This report, published jointly by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and PolicyMap, combines detailed, nationally representative survey data on housing quality issues with estimates of the costs of reasonable repairs to model the total costs of addressing substandard housing conditions nationwide. According to a recent survey, more than one-third of households experienced at least one housing problem, with the national cost of addressing reported deficiencies estimated at $126.9 billion in 2018. Our analysis indicates that extensive repair needs are more prevalent among low-income households, which occupy units accounting for $50.8 billion of the total, although issues were present across the income spectrum. To enhance our understanding of households with repair needs, we use unit and household characteristics to develop two typologies: one for owner-occupied units and another for renter-occupied units.

  • Technical Appendix: This appendix provides an in-depth description of the methodology used to develop the repair cost estimates.
  • Spotlight on the Philadelphia Region: This brief examines home repair needs by household and unit characteristics in the Philadelphia metro area.
  • Appendix Table 1: Specifies the home repair needs examined in the report and details the corresponding repairs.
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