A recent analysis of how much of Americans’ income they are spending on rent put several California cities at the top of the list.
SmartAsset looked at the country’s 25 biggest cities to figure out the number of hours a person would have to work in order to pay for housing. The group used “average annual take-home pay, average hours worked per year and median monthly rent” to measure the data.
Overall, it found that an average of 56 hours of work were needed in order to pay rent in the 25 largest cities in the United States. Detroit, Michigan, was the only location where one week of full-time work covered a month of an employee’s rent.
The California cities of San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego ranked in the top three of how many work hours were needed to cover rent, with San Francisco, California, coming in at fifth place under Boston, Massachusetts.
In San Jose, 77.4 hours of work were necessary to cover the cost of rent where the monthly average cost of rent is $2,232. In Los Angeles, 72.3 hours were needed to cover the average rent of $1,523, whereas San Diego’s rent was higher than Los Angeles — at $1,770 per month — but it took slightly fewer hours to cover at 72.2 hours due to the higher estimated hourly earnings. San Francisco also has a fairly high estimated hourly wage at $31.74, so it would take an employee 63.3 hours to cover the average monthly rent of $2,010.
Rental prices in the Golden State have increasingly been an issue. A Zumper report noted that its National Rent Index surged to an all-time high in May, with the growth of rent in 2022 going faster than in 2021. With the recent spike in interest rates, however, the housing market is starting to cool off, which could impact rent and push down costs.
Not all areas of California were seeing the spike in the May report. The San Francisco Bay region has historically seen some of the priciest rental costs in the nation for most of the twenty-first century, however, the rental market is one of the only places that hasn’t gone back to its pre-pandemic rates — even two years after the COVID-19 pandemic started.
Potential reasons could be the increase in crime and homelessness in the San Francisco area in the last several years. The crime wave was a driving factor in pushing San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin out of office in a recall election earlier this week.
“Voters strongly endorsed ousting the reform-minded D.A. as partial returns showed about 60% of voters supporting the recall,” The Wall Street Journal reported. Ever since Boudin came into office in January 2020 “burglaries have risen 45%” and “homicides have increased 37%.”