Interesting report out today from the Center for Housing Policy, which concludes that most of the savings that moderate-income families get from moving to a neighborhood with cheaper housing are eaten up by higher transportation expenses. And the problem seems to be getting worse: 15 of the 20 fastest-growing counties in the U.S. are 30 or more miles from the nearest central business district (where a lot of the jobs are). The center defines “working families” as ones with incomes of $20,000 to $50,000 a year.
San Francisco comes out worst in the study, with working families spending about 35% of their income on housing and another 27% on transportation, which rounds up to 63% combined. Pittsburgh comes out best, but not a whole lot better, at 22% for housing and 33% for transportation, which rounds down to 54%.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.