SALT LAKE CITY — The cost of housing in Utah is rising at a higher rate than wages for thousands of low-income households, a new study indicates.

The Out of Reach report released Wednesday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition shows minimum wage earners in Utah would have to work 98 hours a week — 2.5 full-time jobs — to afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent.

“Housing prices continue to rise far beyond the reach of low-income wage earners,” Utah Housing Coalition Executive Director Tara Rollins said. “Without assistance, the gap between what low wage jobs earn and what rental housing costs here is simply unbridgeable.”

The report showed that nationally individuals earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour would have to work 122 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom unit at the fair market rate and 98 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom apartment.

The national study found that this year’s hourly “housing wage” came in at $22.10 for a two-bedroom rental apartment and $17.90 for a one-bedroom unit.

Housing is considered affordable if a unit at fair market rent is 30 percent or less of a wage earner’s income, explained Rollins. She noted that would mean paying $924 for the average two-bedroom unit in Utah.

To achieve that standard, she said, a Utah household would need to earn a monthly income of $3,079 or $36,952 a year, she said. In a 40-hour work week for 52 weeks annually, a household would need to make $17.77 per hour. However, the average renter in the Beehive State earns $13.92 an hour, leaving a $3.85 wage gap, she said.

The state’s hourly wage rose 75 cents over last year, Rollins said, but still ranks 26th nationwide.

The report noted that Summit County was the most expensive area to …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Business News


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