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.