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New study states Houston not as affordable as it seems

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by da1, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. da1

    da1 Member

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    A new study finds more Houstonians are spending a higher percentage of their incomes on housing.

    By Nancy Sarnoff

    11:31 AM

    More Houstonians are spending a higher percentage of their incomes on housing, a new study from Rice University's Shell Center for Sustainability shows.

    The report's key finding revealed that half of Houston's City Council districts do not meet the conventional definition of affordable, which stipulates that the average household not spend more than 30 percent of its income to cover rent or mortgage expenses.

    "Our incomes aren't high enough commensurate with affordable housing," said Lester King, a Shell Center fellow and author of the report, "Sustainable Development of Houston Districts: The Health of the City."

    "It may involve looking at the mix of jobs being available in the city," he added. "It may involve increases in income relative to increases in the cost of living over time. It may involve also the change in demographics."

    Adding transportation costs makes Houston seem less affordable to even more people.

    The average Houstonian spends 30 percent on housing costs and 16 percent on transportation costs, the report shows. The combination of housing and transportation costs, 46 percent, puts Houston at No. 26 in the nation for affordability among the 50 largest cities, King said.

    "That's something to watch," King said.

    Philadelphia was the most affordable city based on those criteria, with 33 percent of household incomes going to housing and transit. New York ranked 4th with 37 percent and Chicago was 14th with 42 percent.

    Since housing prices in Houston are already relatively low, King said policies aimed at reducing transportation costs would help make it a truly affordable city.

    Only about 5 percent of Houstonians use public transit.

    Aside from major efforts to improve connectivity in the road network, King cited programs like jitney systems and other shuttle programs that may "help increase transit usage and make living close to your job more attractive."

    District F lagging

    The study released Monday addressed other social, economic and environmental indicators of sustainable development, which King said is defined as "meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability for future generations to meet their own needs."

    In addition to housing affordability, the study examined flooding, unemployment and disparity in graduation rates.

    The information was based on the 2010 Census, other national and state data and input from city government officials, academic institutions and nonprofits.

    The report found that the percentage of housing units in Houston where residents spent more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing increased almost 50 percent in 2010 from 1990 and 2000 levels.

    It found that residents of District F, which includes the Alief, Eldridge/West Oaks and Westchase neighborhoods, spent an average of 33.6 percent of their income on housing. That was the highest of the city's 11 council districts.

    Other districts with higher levels of people putting more of their income toward housing were on the northeast side of town, as well as parts of south and southwest Houston.

    The report notes a significant income disparity between District F and District E, which overall spent less than 30 percent of income on housing.

    District F's median income of $39,766 was less than 60 percent of the median income in District E, which includes Clear Lake and the Edgebrook communities.

    "This difference may explain why a higher percentage of households in District F are finding housing costs more unaffordable," the report states.

    In addition to calling for further discussion by citizens and policymakers of the issues raised by the report, King also noted that Houston is wealthy enough to meet its challenges.

    "This is good news, since a wealthy city has the necessary resources to become more sustainable," King said in an accompanying news release. "The problem in Houston is not one of scarce funds; it is a problem of making the right choices among competing interests."

    http://www.houstonchronicle.com/bus...rdability-thy-name-is-not-Houston-4837796.php
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    New York is the 4th most affordable city according to this study.

    Are they assuming we buy new cars every year?
     
  3. SwoLy-D

    SwoLy-D Contributing Member

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    I lived in Katy. Should I evacuate? :confused:
     
  4. sammy

    sammy Contributing Member

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    I carpool on most days.

    Each day I don't drive saves me around $20 in gas and tolls.
     
  5. BamBam

    BamBam Contributing Member

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    Thanks Obama!.....:mad:....:p
    .......
    .......
    .......
     
  6. Benchwarmer

    Benchwarmer Member

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    New York is way more expensive, but this is offset by the higher salary for the average worker.

    It doesn't matter how affordable housing, gas, and food are, if most people get paid low wages, it eats up a big share of their paycheck.
     
  7. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    Income might not have risen with home pricing; but a spread out metropolitan area with extensive highway infrastructure means people can commute in from some fairly reasonably priced areas. All kinds of housing in East Harris and surrounding counties for less than $100k, not sure if that's the case in many comparably sized cities.
     
  8. da1

    da1 Member

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    And pay a high proportion of income on that commuting
     
  9. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    Higher salary out of necessity; but how competitive is that job market? How many people are you competing with for professional roles, and how many of them came from top universities compared to other parts of the country?
     
  10. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    still cheaper than building a rail network
     
  11. TheRealist137

    TheRealist137 Member

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    If I can use this to leverage a higher salary at my next job if its in Houston then so be it. I should get paid more in Houston than I should in NYC. :grin:
     
  12. ima_drummer2k

    ima_drummer2k Contributing Member

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    I'm officially done with Metro as of this week. Tired of paying 7.50/day and having an almost 2 hour commute home via bus when I can drive and be home in less than an hour.
     
  13. da1

    da1 Member

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    Not really. You'd rather gouge people on commuting expenses than subsidize a network that helps everyone and saves them money on daily commute? Doesn't sound like REASON and LOGIC. Please use CRITICAL THINKING.
     
  14. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    but buses are cheaper and go the same place as rail would

    save that $$ and invest it responsibly
     
  15. Air Langhi

    Air Langhi Contributing Member

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    Buses suck. I rode a bus a few weeks ago, and it was stuck in traffic just like a car. So I don't save anytime plus I am going to be stuck in traffic. Why would I want to ride a bus?
     
  16. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    park and ride buses use the HOV lane
     
  17. BE4RD

    BE4RD Member

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    Not everybody is able to use the P&R. In fact, the vast majority of Houston commuters cannot. When I lived downtown, I worked on the west side. I took the 82/53 bus down Westheimer. It took a little over an hour in the morning, and a little over 90 minutes coming back in the evening, often times approaching 2 hours. That just seems silly and unacceptable to me that, in a major metropolitan city, it took me that long to go 12 miles using the transit system.
     
  18. LonghornFan

    LonghornFan Contributing Member

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    Yeah, but those HOV lanes have accidents too. I saw the HOV from Downtown going West at a standstill last week while I cruised on by on 1-10 at 60mph. That had to suck.
     
  19. TMac'n

    TMac'n Contributing Member

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    (1) There are portions of the ride that don't have HOV lanes. i.e. I-10 between Downtown & 610. Traffic gets congested here

    (2) P&R buses only go to maybe 2 destinations: Downtown & maybe Greenway. Extremely limited.

    (3) The HOV can get jammed on certain days for freeways where there is a single lane HOV (i.e. 290, I-45). This causes long delays for busses AND car poolers

    (4) Normal buses are still clogging up traffic

    P&R busses are not the long-term solution
     
  20. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    I've long advocated that with unlimited funding, we'd have a world class subway, bullet trains to all suburbs and magic carpet rides for anybody else needing transport.

    The bottom line is that Houston is a spread-out city and it's not economic to build extensive rail in a city that was designed around the car.
     

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