The Road to Foreclosures



Or "How Transportation Costs Affect Foreclosure Rates."

I've referenced Chicago's Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) here before. I think I may have even posted some maps of their Housing + Transportation Affordability Index.

Under the conventional formula, affordable housing is 30 percent of median income. CNT says the true costs of housing should include transportation costs, and they defined an affordable range as consuming no more than 48 percent of median income.

More recently, they looked at weekly and monthly trends in foreclosure filings and compared them with the weekly change in gas prices from 2000 to 2010.

"We found that whenever gas prices spiked, foreclosures typically followed within six to nine months," CNT president Scott Bernstein testified at the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary subcommittee meeting in Memphis Monday.

CNT found that, in Memphis, the average cost of housing is about 27 percent of household income, but, combined with transportation, comes to 52 percent of are area median household income.

For households earning 80 percent of median income, the costs rose to 33 percent for housing and 63 percent for housing plus transportation.

"If we don't take gas prices into account, the next time energy costs spike, we're likely to run into this again," Bernstein said.

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