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Report: Minnesota again least-affordable Midwestern state for renters

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Two bedroom apartment
A minimum wage workers making $7.25 an hour would need to work 89 hours a week to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment, which rents for $836 a month, on average, in Minnesota.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

For the third consecutive year, a report ranks Minnesota the least-affordable state in the Midwest for renters. Housing advocates say the report demonstrates the need for more affordable housing across the state.

The report, called "Minnesota Out of Reach," found that 55 percent of renters in Minnesota do not earn enough to afford a two-bedroom unit at the "fair market rent" where they live.

The picture was worse for minimum wage workers making $7.25 an hour. These renters would need to work 89 hours a week to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. The average market rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $836 a month.

There are great differences in rent across the state, said Leigh Rosenberg of the Minnesota Housing Partnership.

"The most-affordable counties for a minimum wage worker would require about 66 hours of work a week," Rosenberg said. "In Minnesota the least-affordable counties are in the Twin Cities, which would require about 98 hours a week."

Among the most-affordable counties are Aitkin in central Minnesota, Wabasha in the southeast and Kittson in the far northwest.

"Rents are high and rising while wages for renters have tended to be low and falling in the last decade," Rosenberg said. "What we know is that there is a real mismatch between the rental housing that is available and the needs of the renters."