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The Rio Grande Valley was already struggling with housing affordability, and now higher mortgage interest rates are making it worse.

That’s according to a new study from the Texas Real Estate Research Center of Texas A&M University, which shows the Brownsville-Harlingen and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) far down the list and below the state average in terms of housing affordability. An MSA refers to a dense population core with adjacent communities tied into that core socially and economically.

The TRERC study features the Texas Housing Affordability Index (THAI), which gives Brownsville-Harlingen a 1.21 rating for the second quarter of 2022, down from 1.27 in the first quarter of the year and 1.64 in 2020. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission fares worse, with a 1.17 rating for the second quarter compared to 1.46 for the first quarter and 1.57 in 2020.

The THAI measures the relationship between median family income and how much income it takes to buy a median-priced home. A score of 1.00 means median family income is exactly sufficient to purchase that home. Anything above 1.00 indicates median family income is more than sufficient to buy a median-priced home. Anything below 1.00 indicates the opposite.