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
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
Hábitat para la Humanidad de Houston comprometido con viviendas asequibles para Afroamericanos, hispanos y personas de color
Familias de todo Estados Unidos se esfuerzan para poder pagar un hogar. A todos lados donde miras — ciudades, suburbios, áreas rurales — la estabilidad que un hogar debe brindar permanece fuera del alcance de muchas personas.
En Hábitat para la Humanidad de Houston, sabemos que una familia nunca debería tener que gastar más del 30 % de sus ingresos en una casa. Pero hay que tener en cuenta que incluso antes de la pandemia con el coronavirus, más de 18 millones de hogares estadounidenses pagaban la mitad o más de sus ingresos en un lugar para vivir.
De acuerdo con la Encuesta en el área Kinder de Houston en 2022, una cuarta parte de los habitantes de Houston tienen dificultades para pagar su hipoteca o alquiler. Para los afroamericanos, ese número es de alrededor del 40%. Para los hispanos es del 37 % y para los blancos es del 17 %, ambos aumentando significativamente durante el último año. Asimismo, la proporción de personas que no pudieron cubrir una emergencia de $400 fue notablemente más alta entre estos grupos que entre los blancos y los asiáticos.
Ahora, mientras los impactos económicos de la pandemia siguen causando estragos, millones de familias corren el riesgo de perder sus hogares. Esto es especialmente cierto para los afroamericanos y otras personas de color que se vieron afectados de manera desproporcionada por las consecuencias económicas de la crisis y que ahora enfrentan costos de vivienda menos asequibles en condiciones inseguras. Esto es inaceptabl
La brecha racial en la propiedad de la vivienda
Existe un patrón histórico bien documentado de discriminación racial en las políticas de vivienda y uso de la tierra, —en todos los niveles de gobierno—, y que aún afecta la composición y las oportunidades de nuestras comunidades. Los solicitantes de hipotecas hispanos y afroamericanos enfrentan tasas de interés más altas y negativas en propiedades de menor valor. Y a pesar de los desafíos en el mercado hipotecario, los residentes hispanos pronto se convertirán en la mayor parte de los compradores de vivienda en el condado. Los hispanos son grupo racial/étnico importante con una tasa creciente de propiedad de vivienda tanto en Houston como en los EE. UU. entre 2020 y 2021.
Habitat para la Humanidad de Houston sirve a una amplia gama de propietarios de viviendas. Brindamos un acceso más equitativo a financiamiento de bajo costo que puede ayudar a respaldar la creación de valor en la vivienda. Las hipotecas para todos los propietarios de viviendas de Habitat para la Humanidad de Houston, independientemente de su raza, tienen un precio asequible, con pagos mensuales que se mantienen al 30% o menos de los ingresos. Los afiliados de Habitat para la Humanidad de Houston pueden crear opciones de financiamiento únicas que satisfagan las necesidades de todos sus compradores de viviendas.
Habitat para la Humanidad de Houston brinda oportunidades de propiedad de vivienda que son accesibles para los compradores con bajos ingresos que de otra manera no podrían acceder a un hogar. Esto incluye hipotecas de bajo pago inicial que están diseñadas para funcionar incluso para propietarios de viviendas que carecen de un crédito impecable, ayudando así a aquellos compradores que no pueden obtener productos de préstamos tradicionales.
Los habitantes de Houston tienen una visión realista de estas disparidades raciales bien documentadas. Reconocemos que puede ser difícil corregir el sesgo racial en las evaluaciones para viviendas y los préstamos hipotecarios, así como la falta de oportunidades en la recuperación de desastres locales.
Aumentando la oferta y la preservación de viviendas asequibles
Casi todas las áreas de los EE. UU. se enfrentan a una escasez de viviendas seguras, decentes y asequibles, en particular viviendas disponibles para personas con ingresos modestos. Houston, como gran parte de nuestro país, ha tenido durante mucho tiempo un problema con el suministro de viviendas asequibles adecuadas.
Hay un impacto directo tanto en los inquilinos como en los propietarios de viviendas, y especialmente en los hogares afroamericanos, hispanos y aquellos con los ingresos más bajos. Aumentar la oferta general y la accesibilidad de viviendas asequibles es esencial para aumentar la seguridad de la vivienda y garantizar una recuperación equitativa de la pandemia de COVID-19.Invertir en la producción y preservación de viviendas asequibles y crear nuevas herramientas para la estabilidad de la vivienda son fundamentales para cerrar las brechas de propiedad de vivienda para las personas de color, evitar que crezcan las divisiones raciales y lograr la asequibilidad y la seguridad de la vivienda para todos.Habitat para la Humanidad de Houston está trabajando activamente para hacer lo siguiente:
- Ampliar la producción doméstica asequible.
