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.

Real Estate Transfers For Nov. 29-Dec. 5

Barge Design Solutions Donates To ACE Mentor Program

Geoff Ramsey: Checklist For Getting Your House Guest-Ready


NOTICE: The Hamilton County Register’s Office did not publish this data. All information in the Register’s Office is public information as set out in T.C.A. 10-7-503. For questions regarding ... (click for more)

Barge Design Solutions, Inc., has made a $3,000 donation through its Community Fund to ACE Mentor Program of Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia to help fund college scholarships. The ACE ... (click for more)

It feels great to have a clean, organized, well-functioning home when you’ve got guests coming. Especially around the holidays. It’s like your gift to you. Use this checklist from National Association ... (click for more)


Real Estate

Real Estate Transfers For Nov. 29-Dec. 5

NOTICE: The Hamilton County Register’s Office did not publish this data. All information in the Register’s Office is public information as set out in T.C.A. 10-7-503. For questions regarding this report, please call Chattanoogan.com at 423 266-2325. GI numbers, listed when street addresses are not available, refer to the location of transactions (book number and page number) in ... (click for more)

Barge Design Solutions Donates To ACE Mentor Program

Barge Design Solutions, Inc., has made a $3,000 donation through its Community Fund to ACE Mentor Program of Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia to help fund college scholarships. The ACE (Architecture, Construction, and Engineering) Mentor Program engages, inspires, and enlightens high school students to pursue careers in design and construction industries by pairing local ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Earthquakes Hit Tennessee Valley Early Wednesday Morning

Two earthquakes happened early Wednesday morning in the area. The earthquakes registered at 4.4 and 3.3 magnitudes at 4:27 a.m. Some people felt them in North Chattanooga and Ooltewah. They were also felt in Atlanta. The epicenters were at Spring City and Ten Mile. (click for more)

Henderson, Mitchell Ask Council To Consider Language On Preserving Steep Slopes And Floodplains

City Council members Chip Henderson and Jerry Mitchell said they want the council to consider language on preserving steep slopes and floodplains. They said they want to go further than Councilman Darrin Ledford, who is proposing new curbs on erosion control and reducing stormwater runoff. Councilman Ledford on Tuesday presented a proposed new ordinance that adds a section ... (click for more)

Opinion

Alstom And Tubman: A Tale Of Two Sites

The former Alstom industrial site on the riverfront and the former Harriett Tubman housing site in East Chattanooga both have a lot of redevelopment potential. And yet the city of Chattanooga seems to view them quite differently. Alstom is the fair-haired child; Tubman is the forgotten child. The Alstom area was recently designated as an "opportunity zone" in a new program ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We're Torturing Millions

I’ll admit it – I would rather hurt than take an opioid pain pill. Hydrocodone and its cousins scare the willies out of me because once when I was ‘drug sick,’ it was the worst sickness I have ever known. For somebody who always has somewhere that it hurts, I know that opioids are wonderful when used properly but because they are increasingly abused by society, there are now over ... (click for more)