Honolulu Workers Need $39 An Hour To Afford A 2-Bedroom Rental

Irving Hamilton
June 14, 2018

The report estimates that renters nationally make an average of $16.88 an hour. The number of homes renting for less than $800 declined by 2 percent. When looking at the most common jobs for Ohioans, only two of the 10 offer a livable wage for employers.

The Washington Post breaks down the report like this: There is nowhere in the country where someone working a full-time, minimum-wage job could afford to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment. The national housing wage is $22.10 for a two-bedroom and $17.90 for a one-bedroom rental. One would need to earn $13.84 an hour - about $29,000 a year - to afford a two-bedroom apartment there. "The rents are far out of reach from what the average renter is earning".

The report's authors adhere to the standard that no household should spend more than 30 percent of its gross income on housing costs, and they assume that each household would be paid for 40-hour workweeks for 52 weeks a year.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city's median family income is $63,300, or a combined roughly $30 an hour for all family members who work, although workers in the hospitality industry often make considerably less. That translates into the largest shortfall between the average renter wage and "housing wage" in the nation.

Massachusetts, where the minimum wage is $11 an hour, ranks as the sixth most expensive state, with a wage of $28.64 needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment ($59,571 a year).

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If you live in San Carlos or Redwood City, California-near San Francisco, but not the most expensive part of the Bay Area-and have a minimum-wage job in retail or at a coffee shop, you won't make enough to afford a typical studio apartment. For someone in need of a two-bedroom, like a single parent with a child, that jumps up to 93 hours per week. Maui County's housing wage was calculated to be $31.13.

In Contra Costa County, where the hourly pay needed for a 2-bedroom apartment ranges from $38 in Richmond, Martinez, and Antioch, all the way up to $67 in Danville.

In a preface to the report, Senator Bernie Sanders writes that "wages have been stagnant for decades, while the cost of housing keeps going up". "In America today, almost 11 million families pay more than half of their limited incomes toward rent and utilities".

The cost of housing has steadily risen along with increased demand for rentals, yet new construction has trended toward the high-end market due to lofty development expenses, the findings said. "That leaves precious little for other essentials, like food, transportation and health care-much less a few extra dollars to take your kid to see a movie". "The administration's cruel and shortsighted proposals to cut housing benefits would add to the struggles of millions". What's less clear is how, and when, affordable housing will be the new normal. When rents reach a level that the majority of extremely low income renters could afford, landlords in strong housing markets have an economic incentive to redevelop their units for higher rents.

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