- Aumentar el acceso a las viviendas existentes.
- Preservar hogares asequibles y ayudar a las personas a conservar sus hogares en tiempos de dificultad
Habitat para la Humanidad de Houston está abordando activamente la discriminación racial en la vivienda de nuestra comunidad
En Hábitat para la Humanidad de Houston, sabemos que el hogar no es solo un edificio o un inmueble; también es la comunidad en la que vives, trabajas y creces. A medida que las comunidades experimentan nuevos desarrollos e inversiones, las localidades necesitan sistemas para preservar la asequibilidad, ampliar las oportunidades de propiedad de vivienda y evitar el desplazamiento de los residentes de bajos ingresos.
Hábitat para la Humanidad aboga por políticas antirracistas de vivienda y uso de la tierra a nivel local, estatal y federal que buscan aumentar la equidad racial en la propiedad de vivienda. Más del 90% de las familias a las que Habitat para la Humanidad de Houston ha servido en su programa de propiedad de viviendas son afroamericanas e hispanas, al igual que los vecindarios en los que Habitat para la Humanidad de Houston trabaja para revitalizarlos.
Hábitat para la Humanidad de Houston está en proceso de desarrollar Robins Landing, una nueva comunidad de ingresos mixtos en el noreste de Houston. Robins Landing proporcionará 468 viviendas unifamiliares asequibles para habitantes de Houston de bajos ingresos. Se espera que la demografía de estos nuevos propietarios sea consistente con el tramo del censo: 97 % de minorías, incluido 64 % de afroamericanos, ayudar a las familias de color a lograr la propiedad de vivienda y abordar la inequidad racial.
¿Cómo abogamos por viviendas asequibles para propietarios?
Hábitat para la Humanidad de Houston y Hábitat para la Humanidad Internacional están buscando activamente cambios en las políticas y en el sistema que rectifiquen las oportunidades de vivienda desiguales y la asequibilidad para las personas de color, que cierren la brecha de propiedad de vivienda y creen un mercado de vivienda más saludable con oportunidades asequibles para todos.
Hábitat para la Humanidad de Houston está colaborando con Hábitat para la Humanidad Internacional y su Grupo de Trabajo de Soluciones de Políticas Públicas para apoyar, asesorar y guiar el desarrollo de prioridades políticas y posiciones de su Campaña Costo de la Vivienda en todos los niveles de gobierno. El grupo de trabajo identificará las prioridades de la política federal de vivienda asequible, guiará el desarrollo de la agenda de la política federal para la campaña e identificará y definirá las prioridades de la política estatal y local para los cuatro subtemas de la campaña.
Campaña Costo de la Vivienda, Hábitat para la Humanidad Internacional
Encuesta del área de Houston del Instituto Kinder de 2022, Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research
Informe sobre el estado de la vivienda de 2022 2022, Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research
Houston Habitat for Humanity Commitment to Affordable Housing for Black, Hispanic and People of Color
Families all across the United States are struggling to afford the cost of a home. Everywhere you look — cities, suburbs, rural areas — the stability that a home should bring remains out of reach for far too many people.
At Houston Habitat for Humanity, we know that a family should never have to spend more than 30% of their income on a home. But consider that even before the coronavirus pandemic, more than 18 million U.S. households were paying half or more of their income on a place to live.
According to the 2022 Kinder Houston Area Survey, a quarter of Houstonians are having difficulty paying their mortgage or rent. For African Americans, that number is about 40%. For Hispanics it is 37% and for whites it is 17%—both increasing significantly over the last year. Likewise, the share of people who could not cover a $400 emergency was starkly higher among these groups than for whites and Asians.
Now, as the economic impacts of the pandemic continue to be felt, millions of families are at risk of losing their homes. This is especially true for Black Americans and other people of color who were disproportionately impacted by the economic fallout of the crisis and who have faced greater housing unaffordability and insecurity. This is unacceptable.
