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June 15, 2018

Housing coalition report: Maine is ninth priciest state for rentals

Maine is the country's ninth most expensive rental market, according to a report released this week by the National Low Income Housing Coalition of Washington, D.C.

The organization's annual report says that Maine renters, who have an average hourly wage of $11.44, need $18.73 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment, making it the ninth priciest state.

Hawaii was found to be the most expensive, with gap of $19.98 between an average renter's hourly wage and what's needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment. Maryland, California, New Jersey and Vermont rounded out the top five, at No. 2, 3, 4 and 5, respectively.

Nationwide, the average affordability gap is $5.22.

The 284-page report, entitled "Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing," documents the mismatch between wages and rental housing prices across the United States.

The report's "housing wage" is an estimate of the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a rental home at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's fair market rent without spending more than 30% of income on housing costs.

"This year's findings demonstrate how far out of reach modestly priced rental housing is for the growing low-wage workforce, despite recent wage growth, and other vulnerable populations across the country," the report concludes.

It lists a 2018 national Housing Wage of $22.10 for a modest two-bedroom rental and $17.90 for a modest one-bedroom rental home. The five metropolitan areas with the highest to-bedroom Housing Wages are Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.; Honolulu; Oakland-Fremont, Calif.; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.; and San Francisco.

Data on Maine, including specifics on all counties, can be accessed online here.

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