For some, this means the cost of buying a home or renting an apartment is becoming less and less affordable. For others it means the threat of eviction. On both ends of the spectrum, it signals that affordable housing is no longer so affordable.
Tim Surratt is a real estate agent with 30 years of experience. Its buyers can afford to buy homes, but they either spend more or buy fewer homes in the high-demand, low-supply market.
“[It’s happening in]every single price point,” Surrat said. “Affordability is getting harder and harder to find anything under $300,000. You always have to go further. There is still affordable housing. You may have to go a little further or have a smaller house than you thought.”
That’s what researchers at the Children’s Institute for Urban Research at Rice University found. Last year you published no fewer than three studies on affordable housing. Surrat sees Houston’s housing development as a tale of two cities.
“Housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable for many people,” said Bill Fulton, director of Urban Research. “There are people who want to buy and people who just come by and need to rent.”
Fulton said the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly exacerbated the problem, but affordable housing has been a problem before.
“So much rental housing was being eliminated during Harvey that there was a lot more competition and people started paying more for rental housing than they could afford,” Fulton said.
That is Joetta Stevenson’s experience. She lives in Fifth Ward and is part of a group of Houston residents who call their coalition Fair Housing and Neighborhood Rights.
“If you were already in trouble during Harvey, you kept getting hit and you never got any relief from the original hit,” Stevenson said.
Ruth Randle is also a member of the FHRN. She lives on $800 a month. Randle is 68 and has taken a part-time job to pay her bills and is still barely making ends meet.
“I’m getting another job, and I still have to pay taxes on what little money[I’ve made],” Randle said. “I owe the government money (that I earned).”
It’s a losing proposition for so many and that’s if they can find a place to stay. The Houston Housing Authority has various waiting lists of between 8,000 and 20,000 people, all looking for help finding and keeping affordable housing. CEO is David Northern.
“The stress is incredible,” Northern told ABC13. “After the pandemic, many families have low incomes and rents are rising. Total. At the moment there are not many landlords willing to rent affordable housing to people in this situation. We are continuously working on it. We need to work with our local elected representatives. You need to make sure communities understand that people need affordable housing.”
Julia Orduna is with Texas Housers, a nonprofit advocacy focused on low-income housing. She says there are only 19 affordable homes for every 100 families in the lowest income bracket.
“Affordability has always been an issue and Houston in particular,” said Orduna. “It’s going to have a domino effect because we’re not targeting and serving those most in need. We actually price them out, and then people who have units get priced out because the people below them can only afford things that aren’t affordable to them. “
Conclusion: There is not enough affordable housing in Southeast Texas. Whether you are looking to buy a home, rent a home, or afford a safe, clean place to live, there is no immediate solution. A problem that has been evolving for a long time and is being exacerbated by disasters and a pandemic. The hope is that market conditions will change and politics will act.
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https://abc13.com/houston-texas-real-estate/11786323/ Texas real estate: Housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable in Houston, researchers say