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HUD tool estimates a home’s transportation costs


WASHINGTON – Nov. 13, 2013 – U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today unveiled a new online calculator to help homebuyers and renters figure out what they’ll have to pay for transportation over the course of a year.

The Location Affordability Portal (LAP) can be used to help consumers and communities better understand the combined costs of housing and transportation associated with living in a specific region, street or neighborhood.

“Many consumers make the mistake of thinking they can afford to live in a certain neighborhood or region just because they can afford the rent or mortgage payment,” says HUD Secretary Donovan. “Housing affordability encompasses much more than that. The combined cost of housing and transportation consumes close to half of a working family’s monthly budget.”

The LAP has two data tools: the Location Affordability Index (LAI) and My Transportation Cost Calculator (MTCC).

The map-based LAI is a database of predicted annual housing and transportation costs for a particular area. The LAI includes diverse household profiles – which vary by income, size, and number of commuters – and shows overall affordability for each one across an entire region. It was designed to help renters and homeowners, as well as planners, policymakers, developers and researchers. The data covers 94 percent of the U.S. population.

The Cost Calculator allows users to customize data for their own household and potential locations. Users enter basic information about their income, housing, cars and travel patterns.

“I’ve witnessed the evolution of these tools over time and I’m impressed by the attention to detail and statistical sophistication,” says Tom Sanchez, Virginia Tech professor and editor of the academic journal Housing Policy Debate. “Household location decisions are in fact a function of housing costs and transportation costs together. Better information should lead to better decisions that effect not only particular households, but also communities and regions.”

The calculator is available online on HUD’s Location Affordability website.

© 2013 Florida Realtors®

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