SAN ANGELO, Texas – It’s no secret that San Angelo has precious little apartments and other rental properties available. The 2019 housing study for the city of San Angelo highlighted the need for more rental properties, and for lower rental rates. According to the study, nearly half of San Angelo residents struggle to pay rent.
“The median household income in 2019 was $48,440,” said Bob Salas, Director of Neighborhood and Family Services for the city of San Angelo. “Which turns out to be about a little over $4,000 a month, [meanwhile] the median monthly rent in the city is $952. Unfortunately the salaries stay more stagnant; they move a little bit, but not to keep up with the rents. Now for rent to be affordable, rent cannot exceed 30% of the monthly income. If it does, the families considered cost burdened.”
According to city officials, 46% of San Angelo residents qualify as cost burdened, and of that amount 60% pay half of their monthly income in rent. A problem compounded by the fact that that income is not keeping pace with the cost of living. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, San Angelo has a median annual income of about $49,000, compared to nearly $62,000 for the United States as a whole. Meanwhile census data says city population has grown nearly 10% over the last decade.
Despite the growing need for rental and multi-family housing, it was single family homes that saw a boom in 2020 despite the ongoing pandemic. “In terms of single family housing this was actually a banner year,” explained Jon James, San Angelo Director of Planning and Development. “Last year we had about 283 new single family homes built in 2019, that is, and in 2020 that number jumped two and a half times up to 726 new single family homes. So we’ve seen some economic impacts from COVID-19 but it definitely did not affect the housing market.”
In terms of the rental and multi-family housing shortage, city planers say 700 new units are coming in from four different developments. Some might be worried that this game of catch-up is unwinnable, but officials say we are headed in the right direction. Recent severe weather, electrical and plumbing challenges may have delayed work on the incoming developments. It also highlighted the fact that San Angelo, like many parts of Texas, is struggling to update existing streets, electrical grids and water infrastructure in the face of continuing growth.