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Austin renters working fingers to the bone, study finds

Thursday, February 20, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

A new study finds that the average Austin renter has to work more than 57 hours a month to afford their monthly rent, a figure that ranks 10th highest among the nation’s major cities. The financial planning website SmartAsset found with Austin’s median hourly wage of $22.92 per hour and a median monthly rent of $1,314, that 57.3 hours of work per month are needed to cover rent expenses. That hours-worked figure puts Austin in a tie with Nashville, which had a lower median rent ($1,117) and lower median wage ($19.48). San Jose, Calif., took the top spot with 76 hours per month while four other Texas cities – Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas and San Antonio – clustered together in the 15 through 18 spots. El Paso’s residents require a relatively lax 47.6 hours per month to cover their typical rental expenses, good enough to put the West Texas city in the 23rd spot. Rising rental costs throughout Austin are one component of the affordability crisis that city leaders and members of the real estate and other business sectors are looking to solve through a combination of bond-funded affordable housing and investing in multifamily apartment complexes to support workforce housing.

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