New report says rental prices in Wilmington unaffordable
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WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) -- Renters in Wilmington need to earn $15.73 per hour in order to afford a basic apartment here, according to a report released today that compares the cost of rental housing with what renters can really afford.

The report, Out of Reach 2014, was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based research and advocacy organization, and the North Carolina Housing Coalition. The report provides the Housing Wage and other housing affordability data for every state, metropolitan area, combined non metropolitan area, and county in the country. The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a family must earn, working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, to be able to afford the rent and utilities for a safe and modest home in the private housing market.

“More people in North Carolina are choosing to rent because they see it as a more feasible option than homeownership for a variety of reasons,” says Satana Deberry, executive director of the North Carolina Housing Coalition. “But, that squeeze on the rental market means higher housing costs for low-wage workers who have always relied on rental housing.”

Working at the minimum wage in Wilmington a family must have 2 wage earners working full-time, or one full-time earner working 87 hours per week to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.

The typical renter in Wilmington earns $10.92 per hour which is $4.81 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit.

An estimated 53% of renters in Wilmington do not earn enough to afford a two-bedroom unit at the Fair Market Rent.

The National Housing Wage is $18.92 in 2014.

Deberry says that there is a role that the government can play in easing the financial strain faced by low-income renters. “In our state we need to preserve and grow the housing programs that have a proven track-record of success – like the NC Housing Trust Fund and the Workforce Housing Investment Program.” These programs have financed thousands of safe, quality, affordable homes and apartments, mostly for very low income families, created much-needed construction jobs and generated millions in local and state tax revenue.

“In Washington, our lawmakers need to fund the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF),” says Deberry. Once funded, the NHTF would provide communities with funds to build, preserve, and rehabilitate rental homes that are affordable for extremely and very low income households.

Additional Facts about the Wilmington Area:

· 40% of all households in New Hanover County are renters.

· The Housing Wage in New Hanover County is $15.73.

· The Housing Wage in Pender County is $12.67.

· The Housing Wage in Brunswick County is $15.73.

· In New Hanover County, the cost of a two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent is $818.

· Households at 30% of area median income in the Wilmington metro can only afford to pay $440 in rent.

Additional Facts about North Carolina:

The typical renter in North Carolina earns $12.42 per hour, which is $1.95 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit.
North Carolinians across the state receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can only afford to pay $216 per month in rent.
The Housing Wage in the Raleigh-Cary metropolitan area is $16.46.
The Housing Wage in the Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord metropolitan area is $15.63.

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There is plenty of affordable housing in Wilmington. People just need to take personal initiative to find suitable housing that meets their needs. Apartment complexes, in general, are a HUGE rip off - PERIOD. I went from a "1 bedroom" loft apartment renting for $540/month to a 2 bedroom single-family home, on a 1/4 acre, for just $60/month more. People would definitely get "more bang for their buck' if they find a private landlord who's renting out their home... (PS - A quick search of Craig's List just yielded 357 properties (from mid-February until today) between the prices of $600 and $700/month - the majority of the listing are for apartment complexes.)

A couple questions, What is the monthly rental rate this article is based on? Pretty pointless not to include that and spew"facts" throughout the rest of the writing.

“More people in North Carolina are choosing to rent because they see it as a more feasible option than homeownership for a variety of reasons,” says Satana Deberry, executive director of the North Carolina Housing Coalition. “But, that squeeze on the rental market means higher housing costs for low-wage workers who have always relied on rental housing.”

What are the reasons? At least includes 2-3 valid circumstances rather than letting us assume.

It is very possible to live/ rent earning 10.92 hr....live within your means people, and strive to be better. You don't need a fancy phone and flashy car to be someone.

while I completely agree that there was some valuable information left out of this article in order to complete it, living decently on $10.92 an hour is nearly impossible. Avg rent in this town is around $950 per month for a SMALL apartment/home that is not in a really bad scary area. If you earned 10.92 for a solid 40 hours per week and never had to miss a day for a doctor's appt, illness, late for car trouble, etc. you would earn around $1500 per month. Factor in $200 for health insurance on your employer sponsored/subsidized plan. That leaves you with around $350 per month to pay for groceries, lights, water/sewer, gas, car insurance, medical co-pays, renter's insurance, etc. Notice I didn't even mention a small phone bill, car payment or other "luxury" items. It also leaves no room for the things that happen in life such as illness, death in the family or car repairs or other such things. It also supposes that you have no children and certainly no chronic health issues for yourself or anyone else in your family.

Honestly I can think of more reasons to rent than to own for some people. You might graduate school and be considering going to to graduate school and that will require you to move quickly. That would be so much easier with a lease vs. a mortgage. You probably would not qualify for a mortgage on $10.92 per hour. To qualify these days you'd likely have to find a house around $60K and have sterling credit. You may not want the hassle of home ownership (repairs, etc).You may be in a job that requires a lot of long term travel or periodic transfers to other sites. I don't think that is hard to understand.

While they need to complete the article you need to do the math.

A helpful addition to this article would have been an outline of the cost of ownership of a condo or apartment that can be rented. Include average mortgage, taxes, insurance, maintenance, HOA dues, advertisement to rent, car miles to check on properties, etc...

The real question is: are these apartments being rented at a fair market price? I would tend to think they are. Wilmington is an expensive place to live regardless of whether you rent or own.

........da movie folks who are subsidized by taxes paid by the $10 to $12 an hour folks make enough to rent in Wilmington. I'll even bet there is at least one local politician that rents their home to da folks from Wilmywood West.