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Zillow: Typical Rent is Unaffordable for New Teachers

Phil Hall
Aug 27, 2019
Photo credit: Getty Images/Thunderstock

The start of the new school year also signals a new round of housing-related headaches for entry-level teachers, according to new data from Zillow.
In an analysis of the nation’s 50 largest metro areas, Zillow determined that the typical rent is unaffordable in 49 of these markets. Furthermore, entry-level teachers will need to spend more than half of their salaries on the typical rent in 19 of these markets.
On a national average, new teachers would need to allocate 46.8 percent of their salary to cover the median rent. In comparison, a mid-career teacher would need to set aside 35.6 percent of their salary and the highest-paid teachers would need 26.6 percent.
Not surprisingly, entry-level teachers have a greater struggle in the most expensive housing markets–most notably in San Francisco and San Jose, where median rent payments are greater than 100 percent of a starting teacher's salary. Of the 50 largest metro areas, only Pittsburgh offers affordable rent for starting teachers.
“Most acknowledge that building more homes is required to address the root cause of eroding housing affordability,” said Skylar Olsen, Zillow's director of economic research. “Without that new influx to take the pressure off rent and aggressive home value growth, it's the public servants, like teachers, fire fighters, and nurses–the professions that keep us safe, our kids smart, and our families healthy–that often feel the pinch most. So don't think of housing affordability policies as a choice between change and the status quo. Crowded, job-rich communities will change—and it will be either the buildings that change or the mix of people who can afford to live in them.”

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