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A Minimum Wage Job in Austin Gets You a Two-Bedroom Apt. – And a 111-Hour Work Week

Austin has the highest average rent in the state of Texas. And Austinites trying to afford housing on minimum wage need to work close to three full-time jobs.

That’s according to a new study from theNational Low Income Housing Coalition. The non-profit looked at the average fair market rent for Austin apartments and calculated how many hours minimum wage workers need to work so their rent is affordable – meaning it’s no more than 30 percent of their earnings.

For Austinites earning an hourly minimum wage of $7.25, it takes:

  • 88 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom apartment, and
  • 111 hours for a two-bedroom. That’s equal to nearly three full-time jobs.

The Housing Coalition’s Elina Bravve has worked on the study for a few years now and says she’s no longer surprised by the findings.
“The things that we see include stagnant wages across renters as a whole while the cost of housing slowly but surely rises,” Bravve says. “And we find this to be consistent not just in hot real estate markets but also in suburban and rural areas all across the country.”

Owing in part to a hot real estate market, Austin has the highest average fair market rent in the state of Texas. Prices are: 

  • $830 for a one-bedroom apartment, and
  • $1050 for a two-bedroom.

That’s well above the statewide average of $687 and $867, respectively.

After an $78 million affordable housing bond was rejected by voters in November, the City of Austin is mulling another bond election that would fund housing initiatives for low-income Austinites.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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