Report: A Honolulu renter needs to earn $40 an hour to afford a 2-bedroom

(Hawaii News Now)
(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Jun. 21, 2019 at 5:10 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - To afford a modest two-bedroom apartment in Urban Honolulu, a renter needs to make at least $39.75 an hour, a new report concludes.

What the average renter in Urban Honolulu actually makes: $17.66 an hour ― or $22 less.

The startling figures were included in the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s latest Out of Reach report, released this week, and help underscore the scale of Hawaii’s affordable housing crisis.

The average “housing wage” for Hawaii, meanwhile, was $36.82.

That’s the highest wage needed to afford a modest two-bedroom in the nation ― higher than California ($34.69 an hour), Massachusetts ($33.81 an hour) or New York ($30.76 an hour).

Nationally, the average a renter needs to earn to afford a two-bedroom is $22.96 an hour.

The report calculates housing wages based on a renter paying no more than 30% of their gross income. Under federal guidelines, renters paying more than that are considered “cost-burdened.”

Severely cost-burdened families spend more than 50% of their income on housing.

The annual Out of Reach report has long ranked Hawaii at or near the top of states for its high housing costs. But the gap between what the average renter in Hawaii earns and what they need to earn to afford a two-bedroom rental, according to the report, has widened in recent years.

(Image: National Low Income Housing Coalition)
(Image: National Low Income Housing Coalition)

Five years ago, the National Low Income Housing Coalition estimated that the average Hawaii renter earned $17 less than what was needed to afford a two-bedroom rental. This year, the difference between the average wage needed versus what the average renter actually makes is $20.

And worth noting: The minimum wage in Hawaii is $10.10 an hour.

Someone would need to earn three minimum wage jobs, the coalition concluded, to afford a rental.

While Urban Honolulu renters need to earn the most to afford housing, the situation isn’t much better on the Neighbor Islands.

In Maui County, residents need to earn about $32 to afford a two-bedroom rental. There, the average wage for renters is $14.99 an hour.

In Kauai County, renters earn an average of $14.79 an hour, while the “housing wage” is $29.

And on the Big Island, the wage need to rent a two-bedroom apartment is two times what the average rent actually earns.

Out of Reach Report by on Scribd

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