Recently the Mountain Express published an article highlighting low unemployment and associated wages.  The article touched on housing however the chart below clearly links the published wages to housing.  It is noteworthy that the largest employment sector (Leisure / Hospitality) at 31% of the reported jobs is nearly double the size of the next largest sector at only 18% and that the highest paying sector (Financial Activities) is the smallest sector with only 6% of the reported jobs.

The table below calculates monthly wages based on the Mountain Express report.  A household should not spend more than 30% of monthly wages on housing including principal and interest or rent, insurance and utilities.  The table conservatively assumes $100 for insurance and utilities to determine how much rent or mortgage the reported wages support.

NONE of the reported monthly wages is enough to support the average two bedroom rental price.  At a monthly wage of $1,766 for Leisure and Hospitality, you would need 3.5 full time workers to afford the average two bedroom rent.

The situation for homeownership is worse.  At this time, Realtor.com shows 3 single family homes priced under $260,000 – the highest mortgage supported by the published wages.  If we look at condos and town homes, there are more options but the HOA fees must be subtracted from supportable mortgage thereby eliminating most condos and townhomes as well.

House Costs Supported By Blaine County Wages

Job Sector%
Total Jobs
Monthly Wage30% Housing PaymentRent SupportedMortgage Supported
Construction17$3,861$1,158$1,058$197,000
Trade &
Utilities
18$2,883$865$765$142,500
Leisure &
Hospitality
31$1,766$529$429$80,000
Education & Health11$4,455$1,336$1,236$230,000
Professional
17$4,801$1,440$1,340$249,500
Financial
Services
6$5,009$1,500$1,400$260,794