Five Borough Living Actually Kinda Cheap (By Certain Measures)

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Affordable housing? (Turduckern/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/turducken/6614378161/">Flickr</a&gt;)

The National Low Income Housing Coalition published their “Out of Reach 2012: America’s Forgotten Housing Crisis” report this week. The report, in short, calculates the required hourly wages (at 40 hours a week and 52 weeks a year) to sustain a two bedroom apartment. The report surveyed hundreds of counties, metropolitian areas, and cities across the United States, and then our buen vecino Puerto Rico.

Keep in mind that the report also stipulated that an affordable two bedroom apartment is 30 percent of your monthly income. Here are some interesting breakdowns (in hourly wages at 2080 hours a year).

Most Expensive States

  1. $31.68: Hawaii
  2. $26.02: California
  3. $25.04: New Jersey
  4. $24.83: Maryland
  5. $24.68: New York

Least Expensive  States

  1. $9.88: Puerto Rico
  2. $11.41: Arkansas
  3. $11.50: West Virginia
  4. $11.52: South Dakota
  5. $11.85: Kentucky

Upon closer look, New York County (Manhattan) is not even the most expensive county in the state! The figures below outline the most expensive counties in New York – note that all are within the metropolitan region—in terms of monthly rent:

  1. $1,682: Suffolk and Nassau Counties
  2. $1,580: Westchester County
  3. $1,424: Kings, New York, Queens, Bronx, Richmond, Putnam, and Rockland Counties
  4. $1,189: Orange and Dutchess Counties

No, these figures are not per roommate, but for the whole apartment. It’s a bit jarring to see in statistics, but just remember that the apartments in East New York or the mystical Far Rockaway are treated the same as apartments on Fifth Avenue or Greene Street in the data compilation.

Lesson learned: ask your South Dakota-raised hipster roommate for his old landlord’s number.

mewing@observer.com