Average worker can’t afford 2-bedroom apartment anywhere in US, report says

(KRON) – Retail salespeople, maintenance workers, restaurant employees — millions of Americans are struggling to get by in low-paying jobs.

Affordable housing is a big challenge.

Minimum wage earners can no longer afford rent on a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the country.

The report comes from the National Coalition For Low Income Housing, which says only a handful of states offer affordable housing for people making less than $15 an hour.

The problem? Even the lowest amount is higher than the local minimum wage. The 2018 national Housing Wage is $22.10 for a modest two-bedroom rental home and $17.90 for a modest one-bedroom rental house, according to the report.

It also states that one-bedroom is affordable for minimum-wage workers in only 22 counties in five states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. All of those states have set their minimum wages higher than the federal minimum of $7.25.

For example, in Arkansas, you only need to earn a little over $13 for a typical 2-bedroom apartment.

However, that’s still almost double the Arkansas minimum wage of $8.50.

In New Mexico, the minimum wage is $7.70

You can afford a typical 2-bedroom apartment if you make just under $15.89 an hour.

Anyone making that amount would have to work triple shifts of 85 hours a week for a 2-bedroom apartment.

Even for a single bedroom, you’d need to work 69 hours.

In New Mexico, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $827. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities, a household must earn at least $2,755 monthly or $33,062 annually.

A one-bedroom apartment is $671.

There is also a total of 245,732 renter households in New Mexico, according to the report.

Below are some of the most expensive areas in New Mexico:

Los Alamos County: $19.67 Santa Fe: $19.35 Lincoln County: $16.90 Albuquerque: $16.79 Eddy County: 15.75

Metropolitan Areas:

Albuquerque: $16.79 Farmington: $14.81 Las Cruces: $14.48 Santa Fe: $19.35

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New Mexico workers two-bedroom apartment costs – Albuquerque Business First

Albuquerque has a reputation of being a city with a low cost of living, but its low wages also help put housing out of reach for many renters.

A new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition released last week shows workers in the Duke City on average have to work more than one job to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

Based on a "fair market rent" of $873 for a two-bedroom apartment, the average worker has to have 1.3 jobs, based on the mean hourly renter wage of $12.84 in the Albuquerque metropolitan statistical area. For renters earning minimum wage, they would have to work 2.2 jobs to pay rent. The federal government annually determines fair market rents, which serve as estimates of what apartments in a particular area would cost to rent.

The hourly wage to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Albuquerque is $16.79, according to the study.

View the accompanying slideshow to see what workers have to earn in other parts of the state, including Santa Fe, to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

Overall, New Mexico ranked No. 36 on the report, with workers in the state needing to earn on average $15.89. Nearly a third of people in the state are renters, the report said. Renters working minimum wage must work 85 hours per week to make rent, according to the study.

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City bans front-yard parking for new homes, imposes limits in other cases

FRONT-YARD PARKING RULES SET IN CONCRETE: Richard emails that “since 2016 you have given us updates on proposed rules to stop front-yard parking in unimproved areas, but nothing recently. Have you given up? How about another update? And can you tell us who doesn’t want to stop this eyesore in Albuquerque?”

Front-yard parkers, for one.

Everyone else seems to have been trying to get the bureaucracy that is city government on the same page when it comes to stopping people from parking on their landscaping, or what would have been landscaping if people hadn’t parked on it.

And now, ta-da, they have.

Shanna Schultz, a planning policy analyst with the Albuquerque City Council, says the new “Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO) made several improvements to the language regarding front-yard parking that will make it more enforceable from the city’s perspective.”

NEW CONSTRUCTION: With development built after May 17, it says “parking in residential zone districts or for low-density residential development is prohibited on any portion of the front-yard setback other than on a driveway or drive aisle meeting the standards of this IDO” and sets out limits to what can be made into a driveway – which must be paved or done with crusher fine and can range from 400 square feet to 85 percent of the front yard.

CONSTRUCTION 2007 TO MAY 2018: As for homes built between 2007 and the IDO, “improved parking areas that met the rules in place at the time they were built can continue to be used for parking. Parking is limited to those improved areas.”

