Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing

Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing

The 2018 national Housing Wage is $22.10 for a modest two-bedroom rental home and $17.90 for a modest one-bedroom rental home. Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the two-bedroom Housing Wage ranges from $13.84 in Arkansas to $36.13 in Hawaii. The five metropolitan areas with the highest two-bedroom Housing Wages are Stamford-Norwalk, CT ($38.19), Honolulu, HI ($39.06), Oakland-Fremont, CA ($44.79), San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($48.50), and San Francisco, CA ($60.02).
A full-time worker earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 needs to work approximately 122 hours per week for all 52 weeks of the year, or approximately three full time jobs, to afford a two-bedroom rental home at the national average fair market rent. The same worker needs to work 99 hours per week for all 52 weeks of the year, or approximately two and a half full-time jobs, to afford a one bedroom home at the national average fair market rent.
In no state, metropolitan area, or county can a worker earning the federal minimum wage or prevailing state minimum wage afford a two-bedroom rental home at fair market rent by working a standard 40-hour week. In only 22 counties out of more than 3,000 counties nationwide can a full-time minimum wage worker afford a one-bedroom rental home at fair market rent. These 22 counties are all located in states with a minimum wage higher than $7.25. Higher minimum wages are important, but they are not the silver-bullet solution for housing affordability. Thirty-eight local jurisdictions have their own minimum wages higher than the state or federal minimum-wage, but all fall short of the local one-bedroom Housing Wage

Andrew Aurand, Dan Emmanuel, Diane Yentel, Ellen Errico, Jared Gaby-Biegel, and Emma Kerr

National Low Income Housing Coalition

June 2018

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By |2018-06-20T13:29:51+00:00January 1st, 2018|Affordability, Land Use Regulation, Reference|