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Affordable Housing , Community Development , Reports and Publications

Housing Not Affordable for Hiring Occupations

26 July 2011

Rents and mortgages are not affordable for workers in the five most common jobs in the economic sector doing the most hiring in four metropolitan areas in Connecticut, according to a new national study from the Center for Housing Policy.

The report, “Paycheck to Paycheck 2011,” shows that in the Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven and Norwich metro areas, rents and mortgages on median-priced homes are not affordable for four of the five largest jobs - groundskeepers, janitors, office clerks and security guards - in the industry doing the most hiring. Only accountants are able to afford to rent or purchase a home, except in the Bridgeport metro area, where median-home purchase prices far eclipse even an accountant’s median salary.

The report covers 209 metro areas across the United States and indicates that across the nation, with few exceptions, most workers cannot afford to rent or buy a home. Even accountants, who earn a relatively high median salary, do not earn enough to rent or buy homes in many of the nation’s highest priced markets.

Since 2010, newly hired workers are somewhat better able to afford to buy a home then they were a year ago, due mostly to a reduction in median-home prices and a reduction in the mortgage interest rate. In some markets, home prices have dropped so much over the past year, mainly due to foreclosures, that fair market rent for a two bedroom unit is now higher than the monthly mortgage payment for a median-priced home.

Rents, on the other hand, have increased slightly over the past year, by a median of 1.1 percent over the areas studied. As a result, rent-affordability in 2011 has become a measure of income change; for occupations that saw increases in income outpace increases in rent since 2010, such as retail salespeople and nurses, rents have become more affordable. Even still, for the majority of occupations in the majority of housing markets, renting an apartment at fair-market value is still unaffordable.

To Learn More:
Read the full report
Search for your metro area or occupation in the database
Read about the study in the New Haven Register