Housing Affordability

Desired Trend

Up

Current Trend

Steady
Baseline (2010): 37.5%
Current (2015): 37.7%

Theme Inclusive

Definition

Percent of renter units and owner units affordable and available to households earning 80% of HUD area median family income

Why is it Important?

Shelter is a fundamental human need, and is also one of the most expensive household budget items. Meeting this most basic need for affordable housing is essential in order for residents to contribute to the economic, social, and environmental health of the region. Units are considered affordable to households if their total rental or ownership costs are 30 percent or less of the household’s income. To understand the availability of affordable housing for low to moderate income families, this measure includes only units that are vacant or occupied by a household that earns less than the 80 percent of the HUD area median family income (HAMFI). In other words, housing units that are considered affordable for low to moderate income households but are occupied by higher income households are not included in this measure, because they are not available for the households that need them.1

How are we Doing?

In the St. Louis region, 37.7 percent of owner and renter units are affordable and available to households earning 80 percent of the HUD area median family income (HAMFI). This is about the same as the percentage for the baseline year (2010). While this is a sizable proportion of the housing stock in the region, there is a gap in affordable housing available to owner households that fall under the 80 percent HAMFI threshold ($57,864 in 2015 for a family of four). There are currently more low-income, owner occupied households than there are affordable owner units. There are around 241,000 owner households that are under the 80 percent HAMFI threshold, but only 183,000 owner units are affordable and available for those households. For renters, there are actually more rental units that are affordable and available than there are low-income renters. In 2015, there were around 253,000 units that were affordable and available for around 238,000 renter households.

Among the 50 most populous Metropolitan Statistical Areas (the peer regions), St. Louis is relatively affordable. St. Louis ranks 13th in housing affordability for owner and renter units combined and is over four percentage points higher than the peer average. For owner units only, the availability of affordable housing in St. Louis is over 6 percentage points higher than the peer average (23.5 percent compared with 17.1 percent on average). The availability of affordable rental units in St. Louis is also higher than the average for the peer regions—over 8 percentage points (66.6 percent compared with an average of 58.0 percent). 

Housing Affordability

Geographic Level

St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). View map.

Notes

1This indicator is a HUD Flagship Sustainability Indicator. The Flagship Indicators were created for the Sustainable Community Initiative in an effort to develop a common national framework for measuring long-term progress toward sustainable communities.

Data Sources

Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, U.S. Census, American Community Survey