Skip to content
CityLab
Economy

Why Houston Housing Is Poised to Get More Expensive and Unequal

If the post-Katrina New Orleans experience is any indication, the development of low-income housing in Houston will be a long time coming.
In New Orleans, a contrast between an older housing building, ruined by Hurricane Katrina, and a newer, affordable housing development.
In New Orleans, a contrast between an older housing building, ruined by Hurricane Katrina, and a newer, affordable housing development. Shawn Escoffery

Houston was a relatively affordable city before Hurricane Harvey. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment was in the low-$800s, putting it among the least expensive cities to live, according to Apartment List. Not only is Houston’s average rent well below that of cities of similar population sizes, like Philadelphia and Chicago, but it also was the largest city to see rent prices drop between this year and last.

“Our region’s abundant available land, which has been opened up for development by our freeways, has helped keep the region affordable,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in his State of Mobility speech last year. “This affordability is important for the region’s competitiveness and our quality of life.”