Fair Market Rents: Large Changes in Many Areas


On August 5th, HUD published its preliminary Fair Market Rents (FMRs) for Fiscal Year 2014.  By law, HUD is required to publish final FMRs annually by October 1, and circulates a preliminary list in advance with a period for public comment.   The primary use of FMRs is to set limits on subsidies in HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Program, but FMRs figure into other housing programs in various ways, and are often used as a general measure of housing costs.

On average across all metropolitan areas and non-metropolitan counties, FMRs increased by less than one percent in 2014.   But individually there were some large swings in both directions.  FMRs declined by more than 5 percent in sixty-seven metropolitan areas.  Some, but not all of the larger declines occurred in small metro areas.   The metro areas with a population of at least 100,000 and FMR declines of 10 percent or more are shown below.

FMR declines

In terms of number of residents, Santa Barbara is the largest metro on the list, with a population of a little over 400,000 and a decline in FMRs of nearly 11 percent.  The largest metro area showing a decline of at least 5 percent was also in California—Fresno, with a population of 930,000 and an FMR decline of 5.81%.

For anyone who wishes to comment on any of these or other FMRs, comments are due by September 4 and can be submitted online at regulations.gov.  As usual, NAHB will submit its own comment letter on the proposed FMRs.

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