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Affordable housing is 'out of reach' for many Michigan renters, study says

Jun 9, 2017

In order to afford the average monthly rent in Michigan, a household would need to earn $16.24 per hour. That's nearly double the state’s current minimum wage.

Out of Reach, a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, focuses on the state of rental housing in the U.S., a market where prices are skyrocketing while wages remain stagnate.

The average housing wage per state. Michigan is the 29th most expensive.
Credit National Low Income Housing Coalition

The study calculates affordability using a “Housing Wage,” which is the hourly wage a full-time worker needs to rent a modest 2-bedroom unit without spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing. 

According to the report, "in only 12 counties [nationwide] can a full-time minimum-wage worker afford a modest one-bedroom rental home."

The national average Housing Wage was $21.21 in 2017, with Hawaii, the District of Columbia and California ranking as the most expensive states to rent.

The report says that there are a number of factors driving the affordable housing crisis, including low minimum wages and a shortage in the number of affordable rental units.

“The supply of rental housing has not kept pace with demand over the past decade. The shortage is greatest for those with the lowest incomes. The U.S. has 7.5 million affordable rental homes for the 11.4 million extremely low income renter households."

Rent in Michigan averages $844 in 2017, making it the 29th most expensive in the nation. The average hourly wage of renters in the state is $13.70, several dollars below the $16.24 per hour they'd have to earn to afford a market rate unit. 

There are roughly 1,100,000 rental households in Michigan - that's 29% of all households. 

Four key numbers about the state of rental housing in Michigan.
Credit National Low Income Housing Coalition

The most expensive place to rent in Michigan is the Ann Arbor metro area, where the rent of a modest 2-bedroom unit averaged $1,025 per month. Livingston County, the Detroit-Warren-Livonia metro area, Grand Traverse County and the Monroe metro area also rank in the top five most expensive in the state.