More than 97 percent of Charleston Metro homes for sale are unaffordable for restaurant workers, study finds

The average Charleston restaurant worker earned $21,330 in 2017


Charleston's deep porches are only affordable to those with even deeper pockets - FLICKR USER CAMAS
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  • Charleston's deep porches are only affordable to those with even deeper pockets
A new study gives us yet another glimpse into how Charleston has become basically inhospitable to the people who help run its economy.

In a report comparing the affordability of homes currently for sale across various professions, a dismal 2.5 percent of local home listings in 2018 are affordable to Charleston's restaurant workers, according to real estate listing website Trulia. The average home in the Charleston metro area goes for $375,200, against an average yearly income of $21,330 for local restaurant workers in 2017, according to numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The percentage of homes affordable to restaurant workers was in the single digits in 61 out of 93 markets examined by the website.

"Restaurant workers, as the lowest wage earners among the occupations studied, continue to face the greatest challenges when it comes to affording a home," the study says.

The report defines housing affordability as spending no more than 31 percent of one's monthly paycheck on housing, which is slightly higher than the less-than-30-percent recommendation set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Charleston's first responders and teachers don't fare well in this year's housing market either.

First responders can afford about 11 percent of Charleston homes while making about $38,950 a year; teachers are scraping by at about 21 percent affordability against a median annual income of $47,357.

"Many professionals struggle to afford homes in the communities where they work," the report begins. "They are the people we depend upon even if we don’t see them every day: teachers, first responders, restaurant workers and doctors. But for the majority of them who live in America’s biggest housing markets, buying a home in the community they serve is getting harder – and in a few places, out of reach."

Not surprisingly, doctors can afford almost 87 percent of homes in the market, and programmers can have their pick at close to 58 percent of them.

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