The newly constructed Arbora Court Apartments, with 133 units, is shown on Monday, April 23, 2018, in Seattle. Forty of the apartments have been set aside for families transitioning out of homelessness. 
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The newly constructed Arbora Court Apartments, with 133 units, is shown on Monday, April 23, 2018, in Seattle. Forty of the apartments have been set aside for families transitioning out of homelessness.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

If you want to rent a one-bedroom in Seattle, you’ll need to make $30 an hour

Renters already know that finding an affordable place in Seattle is near impossible. But sometimes local employers do not appreciate how bonkers the rental market really is.

According to a report published this week from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, a person trying to find a one-bedroom apartment in Seattle this year would need earn at least $29.40 an hour, or $61,152 a year.

That's a 22 percent salary increase over what someone had to earn to pay for that same apartment last year.

And — make sure you're sitting down — that's a 67 percent increase in salary over what you needed to earn in 2014 to find a similar spot.

Got kids? The two-bedroom rental numbers are even more grim: You'd need to be making more than $75,000 a year.

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Common wisdom says to spend no more than a quarter to a third of your wages on your housing. Spend more than that, and the federal government considers you "cost-burdened." Spend half of your wages or more, and you're deemed severely rent burdened.

For the National Low Income Housing Coalition report, authors assumed people weren't spending more than a third of their pay on rent. But according to a 2017 report from rental-listing company Apartment List, nearly half of Seattleites do.

In the Seattle metro area, 41 percent of the population are renters. The average wage is $24 per hour.

Rent in older buildings is about $1,460, according to aSeattle Times story from September; for new apartments, it's more than $2,000.

As a state, Washington ranks eighth on the list of least affordable rental markets in the country. But even statewide, the amount you'd need to earn to afford a two-bedroom apartment, for example, is much lower than Seattle's: $26.20 an hour.

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