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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Rent Is Too Damn High In Other Cities, Too

Posted by on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 6:00 AM

The New York Times:

For rent and utilities to be considered affordable, they are supposed to take up no more than 30 percent of a household’s income. But that goal is increasingly unattainable for middle-income families as a tightening market pushes up rents ever faster, outrunning modest rises in pay.

The strain is not limited to the usual high-cost cities like New York and San Francisco. An analysis for The New York Times by Zillow, the real estate website, found 90 cities where the median rent — not including utilities — was more than 30 percent of the median gross income.

Seattle is not among the "20 cities where rents are highest relative to median gross income," according to this article. (The article doesn't reveal the other 70 cities that are becoming unaffordable for middle-class families, but I'd bet Seattle made that list.)

The reasons cited are multiple, but among them: tighter post-crash restrictions on mortgages, which have led to more people to renting, which is driving up demand for rental units. "The problem threatens to get worse before it gets better," the article says.


Comments (22) RSS

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AFinch 1
As bad as this is for working people - that a basic staple needed for existence - is so brutal on their budgets - this is something that the market should be allowed to correct. The lack of multi-family rental housing stock is a direct consequence of the perversion of the housing market caused by the ridiculous lending practices of the GWB-era of financial deregulation. A lot of rental stock was converted to owner-occupied as landlords made a fortune selling off assets that made more sense (at those prices) as owner-occupied than rental. Now with the inadequate stock and surge in demand, this temporary or artificial scarcity is making things bad. But it's also driving new construction. That's an acceptable way to resolve this, and eventually we'll return to equilibrium.

The key thing is to have all the new development carefully planned and regulated - not to use the "emergency" as an excuse for lazziez-faire garbage to get thrown up. Good density, planned around transportation corridors which can accomodate new or future mass-transit, to avoid sprawl.
Posted by AFinch on April 15, 2014 at 6:51 AM · Report this
^ what they said
Posted by Foonken2 on April 15, 2014 at 7:08 AM · Report this

$700 gets you a 942ft², 2 Bedroom,1.5 Bath townhome

In Kennewick…

This is what rent should cost.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on April 15, 2014 at 7:24 AM · Report this
rob! 4
The situation is much, much worse than that. The Great Recession allowed the consolidation of millions of apartments, condominiums, and free-standing homes into the portfolios of a remarkably small number of banks, private-equity firms, and "global investors." Tens of thousands of never-occupied homes, built in the run-up to the bubble collapse, were neglected by their bank owners, stripped by vandals, damaged by the elements, and continue to be bulldozed in many areas as contributors to blight; in reality, their destruction tightens the market even further and allows rents for the remaining stocks to be jacked further skyward.


Look for housing costs galloping toward 50% of median incomes, rapidly outrunning any possible gains produced by the push for higher minimum wages.

And Bailo's dudebro fantasy of wall-to-wall suburbia and strip malls is the sickest kind of fever dream.
Posted by rob! on April 15, 2014 at 7:34 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 6
Yes, density is supposed to make things better? It's no longer about quality of life. Now it's about how much blood they can suck out of you. Cities can remedy this with taxes. Anything a landlord charges above a certain level is taxed 100%.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on April 15, 2014 at 7:43 AM · Report this

Why stop at Tukwila? Sounder runs all the way to Lakewood now.

1 bed 1 bath

Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Square Ft. 715
Rent: $805…

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on April 15, 2014 at 7:44 AM · Report this
The 30% number for housing cost is about... 50 years old at this point and doesn't apply to the modern world. Any research based on that number is invalid
Posted by fetish on April 15, 2014 at 7:45 AM · Report this
If 30% of your income doesn't cover your housing, consider the possibility that you've been squeezed out of the middle class, or have champagne taste on a beer budget.
Posted by tiktok on April 15, 2014 at 7:54 AM · Report this
What makes me sad is how beaten-down the working class and lower-middle class has become. Any glimmer of populism is derided as unpatriotic, traitorous, commie socialism.

Our Treasury has been looted by the Randians, the ability of the government to do anything except debt service and national defense severely limited. Private savings and capital have been concentrated in fewer hands than any time since the days of the "Robber Barons."

