Austin's NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Working A Minimum-Wage Job In Austin? You’d Have To Work 152 Hours A Week To Afford A 2-Bedroom Apartment.

apartment balconies austin
Gabriel C. Pérez
People watch the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds flyover salute in May 2020 from their apartment building near Auditorium Shores following the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds flyover salute.

Lea esta nota en inglés

If you're earning minimum wage in Austin, you'd need to work more than anywhere else in Texas to pay for a two-bedroom apartment, according to a new study.

The National Low Income Housing Center's annual Out of Reach study examines the financial burden associated with housing costs, including how much it would cost to meet the federal affordability guideline of spending no more than 30% of your income on housing.

The study, which uses U.S. Housing and Urban Development data, says the Austin-Round Rock area's housing costs are the highest in Texas.

The Austin-Round Rock area was followed by the Midland, Dallas, Kendall County and Fort Worth-Arlington areas as the least affordable, the report says.

Screen Shot 2021-07-15 at 2.39.49 PM.png
National Low Income Housing Coalition

In 2021, Austinites would need to earn $27.58 an hour to live in a fair-market, two-bedroom apartment without paying more than 30% of their income on housing. People earning minimum wage (or $7.25 an hour) would need to work 152 hours a week to live affordably in a two-bedroom apartment, the study says.

Check out the report's results on your ZIP code here.

Costs for rent and utilities eat into monthly income and, in Austin, have been steadily increasing over the last decade. A fair market rate for a two-bedroom in Austin this year is $1,434 a month; two years ago, that cost was $1,315. That rate was $1,058 in 2013.

Ben Martin of the affordable housing advocacy nonprofit Texas Housers says the findings aren’t all that shocking. Austin’s hot real estate market has been fueling a rise in housing costs for a decade. Martin says COVID-19 made things worse — especially for low-income Austinites and communities of color.

"This has been a well-recorded and ongoing crisis for many years that has only been increased due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic," he said, "and those burdens have been disproportionately placed on the backs of lowest-income people and communities of color."

A 2020 housing analysis commissioned by the City of Austin found that communities of color "are much more vulnerable to the negative consequences of rapidly rising housing costs."

The analysis suggested that 25% of Black households and 23% of Hispanic households paid more than half of their monthly income on housing, compared to 15% of white households.

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.
Related Content