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November 17, 2022

Current State of Affordable Housing in Houston: What You Need to Know

According to the 2022 Kinder Institute Houston Area Survey, the cost of living—including housing and gasoline costs— are the biggest problem facing people in the Houston. 

Rising Costs of Affordable Homes

While housing prices are also up just about everywhere, this is one economic indicator that is more local in scope. In the Houston area, a new affordability index by the Houston Association of Realtors found median sales prices have risen $80,000 in the past year. At that level, homebuyers would need to earn almost 27% more income this year than they did last year to afford the median-priced home on the market. 

This tracks with a trend the Kinder Institute has been exploring in its State of Housing reports, which demonstrate that homeownership slips further out of reach of the county’s renter population every year. Meanwhile, rents in Houston have risen 23% in the past seven years, eroding the ability to build up the savings needed to make a down payment. 

The surging demand for single-family homes and plummeting supplies have led to historic price increases in Houston and Harris County—a well-known fact for anyone who tried to buy a home here in the past year.

Types of Affordable Housing Opportunities in Houston

Rental home prices are also rising. The region is also seeing more overcrowding, which is a likely outcome of having an insufficient number of affordable rental units on the market. The county simply has far too few units available for people earning below median household incomes. Based on estimates in the My Home is Here study, Harris County needs to build almost 150,000 more units that are affordable to the lowest-earning households.

Houston Habitat for Humanity is responding by continuing its 30+ years of building affordable housing and partnering with low-income families to help them achieve homeownership. We have built more than 1,100 homes in 14 Houston neighborhoods, including the Fifth Ward and Northeast and southeast quadrants. Currently we are building homes in our Acorn Glen neighborhood, having already served multiple families through this program. 

Fulfillling Demand for Affordable Housing Community

Houston Habitat for Humanity is in the process of developing Robins Landing, a new mixed-income, master-planned community on a sprawling 127 acre tract in Northeast Houston. 

Robins Landing will provide up to 500 units of multifamily and senior housing. It will also provide 468 affordable, single family homes for low-income Houstonians. The demographics of these new homeowners is expected to be consistent with the census tract- 97% minority, including 64% Black, helping Black families achieve homeownership, and addressing racial inequity.

Learn more about Houston Habitat Homeownership programs.

Read the full 2022 Kinder Institute Houston Area Survey


Houston Housing Affordability Declines with Soaring Prices,

2022 State of Housing Report, Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research

Houston Rent Rises 23% in seven years, ABC/KTRH

My Home is Here Study, Harris County Housing Survey

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