Stasch, MacArthur's vice president of U.S. programs, said she's encouraged by the high degree of awareness.
"In the past, there was a sense that affordability was a problem for a small group of people," she said.
Adults want federal, state and local policymakers to do more to help boost home affordability for low- and middle-income consumers, and for renters and homeowners. Those efforts, though, shouldn't just involve apartment and home programs, Stasch said.
"We will not be able to address the affordability problem solely through the housing sector," Stasch said. "You can only hold or drive down housing prices so far. The real fix has to come on the other side, the income side. Increasing the minimum wage, efforts to combat things like wage theft, are really important."
Owning a home can be, but doesn't necessarily need to be, part of the American Dream. Consumers remain conflicted on the notion of homeownership. Seven in 10 people who don't own homes said they wanted to own a home, but 6 in 10 people said homeownership isn't necessary for achieving the American Dream. "That's a very positive finding," Stasch said. "One of the things that always disturbed me was the incredible stigma that existed about renters, the notion that you didn't care about your neighborhood if you were a renter. I'm hopeful that this idea that there can be equal access to the American Dream can be sustained over time. Can you achieve that sense of community no matter whether you're a homeowner or a renter?"
In other parts of the world, she said, no stigma is associated with renting.
Baseball homes. Coldwell Banker Real Estate kicked off an online marketing effort, Home Field Advantage, with MLB.com last month that features video peeks into the homes of 13 current and former Major League Baseball players, including CC Sabathia, Johnny Damon and Steve Garvey.