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D.C. among most expensive rental markets

Thursday - 4/17/2014, 7:50am  ET

WASHINGTON - As Americans spend more of their paychecks on rent, it's becoming more difficult to make ends meet.

Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan is calling it "the worst rental affordability crisis that this country has ever known."

More than 40 million people rented their residence in 2012. One in four of them earned less than 30 percent of the area median income, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The cost of rent and utilities are supposed to take 30 percent of a renter's income at the maximum, but in 90 cities nationwide the median cost of rent and utilities exceeds that.

Renters in Los Angeles spend 47 percent of their income on housing, making it the most expensive place to rent. Next is Miami, then College Station, Texas, according to a New York Times report. The article also describes the growing discrepancy between affordable and luxury housing that is making the problem worse.

Factoring in average wage, D.C. doesn't fare well.

Renters have to make $28.25 an hour to afford rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the District, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. That's more than three times the District's minimum wage, which is currently $8.25 until it increases by a dollar in July.

And rent in the city is on the way up as well. Residential rental expenses in D.C. rose 33 percent between 2007 and 2012, according to the personal finance site NerdWallet.

Figures from the National Low Income Housing Coalition Out of Reach 2014. (Courtesy National Low Income Housing Coalition)

The top five most expensive areas to live are:

  1. Hawaii, with a Two-Bedroom Housing Wage of $31.54.
  2. District of Columbia, with a Two-Bedroom Housing Wage of $28.25.
  3. California, with a Two-Bedroom Housing Wage of $26.04.
  4. Maryland, with a Two-Bedroom Housing Wage of $24.94.
  5. New Jersey, with a Two-Bedroom Housing Wage of $24.92.

Information in that list is from Out of Reach 2014. New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Alaska, and Virginia finish out the list of top 10 most expensive states in 2014.

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