A recently-released report, Out of Reach 2014, claims that many in the Triad can’t afford the area’s exalted rent prices.
Greensboro and High Point residents would need to earn at least $13.68 per hour and those in the Winston-Salem would need to earn at least $13.33 an hour in order to afford a basic apartment, according to a report, which was put out jointly 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. That wage is $13.33 in Greensboro and $16.21 in Winston-Salem. The Winston-Salem housing wage is higher that those of the Charlotte ($15.63) and Wilmington ($15.73) areas. The Raleigh area has the highest housing wage in the state at $16.46. The national housing wage is $18.92 in 2014.
“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 minimum wage in the Triad, a family must have two wage earners working full-time, or one full-time earner working 75 hours in Greensboro-High Point or 74 hours in Winston-Salem to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.
The typical renter in Greensboro-High Point earns $12.08, which is $1.65 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit. In Winston-Salem, the typical renter earns $11.95 – $1.38 short of the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit.
An estimated 50 percent of renters in Greensboro-High Point and 53 percent of renters in Winston-Salem do not earn enough to afford a two-bedroom unit at the Fair Market Rent.
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,” she said. “In Washington, our lawmakers need to fund the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF).”
The report also found the following:
• Thirty-eight percent of all households in Guilford County and 35 percent of all households in Forsyth County are renters.
• The cost of a two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent is $709 in Guilford County and $693 in Forsyth County.
• Households at 30 percent of area median income in the Greensboro-High Point metropolitan area can only afford to pay $413 in rent. Using that same measure, such households in Winston-Salem can only afford to pay $420 in rent.
For additional information, visit http://www.nlihc.org/oor/2014