Study Says Transportation Costs Add To Housing Affordability Crunch

Monday, February 26, 2018
- photo by Center for Neighborhood Technology Housing and Transportation Index Data
More than half of the Tennessee communities where housing is currently considered affordable are actually unaffordable when transportation costs are factored in, according to new research from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA).
 
"Seven out of every 10 census tracts are considered affordable when you look at housing costs alone, but only about two out of every 10 census tracts would be considered affordable when transportation cost are included as well," said Muhammad Yadudu, research advisor and author of THDA's Transportation as a Key to Housing Affordability Issue Brief.
 
The effect is especially pronounced in rural areas of Tennessee and among low- to moderate-income households, according to the report.
 
The THDA Issue Brief explores a new definition of a "cost-burdened household" that includes monthly transportation costs in addition to monthly housing costs, as is recommended by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), a Chicago-based nonprofit focused on creating economically sustainable communities.
 
Under this model, the number of Tennessee census tracts where regionally typical households are cost burdened changes dramatically, from about 30 percent of the state to about 80 percent.
 
"A large number of areas currently deemed affordable to a regionally typical resident are not when viewed in the context of both housing and transportation expenses," Mr. Yadudu said.
 
The new standard, as proposed by CNT and used by THDA in this report, considers a household to be "cost burdened" if it spends more than 45 percent of household income toward housing and transportation costs together. By the current standard, a household is considered "cost burdened" if it spends more than 30 percent of its total income toward housing costs alone.
 
"In rural areas of Tennessee, transportation costs actually eat up a larger percentage of the household budget on average than housing costs do," said Mr. Yadudu. "Therefore, you see a large swing in rural areas when you include transportation costs."
 
The report also find that median commuting times in the state have increased by 1.2 minutes over the past six years, translating into a loss of 15 million hours of productivity a year.
 
"Transportation expenses have a big impact on low- to moderate-income families due to a greater scarcity of employment opportunities where they reside. This has important implications for housing and transportation policies that seek to improve access to affordable housing, as several traditional middle class households will be considered housing cost burdened when transportation cost is added to the determination of housing affordability," said Mr. Yadudu.
 
Further, the report notes that income in Nashville is rising more slowly (+7.5 percent from 2010 to 2015) than rent is increasing (+20 percent). As a result, "challenges to housing affordability are starting to exert pressure on the finances of traditionally middle class households. For instance, firefighters ($40,410), police officers ($47,110), office and administrative support occupations ($36,810), and medical assistants ($33,400) will not earn enough to be immune from being considered housing cost burdened," states the report.
 
The report includes descriptions of policy solutions implemented in other cities facing similar circumstances, including Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in Austin and Denver, housing and transportation agency partnerships in Atlanta, and improved "last mile" options in Atlanta and Dallas.
 
The full report can be found on the Issue Brief page in the Research & Planning section of THDA.org.


Chattanooga Broker Kathy Tucker Installed As 2019 President Of Tennessee Realtors

Kathy Tucker, managing broker of Crye-Leike Realtors in Chattanooga, was installed as 2019 president of Tennessee Realtors at its fall convention in Knoxville  on Friday . She will serve in this key role as leader of the statewide association’s 10-member executive committee.   Ms. Tucker,  CRS, GRI , is a veteran of 40 years as a R ealtor . She ... (click for more)

Riverview Home With 6,423 Square Feet Sells For $2,225,000

A house with 6,423 square feet of space in Riverview has sold for $2,225,000. The house at 1631 Hillcrest Road has four bedrooms and six baths. The sale was to John Foy Tr, Todd Phillips Tennessee Investment Services Trust from Ann Eliot Hon. A description of the home says, "This impressive Riverview home overlooking the Tennessee River is one of a handful of Neoclassical ... (click for more)

Karen Saxton, 64, Killed In Crash On Highway 58 Saturday Afternoon

One person was killed in a crash on Highway 58 on Saturday afternoon. The victim was identified as Karen Saxton, 64. Chattanooga Police responded at 5:15 p.m. to the wreck in the 5900 block of Highway 58.  Upon arrival officers located a vehicle driven by 21-year-old Allen Dickerson in the northbound lane and the Saxton vehicle in the southbound lane. Police said ... (click for more)

Juvenile Shot On East 14th Street On Friday

A juvenile was shot Friday evening on East 14th Street. The Chattanooga Police Department responded at 6:45 p.m. to a person shot in the 2000 block of East 14th Street. Upon arrival, officers located a male victim suffering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Hamilton County EMS responded to the scene and transported the victim to a local hospital. Members of the Violent ... (click for more)

Arming Teachers With Guns Will Be Too Dangerous - And Response (4)

Arming teachers with guns in the classroom, as Bill Lee proposes, would be the single most dangerous thing to happen to students in Tennessee history. Students and teachers in close proximity to loaded firearms daily? Across this state, in middle schools alone, there are probably hundreds of student/teacher conflicts a day. What if a student got hold of gun in a struggle with ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s So Sad For Me

I cannot remember a time in my life when I have been as saddened by such a travesty that has now erupted in the confirmation process that would place Brett Kavanaugh on our Supreme Court. I am sad for every single person who has been touched by this catastrophe, from 85-year-old Dianne Feinstein to Brett’s wife and two young daughters, ages 13 and 10. Not a person, in any way involved, ... (click for more)