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Housing and Transportation Costs Have Exceeded Income Growth

26 October 2012
Center for Housing Policy and The Center for Neighborhood Technology

By 2010, the average cost of housing and transportation accounted for 48% of the median household’s income according to a new report. On October 18, 2012, The Center for Housing Policy and the Center for Neighborhood Technology released Losing Ground: The Struggle of Moderate-Income Households to Afford the Rising Costs of Housing and Transportation. This is a follow up to their 2006 report: A Heavy Load: The Combined Housing and Transportation Burdens of Working Families.

This new report looks at the change in transportation and housing costs and income for moderate income households in the 25 largest metro areas over the past decade. Unfortunately, while incomes have increased by 25%, housing and transportation costs have increased even more, by 44% during the same time. This disproportionate rise in costs is leaving less for households to spend on other necessities such as food, education and health care.

Main points from the report:

  • Households earning 50% to 100% of the median income of their metropolitan area spent 59% of their household income on housing and transportation cost.
  • Moderate income homeowners with a mortgage have an average transportation and housing cost of almost 72% of household income compared to the 55% faced by moderate income renters.
  • Despite the lower housing and transportation costs faced by renters when compared to homeowners, many renters are still having difficulty meeting basic needs.
  • Transportation costs still have the ability to affect the affordability of metro areas. Many metro areas were affordable when just assessing housing costs but became much less affordable once transportation costs were accounted for.
  • Municipalities can embark on a number of actions such as creating policies to reduce the cost of creating housing near transit to reduce the burden on households

Read the full report here