By Victoria Reviel • 2018 President

Central Texas and especially Williamson County is an ever-growing and popular place to live yet may low income home buyers are having a harder time finding a suitable place to call home.

According to new joint research from the National Association of REALTORS and, housing affordability is down from a year ago, and fewer households have the income necessary to purchase from among the inventory of homes currently available in their communities. 

Based on this study, a REALTORS Affordability Distribution Curve & Score has been released. The Austin-Round Rock MSA has an Affordability Score of .66. According to NAR, “a score of one or higher generally suggests a market which is affordable while a score smaller than one is an indicator of a relatively less affordable market.” The affordability score for the state of Texas is .70. 

The curve demonstrates how obtainable a home is based on the income level. The curve shows that a family making $50,000 a year can only afford 2.1 percent of the homes on the market, whereas a family making $100,000 a year can afford 44.5 percent of the homes on the market. 

According to the U.S. Census Department, the median household income in Williamson County for 2016 was $75,935; and the median income for the MSA is roughly $71,000

The good news is that the Austin MSA unemployment rate is at an all-time low of 2.9 percent. Texas has added the most jobs of any state, at 352,100 in 2018 and new apartment communities are being built as quickly as possible to give these potential homeowners or tenants more housing options.

There are so many other budgetary pressures, and the more you spend on housing, the less you can spend in other areas that impact you or your family’s ability to succeed. As REALTORs, we must always have a buyer or tenant consultation to discuss what the options are for buyers or renters. 

The Governmental Affairs & Affordability Sub-Committee of WCREALTORS have held affordability forums and are active within the community to keep ahead of affordability issues within the county. Keep an eye out in the fall for our next affordability forum featuring guest speakers.  

While Central Texas developers can strive to build better, faster, smaller and more economically, the results may not close the affordability gap or create enough of the type of housing most needed for low income earners.   RL