A Marin County worker would need to earn $36.63 hourly, or more than $76,000 annually, to afford the average $1,905 rent for a typical two-bedroom apartment. That's according to a study that also shows Marin as the nation’s least affordable rental market.
The study was done as part of a program called Out of Reach, a nationwide comparison of housing wages that revealed how much money a household must earn to afford to rent a modest home. The data was compiled by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and released locally by the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California.
The necessary $76,000 income per house represents a four percent increase from last year and is 40 percent more than the California average, the study showed. The median Marin renter household income is $55,000, putting a two-bedroom apartment out of reach for 64 percent of the renting population.
“There is a popular misperception that Marin doesn’t need more affordable places to live, but Marin workers are not out of the woods,” Peggy Lee, acting Executive Director of NPH, said in a release. “For example, a Marin preschool teacher who earns a typical salary of $37,000 a year and is the sole breadwinner would need to hold down another job to afford a two-bedroom apartment or commute from far away."
Lee said a minimum-wage worker, such as a food server or retail clerk, would need to work 183 hours per week to earn the equivalent of the minimum $36.63 per hour needed for the typical two-bedroom apartment.
"There are literally not enough hours in the week,” she said.
The report also showed that California as a whole is the second most expensive state behind Hawaii. The Bay Area counties contribute to that ranking. In no Bay Area county can a renter earning a median income of $43,000 to 63,000 afford the typical two-bedroom apartment.
“The truth is, California has been well behind in housing production for decades,” said Michael Lane, policy director at NPH. “The current supply of affordable rental homes has remained static while the demand continues to grow. This has been exacerbated by the slashing of housing funds at all levels, funds that have effectively created housing options in the past.”
The California legislature is reviewing a bill that will create a permanent funding source for affordable housing. SB1220, the Housing Opportunity and Market Stabilization (HOMeS) Act was introduced by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier and Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. It proposes a $75 fee to real estate document recordings, similar to some other states.
"If Californians are tired of being at the top of the Out of Reach list," Lane said, "they should let their senators know.”
The Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California works to advance affordable housing as the foundation for thriving individuals, families and neighborhoods. As the collective voice of those who support, build and finance affordable housing, NPH promotes the proven methods of the non-profit sector and focuses government policy on housing solutions for low-income people who suffer disproportionately from the housing crisis. (www.nonprofithousing.org)