SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A new housing study of the entire Springfield area shows renters now exceed homeowners.

It also said first-time home buyers have difficulty finding an affordable home.

OzarksFirst spoke to a nonprofit and a local real estate agent who say there is a lack of affordable homes that are also safe.

The study, conducted by APD Urban Planning and Management found that only 42% of households in Springfield are homeowners.

“There is definitely a shortage of homes and it’s a lot easier for people to just rent instead of going out there and trying to get the loans they want, they need, to buy this home that they want,” said real estate agent Ana Lovin.

Theresa Oglesby, the director of compliance and programs at The Kitchen Inc., says this will make the housing crisis even greater.

“If there are more people looking to rent than what’s actually available, landlords are going to be able to raise rents because the market is going to sustain it,” Oglesby said.

The study also pointed out that Springfield has the highest poverty rates compared to its peer cities in Missouri.

“We’re in a really hard time right now with interest rates and prices of homes,” Lovin said. “And so I could see how people are having a hard time finding what they’re looking for when they’re ready to buy.”

Lovin said on top of a lack of housing, she’s seen more investors buy properties.

“It leaves the public and people who really have been saving to buy a home with zero possibilities,” Lovin said.

“It just takes one emergency, one unplanned expense, and they’re homeless and then there’s not housing they can go into that’s affordable,” Oglesby said. “We need to really be conscious of that and make sure we’re working together as a community to find solutions.”