The Racial Homeownership Gap
There is a well-documented historic pattern of racial discrimination in housing and land use policies — at all levels of government — that still impact the makeup and opportunities of our communities. Hispanic and Black mortgage applicants face higher interest rates and more denials on lower-valued properties. And despite challenges in the mortgage market, Hispanic residents will soon become the largest share of homebuyers in the county. Hispanics are the only major racial/ethnic group with a growing homeownership rate in both Houston and the U.S. between 2020 and 2021.
Habitat serves a diverse range of homeowners. We provide more equitable access to low-cost financing that can help support building home equity. Mortgages for all Habitat homeowners, regardless of race, are priced to be affordable, with monthly payments kept at 30% or less of income. Habitat affiliates can create unique financing options that meet the needs of all of their homebuyers.
Houston Habitat provides homeownership opportunities that are accessible to homebuyers with low incomes who otherwise may not be able to access homeownership. This includes low-down-payment mortgages that are designed to work even for homeowners who lack pristine credit, thereby helping those homebuyers who are not able to secure traditional loan products.
Houstonians have a realistic view of these well documented racial disparities. We recognize it may be difficult to correct the racial bias in home appraisals and home loans as well as the disparities in local disaster recovery.
Increasing the supply and preservation of affordable homes
Almost every area in the U.S. faces a shortage of safe, decent and affordable homes, particularly homes available to those earning modest incomes. Houston, like much of our country, has long had a problem with supplying adequate affordable housing.
There is a direct impact on renters and homeowners alike, and especially Black and Hispanic households and those with the lowest incomes. Increasing the overall supply and accessibility of affordable homes is essential for increasing housing security and ensuring equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Investing in affordable housing production and preservation, and creating new tools for housing stability, are critical for closing homeownership gaps for people of color, preventing racial divides from growing, and achieving affordability and housing security for all.
Houston Habitat for Humanity is actively working to do the following:
- Expand affordable home production.
- Increase access to existing housing stock.
- Preserve affordable homes and help people keep their homes during times of hardship.
Houston Habitat is Actively Addressing Racial Discrimination in Housing In Our Community
At Houston Habitat for Humanity, we know that home isn’t just a building or real estate; it’s also the community in which you live, work and grow. As communities experience new development and investment, localities need systems in place to preserve affordability, expand opportunities for homeownership, and prevent the displacement of lower-income residents.
Habitat for Humanity advocates for anti-racist housing and land-use policies at the local, state and federal levels that seek to increase racial equity in homeownership. Greater than 90% of the families that Houston Habitat has served in its home ownership program are African-American and Hispanic, as are the neighborhoods that Houston Habitat works to revitalize.
Houston Habitat for Humanity is in the process of developing Robins Landing, a vibrant, new mixed-income community with highly coveted amenities, 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 the census tract- 97% minority, including 64% Black, help Black families achieve homeownership, and addressing racial inequity.
How We Are Advocating for Affordable Housing for Homeowners
Houston Habitat for Humanity and Habitat for Humanity International are actively pursuing policy and system changes that rectify unequal housing opportunities and affordability for people of color, close the homeownership gap, and create a healthier housing market with affordable opportunities for all.
Houston Habitat for Humanity is collaborating with Habitat for Humanity International and their Public Policy Solutions Task Force to support, advise and guide the development of policy priorities and positions of their Cost of Home Campaign at all levels of government. The task force will identify federal affordable housing policy priorities, guide the development of the federal policy agenda for the campaign, and identify and define state and local policy priorities for the four subthemes of the campaign.
Cost of Home Campaign, Habitat for Humanity International
2022 Kinder Institute Houston Area Survey, Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research
2022 State of Housing Report, Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research
No credit history? Why you need to establish good credit if you want to buy a home.
A house is the most expensive purchase we make. It is often a substantial amount of money that we borrow from a bank and then spend decades paying off.
Your credit score is part of the information used by lenders to qualify for your loan and interest rate. If your credit score is low, it can impact your ability to qualify for a loan. Besides bad credit, a limited history of established credit can signal a low credit score.
How Is Credit Score Determined?
When you apply for a mortgage, lenders want to know what risk they’d take by loaning you money. To evaluate this risk, lenders will often pull a credit report and credit score. The most widely used credit scores are FICO® Scores. FICO® Scores provide an unbiased and proven way to evaluate a consumer’s credit risk — helping consumers like you obtain credit more quickly and fairly.
