Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Out of Reach

Every year around this time, the National Low Income Housing Coalition releases a report called Out of Reach, which analyzes housing costs vs. wage levels in communities all across the U.S. The report focuses on a statistic they call the "Housing Wage," which is the amount of money that a worker has to earn in order to afford an average two-bedroom rental unit in his/her community.

Well, Out of Reach 2006 was released today. And the 2006 Housing Wage for the Charlottesville area has been calculated at...(drum roll please)...$15.23. Know many retail or service jobs around here that are paying that much?

From the report:

"In Charlottesville, VA MSA, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $792 . In order to afford this level of rent and utilities, without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household must earn $2,640 monthly or $31,680 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into a Housing Wage of $15.23.

In Charlottesville, VA MSA, a minimum wage worker earns an hourly wage of $5.15. In order to afford the FMR for a two-bedroom apartment, a minimum wage earner must work 118 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or, a household must include 3.0 minimum wage earner(s) working 40 hours per week year-round in order to make the two bedroom FMR affordable."

3 comments:

Kempis said...

Dave wrote:

"[...]the 2006 Housing Wage for the Charlottesville area has been calculated at...(drum roll please)...$15.23. Know many retail or service jobs around here that are paying that much?"

Nope. However even the City of Charlottesville's current "Living wage" is only "$9.72 cents" and that's a "recently raised" amount. (Source: "Albemarle to set living wage," Daily Progress, 10/12/06)

I'm always surprised at what employers seem to expect from a worker that they want to pay less than 10.oo per hour.

billemory said...

hey dave- I own a house in charlottesville that I rent out for $350/month. I rent it for that much because it is a fair rent.
I wish you could convince the City to quit fueling the "housing wage spiral" with opportunistic real estate tax increases.

Bill

TL Patten said...

Bill,

You do? When can I move in? It's depressing to realize I'm still not earning the calculated Housing Wage. How long to I have to be a concerned, contributing citizen before I've earned my right to live here?

- Tat