The Housing Affordability Index in SOURCEBOOK determines the share of earnings a family must spend on their rent (or mortgage) and utilities for different income levels. A cost burdened family spends 30% or more on their housing — but what that functionally means for a household depends greatly on their income level.
The typical low income (80% of area median income) Virginia family would spend just about 30% on a median cost home. For a very low income (50% AMI) family, that burden rises to nearly half of their income. In order for an extremely low income (30% AMI) family to afford the average price home, they would need to set aside 80% of their income just for a roof over their heads.
Percent of income required for median cost housing unit in Virginia for 2016.
Some would argue that these modest income households “just need to move” into a home they actually can afford. But we know that’s rarely an option — there are only 37 affordable homes for every 100 extremely low income families in Virginia.
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