This country used to have a social conscience, and a vision of a strong middle-class, every family entitled to pleasant housing in a pleasant community. While it wasn't complete reality for enough people, public policy was at least geared towards creating that, especially after the sacrifices and hardships of the Great Depression and WW II. Taxes on the well-to-do were high, marginal tax rates above 90% for much of the 1950's, estate taxes high enough to limit dynastic inheritances, government spending on stuff for the middle class, student loans, housing, infrastructure, was high and considered patriotic, building a stronger, better country.

The rich bastard plutocrats have since polluted the public discourse, with their pejorative slogans of "tax and spend," "death taxes" and "government dependency," and have turned this country on its head, the very working people most harmed by their policies somehow convinced to vote for more of them.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on April 15, 2014 at 7:57 AM · Report this
@11 The federal government doesn't just fund the military. According to wikipedia, in 2013 the government spent $666 billion on defense and $860 billion on medicare and medicaid. Here is a link to the article:…
Posted by Ken Mehlman on April 15, 2014 at 8:10 AM · Report this

Check out the ridership stats for SoundTransit...the people who take you long distances, rather than Metro.

Up, up, up.

Reason? People want fast regional transit so they can live cheap, commute to a high paying job, and occasionally take in a ball game or food fair -- on those days that they're not happy at home, or taking the kids to sports, or playing XBox in their living room.…

Book readings?
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on April 15, 2014 at 8:11 AM · Report this
@14 Medicare is funded by a separate payroll tax, not from general income or excise taxes. In fact, as of the moment, it is still in surplus. The Treasury borrows the excess to help fund the Debt.

We don't have a "Unified Budget" anymore. That canard has flown, and it is totally disingenuous to count a separate, self-funded program as part of the general federal spending. Ditto, Social Security.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on April 15, 2014 at 8:46 AM · Report this
@16 The FICA covers only 40% of the cost of Medicare, 41% of Medicare spending come from general revenue. You can read more about that here:…
Posted by Ken Mehlman on April 15, 2014 at 9:01 AM · Report this
treacle 20
Ahh! The Invisible Fist of the Market!
Posted by treacle on April 15, 2014 at 10:16 AM · Report this
Original Andrew 21
Only communoislamabortionist libnatics want fancy extravagances like a place to live.

Real Americans want to be homeless and working at Arby's for $2 an hour until they drop dead because of FREEDOM!
Posted by Original Andrew on April 15, 2014 at 10:39 AM · Report this
treacle 22
@11 - Hey look! The IRS can now seize your tax return to cover one of your relative's debt!

And gosh, political scientists have recently realized that over the last 20 years, at least, Congressers only cater to the rich.

Escape from the 19th Century!!!!!!!
Posted by treacle on April 15, 2014 at 10:42 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 23
What disgusts me the most about this is, due to the lack of tenant protections in most states in this country (Washington is bad enough, but most states are far worse; they can send you to debtors' prison in Alabama if you owe your landlord money), people are shelling out tons of money for shit housing.


Yes, a lot of people have been squeezed out of the middle class, and that's part of the problem. Why are you playing so coy?
Posted by keshmeshi on April 15, 2014 at 11:01 AM · Report this
@22, I was hoping your first link would not be nearly as scary as your lede…but, alas, no, it was worse! Seriously, inheriting debt as we slash inheritance taxes, more like 9th century than 19th.
Posted by shotsix on April 15, 2014 at 11:08 AM · Report this
south downtown 25…

and the stranger continues to be a cheerleader for this, because, umm, density!
Posted by south downtown on April 15, 2014 at 11:22 AM · Report this
You should read the actual study the story links to. Seattle is on several tables.
Posted by Jizzlobber on April 15, 2014 at 12:10 PM · Report this
It's one of those rare studies that is actually worth reading.
Posted by Jizzlobber on April 15, 2014 at 12:11 PM · Report this
very bad homo 28
@3 Who's playing the Kennewick Block Party?
Posted by very bad homo on April 15, 2014 at 1:03 PM · Report this

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