Hawai'i ranks #1 for most expensive apartment rent
Hawai'i has the highest hourly wage needed to afford a two bedroom apartment based on a national study.
We often call it the price of paradise.
It's no mystery that the cost of living in Hawai'i is consistently high compared with the rest of the country.
But a new study puts us at the very top for the wrong reasons.
The study was conducted by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. It states that, among other things, Hawai'i has the highest hourly wage needed to afford a two bedroom apartment.
That amount is $34.22 an hour.
That's based on the standard of only spending 30% of your income on housing, with the fair market price of $1,780 a month for an apartment on Oahu
Not a surprise to residents we spoke to at this Makiki Farmer's Market.
"It's a tight market because it's a confined area. And renters are stuck," said 31-year Makiki apartment renter Paul Klink.
"There's no rent control here so landlords can raise the rent as much as they want," said another Makiki apartment renter, Anton Glamb.
According to realtors we spoke to, those are all valid points.
They added while there are plenty of online places to look for apartments, the best place to "get lucky" with a deal is still Craigslist.
But buyer beware, there continue to be plenty of housing scams on that site. Bringing up the old anecdote: If it's too good to be true, it probably is.
Other patrons in Makiki had their own secrets for finding a good, affordable apartment. Including looking outside of town for cheaper rates.
"You just have to work hard," said Aunty Joyce who helped her friend find a room in a Manoa home, complete with separate kitchen and bathroom, for $1,000 a month. "If you work hard you can do anything here. Work VERY hard."
But it may take working hard, at a good job, to get there.
Another statistic from the study that put Hawai'i on top, the gap between that rental cost and average hourly wages.
Hawaii has the largest gap in the country with that average wage at $14.53.
That average is well above the current minimum wage of $8.50. That will rise incrementally over the next two years to $9.25 in 2017 and $10.10 in 2018
That's well below the raises set by states with similar costs of living. Both New York and California will raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018.
Currently Hawai'i has a mandated minimum wage (not counting leniency allowed for tipped workers) that is lower than 12 other states.
California was home to the most expensive average rent pay rate for a metropolitan city. San Francisco clocking in at $44.02 per hour needed to afford rent on a two bedroom apartment.
There's also been a push by Obama to raise the Federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $12 an hour.
That initiative has been met with a lot of opposition.
The big question is with all of those numbers showing how much it costs to live here, with relatively little pay, is it worth it?
"Yes. It's expensive to live here. But the beach is free.," said renters Bethany and Geoff Mathews.
"For me it is. Aloha is priceless, and its only here," concluded Klink.