A recent analysis of the American Community Study suggests that housing affordability problems and cost-burdened households are also hurting rural areas with 25% of the number of rural households spending more than 50% of their income on housing costs (housing costs include rent/mortgage, maintenance and utilities).
The analysis points out Irion County, a small community of less than 2,000 residents southwest of San Angelo, is experiencing extreme upward pressure on rents. The fracking and wind farm industry has attracted more people looking for work. Jobs have tripled to 187 between 2010 and 2016 with an average wage of over $63,000. The unemployment rate dropped in that time period from 5.3% to 3.2%. The average rent however, has increased a whopping 44%. The majority of price increases are attributed to low inventory in the rental market. And with a new wind farm under construction, it is expected the situation will just get worse. The new farm is slated to produce 300 new temporary jobs with all of those people needing rental property.
Irion County has already seen one of the largest cost-burden increases from 4% of households during the Great Recession to 13% of households today.