The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) has released its 2022 Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing. This annual report documents “the significant gap between renters’ wages and the cost of rental housing across the United States.” It’s a noteworthy way to compare the rental housing landscape from year to year and is worth reading. Here, we are concentrating on the two-bedroom data.
The “Housing Wage” refers to the estimated, hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest rental home at HUD’s Fair Market Rent (FMR), without spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs. The FMR is an estimate of what a family can expect to pay for a modestly priced rental home in a given state or area, such as Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford.
On average across the US in 2022, a full-time worker must earn an hourly wage of $25.82 to afford a modest, two-bedroom rental home. That’s $18.57 higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour! Put another way, if you are a minimum wage worker, you must work nearly 96 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom, rental home at the average FMR. Yes, the minimum wage does vary in different states, (Florida’s is now $10 per hour), but in NO STATE can a person working full-time at the prevailing federal, state, or county minimum wage afford a two-bedroom apartment at the FMR.
In Florida overall, the 2022 FMR for a moderate two-bedroom apartment is $1,372. To support that rent, a household must earn $26.38 per hour, or $54,870 per year. The report shows these figures have all increased since 2021, when the average two-bedroom monthly rent in Florida was $1,290.
Delving into the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metro area, the 2022 FMR for a two-bedroom unit is $1,422, even higher than the statewide average above. No surprise to many neighbors, one must earn a whopping $27.35 per hour – or $56,880 a year – to afford that rent. Also no surprise is that the two-bedroom FMR has gone up from $1,290 per month in 2021, and the income needed to pay for it has increased from what was then $25.40 per hour, or $52,840 per year.
That’s a lot of facts and figures to show the gulf between monthly rent and the ability to pay for it continues to widen, and affordable rental housing is truly out of reach for many. We also know that one in six of our neighbors spends more than half of their income for housing; and that area’s median sold home price has increased to $385,000. Where is one to go?
Those are reasons why we at Habitat for Humanity Seminole-Apopka provide the opportunity to buy a home at an affordable, modest mortgage for those who might not otherwise be able to do so. And that’s also why so many neighbors have started our Homebuyers Program that we’ve had to temporarily close applications!
But fear not; until we reopen applications, we are still providing the financial education needed to buy a home, whether through Habitat or another homebuying program, via our online, FREE Financial Academy. We invite you to learn more at https://habitatseminoleapopka.org/financial-academy/.