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According to a new analysis from Zillow, the bottom third of lowest-earning residents in Seattle taking home a median of $29,036 a year must pay 51.6 percent of their paychecks on rent, even when looking for the least expensive apartments on the market.
The golden rule of housing affordability is to spend no more than 30 percent of your income on housing expenses. In Seattle, this becomes more challenging because low-income residents must make a trade-off between paying rent and covering other basic household items, reports Puget Sound Business Journal.
The Zillow analysis found that 68.8 percent of renters do not have enough savings to cover three months of living expenses. Most cities saw a decrease in income after the recession, but Seattle was one of the five metros, along with New York, San Francisco, Denver and Portland, that saw at least a 20 percent increase in income from 2011 to 2016.
Though the market is challenging, it could be worse. Miami residents with the lowest median income of $17,629 need to fork over 98.2 percent of their income for rent, and New York residents, with a median income of $20,740, require 111.8 percent of their pay to go to rent.
In a city like Seattle, where most multifamily development consists of high-end apartments for tech employees, such as computer programmers who make an average of $119,620 a year, the need for investing in our workforce and affordable housing is more present than ever.