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Transportation, housing can eat up incomes

Wednesday - 11/28/2012, 8:18am  ET

traffic D.C.area (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
(WTOP/Dave Dildine)

Clarification: According to the study, for the typical moderate-income homeowner carrying a mortgage, combined housing and transportation expenses consume an average of 72 percent of income.

In the D.C. metro area, housing and transportation costs consume 51 percent of income for moderate-income households. The study says the region's housing and transportation costs are among the highest in the country. But due to high incomes, the region has the lightest overall cost burden in the country when comparing housing and transportation costs to local income.

The story also has been modified to say transportation costs "account for" 30 percent of expenses in the region.

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Buying a cheaper house in Washington's outer suburbs may no longer be the economic bargain it used to be.

The Washington area is now one of the five most expensive metro areas in which to live and the highest for moderate income households once transportation is factored in.

Transportation costs account for 30 percent of expenses for families making between $44,531 and $89,063 a year.

Once the cost of housing is factored in, 72 percent of a family's income is consumed, according to a study done by the Center for Housing Policy and the Center for Neighborhood Technology.

The study analyzed 2006 to 2010 data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey for the 25 largest metropolitan areas. The research defined Washington's income range of $44,531 to $89,063 as "moderate-income," with the range representing 50 percent to 100 percent of the median income for the metro area.

Moderate income families in the Washington metro area now spend an average $1,099 a month for transportation and $1,561 a month for housing.

Ranking behind Washington for areas where households spend the most for housing and transportation are San Francisco, Boston and San Diego.

San Francisco was second with transportation costs of $973 and housing costs of $1,540.

Boston came in third with transportation costs of $1,020 and housing costs of $1,395.

San Diego was fourth. Transportation there costs $1,043 and housing $1,341.

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