Bad Credit Auto Loans and Buy Here Pay Here Houston, TX

The Ultimate City Guide

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Welcome to
Houston, TX

The city of Houston, Texas boasts several nicknames that include “The Bayou City”, “Space City” and the “Energy Capital of the World” which reflect it diverse and often colorful culture. There are two skylines that make up the downtown and uptown neighborhoods, and this sprawling metropolis is also home to NASA and several professional sports teams. Financial and energy companies also make Houston their homes, which is why it is surprising to find that the city also has an extremely high number of Buy Here Pay Here lots. While there is no denying that it can be almost impossible to get around the city without a vehicle, this still doesn’t explain why there are so many subprime auto lenders in the Houston metro area. In this city guide you will find all of the information you need to live and work in Houston, along with the reasons why there are so many Buy Here Pay Here auto lots scattered around town.

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Demographics for Houston

Spanning most of Harris County, including several unincorporated areas, the Houston metro area is home to an estimated 2,239,558 residents according to data from the 2014 US Census. This is an increase of close to 200,000 residents since 2010, which is good economic news for the Bayou City after suffering several financial setbacks in recent years.

The city has a diverse population, which is helping to entice new residents to the area, along with a sudden growth in available jobs.

An estimated 25 percent of the Houston population is Caucasian, while 43 percent is comprised of Hispanics. African Americans make up an additional 23 percent, and there is also a strong Middle Eastern and Asian presence in the city. An estimated 792,763 residents own their own homes, and over 68 percent of the city’s population is gainfully employed.

Even though over half of the city’s population is employed, Houston still made the list for “financially irresponsible cities”. Coming in at number 9, the city has an average credit score of 651 and debt of $30,643. These numbers not only indicate that Houstonians are still not financially stable, it also helps to explain why there are so many Buy Here Pay Here lots in the city.

Cost of Living and Income in Houston

There are over 88 communities in the greater Houston area, and this does not include the unincorporated sections, townships and small municipalities that are often counted in census data. This means that the cost of living and average income varies dramatically according to where you are in the city, but the median income for a household in Houston is typically around $36,616 annually.

In the Third Ward the average income drops down to $14,493 while residents in Greenway typically see $55,019 a year.

While this discrepancy in annual income does affect the quality of living, it should be noted that the cost of living is just as varied. In the growing upscale neighborhoods of The Woodlands and Sugarland where home prices on average start $146,000 the average income is $59,354, and this is generally enough to keep residents from falling into debt. You will also notice a fewer number of Buy Here Pay Here lots in the higher income neighborhoods.

The unincorporated areas in Harris County, and inside the city of Houston limits, annual income typically drops down significantly and an average fast food lunch can run $13 for one person. It is in these areas where residents are often dealing with the higher debt that can adversely affect their credit, and force them to apply for a subprime auto loan from a Buy Here Pay Here lot.

Monthly cost of living in Houston, TX
Average income in Houston, TX

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Bankruptcies and Causes

According to statistics bankruptcy filings for the first four months of 2016 were reported at 11,205. Chapter 7 filings accounted for 4,580 and there the remaining 6,299 were Chapter 13. These are also only private bankruptcy filings and do not account for businesses which has risen 13 percent due to falling oil prices and an inability to refinance their existing debt to a low interest loan.

Overall the Houston economy has recovered nicely after the Enron Scandal which left thousands of employees without pensions, and investors that never saw a return. The city also experienced the same financial hardships as the rest of the country when the housing market collapsed in 2008. Signs of the recession can still be seen in some of the outlying neighborhoods though construction is resuming, especially in Spring, Katy and Conroe.

These factors, along with a high unemployment rate resulted in thousands of residents being forced to declare bankruptcy. While this may have helped some of them keep their homes and occasionally their older model vehicles, it also had a devastating effect on their credit report. With bankruptcies affecting your credit for up to 7 years, according to Experian, it’s not surprising that a vast number of Houstonians are forced to pay the higher interest rates offered at the Buy Here Pay Here lots if they want to be approved for an auto loan. (April 2016 Bankruptcy Statistics- State and District)

Total Bankruptcies in Houston, TX

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Unemployment Rate and Cost of Living

After staying in the 8.1 to 8.2 range from 2009 through 2011, the unemployment rate for Houston is now being reported at 3.7. This is good news for the thousands of people that lost their jobs, and the lower unemployment rate is also helping to attract new residents to the Bayou City.

