Photo: La Citta Vita/Flickr
New York City is likely to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, a move that many will herald as a victory for low-wage workers. But even with the raise, it shouldn’t be a surprise that most of NYC’s real estate would remain unaffordable.
We wondered what’s available for a worker earning the newly-proposed minimum wage, so we did a little math. Working 40 hours a week at $15 an hour, a worker is set to earn $2,600 gross per month. So we need to find properties that rent for 40 percent of gross income–a rent stretch, but certainly not unprecedented. That’s $1,040 per month or less.
Needless to say, finding habitable units at that price for a single person was difficult, though not totally impossible. We came up with five passable solutions.
This was the biggest, brightest place we discovered in our search. Yes it’s in Far Rockaway, which means a Manhattan commute will take you an hour and a half each way. But it’s 560 square feet, and it could be all yours.
We were actually surprised that you could live in Chelsea for less than $1,000/month. We won’t say that it doesn’t look a little sad, but maybe you could get some inspiration from the Tiny Home movement?
Don’t like parquet floors? At least it HAS a floor. And it’s only two blocks from the 6 train.
This place looks pretty nice. It’s off the 2/3 (one of the most frequent subway lines) and it’s not tiny. You could do so much worse.
Yes, the flash in the photos and the wall-to-wall tile make it a little “murder-esque,” but this place is probably darling in person. The size is decent, there’s a live-in super, it’s close to the trains, and it’s in New York!
Our research showed that even if the minimum wage is raised to $15, working adults still face a great obstacle in securing decent housing, especially close to Manhattan.
DNAInfo’s number-crunching revealed that that New Yorkers working 40 hours a week would need to earn an hourly wage of at least $38.80, which is more than quadruple the state’s current minimum wage of $8.75, to afford the city’s forecasted median rent of $2,690 a month this year.
Of course, that renders most of Manhattan unaffordable, requiring an average hourly salary of $44.60 to reach the median rent. In fact, not one single borough’s median rent could be reached at $15 an hour, with the most affordable borough (Bronx) requiring $21.26 an hour.
Follow @bbhnyc for more on NYC housing costs.