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More evidence it costs too much to live around here

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis December 1, 2009 09:00 AM

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OK, I recently wrote a couple posts on how itís a great time to be a renter.

Certainly if you have a well-paying job and want to rent, times could be worse, though I have yet to run into anyone whose landlord gave them a flatscreen TV.

But if you are scraping by, these are the worst of times, especially here in Massachusetts.

The economy may be down and the jobless rate soaring, but Massachusetts still ranks at the fifth most expensive state in the country for renters, according to the latest report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The report, aptly titled ďOut of Reach 2009,íí finds Bay State renters need to bring home nearly $23 an hour to afford the average two-bedroom apartment.

Or, if you are making minimum wage, youíve got to work the equivalent of three jobs.

New Jersey weighs in at No. 4, New York at No. 3, California at No. 2 and Hawaii, where you need to earn nearly $30 an hour to pay for your two-bedroom, is No.1.

At least the weather is better there.

While the economy would seem to be putting more pressure on landlords, it is also pushing lots of folks back into the rental market thanks to an epidemic of foreclosures, the report finds.

Hereís a telling stat: owner occupied homes dropped by 255,000 from the fourth quarter of 2006 through the end of 2008. Meanwhile, the number of renters grew by roughly 2 million.

Given the dearth of new housing of any type in Massachusetts, especially in the greater Boston area, we are likely to top this list for a long time to come.


This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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