SEATTLE – A new report is shining the spotlight on the disparity between the minimum wage and the average cost of a two-bedroom apartment rental in Washington state.
The Out of Reach report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition ranks Washington as the sixth most “out of reach” state (ranked from highest to lowest 2-bedroom housing wage).
The report also says in no state, metropolitan area, or county can a full-time minimum-wage worker afford a modest two-bedroom rental home, and these workers cannot afford modest one-bedroom apartments in 91% of US counties.
According to the report, in Washington state the fair market for a two-bedroom rental is $1,629. To avoid this level of rent and utilities without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household must earn $5,430 a month ($65,161 annually).
That means the average Washingtonian would need to make $31.33 per hour (working full-time) to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
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Washington’s minimum wage statewide is $14.49 with some municipalities like Seattle paying higher.
The report ranks the top five most expensive areas in the state and how much you’d need to earn to afford a two-bedroom:
- Seattle-Bellevue $39.31
- Bremeron-Silverdale $33.94
- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro $33.37
- Tacoma $28.54
- San Juan County $26.00
The report also says you would have to work 86 hours per week in Washington state at the minimum wage to comfortably afford a two-bedroom rental or 72 hours per week for a one-bedroom.
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Redmond, Washington ranked ninth on another recent report about the most expensive US cities for renters.
In the same report, Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue ranked third in a list of metro areas where it’s cheaper to rent than buy.
The housing wage was highest in Hawaii ($40.63), California ($39.01), Massachusetts ($37.97), New York ($37.72) and Washington, DC ($34.33).