By: Guest Author, Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist, Lisa Sturtevant, PhD
Housing cost—that is, monthly payment (PITI)—is what most people think about when they consider whether a home is affordable. However, a lower-cost home located further from jobs and other amenities could actually increase a household’s commuting and travel costs. In some cases, the savings on the home price can be offset by the increased costs associated with commuting (e.g., gas, maintenance, insurance).
The Housing + Transportation (H+T) index provides a more complete measure of housing affordability. By taking into account the cost of housing as well as the cost of transportation, H+T provides a more comprehensive measure of how affordable a place is.
According to recent data, the H+T index for homeowners in the City of Richmond is 41%, meaning that the typical household in Richmond spends 41% of its income each month on housing and transportation costs. The index varies significantly across the state. For the typical household in Winchester, the index is 50%. In Blacksburg, the index is 52%. Richmond’s lower index is largely due to lower transportation costs for the typical household.
Check out the interactive H+T index data at https://htaindex.cnt.org/map/
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