STATE – Workers in many travel and tourism-related jobs don’t earn enough money own a home or pay rent, according to a study released today by the National Housing Conference and Center For Housing Policy.
“One of the most overlooked aspects of this recovery is that for many workers, incomes are not rebounding in step with local housing markets,” explained CHP Senior Research Associate Maya Brennan, a co-author of a report released with the new data. “Even in a strong sector like travel and tourism, wages have not kept pace with the rising costs of renting or homeownership.”
The report looked at average salaries of workers in five common jobs related to travel and tourism: housekeepers, wait staff, auto mechanics, front desk managers and flight attendants. Of those professions, only the flight attendants had a high enough average wage to afford a mortgage on a median price home in the United States. Housekeepers and wait staff didn’t make enough to afford the typical market rent on a one- or two-bedroom apartment in any metro area.
“The data show that working hard is not enough to make ends meet,” said report co-author Janet Viveiros, a research associate at CHP. “Americans are spending more on vacations, but many of the workers fixing their cars before a long road trip, cleaning their hotel rooms or serving their meals are struggling to afford basic expenses like housing.”
In the Edison area, an income of $66,332 is needed for a $250,000 median price home, $46,120 for a market rate one bedroom apartment and $56,800 for a market rate two bedroom apartment. A flight attendant makes $78,052; a front desk manager makes $52,200; and auto mechanic makes $51,096; a waiter makes $26,955 and a housekeeper makes $26,081.
In the Newark area, an income of $75,884 is needed for a $286,000 median price home, $40,280 for a market rate one bedroom apartment and $48,080 for a market rate two bedroom apartment. A flight attendant makes $77,715; a front desk manager makes $51,975; and auto mechanic makes $50,875; a waiter makes $26,838 and a housekeeper makes $25,969.
“The continued improvement in housing markets across the country is good news for current homeowners who saw the values of their homes plummet during the downturn,” said CHP Director and National Housing Conference Vice President for Research Lisa Sturtevant. “However, the turnaround in housing prices—driven by investors in many markets—along with the still-tight mortgage market, has kept it very difficult for moderate-income families to afford to a buy a home. The demand for rental housing has increased substantially in some markets, putting upward pressure on rents. And as prices and rents are rising, wages have been steady at best, and many working families remain priced out of many markets.”
“There is a fundamental tension between a housing recovery and housing affordability,” Sturtevant continued. “The solutions are higher wages or greater access to affordable housing.”
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