San Diego, CA

San Diego renters need to earn over $33 an hour just to afford a one-bedroom apartment

Beth Torres

Rent inflation is impacting San Diego renters in this tight rental market, pushing many to work two or three jobs just to afford the most basic of accommodations.

According to a recent study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a minimum wage worker earning $15.00 an hour in San Diego would need to work an astonishing 89 hours a week just to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment.

Of course, working 89 hours a week (and sustaining it week after week) is a physical impossibility for most people. However, the NLIHC is basing this figure on the concept of “housing wages,” which stipulates that renters should only spend 30 percent of their household income on rent.

Households need to have money left over after paying rent for life’s necessities, such as food, utilities, and medical care. Spending more than 30 percent of your monthly income on rent means that your rent is unaffordable.

Thus, based on this “housing wages” concept, a renter in San Diego would need to earn $33.44 an hour (or $69,560 a year) to afford a one-bedroom apartment. Bump that up to $42.92 an hour (or $89,280 a year) to afford a two-bedroom apartment. And if you are looking to rent a three-bedroom apartment, you’d need to earn $59.60 an hour or $123,960 a year for it to be considered affordable.

San Diego rent increases show no signs of slowing down

San Diego’s rents continue to increase both month-over-month and year-over-year. According to rent statistics for July 2022, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment jumped by 4.7 percent in just the last month. You’ll now need to spend $2,430 a month to rent a one-bedroom apartment in San Diego. This represents an annual increase of 24 percent.

Rent increases are showing up for larger units as well. The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $3,080 a month, up 5.8 percent for the month and 16.2 percent compared to a year ago.

What’s causing this spike in San Diego rents?

One important factor behind San Diego rent increases is the shortage of available housing to meet the demand. The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) says that this is a particular problem for low-income households.

The NLIHC reports that 22 percent of California renters are extremely low income. The state would need to build approximately 1 million new affordable homes just to meet the needs of low-income renters.

This report by CBS 8 San Diego discusses other factors that are leading to the high demand in the San Diego rental market:

What are your thoughts about San Diego’s high rents?

Are you planning to leave the area for a more affordable location? Let us know your feedback in the comments section. And if you enjoy this article, please like, and share with others. Thank you so much for reading!

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