HOUSTON - A deep drill by the Kinder Institute into the availability and affordability of Houston-area housing has revealed a market that's deeply and increasingly problematic for folks with low to moderate-income.
"Homeownership is really becoming out of reach for renters," said Luis Guajardo of the Kinder Institute.
Guajardo reports the scarcity and the rapidly rising cost of single-family homes in Harris County has pushed buying a house well beyond the range of households earning even a median income.
"That gap has grown exponentially. It has tripled since 2010," said Guajardo.
The research revealed a huge and potentially permanent class locked into paying rents that are steadily rising.
The Kinder data found 51 percent of Harris County families devote nearly a third of their income solely to housing with one in four spending half of what they bring in for monthly rent And then there's this troubling fact:
"Harris County is a national leader in evictions," said Guajardo.
According to the research, one out of eleven rental households in Harris County received an eviction notice in 2019 before the pandemic.
Advocates say the area's chronic shortage of affordable housing is getting worse, not better, exacerbated by gentrification and the deterioration of complexes constructed in the 1970s and 1980s.
"We are suffering from this continuous environment deterioration," said Carolyn Rivera of West Street Recovery
"There's quite a squeeze on the market. We are actually the second least affordable city behind Las Vegas for very low-income people," said Zoe Middleton of the advocacy group Texas Housers.
"The real estate sector can't solve the affordable housing process. They don't want to solve the affordable housing crisis," added Ben Hirsch also of West Street Recovery
The Kinder research also found that renters make up 60 percent of Houston's population with the ongoing housing squeeze hitting immigrants the hardest.