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New Orleans rent affordability: How much you need to live comfortably

Hint: It’s above the median income

A new study supports that in order to rent a two-bedroom home in the New Orleans-Metairie area—without spending more than 30 percent of annual income—an individual would need to make $18.54 an hour, bringing in at least $38,560 annually.

The median household income in New Orleans is $36,964.

In the joint research by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, Louisiana ranks No. 30 as the state with the most expensive rent. An estimated 181,390 renters, the New Orleans-Metairie area is the most expensive area to rent a home in the state.

In its report, the Coalition calculated the average hourly wage at $15.52 in the New Orleans-Metairie area. At that rate, a person could afford a two-bedroom rental at $807/month, working an estimated 48 hours a week.

Throughout Louisiana, a person making minimum wage—$7.25 hour— would need to work 89 hours per week to rent a two-bedroom unit comfortably, and 74 hours to rent a one-bedroom unit at 30 percent annual income.

Earlier this month, New Orleans ranked No. 17 in the nation as the city with the most expensive rent in Zumper’s latest study. In its analysis, the analytics firm valued the average rent of a one-bedroom apartment at $1,330/month and a two-bedroom unit at $1,600.

Last October, New Orleans City Council commissioned a study by the New Orleans City Planning Commission to determine the effectiveness of a Smart Housing Mix ordinance. The proposed regulation would require developers have a quota for low-income units.

This past February, New Orleans City Planning Commission supported the Smart Housing Mix ordinance and gave several recommendations on how the policy could be effective in the city.

New developments such as the Sidney Torres IV complex, Sacred Heart, and the planned $30M Bywater complex voluntarily reserved low-income units.