Entry-level teachers will spend 85% of pay on median rental in LA-OC, report says – Daily News

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Entry-level teachers in the Los Angeles-Orange counties area will spend 85.1% of their salary to afford a median-priced apartment or home rental this school year, according to a new Zillow analysis.

That’s well beyond the 30% the industry has long recommend should go toward housing.

That 85.1%, which pays for a rental priced at $2,836, far outpaces the nationwide average where 46.8% of a starting teacher’s pay will go toward a median rent of $1,483.

The situation improves significantly for mid-career teachers in Los Angeles-Orange counties; they’ll need to allocate 52.2% of their salary for rent. The highest-paid teachers will spend 39.6% of their income on a rental.

Teachers who own homes face a similar predicament although percentages are lower as a result of low mortgage interest rates.

An entry-level teacher who owns a home in the Los Angeles-Orange counties area will spend 72.2% of their pay on a median mortgage payment of $2,410, Zillow said. That drops to 44.3% for mid-career teachers and 33.6% for teachers earning the highest pay.

The median price reflects the point at which half the rental prices are lower and half are higher. So teachers faced with paying 85% of their income on rentals would likely seek lower-priced apartments or homes.

Better in the Inland Empire

Venture east and living gets more affordable. The Inland Empires median rental price is $2,017. Starting teachers in the two-county region will spend 60.5% of their income on that rent. For mid-career instructors, it drops to 34.6%, and higher-paid teachers will need to allocate 26.9% of their pay.

The percentages drop even lower for Inland Empire teachers who are homeowners. Starting teachers in the two-county region will spend 41.2% of their income on a $1,370 median mortgage payment, while mid-career teachers will spend 23.6%, and the highest-paid will spend just 18.3%.

It’s worse in Northern California

Teachers in other parts of the Golden State have it worse.

The Zillow report shows that starting teachers in San Jose and San Francisco would have to pay all of their salaries and more to afford median-priced rentals. The same applies for entry-level teachers facing a median monthly mortgage payment.

High housing costs have made it increasingly difficult for school districts to attract and retain teachers across the nation. School districts in Northern California — including San Francisco Unified, West Contra Costa Unified and Mountain View Whisman School District — have approved or are considering employee housing for teachers that would be more affordable, according to EdSource.

That movement is spreading throughout the Bay Area and also making its way into other parts of the state where housing costs are prohibitively high.

“This is a statewide problem,” said Dale Scott of Dale Scott and Co. in an April interview with EdSource. His financial advisory firm works with school districts to fund affordable housing.

The most affordable metro

The metro area with the most affordable housing for teachers is Pittsburgh.

A starting teacher there will spend just 29.5% of his or her pay on a median-priced rental of $1,108. Entry-level teacher/homeowners will spend 14% of their salary on a median-priced mortgage payment, and high paid instructors will only need to put 7.6% of their income toward a  mortgage payment.

Support for higher pay

Six out of 10 Californians say teachers’ salaries in their communities are too low and they support teachers striking for higher pay, according to a survey from the Public Policy Institute of California.

Teachers from Los Angeles Unified and Oakland Unified went on strike earlier this year, seeking higher pay and better classroom conditions. The walkout resulted in higher salaries for teachers as well as other concessions.

In March, presidential candidate Kamala Harris proposed spending $315 billion over 10 years to boost teacher pay throughout the nation. That influx, she said, would give the average American teacher a raise of $13,500.

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