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Study: San Diegans need to earn nearly $48 an hour to afford living in county

Posted at 12:08 PM, May 09, 2024

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A new study by the San Diego Housing Federation and California Housing Partnership shows San Diegans need to earn nearly $48 an hour to afford living in San Diego County.

According to the study, the average cost of rent in San Diego is $2,479, and renters need to make 2.8 times the minimum wage — or $47.67 per hour — to afford that.

The findings released Thursday come at a critical time, as the City of San Diego is currently establishing its budget for 2025.

The San Diego Housing Federation and California Housing Partnership data is meant to help the city figure out how much it needs to spend on affordable housing.

Danielle Mazella, Sr. Research Manager with the California Housing Partnership, said, "There's a shortfall of 134,500 affordable homes for lower-income renters in San Diego County."

There's one community that is most vulnerable right now of being forced into homelessness -- seniors.

"Seniors in our community are being priced out," Tyler Renner, Sr. Director of Communications for PATH (People Assisting the Homeless), said. "There's very little barriers to protect people from falling into homelessness for the first time, and we're seeing more and more seniors experience that."

Renner also said it costs less money to keep people in homes compared to what is costs to get people out of homelessness. He said it's an average of about $400 a month for rental assistance versus thousands of dollars for homeless wraparound services.

The study also found that 81% of county households are paying more than half of their income on housing.

"Even middle-class folks are paying too much in rent to ever save money to be able to afford buy a house," Stephen Russell, CEO and President of the SDHF said. "This affects almost everyone in the county, there's a massive problem and this report is intended to give it a sense of scale."

The two groups also found the county is short over 9,000 homeless beds and $631 million short, compared to last year's funding from both the state and federal level, for housing production and preservation.

"The 140,000 homes that we're short, if we're only doing 1,400 a year, that will take us decades to get to where we need to be," Russell said.

Go to for the full 2024 housing report.