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Housing Cost-Burdened

vision
status = worse

Our basic needs are met.

We live in affordable and stable housing with
access to open space and public amenities.

38% of Travis County households are cost-burdened

Indicator: Percentage of Travis County households that are "cost burdened" (pay 30% or more of income for housing)

Goal: Decrease the percentage of households that are cost-burdened

Target: 36% by 2017

Significance of Indicator: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development states that housing is “affordable” if no more than 30% of a household’s monthly income is needed for rent, mortgage payments and utilities. Households that are cost-burdened may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation, and medical care.

what the data tell us

The percentage of households in Travis County that are housing cost-burdened decreased for the second year in a row in 2012, but is still higher than pre-recession levels and is also higher than the state and the nation. In 2012, 38% of Travis County households (nearly 157,000 households) were cost-burdened.

% of households that are housing cost-burdened

graph showing percentage of households that are cost-burdened Click on graph to view a data table of this information.

Definition: % of households where monthly rent (plus utility and/or housing fuel costs) or mortgage payments (or other housing debt costs) equal 30% of more of a household’s monthly income

Data Source: American Community Survey, 1 Year Estimates

Data Considerations: The American Community Survey samples 3% of the Nation’s population. Due to small sample sizes, margins of error are increased and hard to reach populations may not be accurately represented in the data.

the story behind the indicator

The number of renter households in Travis County has been increasing over the past few years. This is a bit concerning as renter households are much more likely to be housing cost-burdened than owner households (48% for renters compared to 29% for owners). As the number of renter households has been increasing so have the occupancy rates of renter units. An apartment market analysis by Capital Market Research reports that renter occupancy hit an all time high of 98% in June of 2012. Median rental rates are also at an all time high, $905 in 2011. Additionally the average sale prices of homes in the Austin region have increased. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University reports that in 2011 the average sales price of homes in the Austin region was 27% higher than in 2002.

The City of Austin Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department reports that federal funding levels for affordable housing have fallen 40% over the past five years. In spite of this, Austin has continued to support a continuum of housing programs to increase affordability, largely thanks to general obligation bonds approved by Austin voters in 2006. That funding has now been committed or spent. A proposition for $70 million in new general obligation bond funding, was rejected by voters in 2012. City leaders are considering going to voters again in 2013 to seek renewed funding for affordable housing.

some local efforts to improve this indicator

a closer look at the story behind the indicator:

Click on one of the titles below for more information.

» % of Households that are Severely Cost Burdened

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, households spending 50% or more on housing have a severe cost burden. These working families are 23% more likely than those paying less for housing to encounter difficulties purchasing food, are 28% more likely to have either a child or an adult lack health insurance, and are almost twice as likely to not have a car says the Center for Housing Policy. Severe housing cost-burdened rates decreased for the City, the County, and the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) from 2010 to 2011. There was no change in severe housing cost-burdened rates for the State or the Nation. In 2011, 19% of Travis County households (roughly 40,000 households) were severely cost-burdened.

Definition: Percent of households where monthly rent (plus utility and/or housing fuel costs) or mortgage payments (or other housing debt costs) equal 50% of more of a household’s monthly income

Data Source: American Community Survey, 1 Year Estimates

Data Considerations: The American Community Survey samples 3% of the Nation’s population. Due to small sample sizes, margins of error are increased and hard to reach populations may not be accurately represented in the data.

» % of owners and renters that are Cost-Burdened (2012)

Renters are much more likely to be housing cost-burdened than owners. In Travis County, 49% of renters are cost-burdened compared to 28% of owners. There was no significant change in the percentage of cost-burdened renters or owners from 2011 to 2012.

Definition: Percent of households where monthly rent (plus utility and/or housing fuel costs) or mortgage payments (or other housing debt costs) equal 30% of more of a household’s monthly income

Data Source: American Community Survey, 1 Year Estimates

Data Considerations: The American Community Survey samples 3% of the Nation's population. Due to small sample sizes, margins of error are increased and hard to reach populations may not be accurately represented in the data.

» % of households that are cost-burdened in the five county metropolitan statistical area

In 2011, Hays and Travis Counties had the highest percentage of households that were cost-burdened in the region (39%). The percentage of housing cost-burdened households in Bastrop, Caldwell, and Williamson Counties ranged from 30-33%.

map showing the percentages of households that are cost-burdened in the five county metropolitan statistical area Click on graph to view a data table of this information.

Definition: Percent of households where monthly rent (plus utility and/or housing fuel costs) or mortgage payments (or other housing debt costs) equal 30% of more of a household’s monthly income

Data Source:  American Community Survey, 3-Year Estimates.

Data Considerations: The American Community Survey samples 3% of the Nation’s population. Due to small sample sizes, margins of error are increased and hard to reach populations may not be accurately represented in the data.

vulnerable populations

turning the curve

The Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, the Downtown Austin Plan, and NHCD’s FY2009-2014 Consolidated Plan recommend increasing the affordability of owner housing by providing homebuyer assistance for low to moderate income households.

Travis County's Consolidated Plan & Action Plan and NHCD’s FY2009-2014 Consolidated Plan recommend increasing the affordability of owner housing by providing homebuyer assistance for low to moderate income households.