The Rent is Getting too Damn High in Bristol

267 Main St. Photo (c) Vision Appraisal

Renters currently comprise the highest percentage of households at any time in the past 50 years. With that rate still rising, reflecting increasing demand, rent prices keep increasing commensurately.

This occurs as wages have remained largely stagnant, making rent harder to afford. More than 11 million Americans pay more than half their income to rent.

Nearly half of all renter households — almost 21 million — were considered cost-burdened in 2016, according to a new report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. That means they pay more than 30% of their income to cover their housing, which includes utilities.

Some renters are in an even tighter jam: 25% of renter households pay more than half of their income for housing.

The average rent for an apartment in Bristol is $1,009.

Studio apartments in Bristol rent for $750 a month, while 1-bedroom apartments ask on average $862 a month; the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is $1,086.

The average size for a Bristol apartment is 828 square feet, but this number varies greatly depending on apartment type. A studio averages 500 sq. ft., while a one-bedroom apartment offers a more generous square footage: 731. 2-bedroom apartments in Bristol have an average size of 896 sq. ft.

Unlike some cities, Bristol isn’t mainly white-or blue-collar. Instead, the most prevalent occupations for people in Bristol are a mix of both white- and blue-collar jobs. Overall, Bristol is a city of sales and office workers, professionals, and service providers.

There are especially a lot of people living in Bristol who work in office and administrative support (13.94%), sales jobs (11.03%), and management occupations (7.64%).

Losing such a big chunk of your paycheck to housing can have a long-term impact on savings and force tough spending decisions. It can also worsen inequality among renters, the report found.

“It can mean trade offs for other areas of your budget, like food, health care expenditures or transportation,” noted Jonathan Spader, a senior research associate at JCHS. The amount of money the lowest-income renters had left to spend after paying their housing dropped 18% from 2001 to 2016.

Across most income brackets, many millions of Americans are at the edge of a personal financial crisis thanks to their crushing rent payments. When a massive chunk of a person’s pay–a third, half, even more–goes to simply providing shelter, they often struggle to adequately feed and clothe themselves and their families.

The improving economy and rising wages have helped ease the cash crunch for some renters. But the influx of more high-income renters has also played role in the reduction.

Affluent renters have driven almost 30% of renter growth in the past decade. In 2016, more than 18% of renter households earned at least $100,000 — up from 12% in 2006.

This shift, along with high building and land costs, has caused developers to focus on bringing more high-end units to market, which pushed up the median asking price for new apartments 27% between 2011 and 2016.

That’s left lower-income renters in a bind since the supply of affordable rentals for low- and moderate-income households has not kept up with demand.

“We’ve seen fewer and fewer rental units available at lower price points,” explained Spader. “There are two primary challenges, one is to expand the availability of rental assistance and the other is to find ways to increase the construction of new rental units that are made available at lower price points.”

The lower your income, the more likely you are to feel squeezed by your rent.

Middle and low-income renters are the most likely to pay a disproportionate share of their income to cover rent, according to the study. Over the past 15 years, more than half of the growth in cost-burdened renters has been among those earnings less than $30,000.

“As you move up the income spectrum the level of cost burden decreases,” said Spader. “But the other trend that comes out is that the cost burden is the most severe at the lowest income levels.”

recent study by found that the often-proposed “solution” of renting is not much of a panacea. Rents as a percentage of income, according to Zillow, are now at a historic high of 29.1%, compared with the 25.8% rate that prevailed from 1985 to 2000.

What emerges from the Hunt study, and other research, is a renting population that may never achieve homeownership.

The implications of high rent, and declining home ownership, could be profound over time. In survey after survey, a clear majority of millennials — roughly 80%, including the vast majority of renters — express interest in acquiring a home of their own.

According to the June rent report from the website Apartment List, the pace of rent growth was fairly flat in 2016. But that’s changed over the past five months, with rates increasing nationally at a clip of 0.5% to 0.7% each month in early 2017.

The site’s researchers also noted that further increases in rent are likely.

CCN Money contributed to this article.


The Central Connecticut Roundup is a popular local magazine covering central Connecticut news, Statewide news, National news, local events, commentary, and more.


The Roundup currently has over 5,700 subscriptions and a local social media following of over 95,000 readers across multiple social media sites, apps, pages, and groups.


The Roundup is also a proud member of WordPress. This affiliation offers readers more news from FOX 61 and CBS Connecticut on The Roundup.

Latest Stories From Roundup Partner : FOX 61

UConn’s first paraplegic nursing student inspires students and faculty

UConn’s first paraplegic nursing student inspires students and faculty

STAMFORD — When I met Lindsey Runkel, I asked her to walk me through her injury, and what happened to her just over four years ago. “Well I can’t walk, so I’ll roll you through,” Runkel laughed. “Please air that!” An infectious laugh, and an even more contagious positive attitude, just some of the things that you will notice right away when you meet this 28 year old. “In late 2014, I was in a mountain biking accident,” said Runkel. […]

Hartford Charity Event in Honor of Nipsey Hussle

Hartford Charity Event in Honor of  Nipsey Hussle

HARTFORD — Local rappers inspired by community activist and LA-rapper Nipsey Hussle hosted a food and clothing drive in front of the rapper’s mural at Heaven Skate Park on Sunday. “He was about love, self-empowerment and unity and that’s something everyone can relate to and that’s something the whole state of Connecticut needs more of,” said organizer Los Fidel . “Show that we can make a change in the community, bring people together and show that there’s hope in the […]

Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, to run for political office

Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, to run for political office

Sybrina Fulton, an African-American mother who became a social justice activist after the 2012 fatal shooting of her son, Trayvon Martin, is running for political office in Florida. Fulton will formally announce her candidacy Monday for a seat for the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners, her campaign manager, Willis Howard, said Sunday. “My time as a public servant began 30 years ago at Miami-Dade County. Since 2012, I have advocated tirelessly to empower our communities and make them safer,” Fulton […]

Brooks Koepka clinches fourth major at PGA Championship

Brooks Koepka clinches fourth major at PGA Championship

FARMINGDALE, NY —  The coronation had more spice than he would have liked, but Brooks Koepka held his nerve to seal back-to-back PGA Championship titles to confirm his status as a once-in-a-generation player. The 29-year-old refocused after a serious wobble to triumph by two shots from the fast-finishing Dustin Johnson to become only the fourth player to score four major titles in the span of eight starts after Ben Hogan, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. The muscled Floridan is the […]


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.