SF requires highest hourly wage to afford 2-bedroom apartment


Not even in Arkansas, the state with the cheapest housing in the country.

Got kids? The two-bedroom rental numbers are even more grim: You'd need to be making more than $75,000 a year. The state's minimum wage is now set at $8.50 an hour.

Even the $15 living wage championed by Democrats would not make a dent in the vast majority of states.

Rent in older buildings is about $1,460, according to aSeattle Times story from September; for new apartments, it's more than $2,000. The state's minimum wage increased to $10.10 an hour this year.

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The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in OH released a report today revealing that most OH jobs don't pay enough to cover the cost of rent. And in the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy metropolitan area, almost five dollars an hour more is needed than the state figure, at $33.46 ($69,600 a year).

The disparity is starkest in major metropolitan areas. San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties top the list of most expensive jurisdictions, where one would need to make $60.02 an hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. Compared to other states, Washington ranks as the eighth most expensive state for a two-bedroom apartment.

One-bedroom apartments are affordable in just 22 counties in five states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington.

Let's look at the math: If a worker holds two full-time minimum wage jobs, they'd be earning $14.50 an hour total - still under the $17.90 needed to afford rent and have 70% of your income left over for non-housing related expenses. In the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy metropolitan area, that rises to $27.33.

Financial experts advise individuals should not spend more than 30 percent of his or her income on housing costs. Their median hourly wage is $11.32.

Housing costs have continued to rise with growing demand for rental housing in the decade since the Great Recession. But different political decisions could begin to solve the problem of affordable housing. The number of homes renting for less than $800 declined by 2 percent. For example, this week corporations including Starbucks and Amazon successfully lobbied to have the city of Seattle repeal a corporate, $275-per-employee head tax that would have raised about $50 million dollars for services addressing homelessness and providing affordable housing. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said in the report.

Workers at the Community Services Agency, which provides housing, food and healthcare assistance to families in need, are seeing first-hand how the imbalance between wages and rent prices is impacting the Bay Area.

Earlier this year, HUD Secretary Ben Carson announced a proposal to triple the rent for households receiving federal housing assistance, and require they pay 35% of their gross income in rent, instead of the current requirement of 30%.