Median housing value fell 5.8% in 2009

Census: 48% of renters 'burdened' by housing costs

Median housing value fell 5.8 percent in 2009, to $185,200 from $196,700 in 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau reported, according to data obtained from the American Community Survey (ACS).

Of 366 metro areas, Merced, Calif., experienced the biggest drop (34 percent), while Hattiesburg, Miss., saw the biggest gain (19.7 percent). Among the 50 largest metro areas, half of the 10 with the highest median property values were in California: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara ($638,300), San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont ($591,600), Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana ($463,600), San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos ($417,700) and Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville ($298,000).

The survey, which launched nationwide in January 2005 and is based on a sample of about 2.9 million housing units annually, provides population and housing statistics for all U.S. areas — including congressional districts, counties and metropolitan areas, among others — with at least 65,000 residents.

This year, the 63-question ACS replaced a longer-form census questionnaire that was circulated every 10 years. The allocation of more than $400 billion in federal funds to state, local and tribal governments every year is based on the decennial census and ACS data, according to the bureau. Next month, the Census Bureau will release state and national population counts and apportionment data that determine how many seats in the House of Representatives each state is entitled to based on population.

50 largest metro areas 2008 median property value  2009 median property value  % change
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.  $329,800 $244,800 -25.8
Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev.  $272,000 $202,100 -25.7
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.  $243,000 $196,300 -19.2
Orlando-Kissimmee, Fla.  $231,900 $191,600 -17.4
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla.  $273,600 $227,400 -16.9
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif.  $550,200 $463,600 -15.7
Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, Calif.  $350,500 $298,000 -15
Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich.  $164,000 $139,900 -14.7
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.  $193,500 $166,000 -14.2
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, Calif.  $479,800 $417,700 -12.9
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.  $669,100 $591,600 -11.6
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.  $719,700 $638,300 -11.3
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va.  $426,500 $387,900 -9.1
Jacksonville, Fla.  $203,300 $185,000 -9
Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Ill.-Ind.-Wis.  $268,100 $249,600 -6.9
Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, R.I.-Mass.  $295,200 $274,700 -6.9
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.  $378,900 $355,400 -6.2
United States  $196,700 $185,200 -5.8
Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Ore.-Wash.  $305,600 $287,900 -5.8
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.  $198,400 $187,300 -5.6
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis.  $246,300 $234,000 -5
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa.  $459,200 $439,500 -4.3
Salt Lake City, Utah  $254,500 $243,900 -4.2
Richmond, Va.  $239,900 $230,400 -4
Baltimore-Towson, Md.  $310,700 $299,200 -3.7
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.-N.H.  $382,600 $369,200 -3.5
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, Ohio  $152,500 $147,400 -3.3
Birmingham-Hoover, Ala.  $146,500 $142,000 -3.1
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C.  $257,300 $249,600 -3
Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, N.C.-S.C.  $178,900 $173,800 -2.9
Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark.  $139,800 $135,800 -2.9
Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky.-Ind.  $160,600 $156,400 -2.6
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Conn.  $266,000 $259,700 -2.4
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md.  $253,900 $248,100 -2.3
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis.  $211,300 $207,100 -2
St. Louis, Mo.-Ill.  $163,800 $160,500 -2
Columbus, Ohio.  $165,900 $162,700 -1.9
Kansas City, Mo.-Kan.  $161,500 $158,500 -1.9
Raleigh-Cary, N.C.  $207,400 $203,700 -1.8
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas  $141,600 $139,800 -1.3
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, La.  $183,600 $181,500 -1.1
Louisville/Jefferson County, Ky.-Ind.  $146,600 $145,400 -0.8
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.  $116,600 $116,000 -0.5
Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colo.  $249,700 $248,500 -0.5
Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.  $146,900 $146,300 -0.4
San Antonio, Texas  $125,700 $125,800 0.1
Austin-Round Rock, Texas  $187,800 $189,300 0.8
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas  $148,100 $149,700 1.1
Oklahoma City, Okla.  $122,000 $123,400 1.1
Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn.  $173,000 $175,100 1.2
Pittsburgh, Pa.  $119,100 $120,600 1.3

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

In 2009, 9.9 percent of the civilian labor force was unemployed, compared with 6.4 percent in 2008. According to the survey, 34.1 percent of housing units were renter-occupied in 2009; the remaining 65.9 percent were owner-occupied. In the 2008 report, 66.6 percent of housing units were owner-occupied.

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The vast majority of the population, 84.6 percent, lived in the same housing unit in 2009 as they had the year before, essentially flat from the figure for 2008. About 15 percent lived in a different home.

Of owner-occupied units, 67.8 percent had a mortgage in 2009. For these units, the median monthly housing cost was $1,505, flat from 2008. For more than one-third of owners (37.7 percent), housing costs took up 30 percent or more of their income.

The vacancy rate for all housing units in 2009 was 12.6 percent, essentially unchanged from 2008, but up from 11.6 percent in 2006. The rental vacancy rate was 8.4 percent, up from 7.9 percent in 2008.

