Be Ready For Evictions As 50% Of American Workers Can’t Afford Rent Prices
Nearly half of all American workers can’t afford rent prices in most U.S. cities, according to a new report. They are at risk of becoming homeless this year as a nightmarish scenario unfolds in the rental market, analysts say. Evictions are spiking again, and in some states, eviction fillings have already soared 40% above pre-pandemic levels. Conditions are tight, with less than 5% of rental units still vacant across the country. As competition amongst renters grows, prices continue rising much faster than incomes at a time job cuts are also increasing. The combination is painting a dire picture for housing affordability, and it is threatening to disrupt the lives of millions of Americans.
A new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition showed that nearly half of Americans – or about 46% – do not earn enough to rent a one-bedroom apartment. Rents in the U.S. continued to rise in recent years as demand increased due to expensive home prices, and a worker now needs to earn about $21.40 an hour to afford a modest one-bedroom rental. The median wage in the US is about $21 an hour.
And this trend is not just happening in big cities. The report reveals that a two-bedroom rental – a reasonable size for a family – would stretch the budgets of renters in the vast majority of U.S. counties. In California, where the minimum wage is $14 an hour, the cost of housing is so high that the benefit of higher hourly pay is completely erased. Today, a person in California needs to earn $39.03 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment and $31.06 for a one-bedroom. That is to say, a minimum-wage worker in the state would have to put in 89 hours every week just to afford the one-bedroom and 112 hours to afford the two-bedroom.
Nationally, the average fair market rent is $1,718 a month for a one-bedroom and $1,956 a month for a two-bedroom, according to the report. In contrast, the average renter’s hourly wage is $18.78, an income that can absorb only $977 a month in rent without being housing cost-burdened. A household living on one minimum wage income can afford even less, $377 a month, the organization showed.
Meanwhile, a nightmarish scenario for evictions is unfolding in the U.S. rental market. A recent GOBankingRates survey found that roughly one-third of Americans, or 32.56%, are worried they won’t be able to pay for rent over the next three months as they face a job loss.
The ripple effects that mass evictions can have on our society are beyond scary. The human toll of losing one's home, community, and sense of security cannot be underestimated. As more and more people are pushed out of their homes and into homelessness, the fabric of our society will start to desintegrate.
In short, the housing crisis is a moral and political crisis, and we cannot afford to ignore the plight of those who are being left behind by our broken housing system. In the end, we must recognize that the problem of mass evictions and soaring rent prices is not a mere economic issue, but a human one. And our country's failure to act now will have dire consequences for generations to come.