Latest “Out of Reach” Report Documents Rising Rent Burdens for Texans

July 20, 2018 | by Michael Wilt

Categories: Affordable Housing, Rental Housing

Earlier this year, the National Low Income Housing Coalition released its annual "Out of Reach" report which tracks what a household must earn to afford a modest, two-bedroom fair market rate apartment. The report calls this figure a "Housing Wage."

The national average fair market rent in 2018 is $1,149 for a two-bedroom apartment. To afford that rent and not be cost burdened (defined as spending less than 30% of income on housing costs), a household must work full-time earning at least $22.10/hour. This is the national Housing Wage. 

Texas renters fare a little better. With an average two-bedroom rent of $1,005, the state's Housing Wage is $19.32/hour which equates to $3,349 monthly or $40,185 annually. 

We previously documented the rise in Texas' Housing Wage in 2015 and 2017 On the House posts. Unfortunately, the Housing Wage continues to climb -- from $16.62 in 2015 to $19.32 in 2018. This is a reflection of the rising cost of housing, as fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Texas increased from $864 to $1,005 during that same period. 

More worrisome is that the average renter wage isn't keeping pace with the Housing Wage. Between 2015 and 2018, the average renter wage increased $1.58 while the Housing Wage increased $2.70. 

If you're curious about wages and housing costs in your area, we invite you to take a closer look at the Texas section of the report. You can see a snapshot of the entire state or look at data specific to a metropolitan area or county.  

Here are some other key findings from the report for Texas and nationwide:


  • In Texas, a full-time worker earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour must work 107 hours a week to afford the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment or 86 hours for a one-bedroom apartment.
  • Midland remains the most expensive rental market in Texas with a Housing Wage of $26.31. The Austin-Round Rock MSA is next at $24.06, followed by Odessa at $22.77, Kendall County at $22.08, and Brazoria County at $21.48.  


  • The report estimates a shortage of 7.2 million affordable and available rental units nationwide for very low-income households.
  • The vast majority of new market rate units are high-end. Between 2005 and 2015, the number of apartments renting for $2,000 or more increased by 97%. During that same period, the number of units renting for less than $800 decreased by 2% (more than 260,000 units).  

On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.


Mildred Turner

If renters have school age children then finding a affordable apartment in a safe neighborhood with quality schooling is out. Rental Cost should include water, mud tax, mandatory valet trash pick up,  & garbage fee because Apts. controls the fee for these services: therefore, a $1,005 apt true price w/o rental ins. or electric is at least $1,100.

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