Austin Ranks Low in Affordability

2010 Study Traces the Roots of a Disturbing Trend

A 2010 report by the publication, Business First, which was highlighted in the Austin Business Journal, paints a dismal picture for Austin.  It shows that during the period of 2006-2008, Austin ranked second to last in the State of Texas for housing affordability.

At the recent Livable City Affordability Summit, held on Sept. 7th, several speakers identified housing and transportation taken together as the main component of affordability.  The very next day I came across a woman standing in the corner of a room.  She looked at me with a straight face and told me that a friend of hers just got hit with a $200 monthly rent increase!  I have never heard of anything like that in my entire life.  As to how such a thing could even be possible, the lady replied, “Well, the landlord probably has a waiting list.  They can rent to new people moving to town who have a lot more money than our typical long term residents.”

Below is the 2010 Business First affordability chart for all of the cities in Texas that were surveyed.  Only College Station had a lower affordability rating than Austin.  In the years since the study, one can only surmise that the situation has probably gotten worse.

Business First Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau Data

www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/blog/the_score/2010/04/wny_sets_the_pace_for_affordable_housing.html?appSession=272274124143155

The study compared median home values and median household incomes, as recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2006-2008 American Community Survey. (Medians are midpoints, with half of all values or incomes in a given market being higher, and half being lower).

The smaller the ratio, the more affordable the housing.

Metro or micro area Population (2008 estimate) Median home value Mortgage affordability (home value per $1,000 of household income) Affordability rank (of 451 areas)  
Odessa, TX 131,180 $68,200 $1,454.72 1

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Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX 377,477 $83,300 $1,841.17 4

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Abilene, TX 159,059 $76,400 $1,848.94 5

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Victoria, TX 114,256 $93,200 $1,949.55 9

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Wichita Falls, TX 147,607 $83,800 $1,954.38 10

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Sherman-Denison, TX 118,786 $93,300 $2,003.56 14

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Texarkana, TX-Texarkana, AR 135,981 $84,200 $2,059.23 17

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Midland, TX 129,159 $111,100 $2,083.10 18

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San Angelo, TX 109,152 $86,500 $2,107.08 24

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Longview, TX 204,496 $94,500 $2,157.93 26

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Amarillo, TX 243,682 $101,100 $2,214.14 31

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Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX 379,569 $107,800 $2,219.80 33

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Lubbock, TX 271,582 $97,500 $2,273.42 38

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McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 721,275 $69,400 $2,274.07 39

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Corpus Christi, TX 413,206 $99,100 $2,337.26 53

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Brownsville-Harlingen, TX 389,164 $71,900 $2,381.58 66

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Waco, TX 230,849 $98,600 $2,444.10 77

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San Antonio, TX 2,030,691 $116,900 $2,450.84 78

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Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX 5,726,705 $135,800 $2,477.60 89

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Tyler, TX 201,160 $115,700 $2,534.89 104

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Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 6,301,085 $145,200 $2,578.45 109

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El Paso, TX 738,416 $97,800 $2,744.34 153

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Laredo, TX 235,937 $102,100 $2,845.28 174

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Austin-Round Rock, TX 1,654,100 $175,700 $3,030.72 223

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College Station-Bryan, TX 207,140 $124,900 $3,189.40 248

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Metro or micro area Austin-Round Rock, TX
Population (2008 estimate) 1,654,100
Housing units 636,362
Median household income $57,973
Median home value $175,700
Mortgage affordability (home value per $1,000 of household income) $3,030.72
Affordability rank (of 451 areas) 223
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