Nearly half the people in Minneapolis struggle to pay the rent

In Minneapolis, monthly rent often devours more than 30 percent of residents' income.

In Minneapolis, monthly rent often devours more than 30 percent of residents' income. Courtney Perry, Star Tribune

Thou shall not fork out more than 30 percent of your monthly income on rent. So says the first commandment of apartment life. 

Yet heeding the principle is proving to be a bear for more and more renters in Minneapolis. One-bedroom apartments in the City of Lakes now average close to $1,500. Two bedrooms sniff $2,000.

That translates into nearly half of all the city's renters struggling to pay their landlord each month, according to a new study by the rent-centric website Abodo. 

The report says that rent consumes a third or more of the income for 48 percent of Minneapolis renters, thus making it the 67th most "housing-cost burdened" municipality in the nation.

Abodo used 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data in identifying the top 100 metro areas with the most renter units. It calculated the number in the 30 percent group by using median income levels for each geographical area.  

Fortunately, Minneapolis isn't Honolulu, New York City, or San Diego, some of the places where a majority of renters bequeath 50 percent or more. 

Still, out of the 100 markets Abodo analyzed, it showed four out of five Minneapolitans earning less than $35,000 pay more than 30 percent of their income. So do 40 percent of those making $35,000 to $50,000 annually.

The beautiful people are feeling it, too.

Nearly 20 percent of those with salaries between $50,000 and $75,000 are spending at least a third of earnings on rent, Abodo's data shows. 

Twenty-something Sam Lee has friends who've left for humbler zip codes because the cost of living has gotten too damn high. Not Lee. He works a good-paying white collar job for a downtown bank and splits the $1,950 monthly rent on a two-bedroom North Loop pad with his bride-to-be Melissa Smith, who also earns good money. 

In Minneapolis, two grand for almost 2,000-square-feet of North Loop living is a value, according to Lee. The owner of the vacant apartment next door is asking close to $2,600 per month.

"I look around and see what things are going for, $1,600 for a one bedroom, $2,550 for the one next door, and if I was on my own, there's no way."