With companies now hiring and new businesses moving in, thanks to incentives offered by city leaders, it is now easier for residents to make ends meet without going into debt or being forced to declare bankruptcy. Unfortunately this doesn’t make it any easier for residents back at work to finance a dependable vehicle. During the recession it was not uncommon for a majority of the city’s residents to have a missed or late payment on their credit reports, and some are even dealing with vehicle repossession. This can make it extremely difficult to be approved for a low interest auto loan, which leaves their only option a Buy Here Pay Here lot.

Even though you might be paying more in interest a subprime loan will help you get the vehicle you need, along with helping you to rebuild your credit. Every time a payment is made on time, it will help to boost your FICO score.

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Repossession Rate for Houston

In 2012 it was estimated that 93 vehicles were repossessed each day in Texas, and this includes the Houston metro area.

With thousands of residents losing their jobs in the recession, along with the relatively high cost of living in the city it was not uncommon to hear people complaining that they woke up only to find that their vehicle was gone. While some of the repossessions were conducted by traditional lending institutions, the vast majority were due to an inability to repay a title loan.

The state of Texas and the city of Houston have had problems with title loan companies in the past. Since there is currently no legislation monitoring the practices of these companies it is easy for them to take advantage of desperate consumers. What many people do not realize is that these short term loans come with ridiculously high interest payments that are often impossible to meet. As soon as one payment is missed the vehicle is usually repossessed, which will leave a mark on your credit score for at least seven years.

Not only does your credit score suffer, but it also makes it difficult to be approved for a low or even high interest loan from a bank or credit union. Some national dealership also won’t approve a car loan for consumers that have had a vehicle repossessed. This leaves many people with the only option of applying for an auto loan at a Buy Here Pay Here lot. With these lots springing up in the Third and Fifth Ward neighborhoods, and in the unincorporated areas along FM 1960 there are plenty of options for residents to try their luck at.

Repossession rate in Houston, TX
Unemployment rate in Houston, TX

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Unique Events That Helped Shape the City

Nicknamed the “Energy Capital of the World”, you simply have to take a look at the oil and gas industry to get an idea of how Houston’s economy is doing.

Since oil was first discovered in the area in the 1800’s, Houston’s economy has been closely tied with how well it is doing on the US and International stock markets. Currently oil prices are falling, and while this is good news for the other 49 states it is not having a positive effect on Houston’s economy. It is important to note that while financial experts warn that the city can expect to see other industries slow down, it will be nothing like some of the previous events that are still affecting residents credit reports and financial security.

In the early 2000’s some of the city’s residents lost everything in the Enron scandal, and many are still trying to at least partially recover financially 16 years later. The city also saw explosive growth from 2005 to 2008, with new subdivisions springing up in areas like Katy, Crosby, Conroe, and Baker-Cypress. With the collapse of the housing market many of these developments were never finished which caused property values to drop. This left some home owners with mortgages that were higher than their actual property value.

Storm damage from Hurricane Ike also contributed to the city’s and residents financial problems, along with the bayou flooding that is becoming more common each year. Vehicles totaled in the floods, along with the other financial mishaps that have plagued the city in recent years, has taken a toll on residents credit history making it difficult for many of them to be approved for a low interest car loan. With more and more Buy Here Pay Here lots popping up on street corners, residents are finding that they do have an option when they need to apply for a car loan.

Houston Business Districts

This thriving city has several business districts, and it’s not uncommon for there to be some already established in townships that have been swallowed up as Houston continues to expand. There are 11 Fortune 500 companies in the downtown business district, while the Uptown and Galleria area houses the majority of the retailers in the city.

The Texas Medical Center (TMC) contributes approximately $15 billion to the city’s annual economy each year, and it also employees over 100,000 residents. There are more than 300 companies in the Energy Corridor and the Bay Area business district is home to NASA, Johnson Space Center, the Port of Houston and several aerospace engineer firms.

In the master planned community of the Woodlands one can find the newly established ExxonMobil Corporation, which employees 10,000 residents as of 2015. There is also the Greenspoint business district which is where IAH airport is located, along with several other energy based companies. A new business district is opening in Westchase, and it is also attracting large corporations such as National Oilwell Varco and BMC Software.

Public Transportation in the City

In a city the size of Houston with outlying neighborhoods located over 25 miles from downtown it is not surprising to find that it is a little difficult to get around without a dependable vehicle, but in the Energy Capital of the World it is almost impossible. For decades oil and gas has driven the city’s economy, and practically every resident owned an automobile. This meant that city planners did not have to concentrate on public transportation. With a transportation score of 37, it is obvious that the city is still not worried about how residents without a vehicle are getting around.

There are metro buses that do have hubs in some of the outlying suburbs, and there is a line that goes up 290 into parts of western Harris county. While this does help some commuters get to work in the downtown and uptown business districts, the buses do not make stops in these neighborhoods. Unless you are lucky enough to live close to one of the transit stations you will need a vehicle to run errands and get to work in Houston.

