Here's one of the most widely misunderstood realities of rental affordability: The renters seeing the largest rent hikes are upper-income households in the most expensive rentals, and despite larger rent increases, they're least likely to miss a rent payment.

On the flip side, rent payments have fallen the most in subsidized affordable housing – where rents have grown the least, since those rents are typically set to a share of income.

So it's not all about the rent, clearly. Yes, rent growth is a big part of the equation. But its impact tends to be mischaracterized and overstated.

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