California is second-most expensive state for rents, report says

California is the second-most expensive state for rental housing, a new report says. Above, apartments are available in 2012 in Berkeley.
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

A minimum wage worker in California must toil about 130 hours a week in order to feasibly afford a two-bedroom rental, a new report found.

Wage earners must take home $53,627 annually, or $25.78 an hour, to afford a two-bedroom home, making California the second-least affordable state behind Hawaii, the National Low Income Housing Coalition said Monday in its annual Out of Reach report.


The coalition said that in no state can minimum wage workers do a typical 40-hour work week and spend less than 30% of their income on a two-bedroom unit. Washington, D.C., also was less affordable than the Golden State. There, a worker must make $27.15 per hour to afford a two-bedroom home.

“Households are forced to spend the majority of their income on housing costs,” said Megan Bolton, research director for the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “This makes it very difficult for families to save for emergencies.”

In California, a worker earning the state’s $8-per-hour minimum wage must work 129 hours a week in order to spend under 30% of their income on a two-bedroom unit, the report said. A two-bedroom rental at fair market value costs $1,341 per month in California, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In Los Angeles County, a minimum wage worker would have to put in 137 hours per week, the report said. In Orange County, that figure climbs to 156 hours.


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Six California counties were among the 10 most expensive: San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin, Orange, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz.


Nationally, renters needed to earn $18.79 per hour to spend less than 30% of their income on a two-bedroom home. That is significantly more than the $7.25 federal minimum wage.



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