Minnesota still most unaffordable state for renters in the Midwest

Categories: How We Live
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Minneapolis: Where "market rate" means "you can't afford it."
A new study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition concludes that 55 percent of renters in the state can't afford a market-rate two-bedroom apartment, making Minnesota the most unaffordable state in the Midwest for renters for the third year in a row.

FROM LAST YEAR: Minnesota has the most unaffordable rent in the Midwest

But if you don't want to take it from them, take it from me -- it's frickin' hard to find an affordable apartment these days, especially in the Twin Cities. (By the way, I'm still looking, so if you know of anything...)

Last year's version of the annual study found that the statewide market-rate for a two-bedroom is $821 a month. This year, that number has risen to $836. In order to pay that much and not spend more than 30 percent of your income on rent, you'd have to make $16.08 and work full time. Last year, by comparison, the "housing wage" was $15.79. (The numbers somewhat strangely assume that an individual pays the entire cost of a two-bedroom on their own. Get a roommate or a one-bedroom and things become more affordable.)

Bottom line, shit's only getting more expensive. Thanks a lot, developers of fancy, shiny new apartment buildings.

From the study's summary of the Minnesota findings:
In Minnesota, a minimum wage worker earns an hourly wage of $7.25. In order to afford the [Fair Market Rent] for a two-bedroom apartment, a minimum wage earner must work 89 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or a household must include 2.2 minimum wage earners working 40 hours per week year-round in order to make the two-bedroom FMR affordable.

In Minnesota, the estimated mean (average) wage for a renter is $12.61. In order to afford the FMR for a two-bedroom apartment at this wage, a renter must work 51 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or, working 40 hours per week year-round, a household must include 1.3 workers earning the mean renter wage in order to make the two-bedroom FMR affordable
And MPR provides a bit of county-by-county context:
There are great differences in rent across the state, said Leigh Rosenberg of the Minnesota Housing Partnership.

"The most-affordable counties for a minimum wage worker would require about 66 hours of work a week," Rosenberg said. "In Minnesota the least-affordable counties are in the Twin Cities, which would require about 98 hours a week."

Among the most-affordable counties are Aitkin in central Minnesota, Wabasha in the southeast and Kittson in the far northwest.

"Rents are high and rising while wages for renters have tended to be low and falling in the last decade," Rosenberg said. "What we know is that there is a real mismatch between the rental housing that is available and the needs of the renters."
If worst comes to worst, with the weather warming up a little bit, we hear Peavey Plaza can be a pretty exciting place to crash this time of year.

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Keith Morris
Keith Morris

What about Chicago? I guess cheap rent in cities like Springfield and Peoria help offset the sky-high big city rent, but then who moves to either of those instead of Chicago because they're cheaper? Likewise, the cheapest counties listed in MN in that article are cheap for a reason. Sure, I'm paying more for rent in Downtown Mpls than I would in just about any other Midwestern city, but I'm willing to pay a little more to have lots more amenities not found in those other cities. I'm close to the busiest downtown streets like Nicollet Mall, Whittier is a stone's throw away, the lakes are a short bike ride down the trail, NE is right across the river, West Bank is a short bike/light rail ride east, the list goes on.


Just go on Welfare. You get both free housing and free food. 

digitalprotocol topcommenter

look into section 42...

rent is way too damn high, all you hicks from iowa and wisco are responsible


I bought a North Loop loft about 18 months ago. My mortgage payments today are less than the rent I was paying on the 400sq foot apartment I moved away from on 9th and Chicago.

Rent is out too damn high in MPLS.

Cheryl Higgins Kozicky
Cheryl Higgins Kozicky

Things will change when the 12,000+ rental units (new construction) arrive in the Minneapolis area in next couple years.


Move to South Dakota. You can get a 1 bedroom apartment with a garage for around $400 a month. 


Bottom line, shit's only getting more expensive. Thanks a lot, developers of fancy, shiny new apartment buildings."

You come off as economically challenged or simply cherry picking a few pieces of data without providing any economic analysis..  Lets break down what happens when developers enter a new market.

1) the supply of rental homes increases

2) high income earners that originally would rent out less suitable duplexes / older apartments choose to move to the new fancy apartments

3) increased supply in a market naturally decreases prices (ECON 101)

4) what we have is demand increasing at a faster rate than supply

5) so, if your evil developers stopped building new apartments, prices would be increasing at an even faster rate

If you want rates to fall, you can do it two ways

1) decrease demand

2) increase supply

option 1 means killing jobs and income

option 2 means creating them.

What are your priorities?


And I should point out also that Section 8 housing isn't is bad as it used to be. If you can get a place out in the suburbs, some of them can be really nice. The complex I live in is in Brooklyn Park and my unit is a nice 3 bedroom townhome with a fireplace and a large completely brand new kitchen. It also has AC, a 2-car garage, and you get free use of the swimming pool and gym. Not a bad deal for $0/month. 


@digitalprotocol  The only problem with section 42 is that they are usually in really shitty neighborhoods like North and Northeast Minneapolis.

CinBlueland topcommenter

@wes.h.olson My rent is 790 a month for a 1 bedroom, with garage. how affordable are you looking for? Not ripping, just asking?


@digitalprotocol @CinBlueland naw its a nice duplex. Obviously I'd like to live in a swank apartment but I have to pay of my student loans ya bish

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