A recent study by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) demonstrates there can be some real cost savings to going green, especially when it comes to the location of your home.
The Housing + Transportation (H+T Index) Affordability Index offers the true cost of housing based on its location by measuring the transportation costs associated with the home.
The Index shows that a community’s location, character and design are better predictors of overall affordability than household size and income.
Compact, walkable, mixed-use communities with convenient access to public transit and employment centers may initially appear expensive because of higher housing costs.
But, after applying the H+T Index, these places can often make for more affordable living than less dense exurban communities because households can own fewer cars—the single biggest expense in a household transportation budget—and still maintain a high quality of life.
Americans traditionally consider housing affordable if it costs 30 percent or less of their income. For most families, transportation is the second largest household expense after housing costs.
A community’s average transportation costs can range from 12% of household income in efficient neighborhoods with walkable streets, access to transit, and a wide variety of stores and services to 32% in locations where driving long distances is the only way to reach essential services.
CNT’s analysis shows that for many families, any savings they may have realized from lower-cost housing becomes eliminated by unexpectedly high transportation costs.
For more information, visit the H+T Affordability Index tool and www.cnt.org.