Rantz: No, you don’t need to make $29.21 an hour to rent in Seattle
Every year, an activist organization puts out the same misleading study to play into the narrative that you can’t afford to live in Seattle. Then, using this report as ammo, local activists push for higher minimum wages. This year, activists are pushing for more taxes on big corporations they foolishly blame for high rents.
Please, I beg of you, don’t take the bait this year.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition released their 2017 findings to suggest you’d need to make $29.21 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Seattle. Cue the folks claiming this is further proof that housing costs are out of control! How might we fix this? A head tax!
Well, why don’t you chill out for a second?
You don’t, in fact, need $29.21 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment here. You need $14.61 an hour.
The NLIHC bases their rental requirements on one person’s hourly wage for a two-bedroom household. They do this to paint a much bleaker picture in their effort to increase minimum wages. Two bedroom apartments are for, at a minimum, two people (roommates or couples in need of extra space). If both only make the minimum wage, they’d be collectively making $30 an hour in Seattle.
Are there many low-waged single people renting out two bedroom apartments? No. And if you’re a single person who chose to rent a two bedroom apartment you can’t afford, that’s on you.
If two people make $15 an hour, working 40 hours a week, for 52 weeks, they’d collectively earn $62,400. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment (assuming they need that) is $1,544. That makes a two-bedroom apartment very affordable, even more so when you realize you’ll find plenty under that average rental unit.
Indeed, the NLIHC says you’d need to earn $61,760 annually for that two-bedroom apartment so the couple has money to spare.
The NLIHC tries to trick you every year by giving you misleading data and some of you get fooled each time. I wrote about this back in 2015. This time, please don’t fall for it.