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Texas Losing its Housing Affordability Advantage

Trends pre-dating Covid-19 showed housing affordability slipping away from many residents in Texas. The pandemic will likely only exacerbate the trend, according to this analysis.
April 15, 2020, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Houston, Texas
Jez Campbell

William Fulton writes about an ongoing shift in the housing market, dating back previous to the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, that threatens to end one of the economic advantages of Texas—housing affordability. 

Texas has a reputation as an affordable place to live — largely because the cost of housing is much less than on the coasts. But the truth of the matter is that housing in Texas is gradually becoming less affordable — especially in the large metropolitan areas where virtually all of the population and economic growth is taking place. And that trend could prove to be a brake on Texas’ economic growth down the road.

The team at the Kinder Institute pulled data from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University's State of the Nation’s Housing 2019 report to inform analysis of the housing market in Houston, producing a few big take-aways, with more detail in the source article:

  • The state’s housing problem is concentrated in the Triangle
  • The rate of homeownership in large Texas metros lags behind the nation
  • The ratio of home price to income is rising in Texas
  • Renters are cost-burdened and their options are dwindling

While the analysis looked at the pre-Covid housing market in Texas, some experts are predicting that the housing market will be out of reach for more Americans due to high unemployment, further reducing access to affordability in cities all over the country. Fulton predicts that similar trends in Texas will likely hasten the trends identified in the report.

Fulton also notes that the solution to Texas' housing affordability concerns vary depending on political affiliation. "For conservatives, the most important policy issue has been property taxes," according to Fulton, while liberals call for "significant government interventions similar to those used in the 'blue' states and metros on the coasts."

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 in Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research: The Urban Edge
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