Report: Median income gives renters in Milwaukee access to 29 percent of apartments

Access has improved 10 percent since 2011

The Fifth Street Senior Apartments, 2770 N. 5th St., serves low-income residents and seniors.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:11 am

People who earn the median income for renters in Milwaukee are only able to afford 29 percent of the city’s apartments, according to a new report.

The Fifth Street Senior Apartments, 2770 N. 5th St., serves low-income residents and seniors.

The report, by RentCafé, a nationwide apartment search website that is part of Yardi, also found Milwaukee is one of the least accessible rental markets among the country’s most populous cities.

Findings confirm an August study by the Wisconsin Policy Forum that found Milwaukee County renters’ low incomes were more of a barrier to housing than rental costs.

The RentCafé analysis is based on the total number of rental units, the median renter household income and gross rents using ACS one-year estimates for 2017 and 2011, as provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Despite the bleak numbers, Milwaukee is improving.

The median household income for renters in Milwaukee has increased 26 percent between 2001 and 2017, while rents have increased by 11 percent.

In 2011, the median renter’s household income was $28,915 in 2017, up from $22,876 in 2011. The median gross rent in 2017 was $820 in 2017, up from $737.

Nationwide, median gross rent has seen a 16 percent increase from 2011 to 2017, while the median income for renter households has remained at 26 percent.

A 30 percent rent-to-income ratio was considered the threshold for accessibility. Accessibility was measured by the percentage of all apartments in a market that a renter can afford by spending 30 percent or less of a local median annual income.

Milwaukee County has one of the highest percentages of renter households in the Midwest, according to the Wisconsin Policy Forum. Just over half, 50.6 percent, of households rented their homes in 2016. Only 10 counties in the United States with similar or larger populations had higher rates of renting that year.

Both in Milwaukee and nationally, the share of households renting instead of owning rose between 2005 and 2016.

Source: RentCafe

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