BETHESDA, MD – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released two new reports about the examining data provided by the American Housing Survey (AHS). The reports, prepared by Econometrica and SP Group, take a deep dive into several aspects of the AHS in recent years.
The AHS, sponsored by HUD and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, provides information on both the current state of housing inventory and the characteristics of its occupants. Econometrica has provided analytic support on the AHS under several contracts with HUD for nearly two decades.
The first report, The Usefulness of the GUTREHB Variable, evaluates the variable GUTREHB, which was added to the AHS in 2015, and identifies its utility and reliability. This variable sought to identify owner-occupied units that had undergone gut rehabilitation within the previous 10 years.
The authors identified three categories into which problems with the variable fall:
- Serious inconsistencies in responses undermine user confidence in the response to GUTREHB for a given unit in any specific survey.
- The analysis shows that units with positive responses to GUTREHB have higher renovation costs than those with negative responses to GUTREHB, but the observed costs still appear less than expected.
- The AHS collects data on several other variables associated with renovation, but the report found that the relationship between GUTREHB and these other variables is weaker than anticipated.
The second report, Characteristics of HUD-Assisted Renters and Their Units in 2019, uses data from a supplemental survey included in the 2019 AHS and administrative data matching to describe key features of both the rental housing assistance that HUD provided and the households that HUD served. The report analyzes how HUD-assisted rental stock has changed over previous three decades and examines the location of HUD-assisted housing, the quality of the units, and tenant satisfaction.
The report showed that HUD-assisted stock is in fairly good condition, with only 2.4 percent of units severely inadequate in 2017, about the same as unassisted units occupied by very low-income renters.
Econometrica is a research and management organization committed to providing high-quality, cost-effective economic and analytical services for clients in the private and public sectors. Located in Bethesda, Maryland, Econometrica in particular specializes in housing, community development, and economic analysis.