WENATCHEE — Residents of Wenatchee have to earn at least $19.62 an hour to afford a two-bedroom home, without giving up on food or other life necessities.

That’s the finding of a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, which found rent in neighboring Douglas County is only slightly less expensive. An hourly wage of $19.42 can put you within reach of a home on the east side of the Wenatchee Valley.  

The coalition’s “Out Of Reach” report bases its figures on the fair-market rent documented by HUD. The wage levels in the report are an estimate of the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a two-bedroom rental home at the fair market rate, while spending no more than 30 percent of his or her total income.

As an annual salary, the housing wage for Wenatchee amounts to about $40,800 per year; census figures show the city’s median wage in 2017 was $55,300, with about 46 percent of households earning less than $50,000. 

The Wenatchee Valley has struggled with housing needs for years. A 2018 report from Our Valley Our Future found a shortage of 1,600 housing units and vacancy rates close to zero. New housing is expected to come on the market this year, but it may still be out of reach for many renters.

Wenatchee Valley housing wage requirements are below the national average of $22.96 per hour, but overall, Washington state ranks as the seventh most expensive rental market in the nation, with a two-bedroom fair market rent of $1,445 a month. To afford even a one-bedroom rental home in our state, a $12 per hour minimum wage worker would have to work 75 hours a week.

Jefferson Robbins: 679-7013

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