Housing Value and Cost

An important indicator of economic hardship is whether housing is affordable. These measures indicate housing affordability in terms of the share of household income that is devoted to mortgage and related costs for homeowners and rent and related costs for renters. The income share devoted to housing that is below 15 percent is a good proxy for highly affordable, while the income share devoted to housing that is above 30 percent is a good proxy for unaffordable.

Occupancy and Vacancy

Occupancy and vacancy status are indicators of the housing market and provide information on the stability and quality of housing for certain areas. The data is used to assess the demand for housing, to identify housing turnover within areas, and to better understand the population within the housing market over time. These data also serve to aid in the development of housing programs to meet the needs of persons and different economic levels.

Questions to ask of the data…

  • Is there a significant portion of the population paying more than 30% for their mortgage or rent costs? How can housing be made more affordable in your region?

  • Are there areas that have higher levels of vacancy levels? If so, what type of vacancy? What types of problems do these vacancies cause for your community?