National report: Houston metro is second-worst for providing affordable housing options

INSIGHTS :  Mar. 19, 2024 HOUSING

The Houston skyline along Highway 69 near Interstate 610.

The Houston skyline along Interstate 69 near Interstate 610. Roy Kent / Kinder Institute for Urban Research

A new national report suggests the Houston metro area is one of the worst in the country when it comes to affordable housing options for its lowest-income households.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, no state has enough affordable housing for its lowest-income renters. Texas is tied for third-worst for number of affordable homes for extremely low-income households. The report, released March 4, also indicates that Houston has the second-most severe shortage of rental homes that are affordable to extremely low-income households. The coalition used the 2022 American Community Survey to compile its data.

According to its analysis, the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area has just 15 affordable and available rental homes per 100 renter households. That means there is an 85% deficit in affordable housing options.

Only the Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada, area ranks worse in the nation, with 13 affordable and available rental homes. Claiming the No. 3 worst metro area is Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington with 17. The Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown area ranks 10th-worst with 21.

“Improvements in the economy and small declines in rent have not addressed the needs of low-income people, who continue to struggle to find affordable, decent and accessible housing,” the report states.

In Texas, the National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that there are more than 906,000 extremely low-income renter households. For every 100 households, there are just 25 affordable and available homes to rent. Of all those renter households, about 79% are severely cost burdened, meaning they are spending more than 50% of their incomes on housing and utilities.

The numbers for the Houston area are even worse.

There are just over 33,000 affordable and available places to rent for the more than 217,000 extremely low-income renters in the area. About 83% of the extremely low-income households are severely cost burdened. Austin (87%) and Dallas (86%) fare worse than Houston in this regard.

Nationally, extremely low-income renters account for 11 million of the nation’s 45.1 million renter households, according to the coalition. Of the available units for renters, only 7.1 million are considered affordable, which assumes 30% or less of a household income is spent on housing. Overall, there is a shortage of more than 3.9 million affordable rental homes for extremely low-income renters.

The Kinder Institute for Urban Research’s 2023 State of Housing in Harris County and Houston report found that from 2015 to 2021 monthly rent prices outpaced median household income increases. It was also determined that when household size, income and other essential costs are accounted for, more than 6 in 10 rental households are cost-burdened.

In the 2022 State of Housing in Harris County and Houston report, researchers found that skyrocketing prices for purchasing and renting have kept low-income renters in a cycle of being unable to attain homeownership. More than 10% of renters in Houston were unable to pay the previous month’s rent or had it deferred.

Updated Houston-area housing information will be available in the 2024 State of Housing report, scheduled for release June 20.

2024 State of Housing
Webinar: 2024 State of Housing in Harris County and Houston
Jun. 20, 2024

This webinar will focus on findings from the 2024 State of Housing in Harris County and Houston report. A panel discussion with local experts will follow. 

Key in hand
How the I-45 project will affect two affordable housing communities
FEATURES :  Jun. 18, 2019

This post is part of a series on the I-45 project, published every Monday and Wednesday throughout June.



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