Ever wonder how housing can be so inexpensive in some metro areas compared to others? And more to the point, ever wonder how much higher the cost of living must be in some outlying areas where housing is cheaper but getting to work - and school, shopping and play - all require a car? The Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology has just launched a 'housing-transportation-affordability index' that calculates just that, and in more than 50 communities. And they've done so in a very visual, easy-to-grasp way. This work is the result of a 2-year study, but in typical CNT fashion the result is not a dull report that you'll never read but a very user-friendly new web site.
CNT's Scott Bernstein explains:
“The index tells an alternative story of affordability than we’ve become accustomed to hearing. The real estate pages may list 2- and 3-bedroom homes for under $175,000 in suburban communities. That sounds affordable, right? But once you factor in transportation costs, the bargain goes away. Transportation costs can be as much or more than housing costs. The index protects consumers by divulging those costs and helps planners and decision-makers work toward providing truly affordable housing.”
Check out the new site here: http://htaindex.cnt.org.