Spending most of your money on housing? See how SLO County’s rental costs stack up

More than half of San Luis Obispo County renters are cost-burdened by their monthly housing expenses, according to a recent rental marketplace report.

About 52 percent of county renters — nearly 20,000 households — spent more than 30 percent of their salaries on rent in 2017, according to U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by real estate rental site Apartment List.

That number is up slightly from 2016, when about 48 percent of county renters were cost-burdened.

About 41 percent of San Luis Obispo County residents rent their housing, while 59 percent own their homes, according to 2016 Census Bureau data.

Median rent — meaning that half of renters paid more and half paid less — cost county residents $1,403 in 2017, according to the Apartment List report. Median renter income, adjusted annually for inflation, was $50,603.

The percentage of cost-burdened renters in California is down just slightly compared to the previous year, from 55.4 percent in 2016 to 55.2 percent in 2017.

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Nationally, 49.5 percent of renters are cost-burdened, according to the report.

In areas where renters’ incomes grew faster than their housing expenses, the percentage of cost-burdened renters decreased. For example, in San Francisco County — an area known for its expensive housing costs — just 37 percent of renters are cost-burdened.

That number reflects salary growth in the region, where median rent cost $1,836 in 2017 and median renter income was $92,123.

San Luis Obispo County’s housing costs are in line with those of other Central Coast counties. About 56 percent of renters in Santa Barbara and Monterey counties spent more than one-third of their salaries on housing costs.

On the northern and southern ends of the Central Coast, that number was even higher — 60 percent of renters in Santa Cruz County were cost-burdened, as were 58 percent of those in Ventura County.

More than half of most Central Valley renters were also burdened by housing costs, likely due to incomes that haven’t kept up with living expenses. At least 55 percent of renters spent more than 30 percent of their salaries on housing in Kern, Tulare and Fresno counties.

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseymholden
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