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Least affordable rental markets
The prices of many rental markets have exceeded the wages of the renters who live in them.
December 14, 2005: 3:50 PM EST
By Les Christie, staff writer
Least affordable rental metro areas
Where wages have to be highest to afford a two-bedroom home
Metro areaWage
San Francisco$29.54
Stamford, CT$28.88
Oxnard, CA$28.12
Orange County, CA$26.77
Santa Cruz, CA$25.83
Westchester County, NY$25.31
San Jose$25.04
Easton/Raynham, MA$24.67
Source:National Low Income Housing Coalition
Least affordable states
These states require the highest wages to afford a two-bedroom apartment
StateWage needed to pay for a two-bedroom home
New Jersey$20.87
New York$19.73
Rhode Island$18.42
New Hampshire$17.58
Source:National Low Income Housing Coalition

NEW YORK ( - In order to afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco, you should be earning nearly $30 an hour in wages, 40 hours a week.

That's the conclusion reached by the National Low Income Housing Coalition in an annual report that calculates what hourly wage someone needs to earn to afford to rent and utilities.

It's based on fair market rents in each state, metropolitan area and county in the United States. The organization applies a standard of paying no more than 30 percent of income on housing costs.

Nationally, the average wage needed to rent a two-bedroom home is $15.78 an hour, up from $15.37 an hour in 2004.

On average, renters earned $12.22 an hour -- not enough to afford a two-bedroom apartment in nine out of every 10 markets.

The report quoted Sheila Crowley, President of NLIHC, saying, "The disparity between what people earn and what even modest rental housing costs grows larger each year."

The state measuring as least affordable for housing is Hawaii, where a two-bedroom home would require a wage of $22.30 an hour. California was next at $22.09.

Marin County, north of San Francisco, joined the city as the most expensive U.S. county at $29.54 an hour. The most expensive metro areas outside of California were Stamford, Connecticut ($28.88) and Boston ($25.46).

The most affordable state was West Virginia, where a modest wage of $9.73 was needed to rent a two-bedroom home; Arkansas was No. 2, at $9.99.  Top of page

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