Rental Affordability

Rents Continue Upward Trend Since 2013

Lack of affordable rental housing can lead to crowding and household stress. Less affordable rental housing also restricts the ability of renters to save for a down payment on a home, limiting their ability to become homeowners. Ultimately, a shortage of affordable housing for renters can perpetuate and exacerbate a cycle of poverty. This indicator measures Riverside-San Bernardino metro area rental housing affordability by tracking the housing wage – the hourly wage a resident would need to earn to be able to afford the median rent in the region.

Rental Affordability

How is San Bernardino County Doing?

Monthly Fair Market Rent

Riverside-San Bernardino, 2010-2019
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The Riverside-San Bernardino metro area’s housing wage increased 6% in one year:

  • The hourly wage needed to afford a median-priced one-bedroom apartment was $20.54 in 2019, up from $19.25 in 2018. This housing wage is equivalent to an annual income of $42,720. 1
  • In the 10 years since 2010, one-, two- and three-bedroom rents rose 4%, 12%, and 10%, respectively. Meanwhile, minimum wage rose 50%. 2
  • The Riverside-San Bernardino metro area has the least expensive rental housing in the Southern California region, but it has higher prices than some peer regions outside of California (Phoenix and Las Vegas).
  • Median monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment ($1,068) is not affordable to many lower wage occupations, including retail salespersons, home health aids, and transportation and materials moving occupations.
  • The graduated increases in the California minimum wage are having a positive impact on what a minimum wage-earning household can afford to pay monthly in rent, rising from $416 per month at $8 per hour in 2014 to $624 per month at $12 per hour in 2019. To further close the gap between median rents and wages, the future graduated increases in the minimum wage (up to $15.00 per hour in 2023) must outpace rental market cost increases.

Hourly Wage Needed to Afford Median Rent

Regional Comparison, 2019
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Hourly Wage Needed to Afford a One-Bedroom Unit Compared to Average Hourly Wages

Riverside-San Bernardino, 2019
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Sources: Analysis of Housing and Urban Development 2018 Fair Markets Rents ( portal/datasets/fmr.html) using the methodology of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (//; California Employment Development Department, Occupational Employment Statistics (

Rent as a Proportion of Household Income

In San Bernardino County, 48% of renting households pay 35% or more of their income on rent. This compares to 46% statewide and 41% nationwide.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 1-Year Estimates, 2018 (DP04)

1Assumes 2,080 paid hours per year (52 weeks at 40 hours per week). 2Assumes 2019 California minimum wage of $12.00/hour, which is the wage for companies with 26 or more employees; wage for companies with 25 or fewer employees is $11.00/hour.