A separate census study, the Housing Vacancy Survey, shows that the homeowner vacancy rate rose from 1.9 percent in 2005, to 2.6 percent in 2009. This is slightly lower than in 2008, when the rate was 2.8 percent.

The top 10 metro areas* with the highest homeowner vacancy rates in 2009:

  2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Greensboro-High Point, N.C. 2.8 % 2.4 % 2.4 % 5.6 % 6.3 %
Orlando, Fla. 2 % 5.2 % 7.4 % 6.8 % 5.8 %
Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, N.C.-S.C. 2.3 % 2.9 % 3.1 % 4 % 5.1 %
Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev. 3.8 % 2.8 % 4.9 % 6.1 % 5 %
Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Ore.-Wash. 1.6 % 1.7 % 2.3 % 1.9 % 4.8 %
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. 3.4 % 3.8 % 4.7 % 4.8 % 4.1 %
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. 1.8 % 3.5 % 5.1 % 3 % 4.1 %
Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky.-Ind. 2.3 % 3.2 % 4 % 4.4 % 4 %
Dayton, Ohio 3.9 % 3.1 % 1.2 % 2.9 % 4 %
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. 1.2 % 1.8 % 3.8 % 5.2 % 4 %

*of the 75 largest metro areas in the country

According to the ACS, most people (61.6 percent) lived in single-family, detached homes in 2009.

The mean travel time to work in 2009 was 25.1 minutes, virtually flat from 2008. The vast majority of workers, 76.1 percent, drove alone to work and 10 percent carpooled. Five percent used public transportation, unchanged from 2008. The New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island metro area had the highest percentage of workers who commuted by public transit (30.5 percent), followed by the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif., metro area (14.6 percent). Only 4.3 percent of people worked at home, essentially flat from the year before.

Nearly half of renters spent 30 percent or more of their income on housing costs in 2009, according to figures from a yearly survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the survey, 47.7 percent of renter-occupied households spent at least 30 percent of their household income on rent and utilities in 2009, which exceeds the federal government’s standard for housing affordability. That’s up from 46.1 percent in 2008.

In every state except Wyoming, at least a third of the renters spent at least 30 percent of income on housing costs. Florida led the pack at 52.8 percent — more than half the state’s renters.

"The past 30 years have witnessed a housing policy that has been focused on promoting homeownership. The large gap between the number of renting households and the units that they can afford will only grow as foreclosures persist and home mortgages become increasingly scarce for all but the most qualified buyers," the bureau said in an ACS brief about the rental housing market.

Top 10 states with the highest percentage of renters who spend at least 30 percent of income on housing costs:

1. Florida

55.9 %

2. California

52.8 %

3. Hawaii

52.3 %

4. Michigan

51.6 %

5. Delaware

49.9 %

6. Nevada

49.9 %

7. New Jersey

49.9 %

8. Connecticut

49.4 %

9. Colorado

49.3 %

10. Maryland

49.2 %

Top 10 states with the lowest percentage of renters who spend at least 30 percent of income on housing costs:

1. Kentucky

41.7 %

2. Oklahoma

41.4 %

3. West Virginia

40.5 %

4. Iowa

40.2 %

5. Nebraska

39.1 %

6. Montana

38.2 %

7. North Dakota

36.7 %

8. Alaska

36.6 %

9. South Dakota

36.2 %

10. Wyoming

32.8 %

Among metropolitan areas, Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla., had the highest concentration of renters spending 30 percent or more of their income on housing: 60.2 percent. Ithaca, N.Y., and Bloomington, Ind., followed at 60.1 percent and 59.8 percent, respectively. Of the top 20 metro areas with the highest share of renters who the Census Bureau considers "burdened" by housing costs, six were in Florida.

Of the 50 largest metro areas, 12 had double-digit rental vacancy rates, many in areas hit hard by foreclosures: Jacksonville, Fla; Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.; Memphis, Tenn.; Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz; Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.; Orlando-Kissimmee, Fla.; Houston-Sugarland-Baytown, Texas; Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev.; Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas; San Antonio, Texas; Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla.; and Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich.

The median gross rent in 2009 was $842, up 2.9 percent from $818 in 2008. At the same time, median household income fell to $50,221 in 2009, from $51,726 in 2008 — a 2.9 percent decrease. The number of people living in poverty rose one percentage point to 14.3 percent in 2009.

In 27 of the 50 most populated metro areas, the average renter spent more than the national median on rent. The most expensive rental market was the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., metro area, with a median gross rent of $1,414. This market also had the highest median property value of all 366 metro areas: $638,300.

"The numbers from the most recent ACS are not too surprising given the high unemployment rates and rising rents across the country," said Danilo Pelletiere, research director for the National Low Income Housing Coalition, in a statement, adding that the group seeks congressional action "to provide more affordable rental housing options to low-income Americans in these difficult times."

The housing coalition is calling on Congress to provide about $1.1 billion to the National Housing Trust Fund, which was established (but not funded) in 2008. Ninety percent of the fund’s monies would go to the building, rehabilitation and preservation of low-income rental housing, and 10 percent would go to assist first-time homebuyers, including providing downpayment, closing cost, and interest-rate buy-down assistance.

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