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The National Low Income Housing Coalition just came out with its 2011 data dump, and D.C. residents shouldn’t be that surprised: Our fair city is second only to Hawaii in the price of its rental housing.
More specifically, the NLIHC calculates the “housing wage,” which is the full-time hourly wage a household would need to earn in order to afford the fair market rent for an apartment, paying no more than 30 percent of their income on housing. For D.C., that’s $28.10; Hawaii’s is $31.08.
Of course, that’s a little misleading—D.C. is the only solely urban jurisdiction in that ranking, so rents will inevitably be higher. But it’s not that far off from the highest-ranked metropolitan area, Stamford-Norwalk, Conn., which comes in at $34.62. And the most instructive numbers are those comparing D.C.’s rents with the median renter’s income, which is $38,210. You’d need to make $58,440 in order for the fair market rent for a two-bedroom to be considered affordable. 68 percent of D.C.’s rental population—55 percent of the entire population—doesn’t meet that bar.
All of which will probably be used by the folks rallying tomorrow for affordable housing programs in D.C.’s 2012 budget.