Vermont is the fourth least affordable state to rent, but it’s especially expensive if you rent in the Burlington metro area, according to a review of data from Stacker and Foothold Technology.
Across the country, full-time workers are feeling the pinch in the current rental market. A nationwide housing shortage and skyrocketing real estate values, coupled with declining wage increases for the general working population in recent decades, are fueling a squeeze in the rental market. But how affordable is rent in Vermont?
To assess affordability, Foothold Technology examined rent and wage trends in each state and in Washington, D.C., based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Fair Market Rent and Average Renter Wage in each state, as shown in a 2022 analysis by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. The 12 least affordable states on the national list are ranked by the number of jobs needed at the average renter’s salary to afford a modest two-bedroom unit.
HUD’s fair market rent measure is usually set at the 40th percentile of rent for typical units, which means slightly below the average rent in a given metropolitan area. It excludes low quality, already subsidized and recently built units. In the case of the coalition’s analysis, “affordable” is used to describe monthly rental rates that equate to 30% or less of a tenant’s income; if more than that, tenants are considered “cost-burdened”, meaning their ability to pay for food, utilities, health care, education, transportation, etc., is compromised by rental costs.
Today, a tenant in the United States needs to earn $25.82 an hour, up from $24.90 last year, to pay rent for a modest two-bedroom apartment, according to the coalition. If the tenant only needs one bedroom, they will need to earn an average of $21.25 per hour.
Essex County, located in the northeast part of the state near the Canadian border with Quebec, offers the lowest rents in Green Mountain State. The average renter here earns $16 an hour, which means they have to work more than full-time to keep their housing costs at 30% or less of their income.
In 49 states, as well as Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, the average full-time renter does not earn enough to afford HUD’s definition of a moderately priced rental apartment. North Dakota, which has seen an oil and gas boom in recent years, is the only state breaking that mould, according to the 2021 coalition report. In nearly all U.S. states, median household incomes n haven’t kept pace with the rise in median rent from the turn of the century to 2018.
This is according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, cited by the coalition.
A total of 20 states still do not have a state-level minimum wage law that exceeds the federal level, allowing businesses to legally pay as little as $7.25 an hour for labor, which is the federal minimum wage. A person earning the federal minimum wage would have to work more than two full-time jobs each week to afford a modest two-bedroom rental unit. The federal minimum wage does not increase with inflation, and the last time it was increased was over 13 years ago. But it’s not just the lowest-paid Americans who find the cost of living too high.
The average renter earns an hourly wage of $21.99, according to the Coalition’s 2022 analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 5.8% of adults in the United States were considered to be home insecure in May 2022, the most recent month for which the US Census Bureau released data on the proportion of Americans behind on their rent or mortgage payments and have little or no self-confidence. pay next month’s bill. Housing insecurity was highest in New York, Mississippi and Louisiana.
Meanwhile, rental prices are reaching record highs across the country. The shortage of available housing, including single-family homes and multi-family apartment complexes, is contributing to these increases. Landlords also cited rising property maintenance costs as a reason for the rise in rents. Since early 2021, the median rent in the United States has risen from around $1,500 to $1,879 in July 2022, according to data from Realtor.com. This is the 17th consecutive month for which median rents have set a record.
This story originally appeared on Foothold Technology and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio. Foothold Technology determined housing affordability for tenants in Vermont.