Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Housing and Transportation Affordability






H+T Affordability Index: Boston, MA--NH: Comparing Housing Costs, % Income for Renters to Housing + Transportation Costs, % Income for Renters


The Housing + Transportation Affordability Index is an innovative tool that measures the true affordability of housing based on its location.


© Copyright 2003-10 Center for Neighborhood Technology
2125 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 · Tel: (773) 278-4800 · Fax: (773) 278-3840

Above is the area surrounding Porter Square in Cambridge, MA... where I live... with the rental costs on the left, and the rental costs plus transportation on the right... all compared to national median income. It's not the best widget in the world, so you might want to click on the link if you're curious... but basically in either case, darker is worse in regards to affordability. That is, people are paying a larger percentage of their income to housing or housing/transportation.

So, when compared to the rest of the country... Porter Square is decidedly not affordable to rent an apartment in. This would surprise nobody. However, compared to other renters in the region, it's really not so bad:






H+T Affordability Index: Boston, MA--NH: Comparing Housing Costs, % Income for Renters to Housing + Transportation Costs, % Income for Renters


The Housing + Transportation Affordability Index is an innovative tool that measures the true affordability of housing based on its location.


© Copyright 2003-10 Center for Neighborhood Technology
2125 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 · Tel: (773) 278-4800 · Fax: (773) 278-3840

And of course when you factor in the low costs of transportation with living right next to a Red Line and Commuter Rail stop, it's even better.

Now, what if we were looking to move out of the city and buy a place?





H+T Affordability Index: Boston, MA--NH: Comparing Housing Costs, % Income for Owners to Housing + Transportation Costs, % Income for Owners


The Housing + Transportation Affordability Index is an innovative tool that measures the true affordability of housing based on its location.


© Copyright 2003-10 Center for Neighborhood Technology
2125 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 · Tel: (773) 278-4800 · Fax: (773) 278-3840

There are wide swaths of yellow, where people are paying less than 30% of their income on housing... but when you add in transportation costs (not to mention the mental agony of a Boston commute), all of a sudden, it's not quite so affordable anymore.

It's a fun thing to play with... you can do all sorts of comparisons... from rental costs to CO2 emissions... and it covers 330 metro areas, so chances are that yours is in it.