Transportation Costs Shape Housing Outcomes

Transportation Costs Shape Housing Outcomes
Ann. M. Hartell
Housing Policy Debate
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Do transportation cost burdens shape housing outcomes? Ann Hartell examines location affordability, assessing its relationship with demographics and urban form characteristics. Transportation is relevant to the housing conversation because its associated costs are variable and can affect a household’s financial gains. The author analyzes default and foreclosure data for 70 metropolitan areas using linear regressions and uses high levels of automobile ownership as a measure of high transportation costs. The analysis builds on literature on location affordability, which became relevant after the 2006–08 foreclosure crisis, and posits several transportation-focused interventions, including transportation counseling for households that receive housing vouchers and bundling affordable transportation services with housing through transit vouchers.

Key findings

  • There is a positive relationship between high levels of automobile ownership and estimated rates of foreclosure and mortgage default, suggesting that transportation costs affect housing affordability.
  • Income has a significant and negative effect on the estimated foreclosure rate, while high automobile ownership has a significant and positive effect.
  • There is a positive and significant relationship between estimated foreclosure rates and shares of Hispanic and black homeowners.
  • The results of the analysis point to the need for further attention to the interrelatedness between housing and transportation cost burdens.

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