Minnesota still most unaffordable state for renters in the Midwest

Minneapolis: Where "market rate" means "you can't afford it."
Minneapolis: Where "market rate" means "you can't afford it."
Image by Tatiana Craine

A new study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition concludes that 55 percent of renters in the state can't afford a market-rate two-bedroom apartment, making Minnesota the most unaffordable state in the Midwest for renters for the third year in a row.

FROM LAST YEAR: Minnesota has the most unaffordable rent in the Midwest

But if you don't want to take it from them, take it from me -- it's frickin' hard to find an affordable apartment these days, especially in the Twin Cities. (By the way, I'm still looking, so if you know of anything...)

Last year's version of the annual study found that the statewide market-rate for a two-bedroom is $821 a month. This year, that number has risen to $836. In order to pay that much and not spend more than 30 percent of your income on rent, you'd have to make $16.08 and work full time. Last year, by comparison, the "housing wage" was $15.79. (The numbers somewhat strangely assume that an individual pays the entire cost of a two-bedroom on their own. Get a roommate or a one-bedroom and things become more affordable.)

Bottom line, shit's only getting more expensive. Thanks a lot, developers of fancy, shiny new apartment buildings.

From the study's summary of the Minnesota findings:

In Minnesota, a minimum wage worker earns an hourly wage of $7.25. In order to afford the [Fair Market Rent] for a two-bedroom apartment, a minimum wage earner must work 89 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or a household must include 2.2 minimum wage earners working 40 hours per week year-round in order to make the two-bedroom FMR affordable.

In Minnesota, the estimated mean (average) wage for a renter is $12.61. In order to afford the FMR for a two-bedroom apartment at this wage, a renter must work 51 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or, working 40 hours per week year-round, a household must include 1.3 workers earning the mean renter wage in order to make the two-bedroom FMR affordable

And MPR provides a bit of county-by-county context:

There are great differences in rent across the state, said Leigh Rosenberg of the Minnesota Housing Partnership.

"The most-affordable counties for a minimum wage worker would require about 66 hours of work a week," Rosenberg said. "In Minnesota the least-affordable counties are in the Twin Cities, which would require about 98 hours a week."

Among the most-affordable counties are Aitkin in central Minnesota, Wabasha in the southeast and Kittson in the far northwest.

"Rents are high and rising while wages for renters have tended to be low and falling in the last decade," Rosenberg said. "What we know is that there is a real mismatch between the rental housing that is available and the needs of the renters."

If worst comes to worst, with the weather warming up a little bit, we hear Peavey Plaza can be a pretty exciting place to crash this time of year.

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