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The Typical U.S. Monthly Rent Now Equates to 63 Hours of Work for Budget-Strained Tenants

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Affordability

The Typical U.S. Monthly Rent Now Equates to 63 Hours of Work for Budget-Strained Tenants

At the average wage, Americans must log 62.6 hours of work to afford the typical U.S. monthly rent, six more hours than before the pandemic 


November 22, 2022
Person sitting at kitchen table using calculator surrounded by utility bills
Image: Stock.adobe.com

Over the past five years, U.S. rents have risen by 36.9%, while the average wage is up only 23%, and at that rate, the average tenant needs to work 62.6 hours to afford the typical U.S. monthly rent of $2,040, Zillow reports. National rent growth fell from a record 17.2% annual growth in February to 9.6% year-over-year growth in October, but the total amount of work required to pay rent is three hours higher than the work schedule needed to pay rent a year ago, and six hours more than in October 2019.

A small 0.1% monthly decrease in the typical U.S. rent marks the end of a two-year streak of non-stop price growth, but renters are still burdened by inflated costs in metros like Miami, Tampa, and Phoenix.

Renters in Miami face the greatest affordability hurdles, needing to work 96 hours at the average wage to pay the typical rent. That is over 24 hours more than Miami renters would have needed to work to pay rent five years ago, the biggest gap of the 50 largest U.S. metro areas. 

Other Sun Belt markets, the hottest housing region during the pandemic, have seen similarly large jumps in hours of work needed to pay rent. An average worker in Tampa would need to work an additional 20 hours to pay rent compared to five years ago. Phoenix rents are up 66.7% since 2017, the most in the country among the 50 largest U.S. metros, and renters need to work 17 hours more to pay rent. 

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