Analysis of housing characteristics includes an estimate of the number of households and lower-income households, by tenure (rental or ownership), paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing. The analysis must also identify the number of households, by tenure, in overcrowded housing situations.
Identifying and evaluating existing housing needs are critical components of the housing element. The analysis will help local governments identify existing housing conditions that require addressing and households with housing cost burdens or unmet housing needs.
An adequate analysis of these characteristics should include a quantification of the total number of persons, households or units; a quantification and qualitative description of the need; and identification of potential solutions and resources to address the need. Where a serious unmet housing need is identified, program alternatives and responses should be provided.
Where available, information on tenure characteristics (owner versus renter) should be included. Tenure information is important because it affects the nature of housing problems encountered, as well as the types of programs or resources needed to address them.
Government Code Section 65583(a) requires “…an analysis and documentation of household characteristics, including level of payment compared to ability to pay, housing characteristics, including overcrowding, and housing stock condition,” (Government Code 65583 (a)(2)).
Housing is generally the greatest, single expense for California families. Current standards measure housing cost in relation to gross household income: households spending more than 30 percent of their income, including utilities, are generally considered to be overpaying or “cost burdened.” Severe overpaying occurs when households pay 50 percent or more of their gross income for housing.
The impact of high housing costs falls disproportionately on extremely low-, very low-, and low-income households, especially renters. While some higher-income households may choose to spend greater portions of their income for housing, the cost burden for lower-income households reflects choices limited by a lack of a sufficient supply of housing affordable to these households. In 2010, according to the American Housing Survey, 41 percent of California's 3.2 million low-income renter households paid more than half of their income on rent. According to data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Community Development collected between 2006 and 2010, of the state's 2.2 million very low-income renters, 55.9 percent paid more than half of their income for rent. Low-income households that overpay for housing frequently have insufficient money left for other critical essentials, including food and medicine. This is a significant hardship for too many families and seniors; but it also impacts local economies, because money that might otherwise be spent in local stores (generating sales-tax revenues for the community) are being spent on housing.
An adequate analysis should:
- Describe total households and identify and analyze the number of lower-income households, by tenure (rental or ownership) that are paying more than 30 percent of their income toward housing. It should also include the number of households that pay 50 percent or more of their gross income toward housing.
- Where possible, identify households most significantly impacted by cost burdens (large families, seniors, etc.).
- Identify potential resources and programs to address the housing need.
U.S. Census 2000 Summary File 3 (SF 3):
- Renters - H73: Household income in 1999 by gross rent as a percentage of household income in 1999.
- Owners - H97: Household income in 1999 by selected monthly owner costs as a percentage of household income in 1999.
HUD’s Consolidated Housing Affordability Strategy
U.S. Census American Community Survey: B25106 Tenure by Housing Costs as a Percentage of Household Income in the Past 12 Months
Pre-approved data packages are now available from HCD or your regional council of government.
The data package information can be found by clicking the Regional Housing Needs section on the Regional Housing Needs Allocation and Housing Elements webpage.
The following sample tables will help organize critical information. The information provided in the tables should be tailored to the jurisdiction and followed by appropriate analysis. (Note: Sample tables are not intended to substitute for addressing the analytical requirements of housing-element law.)