Here is what determines your credit score:
- Payment history: Whether you’ve paid past credit accounts on time
- Amounts owed: The total amount of credit and loans you are using and your credit limit
- Length of credit history: How long you’ve had credit
- New credit: How often you have credit inquires or new account openings
- Credit mix: The mix of your credit, retail accounts, installment loans, finance company accounts and mortgage loans
The three major credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. They house the history of your credit data. When you get a new loan, make or miss payments on loans, or use a credit card, it’s common for your lender to report this information to the credit bureaus. The information stored at the credit bureaus is represented in your credit reports. Your credit reports contain information about your credit history including loans, credit cards, inquiries, payments and more.
I pay my bills in cash and don’t use credit cards. How does this affect my credit score?
This is an issue for many people who wish to purchase a home. Because they pay in cash for most services, they may not have established credit history or may have insufficient credit resulting in no credit score or a low credit score.
If this sounds like your situation, you are not alone. An estimated 53 million people are “credit invisible.” Credit invisible means they don’t have a credit bureau file, or the file is insufficient for scoring. This is often the result of not having a history of using a credit card account or traditional loans.
As a result, families with invisible credit may be at high risk of predatory loans, and are virtually locked out of affordable homeownership opportunities. The lower your credit score, the higher the risk as determined by lenders. A high risk loan score can affect your monthly mortgage payment with higher interest rates.
How can Houston Habitat help with credit scores?
Momentum is growing for initiatives that enable consumers to have their history of on-time rent payments or meeting other financial obligations included in credit scoring and lending evaluations. Rent payment reporting is emerging as a primary focus of these reforms. Research has found it to be a strong indicator of a renter’s future ability to make mortgage payments.
Other promising alternative data sources for credit history include utility, cable and cell phone payments, as well as bank account statements demonstrating cash flow. By providing a more complete picture of your history of financial responsibility, it can reduce “credit invisibility” and broaden access to safe, affordable credit.
Houston Habit will work with you to verify credit through nontraditional credit documentation or reference letters from creditors who do not typically report to the credit bureaus. These “other” creditors may include rent, car insurance, utility bills, childcare, local businesses, and medical expenses. We help you determine your current credit score and look at your entire credit history rather than just the credit score. We work hard to not deny applicants to our program solely based on your credit score.
To learn more about how you can become a Houston Habitat Homeowner, take our Eligibility Quiz and get started today!
Inclusive Credit Scoring, January 25, 2022, Houston Habitat International
FicoScore Education, FicoScore.com
A Very Special Father’s Day: Welcome Home
June is National Homeownership Month, and we have all learned over the last few years how important homeownership is as our homes have become our workplaces, schools for our children and safe harbors in which we’ve weathered the toughest moments of a global pandemic.
This year, Houston Habitat is celebrating the joy of homeownership and fatherhood with this profile of our most recent homeowner and father: Jacoby George.
As a single father, Jacoby George’s main purpose in life has been to provide a happy and stable home for his three children: Jacoby (age 17), Jacob (age 14) and Jennae (age 10). On Tuesday, April 19, that purpose was fulfilled as he cut the ribbon in front of his Houston Habitat for Humanity home.
Homeownership has been a “life goal” for George, as he began his partnership with Houston Habitat in November 2021. George literally dug into the process as he began putting in the necessary hours to become a homeowner include including financial education courses and participating in sweat equity — helping to build homes for others. The whole family was dedicated to the effort with son Jacobi also assisting with sweat equity efforts by picking up his own hammer. (Note: volunteers must be 16 years old to participate on a Houston Habitat build) In January, alongside volunteers from UTHealth Houston and UT Physicians, he learned his hard work and dedication had paid off.
“I was shocked. I had no idea I was actually building my own home that day,” recalled George.
Less than a year after being accepted into the program, Jacoby and his family now have a completed home for their home and eagerly await their closing and move-in date. With four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a spacious living area, there’s plenty of room to make memories and grow. George is also aware that studies have drawn a pathway between owning a decent, affordable and stable home and experiencing positive educational outcomes for his children. Stable home environments raise children’s math and reading test scores, making affordable homeownership a conduit for greater residential stability.1
While the benefits of educational stability are important to George, his children are more focused on their new rooms! “We are so happy to receive this blessing,” he said. “My family and I are so happy. This is a great way to start off the year. Came from nothing and now God has blessed me and family with a home,” said George, “If I can do it, anybody can do it.”
1 Lisa L. Mohanty and Lakshmi K. Raut, “Home Ownership and School Outcomes of Children: Evidence from the PSID Child Development Supplement,” The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 68.2 (2009), 465–90.