Despite inflation, experts say Lubbock is the cheapest place to live

Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 8:35 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 26, 2022 at 11:05 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Despite the increased cost of living, including rent, Texas Tech University Economics professor, Michael Noel, says Lubbock is still one of the cheapest places to live in the country.

“For the last couple of years we’ve seen an increase in the prices of almost everything, and housing is no exception,” Noel said. “The price of houses has gone up, price of rent has gone up in accordance with that.”

The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports the average worker in Texas needs to make $22 per hour to afford a two-bedroom rental home.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition says the average worker needs to make $22 an hour to...
The National Low Income Housing Coalition says the average worker needs to make $22 an hour to afford a two bedroom rental home.(National Low Income Housing Coalition)

“It’s higher than it was, inflation is ramped, you know we’re up to 8%, we topped out at 9% at some point, so these numbers are all going up really quickly,” Noel said.

The Hub City is not immune to inflation, but Noel says many places have it much worse than Lubbock. He says the standard two-bedroom home in Lubbock costs way less than it would somewhere else.”

“Somewhere around $1,100, $1,200, somewhere in that neighborhood,” Noel said. “Whereas if you go to larger cities, it’s in the thousands and thousands of dollars.”

Noel says what you pay month-to-month in rent, isn’t supposed to take your entire paycheck.

“They recommend that only about 30% of your disposable income goes toward housing, but we’re finding that’s increasingly not true,” Noel said.

He says there are many things causing prices to rise, but a big part of it is many people decided during the pandemic to not return to work. He says some people decided to stay at home with kids or even retire.

“There was a shortage in labor, which means when you can’t find the people, and you pay more for your staff, the price of everything goes up,” Noel said.

Those who are working, may not have received a pay raise, and the minimum wage hasn’t increased since 2009.

“$7.25 today is not $7.25, 13-years-ago,” Noel said.

Noel says as a result many families are having to cut back on some things, to afford housing. That’s because the price of everything is up almost 10% from last year. He says the high rent is here to stay, but eventually the pay will start to increase.