A Starting Teacher in Seattle Spends 75% of Income on Rent

60% of income is spent on a mortgage payment
Updated: Tue, 08/27/2019 - 14:33
 
 
  • 60% of income is spent on a mortgage payment

It may come as no surprise that new teachers struggle to make ends meet, but the numbers in both Seattle and across the country are staggering.

Entry-level teachers in Seattle statistically spend a whopping 74.7 percent of their income on rent, according to a new study from online residential real estate company Zillow Group Inc. That drops to 59.9 percent spent on a mortgage, but both are well above the 30 percent financial professionals commonly recommend for spending on housing.

Zillow didn’t include the average salary of a starting or mid-career teacher, but various estimates from Salary.com, Glassdoor and PayScale say the average teacher salary is anywhere from about $36,000 to $86,000 per year, depending on experience.

Not surprisingly, Seattle is more expensive than the national average. Starting teachers nationally must pay 46.8 percent of their salary to pay the median rent.

Seattle-based Zillow found that “the typical rent is unaffordable for entry-level teachers in 49 of the 50 largest U.S. metros.” Pittsburgh is the exception.

It’s especially expensive for teachers in some places considered relatively affordable, including Salt Lake City and Minneapolis, the study found. San Jose, San Diego and San Francisco are among the cities more expensive than Seattle.

Median rent in Seattle is $2,259.

“It's the public servants, like teachers, fire fighters, and nurses -- that often feel the pinch most," says Skylar Olsen, Zillow's director of economic research. "So don't think of housing affordability policies as a choice between change and the status quo. Crowded, job-rich communities will change — and it will be either the buildings that change or the mix of people who can afford to live in them."

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