CONSTRUCTION BEFORE 2007: For homes built before 2007, “if an improved parking area… was developed, that is the only area that can be used for parking in the front yard. The size is not limited to the size limits in the IDO and can be continued to be used for parking.

“If no improved parking area was developed, the amount of the front yard that can be used for parking is limited to the sizes in the IDO, but that parking area is not required to be improved.”

There is also a variance procedure, which entails a public hearing and a meeting with the applicable homeowner’s association.

PROBLEMS AT U.S. 66 AND OLD MOUNTAIN: Vonsand emails “a request for your assistance with problems that exist at the intersection of old U.S. 66 at the intersection of Mountain Valley Road to the north and Highway 217 to the south. Several automobile accidents and numerous near-misses have and do occur at this intersection daily. Does a fatality have to occur before DOT will fix the problems?”

Vonsand says “drivers making the left turn onto Mt. Valley turn too short, and the vehicles southbound on Mt. Valley have to pull up in order to clear their view over a guardrail at that intersection. Drivers making a right turn from Mt. Valley onto westbound old U.S. 66 block the view of the driver on Mt. Valley attempting to make a left turn onto Old U.S. 66. In addition the traffic northbound on Highway 217 attempting to make a left turn onto U.S. 66 has difficulty getting across because of the heavy traffic in every direction.”

Kimberly Gallegos, from the New Mexico Department of Transportation, says “the DOT had a construction project that included geometric improvements that built left-turn lanes on N.M. 333 (Historic Route 66). It does not meet warrants for a signal. We will schedule a couple of field observations in the a.m. and p.m. peak hours.”

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858;; or P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, N.M. 87103.

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How Dreamstyle Remodeling plans to follow up its big year in 2018

Opportunity, philanthropy and growth.

That’s what Larry Chavez, president and CEO of Dreamstyle Remodeling, says he sees when he looks at 2018. Dreamstyle is a finalist for our new Top 100 New Mexico Private Companies Company of the Year award. The winner will be revealed at our awards event June 14.

His home remodeling company’s goals include expanding into new territories and products in Dreamstyle’s home state of New Mexico and beyond. That follows the big splash Dreamstyle made in 2017 by announcing a $10 million, 10-year naming rights commitment for the football and basketball stadiums at the University of New Mexico.


Dreamstyle Remodeling owner Larry Chavez gifted $10 million to the University of New Mexico for the naming rights to the school’s football and basketball facilities.

"It’s been terrific," Chavez said of how the deal impacted awareness of his company.

He said the naming rights deal inspired pride in his employees and their families, plus visibility and credibility, both locally and within the industry nationally.

"The majority of our motivation was to support the university," he said, adding that "it’s nice to get the benefit" of additional awareness too.

Dreamstyle plans to hire another 100 people by the end of the year, Chavez said. It’s also expanding farther in Southern California and exploring expansion in West Texas.

In terms of expansion, Dreamstyle aims to "bring back profits from other markets to invest in New Mexico," Chavez said.

Locally, it will convert some space in its facility at 1460 Renaissance Blvd. NE into a call center to accommodate the company’s growth.

Dreamstyle’s still on track to hit $250 million in revenue and add 500 employees by 2020, a goal Chavez shared with Business First last year.

Acquisitions will likely contribute about 25 to 30 percent of that growth, Chavez said. The company’s goal with acquisitions: "pick up something small in a good market and expand it."

The company’s also growing its philanthropy, adding support for Casa Esperanza to its UNM-related philanthropic commitments. Casa Esperanza provides housing for families receiving cancer treatment in Albuquerque.

Dreamstyle has beefed up its executive team, and Chavez said he feels good about succession prospects in key positions, including at the top.

Last year, Larry Chavez Jr. told Business First he’d like to take over the company with his brother. Chavez Jr. will be a succession candidate, Chavez Sr. said. He’s confident the company will have multiple strong candidates to succeed him when the time comes — which he says is likely still five to seven years down the line.

John Garcia, Home Builders Association of Central New Mexico executive vice president, isn’t surprised by the success Chavez Sr. has led Dreamstyle to.

“He looks for opportunities and exploits them as much as possible, as a good businessman has to do,” Garcia told us last year.

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