Houston Faces Rising Housing Costs and Decline in Black Homeownership

Houston Faces Rising Housing Costs and Decline in Black Homeownership
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Houston, long known for its affordability, is increasingly becoming unattainable for many residents seeking homeownership. According to the 2024 State of Housing in Harris County and Houston report from Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, home prices in Harris County have surged while incomes have remained stagnant, creating a significant affordability gap.

The report highlights a 43% increase in home prices over the past five years, drastically outpacing the 1.2% rise in median household income. This disparity has made it difficult for residents to afford homes, despite widespread aspirations for homeownership. Approximately 9 in 10 Harris County residents view owning a home as a crucial adult milestone, associating it with freedom and wealth building.

Comparatively, Houston remains more affordable than many other Texas cities, such as Austin and Dallas, but challenges persist. Only seven neighborhoods in Harris County are affordable for households earning the median income of around $71,000 annually. Even households earning $100,000 a year struggle to afford median-priced homes in most neighborhoods.

The report also reveals a concerning trend in Black homeownership. While Harris County overall saw an increase, Houston experienced a decline in Black homeowners. This trend contrasts with growing Hispanic homeownership in the region’s suburbs, as noted by researchers who expanded their analysis to include Fort Bend and Montgomery counties.

Kinder Institute Director Ruth N. López Turley emphasized Houston’s potential to address affordability issues compared to other urban areas, citing ongoing research on housing’s broader impacts on education, health, and economic mobility.

The report, compiled from data by the Houston Association of Realtors and the U.S. Census American Community Survey, underscores the complex challenges facing Houston’s housing market and its residents.