Along with the buses there is also a metro rail system, but once again it only provides service to the downtown, museum and historic districts. With the cost of gas dropping and new improvements being constantly made on the numerous freeways and toll roads residents are not hopeful that the public transportation score will improve, especially in the unincorporated areas of Harris County.

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Walking Around in the City

The walkability score for Houston is only slightly higher than the one for public transportation.

With a walkability score of 48 and biking at 49, a vehicle is a necessity if you want to get around in the city.

Some neighborhoods do have higher scores, but this is still limited to the immediate area. Midtown and Montrose are lined with sidewalks, and there are plenty of bars and restaurants within walking distance of most area residents’ houses. The museum district is also designed for walking, and it is almost impossible to navigate a car through the narrow one way streets. Once you have left these neighborhoods you will need a vehicle, even if you just want to get to the public bus station.

In some cities this might cause residents to complain, but with average temperatures 6 months out of the year in the 80’s and 90’s and humidity typically above 75 percent most people don’t even consider walking an option.


With a walking score of 48, Houston is one of the least walkable large cities in the US with 2,239,558 residents.

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Houston School Ratings

In this sprawling city there are several independent school districts and the ratings vary dramatically depending on location. It is also important to note that the districts do not share in tax revenue, which means schools do not receive the same amount of funding. This affects the level of education some students receive, especially in the Third and Fifth Ward where the average annual income is decidedly lower. There is also a shortage of qualified teachers in these areas, which is also affecting the districts’ overall ratings.

Houston has a rating of 5 out of 10, with 283 schools in the district. There are 86 schools in Cypress-Fairbanks which scored slightly higher with a 7. Alief is another large school district in the city, and with a score of 4 out of 10 students in the district’s 46 schools are at a disadvantage when it comes to receiving a quality education. Two of the other large independent school districts in Houston are Aldine and Spring Branch, both of which scored higher than Alief.

Public Assistance Available for Residents

With the recent economic hardships that hit the city, along with its large number of financially dependent residents it is nice to know that there are plenty of programs designed to provide Houstonians with the help that they need. Along with financial assistance for food, clothing, rent and utility bills, residents can also take advantage of free credit counseling programs that can help them get back on their feet again. These programs can also relieve some of the debt that was making it difficult for them to be approved for a subprime auto loan. Some of the phone numbers that residents in need might want to take advantage of include,

Federal Rental Assistance: (202) 708-1112

Katy Food Pantry: (281) 391- 3730

Harris County Housing Authority: (713) 578-2100

Free Health and Wellness Programs

With the recent economic hardships that hit the city, along with its large number of financially dependent residents it is nice to know that there are plenty of programs designed to provide Houstonians with the help that they need. Along with financial assistance for food, clothing, rent and utility bills, residents can also take advantage of free credit counseling programs that can help them get back on their feet again. These programs can also relieve some of the debt that was making it difficult for them to be approved for a subprime auto loan. Some of the phone numbers that residents in need might want to take advantage of include,

Federal Rental Assistance: (202) 708-1112

Katy Food Pantry: (281) 391- 3730

Harris County Housing Authority: (713) 578-2100

Fun Activities in Houston

There are plenty of fun activities and festivals for residents and visitors to participate in regardless of the season in Houston. The third largest Mardi Gras celebration in the country is held each year in nearby Galveston, which is also home to two great public beaches and Pleasure Pier. Discovery Green downtown holds outdoor concerts, movies and festivals throughout the year and in October residents flock to the annual Nutcracker Festival.

The Johnson Space Center and NASA hold events for children and adults, and the Brazos River is great for tubing and alligator watching. White Oak and Buffalo Bayou are also known for kayaking and fishing, along with the annual Crayfish Festival in the summer. Other fun activities include visits to the museum and theater districts, along with a stop at the historic San Jacinto State Monument.

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Houston is a thriving city with plenty of employment opportunities and fun activities to keep everyone happily occupied throughout the year. While the city has had its share of financial misfortunes, it is showing positive signs that it is bounding back. It is also not uncommon to find residents managed the recent financial down swing by missing payments or even declaring bankruptcy, and now they are finding that this is having a detrimental effect on their credit scores. Before you make any major financial decisions, and this includes purchasing a vehicle, it is important to stop and ask yourself if you can afford it and what will it do to your credit.

Simply by taking a few minutes to consider all of the ramifications a missed payment can have on your credit score can go a long way towards helping you be approved for a lower interest auto loan, and this is important when you live in the Bayou City where walking is not always an option and public transportation is limited.

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Start driving today!

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