The Rent Is, in Fact, Too Damn High

Note: Updated with more comments.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- "The rent is too damn high!" is the battle cry (and name of the political party) of Jimmy McMillan, the kooky New York activist and sometime mayoral candidate. By contrast, Tuesday's release of the March data for the Case-Shiller Housing Index suggest that housing sale prices are flat, down 0.08% for the month. So is housing steady or out of control?

According to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, it turns out that McMillan is right about rent. Across the country, it's painfully expensive.

 

On Monday, the affordable-housing nonprofit NLIHC released a study about how much money it takes to rent a market-rate apartment in the U.S. The results were dismal. The average American renter earns $14.64 an hour, according to the study. But on average it takes $18.92 an hour for a worker to pay for a two-bedroom house or apartment rental. That's a 52% increase since 2000.

The average worker fares poorly in light of this study. But the minimum-wage worker is worse off by far. Minimum wage is $7.25, although Congressional Democrats are seeking to raise that to $10.10. The NLIHC found that by pooling their resources, two minimum-wage workers still wouldn't be able to afford a two-bedroom rental on their own.

Even with the proposed minimum-wage increase, a single worker couldn't afford a one-bedroom alone, except in Arkansas, Kentucky or Puerto Rico.

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