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Sick Transit Gorin' Ya? Hub Housing, T Fares and Gas Prices

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It's the transportation costs that get you. That's according to a new analysis of a report from the Center for Neighborhood Technology, which shows that plenty of Hub neighborhoods/cities/towns are affordable housing-wise by the old benchmark of spending 30 percent or less on rent/mortgages/insurance. It's when you add the cost of T fares/gas that things start to get out of hand.

Take Cambridge (please): The city's monthly housing costs average just over 27 percent of a resident's income, according to the report. Add transportation costs and it takes nearly 40 percent of income to live and commute there. That's not as bad as Arlington, though, where housing costs by themselves take an average of 28 percent of monthly income, while housing plus transportation takes nearly 45 percent (together the two should take no more than that, according to the report). In Boston proper, it's 25 percent housing, 38 percent housing plus transportation (rendering the city affordable overall, at least on paper). With T fares going up, of course (and gas prices going upper), this affordability index could become all the more skewed. (Though, as we speculated last month, this could all work to the advantage of landlords and sellers in Boston's downtown neighborhoods.)

· Brookings Institution: Not as Expensive to Live in Boston as Reputation Suggests [Patch]
· Higher Gas Prices: Downtown Boston's Secret Weapon? [Curbed Boston]