Teachers have it hard with housing costs, but renting is worse

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

The starting teacher struggle

Many teachers struggle to cover housing costs, but according to new data, renting is even worse. In fact, the median rent takes up almost half of a starting teacher’s salary in most major cities.

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Housing costs out of hand for most teachers

According to a new analysis from Zillow, starting teachers need to spend about 47 percent of their salary to afford a median-priced rental. In 19 major metros, starting teachers spend more than half their income on rent.

As Matthew Speakman, an economist at Zillow, explains “Rent is particularly burdensome for teachers early in their careers.”

The problem isn’t as bad once teachers move up in their careers. Mid-range teachers spend 35.6 percent of their pay on rent, while the highest paid teachers spend 26.6 percent of it.

Special mortgages for teachers and other professions

Homeownership can help

Fortunately, it’s not all bad news. For teachers who can manage to buy a home, housing costs can be more manageable. 

“The situation is generally better for teachers that can buy a home instead of rent one, thanks to the benefit of low mortgage interest rates and decades-long mortgage terms that help keep monthly payments very low, even as housing prices rise,” Speakman said.

Starting teachers spend around 27 percent of their salary on mortgage costs, while mid-career ones spend about 20 percent. The highest-paid teachers spend just 15 percent on housing.

How to buy a house with low income in 2019

In some high-cost cities, starting teachers can’t afford to rent or buy in the area. In San Jose, for example, a starting teacher would need to spend 108 percent of their income to afford the median rent and a 129 percent to afford to own.

Verify your new rate (Jul 14th, 2020)

Get today’s mortgage rates

Are you a starting teacher looking to get out of the rent race? Then shop around and see what mortgage rates you qualify for today.

Verify your new rate (Jul 14th, 2020)