Affordable Housing Data
Housing affordability continues to be an issue in the Lehigh Valley. Cost burdened households—those spending more than 30% of their income on housing—tend to be concentrated in the central cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton; and in the Slate Belt region.
These maps show the concentrations of cost burdened households by Census tract (tract numbers are in red). The tracts with the highest percentage of cost burdened owners range from 25-35 percent. These tracts are located in the central cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton; however, the majority of them are located in central Allentown. At least 15% of owners are cost burdened in most of Allentown and Easton. The majority of the suburbs surrounding the central cities have little or no cost burden; yet, in the Slate Belt, 15-25 percent of owners are cost burdened in most census tracts, and in East Bangor 25% of owners are cost burdened.
The percentage of cost burdened renters is likely to be higher than the percentage of cost burdened owners in the same tract. The tracts with the highest concentration of cost burdened renters range from 45-55 percent. Three of these high cost burdened tracts are located in Allentown, and one is located in Moore Township (although this percentage is skewed because there are only 115 total renters in that tract).The highest concentrations of cost burdened owners are located in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton; and in the Slate Belt. In the central cities, the average percentage of renters in all but four tracts is at least 25 percent. Additionally, small boroughs in the Slate Belt have a higher percentage of cost burdened renters than the larger tracts that surround them; East Bangor, Slatington, and Walnutport have an average percentage cost burdened renters of 43, 37, and 41 percent. Although not as severe, many suburbs have cost burdened renters. Unlike the relatively small percentage of owners in the suburbs who are cost burdened, 15-25 percent or more of renters are cost burdened in the same tracts.
For more information about this data, see The CHAS Data: Obtaining Estimates of Housing Market Affordability by Angela M. Williams Foster (http://www.huduser.org/periodicals/cityscpe/vol9num3/ch8.html.) Also, LVPC is making the formatted data — including a breakdown of renters by income level — available for download. (www.lvpc.org/pdf/affordableHousingDatacenter/chasByTract.pdf).
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