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September 2007

A new CPI issue brief reveals that about 53% of both renters and homebuyers in this county can’t afford their housing, according to federal standards.

CPI’s analysis of US Census Bureau data released this week showed that housing affordability in the county in 2006 remained 8 percentage points behind 2000 level.

Affordability worsened for local homeowners with mortgages in 2006, and improved only slightly for renters. The apparent improvement for renters is a largely “an illusion,” said Richard Lawrence, cochair of the county’s Affordable Housing Coalition, because rents have increased and more people with higher incomes are renting.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) considers housing unaffordable if the total monthly payout is more than 30% of a household’s income.  A total of 500,130 households in the county lived in unaffordable housing in 2006.